CETMA Impressions…

8 09 2010

A shopping cart of groceries plus beer & wine...

Here are my thoughts on the CETMA cargo bike so far:

  • linkage steering is different, but easy to get used to
  • bike handles as well loaded as empty…maybe even better loaded
  • long frame offers a nice suspension effect when loaded and going over bumps
  • Schwalbe Supreme/Big Apple tires were a good choice
  • City style swept back bars are too narrow [will swap in some MTB risers for more leverage]
  • Ergon grips are comfy
  • Rohloff is working well – excellent gear range for this bike and love being able to shift at a stop
  • climbs well [for a heavy cargo bike!]
  • Selle Anatomica saddle is kind of wasted on this bike due to shorter riding distances so I’ll replace with something cheaper
  • front brake is very mushy due to long full run cable housing [not sure it’s worth the $$ to fix….may just wait until next year and put a hydraulic disc up front]
  • shorter run rear brake is fine
  • very easy to use since cargo box is ready to accept stuff without strapping it in or doing anything at all
  • center stand is awesome…very easy to deploy and retract…very stable when deployed
  • definitely a truck made for serious hauling
  • length and width take some consideration when riding in narrow or crowded areas
  • need to fit fenders

I’ll continue to post CETMA photos to Flickr here.

Greg’s CETMA Cargo Bike

7 09 2010

Greg's sweet CETMA cargo bike ready to roll...

I rec’d this comment from Greg about my CETMA build:

“Hello Vik. I just stumbled on your site and thought you might enjoy seeing my recent CETMA cargo build. I just posted some photos to flickr. They’re here:


I absolutely love my new rig, and the kids love

Best regards,

Congrats to Greg on a lovely CETMA build.  I’m stoked to hear from other cargo bikers out there and see what rigs everyone is riding…=-)

Xtracycle Kickback Review

3 09 2010

Xtracycle Kickback center stand in action...

I’ve used the Xtracycle Kickback for over a month with mixed results.

The Good:

  • cost is reasonable for quality of product
  • installs easily
  • adjustable to many different bikes and tires that you might mount an Xtracycle on or Surly Big Dummy
  • deploys easily
  • holds the bike upright with a high degree of stability
  • when retracted it stows out of the way
  • seems durable

Kickback product porn...

The bad:

  • uses front mounting holes on Xtracycle and Big Dummy
  • this means Footsies can’t be used
  • this means every time you want to install/remove your Wideloaders you have to futz with the center stand
  • you can’t mount a cheap side kickstand at the same time as the Kickback [you want to use both as you can’t use the Kickback to hold the bike upright while you futz with installing the Wideloaders]
  • Rohloff chain rubs on Kickback when riding [I got the stand from Dylan who had added a rubber pad to protect the stand, but the noise drove me a little crazy]
  • reading the comments you’ll also see that the aluminum legs that slide into the steel body of this stand will corrode and fuse together in salty [ie. Canadian winter] environments
  • Other users have had issues with the return spring failing

$7 side kick stand in action...

The Ugly:

  • because I swap my Wideloaders in and out frequently the Kickback is a total pain in the ass
  • you can’t use the stand to hold up the bike while you install the Wideloaders and reinstall the Kickback so essentially at one of the times it would be most helpful to have a center stand you can’t even use it….not to mention you wouldn’t have to even be wasting your time removing parts, lining up holes and reinstalling everything if you didn’t have the Kickback on the bike in the first place – lame.
  • don’t even ask me about dealing with this in the dark, in the rain or when tired!
  • I would avoid riding it and drive rather than spend the time screwing around with the Kickback
  • I hate riding my Big Dummy with Wideloaders all the time because it becomes a pain to get it through any narrow openings [like the gate to my yard or the door to my bike storage]
  • my GF, who cares little about details of my bikes, noticed what a hassle the Kickback was and pronounced it a Fail [I agree]
  • if you are trying to understand what the problem is imagine if every time you wanted to use your computer you had to connect and disconnect the monitor and power cables…it’s not a huge task, but it is enough to make you less stoked to quickly jump online to do something
  • my $7 cheap side stand [images above and below] is far more useful than the Kickback since it doesn’t interfere with any Xtracycle accessories and holds the bike up for most loads [except the really heavy ones]

$7 side stand holding up a heavy touring load...

