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Re: Two questions...

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  • Morgan
    Hi Mark, If you want lighter batteries for the Currie, try a battery pack from ebikes.ca. I got one of their NiMH 24v packs and it has worked perfectly with
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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      Hi Mark,
      If you want lighter batteries for the Currie, try a battery pack from ebikes.ca. I got one of
      their NiMH 24v packs and it has worked perfectly with my USPD (I've had it about 2
      months, I still use SLA for shorter trips to extend the life of the pricier NiMH pack).
      Anyway, the NiMH pack is only about 11 lbs compared to the 20+ lbs of the SLA's.

      I looked at the Cyclone, but it seems that it would introduce complexity to the drivetrain,
      which I don't like. I do agree that if possible, taking advantage of the bike's gearing would
      be great... Anyway, despite their lower power, I think the simplicity of hub motors is
      appealing, especially for my non bike-geeky friend.

      While overall I am pleased with my USPD, after using it 5 years, I've had to replace a
      number of components including the main bearing, the drive shaft, and drive chain. Also,
      my battery pack cracked after 3 yrs of use and I had to buy a replacement (Lashout) and
      retrofit that to the bike. Oh yeah, and the "silver can" motor recently went on the blink,
      cutting out intermittently, so I had to replace the motor, too. I suppose this isn't bad after
      5 years of heavy use, but still, it seems like a lot of fiddling lately.

      In any case, could someone with BionX or Crystalyte experience on the Xtracycle give an
      opinion? I would greatly appreciate it.

      Regarding the "go steel," I'm curious whether you've tried both and can provide a
      comparison? The Stumpy I bought is a 20" frame with smaller tubes than the 19"
      aluminum Fisher, so I am concerned about flex. I do sometimes carry up to 200lbs (or
      maybe a bit more)...

      Thanks

      Morgan


      --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Garvey" <lazybee45@...> wrote:
      >
      > 1) Go steel!
      > 2) I too only have experience with the Currie. Look into the Cyclone motor
      > to see if you can get them yet. Stokemonkey is prerty darn good, Cyclone is
      > about the same. It too drives through the chain but drives the main chain
      > rather than the left side to the cranks. this gives you only the gearing on
      > the rear wheel, but it is a good system to my mind Talk to Jim Olsen at
      > cycloneUSA. good guy!
      > [snip]
    • Juergen Weichert
      I like the BionX a LOT. (I also sell these and many other systems). The PL-350 has plenty of torque, despite the comment of low power (stated 350W versus
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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        I like the BionX a LOT. (I also sell these and many other systems).
        The PL-350 has plenty of torque, despite the comment of "low power"
        (stated 350W versus other systems) - the way it works along with your
        pedaling effort it can add 300% to your own efforts (total 400%) for a
        really good ride. Consider riding UP hills at 15-20mph with a load. The
        wheel is plenty strong - I regularly carry heavy loads (I am a heavy
        load!) including kids and/or cargo.
        I have set up several Xtracycle bikes with the PL-350 and in my opinion
        it is the best of all systems for this application due to its light
        weight and seamless operation and long battery life. One of these also
        serves as our family "station wagon".
        http://www.acclivity.ca/photos/2007/04/23/IMG_3962.jpg

        Juergen




        Morgan wrote:
        >
        > Hey all, time to mine your collective wisdom.
        >
        > The first, regarding frames: Today at an auction of abandoned bikes
        > from my campus, I
        > picked up a '93 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp - the one made of Tange
        > Prestige steel,
        > with steel fork. I am contemplating whether to swap this in as my
        > Xtracycle. Presently I
        > am using a Gary Fisher Tassajara (Aluminum, circa 2002). I love the
        > feel of steel bikes in
        > general (my favorite bike is my Fat Chance Yo Eddy), but I wonder if
        > it will be too flexy for
        > an Xtracycle compared to the Fisher aluminum? Any thoughts?
        >
        > Second question, regarding electric assist: I am about to set up an
        > Xtracycle for a friend
        > and want some type of electric assist. The Stokemonkeys are not
        > presently available, and
        > it's not clear when they will be again. So, I am considering a few
        > other options. My
        > favorite is the BionX (350 Lithium Ion) because it looks well designed
        > and hassle free for
        > the rider. That's good since my friend is not such a bike geek as me.
        > The downsides of
        > the BionX are the price ($1500 USD) and the limited power. Also, since
        > it is a rear-wheel
        > motor, I wonder if that wheel is stout enough for the up to 200lb
        > loads the X can carry?
        > The other hubs I'm looking at are the Crystalyte Phoenix racer or
        > maybe the Amped since
        > it is so inexpensive ($300 for a 500w hub motor,
        > http://www.ampedbikes.com/ <http://www.ampedbikes.com/>
        > electric_bike_order_page). I would probably pair these with an Li Ion
        > pack for weight, and
        > use the front wheel version. Any comments on these motors? Juergen,
        > how do you like
        > the Bionx? I like my Currie USPD, but for my friend something that
        > requires less tweaking
        > and fiddling would be good, plus the Currie is no longer available.
        >
        > Thanks in advance,
        > Morgan G
        >
      • Mark Garvey
        ... first. I have had my USPD for about 2 years and so far it seems to be pretty good. Fool proof and reliable. My biggest gripe is the non availability of
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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          On 10/4/07, Morgan <mcgurme@...> wrote:

