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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 10-01-07, 02:19 PM   #1
Cosmoline
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B.O.B. Yak--pros and cons

I've been having lots of fun over the past month with the B.O.B. Yak trailer I picked up at REI. The cost is kind of , esp. compared with the fifty bucks I paid for the old kid trailer I had been using for cargo. But it's worth the cost in many ways. First and foremost, it balances perfectly with the bike, at least as long as you load it right. Even with 80 lbs. of crud in a tote I can turn and move as normal, with none of the usual drag from the trailer. The problems start to arise if you load it much higher than you rear axle. Then it starts getting off balance very easily, esp. if you stop and try to park it.

Still, for grocery runs or long hauls it's been much nicer than my old trailer. In longer runs and uphill its a godsend for my legs. Has anyone else been using one?
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Old 10-01-07, 03:24 PM   #2
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I routinely carry about twice what the BoB is rated for when I go grocery shopping and I've yet to have any problems, and I stack stuff up to and above the eighteen inch limit they recommend.

So long as you put the heavy stuff at the bottom and as far forward as possible any issues should be minimal.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:13 PM   #3
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I ran into some difficulties when I stacked a 5'x2' box containing a commercial bookshelf (about 70 lbs) on top of an empty tote. It was the only way I could secure it. That was an "interesting" ride home.
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Old 10-02-07, 06:22 AM   #4
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I've got a BoB Ibex which I use for grocery shopping, hauling stuff like old bikes I've bought cheap, touring off road with camping gear etc, road tours, in fact anything I can find to do with it so I don't use the car, I've even taken an injured parrot to the vets in it. Oh yeah, my Staffordshire bull terrier loves being towed around the backyard as well. It's brilliant and in my opinion the best bike trailer EVER
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Old 10-02-07, 07:10 AM   #5
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I've got the old Yakima version, the Big Tow, and I love mine. I bent the heck out of the hitch pins over the years and just replaced them with some hardware from my local TrueValue. I have hauled a new microwave home with it, a queen size memory foam mattress in the box. Trickiest thing is hauling the xmas tree home. I get the tree "bundled" then use some large hooks to hang it over the side of the trailer, not perfect and steering is tricky but it works.
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Old 10-02-07, 10:06 AM   #6
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At some point in the very near future I may be working out how to haul several parts bikes home with it from the local cop shop... that should prove to be rather interesting.
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Old 10-02-07, 03:42 PM   #7
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At some point in the very near future I may be working out how to haul several parts bikes home with it from the local cop shop... that should prove to be rather interesting.
Marrock,

Like this?.....www.flickr.com/photos/stevegor
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Old 10-02-07, 03:50 PM   #8
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Aye, but it'll probably go more like this.
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Old 10-02-07, 03:52 PM   #9
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Aye, but it'll probably go more like this.

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Old 10-02-07, 10:19 PM   #10
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I saw one on my CL for $150 with the bag a few months ago. Im still kicking myself in the ***** for not buying it.
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Old 10-02-07, 10:36 PM   #11
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Damn... I'd have jumped all over it for that price and I already have one.
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Old 10-03-07, 01:03 PM   #12
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I'm surprized you prefer the BOB over the kids trailer for things like groceries. I have a Yakima Big Tow, like the BOB and a Burley Nomad and much prefer the Nomad for groceries since I don't have to worry about it tipping over.
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Old 10-03-07, 01:21 PM   #13
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Only time I ever tipped over with te BoB was about two years ago when I got crowded into a snowbank by an asshat in a car that thought it was a mortal sin or something to cross the center line instead of not trying kill the guy on his bike.

But that's ok... when I got to the store I found his car in the parking lot.
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Old 10-04-07, 12:59 PM   #14
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Yesterday I tested the limits of my BOB when I picked up a KNAACK jobsite box. These are big steel boxes for storing tools and the like outside. I managed to get it balanced and wrapped it down with an "X" of bungees. I was pretty tippy, but when trying to park the thing I realized if I let it fall the corner of that huge steel box hit concrete before the bike was off balance! So basically it was impossible to fall over with the box on it. I left it leaning there and grabbed my falafel, then continued home. I held up traffic something fierce, but who cares?
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Old 10-07-07, 12:23 PM   #15
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Once again, I get to rave about BOB trailers. They're great. Over ten years together, and we've never had a fight! For those of you deciding, let me assure you that the one wheel vs two wheel argument really isn't much of an argument. For the usual 75 pound and under load that a BOB carries, there isn't a problem with balance. And I've overdone it on occasion! Think of your usual errands, and factor in the reduced drag that a one wheel trailer provides (as opposed to a two wheel trailer). Also, the BOB tracks REALLY well, which is a blessing almost everywhere-off road and in traffic.

