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Re: Two questions...

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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