Who should get the Kickback?:

  • anyone who rarely or never uses Footsies or Wideloaders
  • anyone who uses Wideloaders, but leaves them on all the time
  • anyone who needs a center stand so bad that that the hassle involved is worth it

Dylan's Big Dummy resting on it's Wideloaders...

What am I going to do?:

  • remove Kickback and sell it!
  • reinstall my $7 side stand
  • use the side stand for all loads it can handle
  • for the uber heavy loads it can’t I’ll use the Wideloaders themselves as a sort of stand and just lay the bike over [see above] or lean it against a wall [see below]
  • sadly the approach above works so much better than the stand designed and sold by Xtracycle….hard to believe

Devo's Big Dummy leaning sans Kickback...

What do I wish Xtracycle would do?:

  • spend the time and $$$ to design a clamp mount for the Kickback so it doesn’t use the front mounting holes the rest of their accessories also need to use
  • have a look at the Rolling Jackass stand [image below] for a simple example of how the Kickback should mount [I may eventually throw $400 at this stand – it rocks, I’m just cheap]
  • I wish Xtracycle would build a better center stand for their own cargo cycles than a solo guy working on his own who needed something that actually work decently [aka the Rolling Jackass stand]

Hugger Industries Rolling Jackass photo....

If you want to see my previous  Kickback rants click here and here.

I’m selling this lightly used Kickback in perfect shape for $75USD [$139USD new] shipped anywhere in Canada/USA.

CETMA Build…

26 08 2010

CETMA Fork...

I’m posting my CETMA build photos on Flickr here. I’ll keep updating them and commenting on them as I go.

Radish Sale…

28 07 2010

Xtracycle Radish...

Ken at Power in Motion has a few Radish longtail cargo bikes he wants to get rid of to make room for 2011 stock.  These bikes started at $1750cdn and he’s selling them for $1099cdn. As a reference I saw just the Xtracycle longtail kit for $799cdn at a LBS in town and you’d still need to add a bike to the mix to get rolling.  So this is a pretty nice deal.

Having an integrated longtail solution means you save some $$$ buying everything separately, you know it will all work well together and you don’t have to be a skilled bike mechanic to get the bike rolling.  I’m sure he’ll be happy to ship anywhere in North America.

Please contact Ken directly via his website as I have no information about these bikes beyond what’s posted here and I have no commercial interest in this sale.  Note that Power in Motion is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in case you were wondering about the possibility of a local pick up.

PS – Ken is an electric bike guru so if you wanted to add e-assist to your Radish he could make that happen for you and have it all setup so you don’t have to deal with any fiddly installation issues.

Bike Friday Tikit Touring Rack Review…

25 07 2010

Tikit Touring Rack extended...

I’ve been testing a prototype full size pannier rack for the Tikit for a few months and wanted to share my thoughts.  I should offer the standard prototype disclaimer…the rack in these photos is a prototype so the production models may be slightly different.  I know Bike Friday was keenly working to make the rack better and better so any changes will be good things!

I was really excited to be able to carry a standard touring pannier on the rear of my Tikit.  The front racks already offered by Bike Friday allow for full sized panniers on the front of the bike so it’s nice to get that functionality on the back end of this bike.  Of course the big question is will the new rack hinder the famously fast and effortless Tikit fold?

Tikit Touring Rack folded down...

The short answer is no – you’ll be able to fold the bike just as fast if you don’t have panniers on the rear and if you do it only takes a second to push the rack down into its folded position.  The Touring Rack uses a clever hinged design to allow it to pop up and fold down without tools.  In the folded position the rack has about the same profile as the standard Tikit rear rack.

View from the top rear...

I’ve used this rack with my Ortlieb panniers and an Arkel shopping pannier.  Both fit and worked great.   Other than folding the rack works just like a standard rear touring rack.

View from the rear...

