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Big Dummy or Long Haul Trucker

Old 10-19-08, 09:44 PM
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zuwapa
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Help! Big Dummy or Long Haul Trucker for Commuting?

Aside from wishing to have a Big Dummy as a grocery-getter and all-around fun bike to use with my two boys, I first need to secure a bike for commuting to work. I will be commuting 12.5 miles, one way. My path switches back and forth from about 50% smooth trails to 50% uneven sidewalk (where I commonly find myself going grass to avoid large holes in the concrete). I have been leaning toward the Big Dummy, while my wife points out that the Long Haul Trucker would be more efficient in my commute to work. By the way, I will be carrying a dress shirt, slacks, and shoes with me to work. What do I do? They are both fantastic bikes and I can only get one.

I have read some thoughts that a racked and packed LHT can be every bit as heavy as the BD. Does anyone have experience with both?

Last edited by zuwapa; 10-19-08 at 10:06 PM. Reason: I wanted to make the title more visible.
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Old 10-19-08, 09:47 PM
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Big dummy costs the same as a LHT complete and a beater bike plus xtracycle...if you're gonna spend the money...

I'm just sayin
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Old 10-19-08, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JAG410 View Post
Big dummy costs the same as a LHT complete and a beater bike plus xtracycle...if you're gonna spend the money...

I'm just sayin
Seconded. You could do the BD on the 12.5 mile commute, but would you really need all that cargo space for an outfit? I would get the LHT along with an older mtb on craigslist to fit an xtracycle to.
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Old 10-19-08, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by zuwapa View Post
Aside from wishing to have a Big Dummy as a grocery-getter and all-around fun bike to use with my two boys, I first need to secure a bike for commuting to work. I will be commuting 12.5 miles, one way. My path switches back and forth from about 50% smooth trails to 50% uneven sidewalk (where I commonly find myself going grass to avoid large holes in the concrete). I have been leaning toward the Big Dummy, while my wife points out that the Long Haul Trucker would be more efficient in my commute to work. By the way, I will be carrying a dress shirt, slacks, and shoes with me to work. What do I do? They are both fantastic bikes and I can only get one.

I have read some thoughts that a racked and packed LHT can be every bit as heavy as the BD. Does anyone have experience with both?
Hey there..you left the same question on my blog so I'll just answer here. If you want a BD for its cargo capabilities and are asking if you can commute with it - yes. It's a very versatile frame and when you don't need the cargo capacity it doesn't get in the way. You can setup the BD with fast tires and a more aggressive riding position to make your commute easier.

I also have a LHT and it's a solid bike and sold at a great price. Assuming we are talking just about the commute the LHT is a better choice and can carry quite a lot if it will fit in standard panniers.

I guess the best way to explain it is that the BD will do everything the LHT will do plus you can carry passengers and huge cargo loads. If the cargo aspect of the bike was important to you I'd get the BD and run some faster rubber [26 x 1.3" Conti Sport Contact for example]. With the right setup I'd suspect your commute times with the BD would be within a few mins of the LHT if not the same.
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Old 10-19-08, 10:47 PM
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alternately, you could get the big dummy complete and a used road, touring, or cyclocross bike off of craigslist. The latter wouldn't even needed to befitted with much, hypothetically, if you hauled all of your crap in one day a week on the BD.

The problem is financial, of course, and it's a judgement only you can make. The big dummy complete is 2700 dollars, and I doubt you can get a respectable build going for much less than that evenw ith some serious part scrounging. Then the craigslist bike, then any accessories you may not already have...

It adds up fast.

I would much rather ride a LHT 25 miles every day than a Big dummy, even if it is set up "fast." Tough call.
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Old 10-19-08, 11:27 PM
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I want a big dummy, but it would be a pain to park it at work.

Now that I've typed that, I realize I rode my tandem to class a hundred times when I was in college. Enough times to really, really hate it when someone yells, "you forgot someone" out of a car.
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Old 10-20-08, 12:04 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by M_S View Post
The problem is financial, of course, and it's a judgement only you can make. The big dummy complete is 2700 dollars, and I doubt you can get a respectable build going for much less than that evenw ith some serious part scrounging. Then the craigslist bike, then any accessories you may not already have...
I don't really think that is true... the BD comp. maybe be 2700, but IIRC the frame is only 1050, even after this years' price increase. I think you could build out a BD quite respectably for less than 1700.

That said, I have a LHT and love it. No regrets. If you really want a cargo/utility bike, have you looked at the Kona Ute? The 2009 is really nice, they changed the shelf in back to wood like the Xtracycle kits and added long panniers instead of the four small ones. The Big Dummy is pretty awesome, but the Ute is some serious competition, especially considering that the complete bike is 899... 150 dollars less than the Big Dummy frame alone.

