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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 05-01-08, 12:33 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Vik's Big Dummy - it's alive!



I finally got the beast rolling this AM. I was impressed that the Rohloff didn't need to be adjusted and shifted great right away. I was also happy the Rohloff didn't make as much noise as I had anticipated - in fact in a lot of the gears I couldn't hear it at all.



You know you have an interesting bike on your hands when 3 busy LBS mechanics drop what they are doing and come outside for a test ride...





When I got home I threw all my painted Xtracycle goodies on it and finally was able to see the whole enchilada.



I still need to add the disc brake guard and the Rohloff chain guide, but the Big Dummy is rideable at long last....

Sorry for the craptacular pics....I didn't have time to do any better and wanted to post something for all the board members that have followed this saga!
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Old 05-01-08, 12:42 PM   #2
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Hi Vik,

I understand the advantages of the Rohloff. But what do you think of the limited number of spokes (32 ... right?) for the rear wheel of a utility bike?

-G
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Old 05-01-08, 12:48 PM   #3
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I just saw an earlier thread on your Big Dummy Vik including the posts regarding the rear wheel.
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Old 05-01-08, 02:55 PM   #4
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Frankly I'm taking this opportunity to validate all the claims I've heard about Rohloff hubs. I'm a skeptic and the long, long, long bike build process was a direct result of the lack of availability of Rohloff parts. If I had decided to use a standard MTB drive train I would have had this bike on the road in a day or two after the frame arrived as opposed to more than 6 weeks later...and for much less $$$.

Perhaps after a summer of riding I'll drink the Rohloff kool-aid and overlook the numerous problems reported on the Thorn Rohloff Forums and the scarcity of spare parts in favour of the hub's reliability and minimal need for maintenance??? Part of the reason I got a Rohloff for the Big Dummy is that I can live without this bike for a while in the event of a problem that requires significant down time.

I will say that at one point last night I thought I had damaged the hub [wouldn't shift at all] and envisaged a long period while I tried to get advice/repairs on how to fix it. In my frustration I made a hasty decision to pull the hub from the BD and install an off the shelf MTB drive train rather than deal with more frustration and delays. In my wisdom I took 10 mins to drink a beer and calm down. Then I tore down the hub [as far as I had before] and did some trouble shooting to find out I had installed a small pinion gear upside down. Problem solved.

Having ridden a few KMs on the hub I am pleased so far and my negative feelings from last night are evaporating. Although I'm tempted to stock up on a few Rohloff specific parts just in case.

I'm still not convinced I'd choose one of these hubs for a long tour in Mexico, Central Am or South Am, but who knows perhaps I'll change my mind with use....?

Sorry for the ramble, but I'm fascinated by my love/hate relationship with the Rohloff...LMAO...
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Old 05-01-08, 03:02 PM   #5
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Did you ever consider putting a tandem hub on the rear? Or would spreading the Big Dummy's rear dropouts just be a baaaaaaad idea?

-G
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Old 05-01-08, 03:20 PM   #6
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Did you ever consider putting a tandem hub on the rear? Or would spreading the Big Dummy's rear dropouts just be a baaaaaaad idea?

-G
A tandem standard dérailleur hub or a tandem Rohloff hub? I think a normal 26" rear wheel with 36 or 40 spokes would be strong enough for the use I'll put my BD through [I'm 150-160lbs]. The undished Rohloff is supposed to be as strong as a 40H tandem wheel.

I probably wouldn't spread the dropouts on a Big Dummy - less because I think it would be a problem, but rather because I tend to use what the bike designers had in mind for the frame. If Surly designed it for a 135mm MTB wheel that's what I'll use - up until the point I have an issue.
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Old 05-01-08, 03:48 PM   #7
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A tandem standard dérailleur hub or a tandem Rohloff hub?
A standard derailer hub. I would be a way to get a crazy strong wheel on the rear without the Rohloff.

I don't have the background to effectively evaluate Rohloff's claims ...

Hmmmm, taken further, other than simply anecdotal stories, I really don't have the background to evaluate how much stronger a 48-spoke tandem hub-wheel would be compared to a 36-spoke MTB hub-wheel either.

Rear wheels have given this 190-pound rider some issues lately. The 36-spoke rear wheel on my Jamis Nova which I use as a commuter has always given me trouble. I essentially have to true it two or three times a year according to use. I even had to true the 32-spoke rear wheel on the Bike Friday ... although that was from a heart-stopper when I had a pedal strike and the bike slid sideways for a foot.
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Old 05-01-08, 04:00 PM   #8
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A standard derailer hub. I would be a way to get a crazy strong wheel on the rear without the Rohloff.

I don't have the background to effectively evaluate Rohloff's claims ...

Hmmmm, taken further, other than simply anecdotal stories, I really don't have the background to evaluate how much stronger a 48-spoke tandem hub-wheel would be compared to a 36-spoke MTB hub-wheel either.

Rear wheels have given this 190-pound rider some issues lately. The 36-spoke rear wheel on my Jamis Nova which I use as a commuter has always given me trouble. I essentially have to true it two or three times a year according to use. I even had to true the 32-spoke rear wheel on the Bike Friday ... although that was from a heart-stopper when I had a pedal strike and the bike slid sideways for a foot.
Yeah it is hard to compare such things...my touring bike has a 32H 700c rear wheel and I toured some really rough roads [+ a bit of offroad] on it in Baja without having to touch it with a spoke wrench.

I didn't get the Rohloff because it was a stronger wheel than a 36H or 40H MTB wheel. It got it because I've always wanted one and was interested in seeing if it was as maintenance/trouble free as I've read.
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Old 05-01-08, 04:23 PM   #9
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Nice build. Vik.

