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Re: [rootsradicals] Re: Surly Xtra-frame (Big Dummy)

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  • John Speare
    ... What you say here is making some sense. Especially if you re using the bike as you are. I use my xtracycle agbout twice a week for groceries and in teh
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 7, 2006
      On 12/7/06, Tone <Tone@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > John,
      ... Obviously just getting an Xtracycle
      > to hook up to a bike a person already has makes complete sense, but at
      > some point when a person uses a bike as much as I do and also utilizes
      > it much of the time in a cargo bike capacity it just makes sense to have
      > a single-frame Xtracycle specifically designed for the task.


      ...> What it comes down to is if someone already has a trusted bike
      > and wants to check out what it is like to have cargo bike options, then
      > sure they should just get a FreeRadical extension. However if someone
      > already is sure they want a cargo bike, particularly as a replacement to
      > a previous Xtracycle-equipped bike, then in my opinion they should
      > naturally decide to go with a single-frame cargo bike designed
      > specifically for the task.

      What you say here is making some sense. Especially if you're using the
      bike as you are. I use my xtracycle agbout twice a week for groceries
      and in teh summer for camping trips with my 4 y.o. daughter. I can't
      imagine killing it like you've been killing yours.

      A couple thoughts come to mind though:
      -- sound like you are compensating for the design on the FreeRadical--
      given it's failure/fatigue at the dropouts. the FreeRadical is
      aluminum, no? If there were a steel/heavy duty version of the
      FreeRadical with cast/forge steel dropouts that weighed a bit more and
      cost a bit more, would you get that instead? Are there ot6her
      advantages to a single frame aside from working around the failures of
      the FreeRadical drop outs?
      -- you are the 5% that kills the FreeRadical. Americans tend to buy
      for the 5%. The SUV thing: "I may need that 4WD at some point, I
      better get the 4WD for that 5% of the time I may need it. I'll pay
      extra for the 95% of the time I don't need it and I'll pay a lot for
      that." The Big Dummy strikes me as a 5% case purchase for most. That's
      just my impression given the limited benefits it offers the 95%-case
      user.


      >At the moment I have an Xtracycle set up as a single-speed
      freewheel using a Surly Singleator. I think it might be nice if Surly
      produced two versions of the eventual Big Dummy, one with horizontal
      drop-outs and one with vertical.

      I'm sure you're aware of the white industries ENO hub. It is a fine
      (if not pricey) piece of hardware. For $165 you can care less what
      kind of dropouts are on a bike.


      --
      John Speare
      Spokane, WA USA
      http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com/
    • Tone
      John, The FreeRadical frame is NOT Aluminum. It is steel. My bike frame, which I have had for several years, is aluminum. Perhaps that is why you are confused.
      Message 2 of 18 , Dec 7, 2006

        John,

                    The FreeRadical frame is NOT Aluminum. It is steel. My bike frame, which I have had for several years, is aluminum. Perhaps that is why you are confused. Also, while the FreeRadical frame extension is steel, the accessory components Xtracycle sells for the FreeRadical are aluminum… like the wide-loaders, long-haulers, and tubing on the footsies, etc.

                    I THINK I know what you mean by the ENO hub, but I am not absolutely sure. If the ENO hub you are speaking of IS what I am thinking of, then your suggestion is irrelevant in my case. I happen to ride with front and rear five-spoke Aerospoke mag wheels (disc brake compatible hub version). I would not be able to retrofit an ENO hub with the Aerospoke wheels I use, and I am not willing to part with my Aerospokes! J I love Aerospoke wheels because they are strong, never need truing, I can more easily lock through them (and I lock through them A LOT since I am a messenger), and they just look GOOD. J I am only considering not using Aerospoke wheels if I get a second bike and I can hook the rear wheel up with a dynamo hub.

         

        Everyone,

                    By the way does anyone happen to know of any company, which makes a rigid disc-brake compatible fork for use with 20” wheels?

         

                    Speaking of disc-brakes, I recall a message thread about the benefits of using mechanical versus hydraulic disc brakes. Now that I think of it I seem to remember no one mentioning the consideration to low temperatures. I remember one hydraulic disc-brake using cyclist, who told me his brakes froze, seized, or gave him resistance when the temperature dropped really low. I believe that is why when I made the decision to switch to disc brakes a couple of disc-brake using long-time messengers specifically told me to make sure I only got mechanical brakes.