You said you could only get one bike, if space is the issue then you have a tough decision to make, however if you were only speaking from a financial perspective, you could get both a Ute and LHT for less than that Big Dummy complete would have run you. Food for thought.
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Old 10-20-08, 12:23 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by M_S View Post
alternately, you could get the big dummy complete and a used road, touring, or cyclocross bike off of craigslist. The latter wouldn't even needed to befitted with much, hypothetically, if you hauled all of your crap in one day a week on the BD.
I think this is the answer right here, especially with a 25mile commute.

I haul with my LHT + trailer, and also commute on the LHT, but when I have little or nothing to carry I love to reach for my high-end road bike and go for a fast blast.
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Old 10-20-08, 05:00 AM
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I would go with a LHT and a good trailer.

Jerry
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Old 10-20-08, 09:06 AM
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Man, these are the kinds of choices that make riding great. Both bikes are great, and you'll likely be happy with either one and be able to do almost anything you'd need to do.

My two cents (full disclosure--I ride a lht): the BD's cost makes the LHT look really really attractive. You could buy the LHT and really go to town on commuting accessories--think nice panniers/racks or a trailer, a dynohub and lighting system, plus a bell or a squeaky dinosaur for your bars. And you'd still be under $2700.

But then again, the BD is really cool. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 10-20-08, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mredison View Post
Man, these are the kinds of choices that make riding great. Both bikes are great, and you'll likely be happy with either one and be able to do almost anything you'd need to do.
Either that or you buy one of them, and always wonder what the other one would have been like, so you end up buying other one also.
Bikes are EVIL!!! every time you think you've found the right bike, another pops up and says "buy me too!!! you won't be happy until you buy me!!!!!"
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Old 10-20-08, 09:20 AM
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Second the comments on LHT + a beater MTB xtracycle conversion. I've got a similar commute, and my LHT is perfect for it. I added some Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires for the winter/my gravel addiction and it works out very well. They do great on grass/dirt when avoiding obstacles on the path, plus offer little/no perceptible resistance increase over the stock Contis.

Then again, with a BD you can do just about anything. Big winter knobbies, etc etc etc. It's just the cost that gets me (I'm cheaaaap).
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Old 10-20-08, 09:38 AM
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mredison,

It's good to hear you ride a LHT. I test rode one after only riding aluminum all my life (Cannondale road racing frame, Raleigh Tomac mountain bike), and I felt I was grinning like a kid. Steele bikes were always something I cringed at. I didn't know what I was missing, until now.

I already have a rear Jandd Exped. rack and a Yakima trailor (which I'm trying to locate a replacement pin for attaching to my hub). If I get the LHT, I will not have near the ease/ability to load up on groceries. My seven year old fades in and out of wanting to ride while on a trail. Putting him on the back of a Dummy would seem to solve his constant exhaustion and desire to drink wate the entire time.

I think I may even be able to find a BD a few hundred less than retail.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:03 AM
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Molon, you are right on. So many bikes vying for a home. Sometimes I think I should just go LHT and add an inexpensive Yuba Mundo ($799) to the mix. It hauls more than the Dummy and it looks bomb-proof.
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Old 10-20-08, 10:05 AM
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+1 lht
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Old 10-20-08, 11:00 AM
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Someone else mentioned the Ute, I forgot about that. Not as nice by far as the Big Dummy, but for 900 bucks it's a steal.
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Old 10-20-08, 11:17 AM
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I have LHT and not quite enough cargo needs to make the BD a current need. I want one for sure but most of my cargo needs can fit into 4 panniers on the LHT. My glaring need is to be able to carry both kids at once (I do either trail-a-bike for big one or trailer for little one), and I should be able to do that on the BD, so that's my biggest gap. But even then I'm closer either to them fitting on (and me affording) a tandem t-a-b or to little one moving to t-a-b and big one making the big separation to his own bike. Anyway, *multiple* passengers plus costco packages of toilet paper are my current gaps.

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Old 10-20-08, 11:26 AM
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If its a kid hauler you are looking for, way not a good tadmen?

I personally wouldn't put that kind of money down for a BD, if I wasn't using it daily. Depending on the size of your kids, a UTE or YUBA would make great haulers for kids. Sound like you have everything you need to add to the LHT for a good commuter and reasonable hauler.

Go to ACE Hardware for the pin.

Also, like others have said, don't forget an Xtracycle conversion kit for a good Mtn Bike or Hybrid. Still, at $500 a kit and then the expensive of a bike, you can get a YUBA or UTE complete.

