Anybody using the Xtracycle kit (attached to and extending bicycle frame) on tour, in lieu of panniers or trailer? If so, how do you like it?
Haven't tried one but I'm intrigued. No rack/pannier BS such as rack mounting, heel clearence, broken racks/panniers etc. Tons of space, supposed to have smooth ride, no special bike required, not expensive, stable handling, works on dirt, useful when not touring. Supposed to weigh less than 10 lbs., rivals the weight of racks and panniers.
If you already have a mountain bike all you have to do is get one of these and your good to go. That's a mighty cheap way to get into touring.
I have one on my hybrid bike and love it! With the longer wheelbase it's a much smoother ride. The envelopes are really big. If you would tour with them the only thing I think would be a downside is you would have to get some drybags for all your gear since you can't protect your gear from the elements. I haven't toured with it yet but I'm hoping to this summer!
Older I get, Better I was
Andy Jensen has a journal on CGOAB that describes his experience with the Extra Cycle. Both the pros and the problems. It is also one of the better written journals IMO http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=lt&doc_id=234&v=0
I haven't tried one but you should check out these guys (www.ridingthespine.com) riding Extracycles from the Arctic to points South. Entwined in their humorous journals are some comments on the Extracycles performance derived from hard-earned experience.
I'm reading www.ridingthespine.com and 3000 miles into the journey, south of Banff, two of the Xtracycles have broken. They seem to have broken as a result having just ridden some really rough singletrack. So what do they do? Ride some more singletrack instead of taking the road. So far, it seems to me, that the Xtracycles would hold up on the road and singletrack is pushing it. One guy says the combined weight of his bike and load is 120 pounds.
I'm on tour right now with my Xtracycle. I've got 30 lbs loaded on each side, and a 10 lbs handlebar bag (mainly for my DSLR, cell phone, maps, etc). It rides great. It may vary for you, but I do about 11-12 mph when there's a decent headwind, 14-15 mph when there's no wind, and 17-20 mph when there's a tailwind (this is assuming flat terrain). I don't know how that compares to touring with similar loads using front and rear panniers, but I'm happy with it so far. The ride is smooooooth.
The Xtracycle is one of those things you really don't understand until you get one. Then you wonder why you didn't buy one two years ago. It's like a whole new bike.
Thanks for replying. Are you doing road, singletrack, or combo? Please describe your bike; mtb,hybrid,road, frame material, rims and tires, etc.
Originally Posted by nebben123
The bike is a Giant Iguana with disc brakes, 2003 model. I'm using Hope Pro II 36-spoke hubs with Sun Rims Mammoth's on both the front and rear wheel. I am traveling on roads only.
Also, I am using Seattle Sports' Super Latitude dry bags (medium size) on each side to store my gear. Works very well.
nebben123 I am really interested in the extracycle. r panniers and steel racks together weigh about 15 or so pounds. It seems that I could match or even cut weight with the extracycle. I would love to hear more about using one on tour.
I wonder if the long wheelbase is a pain when maneuvering in tight spots? ( I think that this is the thing that most concerns me with the extracycle. I am ofter pleasantly surprised at the tight turns I can make on my fully loaded bike. I like being able to swing it around quickly and easily. Another thing is I often just run the bike right into a vestibule of a grocery store, library, restaurant etc where I can keep a eye on it, I wonder if the extracycle will make that impractical due to the increased length.)
Is the location of the load weight a improvement over panniers front and back?
Does the long chain length cause problems with shifting?
Do you figure that you have saved weight compared to a normal touring set up?
Do you miss the lack of pockets and compartments that one finds on panniers?
Does the bike ride significantly differently from a normal touring rig?
Do you think that a stronger rear wheel is indicated due to the aft weight placement?
Any and all thought that you may want to share would be greatly appreciated.