My Xtracycle is in pieces

A while back I disassembled my beloved Xtracycle. Below was the last rendition of the bike.

I’ve since used the red Ibex frame as my off road single speed. I had stopped using the Xtracycle because I was testing out the Torker Cargo T. As great as the Cargo T is, I missed how much load I could carry on the Xtra.

Well, now that I’m really missing this rig, I’m thinking about how I could assemble it again. But I wanted to make it different this time around. I have my old Gary Fisher Tarpon: it’s a steel frame, the color scheme on it matches the Xtracycle, plus I have a Nuvinci rear wheel that could be mated with the setup.

What do you think should I go with — the steel GF or should I look for an aluminum frame?


15 Comments

  1. Michael November 16, 2009 11:28 pm 

    I’m wondering the same thing.

    Right now I’m siding with Al, its overbuilt (standing to get up some hills can cause the back to really flex on my CrMo frame) and stiff. I’m thinking a huge sturdy Al beach cruiser frame built for 29’er if you could make a recommendation there.

  2. Ghost Rider November 17, 2009 4:07 am 

    Aluminum is my suggestion, too. But don’t go for a 29er setup. 26″ wheels are stronger for cargo and the Xtracycle kits for 700c leave a bit to be desired, from what I hear.

  3. bikebike November 17, 2009 7:25 am 

    ALU.

    I had an xtracycle on an old steel frame, and as much as i liked that bike, it was very “whippy”. i would definitely suggest ALU over the steel GF, especially because the GF you mentioned is not a higher-end steel bike. And, due to the long wheelbase on an xtracycle, the ALU frame shouldnt offer a rough ride.

  4. Nate November 17, 2009 9:30 am 

    I agree with bikebike – alu can be stiffer when paired with an Xtracycle – moreover, you should consider the size of the frame. I find more flex in larger size frames (regardless of material) when paired with an XC. My stiffest setup included an aluminum Jamis mtn bike frame (17.5″ and gusseted like crazy, with ridiculously large tubes).

  5. Clancy November 17, 2009 9:36 am 

    I think you answered your own question. I always like building something with what I have.

  6. Powerful Pete November 17, 2009 10:00 am 

    Use whatever you have laying around.

    That, or go all out, and use a Litespeed Titanium just to have a unique extracycle bike. 😉

  7. Michael November 17, 2009 11:02 am 

    @GR: But don’t go for a 29er setup. 26″ wheels are stronger for cargo and the Xtracycle kits for 700c leave a bit to be desired, from what I hear.

    The 29’r is a cheap hack to effectively drop the pedal height (if someone knows of a good cruiser with really low pedals, that works too).

    meaning… I plan on running 26″ tires back and front.

    soo…. any frame suggestions? I thought you test rode one you really liked last year… maybe that was a different forum.

  8. Ghost Rider November 17, 2009 11:07 am 

    @Michael — I didn’t get what you were saying initially, but I like your reasoning on the followup…that’s a pretty neat idea.

    One thing I didn’t mention in my response was that many aluminum frames are “suspension-corrected”, and in my limited experience it pushes the front end of the assembly too high for some lower-speed cargo handling. I’ve ridden my high-front-end Xtra for a couple thousand miles now and haven’t had any real problems, but I often wish the front end were a bit lower…I just have a feeling that everything would be more stable, although I have no empirical evidence to suggest that I’m correct.

  9. BikeWhenYouCan November 17, 2009 3:08 pm 

    @GR – I replaced my stock RST suspension (mushy on the X) with a Surly 1 x 1 fork on my Trek 4300 frame. This lowered the height of the front end a good chunk (so technical, I know). The ride is sooo much more solid. Be careful about pedal clearance on those turns, however, as everything else is lower, too! See http://bikewhenyoucan.blogspot.com/2008/04/forkful.html

  10. Ghost Rider November 17, 2009 3:15 pm 

    I replaced my fork, too…but with a Kona P2. It’s still suspension-corrected, but to a lesser degree than the stock Rock Shox “boingy” fork it replaced, and improved handling a LOT. I still want that front end lower, though. I’ve got my eyes out for an older ALU frame.

  11. Greg November 18, 2009 7:43 pm 

    I am using a steel framed bike from Zize but, in its intended use, it is built specifically for heavy people so it is heavier duty than a normal steel frame. It is great! If I didn’t have this bike I might lean towards aluminum for the stiffness.

    Greg

  12. Quinn November 27, 2009 11:58 am 

    go with the GF, better quality, better ride and as one of my friends put it, on a rig That size weight doesn’t matter.

  13. Quinn November 27, 2009 11:58 am 

    go with the GF, better quality, better ride and as one of my friends put it, on a rig That size weight doesn’t matter.

  14. speedub.nate December 26, 2009 7:06 am 

    I recently picked up my Free Radical kit and Rick @ Xtracycle, looking at my aluminum Buzz Bomb frame, made a comment similar to some other responders here — that he thought the stiff aluminum stays would be preferrable to steel to minimize flex. What remains to be seen is if my long 18.5″ chainstays totally negate this!

    Being a 29er frame, I was curious about the Xtracycle’s affect on geometry, so took measurements and ran some numbers. To my surprise, using a 29″ front wheel & Big Apple with a 26″ Surly 1×1 or Big Dummy fork (minimal yet adequate tire clearance), combined with 26″ rear wheel, ought to put my steering geometry right where it was intended to be.

    On the other hand, if I were to run a matching 26″ tire up front, I’d need to run it with a long suspension-corrected 29er fork, just to slacken the steering to an appropriate angle for the smaller wheel.

    You can see my exercise here on MTBR’s cargo bike forum: http://bit.ly/52HqNh

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