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Thread: A new Dummy

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    A new Dummy

    I am now officially a new Dummy. More pictures coming as I have a chance to take them. Here is the dummy in my wife's TINY Honda Fit for the ride home from the store:


    So far, the bike is set up like this:

    Done by the store:
    "Complete" BD 18"
    Jeff-jones Loop Bars
    Shimano front dyno-hub
    Rear stoker
    Schwalbe Big-apples
    Shimano Dyno-hub up front (the DH-3N72)

    Done by me:
    Bar-end foot pegs
    Yepp Easy-Fit seat
    Rolling Jackass Kickstand
    Fenders
    B&M Head/tail lights (waiting for plug for head-light; didn't come with hub)

    Only had the initial test ride so far, but this bike is really, really fun to ride. Of course, the cross-check that I took out for a spin while they were cutting my head tube was even more fun. I see more bikes in the future for me.
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    Last edited by evandy; 11-29-2012 at 06:32 PM.

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    Congrats!!! Post updates whenever you can!
    29" Tires looking to buy:

    Schwalbe Big Apples
    Continental Travel Contact/Cruise Contact

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    It FITS! Pics of the dummy too!!

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    Ok, I finished the (initial) set of build parts today, and took it for a test ride with the girls... I'll put my thoughts on how it rode in the next post. First, pictures:
    NOTE: Apologies for the streaking from lights and flashes; best I could do at the time.

    Assembled and ready to go:


    Closeup of the Cockpit:


    Stokers && foot rests for a toddler


    Headlight (B&M CYO-T):


    Tail light (B&M Toplight Plus)


    Ready to go:


    Out at the Library:
    Last edited by evandy; 11-29-2012 at 06:18 PM.

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    Ok, now for review time...

    THE BIKE: This bike rides amazingly well. With no cargo on back, I wouldn't know I was on anything other than a normal bike. The Big Apples are a great ride, especially over bumps. My old bike was often a struggle (and with the trailer, it was just bad). This bike keeps telling me "GO FASTER." With the girls on back, I can really feel the higher center of gravity, and how top heavy it is. With cargo in the loaders, it will probably improve, but with just the girls it feels a little unstable when slow or stopped. However, when I'm riding, the extra weight is just that: more inertia. It takes a bit more to get going, but it doesn't take any extra effort to KEEP going. The difference between this and the trailer is complete night-and-day. The trailer was constantly slowing me down. With the dummy, I just get started a little slower.

    Locking this beast up is going to be a problem, between the extra frame and the schwalbies. I have a Kryptonite Mini-7 and cable. I think I'm going to have to invest in a TIGR to lock the rear wheel and frame to something, and use the mini-7 to lock the front wheel to the frame. I could barely lock it up at the (admittedly crappy) library racks.
    Last edited by evandy; 11-29-2012 at 04:46 PM.

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    ROLLING JACKASS: With a top-heavy cargo bike (aka KIDS), even after one ride, I am COMPLETELY glad that I spent the money on this. It's expensive. But with a top-heavy cargo bike, it makes loading and unloading the girls easy. The bike just sits there, no problem. If you are just carrying STUFF and not KIDS, it might not be worth it. But with precious cargo on the back, GET THIS. You would not believe how completely stable it is. EDIT: The RJ is a kickstand, just in case that wasn't clear.

    B&M LIGHTS: I've only temporarially routed the cables so I could go for this ride. I'll need to take a half hour or two this weekend to clean them up and make everything permanant. That said, these are great lights. The CYO provides an AMAZINGLY bright light, focused on the road as it should be. The wide-view running lights (the T in the model) provide good wide close-in light. The focused beam is good far away. I wasn't worried about missing things as I went around in the dark park, lightly lit side streets while viewing xmas lights, or on the major roads. The tail light worked well, as far as I could tell. Every time I glanced back I could see a red glow following along behind. The standlight turns off with a switch when you reach your destination, which is a nice touch. I didn't have any worries about traffic between the two.