I've got a couple of Rohloffs now. I've carried some ugly loads, and gotten nothing but trouble free work from them. There is a break-in period, but you will be happy with the money you've spent.
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Old 05-01-08, 04:26 PM   #10
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That must be a long bike, w/ perspective in the 1st 3 pics it looks like your rear wheel is on a 24" rim kinda...
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Old 05-01-08, 04:32 PM   #11
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Nice build. Vik.

I've got a couple of Rohloffs now. I've carried some ugly loads, and gotten nothing but trouble free work from them. There is a break-in period, but you will be happy with the money you've spent.
Thanks Allen....having experienced Rohloff folks like you to bounce ideas/problems off makes me feel better jumping into something totally new like this...

Hardy - it is really long...I've hit several things today as I wheeled the bike around forgetting I had the extra length to deal with. My wheels are dual 26" hoops - although Surly does talk about the idea of putting a smaller wheel on the back...I'm not that adventurous to try it...
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Old 05-01-08, 04:41 PM   #12
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Looks great Vik, enjoy!
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Old 05-01-08, 04:46 PM   #13
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(cue applause track)

Nicely done, Vik! A sincere congrats on getting it built!

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Old 05-01-08, 06:36 PM   #14
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I've started a Big Dummy Blog here...if anyone has anything they'd like to contribute [photos, ride reports, etc...] I'd be happy to post them....
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Old 05-02-08, 11:30 PM   #15
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Wow - had a blast my first real day of dummy riding. Picked up a friend from work and we rode around taking care of some errands. The dummy was pretty easy to handle with a passenger in rush hour traffic - easier than I expected. I eventually dropped her off at home and went to collect another friend for dinner and a movie. It was really nice to be able to talk to someone while riding and far more sociable than going for a ride with someone else.

The Rohloff continues to impress - especially when you are at the bottom of a steep hill in the wrong gear with a passenger. So easy to just shift standing still.

My passengers had fun and one of them has already ordered an Xtracycle for her MTB.

BTW - the H-bars are awesome. I'm really glad I gave them a try...

Looking forward to more Big Dummy adventures tomorrow...

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Old 05-03-08, 12:27 PM   #16
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Vik, that is a sweet ride. I'm curious and too lazy to add it up. What was the final price tag (if you bought it all new)? It seems to me like a pretty perfect setup for a hard core utility bike.
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Old 05-03-08, 01:40 PM   #17
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thanks Vik!

Vik, I've been following this build for weeks now - thanks for sharing. I think there's a lot of us "kicking the tires" on doing a rohloff-based project bike and it's been great to hear how it's been going, especially from CDN availability standpoint.

I look forward to hearing about how the BD enables you day-to-day. I'm still struggling w/bob trailer+std bike vs. dummy in my mind.

Hope the calgary spring warms up for ya!

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Old 05-03-08, 11:43 PM   #18
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I spent the day riding the Big Dummy with my friend Kurt. We decided to take his MTB to a LBS 15kms away for some serious overhauling. On the way we encountered snow and ice - yikes!



Everywhere we went the BD enjoyed lots of positive attention.

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Vik, that is a sweet ride. I'm curious and too lazy to add it up. What was the final price tag (if you bought it all new)? It seems to me like a pretty perfect setup for a hard core utility bike.


Yes - my guess for the total cost of this BD is ~$3500, but I think you could build a totally serviceable Big Dummy for about 50% of that with a standard MTB drive train and less bling parts.

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Vik, I've been following this build for weeks now - thanks for sharing. I think there's a lot of us "kicking the tires" on doing a rohloff-based project bike and it's been great to hear how it's been going, especially from CDN availability standpoint.

I look forward to hearing about how the BD enables you day-to-day. I'm still struggling w/bob trailer+std bike vs. dummy in my mind.

Hope the calgary spring warms up for ya!

Mike
Mike - I have to say I am really impressed so far in the utility department and simply how much fun the BD is to ride around. I have a BOB and think it is a good trailer, but the BD is far more versatile.

If you want to explore the whole idea you could add an Xtracycle to your MTB for a reasonable cost and either you'll be totally satisfied and not want a BD or you can get a BD and use 80% of the Xtracycle kit on your BD and sell the Free Radical separately.
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Old 05-04-08, 08:14 AM   #19
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Vik, I've been following this build for weeks now - thanks for sharing. I think there's a lot of us "kicking the tires" on doing a rohloff-based project bike and it's been great to hear how it's been going, especially from CDN availability standpoint.
Hi Mike,

If you want a Rohloff you can order it from Rarified in Okotoks Alberta [just outside of Calgary] that's where I got mine. They also carry Ortleb, Surly, Brompton and a few other bike items. Nice folks....
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Old 05-04-08, 09:40 AM   #20
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Hi Mike,

If you want a Rohloff you can order it from Rarified in Okotoks Alberta [just outside of Calgary] that's where I got mine. They also carry Ortleb, Surly, Brompton and a few other bike items. Nice folks....
Is that an,... xtracycled,....suspended,... recumbent?!!!!
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Old 05-04-08, 04:43 PM   #21
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Is that an,... xtracycled,....suspended,... recumbent?!!!!
ummmm.....not sure what you mean????...
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Old 05-04-08, 05:02 PM   #22
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ummmm.....not sure what you mean????...
Your link to Rarified in the post above points to a flicker page with this (below) image.

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Old 05-04-08, 05:04 PM   #23
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Your link to Rarified in the post above points to a flicker page with this (below) image.
Thanks Allen....the link to Rarified has been fixed...
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Old 05-04-08, 05:11 PM   #24
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What a lovely bike, Vik.
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Old 05-04-08, 05:13 PM   #25
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Thanks Allen....the link to Rarified has been fixed...
They carry Rohloff? Huh? I googled "rarified alberta" and when that site popped up I though it was a Williams & Sonoma type store.
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