          Regarding the "go steel," I'm curious whether you've tried both and can provide a
          comparison?  The Stumpy I bought is a 20" frame with smaller tubes than the 19"
          aluminum Fisher, so I am concerned about flex.  I do sometimes carry up to 200lbs (or
          maybe a bit more)...

          Thanks

          Morgan

          first.  I have had my USPD for about 2 years and so far it seems to be pretty good. Fool proof and reliable.  My biggest gripe is the non availability of them and would Unhesitatingly recommend one as a simple, but effective system.

          As to my "Go STEEL" comment.  this is only MY opinion, but if I were given a choice of frames of many materials, I would take STEEL over anything else. I have owned aluminum bikes in the past (still have one as a matter of fact)  and the advantage of aluminum is that they MIGHT be lighter.  BUT  steel is repairable, alum is not.  Steel will bend before it breaks.  Aluminum will often simply break, though not nearly as bad as carbon fiber.  and if aluminum frames actually DO break, there is no way to repair them at all!

          Also, I like the springy, lively feel of a steel frame.  they will give and flex and to ME they feel superior to any other material out there.  even STRAIGHT GAUGE tubing!  I am not criticizing aluminum frames in reality, I am just saying that I have a preference for steel over them.  The weight savings is relatively minor too.  a steel frame is not all THAT much heavier than an equivalent aluminum frame.  They also generally COST less.

          Lemme see, more durable, better feel, stronger, less expensive, repairable.......Oh yeah, the negative side......about 10% heavier.  Ooops!  we are talking a few ounces on a bike frame here!  I carry that much by forgetting to empty my bladder before a ride!

          mark
          --
          Putting the fun in dysfunctional for over 50 years!


          Mark  Garvey
          Cedar Rapids, Iowa free state!

          Check out the web site at:
          http://www.vine-ave.com   

          contact us to have Papa Balloon appear at your next program!  Details at www.vine-ave.com

          I am a bicycling lifestylist!
        • Morgan
          Hi Mark, No need to convince me of the general case for steel. My road bike is steel, a Lemond Buenos Aires from before the Carbon era. I went out of my way
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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            Hi Mark,
            No need to convince me of the general case for steel. My road bike is steel, a Lemond
            Buenos Aires from before the Carbon era. I went out of my way to find that, an older pre-
            carbon one on Craig's list. And my favorite mountain bike is my steel Yo Eddy, full rigid
            (and even though I have a nice full susp aluminum as well). And I jumped on the
            Stumpjumper last night at the auction specifically because it was steel (I would not have
            paid ~$200 for a 14 year old aluminum bike).

            However, I have seen it mentioned by people in various forums sometimes complaining
            that steel + xtracycle is too flexy. That is my one and only concern about steel (actually,
            rust is a second one, since I had to have the seat tube of my Yo Eddy replaced due to rust
            - but now I use FrameSaver).

            So my comment is not a question about steel *in general*, but specifically as it applies to
            being combined with the Freeradical kit. I don't want to spend a bunch of time moving the
            parts over if it is going to make for an inferior loaded ride.... that's all. My alternative is
            just to leave the Fisher Aluminum hooked to the Freerad, and convert the Stumpjumper to
            a singlespeed for fun. I converted an old Fuji mtn bike to singlespeed last year, but it
            ended up being too small for me, so I sold it...