Tony-who is about to run errands with the BOB and get (among other things) a big ol' bucket of kitty litter.
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Old 10-07-07, 03:09 PM   #16
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Once again, I get to rave about BOB trailers. They're great. Over ten years together, and we've never had a fight! For those of you deciding, let me assure you that the one wheel vs two wheel argument really isn't much of an argument. For the usual 75 pound and under load that a BOB carries, there isn't a problem with balance. And I've overdone it on occasion! Think of your usual errands, and factor in the reduced drag that a one wheel trailer provides (as opposed to a two wheel trailer). Also, the BOB tracks REALLY well, which is a blessing almost everywhere-off road and in traffic.

Tony-who is about to run errands with the BOB and get (among other things) a big ol' bucket of kitty litter.


+1 on that Tony,
Learning how to pack a BoB and when offroad touring/adventuring what NOT to take.....unessential stuff, is the key factor. It's all very well that other brands of trailers claim a bigger payload, but it's the rider that has to pull it....and a 2 wheel trailer on hilly single track??........NO THANKS!!
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Old 10-07-07, 05:01 PM   #17
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The only problem I ever had with with mine is a BAD case of high-speed wiggle-wobbles going downhill (Mt passes while touring). load the weight towards the front and it isnt so bad...and dont try to run downhill at 40mph!! Love mine,it has far exceded all my expectations!!

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Old 10-07-07, 08:44 PM   #18
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I bought a Yak in 1999. I liked it, though on the flexy bikes I favored it was easy to load up enough to handle badly. In 2001 I got one of the first Xtracycles. A month later I put the Yak up for sale on Craigslist. The first prospective buyer asked why I was selling. I told the truth. He tried my Xtracycle and bought one himself. The next prospective buyer asked the same question, and I lied. He bought the Yak. I've always felt bad about that. I can see a Yak if you really can't afford or afford to store a bike dedicated to being long, but otherwise, well, I can't. 200lbs capacity including adult passenger, zero extra wheels or linkage, adds only 18" to bike length, weighs less than a Yak...
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Old 10-09-07, 05:09 AM   #19
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I bought a Yak in 1999. I liked it, though on the flexy bikes I favored it was easy to load up enough to handle badly. In 2001 I got one of the first Xtracycles. A month later I put the Yak up for sale on Craigslist. The first prospective buyer asked why I was selling. I told the truth. He tried my Xtracycle and bought one himself. The next prospective buyer asked the same question, and I lied. He bought the Yak. I've always felt bad about that. I can see a Yak if you really can't afford or afford to store a bike dedicated to being long, but otherwise, well, I can't. 200lbs capacity including adult passenger, zero extra wheels or linkage, adds only 18" to bike length, weighs less than a Yak...

Can't argue with that, I suppose, but seeing you have tried both, can you answer me a few questions?

1: What is the handling like with a fully loaded xtracycle offroad on single track and on road, compared to a BoB?
2: With using a BoB for camping, you can unhitch then go MTBing, what is a xtracycle like unloaded for MTBing, does the extra 18" make it cumbersome on narrow trails?
3: Is there issues with durability on the bike where the xtracycle joins to it when used heavily offroad?
4: I've read that the xtracycle has some flexing, which some say is like have rear suspension, is that right?
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Old 10-09-07, 09:21 AM   #20
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1: What is the handling like with a fully loaded xtracycle offroad on single track and on road, compared to a BoB?
Generally much better for a same size load. There's none of the push-me-pull-you effect of the trailer as you traverse little dips and rises. There's simply no extra wheel; tracking is a non-issue. The load weights the drive wheel, improving traction. Um, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7ZuGIev9uI . Here's also an account of an offroad tour undertaken by 2 guys, one with a BOB Ibex and the other with an Xtracycle: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=29543&v=2t

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2: With using a BoB for camping, you can unhitch then go MTBing, what is a xtracycle like unloaded for MTBing, does the extra 18" make it cumbersome on narrow trails?
Fine I think. I'm not well qualified to answer, because while I've ridden lots of bikes offroad when I had to, I have never understood the appeal. Actually the only common kind of bike I haven't ridden offroad is a plain ol' MTB with knobbies, suspension, etc., because I can't get past how bad they feel on pavement, and that's always been my priority as a lifelong car-free transportational biker.