I didn’t weigh the rack before I installed it…sorry I got carried away!…=-)  Obviously it will weigh more than the standard Tikit rear rack, but I certainly haven’t noticed the difference when riding, rolling or carrying my Tikit.  I also think the versatility of being able to carry a full sized pannier and fold my Tikit makes it well worth adding a few ounces to my bike.

Going shopping?

I have size 11.5US men’s feet and didn’t experience any heel strike on my large Tikit.

Rear view with pannier...

With the height of the extended rack you get sufficient ground clearance for large panniers.  I don’t have a maximum weight capacity for this rack.  I carried all sort of loads up to about 30lbs without difficulty.  I tend to carry my bulkier lighter items in the rear and the more compact heavier items in front. I’m sure I could carry more weight if needed.

The folded Tikit with folded Touring Rack...

Things I didn’t like:

  1. the folded touring rack looks a bit busy compared to the simple standard Tikit rear rack.
  2. the silver arms vibrate against the rest of the rack frame.  I’m going add a bit of electrical tape to pad the rack and solve this issue.
  3. the top of the rack gets abraded against the ground when the folded bike is put down.  I need to add some padding in key spots.

Note issues 2 & 3 may well have been resolved on the production rack.  I’m using a prototype.

Front of the folded Tikit...

Overall I’m really pleased to have this rack on my Tikit.  I don’t always need to carry 4 panniers, but I like being able to when the need does arise.  If the Tikit is your only bike and/or you tour on your Tikit this rack is a no-brainer.  It really transforms the bike into a hauling machine with very little downside.

This rack should be available from Bike Friday shortly and will sell for ~$189.00.

I’ll keep hauling with this rack and report back when I’ve had it in service for 12 months or so.

Sharon gets her Victoria SUP on…

23 07 2010

Two 11' SUPs and paddles....oh ya!

Sharon and I rode down to the Gorge with a couple stand up paddle boards. This was her first SUP session in Victoria and her first ever bike powered SUP session…=-)

Sharon paddling her pink SUP...

We cruised east towards the inner harbour…the opposite direction to my solo SUP paddle a couple of weeks ago.  This meant we headed into a moderate headwind which made for harder paddling, but an easy return trip.  Surprisingly the waterfront between the paddle club where we launched and the inner harbour was very very industrial.

Sharon SUPing with a cement factory in the background...

We paddled past a cement factory, a car wrecker, a couple of ship building yards and some construction sites.  It wasn’t too hard to make it to the dock below the Ocean River Kayak shop…which is also a handy place to access MEC and other downtown stores.  I’m hoping they’ll let me lock up my SUP on their dock so I can do some SUP powered errands instead of biking every time.

Sharon takes a break at the Ocean River docks...

We turned back before getting to the inner harbour since this was Sharon’s first SUP paddle in months we didn’t want to overdo it.  On a good day I should be able to paddle the whole Gorge.

Sharon doing some 70's themed SUPing...

Sharon had a great time, but we had a flat tire problem on my Surly Big Dummy when we rode home…=-(  *sigh*  It added a long hot delay into our return voyage.  I’ll be making sure I’m fully stocked for tools, pump and supplies in the future.

Un-Locking your bike…

21 07 2010

Secured without a lock...

Biking around Victoria means frequently locking your bike up.  In many cases you are nearby and just want to stop the grab and run type thief.  Being the lazy biker I am I have stopped locking my bikes for those occasions and un-locked them.  I just use a standard long-ish cable and run it through my bikes, around something solid and then put the free end over a grip and snug it up to the stem.

This is fast an requires no locks, keys or combination codes to be used.  A thief that simply tries to grab a bike will just tighten the whole shebang making it impossible to undo.  In order for a thief to figure out which end to undo and how to do it they’ll need to be up close to my bikes for long enough that I’ll have time to intervene.

If you get a cable that is a tight-ish fit over your grips you’ll slow even the craftiest thief down so they can’t get your bike faster than you can throw a beer bottle at them from a patio!

Of course I don’t use this type of setup when I’m walking away from my bikes for any length of time.

