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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 04-07-08, 08:34 PM   #1
DocB
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Xtracycle for hauling kids? How big a frame? Cheaper to build than buy a full bike?

3 part post:

1. So I've been hunting for a new bike for the purpose of hauling a bike trailer to pull my daughter around town. I was looking for a used hybrid or road bike (of which I've found a few) and I was then planning on dropping some cash on a Burley Trailer. However, I just stumbled on the Xtracycle with the Peapod and this looks like a great solution. Has anybody on here used the Peapod?


2. Even if I go with the Xtracycle I still need a new bike. I see a great deal of talk about the Big Dummy but I see it only goes to 22". I'm 6'2" and am measured to ride a 59cm road bike. Will the BD be too small for me?


3. Is it cheaper to buy a bike with the full setup already or go with the frame alone and piece it all together?

Any help you can give would be much appreciated!
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Old 04-07-08, 08:37 PM   #2
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The Big Dummy is near sold out, you may have better luck sourcing a Xtracycle proper.

Don't have kids, so I'm no help with the pea-pod.

It's usually cheeper to buy a built up bike and add the xtracycle rather than buying a frameset and components separately.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:51 PM   #3
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I agree with Allen...cost-wise it would be cheaper to buy a new/used bike and an xtracycle kit.

As far as the Big Dummy, at 6'1" mine is an 18", which is the height of the seat tube - the horizontal top-tube length is 59.6 cm, so you would probably fit a 20" or 22" just fine.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:16 AM   #4
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I'm 6'2 and got a 20" dummy. Email surly with a few measurements (height, inseam), they will recommend a size for you.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:51 AM   #5
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I thought I read at some point that the Big Dummy was not compatible with the Pea Pod? Is that true? My kid is too little for me to be thinking about this yet but I have an Xtracycle in mind for down the road.

Edited: here's the answer, which looks like "sort of."
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Old 04-08-08, 10:02 AM   #6
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the most important question is how old is your kid? IMO, they grow out of the peapod way too quick.

I put my three year old on the back of my xtracycle just sitting on the snapdeck with just an adjustable stoker and a u-bar for him to hold on to.
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Old 04-18-08, 10:27 AM   #7
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I find it hard to justify buying Xtracycle just for hauling a kid.
How old & how heavy is your daughter? Bobike Maxi a.k.a. Peapod goes up to 50lbs.
I'm typically taking my 3.5 y.o (<40lbs) or 4.5 y.o neighbor (45lbs).
I had a 60lbs 7 y.o. on it but it was uncomfortable.
FWIW I've got my Bobike from eBay for less than $100 and mounted it to my commuter hybrid bike (worth maybe $100):

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Old 04-18-08, 10:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DocB View Post
2. Even if I go with the Xtracycle I still need a new bike. I see a great deal of talk about the Big Dummy but I see it only goes to 22". I'm 6'2" and am measured to ride a 59cm road bike. Will the BD be too small for me?
I ride a 58cm road bike and fit comfortably on a 18" Big Dummy. Don't size the Big Dummy by the stand over/seat tube measurement [it is intentionally low]. Size it based on the effective top tube length:

16" BD = 57.3cm
18" BD = 59.6cm
20" BD = 61.4cm
22" BD = 63.2cm

Obviously if you use swept back C-bars [like the Big Dummy complete from Xtracycle] you'll need a longer TT and if you use drops you'll need a shorter TT.

Xtracycle says they have limited quantities of the 16" & 18" frames & complete bikes. They also have quite a few other Xtracycle completes available at different price points.
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Old 04-18-08, 10:07 PM   #9
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I find it hard to justify buying Xtracycle just for hauling a kid.
Hey, that's what helped push me over the edge on the Xtracycle. I just don't like trailers. I mean, for the price of a trailer that can even equal the weight capability of the Xtracycle, you're spending the same amount with (for me) less utility. I'm counting the days til my son turns one. I'm looking for a Bobike Maxi Plus. Putting it on the Xtracycle won't affect my handling like a child seat would if I didn't have the Xtracycle and that added wheelbase. Later on, you can fit more than one kid on the Xtracycle, too.
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Old 04-21-08, 10:42 AM   #10
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I've been wondering about BD/Xtra for kid-toting. Could have 6 yr old sit on back, pull 3 yr old in trailer. Could I seat them both on the snapdeck, in tandem behind the driver? 3 yr old might have to sit sidesaddle which would seem suboptimal.
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Old 04-21-08, 04:31 PM   #11
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Putting it on the Xtracycle won't affect my handling like a child seat would if I didn't have the Xtracycle and that added wheelbase.
How do you know this if you haven't done it yet?
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Old 04-21-08, 04:43 PM   #12
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I've been wondering about BD/Xtra for kid-toting. Could have 6 yr old sit on back, pull 3 yr old in trailer. Could I seat them both on the snapdeck, in tandem behind the driver? 3 yr old might have to sit sidesaddle which would seem suboptimal.
Pulling a trailer is not a problem provided you have an easy hitch to work with. I can vouch for Wike hitches.

I put my 3 year old in front of my 5 year old. That way, my 5 year old holds the 3 year old between his arms while gripping the handlebar. This too, however, is suboptimal.

