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Old 11-15-08, 03:55 AM   #1
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Anyone else feel that Xtracycle is pricing itself out?

Not trying to bash what I think is one of the best concepts for bikes, and god knows I wish I'd bought one a couple of years ago. But Free radicals are closing in on 500 bucks now? Yeah the base set up at sub 300 is reasonable I guess, but then you got to figure in the options or build yor own( not that I object to home engineered stuff). I do like some of the new options introduced allowing for using conventional paniers....never liked those pillowcase bags with the free rad. I may just go with a B.o.B trailer.

I know times are tough and all but I don't see a free rad being worth 500 bucks. Show me the errors in my thinking please, maybe I'll buy one.
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Old 11-15-08, 04:03 AM   #2
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While on the subject of Xtracycle, I did find this rather amusinghttp://www.xtracycle.com/xtra-blog/
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Old 11-15-08, 04:46 AM   #3
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i know times are tough and all but i don't see a free rad being worth 500 bucks.
+1

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Old 11-15-08, 07:36 AM   #4
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Extracycle is ~$500, allows 100-200lbs depending on rider, and allows about as much volume as a sedan.

A Burley cargo trailer is ~$400 new, allows 100lbs (or less) depending on rider, and allows about as much volume as a sedan.

A B.O.B. is ~$300 new, allows 70lbs or less, and allows about as much volume as a sedan.

A used kiddie trailer is $50-250 depending on make and model, mostly allows 100lbs as a max, and allows as much volume as a sedan.

So the real issue is not price IMO... it's how much density you need to haul. I'm just not strong enough to manage more than 50-60lbs of dead weight, so for me a B.O.B. might do the trick if I needed a massive volume increase. An Extracycle is just overkill. For me, the point where one would be useful is if I had kids. Without mobile cargo, I'd end up with about the same maximum weight limit I have now.
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Old 11-15-08, 08:02 AM   #5
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The thing I'm really having a hard time coming to terms with is the fact that 'Xtra' has billed it self as an 'alternative' thing or whatever( bikes to save the planet and Africa and what ever else)...and in it's start I guess it was. And I applaud them for making the specs public....still vague and something that could be figured out seeing one in person and having a tape measure, but still good for them.

But I'm sorry there is no way you can tell me that a free radical kit is worth 500 dollars. I love the concept of the Big Dummy as well and I can understand some of Surly's issues more so, it is after all a frame not a bolt on extension.

Guess more or less I'm trying to say thru the tubes from my internet soap box is 'Hey Xtracycle drop your frackin' prices....mmmkay!'
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Old 11-15-08, 09:53 AM   #6
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It's even worse in the UK - prices start at £470, which is around $700. I bought a (copy of a) Bob Yak for £125, $185.
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Old 11-15-08, 10:19 AM   #7
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While on the subject of Xtracycle, I did find this rather amusinghttp://www.xtracycle.com/xtra-blog/
Cyclocross Xtracycle? Sweet!
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Old 11-15-08, 10:23 AM   #8
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But Free radicals are closing in on 500 bucks now?
When you compare the price of a quality cargo bike new with converting a bike you already have and like, I think it's still a good deal. If you are buying a new bike and adding the Free Radical, it is less so.

I do think it has more adaptability than the other cargo bike options out there since Xtracycle invested in developing accessories based on user development.
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Old 11-15-08, 11:04 AM   #9
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I've made some posts on my Big Dummy Blog that were critical of the pricing of some of the new Xtracycle accessories that came out in late 2008. The president of Xtracycle commented on them and although I think he was a bit annoyed he was polite and constructive. I've tried to see it from Xtracycle's point of view as well as from my own as a consumer and someone who has been responsible for being new products from scratch.

Here are some things I think we can agree on or at the very least I feel solid about:

- the Xtracycle folks are not trying to get rich or charging more just to gouge the market
- the Xtracycle product works pretty well and is a very flexible cargo bike solution
- Xtracycle put time and money on the line developing the Xtracycle when it wasn't popular or clearly going to be a successful product
- Xtracycle has inspired a whole slew of cargo bike new products
- designing new products can be expensive and getting them built can cost more than anticipated
- Xtracycle's new open source project is a progressive idea that seems to have the best interests of the cargo bike market in mind

From this I definitely think we need to be appreciative that some guys years ago decided to invest in a crazy cargo bike add on contraption that probably seemed really far out at the time. I don't question Xtracycle's motives or intentions and I think the product they produce is, for the most part, pretty nice.

So is the cost reasonable?

- a free rad kit is $490
- 2 wideloaders are $108
- 1 long loader is $49
- a set of footsies $59
- a kickback centrestand is $139

For a total of $845.

This represents to me the stuff you'd need to fully use your Xtracycle. You can of course spend way more if you buy the rest of the add ons like a bike carrier, snap deck pad, cargo bags, stoker bar, security collars or pannier kit.

