Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

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

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 18 , Dec 7, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      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 2 of 18 , Dec 8, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 of 18 , Dec 15, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          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 4 of 18 , Dec 15, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 of 18 , Dec 16, 2006
            • 0 Attachment

              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 6 of 18 , Dec 16, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                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>
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.