    JEFF JONES BARS: This is my first experience with anything beyond basic handlebars. I can already tell that I am going to love these. With the girls on back, the wide position at the end of the bars is just right when at a stop or going slow. Once I speed up a bit, the positions at the center are a bit low on leverage for any fast turns, but are fine for mostly straight riding. The forward aero-position is great both for getting out of the wind and for getting a better power position on the pedals. I'm not familiar with drops, so I can't compare with them, but on a mountain bike, I would have no problem recommending them to anyone.

    DRIVETRAIN: This is a shimano drivetrain with SRAM shifters. It seems fine; nothing that stands out good or bad at this point.

    BRAKES: AVID BB-5s. With the girls on the back, it doesn't feel that these are braking as fast as my old rim brakes. Of course, I haven't tried screaching to a halt yet, so my feeling may change. I may try upgrading to bigger rotors in time if they still feel under-powered. We'll see.

    FREELOADERS: My girls managed to abscond with one of the velcro-buckles while assembling yesterday. A quick trip to REI for new buckles, and what they call strap-all (self-mating velcro straps) fixed that. Probably better than the original velcro loops, at that.

    That's it for initial thoughts, at any rate. More thoughts and reviews as I get more time on the bike.
    Last edited by evandy; 12-01-2012 at 07:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemike575 View Post
    It FITS! Pics of the dummy too!!
    I love my wife's FIT. Actually, I think that the FIT and the Dummy go together pretty well. The FIT is not too much of a car, lots of carrying capacity, great gas milage, and seats 4 very comfortably. For long trips or bad weather, this is how to go!

    The Dummy has a lot of cargo capacity, seats 3, has infinite gas milage, and is great for short to medium treks. I know it's the SUV of bikes, but it really feels similar to something like the FIT.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    ROLLING JACKASS: The bike just sits there, no problem. If you are just carrying STUFF and not KIDS, it might not be worth it. But with precious cargo on the back, GET THIS.
    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    Ok, I finished the (initial) set of build parts today, and took it for a test ride with the girls...

    Ready to go:


    Out at the Library:

    How old is your toddler? She appears to be too young to riding that way without another child seat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresno View Post
    How old is your toddler? She appears to be too young to riding that way without another child seat.
    She is three and a half; the other one is 1.5. They are both small for their age. No problems with balance and stability for the 3 year old so far.

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    Can you speak to why you'd want this over a double chariot trailer? I mean, the trailer is better in the rain, has lower centre of gravity (safer), cheaper, ligher overall setup, and with a set of pannier you can carry some cargo. Now, granted, you can't carry that big bag of dogfood, but I just can't see one doing that with 2 kids on board unless there a StokeMonkey in there. What am I missing? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get a cargo bike, but I got stuck when trying to rationalize it over the Chariot....
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    Quote Originally Posted by islander View Post
    Can you speak to why you'd want this over a double chariot trailer? I mean, the trailer is better in the rain, has lower centre of gravity (safer), cheaper, ligher overall setup, and with a set of pannier you can carry some cargo. Now, granted, you can't carry that big bag of dogfood, but I just can't see one doing that with 2 kids on board unless there a StokeMonkey in there. What am I missing? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get a cargo bike, but I got stuck when trying to rationalize it over the Chariot....
    Sure. Your evaluation may be different than mine. I have been using a chariot, so here is what I feel. This seems to match up with other reviews...

    1) rolling resistance; there is less of this. Much easier to keep going
    2) air resistance; wind doesn't affect you as much.
    3) footprint; narrower and shorter than bike plus chariot

    There are some downsides, as you mention. Some have made custom rain covers to deal with them. Some are relative; chariot is low to the ground, so it is much easier for drivers or traffic to miss.

    In the end, it is largely personal preference, as we will weight the ups and downs differently.
    Last edited by evandy; 11-30-2012 at 07:23 PM.

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    First Grocery Run

    Recently completed our Inaugural grocery run. No trouble getting 4 full bags into the dummy... Note the girl-appropriate bling on the handlebars now. I think I'm done adding or playing with it for a while; need to clean up the wire routing for the light, but that's about it for now. I locked up the frame and front wheel, since that's all my lock would manage. I figure that if someone can get the bike upside down to get the real wheel out before the new lock gets here next week, they are supermen.