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3: Is there issues with durability on the bike where the xtracycle joins to it when used heavily offroad?
No. But you can taco your rear wheel if it's not built well and you max out the load, and there's some incidence of the Xtracycle itself cracking rear of the dropouts in heavy offroad use: those guys in the video above experienced that on their epic fully-loaded 20,000mi+ offroad expedition. Their solution wasn't to get a trailer, but to build a heavier-duty Xtracycle: http://clevercycles.com/?p=179.

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4: I've read that the xtracycle has some flexing, which some say is like have rear suspension, is that right?
There's a little extra vertical compliance, yes. A bigger deal is just that the further back the wheel is from your butt, the less your butt tracks bumps. The flex people talk about with Xtracycles is usually torsional flex induced by heavy loads and less stiff frames, exacerbated by rocking the bike back and forth, as by standing to climb. Yak-ed bikes flex much the same way under those conditions, only worse because attached at 2, not 3 points to the bike.

Last edited by tfahrner; 10-12-07 at 10:13 PM. Reason: added references
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Old 10-09-07, 09:22 AM   #21
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I checked out the xtracycle, didn't like it, didn't care for the design, the hyperextended chainline, the leverage put on frame pieces not designed to take it, and the ease with which you can load it off-centered.

As for the capacity, I've carried 150-200 lbs. in my Ibex with no problems on a regular basis since I use it for our grocery shopping.


I just don't go flying off any precipices with it when it's loaded like that
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Old 10-09-07, 10:44 AM   #22
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I've certainly thought about converting an old bike of mine (a mid 1980s StreetStomper) into an Xtracycle. Other than an attack of being cheap, one of my reservations about the Xtracycle is that they don't-in my opinion-seem to age that well. Any thoughts on this?

I don't think that there is a utility bike that will work for everyone. People's needs are different, and then there's that very hard to quantify thing otherwise known as Personal Preference.

I wrote once about going to play music (one of my careers!) using my BOB. I would load up an amplifier, two acoustic guitars, music stand, mic stand, and mics and chords and such and pedal to the gig. I'm not sure that this would have been possible on an Xtracycle; it was BARELY possible with the BOB! Now, I'd load up my Bikes At Work trailer-and also haul the digital piano.
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Old 10-09-07, 11:16 AM   #23
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I've certainly thought about converting an old bike of mine (a mid 1980s StreetStomper) into an Xtracycle. Other than an attack of being cheap, one of my reservations about the Xtracycle is that they don't-in my opinion-seem to age that well. Any thoughts on this?
Some production runs of the snapdeck used poor finishes that didn't hold up well to water and sun. That's been addressed, though some continue to put on a coat of spar varnish. Also the material quality of the slings has varied a bit over the years. And the rack sockets catch water which will eventually lead to rust. Enthusiasts improvise with latex seals, etc. Otherwise?

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I wrote once about going to play music (one of my careers!) using my BOB. I would load up an amplifier, two acoustic guitars, music stand, mic stand, and mics and chords and such and pedal to the gig. I'm not sure that this would have been possible on an Xtracycle; it was BARELY possible with the BOB! Now, I'd load up my Bikes At Work trailer-and also haul the digital piano.
Sounds totally possible with Xtracycle, especially using the wideloader and longloader accessories, lashing stuff to the deck. If not, you can always hook up a trailer like the BAW _to the Xtracycle_. Doesn't have to be either/or. http://clevercycles.com/?p=56 ; http://www.surlybikes.com/uploaded_i...003-747791.jpg
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Old 10-12-07, 06:05 PM   #24
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I don't think the x-tra cycle would help much when it came to hauling oversized boxes and such. The Yak has some limits in this regard, but by keeping the load free from the frame and wheels it lets you carry oddly shaped objects, albeit slowly.
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Old 10-12-07, 07:25 PM   #25
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Boxes no problem: http://flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/448420598/
4 bags of groceries and 2 kids: http://flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/433059309/
How about 2 kids and their mom... as passengers: http://flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/529960158/
Move house: http://flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/433061389/
3 giant pallets: http://flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/448420944/
Oversize? http://flickr.com/photos/fastboy/361037597/

I've moved a 20' ladder, various large pieces of furniture, 55-gallon drums... what else ya got? Really, Yak is not a bad product, but totally outclassed here.

Last edited by tfahrner; 10-12-07 at 09:56 PM.
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