I think there are three ways to answer the cost question:

1) some people compare the functionality of the Xtracycle to a car and therefore suggest the way to evaluate the price is to compare it to what a car would cost you to operate. In those terms the Xtracycle is relatively inexpensive.

2) you could look at what other products of similar manufacturing complexity and raw materials are being offered for by other companies that get their stuff made in Taiwan. Interestingly RANS' new Hammer Truck is a similar cargo bike system and parts will be made in the US and/or Taiwan. This should provide a pretty good comparison, but individual part prices are not available yet from RANS. The over all bike is priced at ~$2K similar to an Xtracycle spec'd Big Dummy.

3) You could evaluate the cost from the perspective of a cyclist who is interested in an Xtracycle, but who is part of the majority of the cycling market and isn't going to drop $2K on a bike without flinching. Clearly Xtracycle and Surly with their Big Dummy are doing brisk business [based on lack of stock in 2008] with those folks who routinely spend $1K+ on a bike. These are folks that wouldn't be shocked by $845 for a complete Xtracycle kit or $2K for a Big Dummy. The problem is that there are a limited number of these people and eventually that part of Xtracycle's market will get saturated. The majority of the bike market thinks $1K for a bike is crazy talk. Will they see $845 in value in an Xtracycle kit to add to an old bike they already have? I'm not sure.

One of my friends who got a ride on my Big Dummy and then saw it in action wanted an Xtracycle. I got her a smoking deal from a shop I know - keep in mind this was back in the early part of 2008 before the prices went up. Even with the lower prices, the discount I got her and the fact I was going to lend her any add ons she needed [wideloaders, bike carrier, etc...] the cost was still so high I ended up paying $50 of my own money to take the sting out of it for her. She is solidly middle class and has some disposable income, but $500CDN+ for something you add to a bike kind of blew her mind. If the cost was $600, $700 or more she just wouldn't be interested. With the current cost of an Xtracycle I haven't bothered trying to get other people I know interested as the price point wouldn't work for them.

Obviously everyone has to draw their own conclusions as to how much value they place on an Xtracycle and what they'd be willing to pay for it. If you really can replace your car with it and use it regularly [taking kids to school, getting groceries, hauling recycling, etc..] I can see it being worth the money for sure. For more occasional use or for those who think $300 for a Walmart bike is a lot I'm not sure they'll be able to justify an Xtracycle.

From my perspective I appreciate the fact that selling bike products can be a tough business and Xtracycle has to make enough $$$ to make it worthwhile. Two things I'd like to see are:

1) better discounts on complete kits so that people are rewarded for buying accessories - perhaps even an additional discount if you buy stuff with a Big Dummy or Xtracycle Freeradical. Yes they do have some packages at the moment, one I checked offered ~15% off buying a la carte, but I'd like to see even deeper discounts at time of purchase of a BD or Xtracycle kit. This will help overcome the sticker shock when people price out a complete Xtracycle system and they can still charge the normal rate for accessories purchased down the road.

2) better interoperability between Xtracycle accessories. I was keen on a KickBack centrestand until I found out they are not compatible with the footsies I already own and my passengers like plus they make adding removing wide loaders a chore. This seems really odd for a company that makes and sells all these parts to not make them more cross compatible. As an example an aftermarket centrestand option for the BD and Xtracycle uses a different set of mounting points and is totally compatible with the footsies and wideloaders. It's ironic to me that the stand made by a third party is more compatible with Xtracycle's own accessories then their in house design.

I guess we'll find out what happens. If Xtracycle continues to sell strongly as they did in 2008 then their prices were acceptable to the folks that were interested. If their sales start to slump perhaps we'll see costs come down. Time will tell.
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Old 11-15-08, 03:37 PM   #10
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I would think the cost increase would be more based on cost of materials and cost of transportation.
The cost of steel has gone up. As has the fuel to bring it back from Taiwan.
I dunno though, it still seems worth it to me, I love mine.

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Old 11-15-08, 05:01 PM   #11
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I just had an email today from Yuba, they are selling a frame set at $650. Not an xtracycle, but might be an affordable build for someone.
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Old 11-15-08, 08:51 PM   #12
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I just had an email today from Yuba, they are selling a frame set at $650. Not an xtracycle, but might be an affordable build for someone.
^^ I was going to say something close.

