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  1. #1
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    You want me to clamp what where?! (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)

    I just got my Xtracycle Free Radical kit in the mail today, and am excited to get it installed and on the road. But I'm stalled out right at the beginning. I'm generally very impressed with the ingenuity, design, engineering and quality of these things, and this is in no way intended to be a complaint. But I can't help feeling extremely underwhelmed by one particular detail: The attachment point at the front tongue!

    I'm hoping to hear from others that have struggled with this too, and either:
    a) found an elegent solution, or
    b) given-in to the reccommended installation detail despite misgivings, and found that it causes no problems.

    I freely admit that I'm a bike snob, but I just can't bring myself to clamp that silly little, sharp-edged, Taiwanese, steel loop onto my hand-made-in-the-USA-Tom-Ritchey-fillet-brazed chain stay bridge, and risk gouging it or denting it. For all the beauty of the longtail kit, there's just something troubling about the assymetry and crudeness of this one, single detail. Am I alone here?

    I can post some pictures if it would help, but I'm guessing anyone reading this understands the detail.

    Possible solutions:

    1) I purchased an extra FAP (frame attachment plate) for the top of the chainstays, and thought I could just rest the tongue loop on that. But the angles don't work. A bike with more bottom bracket drop might make this work.

    2) I could bolt the tongue underneath the bottom FAP, essentially suspending it by the bolt head. The angles work well this way, but I don't have a feeling for the forces that have to be supported during use. Would the bolt be in tension all the time, or only if weight is distributed too much in front of the rear axle? Could I drill out the FAPs and use a larger bolt with a big washer? This also seems like it would lower the rear end of the bike, and the front end of the free radical, slightly - but would that be a problem?

    3) I could cut off the tip ("U") of the tongue loop so that it fits behind the chainstay bridge, and then sandwich it between the two FAPs. This would look the best by far, but it might lessen the carrying capacity of the loop, which already seems to be the weak link.

    4) I could wrap some rubber hose around the chainstay bridge to protect it from getting squished. But the connection might be a little too "soft." It seems like a positive, solid attachment is critical to the design.

    Anybody else dealt with this successfuly? Thanks for any ideas!
    Last edited by iamkeith; 06-26-2013 at 12:47 PM.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  2. #2
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    I feel ya! I just couldn't do it, so I just snagged a used long tail cargo bike. Eeek! I can see your dilemma, a Ritchey frame!
    2010 Surly Conundrum
    2012 Pugsley
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakedbabytoes View Post
    I feel ya! I just couldn't do it, so I just snagged a used long tail cargo bike. Eeek! I can see your dilemma, a Ritchey frame!
    Well, I'm glad I'm not alone, but that is NOT the answer I was looking for!

    To be fair, the Ritchey is pretty beat up, which is why I selected it as a base. But that doesn't mean I want to damage it more than necessary. It's honestly just the hackish crudeness that bothers me the most, though.

    I like threads with photos, so here are some snapshots. Maybe these will help elicit some some helpful suggestions or ideas from others.

    This is the underside of the tongue in question, that I'm supposed to crush against the bridge.... not even deburred:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-tonguesurface.jpg

    This is the recommended installation position:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-asdesigned.jpg

    This is what it looks like if I install it on top of a second FAP, as I had intended. It's canted too much though, as you can see:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-ontopfap.jpg

    This is what it looks like if I install the tongue on the underside, below a the bottom FAP. The tongue sits nice and level against the bottom surface, but this installation would rely on a bolt in tension, to support the tongue:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-belowfap.jpg

    Here it is with a section of rubber hose wrapped around the bridge to protect it. Not pretty, but this connection doesn't seem to be about aesthetics anyway:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-withprotector.jpg


    I'll probably go this later route for now, to see if it works, but it seems like I won't be able to get it tight enough. Assuming I like this rig, I'd eventually like to come up with something a little more elegant some day
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  4. #4
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    Hose would work fine. I've clamped right to the bridge and also with a buffer similar to your hose idea. Both work fine. I'm sure that your ritchey will hold up just fine. If you are concerned, then you can always scour craigs list for a cheaper donor frame.