    For a comparison to my chariot on the old bike... normally with the chariot I am operating in the 2nd front chain-ring, and the lower half(bigger gears) of the rear gearset. On the way to the store (~5mi) I was using the big front chainring with the mid to upper half (smaller gears) of the rear gearset. Must have had a bit of a tailwind, because I sure had a headwind on the way back (plus groceries); Outer chainring up front and lower half of the back gearset, dropping down to the middle front chainring to climb a couple of short hills. All in all, the dummy + kids + food was MUCH more pleasant to ride than 2 kids in the chariot with no cargo. I really appreciated the aero tuck and extra hand positions on the JJ loop bars. Two hours from door to door (10mi travel + shopping); not too bad, but my legs were feeling it by the last couple blocks home.

    We had a short detour to the local LBS to grab a wheel reflector for the front wheel; it was on the way anyways. Guys in the shop all said "What is that??" and "That's awesome" and other similar phrases. They tried to give me the wheel reflectors free just for the fun of seeing the bike, but I left a couple bucks anyways. Note to self: Break the habit of swinging your leg behind to get off the bike. Knocking the toddler off the bike is not fun for anyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    She is three and a half; the other one is 1.5. They are both small for their age. No problems with balance and stability for the 3 year old so far.
    But could she hold on if you had to swerve unexpectedly? I hate to spoil any fun, please be careful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatfendershop View Post
    But could she hold on if you had to swerve unexpectedly? I hate to spoil any fun, please be careful.
    My youngest has been riding like that since he was 2, he's 4 now. I added a simple seatbelt around/under the v-racks and deck, goes over his legs. He can't get off unless its unbuckled. He would probably be fine without, but it adds a level of confidence.

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    This post is in 3B, three beers and it looks good eh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plum View Post
    My youngest has been riding like that since he was 2, he's 4 now. I added a simple seatbelt around/under the v-racks and deck, goes over his legs. He can't get off unless its unbuckled. He would probably be fine without, but it adds a level of confidence.

    Plum
    I've thought about making an upholstered seat for her. She loves construction and woodworking, so it is a good project for the two of us. Just haven't gotten around to it yet. I've been thinking about a seat-belt for it, but have been waiting to see how her balance is. Can always make it removable, I suppose.
    Last edited by evandy; 12-02-2012 at 05:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatfendershop View Post
    But could she hold on if you had to swerve unexpectedly? I hate to spoil any fun, please be careful.
    I'm thinking about potholes, tire blowouts and storm drain gates right now. Hang on is right. All not problems in a chariot, and the lower centre of gravity mean the kids haven't any real distance to fall. Grocery run - why not put some weight in a set of front pannier to spread the load?
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    Quote Originally Posted by islander View Post
    I'm thinking about potholes, tire blowouts and storm drain gates right now. Hang on is right. All not problems in a chariot, and the lower centre of gravity mean the kids haven't any real distance to fall. Grocery run - why not put some weight in a set of front pannier to spread the load?
    I have a dummy, a piccolo and a chariot to move my 4&5 yo kids. The chariot only gets used if its very cold (below 15 degrees) or raining, and not necessarily even then.

    It's kinda like towing a uhaul with an empty Suburban, doable, but not convenient or necessary. Carrying the kids and groceries on the bike is not a stretch, the kids (mine anyway) much prefer riding with me to riding in the chariot. The chariot involves more locking and security issues, parking and maneuverability issues and makes a big difference in the effort. The chariot feels like a sea anchor compared to a loaded dummy.

    To each their own, but the more obstacles involved in getting out the door on the bike, the more likely I am not to use it. If a trailer is what works for you, then go that route. A dummy makes it unnecessary or redundant most of the time, as well as more complicated and cumbersome.

    Plum
    This post is in 3B, three beers and it looks good eh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandy View Post
    I've thought about making an upholstered seat for her. She loves construction and woodworking, so it is a good project for the two of us. Just haven't gotten around to it yet. I've been thinking about a seat-belt for it, but have been waiting to see how her balance is. Can always make it removable, I suppose.
    I screwed a gardening foam pad to the deck. A little cushion, waterproof, a little insulation and it was the right size without mods. Cheap too.

    My seatbelts are easily removable, just pull them out. I leave them on there, they come in handy for trips to the grocery without kids. I use old webbing belts from worn out pants. 99.9% of the time they're not necessary, but a little extra security never hurt, especially with kids that can be in attentive.

