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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 06-16-05, 03:21 PM   #1
chocula
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Anyone have experience with the Xtracycle?

I'm looking for ways to increase a bicycle's cargo capacity and the threads on grocery store shopping and trailers have been very instructive. I must admit I'm currently enchanted by the Xtracycle. I downloaded the manual and showed it to the owner of my trusted LBS and he is not impressed. He's wary of changing a bike's geometry and the negative effects that could have on handling.

So I'd like to ask, has anyone had experience with an Xtracycle conversion? Is the finished product as good as the Xtracycle Web site seems to suggest?
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Old 06-17-05, 01:59 PM   #2
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It would get great in the summer, at slow speeds, BUT no high speeds, no winter time use. I check it out I can get move into my Ortlieb Classic panniers and Burley Nomad trailer with the rack then I can the Xtracycle, excpt for the extra person.
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Old 06-20-05, 10:54 AM   #3
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They are fantastic: single best tool in our car-free-with-kids household. I have yet to meet anybody with a negative opinion of them who has actually tried one, but sure have heard a lot of BS about how it's a bad idea. I think it's too original for some people to get their heads around. I presume you've seen the photo galleries of what people actually carry with them? http://tinyurl.com/2zalf. That's not marketing material: it's all user-submitted.

I sold my BOB trailer after trying an Xtracycle in 2001. I continue to use a child trailer with an Xtracycle for the weather protection trailers afford passengers. Some trailers like the bikesatwork truss models will handle more than an Xtracycle, but how often do you need to haul refrigerators?

Name a trailer that can handle an adult passenger plus 6 bags of groceries, that adds only about 20 inches to your total length, that weighs less than 10lb by itself, adds no width, and rides great on or off-road, loaded or not. As a bonus, you can back it up without having to go to truck driver school like a trailer.

No high speeds, no winter? I regularly hit 40mph on descents with my wife on back. And winter, well:
Don't try that with a trailer: the drive wheel won't be loaded enough for adequate traction.

Disclaimer: I don't have a financial stake in selling Xtracycles, but I am developing an accessory product specifically for them. I wouldn't if I didn't believe in them.
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Old 06-20-05, 12:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, tfarhner.

At present, I can't afford the Xtracycle conversion. Nor am I certain I have the right bike to use in this operation. However, I'm still very interested in doing this. I bought an old (but barely used) L.L. Bean hybrid at a yard sale a couple weeks back and I'm outfitting it with grocery bag panniers so I can handle more cargo-intensive errands (the Wald baskets on my '79 Peugeot UE-10 just don't hold enough). I'm planning to track my fuel savings and put this money aside for an Xtracycle, while keeping my eyes peeled for a steel frame, unsuspended MTB to convert.
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Old 06-21-05, 04:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfahrner
They are fantastic: single best tool in our car-free-with-kids household. I have yet to meet anybody with a negative opinion of them who has actually tried one, but sure have heard a lot of BS about how it's a bad idea. I think it's too original for some people to get their heads around. I presume you've seen the photo galleries of what people actually carry with them? http://tinyurl.com/2zalf. That's not marketing material: it's all user-submitted.

I sold my BOB trailer after trying an Xtracycle in 2001. I continue to use a child trailer with an Xtracycle for the weather protection trailers afford passengers. Some trailers like the bikesatwork truss models will handle more than an Xtracycle, but how often do you need to haul refrigerators?

Name a trailer that can handle an adult passenger plus 6 bags of groceries, that adds only about 20 inches to your total length, that weighs less than 10lb by itself, adds no width, and rides great on or off-road, loaded or not. As a bonus, you can back it up without having to go to truck driver school like a trailer.

No high speeds, no winter? I regularly hit 40mph on descents with my wife on back. And winter, well:
Don't try that with a trailer: the drive wheel won't be loaded enough for adequate traction.

Disclaimer: I don't have a financial stake in selling Xtracycles, but I am developing an accessory product specifically for them. I wouldn't if I didn't believe in them.

Well this is my question for you, how fast do you hit on a flat? I see that you have disk brakes on the front, is the bike a cheaper bike that most people would have or is it a top of the line bike. The Xtracycle I have tested have not been the top of the line bikes, more like a $400 bike. In the winter time what do you have on the back wheel? If you don't have enff wight on the back of those things no go in the snow. Do you use it every day? Most of the newer bikes and bike attachment can't handle a 19 yo car-free college student, who does a lease 500 miles a month.

Good Luck

GEEK
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Old 06-21-05, 09:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeklpc1985
Well this is my question for you, how fast do you hit on a flat? I see that you have disk brakes on the front, is the bike a cheaper bike that most people would have or is it a top of the line bike. The Xtracycle I have tested have not been the top of the line bikes, more like a $400 bike. In the winter time what do you have on the back wheel? If you don't have enff wight on the back of those things no go in the snow. Do you use it every day? Most of the newer bikes and bike attachment can't handle a 19 yo car-free college student, who does a lease 500 miles a month.
There's no appreciable speed hit on the flat - depends on the usual considerations of gearing, tires, aero, etc. Naturally, heavy loads increase your rolling resistance and require more energy to accelerate, but that's the same with any setup. Probably better with Xtracycle than a trailer, because there are no additional wheels, and no extra width (aero penalty).

I've had Xtracycles on $100 bikes and on a 100% custom $4K+ bike, into which the Xtracycle system is integrated. The $4K one is not 40 times better than the $100 one. But I feel better carrying my wife and child around in all weather, day and night, up and down on the cost-no-object version. My wife likes it too - calls it "the couch". The cost alone isn't as important as certain design features to a good ride, and you can find old steel MTBs cheap that work better than the latest greatest as base bikes.

I have a lot of bikes, and I use whichever is best suited to the task at hand. Xtracycle is for family outings, shopping, and general hauling. Now that I'm messing with electrically assisted Xtracycles, I use them also when I'm too tired/sick/injured or in too much of a hurry to prefer a regular bike. But in past years I have ridden plain Xtracycles 100 miles a week commuting. Other people use them for long-haul touring. There's a Vancouver-Moscow expedition underway right now using Xtracycles, across Siberia.

I'm 39. If I was 19 I'd have no excuse for the electric stuff, maybe.

I don't have personal experience riding Xtracycles, laden or otherwise, on ice or snow, but I don't see why fat low-pressure knobbies or studded tires wouldn't help.
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Old 07-02-05, 11:22 PM   #7
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I have one, and so far I really like it. I don't notice any difference in the way the bike handles. You can ride as fast with the XtraCycle as you could before the conversion. That being said, you probably will not be taking an XtraCycle-equipped bike on fast club rides. But whatever bike you use would probably be one that wasn't extremely fast even before the conversion.
You can definitely haul cargo with the XtraCycle. It will handle six full size grocery bags with ease. There doesn't seem to be any particular weight limit for the load, unlike a normal rack/pannier combination.
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Old 07-23-05, 01:14 PM   #8
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I rode a freinds xtra and notices the wheelbase thing a little bit, then i noticed he had like 40lbs in the back. And i thought it was just 'a little handleing' difference.

Speed only matters when there's an uphill with the extra weight, course the conversions only 10lbs. Theres no extra wheel so no extra rolling resistance and the drivetrain is the same so no extra mechanical resistance. If you put an extra on a good bike you should have a good cruising speed, a little wind resistance aside.

There was a blog by a guy riding cross country on a road bike with an extra, forget the name but on crazyguyonabike.
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