         

        _TONE_

         

      • Kevin Bradshaw
        Yeah, thats sounds about right from what I read as well. I was stoked when I saw the Big Dummy for the first time. But then, what would I do with my MTB
        Message 3 of 18 , Dec 7, 2006
          Yeah, thats sounds about right from what I read as well.  I was stoked when I saw the "Big Dummy" for the first time.  But then, what would I do with my MTB hardtail I've had for 10 years?  That's when I decided to order up the Free Rad Kit, it would be a shame for my favorite bike to rot away without use.


          Have a burning question? Go to Yahoo! Answers and get answers from real people who know.
        • Devian Gilbert
          My convert of choice has been my 2000 Cdale F900. i think the whole assembly just likes to wiggle. most noticably is during climbs. ride bikes
          Message 4 of 18 , Dec 7, 2006
            My convert of choice has been my 2000 Cdale F900.
            i think the whole assembly just likes to wiggle.
            most noticably is during climbs.

            ride bikes


            On Thursday, December 07, 2006, at 01:29PM, "John Speare" <johnspeare@...> wrote:
            >On 12/7/06, Devian Gilbert <asanacycles@...> wrote:
            >
            >>
            >>
            >> if there is less frame flex
            >> ie: the wiggle
            >
            >my guess is that you may find less flex if you used an aluminum/OS
            >tubing mountain bike, than the steel (albeit OS and single-purposed)
            >surly frame, but that's a guess. I'm running my xtra on an old steel
            >Bridgestone MB2 mountain bike. I feel some flex when I carry a load
            >and my child is sitting on the seat mounted on teh top tube, but I
            >wouldn't want to ride the bike that didn't flex a bit under that load.
            >
            >
            >> and if the frame has a longer front center
            >> the geometry is improved, etc
            >
            >what does "longer front center" mean?
            >
            >Todd at cleverchimp has used 26" wheels on a Surly Karate Monkey to
            >lower the trail into this stratosphere. Most mountain bikes have off
            >the charts high trail...
            >
            >I seriously doubt the Big Dummy is going for a low (i.e. 40mm or
            >under) trail, as the vast majority of riders would find that "twichy."
            >especially with a big old load in the rear.
            >
            >> it brought the whole geometry of the bike back some.
            >
            >in what way? can you be more specific?
            >
            >>
            >> basically i have a hard time fine tuning the angles on my rig.
            >> the convert is a great setup, but there are for sure some things can can be improved upon.
            >
            >what are the geometric improvements that the big dummy offers?
            >
            >
            >>
            >>
            >> From what i can see of the endeavor of Surly in the Big Dummy, its a shot at refining the subtle nuances that we all have come to find/or maybe not even know.
            >
            >like what? I'm really interested in the subtle nuances and how they
            >relate to actual frame/bike design in this case.
            >
            >
            >--
            >John Speare
            >Spokane, WA USA
            >http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com/
            >
          • Cara Lin Bridgman
            I m not messenger biking, but the xtracycle is the only bike I have. I guess I now think of ordinary bikes as belonging in the same category as sports cars.
            Message 5 of 18 , Dec 7, 2006
              I'm not messenger biking, but the xtracycle is the only bike I have. I
              guess I now think of ordinary bikes as belonging in the same category as
              sports cars. Wherever I go, I'm hauling something, even if it is just
              water bottles and rain gear. So, there's no point me keeping two bikes.
              The xtracycle is certainly the most comfortable way to haul my book
              and camera bags. I keep a dry bag in one of the freeloaders so my books
              and cameras are protected from sudden rain.

              So, someday I may be in the market for a Big Dummy. Guess I started
              constructing a Surly instigator-freeradical a year too early.

              Tone,
              If the Surly folks aren't reading this forum, they should. Whether they
              are or not, I suggest you email them a version of your letter below to
              let them know that if they ever do want a thorough day-to-day testing of
              a Big Dummy, you're the way to go. The fact that, through ordinary use
              not abuse, you've gone through a free-radical a year ought to be a good
              talking point.