            Thanks, and I hope your family health issues get sorted out!

            Morgan





            --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Garvey" <lazybee45@...> wrote:
            >
            [response snipped]
          • Morgan Scherer
            My free radical is attached to a 90 s steel Kona Fire Mountain. I haven t ridden an aluminum X, so I can t compare. My usual cargo is 120 lbs of children,
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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              My free radical is attached to a 90's steel Kona Fire Mountain. I haven't ridden an aluminum X, so I can't compare. My usual cargo is 120 lbs of children, and at least 10-20 lbs of stuff in the saddlebags. I definitely notice flex when I ride, especially when I'm riding out of the saddle up a hill (though with more practice I've stopped moving the bike back and forth as much). The flex is enough that I am planning on getting an integrated system like the Big Dummy or the Yuba Mundo when they become available. However, it's not enough to effect handling or safety. Also, it's hard for me to separate how much is truly *flex* and how much is child movement effecting momentum and weight distribution. I'd love to ride an aluminum Xtra to see what the difference in the ride is like.

              However, I plan to stick with steel, regardless of any (positive or negative) difference in ride quality. The flex isn't too bad, and I feel safer with my kids on a bike that is less likely to fail catastrophically if I overload it. I've also heard from several folks that Stumpjumpers in particular make great Xtracycles.

              Good luck in your decision!

              Morgan S.

              http://simonscherer.blogspot.com
              -----Original Message-----
              From: "Morgan" <mcgurme@...>
              Date: Thursday, Oct 4, 2007 7:58 pm
              Subject: [rootsradicals] Re: Two questions...
              To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.comReply-To: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com



              Hi Mark,
              No need to convince me of the general case for steel. My road bike is steel, a Lemond
              Buenos Aires from before the Carbon era. I went out of my way to find that, an older pre-
              carbon one on Craig's list. And my favorite mountain bike is my steel Yo Eddy, full rigid
              (and even though I have a nice full susp aluminum as well). And I jumped on the
              Stumpjumper last night at the auction specifically because it was steel (I would not have
              paid ~$200 for a 14 year old aluminum bike).

              However, I have seen it mentioned by people in various forums sometimes complaining
              that steel + xtracycle is too flexy. That is my one and only concern about steel (actually,
              rust is a second one, since I had to have the seat tube of my Yo Eddy replaced due to rust
              - but now I use FrameSaver).

              So my comment is not a question about steel *in general*, but specifically as it applies to
              being combined with the Freeradical kit. I don't want to spend a bunch of time moving the
              parts over if it is going to make for an inferior loaded ride.... that's all. My alternative is
              just to leave the Fisher Aluminum hooked to the Freerad, and convert the Stumpjumper to
              a singlespeed for fun. I converted an old Fuji mtn bike to singlespeed last year, but it
              ended up being too small for me, so I sold it...

              Thanks, and I hope your family health issues get sorted out!

              Morgan

              --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, 'Mark Garvey' <lazybee45@...> wrote:
              >
              [response snipped]


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            • Todd Fahrner
              ... I have one of those frames in the basement. It was an Xtracycle once. Someday it may be again, especially if I get around to repainting it from the
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 4, 2007
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                --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Morgan" <mcgurme@...> wrote:

                > The first, regarding frames: Today at an auction of abandoned bikes from my campus, I
                > picked up a '93 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp - the one made of Tange Prestige steel,
                > with steel fork.

                I have one of those frames in the basement. It was an Xtracycle once. Someday it may be
                again, especially if I get around to repainting it from the shocking metallic magenta. It was
                lovely. It didn't get decommissioned because it was in any way bad, but because I can't
                leave well enough alone. Yes it was on the flexy side. I'd say "supple."

                > Second question, regarding electric assist: I am about to set up an Xtracycle for a friend
                > and want some type of electric assist. The Stokemonkeys are not presently available,
                and
                > it's not clear when they will be again. So, I am considering a few other options. My
                > favorite is the BionX (350 Lithium Ion) because it looks well designed and hassle free for
                > the rider. That's good since my friend is not such a bike geek as me. The downsides of
                > the BionX are the price ($1500 USD) and the limited power. Also, since it is a rear-
                wheel
                > motor, I wonder if that wheel is stout enough for the up to 200lb loads the X can carry?