    Plum
    This post is in 3B, three beers and it looks good eh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plum View Post
    The chariot feels like a sea anchor compared to a loaded dummy.

    To each their own, but the more obstacles involved in getting out the door on the bike, the more likely I am not to use it. If a trailer is what works for you, then go that route. A dummy makes it unnecessary or redundant most of the time, as well as more complicated and cumbersome.
    The other thing I am noticing as I've been riding with my girls is that it's a much more interactive experience on the dummy. I can hear them, they can hear me. It's easier for them to look around and see things, being up higher. We can talk about what we are seeing (like the elk in the park we rode through today). Frankly, at this point, if I tried to put them in the trailer I would have a tantrum on my hands. Not that I won't let that happen if necessary, but for my girls and me at this point, I don't see any reason to do so.

    They are also not as squashed in the dummy as in the trailer. We have a mid-sized double trailer and even with the girls being small for their age, they are pretty close in there. I've had to stop and break up some situations that are due to crowding. Plenty of room for them on the dummy.

    As mentioned, I'll probably make a cushioned upholstered seat with a belt for my three year old, but other than that, the dummy is definitely the right solution for us. Other families will make different choices... Considering that I found out about the dummy via a bunch of other family biking blogs, we certainly aren't alone in our choices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Plum View Post
    99.9% of the time they're not necessary, but a little extra security never hurt, especially with kids that can be in attentive.
    No argument there. I'll probably build something more interesting just to have the opportunity to do it with the rider... she'll have a blast, and it won't be that hard.

  20. #20
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    nice bike, Good choices on build.

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    Why not drop those foot pegs for your older daughter down a bit? She looks awfully cramped up. Dropping them down would probably make her more comfortable, and secure, and lower the overall centre of gravity a bit.

    Maybe there's something I'm not seeing? I'm sure you've thought of this - it just looks less than ideal in the photos.

    I think it's great to have the kids on a cargo bike, and I salute you for it.

    I think come kiddy time for me, I'll look at a Bakfiets-style bike. Put the kids out front where I can see them, lower centre of gravity, and easier to provide effective rain cover. Just my 2 cents.

    Anyways, I love the setup, and the family biking mentality. I'm sure your daughters will look back very fondly on these rides.

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    I put em where she said she wanted them. I'll probably drop them soon anyways, but I'm letting her make her own choices there. I ask her every ride if she wants them down or not, and she says no.

    I've seen a bunch of pictures of backfiets-style bikes. They look interesting; but they are also not a bike I would use for general cycling. The thing I like about the dummy is that I can hop on and go for a ride and it's pretty close to a normal bike (when it's not loaded up with kids and/or cargo).

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    I finished the (initial) set of build parts today, and took it for a test ride with the girls

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    Well, the weather here was pretty nice today (for winter). About 30 degrees, clear and sunny. So we bundled up the girls and took them for a ride out to the playground (~ 5 minutes). Everyone had a great time... I'll post a couple of pictures tomorrow when I can pull them off the phone.

    In other riding, I've been taking the dummy back and forth to work as my commuter. A little bundling up in the morning, and the cold is no problem; as long as the roads stay clear, should be great. There is something very, very peaceful about the deep silence in the morning while biking through the park. Weather brisk and chill, nothing but the sound of chain on the sprocket and the wind.

    There are a lot of errands I want to get on the bike for, but with needing to tote the two girls around, and the cold weather, I've been a little leary of half-hour each way rides through the cold with them on back. No problem for me, but I'm driving... they would just be in the cold; nowhere near as fun. Anyone else out there biking with kids in the snow? How does it work for you?

  25. #25
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    Very nice build! I just finished negotiations with my wife today and will be pulling the trigger on something very soon. At the top of my list is a Dummy very much like yours. I have 2 kids (2 1/2 and 6 mos) so I will likely get a Yepp for the back and a Yepp Mini up front. Later on move to single seat + stoker.

    However I think I will also add a hub motor to mine. I live on a steep hill in San Francisco and am starting to feel my 46 years...

    Keep the reports and pictures coming - good inspiration for me!

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