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Old 10-20-08, 05:35 PM
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I could put my 2 kids on something like this for pretty much the rest of their growing lives but the price is pretty steep:

http://www.bikefriday.com/tripletraveler?styleId=
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Old 10-21-08, 09:36 AM
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The latest...

Thank you very much for the comments. I have read and considered each. It helped and inspired me to keep learning what is currently available.

I have decided to focus on purchasing the 2009 Long Haul Trucker (LHT) as my primary touring bike. This should allow enough extra funding (rather than purchasing the $2700 Big Dummy (BD)) to also purchase the Yuba Mundo. I have researched the Big Dummy extensively and I personally feel it is a good every day, short-distance commuter; but, a cargo-bike, it is not. I've spoken with the friendly staff at Surly and they gave me examples of their employees riding the BD while carrying a load of three adults. Sure, if something goes wrong while they are on the bike, they can have a stress fracture welded or even purchase a new one for cost. The BD definitely wins on style, which can be an important factor. I will thoroughly enjoy the LHT and I remain a Surly fan. I still need a cargo bike. The Yuba Mundo will fit the bill. Unlike most "cargo bikes", starting out as a bike, the Mundo was designed to haul. Should I ever inherit a BD, I would never allow more than one adult to ride on rear SnapDeck. Conversely, on the Mundo, I would welcome two additional adults on board.

This time next fall, I see visions of traveling down to future tailgating opportunities without the headache of traffic jams. The Mundo will allow me to trek to the grocery store, with my wife, and return with whatever we desired.

Take care and thanks again for the input!
Dean
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Old 10-21-08, 10:58 AM
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Glad to see this thread and your thought process/conclusions. I've been having the same internal struggle, although for you it sounds like money is the limiting factor, rather than space. For me, I'm sure money will be a huge factor, but the real issue is that I don't have storage/parking for multiple bikes. I love the idea of having a BD for its higher capacity and ability to take a passenger, but the reality is that I'm not going to want to take a passenger that often, but there is something I do several times a week that I don't think the BD is cut out for: put my bike on the front rack of the bus. I get the impression that a BD would not fit, and so even if I managed to come up with the money for the BD, I think the LHT is still the way to go for me. The BD may be more versatile as far as what it can carry, but the LHT is more versatile as far as what can carry it. Plus I don't want to carry the Big Dummy up the stairs to my apartment, though. But if I ever get a garage ...
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Old 10-23-08, 12:53 AM
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I like the Lht more, but I wish it had 700c for my size. I would rather the 09 Ute over the BD because it has 700c wheels.
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Old 10-23-08, 01:30 AM
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hmmm

Get a LHT, its more versatile and you can fit it on a bike rack easier, if you ever want to do that. Any good touring style bike will be a versatile machine for nearly any use. You can always get a trailer for hauling food or children and the occasional small load of firewood or.............you can struggle with the long wheelbase of the BD and the unnecessary weight and cost. Unless you live in town and have a need for such a bike I wouldn't get one. I love my LHT. If I could only own one bike it would be my LHT or perhaps a Rivendell Atlantis. Nearly the same animal just fancier.

You should be able to carry work clothing in panniers on a rear rack or you could leave some at work somehow and rotate weekly.
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Old 10-27-08, 08:49 AM
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Back to square one...

I thought I had it figured out... The Yuba Mundo is one of the heavier cargo bikes, no big deal. What has me concerned is the geometry of the Mundo. It claims "one size fits all", which obviously has some drawbacks. The biggest issue I'm not having with the Mundo is its geometry. It sits very upright. Already being a heavier bike, loaded down with groceries, a child, or both, what happens if you hit an incline? a hill? When I need to get up out of the saddle, I like having room to stretch and push. The Mundo hasn't any space for this. AARGGH!

I would guess that over the next 18 months, bike companies will see some potential in this cargo market and build better alternatives.
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Old 10-27-08, 12:18 PM
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Just built an xtra on a specialized roockhopper. I paid 380 for it, and its every bit as good as it needs to be for its purpose. I also own a fast vintage touring bike (700c) and a custom expedition tourer (26 inch). I feel like my carradice panniers will carry 90% of my needs on the touring bikes, while the extracycle will haul super bulky stuff or people. yesterday i took the extra out for pumpkins and went on a 20 mile ride with a friend around town...

If i had to choose one bike, no doubt in my mind that I would want a high-spec touring bike, with quality racks and panniers. This setup is ideal for nearly all purposes. The extra is handy for some things, but would get cut before my tourers...
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