If you like the Xtracycle look, style, functionality, etc., you're better off putting that $500 into a Big Dummy frame. The bolt-togethers get loose, creak, and are unnervingly wobbly under load. A BD frame will at least take care of the first two issues.
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Old 11-15-08, 09:34 PM   #13
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If you like the Xtracycle look, style, functionality, etc., you're better off putting that $500 into a Big Dummy frame. The bolt-togethers get loose, creak, and are unnervingly wobbly under load. A BD frame will at least take care of the first two issues.
loose and creaky suggests a poor install. not an issue with best mechanical practices, in my experience. wobbly is also a variable, not a constant. depends on how big the load, how stiff the base frame, and the suplesse of the rider. true: big dummy is stiffer, but also heavier than some lighter-duty xtracycles, and what's wrong with light duty? i like the lively springy feel of a lightly loaded xtracycle. lightly loaded big dummy can be more like empty schoolbus without super cushy tires (which rock btw). sure, big dummy is better for big loads if that's your only measure. it isn't for everybody all the time!

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Old 11-15-08, 10:04 PM   #14
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Nice post Vik I'll check out your blog in a bit. I haven't owned a car for,damn it's been 3 years now and while I get bu fine with my front and rear racked bike, plus my housemate owns a truck...but it's rarely utilized by me...but I digress as I've kinda already said and you pointed out the cost of having an effective Xtracycle rig essentially is well over 800 bucks. But for argument sake I'll stick with my 500 dollar point, which more or less is a free rad kit for a bike. KK I'm not going to go with 2 wheel trailers, they persoanally aren't an option where I live the extra width will get me clipped. So I got 4 maybe 5 options for a single wheel trailer BoB, that thing from poland, KoolStop(which I'm strongly leaning toward now) and of course the crappy nashbar and that other outfit that sells a fold down version of the BoB.

Now I know trailers have drawbacks, and I have ridden a free rad eqipped MTB as well, but draw backs aside I can't see how a xtracycle can be in any way worth more than say 350 for the free rad or the new adventure thing they are hawking to use reg bags.

I get my welding machine back from the dude I loaned it to get my hands on some decent tube and a bender, I'm gonna monkey around with either a trailer or extension build.

I also want to say I am by no means attacking the people at Xtracycle, completely respect them, I also understand economics...and I'm sorry global financial monsoon or whatever....still doesn't justify the pricing at all. And really I see no reason why it's not an American made product to begin with. you could probably build it cheaper in the states now days, I know tons of metal workers looking for work. **** I'm one of them.

Big Dummy does make more sense than buying a free rad imo. If you are gonna do it go all out.
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Old 11-15-08, 11:10 PM   #15
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Vik, after researching the Hammertruck, the $2,000 entry point *does not* include anything except the bike and the rack, and RANS charges more for their equivalent accessories than Xtracycle does. If you were to count up the full cost of the Hammertruck build to the spec in which you discuss buying an Xtracycle, its about an extra $525 USD. Really, the Hammertruck is a nice bike, but RANS is charging even more than Xtracycle, comparatively. Plus, their double legged kickstand is unsuitable for use while loaded, unlike the Kickback.

Really, everyone's costs seem to have gone up. Big Dummies are certainly much more expensive now. I've had local bike shops quoting me $1400, 40% up from what it was. Arguments come in about how Surly has had to increase costs because of steel prices and shipping costs - but the Xtracycle is no less steel, and no less from Taiwan. It suffers the same increases.

I feel as though they're all just higher end options, and they come with higher end prices. The Xtracycle offers a lot that a $300 BOB does not, at a bit higher cost. Not every user is going to need all the accessories, most of the experience comes in the box. My Xtracycle has never needed a double legged kickstand, I break out the wideloaders once a month if less, used some old scooter pegs for footsies. That $490 investment lets you do a lot of essential tasks in life which would have been hard to do on a bicycle, prior.
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Old 11-16-08, 02:29 AM   #16
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loose and creaky suggests a poor install. not an issue with best mechanical practices, in my experience.
Or just plain wear and stress due to use and load.


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... lighter-duty xtracycles, and what's wrong with light duty? i like the lively springy feel of a lightly loaded xtracycle.
Actually this was what I was going for myself, so I recently re-installed my Free Rad on a Ti frame. I'm only one datum point, but it only exacerbated creaky for me. Back on the Bridgestone it goes.
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Old 11-16-08, 06:25 AM   #17
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I can not comment on prices, since I do not live in your part of thr world. Prices sounds not so bad to me, but the important thing is how many hours do you need to work to buy an item? I suspect wages is higher here. It often is so that those who need it the most can not afford it.

I think a good thing is you can make this your hobby, and build. In the old days peopel made a lot of the things they needed, I think that can be done again. A lot of peopel do not try becouse they think it is not possible. Therefor this is a good thing to do together with others.

I find I am spending a lot of time in the sofa watching TV. It keeps me pasive, and I am thinking of getting rid of the TV, get better computer and internet connection and use radio and Internet. I find much more interesting things on the internet, and enjoy comunicating with and learning from others. There is not enough time for all I want to do so I need to choose the best.

