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Concerned about safety. 55lbs+ of babies on a Kona Ute

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Concerned about safety. 55lbs+ of babies on a Kona Ute

Old 03-29-16, 11:29 AM
  #1  
Pukeskywalker
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Concerned about safety. 55lbs+ of babies on a Kona Ute

I have large twin 1 year olds - both are around 28lbs each.

I knew the Ute was a sub-optimal choice for kid carrying when I bought it -- the 29er wheels are bad choice for a top-heavy load -- but it was only $600 used so I thought I'd give it a try.

I've just started testing out the setup with some weights in the back. Only 20lbs currently.

The stability at slow speeds, and maneuvering into motion when leaving our sidewalk -- both feel unsafe. Once in motion, stability seems good. But I haven't gone to 60lbs of weight yet, and the kids' weight will be even higher than the weights sitting in the yepp seats.

We live in a major city with bike lanes. Car traffic is slow but the roads are in poor conditions

I've done the following in an attempt to improve stability:

Kona Ute 2012

  • from 29er to 26" Sun Rhynolite XL rims (~23mm internal diameter)
  • Schwalbe Marathon Supremes at 2.0"
  • Replaced swept bars with 68cm MTB risers
  • Shorter stem
  • Lower stem height
  • Seats as far forward as possible to keep weight in front of the rear wheel if possible
  • Pinned pedals to prevent feet from slipping
  • Jumbo kickstand
  • BB7 brakes upgrade


Planned:
  • Full face helmets for the kids (covers chins)
  • Extensive test riding at 70lb weight before taking kids on it
  • Giving up and making it a 1 kid bike if needed


Questions:

Does anyone else carry this much kid on a Ute or 26" cargo bike? Experiences?

Did I do anything wrong in my attempts to make it more stable? Concerned about affects of fork trail w/the new wheels. Previous owner replaced fork with a Surly, which is 10mm longer than stock fork (I believe).





Last edited by Pukeskywalker; 03-29-16 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 03-29-16, 11:57 AM
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Honestly, it just takes time to adapt to having the additional weight and length. Our friends have a Ute and they regularly ride it with their two boys, who are now age 7 and 5 (they also tow both the boys' 20" bikes while riding with them). My husband and I both test rode it with our kids (then 4 and 6) when we were looking at buying a MinUte and were pleasantly surprised at how stable it felt.
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Old 03-29-16, 12:12 PM
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Amsterdammers have been seen with 3 kids on Board .. 1 in front 2 behind ..

How about a wrap around railing? Bike Friday'sHaul-a-Day makes them for theirs ,

a Tube bender and some aluminum tubing and a shop fabrication Job and one can be Yours .

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-29-16 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 03-29-16, 12:17 PM
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It just practice: How To Ride A Bike With 3 Kids Plus Bags [video]
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Old 03-29-16, 12:47 PM
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Thanks everybody. I'll see how it goes with the practice rides

No slight on the Amsterdam women but these kids will be nearly a full foot higher off the ground

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Amsterdammers have been seen with 3 kids on Board .. 1 in front 2 behind ..

How about a wrap around railing? Bike Friday'sHaul-a-Day makes them for theirs ,

a Tube bender and some aluminum tubing and a shop fabrication Job and one can be Yours .
Not a bad idea as a psychological comfort at this stage....
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Old 04-13-16, 10:54 AM
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looks scary to me. maybe put them lower down on each side in baskets?
wider, but better balance.
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Old 04-19-16, 11:00 AM
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I can carry my wife of 48kg on the rear rack with no problem. Slow steering is less stable but not a big problem. Just need to be more careful.
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Old 04-20-16, 10:07 AM
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28 lbs and 1 year old... your kids are big!

I don't have an Ute but I have a MinUte which I have ridden with one kid (2.5 yrs old, 15kg) in the front and one (5 yrs old, 23kg) in the back. My MinUte is all stock except for the Jumbo kickstand.

Honestly, what worries me the most is that they start moving/bouncing left and right. In that situation you may have a serious stability issue... maybe at 1yr old they are a bit too young for total safety. Just my 2 cents.

[Edit] By the way, if you haven't done it yet my advice is to lower your seat a little bit to make it easier for you to put your foot on the ground in case of need.


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Old 04-23-16, 04:27 PM
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Hi, I carried my two toddlers in my Velonom Prana, but I had to discard (sell for almost nothing) the two Yepp Maxi seats and replace them with GMG old black seats. The weight and the height of the Yepp maxi seats made impossible to handle the bike, impossible means I didn't like it. So first I replaced the Maxi with a plastic simple seat for the smaller kid and a GMG for the bigger one. They grow very fast and now with a GMG and a cushion plus two handles (very simple, just a steel handle bought for 10 eur each, not the very expensive ring sold for the Yuba, but the same service) they are perfectly carried. I am very short and not specially strong and I can handle the bike ok.
The Maxi seat is perfect for one kid, but not for two. Heavy and very very high, the old GMG are way better.
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Old 06-12-16, 09:51 AM
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I had an older Ute with disc front and rim brake rear. My complaint about the bike was that it simply didn't handle well. It felt like the rear wheel was pushing the front out in a turn, kind of like a front wheel slide in the dirt. Putting panniers up front helped.
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Old 07-14-16, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Pukeskywalker View Post
Thanks everybody. I'll see how it goes with the practice rides

No slight on the Amsterdam women but these kids will be nearly a full foot higher off the ground
I see them all the time here biking with to or three kids, which is not that far from Amsterdam, but I think the main difference is not how high the kids are off the ground, but how low you are off the ground. All the moms and dads with kids on the bike here sit straight up. Most Dutch do, but they ride low handlebars also, only not with kids. I think that way it's much easier to balance from side to side with your bodyweight, if at least a part of it is higher off the ground than the weight that needs counterbalancing, i.e. your kids. If your upper body is horizontal, there's not much of your own bodyweight you can move from side to side, and it doesn't have the leverage it has when you're straigt up. I'm not going to ask you your weight, but I'm sure it's easily enough to counterbalance the weight of your kids, but I guess in this riding position you're hardly using your weight but your arm muscles to balance.