                The super-high flanges (=short spokes) of the Bionx would tend to make it a strong
                wheel. I'd say that BionX is better than Stokemonkey for people who just need some
                encouragement to get on the bike at all, for, say, a commute just a bit too long, who
                aren't necessarily trying to do any epic fully-loaded climbing. Stokemonkey is better at the
                extremes of torque and speed, but overkill for regular personal transport IMO (I'm the
                Stokemonkey guy, and yes it's coming back).

                Has your friend hauled much without assist, or is the assist idea pre-emptive?
              • Cara Lin Bridgman
                Some of the flexiness remarked on may not be the bike and free-radical, but the way the load was packed. I ve a stokemonkey with the huge batterypack. When I
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 5, 2007
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                  Some of the flexiness remarked on may not be the bike and free-radical,
                  but the way the load was packed. I've a stokemonkey with the huge
                  batterypack. When I put that pack in the freeloaders, I get 'flex' and
                  wobble. The pack can swing in the freeloaders. When I cram that pack
                  into the pocket of the freeloaders (deluxe), then I don't get the
                  wobble. One of my freeloaders has a smaller pocket than the other one.
                  I get less wobble with the tighter pocket (but that means I have to
                  remove the entire freeloader when I need to bring the batterypack inside
                  for charging).

                  Some of my other loads, I've noticed some wobble. I've attributed that
                  much more to the way I had the load packed than to the material of my
                  bike frame.

                  I used to have the freeradical attached to an aluminum frame. It's now
                  attached to a Surly-instigator. My real reason for changing was, I
                  wanted a frame that was a better fit for me, not because I was concerned
                  about aluminum vs steel. Hearing about the strength, durability, and
                  repairability of steel, though, helped me decided to get a steel frame.

                  The current set-up is a sweet ride and looks really classy. I get
                  complements all the time. I had to put the tongue of the freeradical
                  below the chainstay bridge so I could squeeze in a stokemonkey (I got
                  the small instigator frame). This changes the dynamics of the bike a
                  little, but the ride is still good. I also made the mistake of letting
                  the bike shop cut about 2 inches off the top of the fork (the way I
                  ride, those two inches are missed). With this set up, I don't do much
                  'no hands,' but I have had no problem hauling friends up the hill to home.

                  CL

                  Morgan wrote:
                  > Hi Mark,
                  > No need to convince me of the general case for steel. My road bike is steel, a Lemond
                  > Buenos Aires from before the Carbon era. I went out of my way to find that, an older pre-
                  > carbon one on Craig's list. And my favorite mountain bike is my steel Yo Eddy, full rigid
                  > (and even though I have a nice full susp aluminum as well). And I jumped on the
                  > Stumpjumper last night at the auction specifically because it was steel (I would not have
                  > paid ~$200 for a 14 year old aluminum bike).
                  >
                  > However, I have seen it mentioned by people in various forums sometimes complaining
                  > that steel + xtracycle is too flexy. That is my one and only concern about steel (actually,
                  > rust is a second one, since I had to have the seat tube of my Yo Eddy replaced due to rust
                  > - but now I use FrameSaver).
                  >
                  > So my comment is not a question about steel *in general*, but specifically as it applies to
                  > being combined with the Freeradical kit. I don't want to spend a bunch of time moving the
                  > parts over if it is going to make for an inferior loaded ride.... that's all. My alternative is
                  > just to leave the Fisher Aluminum hooked to the Freerad, and convert the Stumpjumper to
                  > a singlespeed for fun. I converted an old Fuji mtn bike to singlespeed last year, but it
                  > ended up being too small for me, so I sold it...
                  >
                  > Thanks, and I hope your family health issues get sorted out!
                  >
                  > Morgan
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Garvey" <lazybee45@...> wrote:
                  > [response snipped]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > You're getting this message because you signed up to be an Xtracycle roots radical.
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  > ride to believe.
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >

                  --

                  Please note my new email address: caralinb@...
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  Cara Lin Bridgman

                  P.O. Box 013 Phone: 886-4-2632-5484
                  Longjing Sinjhuang
                  Taichung County 434
                  Taiwan http://megaview.com.tw/~caralin/
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                • Jeff Ong
                  Morgan -- I don t think road feel is really a huge priority for Xtracycling, and that s the main reason to go with steel over anything else. That said, the
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 5, 2007
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                    Morgan --