2010 Xtracycle Freeloader Bags

17 07 2010

2010 Freeloader Bags...

I’ve been critical of some Xtracycle products in the past.  So I wanted to make sure I gave Xtracycle a positive plug when they’ve addressed one of my gripes.  Specifically the new 2010 Freeloader bags are now waterproof, look to be much higher quality and more durable. Perfect – that meets all my needs.  They aren’t cheap, but they should last a long time and I’m cool with paying for quality.

I’m not sure when I’ll score a set of these, but probably by the end of the year.

Good work Xtracycle…=-)

Specifications up close...

Sit down pedal boarding?

12 07 2010

Pretty in pink...

Two of the reasons I moved to Victoria were a better cycling environment and to be close to the ocean.  It was really hot here today and my office became uncomfortable due my computers putting out lots of BTUs.

Definitely the biggest single item I've haulled so far!

So I loaded up my Surly Big Dummy and stand up paddle board [SUP].  I live 4 blocks from the water and if I take a nearby mega-MUP I get a car free downhill ride right to a kayak/rowing club.

I'm sure I parked my bike around here??...=-)

The MUP route is a bit longer, but the ride is quite pleasant [old rail grade I think] and the bike parking at the paddle club is really secure so it’s worth it.

I locked my bike to the steel railing and launched from the dock in the background...

You have to pay to launch at the paddle club, but the small dock in the background of the pic above is free so naturally I carried my SUP over there.

I heart my SUP...=-)

I was hoping to have so pics to share from the water, but I forgot my camera in my bike’s frame bag….doh!  So it will have to wait until next time.  SUPing the Gorge is pretty awesome.  The water way is protected from ocean waves and a lot of the wind.  For the most part the current was minor with one major exception.   The Gorge really narrows under one bridge to the west of my launch point accelerating the water 10x+ normal.  I went through the easy way without much problem other than a few nervous moments with turbulence trying to flip my board!  On the way back I nearly gave up as I was paddling 110% without making much progress against the current – especially as the turbulent water required lots of steering strokes on top of trying to drop the hammer.  I was ready to stop paddling and carry my board around this obstacle when I realized I had pushed past the worst of it and was finally getting somewhere.  As soon as I was 10′ beyond the bridge the water was slow moving again and I could make normal progress.

I won’t be taking Sharon past that bridge unless she is looking for some interval training!  If you go east from the paddle club you reach the inner harbour which is quite scenic.

Loading up on the dock for the ride home...

Right next to the paddle club is a nice restaurant.  So I can see a paddle “date” coming on…=-) Definitely a great way to cool off on a hot day and since it never gets really cold here I imagine I’ll be SUping in winter as well.

Shadows were getting long and my tummy rumbling!

The ride home was uphill, but since the MUP appears to be an old railway line the grade is very easy even with a load.  Overall it was a great bike/paddle mission that I will be repeating a couple times a week.

Victoria Approved!

2 07 2010


The Lazy Rando World Headquarters has moved to Victoria BC! After 15yrs in Calgary I had the opportunity to move to Vancouver Island so I jumped on it.  I’ll be doing the same work just from a new location.  I’ll also be back in Calgary a fair bit as the company I work for is maintaining their corporate HQ in Alberta.

Vancouver Island...

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and is located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island…shown at the red pin in the image above.  It’s a ferry ride away from both Vancouver BC and Seattle WA.  It’s also very close to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.  The climate is similar to Vancouver’s, but with only 50% of the rain and a lot of sunny days. In fact it is the northern most North American city that has a Mediterranean climate.


Victoria is situated on a small peninsula about 30kms north to south and 19kms east to west. This means we are surrouned nearly 360 degrees by the Pacific Ocean and lots of beaches. Not surprisingly Vancouver Island is a sea kayaking mecca as well as one of the nicest spots in the world to kiteboard.  The bike touring and mountain biking are world class as well.  To top it off Victoria is one of the most bike friendly cities I’ve ever seen that wasn’t in Europe!

