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Weight capacity: Edgerunner vs. Big Dummy

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  • Ty Smith
    Hey everyone! I m new to the Xtracycle fold, but have been interested for years. Got my free radical conversion done two months ago, and I already feel like
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 4, 2014
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      Hey everyone!

      I'm new to the Xtracycle fold, but have been interested for years. Got my free radical conversion done two months ago, and I already feel like I've had it forever! Can't believe it took me so long to finally take the plunge!

      Anyway, thinking eventually I might go to an Edgerunner or Big Dummy when I'm ready. My logic is that I am already well set up with peripherals,Utubes, X2 bags, stoker bar, etc. If I made the switch I would only be "out' the $199 cost of the free radical, but no big deal there. I'm sure I could recoup my costs easily on Craig's list or Ebay.

      Part of my reasoning for eventual upgrade is reducing sway and extra weight capacity. I'm 210 lbs, so that means I should really only carry 140 lbs. I've already pushed the limits a couple of times. The sway and shimmy was alarming, but normal. That being said, it does make me nervous and I have heard stories of the shimming building up so much that the rear wheel ended up folding on rare occasions, somewhat like the Tacoma Narrows bridge that fell apart in 1940 ago under high winds. I just found this original news footage which shows the collapse. Pretty wild stuff.

      So in my research,  I'm finding it odd that the Edgerunner lists a  350 lb weight capacity and the Big Dummy 400 lbs. Since they are both cromoly steel, solid-frame bikes, it makes no sense that the Big Dummy should have more weight capacity. And as a failed engineering student, it seems obvious to me that the Edgerunner should in fact have more weight capacity. It has a smaller, stronger rear wheel, and the whole rear section is lower, so from a physics perspective, it should be inherently stronger. Far less likely for the "Tacoma Narrows Bridge" effect.

      My theory is that when the Big Dummy came out, Surly didn't use any real testing to determine the weight capacity. They just looked at it and said to each other, "So waddya thing? Solid rear frame... maybe 50 extra pounds capacity?... yeah?... ok, let's go with that!" or something to that effect.

      On the other side, the Xtracycle folks thinking probably was "Let's just keep the weight limit the same. We know it's stronger, but if we put it out there that it is, someone will put too much on there, there will be a problem, etc...."

      Bottom line, I think both bikes are a great upgrade choice. Both should have less flex and sway under heavy loads. I also think  the Edgerunner is at least as strong as the Big Dummy, if not stronger. I Xtracycle doesn't want to claim it, but my thought is "meh..." who cares?

      What do the rest of you think?

      Ty


    • Jesse Leifert
      I think all those weights are probably under what they probably can do for legal reasons. I ve had my xtracycle (steel mtb and kit) for about ten years now and
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 4, 2014
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        I think all those weights are probably under what they probably can do for legal reasons. I've had my xtracycle (steel mtb and kit) for about ten years now and have gone way over those numbers several times. The sway and shimmy is noticeable, but it usually is for short trips. 

        The only times I've had problems is when spokes have broken; and that was from using a wheel with less than 30 count in the back. Ever since upgrading the back wheel, it's been problem free. 




        On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:15 AM, Ty Smith <tyjedi@...> wrote:

         

        Hey everyone!

        I'm new to the Xtracycle fold, but have been interested for years. Got my free radical conversion done two months ago, and I already feel like I've had it forever! Can't believe it took me so long to finally take the plunge!

        Anyway, thinking eventually I might go to an Edgerunner or Big Dummy when I'm ready. My logic is that I am already well set up with peripherals,Utubes, X2 bags, stoker bar, etc. If I made the switch I would only be "out' the $199 cost of the free radical, but no big deal there. I'm sure I could recoup my costs easily on Craig's list or Ebay.

        Part of my reasoning for eventual upgrade is reducing sway and extra weight capacity. I'm 210 lbs, so that means I should really only carry 140 lbs. I've already pushed the limits a couple of times. The sway and shimmy was alarming, but normal. That being said, it does make me nervous and I have heard stories of the shimming building up so much that the rear wheel ended up folding on rare occasions, somewhat like the Tacoma Narrows bridge that fell apart in 1940 ago under high winds. I just found this original news footage which shows the collapse. Pretty wild stuff.

