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  1. #1
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    Big Dummy + Xtracycle Sidecar questions?

    Does anybody have any experience with this on a Big Dummy?

    Does the sidecar let the bike lean or is it rigid when in the down position?

  2. #2
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Read the Instructions

    Hi if you watch this video




    And read the Instructions here Blog - SideCar and KickBack Compatability | Xtracycle, Inc.

    Happy cycling


    Pete

    .

  3. #3
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    ...I've been not so actively contemplating something similar for my Trek Transport...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  4. #4
    biking where I'm going
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    I've hauled a hundred-pound load with my sidecar--once. Not that I wouldn't do so again, but I have a Bikes at Work trailer, and for my heavy hauling, it works a bit better.

    Yes, I can lean while riding (I worried about this standing still, but realized that while the sidecar wheel is rolling it works better).

    It's certainly an option for me, and will remain a viable option for some of my anticipated cargo loads.
    Getting where I'm going--by bicycle!

    1996 Ryan Vanguard
    2010 Globe Vienna 3 Disc
    2012 Surly Big Dummy

  5. #5
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    I know I'm a bit late to the party, but hopefully my two cents will still be of some use. I've had a sidecar for a little over a year now (basically since they became available) and I love it, but it's not without its quirks, and it definitely takes some getting used to.

    What I love about the sidecar:
    Huge carrying capacity. In the sidecar-vs-trailer debate, yes, there are a few trailers out there that are bigger, so if you're looking to haul a couch, this won't work. But the sidecar's weight limit matches or exceeds that of all but the biggest trailers. In the sidecar-vs-Big Dummy debate, it's as much a matter of what you can carry. Think of all the things that may not be too heavy but that are unwieldy given the narrow Xtracycle platform: dessert platters, Christmas trees, large dogs, your buddy with a broken leg. OK, I realize some of these exceed the recommended uses; try at your own risk.

    Budget. I use my Big Dummy all the time, but it's rare that I need to carry loads it can't handle. Dropping $400+ on a trailer that I only need a few times a year seemed a bit extreme, but $150 for a sidecar was far more reasonable... and it let me raise the "it's cheaper than renting a car or truck" argument.

    It folds up when not in use. Unless you're a cargo courier, chances are half the miles you'll be doing with the thing will be unloaded. A trailer will still act like a trailer, but the sidecar just folds away. This has always been one of the big selling points of the longtail bike from the start.

    Off the bike, it takes up minimal space. It's essentially a flat platform with a wheel, and the wheel easily comes off. This hasn't been my experience with trailers (especially the ones than can carry as much as the sidecar).

    It has two settings: "locked" mode and "lean" mode. Lean mode is recommended for smaller loads, since you can still lean the bike and ride normally. Locked mode is better for larger loads, since it's a lot more stable.

    Things I don't love about the sidecar:
    It totally throws off your handling. Unlike a trailer that generally follows the same line as the bike, the sidecar is (duh) all on one side. In lean mode, it can throw your balance off considerably. In locked mode, you're no longer riding a bicycle; you're riding a tricycle. This basically means relearning how to ride. Forget about leaning. No, really. Forget. About. Leaning. Teach your body to forget about leaning. Ride around an empty parking lot with some sacks of flour before you EVER try to ride in traffic or with anything of value, because you WILL crash! Once you figure it out and embrace the handlebar as your friend, it's surprisingly easy and very stable. Of course, then there's the joy of returning to bike mode and crashing after ten feet because you forgot to lean!

    In locked mode, you're far more at the whim of the terrain you're riding on. If you're lucky enough to never have to ride anywhere but smooth bike paths, this may not be an issue. But if you have to deal with uneven pavement, get ready for an adventure! I recently rode a couple miles down a road with an uneven shoulder. I'd biked it hundreds of times before without a concern, but with the sidecar it was hell. The whole bike was tilted a few degrees, and while there was no risk of falling over (the load took care of that), I still had to lean my upper body to compensate. Torture on the back and shoulders! My best advice would be to lock the sidecar on the road you'll be riding, so that it compensates for the road grade. And forget about riding on the sidewalk: curb cuts and uneven stones will tweak the hell out of you and your bike.

    In conclusion, I'll say that the sidecar is super cool and a great way to expand your load, as long as you're willing to learn how to use it properly and you have reasonably-decent roads to ride on. That's my two cents. Hope it helps someone if not the OP.

  6. #6
    biking where I'm going
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    zyzzyva, thank you. You have expanded on much of what I thought about the sidecar. I haven't tested it extensively, as you apparently have, but I see your points based on the riding I've done with mine.

    Since I already had the trailer (got it in a trade for some work I did for its prior owner), I didn't think about the cost comparison. Your analysis on this is spot on.

    It sounds like I'm better off not riding in locked mode, which suggests that I limit my loads to those appropriate for flex mode.
    Getting where I'm going--by bicycle!

    1996 Ryan Vanguard
    2010 Globe Vienna 3 Disc
    2012 Surly Big Dummy

  7. #7
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    Yeah, thanks for the review. I'm considering one in the spring to mount a medium dog carrier to. I don't have a dog, but I do have a big ass cat and Heinrich doesn't like to be too far away from me at any time.

    Zyzzyva, do you have the black plastic platform or did you make your own? I'd probably need to drill whichever platform I have to properly attach the carrier.

  8. #8
    biking where I'm going
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    My platform is made of 5mm underlayment (Lauan plywood). After hearing a friend comment on the difficulty she had keeping some luggage on her deck, I mounted mine on the underside of the frame, to use the frame as a low fence of sorts.

    My reasoning is that the Lauan will support any anticipated load spread out over that many screws.

    I also used a Speedbor bit to make some strap holes in the plywood, but haven't needed them with the bags I've hauled so far.

    Big Dummy + Xtracycle Sidecar questions?-sidecar-installed-1-.jpg

    Big Dummy + Xtracycle Sidecar questions?-sidecar-installed-2-.jpg

    When I first installed my sidecar, I had my trailer connected to the bike. I figured out quickly that it would not be a good idea to try to ride it with both in use, especially if I wanted to make a right turn.
    Getting where I'm going--by bicycle!

    1996 Ryan Vanguard
    2010 Globe Vienna 3 Disc
    2012 Surly Big Dummy

  9. #9
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    Mine too is made from plywood. I didn't think to mount it to the underside of the frame. But then, given the size of some of the loads I carry, I'd be a bit nervous of them being held in place only by screws! I secure everything with ratchet straps anyway.

    Here's a short video of me crossing the finish line at the Supermarket Street Sweep last Saturday. Sorry about the vertical aspect; my fiance got a little overeager. I was carrying 500-600 lbs on the bike here; I had to go back for one more trip and ultimately brought in 796 lbs.
    Liam's Finish - YouTube

  10. #10
    biking where I'm going
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    I used moderately wide washers between the screws and plywood. I figure that if I have minor failures predicting larger failures, I can go to thicker plywood. Lauan is surprisingly strong with decent washers in place.
    Getting where I'm going--by bicycle!

    1996 Ryan Vanguard
    2010 Globe Vienna 3 Disc
    2012 Surly Big Dummy

  11. #11
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    Got mine today. Pretty cool! First ride with it loaded will be on Saturday, I am super curious how it handles.

    Big Dummy + Xtracycle Sidecar questions?-image.jpg

    Big Dummy + Xtracycle Sidecar questions?-image.jpg
    2010 Surly Conundrum
    2012 Pugsley
    2012 Felt Brougham
    2013 Salsa Colossal
    2013 All City Nature Boy
    2014 Big Dummy

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