I’m really excited to explore the island and to be able to sea kayak, SUP and kiteboard at home…=-)

There are a few downsides of course:

  • Victoria is wetter than Calgary.
  • The cost of living and taxes here are higher.
  • Leaving the island is a minimum of a $40 ferry ride with your car…more for my trucks.
  • The job market here isn’t as strong as Alberta.
  • I’m 4-5hrs away from Whistler, Mt. Baker and Mt. Washington for snowboarding…rather than 2hrs from great ski hills in Calgary.

The low cost of life in Alberta is one of the main reasons I haven’t left prior to this.  When considering the move to Victoria I had to ask myself – do I want the cheapest lifestyle or the most fun?

I have a new mailing address and a new cellular #…all my emails have stayed the same…if you need a contact info update drop me a line.

How many bikes do I have?

7 06 2010

Surly 1x1

Santa Cruz Nomad

Surly Pugsley

Bike Friday New World Tourist

Surly Big Dummy...

Bike Friday Tikit...

Surly Long Haul Trucker...

Click on any photo to see more images of that bike…

Thorn Sold – CETMA Ordered…

4 06 2010

What me worried?

I was sad to strip my Thorn Nomad and pack it for shipment to its new owner, but on the plus side I placed an order for a CETMA cargo bike frame…=-)  I’m hoping to get her by early August and will be building up the following specification:

  • CETMA cargo bike frame [white] with kickstand
  • custom wooden box with waterproof cover
  • Rohloff w/ 26″ Velocity Aeroheat rim *
  • Chain tensioner
  • 20″ Velocity Aeroheat front wheel
  • Schwalbe Big Apple Tires 2.0″ width
  • Deore V-brakes with Koolstop salmon pads *
  • Avid Speed Dial levers *
  • Titec H-bars *
  • Ergon Grips *
  • Brooks B17 saddle [black] *
  • Shimano square taper cranks with Thorn 38T ring *
  • Shimano square taper BB
  • SRAM 8 spd chain *
  • Planet Bike Fenders

Note: * indicates parts coming from Thorn Nomad.

As you can see most of the parts comes from my Thorn Nomad. So although it has been sold it will live on in spirit hauling stuff around town for me.  Even cooler the CETMA frame splits in two for travel/shipping/storage like the Thorn did.  The rest of the parts come from my spares bin so all I’ll need to buy is a chain tensioner and a 20″ Big Apple then I’ll be ready to complete the CETMA build.

Now I just have to be patient until August….=-)

Clever Cycles Ride Through…

28 05 2010

Clever Cycles [Portland] has a newly renovated showroom…looks super nice!

CETMA Cargo Bike Videos

18 05 2010

CETMA Cargo Bike

18 05 2010

Doug and Fiona getting their CETMA on...

I like cargo bikes. I love my Surly Big Dummy.  However I must admit my gaze wanders to other cargo bikes.  My friend Doug has a cool CETMA cargo rig that he uses to get around on with his kids.

Front steering linkage...

Unlike my Big Dummy the CETMA is a front loading cargo bike.  Doug’s bike has a flat cargo platform and a cargo box attached to it.  The CETMA uses a steering linkage to take input from the bars and transmit it to the front wheel.

Fiona - a happy passenger!

The front cargo box with a bench seat is ideal for carrying a young child since you can keep an eye on her and communicate with her easily.  It’s also handy for carrying loose items without having to strap them down.

Bike Bins mounted to a rear rack...

The more I talked to Doug the more intrigued I was about his CETMA bike.  It seems like it would be an ideal companion for my Big Dummy.   Between the two bikes you could carry just about anything without much hassle.

Cruising the pathways...

Doug even let me try his CETMA…which was nice, but I was concerned about the safety of his daughter.  I was a bit wobbly at first until I relaxed and then it was a lot of fun bombing around town on the CETMA.  Its steering is quite sporty and once you get over the fact it steers via a linkage the handling isn’t as funky as you might expect.  I was also impressed how torsionally stiff the ride was.

Thanks to Doug for the test ride and trusting me with his wee one!

A CETMA moment...=-)

One really cool feature of the CETMA is the fact it breaks into two pieces [just behind the bars] for easy travel and shipping.