              CL

              Tone wrote:
              > Michael,
              > Let me clarify myself. I can see how someone might have
              > misunderstood. When I said I was not too thrilled about the news I
              > definitely did not mean about the upcoming Big Dummy frame. What I meant
              > was I was not that happy to hear of both the increased price tag from
              > the $600 I had heard earlier and the thought of a release date being
              > even later than early summer.
              >
              > I am extremely excited about the potential Big Dummy. I work as
              > a messenger in NYC and I have been totally wearing down my Xtracycle.
              > Actually I should say Xtracycles because even though I have only one
              > bike, for over three years it has always been equipped with an
              > Xtracycle, but unfortunately the FreeRadical has needed replacing twice.
              > It always starts to crack directly behind the rear drop-outs, which is
              > the weakest point on the FreeRadical. Recently I also noticed a fresh
              > crack starting on one side this year. I guess for me the amount of
              > wear-and-tear of daily messenger work and my own personal loading seems
              > to result in FreeRadicals only lasting me about a year.
              > I am certainly looking forward to getting a Big Dummy. From the
              > initial specs and design it seems there is geometry shaped to combat the
              > stress put on the rear step area. Hopefully the same cracking behind the
              > rear dropouts will not happen to the Big Dummy as a result. I just kind
              > of wish I could be the ones Surly decides to send a test Dummy to, for
              > me to seriously try to put it through hell and back. :)
              >
              > John,
              > I can offer my own answer to your question about what is so
              > great about a single-frame Xtracycle. Personally, once I set up my
              > Xtracycle on my current bike... it never came off. The Xtracycle has
              > simply been quite integrated into the way I live and work. I can not
              > imagine living without one anymore. Obviously just getting an Xtracycle
              > to hook up to a bike a person already has makes complete sense, but at
              > some point when a person uses a bike as much as I do and also utilizes
              > it much of the time in a cargo bike capacity it just makes sense to have
              > a single-frame Xtracycle specifically designed for the task.
              > Basically the way I see it is if I do have to get a new bike,
              > there is no question what I will be getting. As it is, I have had my
              > aluminum "phatt"-tube Univega 750-FS frame for about seven years with
              > most of that time having it used as my only bike while working as a
              > messenger day in and day out in all kinds of weather. Everyone I know,
              > including workers/mechanics in the bikes shops I frequent, are
              > continuously amazed at how long my frame has lasted, ESPECIALLY since I
              > have had an Xtracycle on the end of it for over three years! One of
              > these days my bike is going to seriously give. At that point I already
              > know what I would replace my bike with.
              > What it comes down to is if someone already has a trusted bike
              > and wants to check out what it is like to have cargo bike options, then
              > sure they should just get a FreeRadical extension. However if someone
              > already is sure they want a cargo bike, particularly as a replacement to
              > a previous Xtracycle-equipped bike, then in my opinion they should
              > naturally decide to go with a single-frame cargo bike designed
              > specifically for the task.
              > At some point I have also considered investing in an additional
              > lighter bike for over-seas touring or whatever due to ease of transport
              > (possibly even a 20" wheeled folding bike), but I definitely would get a
              > single-frame Xtracycle as my primary bike above all else first.
              >
              > Everyone,
              > Does anyone know if the final Surly Big Dummy design will have
              > vertical or horizontal drop outs? Obviously the FreeRadical has vertical
              > drop outs, but Surly also sells a number of accessories for single-speed
              > conversions and such.
              > At the moment I have an Xtracycle set up as a single-speed
              > freewheel using a Surly Singleator. I think it might be nice if Surly
              > produced two versions of the eventual Big Dummy, one with horizontal
              > drop-outs and one with vertical. It would be very nice to have the
              > option to simply get rid of having to use a chain tensioning device,
              > especially on such a long drive chain.
              > Actually this past week I lost almost a full day of work because
              > my Surly Singleator had a spring failure, which caused my chain to skip.
              > It would be nice to not have to worry about yet another mechanism
              > failing when riding around.
              >
              > _TONE_
              >
              >
            • Michael Lemberger
              Hiya John, Tone, et al, First, just a word about where I m coming from. I m a hardcore bike freak. I wife and I own and use 2 Free Radical conversions. It s
              Message 6 of 18 , Dec 8, 2006
                Hiya John, Tone, et al,

                First, just a word about where I'm coming from. I'm a hardcore bike
                freak. I wife and I own and use 2 Free Radical conversions. It's
                really a truly revolutionary idea and an ingenious product. Being
                able to convert just about any bike into something capable of hauling
                trailer-sized loads and still ride more or less like a regular bike
                sans trailer is fantastic.