        So in my research,  I'm finding it odd that the Edgerunner lists a  350 lb weight capacity and the Big Dummy 400 lbs. Since they are both cromoly steel, solid-frame bikes, it makes no sense that the Big Dummy should have more weight capacity. And as a failed engineering student, it seems obvious to me that the Edgerunner should in fact have more weight capacity. It has a smaller, stronger rear wheel, and the whole rear section is lower, so from a physics perspective, it should be inherently stronger. Far less likely for the "Tacoma Narrows Bridge" effect.

        My theory is that when the Big Dummy came out, Surly didn't use any real testing to determine the weight capacity. They just looked at it and said to each other, "So waddya thing? Solid rear frame... maybe 50 extra pounds capacity?... yeah?... ok, let's go with that!" or something to that effect.

        On the other side, the Xtracycle folks thinking probably was "Let's just keep the weight limit the same. We know it's stronger, but if we put it out there that it is, someone will put too much on there, there will be a problem, etc...."

        Bottom line, I think both bikes are a great upgrade choice. Both should have less flex and sway under heavy loads. I also think  the Edgerunner is at least as strong as the Big Dummy, if not stronger. I Xtracycle doesn't want to claim it, but my thought is "meh..." who cares?

        What do the rest of you think?

        Ty


      • Ty Smith
        That s good to hear. My 26 wheels have 36 spokes, so probably in good shape there. Ty
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 4, 2014
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          That's good to hear. My 26" wheels have 36 spokes, so probably in good shape there.

          Ty


          On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:22 AM, Jesse Leifert <903house@...> wrote:
           

          I think all those weights are probably under what they probably can do for legal reasons. I've had my xtracycle (steel mtb and kit) for about ten years now and have gone way over those numbers several times. The sway and shimmy is noticeable, but it usually is for short trips. 

          The only times I've had problems is when spokes have broken; and that was from using a wheel with less than 30 count in the back. Ever since upgrading the back wheel, it's been problem free. 




          On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:15 AM, Ty Smith <tyjedi@...> wrote:

           

          Hey everyone!

          I'm new to the Xtracycle fold, but have been interested for years. Got my free radical conversion done two months ago, and I already feel like I've had it forever! Can't believe it took me so long to finally take the plunge!

          Anyway, thinking eventually I might go to an Edgerunner or Big Dummy when I'm ready. My logic is that I am already well set up with peripherals,Utubes, X2 bags, stoker bar, etc. If I made the switch I would only be "out' the $199 cost of the free radical, but no big deal there. I'm sure I could recoup my costs easily on Craig's list or Ebay.

          Part of my reasoning for eventual upgrade is reducing sway and extra weight capacity. I'm 210 lbs, so that means I should really only carry 140 lbs. I've already pushed the limits a couple of times. The sway and shimmy was alarming, but normal. That being said, it does make me nervous and I have heard stories of the shimming building up so much that the rear wheel ended up folding on rare occasions, somewhat like the Tacoma Narrows bridge that fell apart in 1940 ago under high winds. I just found this original news footage which shows the collapse. Pretty wild stuff.

          So in my research,  I'm finding it odd that the Edgerunner lists a  350 lb weight capacity and the Big Dummy 400 lbs. Since they are both cromoly steel, solid-frame bikes, it makes no sense that the Big Dummy should have more weight capacity. And as a failed engineering student, it seems obvious to me that the Edgerunner should in fact have more weight capacity. It has a smaller, stronger rear wheel, and the whole rear section is lower, so from a physics perspective, it should be inherently stronger. Far less likely for the "Tacoma Narrows Bridge" effect.

          My theory is that when the Big Dummy came out, Surly didn't use any real testing to determine the weight capacity. They just looked at it and said to each other, "So waddya thing? Solid rear frame... maybe 50 extra pounds capacity?... yeah?... ok, let's go with that!" or something to that effect.

          On the other side, the Xtracycle folks thinking probably was "Let's just keep the weight limit the same. We know it's stronger, but if we put it out there that it is, someone will put too much on there, there will be a problem, etc...."

