RE: [rootsradicals] Re: Two questions...
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!