                    I don't think "road feel" is really a huge priority for Xtracycling,
                    and that's the main reason to go with steel over anything else. That
                    said, the small amount of additional flex you'll have won't make THAT
                    much difference anyway... It's not like your frame will fail or
                    anything -- you'll just notice perhaps a little more slop while loaded
                    and climbing. Frankly, climbing on the X with a passenger or 80 lbs.
                    of groceries is NEVER going to feel much like it does on a regular
                    bike! I've hauled an adult (135 lb.) passenger around for 15-20 miles
                    at a time, and it works fine -- but handling is much more like an old
                    VW bus than a sports car. As, I suppose, it should be.

                    Something else to consider is that you won't be able to run disc
                    brakes on the Stumpy. I'd at least consider swapping out the cantis
                    and short pull levers that probably came with it for some V-brakes and
                    levers. It might even be worth swapping out the fork for one that will
                    support a front disc (there's a cro-mo Dimension fork for $50 or so
                    that I use).

                    Anyway, you should be fine with the steel frame. It really does only
                    take about half an hour to install the Xtracycle, so it shouldn't be a
                    huge waste of time if you don't care for that particular donor frame!

                    Good luck,

                    Jeff


                    --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Morgan" <mcgurme@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Mark,
                    > No need to convince me of the general case for steel. My road bike
                    is steel, a Lemond
                    > Buenos Aires from before the Carbon era. I went out of my way to
                    find that, an older pre-
                    > carbon one on Craig's list. And my favorite mountain bike is my
                    steel Yo Eddy, full rigid
                    > (and even though I have a nice full susp aluminum as well). And I
                    jumped on the
                    > Stumpjumper last night at the auction specifically because it was
                    steel (I would not have
                    > paid ~$200 for a 14 year old aluminum bike).
                    >
                    > However, I have seen it mentioned by people in various forums
                    sometimes complaining
                    > that steel + xtracycle is too flexy. That is my one and only
                    concern about steel (actually,
                    > rust is a second one, since I had to have the seat tube of my Yo
                    Eddy replaced due to rust
                    > - but now I use FrameSaver).
                    >
                    > So my comment is not a question about steel *in general*, but
                    specifically as it applies to
                    > being combined with the Freeradical kit. I don't want to spend a
                    bunch of time moving the
                    > parts over if it is going to make for an inferior loaded ride....
                    that's all. My alternative is
                    > just to leave the Fisher Aluminum hooked to the Freerad, and convert
                    the Stumpjumper to
                    > a singlespeed for fun. I converted an old Fuji mtn bike to
                    singlespeed last year, but it
                    > ended up being too small for me, so I sold it...
                    >
                    > Thanks, and I hope your family health issues get sorted out!
                    >
                    > Morgan
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Garvey" <lazybee45@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > [response snipped]
                    >
                  • Morgan
                    Hi Todd, Thanks for the response. Yes, the Stumpjumper I got is also shocking metallic magenta... I love it. But of course, my Yo Eddy is purple with pink
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 5, 2007
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                      Hi Todd,
                      Thanks for the response. Yes, the Stumpjumper I got is also shocking metallic magenta... I
                      love it. But of course, my Yo Eddy is purple with pink polka dots (http://www.flickr.com/
                      photos/mcgurme/1440079669/in/pool-527719@N23/)

                      Regarding the electric assist, it is mainly to encourage her to use the bike more to replace car
                      trips. She has twin girls to haul around, so she will usually have at least some load. And she
                      lives a few miles out of town, with a couple moderate hills to get to town. She has done a lot
                      of biking in the past, but I think the bike is far more likely to be used with an assist, given the
                      load and the distance. So I think the BionX would be adequate, though perhaps a bit
                      underpowered when she has grocery loads. If you think there will be a possibility of
                      acquiring the Stokemonkey again soon, perhaps I should have another good look at that.