So my advice would be to raise the handlebars as much as possible, and lower the saddle so you can always put both frontfeet on the ground if necessary. Test it with weight, if necessary with an even lower saddle so you are truly sitting straight up, and if it helps consider buying a really high handlebar. If it still feels a bit insecure, you could move one kid to the front.

It can be done, there are even special twin bikes produced here, and they have a front rack to load on 70 ibs of groceries or another kid. If you want to I'm happy to find a picture of one for you so you can compare, but the main difference will be your own riding position.
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Old 08-16-16, 01:07 PM
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Probably rather late for your question, but I'm a 115lb woman riding with a 28lb 3 year old and a 22lb 11 month old on the back of a Yuba BodaBoda V3. The first few times out were rough, I'm not gonna lie. I questioned a few times whether I was going to be able to handle it. I was worried that we should have just waited until we could afford an Xtracycle instead for the lower deck. I dropped the bike once, while stationary, when pulling the bike away from the rack. I thought the bike was clear of the rack already and it wasn't. It lurched unexpectedly as it cleared the rack and with both kids on the back it was too much for me to keep it upright. Thankfully the worst injury was a little scrape on my 3 year old's knee and some bruises on my shin. Since then we've been fine, but I modified my behavior some to keep such things from happening again.

I never load the kids while the bike is in contact with anything. It has to be free standing on the kickstand.
I always come off the seat and put both feet down when I stop. No messing around just putting a toe down.
I always have a hand on the rear rack, not the bike seat, when I'm walking the bike around. The seat isn't far enough back to give me the control I need if the bike tips a bit. That was my major mistake the one time I did drop it.

I do all those things even when I don't have the kids on the bike because to my mind, I need them to be the default behaviors. I don't want to screw up because I go into riding without the kids mode when I've got them on there.

Additionally:
We moved my daughter from sitting on the deck to being in a Yepp Maxi like her brother is. It was a tradeoff because it added weight, but it keeps her from being able to wiggle very much, which increased the stability.
I practiced for several days with just one kid or the other, plus some added weight in the other seat.
I try to get out on the bike (ideally with both kids) as often as possible, ideally daily, to increase my strength and practice maintaining the stability of the bike.

A few weeks in and stability has improved a lot. I'm fairly confident with both of them on board now. I'm already getting stronger and things are a lot less squirrely feeling when we start off.

As for the stuff you've done or plan to do, I agree with Stadjer that I think you should revert to a more upright riding position (more swept bars, higher stem, lower seat). I also think full face helmets for the kids is excessive. They're not going to add much safety in this context because the seats will go a long way to keeping the kids protected if the bike tips and they're going to be difficult to find in an appropriate size and harder to get on and off than a normal bike helmet.
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Old 11-02-16, 09:02 AM
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I have a long haul trucker with Xtracycle free radical, 700C wheels, and two kids (3, 1). The FR is very noodly and carrying two kids is one of the heaviest and most challenging loads I've done.

Tire pressure is critical with a heavy load. Low tires just murder tire feedback and make the ride unpredictable and stressful. Otherwise just give it time - your setup looks fine so you'll get used to the load eventually.
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Old 11-02-16, 03:12 PM
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When you're riding, weight barely matters, though the handling will be different within easily managed limits.

However weight over the rear axle becomes a very serious problem and potential when you stop. A few things will be working against you.

1- you're likely going to be off the seat, so your ability to keep the bike under control by the seat of your pants (literally) is gone.

2- you're now holding the bike from a point farthest from the load, which will diminish control.

3- the part you're using isn't fixed, and can rotate, so it's possible for the bike to twist and start going over, and you can't prevent it since the bar can turn preventing you from twisting it back under control.

The last is often the worst, and can take a bike out from under even an experienced rider.

So, try to stay in the saddle or at least brace it against your thigh when dismounting. Keep the bike as upright as possible, while being sure to keep it on the down leg side of vertical. Tilt it too much and it'll twist out from under you, yet if it's too close to vertical you risk it tipping to the side with no support.

IMO, you're doing the right by testing it with a non-living load. Whenever anyone asks my advice about buying a baby seat, I send them out to buy potatoes, suggesting they buy 10 more pounds than the child weighs, so there's a safety margin. (onions and cinderblocks also work).
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Old 12-08-17, 10:23 AM
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A small grave dig..

Hello!

A bit of a grave dig I know but I thought I would mention a few things ...

The bike looks so rad with 2 child seats on!

To improve stability ...

The 26" front wheel will steepen the headangle of the frame making it twitchier when turning - NOT GOOD!

Get those bars up high and wide! wider the better, you will fine this much much more confidence inspiring!
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