          Bottom line, I think both bikes are a great upgrade choice. Both should have less flex and sway under heavy loads. I also think  the Edgerunner is at least as strong as the Big Dummy, if not stronger. I Xtracycle doesn't want to claim it, but my thought is "meh..." who cares?

          What do the rest of you think?

          Ty



        • Liam Casey
          The science behind weight limits seems pretty inexact, and it certainly isn t standardized. Consider the rather extreme difference between the posted limits of
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 4, 2014
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            The science behind weight limits seems pretty inexact, and it certainly isn't standardized. Consider the rather extreme difference between the posted limits of the Edgerunner and Big Dummy vs. the Yuba Mundo (440lbs + rider). Now, I'm pretty sure the Mundo is a stronger bike, but I doubt it's really twice as strong as the Edgerunner.

            Really, I think Xtracycle and Surly are playing it safe and basing their weight limits on the point at which the weight is likely to severely affect handling, rather than on structural failure. It reminds me of the stories I've heard about how, back in the day, traffic engineers would determine speed limits around curves by having professional drivers take them at a maximum comfortable speed, then dividing that in half (so if a stunt driver was comfortable taking a turn at 40 but not 45, the speed limit would be 20). Since the general target market for cargo bikes in the US seems to be parents carting a couple of kids and maybe three or four bags of groceries (as opposed to what they may be used for in China or Cuba or Cameroon), it's probably a wise choice to go with the "handling limit" rather than the structural limit. I know from personal experience that the Big Dummy and the Edgerunner can both take a LOT more than 400 lbs, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for most riders!

            Liam


            On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:26 AM, Ty Smith <tyjedi@...> wrote:
             

            That's good to hear. My 26" wheels have 36 spokes, so probably in good shape there.

            Ty


            On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:22 AM, Jesse Leifert <903house@...> wrote:
             

            I think all those weights are probably under what they probably can do for legal reasons. I've had my xtracycle (steel mtb and kit) for about ten years now and have gone way over those numbers several times. The sway and shimmy is noticeable, but it usually is for short trips. 

            The only times I've had problems is when spokes have broken; and that was from using a wheel with less than 30 count in the back. Ever since upgrading the back wheel, it's been problem free. 




            On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:15 AM, Ty Smith <tyjedi@...> wrote:

             

            Hey everyone!

            I'm new to the Xtracycle fold, but have been interested for years. Got my free radical conversion done two months ago, and I already feel like I've had it forever! Can't believe it took me so long to finally take the plunge!

            Anyway, thinking eventually I might go to an Edgerunner or Big Dummy when I'm ready. My logic is that I am already well set up with peripherals,Utubes, X2 bags, stoker bar, etc. If I made the switch I would only be "out' the $199 cost of the free radical, but no big deal there. I'm sure I could recoup my costs easily on Craig's list or Ebay.

            Part of my reasoning for eventual upgrade is reducing sway and extra weight capacity. I'm 210 lbs, so that means I should really only carry 140 lbs. I've already pushed the limits a couple of times. The sway and shimmy was alarming, but normal. That being said, it does make me nervous and I have heard stories of the shimming building up so much that the rear wheel ended up folding on rare occasions, somewhat like the Tacoma Narrows bridge that fell apart in 1940 ago under high winds. I just found this original news footage which shows the collapse. Pretty wild stuff.

            So in my research,  I'm finding it odd that the Edgerunner lists a  350 lb weight capacity and the Big Dummy 400 lbs. Since they are both cromoly steel, solid-frame bikes, it makes no sense that the Big Dummy should have more weight capacity. And as a failed engineering student, it seems obvious to me that the Edgerunner should in fact have more weight capacity. It has a smaller, stronger rear wheel, and the whole rear section is lower, so from a physics perspective, it should be inherently stronger. Far less likely for the "Tacoma Narrows Bridge" effect.

            My theory is that when the Big Dummy came out, Surly didn't use any real testing to determine the weight capacity. They just looked at it and said to each other, "So waddya thing? Solid rear frame... maybe 50 extra pounds capacity?... yeah?... ok, let's go with that!" or something to that effect.