                      --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Fahrner" <fahrner@...> wrote:
                      [response snipped]
                    • Tone
                      Morgan, I ride an Xtracycle on an aluminum bike. I have had the frame itself since 1999. It is my only bike and I have put tends of thousands of miles on it
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 5, 2007
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                        Morgan,

                                    I ride an Xtracycle on an aluminum bike. I have had the frame itself since 1999. It is my only bike and I have put tends of thousands of miles on it because I worked as a messenger in NYC for several of those years. I have had the Xtracycle extension attached to it for something like four or five years, and the whole time I worked as a messenger with the Xtracycle installed up until last December. Since then I have not ridden much because my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania, but I just started a new job this past Monday and I have been biking everyday for a total of 11 miles a day.

                                    In all the years I have ridden my Xtracycle rig I suppose I would have to say it feels quite rigid. The only time I feel anything like “flex” would be if my tire is under inflated and I am doing crazy zigzag maneuvering through traffic or if I did not properly secure a big load when tying it down. Apart from that I can not say I have experienced “flex.”

                                    My previous bicycle was a steel mountain bike (Mongoose Rockadile SX), which cracked right through near one of the rear drop outs. I am pretty sure it happened during what I would consider a very minor crash where I slid the bike around in front of me and jumped back off the bike in order to stop real fast because of a crossing car ahead of me. Either way I only had that steel bike for two years or less. All the bike shop mechanics I know well and the long-term cycle couriers, who know me, seem to make comments about how amazing it is my aluminum bike has lasted… especially after attaching an Xtracycle on it and working full time as a courier.

                                    While my bike frame has never cracked I unfortunately can not say the same for the Xtracycles I have had. Since I first got an Xtracycle years ago I have gone through two of them! The first one apparently cracked on both the left and right sides of the FreeRadical frame just behind the dropouts. If you are worried about “flex”, think about how THAT must have felt. J When I realized what was wrong with the FreeRadical, Xtracycle was super kind about replacing the FreeRadical frame for free! I thought that was great. They even were kind enough to mail me the replacement first, so there would be less waste over all and I would not have to locate an appropriate box.

                                    After that I was aware of the structural vulnerability just behind the drop outs of the FreeRadical, so I kept my eyes on it and tried my best not to overload cargo toward the rear of the bike. Unfortunately, after so many years of messengering with the replacement Xtracycle it too broke, but I managed to catch it while it was just a crack on one side. When I contacted Xtracycle about the new fracture they once again rose to the occasion by replacing it another time. However, they definitely gave me a hassle about it, but all in good humor. It was pretty funny. I did not really expect them to replace the FreeRadical, but they did. I mainly told them about the second breakage because I wanted to make sure they could improve on their designs since it is a totally terrific concept.

                                    So now I am on my third FreeRadical frame. Unfortunately, once again I must report it has developed a crack behind the drop outs on one side. When I noticed it I was fully aware about the supposed release of the Big Dummy, so I decided not to bother Xtracycle again. I mean… come on… how nice could they be. I know I definitely push my bike too. Then again my aluminum bike, which is supposedly made of a metal that will break before a steel frame would, has lasted for several years through all the torture I have put it through.

                                    In any case I decided to fix up a patch job over the crack rather than trying to get an interim replacement FreeRadical since I would be getting a Big Dummy in the near future… or so I thought! Well, since this past spring the plumbing pipe I split lengthwise and sandwiched around the break with hose clamps seems to have held up. I just hope it hold up into early next year when the Big Dummy is once again SUPPOSED to be released. Of course then it will be winter and there will be snowy conditions on the road, so my bike will have to work extra hard in order to make it to work.

                         

                                    By the way, if you are curious about my current aluminum bike frame, which has held up with the Xtracycle so well, it is a Univega FS I bought when it was new in 1999 or so. What may definitely contribute the frame’s durability is its “phat” top and down tubes. There are definitely photos in the Real-Loads gallery on the Xtracycle site in case anyone is wondering what I mean by that. Just look for the only Xtracycle rig with Aerospoke 5-spoke carbon-fiber wheels. J If that does not make it clear enough, most of my photos also have a red-brick wall as a background.

                         

                                    Anyway, I have written enough. Have a good weekend everyone… I just finished a great first week at my new job! Woohoo!

