Quick Xtracycle Mods — Carry a Passenger!

One of the reasons I was really eager to get an Xtracycle was so I could schlep my son around town — he’s outgrown his tow-behind trailer and seemed willing to try something new.

So, I thought I’d make the rig a little more “passenger-friendly”: a nice padded area to sit on and a place for the passenger to grab onto.

For the pad, I used interlocking floor mats as the raw material. These mats are available all over the place (big box DIY stores, chain stores, etc.). We had a few of them laying around in our shed just waiting to be repurposed. Using the Xtracycle’s Snapdeck and a big mixing bowl as templates, I traced the shape I wanted onto the back of a sheet of the foam. Then, I cut it out using a common utility knife. I figured three thicknesses would be nice and cushy, and I had multiple colors on hand, so I went with a “Rasta” theme.

cutting the foam

I laminated the three pieces together by spreading Liquid Nails project adhesive between them (using a putty knife to get the adhesive right up to the edges) and stacking overdue library books on them to hold them in place while the adhesive cured. I then used more of the adhesive to mount it to the top of the Snapdeck.

Once the adhesive was all the way cured, I knocked down the sharp edges of the foam pads with a sanding disc, shaping the edge to a radius similar to the edge of the wooden deck. It feels quite nice on the tush and inner thighs!

The next modification was to add a handlebar for the passenger to grip. This was easy — I used a spare pair of handlebars and a threadless 1 1/8″ stem I had in my parts bins and some shims cut from a soda can. Simply pull out the seatpost of the bike and clamp the stem onto it, using shims as needed to make sure the assembly won’t move around. Piece of cake!

handlebar

One consideration is what handlebars to use. As I discovered once I bolted everything together, an old pair of moustache handlebars curved forward too much, hitting me in the backs of the legs as I pedaled. That just wouldn’t do, so I dove back into my parts bins for a pair of “chop ‘n flops”…a vintage 3TTT “Merckx” handlebar that had been butchered by a well-meaning but misguided friend. Still, only the finest Italian craftsmanship for my passengers!

The total cost of these projects was $11.00 — and that was for the WTB grips I used (my son HAD to have red grips, his favorite color). Everything else I had on hand. Even if you had to go out and buy some of this, the raw materials are extremely cheap…the only real expense would be a stem and bars if you don’t have spares laying around.

rollin'

My boy loves riding back there — he gets a better view of the world and it really helps him feel like he’s growing up — no more “baby trailer”, as he calls it. And, he got to select some of the appointments for his new perch…pretty red grips and a red pad to protect his butt.

For some other cheap Xtracycle mods, check out:

RL’s homemade Footsies.

and RL’s “Bike on a Bike” carrier.


10 Comments

  1. Val July 1, 2008 9:20 am 

    Nice job, Jack! I wanted to keep the deck clear for the many boxes I tend to haul, so I made my passenger pad detachable. I used a gel pad intended for an excercise bike (the largest available, in other words) and sewed straps on so that it can be buckled in place quickly. It normally rides in a seat bag under the front of the deck. Passenger comfort is always important.

  2. Ghost Rider July 1, 2008 9:47 am 

    You know, I glued my pad on before I thought it through all the way. I had also thought about velcro or something…but I got triggerhappy and spread out a bunch of Liquid Nails before the though process coalesced in my mind.

    I may make a “hauling deck” for those times when I’ve got to stack boxes up high. That should be pretty easy.

  3. Clancy July 2, 2008 7:19 am 

    Nice mod on the pad. I agree on making it removable. On the handle bars I used an extra stem and shim with an 1″ oak dowel for the handlebars. I cut them short, so I don’t have to worry about hanging my swing leg up.

  4. mikros July 8, 2008 8:17 am 

    I’d bet that a swimming kickboard would work perfectly as a pad – they make them extra squishy now for kids – look just like the pad you glued up. Old news?

  5. Ghost Rider July 8, 2008 9:23 am 

    Mikros, that’s a great idea! I just used whatever I had on hand for this particular mod, but a squishy vinyl-covered EPA pad would be perfect. I’ll have to remember that for next time!

  6. Casilda September 27, 2008 4:44 pm 

    I was wondering where you got or how you made the handlebars?

  7. Ghost Rider September 27, 2008 5:20 pm 

    Casilda, I’m not sure what you mean…the directions are above in the article.

    The handlebars and spare stem (Nashbar adjustable-angle threadless) are merely salvage items from my spare parts bins. They can be cut down with a hacksaw or pipe cutter so they don’t hang out to the sides too much.

  8. Review: RANS Hammertruck Cargo Bike | Bike Commuters September 7, 2010 7:18 pm 

    […] its slope and by the rest of the cargo rack assembly, auxiliary devices like passenger handlebars (commonly seen on Xtracycle conversions) will take some ingenuity to install aboard this […]

  9. junkyard dawg July 22, 2011 10:37 pm 

    any mod ideas for the foot rests?

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