                To me, the unified longtail frame is the next logical evolutionary
                step, but very much doubt that it will replace the Free Radical kit.
                I don't think the people who would buy a Big Dummy are necessarily
                the same people who would buy a Free Radical. My hope (and I'm sure
                Xtracycle's and Surly's) is that it will expand the market.

                As wonderful a product as the Free Radical is, it has issues that
                should be addressed. The first is the creak at the chainstay bridge-
                tongue attachment point. Next would be the poor torsional rigidity on
                certain donor bikes. Differences in height between donor bikes'
                chainstay bridge attachment point height can a pretty substantial
                effect on the bike's handling. One of our Free Radicals, based on an
                older GT mountain bike, handles pretty well. The other, based on a
                Trek 970, not so much. Either one will get pretty whippy near the
                upper end of the load weight limit.

                Then there's the overall improvisational homebuilt feel. I'm fine
                with riding a kit-built conversion around, but some people aren't.
                Also, in conversations with interested parties, I've had to contest
                the idea that the Free Radical was part of the donor bike brand's
                lineup. More than once, I've gotten the "oh, so that's a Trek?"
                question. An integrated longtail will finally give this class of
                bikes an identity of its very own. Kinda like when Joe Breeze, Tom
                Ritchie and their ilk took us from Clunker to Mountain Bike (not
                exactly, but I did say kinda.)

                Here's what I see as the benefits of having an integrated frame:

                -Reduction in torsional flex.
                -Improved strength behind the rear dropouts
                -Haven't confirmed this, but I think it resolves rear disk brake
                caliper-disk size difference
                -Improved handling
                -Lighter (not a big issue for me, but every little bit helps)
                -An identifiable, marketable cargo bike

                As for the cost, yes, it's expensive. But think about it--it's a
                completely new class of commercially-produced bicycle. It will
                require more materials to produce, larger shipping boxes and more
                shipping space. The market for it is currently pretty small, so
                there's also some risk that it won't sell enough to cover development
                costs. I don't know how the cost of a complete bike will compare to
                some other cargo bike like a Bakfiets or a Christiana, but I'm
                betting it would not be substantially different.

                Tone,

                I get where you're coming from and hear you on the cost issue, but I
                think Surly is going out on a limb. And look, Pugsley buyers pay a
                premium too ($550 or $600, I think. Anybody know what list price is
                on a Pugsley?)

                The Big Dummy does have vertical dropouts. John's white industries
                ENO hub suggestion is a good one. I've heard those are pretty bombproof.

                John,

                The riding you describe doesn't sound like it would justify a Big
                Dummy. Seems like there are and will continue to be plenty of Free
                Radical owners in that position. Like I say, I hope it expands the
                market for this type of bike. I'll be keeping one of mine and
                hopefully selling the other to the firefighter across the street. She
                commutes about a mile to the firehouse with about 60 pounds of gear.
                She's currently using a Chevy Suburban, but she loves the Free
                Radical. I'm aiming to create another convert... 8-)

                Cheers,

                Michael
                Madison, WI
                sconnyboy.blogspot.com
              • karpaydiem
                Well it s good to read that someone else is hard on the FreeRadical. I had one break a few months ago and replaced under warranty. I could see that the
                Message 7 of 18 , Dec 15, 2006
                  Well it's good to read that someone else is hard on the FreeRadical. I
                  had one break a few months ago and replaced under warranty. I could
                  see that the unsupported portion, to the rear of the dropouts, was not
                  a strong design.

