Author Topic: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?  (Read 3169 times)

liquidbanana

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Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« on: November 23, 2012, 08:08:33 PM »
For those of you with experience using these bikes to haul youngins', is there that big of a difference? The Big Dummy costs several hundreds more than the radish...is there anything to justify this extra cost?

Having no bike mechanic skills (although I need to work on that), would a free radical hooked up to a cheap craigslist bike work out ok or is it worth the money to just buy a whole bike?

 

caligulala

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 05:51:28 AM »
We went through the same deliberations.

For us, the Big Dummy was overkill. We don't need our bike to be that tough. We're riding on city streets and bike trails.

The free radical is a good choice if you have a decent bike already. There is more flex in the bike/free radical combination, which can be difficult to manage when you've got kids loaded up high. The top heaviness makes things pretty tippy, especially when pushing off, so minimizing the twisting the actual bike does makes riding easier. Therefore, if you're going to get a bike off craigslist, don't buy just anything. Buy a good bike because once you start riding you'll want to upgrade a cheapo bike and you don't want to pay a mechanic to attach the free radical twice.

We chose the Radish and have been extremely happy with our choice. The shop we bought it from was awesome and put everything we wanted on the bike for us. We sold our car and with the Radish have only needed to use a car share car once since July. We've had one tip over incident and the Yepp seats were great at protecting the boys. Not one bruise or scratch on them. Once you are moving the bike is really easy to maneuver, but stopping quickly and having to turn at the same time is not.

You also may want to work on your lateral hip strength (put an exercise band around your ankles and frankenstein walk from side to side. You should feel the burn on the sides of your ass.) When you're stopped with the bike, you rely heavily on those hip muscles to balance the bike, so getting them up to snuff is really helpful to your confidence on the road.

We love our Radish and highly recommend it! Be prepared to stop and talk about it all the time, especially with kids on the back! People love it!

Tom Reingold

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 08:56:05 AM »
There is, as almost always, a time/money tradeoff. If you buy a new cargo bike, you'll like it, and it will serve you well. But if you wait and develop expertise, you'll save money.

I've been hauling kids and cargo on bike for many years. I've used regular bikes, not specialty bikes. My preferred method of hauling is with a kiddie trailer, though specialized trailers and bikes have their advantages. I can haul over 100 pounds of stuff or kids in one of these trailers. Since the weight isn't on the bike, it doesn't affect bike handling, which makes things easier. But trailers do cause more wind drag than cargo on a bike. I've gotten good trailers on craigslist for as little as $60.

If you want a serious cargo bike, take a look at the Yuba Mundo. It's expensive and heavy, but it can do everything.

Also, think ahead a few years. If you don't expect to be hauling the same kind of stuff for many years, it may not be a good investment. Unfortunately, after my kids outgrew the trailer, I gave it away. Soon after that, I realized I wanted to go shopping with a trailer, so I had to buy another one.

Here's my bike with the trailer just after coming home with a full week's groceries. I've even gone to Costco with it and hauled home a normal Costco-size load. It's really surprisingly easy to haul heavy stuff this way. And since people think there's a kid in there (and I won't disavow them of this belief), they drive around me cautiously and politely. This is in New Jersey, where people are known, deservedly, for bad driving.



You can acquire mechanical skills for bikes at bikeforums.net. I'm there often, giving out advice. We walk people through even the most complicated procedures, and they end up succeeding most of the time.
Tom Reingold
Maplewood, NJ
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liquidbanana

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 10:55:59 AM »
Thank you for the replies! I have a lot to think about. The lateral hip strength tip is very helpful, I wouldn't have even thought about that.

I've used a bike trailer, but it stresses me out a little when maneuvering through traffic because my kid is so low to the ground and away from me. I'm probably just over protective. But it seems like a cargo bike where he will sit up higher behind me would work out better overall, especially when I need to get over bumps and curbs.

It's good to know about  bikeforums.net..I will check it out.

« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 11:05:31 AM by liquidbanana »

Tom Reingold

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 01:37:37 PM »
Your kid is safer in the trailer. If your bike falls, the trailer doesn't tip over. If he's on the bike, he falls from fairly high up, and he could even land head-first.
Tom Reingold
Maplewood, NJ
That's a real picture of me, and it's a real mustache.

liquidbanana

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 02:27:31 PM »
Your kid is safer in the trailer. If your bike falls, the trailer doesn't tip over. If he's on the bike, he falls from fairly high up, and he could even land head-first.


This makes sense. But in my adult life, the only times I've fallen off a bike have been due to bad drivers. I've fallen off swerving off the road to avoid being hit by people who have failed to stop at stop signs and traffic lights or have swerved and nearly hit me. How else do you fall off bikes?

From my experience, a car hitting the trailer seems more plausible. I'm reading some stuff on the web that states otherwise, so I probably need to rethink my assumptions.

onemorebike

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 02:54:45 PM »
We have a radish and a Big Dummy. I got the BD after riding the xtracycle kit for many years and once we had children it was time for something that didn't have so much "sway"-the ride is much better. I have a fleet of bikes and frequently say if I needed to narrow the fleet to one I would keep my BD. I was able to score it at wholesale some time ago, so it will likely easily hold its value, but I doubt I'll ever sell it - just replace parts as necessary until the end of time. :)

Like MMM, I believe that bicycles are worth it, especially if they result in you enjoying riding more. Also, I believe cargo bikes in general will hold their value moreso than racing bikes or cars.

caligulala

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 03:09:29 PM »
Where we live, trailers are mostly used to haul stuff, not kids. They are also much less visible in heavy traffic and seem a lot more likely to get hit by turning cars. People don't even see our gigantic purple stroller when we cross the street half the time, so having the kids up high and very visible was important to us. Cars give us a lot of room when we are (very slowly) zipping down the street.

I didn't get to ride a Big Dummy before we bought the Radish (we got a really good deal from a shop that had one in stock), but if the sway is even less that would be a good selling point. Can you attach and detach the kid seats as easily from their platform? Is it the same system? Because it is a sweet thing to be able to pop the kid seat off and put it back on so easily when you need it again.

Sparky

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 09:44:10 AM »
From what I gather on BF, the Xtracycle's are a great setup and the BD is just even more awesome. Do you need that much awesome?

The Big Dummy is an incredibly durable, high quality bike that would likely see you through many years of good service. Its a bloody workhorse of a bike and a lot of fun to drive too. When I settle down again, totally picking one up.

whentruthdivides

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Re: Xtracycle Radish or Xtracycle Freeradical or Big Dummy?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2012, 05:30:01 PM »
I've got another one to throw in: I have a Kona Ute (non eletric), but I sill tow my kids in a trailer behind the ute. To buy the xtracycle deck and compatible seats for the ute was more than the bike cost me used. It's nice to have the extra storage on the ute plus the trailer for the kids. I wanted a Big Dummy because I think Surly make a good bike (I have a cross check) and I like the xtracycle accessories.

Use an all of craigslist search - searchtempest.com to search neighboring cities. This is how I found the Ute in a smaller city outside of Phoenix. Talked them down to $300. I saw some Big Dummies in the 1000 range doing this which is a good deal, but just a little further than I wanted to drive. Some people ask more than their current retail. Also if you consider resell, Surly will have the best resell Value.

If you have the Funds, I would go with the Big Dummy or look at some other cargo bikes that are front loading: http://urbanvelo.org/bicyclespace-and-christiania-bikes/

As far as seen in traffic you can buy flags for cheap at places like walmart which help visibility. And turning isn't a problem. I just recommend with kids to take less crowded streets. But I've found cars respect me more when they know I am towing kids in my trailer.