                        Ride safe,

                        _TONE_

                         

                      • Mark Garvey
                        ... I have LONG admired that particular bike! VERY VERY classy! and I totally agree with you that the Xtracycle is like the MOST IMPRESSIVE component and
                        Message 11 of 17 , Oct 5, 2007
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                          On 10/5/07, Tone <Tone@...> wrote:

                                      By the way, if you are curious about my current aluminum bike frame, which has held up with the Xtracycle so well, it is a Univega FS I bought when it was new in 1999 or so. What may definitely contribute the frame's durability is its "phat" top and down tubes. There are definitely photos in the Real-Loads gallery on the Xtracycle site in case anyone is wondering what I mean by that. Just look for the only Xtracycle rig with Aerospoke 5-spoke carbon-fiber wheels. J If that does not make it clear enough, most of my photos also have a red-brick wall as a background.


                          I have LONG admired that particular bike!  VERY VERY classy!  and I totally agree with you that the Xtracycle is like the MOST IMPRESSIVE component and most bloody minded useful thing out there!  I have never been a courier, not do I, at 54 wish to be.  You guys are phenomenal examples of human development!  I can't IMAGINE what it takes to ride a courier bike in NYC!  I am intimidated enough when I ride on the more busy streets of Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

                          I am keeping a close watch on my frame, and my X just to be sure it doesn't crack!  Maybe a TIG welder could repair the crack!  that would at least help get you through!  I don't think that I could live without my X now that I have it!   Well, obviously I COULD, but it would not be easy!


                          Anyway, I have written enough. Have a good weekend everyone… I just finished a great first week at my new job! Woohoo!

                          Ride safe,

                          _TONE_

                          Love to hear your stories!



                          mark




                          --
                          Putting the fun in dysfunctional for over 50 years!


                          Mark  Garvey
                          Cedar Rapids, Iowa free state!

                          Check out the web site at:
                          http://www.vine-ave.com  

                          contact us to have Papa Balloon appear at your next program!  Details at www.vine-ave.com

                          I am a bicycling lifestylist!
                        • Tone
                          Mark, Riding a bicycle in the traffic of NYC I find is a LOT different than riding it in more suburban areas. In New York drivers are SOMEWHAT accustomed to
                          Message 12 of 17 , Oct 5, 2007
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                            Mark,

                                        Riding a bicycle in the traffic of NYC I find is a LOT different than riding it in more suburban areas. In New York drivers are SOMEWHAT accustomed to seeing bicyclist of all kinds zooming around. Also because there IS so much traffic half of the time cyclists end up going faster than the cars around them, so the bikers simply slip through all the spaces between the cars in all the multiple lanes of traffic.

                                        On the other hand in more suburban areas or smaller cities things are spread out further so most people can not even conceive of cycling in practical terms. They just perceive it as something a person could not do regularly. Therefore there are SO many fewer cyclists on the road, which means drivers are not accustomed to dealing with cyclists. There seems to be an extreme where many of them either slow down too much or speed by in a dangerous manner. In less populated areas the roads generally are one lane or two-way routes, which occasionally mean things get tight when there is no shoulder available for the cyclist.

                                        There is a statistical law for cycling, which says when there are more cyclists riding on the roads overall safety increases.

                             

                                        Thanks for the compliment on my bike. It definitely has been built up and customized quite a bit over the years. I think the only original parts on the bike are the frame itself, the head set, and maybe the seat post.

                             

                                        As for the crack in the Xtracycle frame, if you ever can get a good look at the cross section of the tubing running from the drops outs to the rear step, you will notice the thickness of it is fairly thin. I think they did that to make it lighter, but to structurally compensate they shaped the tubing into a more oval shape. I have talked to a couple of welders both in and out of bike shops and they told me it would be very difficult to properly weld a repair for the crack. When you weld something the heat eats into the metal to grip it, but the thin walls of the FreeRadical tubing might cause a weld to degrade the structure even more. It is one thing to weld the ends of the tube, but it is another to weld over a fracture.

                                        When I originally brought up my first breakage to the guys at Xtracycle I did offer to just get my frame welded (this was before I knew the weld would be tricky), rather than having them replace it, but I was told any welding done to the FreeRadical would completely void the warranty. They were very accommodating in replacing my Xtracycle, so it was not like I had any reason to complain. I have to say the guys at Xtracycle have been really terrific over the years!

                             

                            _TONE_

                             

                          • mcg
                            Hi Tone (& Everyone), Thanks for all the useful insights on the steel vs aluminum. I can say that with opinions all over the map, I am no closer to an answer!
                            Message 13 of 17 , Oct 6, 2007
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                              Hi Tone (& Everyone),

                              Thanks for all the useful insights on the steel vs aluminum. I can
                              say that with opinions all over the map, I am no closer to an answer!