                  I tried beefing it up by running aircraft cables from the back lower
                  corners to turnbuckles attached to the upper forward corners of the
                  bag frames, held on with hoseclamps. The other day at about 30 mph and
                  carrying about 60 lbs I hit a huge pothole and the rear portion of the
                  FreeRadical bent downward about 15 degrees, enough to wipe out my
                  fender between the tire and the Snapdeck. So my cables didn't exactly
                  work perfectly, but I can't help but think that without them, I'd have
                  another snapped frame.

                  So now, after straightening the frame (using 4x4's clamped above and
                  below the bend with a length of 5/8" threaded rod) I've really gone
                  all out in my beefing up, short of anything welded.

                  First I ran a length of 3/4 x 1/8" flat steel bar on the outside of
                  the tubes that support the dropouts, from the brake bosses to the rear
                  cross bar. I clamped it to the FreeRadcial tubes with 7 hose clamps on
                  each side. Looks like hell, but I figure it will add some stength.

                  Next, I put some 1/2" thin wall electrical conduit tubes in
                  triangulated postions, attached to the FreeRadical tubing with pieces
                  of plumber's tape bolted through the conduit with stainless machine
                  screws and nylock nuts. One runs from the rear upper corner of the bag
                  frame to the dropout tube, just back of the fender boss. Then I ran a
                  second tube from the middle of the first tube to the upper front
                  corner of the bag frame.

                  This all looks pretty much like a huge weird kludge, but I'm
                  determined to not have any more bent/broken frames... until I can get
                  a Big Dummy which seems to have worked out supporting that
                  failure-prone rear portion.



                  --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Tone" <Tone@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >...
                  >
                  > I am extremely excited about the potential Big Dummy. I work as
                  > a messenger in NYC and I have been totally wearing down my Xtracycle.
                  > Actually I should say Xtracycles because even though I have only one
                  > bike, for over three years it has always been equipped with an
                  > Xtracycle, but unfortunately the FreeRadical has needed replacing twice.
                  > It always starts to crack directly behind the rear drop-outs, which is
                  > the weakest point on the FreeRadical. Recently I also noticed a fresh
                  > crack starting on one side this year. I guess for me the amount of
                  > wear-and-tear of daily messenger work and my own personal loading seems
                  > to result in FreeRadicals only lasting me about a year.
                  ...
                • Devian Gilbert
                  its all about the Big Dummy i wonder what Surly s initial run is gonna be? that is... how many are they gonna make?
                  Message 8 of 18 , Dec 15, 2006
                    its all about the Big Dummy
                    i wonder what Surly's initial run is gonna be?
                    that is...
                    how many are they gonna make?

                    On Dec 15, 2006, at 12:01 AM, karpaydiem wrote:

                    Well it's good to read that someone else is hard on the FreeRadical. I
                    had one break a few months ago and replaced under warranty. I could
                    see that the unsupported portion, to the rear of the dropouts, was not
                    a strong design.

                    I tried beefing it up by running aircraft cables from the back lower
                    corners to turnbuckles attached to the upper forward corners of the
                    bag frames, held on with hoseclamps. The other day at about 30 mph and
                    carrying about 60 lbs I hit a huge pothole and the rear portion of the
                    FreeRadical bent downward about 15 degrees, enough to wipe out my
                    fender between the tire and the Snapdeck. So my cables didn't exactly
                    work perfectly, but I can't help but think that without them, I'd have
                    another snapped frame.

                    So now, after straightening the frame (using 4x4's clamped above and
                    below the bend with a length of 5/8" threaded rod) I've really gone
                    all out in my beefing up, short of anything welded.

                    First I ran a length of 3/4 x 1/8" flat steel bar on the outside of
                    the tubes that support the dropouts, from the brake bosses to the rear
                    cross bar. I clamped it to the FreeRadcial tubes with 7 hose clamps on
                    each side. Looks like hell, but I figure it will add some stength.

                    Next, I put some 1/2" thin wall electrical conduit tubes in
                    triangulated postions, attached to the FreeRadical tubing with pieces
                    of plumber's tape bolted through the conduit with stainless machine
                    screws and nylock nuts. One runs from the rear upper corner of the bag
                    frame to the dropout tube, just back of the fender boss. Then I ran a
                    second tube from the middle of the first tube to the upper front
                    corner of the bag frame.

