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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 10-21-09, 08:42 PM   #1
LeeG
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improving Kona Ute

I've had one for a year now, replaced the 170mm double with a 175mm triple and longer stem with bar ends , MKS clipless platform pedals, OMM front rack. I added the front rack because the front end felt too "loosy goosey" with a full tail load but it just doesn't seem right. Anyone else familiar with the Ute and have an opinion about it's front end handling? I'm wondering if it needs a different front fork. Basically it feels like it can get into a big shimmy if I get out of the saddle or if I take a tight turn the front tire wants to "scrub" out of line.
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Old 11-02-09, 12:35 PM   #2
mR"bAdeXaMplE
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Bought my Ute in summer of '08 - green edition. Changed the bars to Mary's OnStar, changed the pedals and seat post, got a pair of those orange bags. Most important, added a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Supreme's 50's to roll over ANYTHING. Got the same front rack as you. You gotta remember, this bike IS NOT built to carry extra-heavy loads like a BD or the Extra-cycle get-up. While my bike does quite well carrying a full load of groceries, or a couple bags of soil stuff and plants, put more than 70,80 pounds on the tail without loading the front is going to goose your steering. Don't think a different fork will help unless it has considerable weight - would not make sense. I took my bike touring this summer, Port Angeles, WA to SF. With weight on the front, water, stove, light; and bag, tent, clothes on the back, it drove like a cloud. Stock gearing was excellent for some ass-kicking hills. Have also rode a BD. So heavy, but for it's purpose - has to be. Rode a friends Extra-cycle, on a Trek. Too much flex - a real goofy ride if you ask me. Both the Surly and Ex are great if you carry loads on a routine basis - but for normal weights and a normal feel - Kona did us right.
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Old 11-02-09, 10:49 PM   #3
LeeG
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port angeles to SF? wow. The Ute works ok for a full load of groceries in front and back but it's handling just seems odd compared to the LHT. I don't overload it, just wondering if anyone else thought the front end was "off". did you have any shimmy problems on your trip?
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Old 11-09-09, 09:13 AM   #4
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I've ridden both the BD and my friend's Ute. I liked the Ute much better. The BD is unreasonably heavy and awkward to steer in traffic. At three times the cost of a Ute (BD), I can see no good reason for buying one.
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Old 11-09-09, 02:34 PM   #5
mR"bAdeXaMplE
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Lee - If your comparing the Surly's, LongHaulTrucker to a UTE. you'll get a more conventional ride/steer from the LHT - as it is a HD Touring frame. As far as a shimmy, yea, if I shake the bars as a "sprinter" might during a bike race - I get some shim'in. But as far as an everyday problem on the UTE - I don't feel it. I have noticed riding upright without hands-on-the-bar can get wiggly. Hope this answers your question, and the trip south went pretty smooth. No issues with bike itself, as the heavy stuff was placed on the OMM rack with 3 dry bags - one per side and one on top. Cheers.
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Old 11-11-09, 08:57 AM   #6
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thx, I guess it's the nature of rear loaded bikes.
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