My Surly Big Dummy is one of my favourite bikes. It has not seen the kind of love it deserves from me. I ride it and put it away – wet, dirty, unmaintained. *sigh* =-( Well I decided to upgrade my Big Dummy a bit to show it that I care. Putting a kickstand a few days ago was step one. Then I went all out replacing the ratty Xtracycle Freeloader bags with a new set of the 2010 version. Not stopping there I also replaced the beat up Snap Deck with a 2010 Flight Deck. I don’t think my Big Dummy knew what hit it.
Here is a rare naked shot of the rear of my Big Dummy. I contemplated cleaning the filthy parts that were exposed for the first time in years, but the lazy side of me decided since I was just going to cover everything up again so why bother?!
The new Freeloaders buckle on. This works just fine. It makes them a bit easier to steal, but you’d have to know your way around an Xtracycle to know how to get them off.
The lower bag straps [front and rear] are designed to work with the newer Big Dummy/Freeradical design that has some bolt on attachment points that mate with the plastic buckle shown above. My Big Dummy was one of the first made and it doesn’t have this feature so I used some zipties to DIY the buckles to my frame. This works fine and I don’t really see any need for quick or frequent removal of these bags – unless you are stealing them!
The new Freeloaders are made of tougher waterproof material compared to the previous version. The quality of construction is excellent and the design remains similar which means they are still very functional. There is a large inner pocket in each bag that I use to store my tie down straps,Long Loader, Footsies, Wideloaders, etc.. My only complaint with these bags is they are not available in black or woodland camo to go with my MASH 4077 theme. The grey colour I went with isn’t bad and you can also get them in blue and a burnt red colour.
The 2010 Flight Deck is made of heavy duty plastic. It comes with a set of Super Hooks. Why are they super? Well when tightened down they actually hold your deck to the bike without extra straps. The old Snap Deck would pop off at the slightest bump unless you strapped it down.
The Flight Deck bolts on easily and looks nice. It has handles at both ends which is useful for a passenger if your bike [like mine] doesn’t sport stoker bars. It has lots of holes pre-drilled so you can mount a kid’s seat securely or any other DIY project you have in mind. It should be a lot more durable than the wooden Snap Deck it replaces. It is also very secure once installed.
Overall I’m quite pleased with both products. They represent clear upgrades to the items they replace. While not cheap they seem to be worth the asking price and should deliver years of service.
Good job Xtracycle!
PS – let me know when we can get the Freeloaders in woodland camo…=-)