  5. #5
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    Ya, I second the hose idea. I think as long as you don't have metal on metal, it should be fine. And you can compress the crap out of hose like material, which then bonus of it is that it acts like a stopper with rubbery grip. You might even be better off long term for wear & tear.
    2010 Surly Conundrum
    2012 Pugsley
    2012 Felt Brougham
    2013 Salsa Colossal
    2013 All City Nature Boy
    2014 Big Dummy

  6. #6
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    For stuff like that, I tend to use old bits of tube, it's not thick enough to wiggle but gives protection.

  7. #7
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    Yup, use a layer of old inner tube instead.
    Jason
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  8. #8
    turtles make me hot
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    It's a little hard to explain, but I would grind it a little round where it contacts the frame. That way, it spreads the load over a wider area. Then place some inner tube between the two parts.
    I like turtles

  9. #9
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    Thought I'd show what I decided to do, in case someone else with a similar hesitation ever finds this thread. I ended up using a piece of automotive heater hose, slit down the middle and then trimmed to fit the shape of the chainstays. Then, I wrapped the whole thing (including the chainstays) in friction (hockey) tape.

    It's pretty dense material (reinforced with threads - fiberglass , I assume), but it did compress a bit when I cranked down on the bolt. (The Xtracycle-supplied washer deformed too, so that'll give you an idea how hard I actually cranked on it before compression.) I've been riding it a ton, with some pretty big loads, and it hasn't loosened up or been a problem at all though. And I rest easy knowing that it is NOT ruining the frame.

    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-timbercycle-tounge-top.jpg
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-timbercycle-tongue-bottom.jpg
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-timbercycle-drivetrain.jpg
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-timbercycle-rr.jpg
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  10. #10
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    I was just about to post a new thread about my solutions to this very subject.
    My donor frame is a 1997 Cannondale that was my wife's and has seen less than a few hundred miles. I couldn't bear to put the narrow steel tongue of the XtraCycle on the aluminium chainstay bridge. I too considered a second FAP and found the same issue of the vertical angle being too far off for my pleasure.

    Aside: I fabricated my own second FAP with a piece of 5/16" x 1" aluminum bar stock that my father-in-law had on hand. It was pretty quick and easy using just a hacksaw, mill file and hand drill. I duplicated the shape and hole (slot) location nearly perfectly.

    I had an additional problem: I have a horizontal misalignment of the XtraCycle tongue relative to the frame so that it doesn't sit on the centerline of the frame at the chainstay bridge.
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-07-12-20.51.23.jpg

    My initial installation with the OEM & copy FAPs was undesirable:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-07-13-00.45.48.jpg

    Additionally, the extra thickness of the upper FAP caused the vertical misalignment problem:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.50.12.jpg

    The frame has vertical dropouts, so I have no potential adjustment there. I decided that I should have custom-located the hole in the new upper FAP where it needed to go, rather than on the centerline, but I didn't want to fabricate another. After mulling on the issue for a while, I realized that the upper and lower FAPs really just act as big washers. I could drill a second hole in the proper location and if needed, fill the vacated slot with epoxy. I skipped the epoxy aspect and it seems to be fine. I then used the homemade FAP as a template to drill the proper hole location for the OEM FAP:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.06.41.jpg

    My final modification was to file grooves into the upper FAP to match the angle that the tongue wanted. The edge of a heavy mill file made the job relatively easy:
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.57.18.jpg
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.57.11.jpg
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.56.43.jpg
    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.56.35.jpg

    After the photos, I padded the underside of the upper FAP with some foam camper tape (1/4" thick, adhesive on one side & slippery on the other). I just did this all yesterday, so time will tell how well it works.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-07-13-00.46.01.jpg  

    You want me to clamp what where?!  (Alternatives to Free Radical tongue attachment?)-resize-2013-08-04-15.06.59.jpg  


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