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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 04-04-08, 06:26 PM   #1
d2create
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Xtracycle on Electra Straight 8?

Out of the 4 bikes I own, the electra is the one I'd want to convert to an xtracycle... me thinks.
But i have a couple concerns.
One is the braking system. The straight 8 uses a shimano nexus hub and foot brakes... no hand brakes. Stock brakes ok or do i need to add brakes somehow.
My second concern is changing flats. I might use this for commuting (11 miles each way) and have not yet had to fix a flat on it so I have no idea how hard it is in stock form, let alone converted to an xtracycle.
Any idea?

OR.... I guess I could convert my Atlantis, but not having put any real thought into that, my initial reaction is to cringe.
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Old 04-04-08, 07:23 PM   #2
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There's a guy here on bikeforums who has a beautiful website including photos of his fleet of Xtracycles - most of them are coaster brake models, and he apparently has no troubles with them. I don't know exactly how much he puts them through, as I would certainly find a coaster brake insufficient carrying large amounts of cargo - particularly downhill.

The website is http://bikerubbish.com

You could always get a new front fork with some brake tabs on it, that wouldn't be too bad - finding one that looked good on the Straight 8 might be harder though

Changing a flat on an Xtracycle isn't really any more difficult than it used to be, from my experience. There's no special mechanism, the wheel is held in place by a normal vertical dropout.
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Old 04-04-08, 11:57 PM   #3
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The axle on the Shimano nexus hub may be too short for the xtracycle. You may not be thrilled about the idea of squeezing the xtracycle with a wood clamp...
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Old 04-05-08, 11:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by d2create View Post
Out of the 4 bikes I own, the electra is the one I'd want to convert to an xtracycle... me thinks.
But i have a couple concerns.
One is the braking system. The straight 8 uses a shimano nexus hub and foot brakes... no hand brakes. Stock brakes ok or do i need to add brakes somehow.
My second concern is changing flats. I might use this for commuting (11 miles each way) and have not yet had to fix a flat on it so I have no idea how hard it is in stock form, let alone converted to an xtracycle.
Any idea?

OR.... I guess I could convert my Atlantis, but not having put any real thought into that, my initial reaction is to cringe.
I assume that the straight 8 rear end is set up like the electra bikes I have. If that is the case

I've never had any issue with the brakes/load on them. I don't load them up to capacity every day, but I've loaded them up pretty good with people/bikes etc etc and have never had any issue. We don't have lots of huge hills around here, but I do cart stuff up and down a couple pretty big ones.

For example.



Changing flats- This is a pretty big bummer once you have the x kit on. (not on front wheel, just the rear wheel)

You do have to clamp the frame and squeeze it in just a little to fit the freerad attachment on it. It's easy to do, once you've done it a few times, but I would suggest practicing in your garage a few times before you have to do it on the road.

The biggest annoyance(not that big) is that you have to carry assorted tools just to change a flat. Clamps,screwdriver, 2 crescent wrenches, plus normal flat changing stuff.

That being said, you can easily fit all this stuff in one of the inner pockets on the bags and never think about them again until you need them. Also, the rear tire on these cruisers are so big( I don't know about the straight 8) and beefy, you really have to roll over something obvious to make it go flat. It's only happened once in the time we've had ours and we ride them pretty much daily.

If you do decide to convert it, be ready for attention(good) and lots of it. People will want to stop you and talk about it, you will often come out from a store and find people clustered around it, little(and big) kids will want to ride on it etc etc. You will have a very real feeling of spreading "bike cheer" wherever you go. If any of that does not suit you, DO NOT do it.

Put a skatedeck on the back, and some down low glow at night at you will multiply that factor by about 300
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Old 04-10-08, 03:06 PM   #5
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Also, the rear tire on these cruisers are so big( I don't know about the straight 8) and beefy, you really have to roll over something obvious to make it go flat. It's only happened once in the time we've had ours and we ride them pretty much daily.
Yeah, the tires on the straight 8 are freakin massive!
Its actually one of the things keeping me from pulling the trigger because of the associated rolling resistance.

And what's this about the hub axle being too short and wood clamps???
Should the hub be replaced?

I'm really not sure which direction to take. I have 4 bikes right now and that's one too many. I want to convert the straight 8 because it's so darn cool looking. And I never ride it as is because one of my other bikes always seems to be better for the job at hand. My rivendell is my current commuter so i have toyed with the idea of doing the conversion on that one. Then i have a custom single speed I built up which i toyed with replacing with a custom surly/xtracycle build using some of the parts from the single speed. And then selling the straight 8 and left over single speed parts and maybe getting a new single speed.
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Old 04-10-08, 08:21 PM   #6
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Are the straight 8 tires bigger than a 26 x 2.35" Schwalbe Big Apple? I'm not having any problems with clearance on mine. In fact, I saw some fenders at Wallingford Bicycle that can fit 60mm wide tires. I'll have to ask them if the Big Apples will clear. If you don't do the straight 8, then I will, I've been checking out the bikerubbish site, and I think I'd love to have an X-cruiser. I like the Phat cycles X-rated series, but it doesn't look like the xtracycle will fit.
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Old 04-13-08, 08:18 PM   #7
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Are the straight 8 tires bigger than a 26 x 2.35" Schwalbe Big Apple?
24 x 3"

Yes, 3".

These are monster truck tires.
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Old 04-14-08, 06:21 PM   #8
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24 x 3"

Yes, 3".

These are monster truck tires.
Nice, maybe I'll see you around... I've only seen one other xtracycle around here, Rice Village. I saw a few Straight 8's at the Westheimer block party this weekend. I know the cruiser guys liked my X, when I pulled up with a full cooler on one side and camera equipment on the other.
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