I’m keen enough about the CETMA I’m going to take a long hard look at my bikes and I may just have to cull the herd to raise some $$$ for a CETMA.  Just for product testing/blogging purposes of course…I don’t have a cargo bike problem….=-)

Fiona ducks for cover!...=-)

Bike Bike!

17 05 2010

The new Bike Bike LBS...

I just discovered a new commuter/cargo bike shop in Calgary thanks to my buddy Chris spilling the beans over a beer.  The new shop, called Bike Bike, is on the SW corner of 17th Ave SW and 15 St.  Naturally I had to cruise over and check it out.

Mmmm...commuter bikes...

The shop is fairly small, but packed with bikey goodness…they specialize in commuter and cargo bikes so I was in bike heaven surrounded by so many practical bikes.

They have lots of useful accessories...

Almost better than the great bikes they have are all the cool commuter and cargo accessories in the shop.  It’s a lot easier to decide if something will work for your bike when you can hold it in your hand and try it on your bike.  Typically these types of items are special orders at a mainstream LBS or online purchases only.

Looking towards the cash register from the back of the shop...

I’m not going to go into too much detail here [I’ll let the photos speak for me], but if you are a Calgary cyclist into Dutch city bikes, North American city/commuter bikes and cargo bikes you should drop in and check them out.

Panniers, folders and a dutch style cargo monster!

Dahon folders and Dutch style cargo bike...

I couldn’t resist their cool selection of handlebars and scored a nice swept back riser bar for a very reasonable $25cdn.  I’m stoked as I’ve been eyeing up some bars online, but it’s hard to evaluate a handlebar from a small picture and shipping from the US is often more than the cost of the bar itself….=-(

Lots of sweet Brodies...

Bike Bike stocks a lot of Brodie urban bikes….the North American version of the Dutch city bike.

Batavus bikes for some Dutch flavour...

If you prefer a real Dutch city bike Bike Bike has some nice Batavus options.

Several cargo options...

If time allows I’d love to load up one of their cargo bikes with the wooden boxes up front and see how it handles compared to my Big Dummy.

Nutcase and Bern helmets...

Since my GF Sharon is from the UK I figured she needs one of the Union Jack Helmets from Nutcase.

More colourful skid lids...

I’m not sure I could pull off a snazzy Nutcase lid.

Shop rates...

The folks at the shop were very friendly and obviously really keen on the products they stock.  The great thing about a small LBS is you get really personal service and can develop a relationship with the staff so they know what you need and how best to help you.

Nice hardshell pannier on my Tikit...

I’m thinking a hardshell pannier like this Bike Bin might be a good idea so I can leave all my tools/locks/lights and such on my bike when I’m running errands without having to think about having them stolen.

A Typical Tikit Day…

12 05 2010

Dropping off my truck for service...

Unfolded and ready to head home...

Photo op on bridge over Elbow River Calgary Alberta...

Indian buffet downtown with a friend....yummy!

Trying out some spiffy hardshell panniers at the Bike Bike LBS...

"...Man she's tall...wonder if she likes folders?..."

Afternoon nap with the family...

Shopping for dinner...

Heading home for a BBQ...

DIY Uber Stable Kickback

14 04 2010

Photo: Everryday Adventures

If you are an Xtracycle [or Big Dummy] owner with a Kickback center stand this wider more stable DIY mod may interest you.  I found it while reading the excellent Biking in a Big City Blog.

eTikit Testing

19 03 2010

eTikit along the Bow River Calgary

Ken from Power in Motion [a Calgary electric bike specialist store] is letting me test the eTikit shown above as well as providing me with a slightly different electric assist kit I’ll mount on one of my Bike Friday Tikits.  I’m stoked to give these kits a thorough test and after a short ride yesterday I can see how this could be a deal maker for people who don’t want to drive there cars to commute, but can’t pedal a bike to work for whatever reasons.