            On the other side, the Xtracycle folks thinking probably was "Let's just keep the weight limit the same. We know it's stronger, but if we put it out there that it is, someone will put too much on there, there will be a problem, etc...."

            Bottom line, I think both bikes are a great upgrade choice. Both should have less flex and sway under heavy loads. I also think  the Edgerunner is at least as strong as the Big Dummy, if not stronger. I Xtracycle doesn't want to claim it, but my thought is "meh..." who cares?

            What do the rest of you think?

            Ty




          • Sean Mackin
            I would agree with most here that the weight limit is probably a calculated risk equation rather than an actual strength vs. fail equation. My guess is they
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 4, 2014
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              I would agree with most here that the weight limit is probably a calculated risk equation rather than an actual strength vs. fail equation. My guess is they did a fair amount of riding with various loads and narrowed in on a weight range. I think the handling and rider skill is more of an issue than the actual weight. I have loaded mine way beyond what was smart with no failure. I have also had lesser loads not well secured or not well balanced, that made for a downright scary ride. I think they put the largest load they thought could reasonably be carried with some frequency, by and average hobby cyclist, without too much risk of killing someone (those of us who have carried the big loads know it can get ugly fast with a large load).

              Soooo, all that being said. I like them both. The smaller rear wheel definitely lends itself to a more stiff rear end proposition. If you are going for heavy loads often, I think the wheel benefit itself has a lot of upside. Plus the shorter the spokes in my mind the less flex, the less flex, the longer the hoop and spokes will last. I have had the same phenomenon as another poster on here with spoke failures. When I was doing a lot of ebay selling I regularly overloaded my dummy. It seemed I was replacing a lot of spokes back then. Now that I do not do that I have not had the issue. Of course you could always put the smaller wheel on the Dummy with a larger volume tire too... Decisions, decisions...

              S

              On Friday, April 4, 2014 12:10 PM, Liam Casey <zyzzyva23@...> wrote:
               
              The science behind weight limits seems pretty inexact, and it certainly isn't standardized. Consider the rather extreme difference between the posted limits of the Edgerunner and Big Dummy vs. the Yuba Mundo (440lbs + rider). Now, I'm pretty sure the Mundo is a stronger bike, but I doubt it's really twice as strong as the Edgerunner.

              Really, I think Xtracycle and Surly are playing it safe and basing their weight limits on the point at which the weight is likely to severely affect handling, rather than on structural failure. It reminds me of the stories I've heard about how, back in the day, traffic engineers would determine speed limits around curves by having professional drivers take them at a maximum comfortable speed, then dividing that in half (so if a stunt driver was comfortable taking a turn at 40 but not 45, the speed limit would be 20). Since the general target market for cargo bikes in the US seems to be parents carting a couple of kids and maybe three or four bags of groceries (as opposed to what they may be used for in China or Cuba or Cameroon), it's probably a wise choice to go with the "handling limit" rather than the structural limit. I know from personal experience that the Big Dummy and the Edgerunner can both take a LOT more than 400 lbs, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for most riders!

              Liam


              On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:26 AM, Ty Smith <tyjedi@...> wrote:
               
              That's good to hear. My 26" wheels have 36 spokes, so probably in good shape there.

              Ty


              On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:22 AM, Jesse Leifert <903house@...> wrote:
               
              I think all those weights are probably under what they probably can do for legal reasons. I've had my xtracycle (steel mtb and kit) for about ten years now and have gone way over those numbers several times. The sway and shimmy is noticeable, but it usually is for short trips. 

              The only times I've had problems is when spokes have broken; and that was from using a wheel with less than 30 count in the back. Ever since upgrading the back wheel, it's been problem free. 




              On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:15 AM, Ty Smith <tyjedi@...> wrote:

               
              Hey everyone!

              I'm new to the Xtracycle fold, but have been interested for years. Got my free radical conversion done two months ago, and I already feel like I've had it forever! Can't believe it took me so long to finally take the plunge!

