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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 09-01-12, 09:18 PM   #1
annlaura
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Xtracycle Free Radical or Yuba Mundo for me?

I've read all the blogs, reviews, and threads I can find about using a longtail with kids, and I think I've narrowed it down to the free radical or the mundo. So now I'd like to hear some opinions here. I want to be able to carry my two boys whose combined weight is about 90-95lbs currently. And they keep growing! The younger would be in a seat. The older with a stoker bar. I'd need cargo space for bookbags, sports gear, library books, etc. I'd also like to be able to do grocery runs. Right now the little is in an Ibert and the bigger is on a trailer bike, but I don't have much time left before the little outgrows the Ibert. So unless a Roland add+bike drops in my lap, I think a longtail is my next best/most cost effective option. Any opinions about which bike would be better? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-02-12, 12:40 AM   #2
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I have an Xtracycle on a MTB. Use it for groceries. Loaded with 4 full grocery bags plus 2 gallons of milk, say about 50 lb of cargo, it is rideable, but top-heavy at low speeds (when starting from a stop or coming to a stop, you have to concentrate on keeping it vertical, lest it tip over) and on hills where I'd normally be in the middle chainring, I'm in the granny chainring and sometimes even the 32T sprocket. I think with 2X that weight, it wouldn't be fun. Especially 95 lb sitting up high and wriggling. I think it is time to have your kids ride their own bikes. Or one rides on the Xtracycle and the other in a trailer or hitch-pulled child half-bike thing. And, look into electric assist, or have the legs of Wonder Woman.
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Old 09-03-12, 08:00 PM   #3
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Thanks jyl. I'd love to keep my older son on the half bike because he loves to be pedalling. Is it possible to connect a Burley Piccolo to an xtracycle deck? Has anyone done this?
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Old 09-05-12, 03:03 AM   #4
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I think you would be best served to look more towards a bakfiets type cargo bike that puts the cargo up front and lower to the ground rather then a long-tail type bike especially since it's the front of the bike that is lengthened to accommodate the cargo instead of the rear of the bike with many models a kid's "half bike" trailer set-up will hook right on behind just like a regular bike.

If the kid(s) are in front of you instead of behind you can keep an eye on them better and since that design puts them down lower to the ground on a low slug deck or low tube with seat(s) you can balance heavier loads easier and their squirming around should makes less of a difference.

Some models have even been made with pedals for the kiddies up front (don't worry the rear handlebars for the adult driver in back are what control the front wheel and the kids handle bars are just fixed stoker bars). Such as the bikes in these pictures:



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Old 09-05-12, 01:11 PM   #5
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Oh wow! I want that! That would be perfect, actually. Then everybody could be pedalling, which the boys want. And I wouldn't feel tippy, which I want. Thanks for posting! I'll have to search for these.
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Old 09-05-12, 03:30 PM   #6
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I haven't used him myself only found his web-site when I was looking for build ideas to build my own cargo bike but I would point you to "Cargo Tom" who basically runs a business where you find a strong bike with a Steel frame that you like and then he rebuilds the front end to make a custom bakfiets type cargo bike for you. His web-site loads kind of slow especially a few of the pages so just bear that in mind; I think he is probably using his home computer as a server for his web-site (his IMAGES section loads a lot faster then his MODELS section and will give you a good idea of what he builds so go there first). And then there is a link in his IMAGES section to his flicker photo account where you can see a lot more of his work and how he goes about it.

http://tomscargobikes.com/Home_Page.php

All the ones I have seen on his web-site are "cargo only" that being just a cargo bed up front and no extra seats and pedals up front for the kiddies to pedal too but it don't hurt to ask and provide him some pictures for ideas like I posted above. I would point out from my own experience with hack/splice/weld build tandems that if you have him build such for you he should set it up like an "independent pedaling tandem" with either a stub shaft with free-wheels or free-wheeling cranks at least on the kids pedals so that you pedaling doesn't turn the kids pedals and they can stop pedaling while you are still pedaling without getting wacked by a spinning crank up front. It wouldn't be a big deal if your pedals in the rear were not independent and the kids pedaling will turn your crank since your the adult but for kids I don't think non-independent cranks would be a good idea. Driven pedals with a stoker takes some adjustment for adults much less expecting kids to figure it out so who-ever, which-ever, and where-ever you get such a bike either factory or have it built custom for you make sure that there is a free-wheel disconnect system in place for the kids pedals so they won't have to deal with driven pedals which isn't hard to set-up to isolate just the front cranks. A little harder to make your rear crank independent as well but it isn't as important for you as the adult.

Here is a link to the Dutch company that specializes in makes the bikes I posted pictures of. They are not cheap especially when you consider currency exchange rates and shipping and custom fees and thus why you would probably be best off by having someone state side make one custom for you and end up ahead of the game getting custom for less:

http://www.onderwaterfiets.nl/

And if Tom or some other back-yard-shop custom cargo builder is willing to take on the project for you but is not familiar with independent cranks set-up and needs more info on the exact specifics about how to set-up independent cranks for the kids then just drop me a line.

I think even just a regular "cargo only" bakfiets type bike would be preferable for your needs compared to a long tail since you could haul one of the kids up front with the rest of the cargo (presumably the younger one but not always the case) and hook up your existing kids half bike type trailer to the rear and put the other kid back there and he can pedal that way jut as he does now.