To be honest I’m not an e-bike guy.  Which is why I don’t own an e-bike or talk about them much on this blog.  So I’m coming to this test with no real idea of how I’m going to feel or what’s happening in the e-bike world.  If you are an e-bike enthusiast please feel free to comment on what I write and point out any errors or misunderstandings on my part.  Also if you have any specific questions you want to see answered about these kits for the Tikit leave me a comment and I’ll answer your questions.

I’ll be posting my impressions at various points throughout the next few weeks.  I’ve also started a Flickr set for the eTikit and I’ll be uploading photos there as I take them.

I will also be posting some info about Power in Motion when I have a chance.  I had been in the shop last summer and it was pretty much 100% e-bikes.  When I dropped by the shop yesterday to meet with Ken I was surprised to see a Yuba Mundo, Xtracycle Radish and another Xtracycle equipped bike – cargo bike heaven!  I’m hoping to head back one day in April and do some back to back testing on all the cargo bikes as well as my Surly Big Dummy.  If you are from the Calgary area and interested in cargo bikes Power in Motion is well worth a visit.

Flanged Rohloffs from Thorn

18 03 2010

Standard Rohloff

Thorn bikes are now adding reinforcing flanges to Rohloff hubs used on their tandems [see photo below].  I’ve also read that they are drilling Rohloff hubs for 48 holes for tandem use.  So you could get a 48 hole Rohloff hub with flanges added…probably total overkill, but I’m sure someone will want one!

Rohloff with extra flange added.

I got these photos from this YACF thread and there is also a related thread on the Thorn Bike Forums here.

I should point out that I’ve been using a standard 32H Rohloff on my Surly Big Dummy under massive loads and had no issues.  I’m not suggesting getting your Rohloff drilled for 48 holes and/or adding extra flange reinforcement is needed except in the most extreme circumstances.

48 hole Rohloff

17 03 2010

Photo: Aaron's Bicycle Repair

Aaron’s Bicycle Repair will redrill your Rohloff hub so you can lace up a 48 hole rear wheel.  The service is low cost @ $50USD incl shipping back.  Rohloff hubs only come in 32 hole drillings from the factory.

Keeping in mind that a 32H non-dished Rohloff wheel is stronger than a 48H dished wheel I’m not really sure how necessary this is.  I’ve had 300lbs+ off cargo on my Big Dummy as well as my 165lbs with zero issues.

This will of course void your warranty!

Dreadnought 2

12 03 2010

photo: Aaron's Bicycle Repair

I found this cool cargo hauler on Aaron’s Bicycle Repair website.  They’ve got lots of great cargo bike information if you feel the urge to geek out.  This bike is based on the cargo monster ridden Val Kleitz [of Rolling Jackass fame!] so you know it’s practical and robust.

Xtracycle Hoodie & New Freeloaders

11 03 2010

Photo: Xtracycle.com

Xtracycle has a new bag system out called the Hoodie – [shown above].  Priced at $125USD for the bag and 2 V-racks it will be cheaper than the standard Freeloader setup with a more streamlined aesthetic, but it’s not nearly as versatile for carrying odd loads.

It doesn’t have a top deck so you’ll be limited how much weight you put on top and how well it carry a passenger and it won’t fit your Surly Big Dummy.

Having a lower cost option makes sense and gives people choices – that’s a good thing.

2010 Freeloaders

New 2010 Freeloaders are also going to hit the streets.  They are shown above on a 2010 Radish, but specific details on what’s new with these bags have not been released yet.

Getting some Kickback!

11 03 2010

Xtracycle Kickback

My Surly Big Dummy hasn’t seen any upgrades for a long time. One thing I’ve wanted was a centre stand.  The one I want is Val’s uber sweet Rolling Jackass Stand, but at $350USD I just never seem to get it high enough on the priority list to pull the trigger. Xtracycle makes this Kickback stand shown above and at $140USD I’d be willing to buy one one if I didn’t consider the design seriously flawed.

What’s wrong with the Kickback?

  • you can’t use the Kickback with Footsies to support a passenger’s feet.
  • every time you want to install or remove the Wideloader side racks you have to remove and reinstall the Kickback.