              Anyway, thinking eventually I might go to an Edgerunner or Big Dummy when I'm ready. My logic is that I am already well set up with peripherals,Utubes, X2 bags, stoker bar, etc. If I made the switch I would only be "out' the $199 cost of the free radical, but no big deal there. I'm sure I could recoup my costs easily on Craig's list or Ebay.

              Part of my reasoning for eventual upgrade is reducing sway and extra weight capacity. I'm 210 lbs, so that means I should really only carry 140 lbs. I've already pushed the limits a couple of times. The sway and shimmy was alarming, but normal. That being said, it does make me nervous and I have heard stories of the shimming building up so much that the rear wheel ended up folding on rare occasions, somewhat like the Tacoma Narrows bridge that fell apart in 1940 ago under high winds. I just found this original news footage which shows the collapse. Pretty wild stuff.

              So in my research,  I'm finding it odd that the Edgerunner lists a  350 lb weight capacity and the Big Dummy 400 lbs. Since they are both cromoly steel, solid-frame bikes, it makes no sense that the Big Dummy should have more weight capacity. And as a failed engineering student, it seems obvious to me that the Edgerunner should in fact have more weight capacity. It has a smaller, stronger rear wheel, and the whole rear section is lower, so from a physics perspective, it should be inherently stronger. Far less likely for the "Tacoma Narrows Bridge" effect.

              My theory is that when the Big Dummy came out, Surly didn't use any real testing to determine the weight capacity. They just looked at it and said to each other, "So waddya thing? Solid rear frame... maybe 50 extra pounds capacity?... yeah?... ok, let's go with that!" or something to that effect.

              On the other side, the Xtracycle folks thinking probably was "Let's just keep the weight limit the same. We know it's stronger, but if we put it out there that it is, someone will put too much on there, there will be a problem, etc...."

              Bottom line, I think both bikes are a great upgrade choice. Both should have less flex and sway under heavy loads. I also think  the Edgerunner is at least as strong as the Big Dummy, if not stronger. I Xtracycle doesn't want to claim it, but my thought is "meh..." who cares?

              What do the rest of you think?

              Ty






            • David Dannenberg
              Last year, just for fun, one friend piloted my BD while two of us sat on the back. Together the passengers weigh well in excess of 325 lbs and the rider weighs
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 5, 2014
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                Last year, just for fun, one friend piloted my BD while two of us sat on the back. Together the passengers weigh well in excess of 325 lbs and the rider weighs a least 170. And there is 10-20lbs of assorted junk in and on the bike. Granted, we only rode up a very steep driveway and puttered around a bit without room to go fast, but there was no harm whatsoever to bike or people.

                David
              • Tone
                Oh, I definitely think the Big Dummy as well as an extended Xtracycle rig can take more than the recommended maximum load. I am sure it is more of a liability
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 7, 2014
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                  Oh, I definitely think the Big Dummy as well as an extended Xtracycle rig can take more than the recommended maximum load. I am sure it is more of a liability issue for all the companies involved.

                  Besides rider skill and tie-down method, as many people have already attested to, I also think the type of wheel you have also has a major impact. Personally, I have Aerospoke carbon-fiber 5-"spoke" wheels, and I have carried massive loads. I have not seen or heard anyone else riding Aerospokes on a long-tail cargo bike, but I can definitely attest to their solid/rigid feel and performance. I am all about low maintenance too, so never having to worry about individual spokes breaking or becoming out of true is always a plus. Aeropsokes are certainly more pricier, but I have had the same Aerospoke wheels for around fifteen years now! Another slight perk of Aerospokes is the ability to slip various locking methods through them, like a big chain for instance. Heavy locks/chains sometimes bang and bend traditional spokes, but the wide spacing and rounded edges of the Aeropsokes makes it that much easier to secure the bike.

                  Speaking of bike locks and long tail bikes, usually in my case a good sign of max cargo capacity is when my bike tilts back while loading. Keep in mind I have the Kick-Back dual center stand, I always load heavier cargo so it is balanced on both sides while being as forward and low as possible, AND... I actually use my 3' long Kryptonite chain as a counter balance on my handbars or front wheel to keep my bike from tipping back. When you have all these factors involved and your bike still pivots back on the rear wheel, that is a good sign you should rethink your hauling strategy.