Best solution is to make/get someone to make a custom snap deck with the purpose of carrying kids. Then figure out a way to keep the whole rig from tipping over while you quickly run back in the house to get that sippy cup you left on the counter.
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Old 04-21-08, 10:59 PM   #13
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How do you know this if you haven't done it yet?
Because I've felt my xtracycle with a rider over the rear wheel and one right behind the seat. Guess which one affected my handling the most? I've ridden around with a 200 lb passenger on my snapdeck, and my handling got a little twitchy, but that's about it. Sailor2 has the maxi/peapod pictured above. My rear wheel is 15" farther back. I can carry 200lbs no problem. He said a 60lb passenger was uncomfortable. I've loaded up my Xtracycleto the max, as I'm sure most X owners have at one point.

If your seatpost is small enough, you could mount a stem and some bars for the front passenger, and then maybe use one of those see-saw handles for the kid in the back. You'd probably want a custom snapdeck like spambait mentioned, and make sure you run some straps on the front and back to make sure the deck doesn't pop off.

You could buy a center stand to keep things balanced while you go grab the sippee cup, but there's no way I'm leaving kids unattended on a bicycle, even if it did have a center stand. Seems too much like those parents who lock their kids in the car while they go into a convenient store.

The nice thing about the xtracycle is that you can commute to work with it and then go pick up the kids all in one trip. You can do the same with a trailer, but then you'd have to ride around with an empty trailer for a bit.
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Old 04-22-08, 12:30 AM   #14
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I find it hard to justify buying Xtracycle just for hauling a kid.
How old & how heavy is your daughter? Bobike Maxi a.k.a. Peapod goes up to 50lbs.
I'm typically taking my 3.5 y.o (<40lbs) or 4.5 y.o neighbor (45lbs).
I had a 60lbs 7 y.o. on it but it was uncomfortable.
FWIW I've got my Bobike from eBay for less than $100 and mounted it to my commuter hybrid bike (worth maybe $100):

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Old 04-22-08, 09:35 AM   #15
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Because I've felt my xtracycle with a rider over the rear wheel and one right behind the seat. Guess which one affected my handling the most? I've ridden around with a 200 lb passenger on my snapdeck, and my handling got a little twitchy, but that's about it. Sailor2 has the maxi/peapod pictured above. My rear wheel is 15" farther back. I can carry 200lbs no problem. He said a 60lb passenger was uncomfortable. I've loaded up my Xtracycleto the max, as I'm sure most X owners have at one point.
I should be more specific what was uncomfortable.
I don't believe bike is the problem, rather the seat or ATB attachment itself. On the same bike I've given rides to adults on the rear rack without major issues.
With Bobike, when excited 7 years old jumped I felt the seat & attachment flex - kind of ballooning/suspension like feeling. Adults are typically more docile cargo in my experience.

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The nice thing about the xtracycle is that you can commute to work with it and then go pick up the kids all in one trip. You can do the same with a trailer, but then you'd have to ride around with an empty trailer for a bit.
Or lock the trailer at the kid's school/daycare. Sometimes if you ask nicely you might even get inside covered parking for your trailer. Also this allows your spouse to pick the kids up in the afternoon - and she does not need to have expensive Xtracycle, just an extra $10 trailer attachment.
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Old 04-22-08, 10:14 AM   #16
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He said a 60lb passenger was uncomfortable.
I hear you, but his main contention is that the X is an unjustifiable expense for "just hauling a kid." If all one cares about is hauling kids, I'd agree with sailor2.

The problem I'm finding is that when kids are young (say, 1-3.5 years), you have to (perhaps "ought to") extensively modify the back if you want to keep your kid(s) safe. When your kids are older (4+ years), you don't necessarily want to ride them around as if you're a taxi service; they need to be exercising as well, so a child-friendly tandem is in order. Thus imo, the X fits neither case well. Have some parents done well without all the mods? Of course. Their stories are all over the internet. But parents gamble in different ways: some will run in the house to grab that sippy cup while leaving their kids unattended on a bike demonstrating a very loose form of child neglect, while others don't think twice about riding their kids in heavy car traffic, having the fullest confidence that their kid(s) can/will hang on despite potential sudden maneuvers. If any of these potential hazards cause you to pause, then a bike seat, trailer, bakfiets - anything purposely designed for hauling kids - may want to be considered first.

However, as you mention, the X is more versatile than that so it's cost may be justified in other ways.


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You can do the same with a trailer, but then you'd have to ride around with an empty trailer for a bit.
This is not as bad as it seems. Gives you a good workout, especially on cold days. (Ok, California cold days.)

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Old 04-22-08, 10:19 AM   #17
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...when excited 7 years old jumped I felt the seat & attachment flex - kind of ballooning/suspension like feeling. Adults are typically more docile cargo in my experience.
This is exactly how I interpreted your version of "uncomfortable" based on my own experiences as well. Don't forget the feet which kick your thighs while you pedal, or the hands which push you in the back inadvertently (or sometimes purposely) because your passenger is "stretching." (I swear my wife gave birth to a clown. )

And older cargo IS more "docile," but I don't know if that's a good thing in the long run.

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