As an apartment dweller I have to remove all my Xtracycle attachments every time I go in and out of the building.  Even if you have a garage do you really want to ride a 4’+ wide bike when you have no cargo load on board? So the Wideloaders really need to come off regularly.  The Footsies are a great way for passengers to feel more secure when riding on the back of your Big Dummy.  I use them a lot.  So you have to ask yourself why would Xtracycle build a product that makes one of their useful accessories impossible to use and another useful accessory a pain to install/remove?  I still haven’t figured that out!  Especially considering that Val’s design is totally compatible with the whole Xtracycle accessory line up.  Go figure!

So my Big Dummy has been rolling centre stand free for two years.  Its poor side mounted kickstand has taken a beating and it has fallen over a few times when loading/unloading. I was hoping Xtracycle would redesign their stand to mount like Val’s and allow for full compatibility with their other accessories.  However, it seems that hope was in vain.

Recently Dylan decided his Kickback stand was not particularly useful to him and was generous enough to let me have it for less than half price – thanks!

Why spend any money on a product I’m so down on?

  • I want to confirm that my assessment of the Kickback is accurate.
  • I want to confirm how useful a centre stand is so I can justify buying one of Val’s.
  • I’m hoping that 2010 will be the year of the garage for me.  If I don’t have to install/remove the Wideloaders twice per ride I think my ability to use the Kickback will be greatly improved.
  • Someone will take it off my hands for what I paid for it so it’s a risk free transaction.

Photo: Nathan Thompson

The photo above shows Val’s Rolling Jackass stand installed on Nathan Thompson’s Big Dummy. Notice the cunning design doesn’t mess with the attachment points for the Footsies or Wideloaders. Great job Val!

Heavy Haulers…

9 03 2010

Two of my cargo machines...

Terracycle Cargo Monster

13 02 2010

Cargo Monster on a trike...

Terracycle is offering a cargo kit called the Cargo Monster similar to the Xtracycle Free Radical, but designed for recumbents and odd shaped upright bikes that won’t work with the Xtracycle Free Radical.

The Cargo Monster features:

  • Full Chrome Moly tubing construction
  • 100% Xtracycle compatability
  • Custom laser cut lugs
  • 203mm disk brake tab
  • Fender mounts
  • Built in Idler mounts
  • 20 and 26″ wheel capability- and you can put a 26″ wheel on a 20″ trike if you want…
  • Cable extender, cable, and extra housing for rear derailleur included
  • Model specific clamps and adapters make everything very sturdy and easy to attach
  • Motor mounts for electric mid drive
  • Fits standard 135mm rear dropout spacing

Cargo Monster Parts

Happily the Cargo Monster will accept all Xtracycle accessories which means you have access to a wide range of cargo solutions.

At $770USD for the sub-frame kit this isn’t a low cost solution as you’ll be over $1000 once you get a few necessary Xtracycle parts, but for the recumbent trike or bike owner who wants to haul huge loads this is the only game in town I know of.

Cargo Monster in action...

I haven’t tried this product myself so I can’t say too much more about it other than it looks like a really interesting design.

Terracycle Big Dummy & Xtracycle Idlers

12 02 2010

Terracycle Big Dummy Dual Idler

Terracycle is offer a dual idler kit for the Surly Big Dummy and a single idler kit for the Xtracycle.  I haven’t used either of these products, but I have used other Terracycle idler kits on my recumbents and was pleased with the quality and performance of them.

Xtracycle Single Idler

Xtracycle Side Rack Protection

18 01 2010

Using an old tire to protect your rig...

I found this idea posted on the Surly Blog and thought it was crafty enough to warrant reposting.  Not surprisingly it originally came from Devo.  If 2010 sees me change accommodations and get the garage I’ve being dreaming about I will definitely give this a shot since I will be able to leave my Surly Big Dummy all setup and ready to roll.

Big Dummy Frame Clearance

4 11 2009

Surly Big Dummy

Mike let me know that Tree Fort Bikes is clearing out Surly Big Dummy frames for just over $600USD. Their online store is showing all sizes in stock – although that could be incorrect.  Anyways if you are looking to build up a Big Dummy this is a sweet deal.