                  By the way, I had my Aeropoke wheels on both my current Big Dummy and my previous Xtracycle conversion, which had a phat-framed aluminum Univega FS 750 as the donor bike. I actually feel like my Univega long-tail conversion was more rigid than my Big Dummy. I suspect that was because the aluminum did not flex as much as the full steel frame of the Big Dummy. The difference in flex took me a while to get use to, and I now deliberately avoid larger/heavier loads as a result. That might seem counter-intuitive, but it is probably for the best because prior to getting the Big Dummy I actually broke three FreeRadical frames due to the weak fracture-prone points just behind the rear axle.

                  Ride safe,
                  _TONE_
                • laughter medicine
                  Hey Tone! I have cracked up 2 FreeRadical frames but one was already very old. My first one took me well over 3 thousand miles of full on
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 9, 2014
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                    Hey Tone!  I have cracked up 2 FreeRadical frames but one was already very old.   My first one took me well over 3 thousand miles of full on tilt-back-on-the-kickback loads.  When my Bike tilts back like that i feel like it is in it's full glory, doing what it's supposed to be doing.

                    The demise of my first Freerad was under such a load but also on a day i climbed a mountain into Budapest and then flew down the other side on a crazy mountain bike dirt trail chasing the most radical riders i know.   I got a bad weld in Budapest before moving on and it busted loose by the time i arrived in Marseilles. I rode with it broken all across southern France fully, loaded with cam straps holding my rig together! In Toulouse i borrowed a 10 year old FreeRad that belonged to a bike messenger.  I cracked that one after crossing the Pyrenees fully loaded and put the cam straps back on in Barcelona until we were half way to the Atlantic, where i bought a used frame to finish the tour.

                    I just want to say that the broken frames were replaced under warranty because i was doing with them what they are made to do and Xtracycle has since improved the FreeRads with heavier frames and welds because that is their commitment to quality.  Put your heaviest pieces in front of the rear wheel as low as possible, and ride on!



                    On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 2:19 PM, Tone <tone@...> wrote:
                     

                    Oh, I definitely think the Big Dummy as well as an extended Xtracycle rig can take more than the recommended maximum load. I am sure it is more of a liability issue for all the companies involved.

                    Besides rider skill and tie-down method, as many people have already attested to, I also think the type of wheel you have also has a major impact. Personally, I have Aerospoke carbon-fiber 5-"spoke" wheels, and I have carried massive loads. I have not seen or heard anyone else riding Aerospokes on a long-tail cargo bike, but I can definitely attest to their solid/rigid feel and performance. I am all about low maintenance too, so never having to worry about individual spokes breaking or becoming out of true is always a plus. Aeropsokes are certainly more pricier, but I have had the same Aerospoke wheels for around fifteen years now! Another slight perk of Aerospokes is the ability to slip various locking methods through them, like a big chain for instance. Heavy locks/chains sometimes bang and bend traditional spokes, but the wide spacing and rounded edges of the Aeropsokes makes it that much easier to secure the bike.

                    Speaking of bike locks and long tail bikes, usually in my case a good sign of max cargo capacity is when my bike tilts back while loading. Keep in mind I have the Kick-Back dual center stand, I always load heavier cargo so it is balanced on both sides while being as forward and low as possible, AND... I actually use my 3' long Kryptonite chain as a counter balance on my handbars or front wheel to keep my bike from tipping back. When you have all these factors involved and your bike still pivots back on the rear wheel, that is a good sign you should rethink your hauling strategy.

                    By the way, I had my Aeropoke wheels on both my current Big Dummy and my previous Xtracycle conversion, which had a phat-framed aluminum Univega FS 750 as the donor bike. I actually feel like my Univega long-tail conversion was more rigid than my Big Dummy. I suspect that was because the aluminum did not flex as much as the full steel frame of the Big Dummy. The difference in flex took me a while to get use to, and I now deliberately avoid larger/heavier loads as a result. That might seem counter-intuitive, but it is probably for the best because prior to getting the Big Dummy I actually broke three FreeRadical frames due to the weak fracture-prone points just behind the rear axle.

                    Ride safe,
                    _TONE_


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