NowI want to learn how to make really great strng bikelights. I made some last year, but for some reason I killed the batteries fast. Must find out about that.
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Old 11-16-08, 08:37 AM   #18
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Paying that much for something is alright depending on what it will be used for, a buisnes is fine, but for someone who wants to just use if for parts runs or something thats to much, I bet students wouldn't mind one, also, heres another intresting fact, wich one will crumble onder the weight of 600lbs? That kit on my bike or my home made kit, I've tested mine and it wouldn't even budge under that weight, for a home built it looks normal and is strong, I'm all in for Extra and those others though, I like them, I just wont pay that much
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Old 11-16-08, 08:56 AM   #19
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The price is what it is. They set their prices and you pay if you want it. FWIW prices of EVERYTHING are going up. Even the cheap BSO's from WM have jumped. In the past year I have observed price increases of WM bikes in the 15% range...but I have yet to see anyone complaining about those

You have the devaluation of the dollar, run up in the cost of materials, increases in labor costs and shipping costs. Each by themselves are not excessive but do add up quickly.

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Old 11-16-08, 09:12 AM   #20
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This if for a piece that connects to the back of your bike, when you could buy a whole bike and it's made of same material or better meterial for less, everyones better just to buy a Wm or canadian tire bike then take the rear triangle from it, sure it's a waste of the bike but it is cheaper, buy two racks and a garmet bag while your at it and you have a longtail, if you seen my old on e it looks like it was built to be a long tail, did they have those back in the 70's lol but I understand.
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Old 11-16-08, 10:22 AM   #21
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Vik, after researching the Hammertruck, the $2,000 entry point *does not* include anything except the bike and the rack, and RANS charges more for their equivalent accessories than Xtracycle does. If you were to count up the full cost of the Hammertruck build to the spec in which you discuss buying an Xtracycle, its about an extra $525 USD. Really, the Hammertruck is a nice bike, but RANS is charging even more than Xtracycle, comparatively. Plus, their double legged kickstand is unsuitable for use while loaded, unlike the Kickback.
Thanks for pointing that out about the HT. Does RANS have a price list for their accessories posted on their website or did you get those numbers talking to them?

update: found HT accessory pricing here.

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This if for a piece that connects to the back of your bike, when you could buy a whole bike and it's made of same material or better meterial for less, everyones better just to buy a Wm or canadian tire bike then take the rear triangle from it, sure it's a waste of the bike but it is cheaper, buy two racks and a garmet bag while your at it and you have a longtail, if you seen my old on e it looks like it was built to be a long tail, did they have those back in the 70's lol but I understand.
I have very limited DIY skills and tools. I also haven't seen any homemade Xtracycles that were the equivalent to the production models in terms of functionality, versatility or aesthetics. I think DIY projects are cool, but I don't think you can compare them to Xtracycle and say it's the same thing just cheaper.
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Old 11-16-08, 10:53 AM   #22
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Wow that is some blog you have going there Vik. Nice stuff.
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Old 11-16-08, 11:40 AM   #23
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Not trying to bash what I think is one of the best concepts for bikes, and god knows I wish I'd bought one a couple of years ago. But Free radicals are closing in on 500 bucks now? Yeah the base set up at sub 300 is reasonable I guess, but then you got to figure in the options or build yor own( not that I object to home engineered stuff). I do like some of the new options introduced allowing for using conventional paniers....never liked those pillowcase bags with the free rad. I may just go with a B.o.B trailer.

I know times are tough and all but I don't see a free rad being worth 500 bucks. Show me the errors in my thinking please, maybe I'll buy one.
Did you ever study , or read anything on, the subject of manufacturing economics or the laws of
supply and demand?

If not you need to 'cause this question is....well....embarrassing 'cause you should already know
why things cost more today. For shame on you. .
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 11-16-08, 01:02 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
~snip~


I have very limited DIY skills and tools. I also haven't seen any homemade Xtracycles that were the equivalent to the production models in terms of functionality, versatility or aesthetics. I think DIY projects are cool, but I don't think you can compare them to Xtracycle and say it's the same thing just cheaper.
I agree...or time. I do have the skills and equipment and can make a pretty decent copy of the Xtracycle, however I don't have the time. My job at this point in time keeps me on the road about 300 days a year. I just paid someone to build a wheel for me, something I haven't paid for in over 30 years. But it was quicker and the price was reasonable. Now I get to spend that bit of time riding instead of building.

Absolutely nothing wrong with DIY, in fact I suspect that is how the Xtracycle was born. They were just able to make the jump from idea to production and market.

Aaron
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
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Old 11-16-08, 01:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Did you ever study , or read anything on, the subject of manufacturing economics or the laws of
supply and demand?

If not you need to 'cause this question is....well....embarrassing 'cause you should already know
why things cost more today. For shame on you. .
Shame on me? Please....and yeah I studied economics.
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