                    This all looks pretty much like a huge weird kludge, but I'm
                    determined to not have any more bent/broken frames... until I can get
                    a Big Dummy which seems to have worked out supporting that
                    failure-prone rear portion.

                    --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Tone" <Tone@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >...
                    >
                    > I am extremely excited about the potential Big Dummy. I work as
                    > a messenger in NYC and I have been totally wearing down my Xtracycle.
                    > Actually I should say Xtracycles because even though I have only one
                    > bike, for over three years it has always been equipped with an
                    > Xtracycle, but unfortunately the FreeRadical has needed replacing twice.
                    > It always starts to crack directly behind the rear drop-outs, which is
                    > the weakest point on the FreeRadical. Recently I also noticed a fresh
                    > crack starting on one side this year. I guess for me the amount of
                    > wear-and-tear of daily messenger work and my own personal loading seems
                    > to result in FreeRadicals only lasting me about a year.
                    ...


                  • Tone
                    Karpaydiem, It is funny you should mention your “patch job” of the FreeRadical today. Oddly enough the night before you wrote your post I spent a little
                    Message 9 of 18 , Dec 16, 2006

                      Karpaydiem,

                                  It is funny you should mention your “patch job” of the FreeRadical today. Oddly enough the night before you wrote your post I spent a little over two hours after work reinforcing my own FreeRadical to keep the left side tubing from cracking more than it already has just behind the dropouts.

                                  I bought ¾” internal-diameter plumbing pipe at a length of 10” for about $2.00 and four hose clamps for about $0.59 each, then used my cordless grinder to cut the pipe in half lengthwise. I had to cut little triangles out of one half of the piping in various spots to keep the pipe flush against the FreeRadical tubing since the mudguard mounting bracket, my preferred rear-wheel quick-release position, and the disc-brake protector mount were somewhat in the way. Along the length of tubing on the inside of the FreeRadical (between the rear drop outs and disc-brake rotor) I then used the other half of the pipe, however I had to cut that lengthwise in half even further because the disc-brake mounts on the FreeRadical would also have gotten in the way. From there I sandwiched the two bars of cut-pipe with the FreeRadical tubing in between. Two hose clamps were run through the gaps between the disc-brake mount welds and the two other hose clamps were placed past the rear drop outs. Basically the whole thing looks like some kind of metal-splint.

                                  Now I am just hoping this holds my Xtracycle up enough until June. Although I guess I should also hope Surly’s release date for the Big Dummy is on time. J

                      _TONE_

                       

                       

                    • karpaydiem
                      Yeah, Tone, great minds think alike, or as my Dad used to say, Two minds with but a single thought - a half a thought apiece! I too saw my reinforcement as a
                      Message 10 of 18 , Dec 16, 2006
                        Yeah, Tone, great minds think alike, or as my Dad used to say, "Two
                        minds with but a single thought - a half a thought apiece!"

                        I too saw my reinforcement as a splint. Your pipe idea sounds
                        stronger; I had thought of that, but went with the easier strip down
                        the side in my lazy, minimalist approach. I sure hope it works.

                        Maybe we'll inspire Xtracycle to put out a HD version, sort of an
                        XtraXtracycle.

                        As to the part of this thread adresssing the cost of the Big Dummy, my
                        perspective is the same as when I built up the Instigator frame
                        (bought used on eBay) into the Stokemonkey Frankenbike I now ride. And
                        that perspective is that this is a car replacement. So my mantra was
                        (and is): "It's not a car. Spend the money. It's not a car. Spend the
                        money. It's not a car. Spend the money."

                        From this viewpoint the projected cost of the Big Dummy frame is much
                        less than a year's worth of basic liablity car insurance. Not to
                        mention all the hidden costs of car ownership like killing 120 of us a
                        day just in accidents and, oh yeah, cooking our only lovely planet.
                        $600? Not a bad deal!



                        --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, "Tone" <Tone@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Karpaydiem,
                        > It is funny you should mention your "patch job" of the
                        > FreeRadical today. Oddly enough the night before you wrote your post I
                        > spent a little over two hours after work reinforcing my own
                        FreeRadical...<snip>
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