                              I think I will just have to try it out, though given that things are
                              crazy here with the addition of new family members, I may not have
                              time to try that soon. Plus, the idea of the stumpy as a singlespeed
                              has its own appeal. However, I don't have time for that project,
                              either... I've got three wheel builds to do before then, one for a
                              new super-heavy duty wheel for my Xtracycle, since the original rim
                              cracked.

                              Tone, have you had a bike frame welder look at the Xtracycle? They
                              would be much more used to welding with thin materials than a typical
                              welding shop. A lot of steel downtubes are super thin and frame
                              welders know how to use the TIG welder to build up material.

                              Morgan G
                            • Tone
                              Morgan, Keep in mind I only had my first steel frame bike without an Xtracycle. Back then I was not aware of flex, so when I bought the aluminum bike I did not
                              Message 14 of 17 , Oct 6, 2007
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                                Morgan,

                                            Keep in mind I only had my first steel frame bike without an Xtracycle. Back then I was not aware of flex, so when I bought the aluminum bike I did not notice flex. I think frame flex must definitely be way more noticeable on an Xtracycle due to the obvious length and tension involved because it seems to be mostly a topic of discussion on this forum more than anywhere else… and I know a lot of cyclists.

                                            When I bought my first mountain bike frame I was not as knowledgeable as I am now, then when it snapped by the rear drop out just a year or two later it was my bike mechanic, who picked out just a couple of frames more suited for my style of riding. He knew I biked as a messenger full time in all weather conditions and saw first hand the effects of my activities and my level of maintenance on a frame. I guess he realized if I was going to ride any frame the way I ride bikes, it would HAVE to be a phat-tube aluminum frame to stand up to my use and abuse as well as constant exposure to rust causing factors.

                                            With all the talk of steel frames flexing on an Xtracycle and my many years of dependable service on my aluminum bike, I am actually really wondering just how the Big Dummy will perform. I have to presume they are designing the frame with a certain degree of cross-bracing, etc. to maintain the rigidity of the whole unit and help avoid flex. I also have to wonder about weight and rust concerns with a steel framed Big Dummy. I never had to worry about rust on my aluminum frame and it was obviously lighter than a comparable steel frame, but rust on the Xtracycle frame itself was something I had to keep an eye on.

                                            I guess what I am saying is I am probably as unsure of steel versus aluminum as you might be. Once I have a Big Dummy (and I am DEFINITELY planning on it), I can certainly be a source of better comparison.

                                 

                                            Yes, I did have a bike frame welder look at the FreeRadical crack. The bike shop I have been using the last three or four years in NYC sometimes makes their own frames and does welding repairs on site. They are located in west mid-town, so roughly 80% of their business is courier based all year round, so they do not mess around. Some of the guys, who work their, have worked as messengers themselves and also occasional race either on the track or on the road. Now that I am in PA I will definitely miss stopping in and hanging out while having my bike fixed up.

                                            In any case the guys at the shop did look at my FreeRad frame when it was cracked. Since they were able to actually see the cross section of the thin tubing in the break they told me there would be a very possible risk of doing more damage than good. I think the mechanic at my old shop also said the position of the drop out welds being so close to the break also contributed to why it would be risky to weld it. Xtracycle has been willing to replace the frames for me, so rather than risking more damage on the FreeRad with a weld and then not be able to exchange it due to any weld voiding the Xtracycle warranty I just had it replaced. For those of you, who have never seen what the thin cross section of the FreeRadical frame looks like. Here is an image link to one of the photos I took of my first FreeRad breakage, which I sent to the guys at Xtracycle, http://www.moon-shine.net/xs/BrokenFreeRadical-2.jpg

                                            The inside of the tube can just about fit a finger, but not a thumb (at least on my hands of course). When I look at that photo I think it is amazing I did not get into any accidents because I WAS actually riding the bike while working as a messenger. I never conceived the frame itself would crack, so when I was feeling “flex” I just thought the load was awkward, not secured tight enough, or I had issues in my wheels or tire pressure. I ended up only realizing it because I eventually had to fix a flat! The only structural element holding up any weight at the rear during that time would only have been the V-racks!

                                 

                                _TONE_

                                 

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