Last edited by turbo1889; 09-05-12 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 09-05-12, 05:09 PM   #7
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I've just sold my xtracycle and am in the process of building up a Yuba Mundo.

The XC was great for my 65lb daughter (8) + maybe 30-40lb of shopping. But adding her cousin (9), another 90lb, made for a much more noodly ride than I was happy with. They like to chat look round at each other and generally enjoying themselves adding to the movement at the back. On my particular set up the bb was too high for easy set off and stops when fully loaded.

There's a Big Dummy + Piccolo trailer bike here;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fatguy1966/2498108974/
and if you do a search I know there's a series of pics showing a similar set up. it could just as easily, maybe more easily set up on a Yuba.

I'm expecting the Yuba to feel much better with the heavier live loads. I think it will come out 10, maybe 15lbs heavier so I'm less likely to commute on the Yuba, which I did happily on the XC. I've gone for Freeloaders for my Yuba as I really liked the flexibilty in use and they'll act as wheel guards for little legs.
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Old 09-05-12, 08:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Is it possible to connect a Burley Piccolo to an xtracycle deck?
given the piccolo hitch grasps the sides of a Burly steel tube rack in the original configuration
seems to me , hiring a fabricating something made out of similar steel tube,
that can clamp or bolt, solidly to where the deck is, seems possible,
I wouldn't use a snap on connection ,( that, as I understand, like the deck installs )
.. if I were you..

I doubt there are off the shelf, cheap imports,resembling that, that are plug and play..
so it may be something to discuss wit a local welding shop or framebuilder.


you can be a 'job creator.'.
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Old 09-05-12, 09:32 PM   #9
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Thanks so much, turbo1889! I would never have found tomscargobikes. And wow, the Dutch ones are expensive. Glad to know there's another option.

Andyh2, that helps lots. My older is a good 65, and the younger 30 anyway, and both keep growing. Sometimes overnight. Ha! I can only imagine 100lbs of karate fighting going on behind me.

Interesting ideas for adding piccolo racks...
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Old 09-05-12, 09:50 PM   #10
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Oh my goodness. I just went through Tom's flickr, and am stunned by the Viking ship bike. Wow! My boys would go crazy. All his bikes look great.
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Old 09-15-12, 07:19 PM   #11
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You are basically pulling dead weight with a piccolo. I know in theory the kid pedals, but if your kids are like mine, they want to take it easy when the going gets tough. If I am going to be pulling dead weight, I would rather have them both on back of the xtracycle.

I have a nine year old, a six year old and a two year old. With both big kids on the back of my xtracycle, it can get a bit noodly, but for short trips it works.

If I was going to ride more than occasionaly with both kids on back, I would get either a yubu or big dummy.

Still, I am a big guy and pulling a hundred pounds of kids can get pretty tiring, noodly or not.
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Old 09-16-12, 12:00 PM   #12
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The new version , with a 20" rear wheel seems a good Xtracycle improvement.

the load CofG moves down , stronger wheel, lower gear with normal parts.
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Old 09-19-12, 10:53 AM   #13
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I've ridden both the Yuba Mundo and the Xtracycle (mounted to an old steel Univega mountain bike) and both have their pros and cons.

For pure people hauling the Yuba rocks. My 5'4" wife had no problem piloting the Yuba w/ me sitting on the deck (155 lbs) and our 2 year old daughter in the child seat. Riding like this was a blast for all 3 of us. The two negatives are that the child seat for the Yuba is a bit chintzy and you can't use the Yuba pannier bags w/ the child seat mounted on the rack. With the child seat mounted there is room to use two standard panniers but that might make it tough to carry a passenger in addition to the child in the child seat. Also, because of the weight and geometry of the bike (heavy cruiser) this is not a bike that gets you somewhere fast. But it's fun and can haul alot of weight.

The Xtracycle is definitely lighter (17lbs lighter by my scale but that will depend on the bike you bolt it to) but it also has a much lower max rated cargo capacity (200lbs vs. 440 lbs) and does have more noticeable flex than the Yuba. The big advantage w/ the Xtracycle for kid hauling is the Yepp child seat that Xtracycle sells. The seat is very high quality and mounts to the deck w/ an easy release bracket that allows you to remove it when not hauling a kid. It mounts higher than the seat on the Yuba does so it doesn't interfere w/ cargo hauling but the downside is that it raises the center of gravity which makes the bike feel a little more tippy. This hasn't been a concern for me but my wife is a little less comfortable w/ the Xtracycle because of it. We haven't tried riding with all 3 of us on the Xtracycle since we don't have the running boards but I doubt it would be a problem. One of the best features of the Xtracyle is the Freeloader panniers; it's a simply brilliant design that I was much happier with than the Yuba bags. I definitely recommend getting the Kickback centerstand; it adds lots of stability when loading a little one or cargo.

I prefer riding the Xtracycle over the Yuba because of the better child seat, more usable panniers and because it's a noticeably faster bike. A final advantage of the Xtracycle is the significantly lower cost (if you already have the base bike).

I have not ridden a Surly Big Dummy but I suspect that might be a great option too since it uses the Xtracycle accessories and has a welded frame. Only downside would be cost.
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