Friday, September 17, 2010

Cycle truck love

Yes. More love. Sorry for the soft tone of late. I'll go tough guy next week.

The announcement (and subsequent blog comments) of the forthcoming Civia Halsted cycle truck has reminded me that I've wanted to post a cycle truck update for some time.

While my cycle truck doesn't see anywhere near the miles my other bikes see, it is a peer in the "frequency of use" category.

I make a run on this bike at least every other day. Any time Maddie and I want to go to the park, or pick up dinner, or refill the growler, or run to the store, we hop on the cycle truck. In fact, Maddie doesn't really ride her own bike anymore. Why would she?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, some quick history. Alex made this from an old Trek mountain bike. That story is here. This was his v1 attempt at cycle trucking. He just helped Rory make another one out of my old Turd frameset. Which is great to see. I got that silly frame for $5 at a garage sale and it has suffered mightily and provided many hours of hard duty for me. I love that it's getting re-purposed once again as a work bike. But I drift.

It's not clear to me exactly how I wormed my way into Alex's world to get his cast offs and v1's, but I enjoy the position. This cycle truck has been the top of the heap of Alex deals and I've had a number of Alex deals over the years. But I drift again.

So, here are some pics with some notes.
This front rack is new. I should've put my U-lock in the holder to illustrate its greatness. I'll be building a new front rack for my Elephant this winter. From now on: u-lock holders will be mandatory on all racks. It just rules.

The webbing with the carabiner is the seat belt solution. The law of the land here is Maddie is always seat-belted and helmeted when on the front of the SH-80. That's a good rule. The seat belt is actually the money piece. I can stop fast without worrying about her flying off. The pilot rule is also top speed of 10 mph when hauling passengers. It works out.

This photo shows one of the things I'd change, and something that Alex and Rory did change on their version. And that is putting the load and the wheel further out front. I'd slacken the head tube a bit and rake the bejesus out of the fork to achieve that. Tall loads on this bike interfere with cables at minimum and steering at worse.

One commenter on the Civia discussion emphatically disagreed with putting a double on a cycle truck. He thought a single was all you needed.

I'm not going to argue emphatically, but I like the range the double provides. On Sunday, I hauled 65 pounds of kid and gear on the front of this bike and another 35 pounds of gear on the rear rack and nearly 200 pounds of me along with 40 or so pounds of bike up the south hill. It's only about 400 feet of elevation gain over a couple miles, but it kept my heart going. I like having the 24x32 for that.

And I love taking the cycletruck out on club rides too. Or just keeping up with traffic when unloaded or lightly loaded -- 36/12 makes that pretty easy.

And I like the pant guard too. The beauty of the ubiquitous 110/74 BCD crankset makes such a setup cheap and easy.

Alex has made me a bitchin new fork. He's not 100% sure of this one. Really, he said he's only 99% sure that he likes the weld of the steerer tube on the fork. And that 1% bugs him. So he's built me a fork with the insanely wonderful Pacenti crown. Yowsa. See Rory's fork for example. In addition to being 100%, the new fork will also give me more clearance for the PB fender I have wedged in there.

I also have a new wheel on deck. Velocity rim with SA dyno/drum. I'll be building a light mount for this rack this winter. It will likely go under the deck and be protected. We'll see on that.

My favorite rear rack of all time in the world: The Tubus Fly. Why would anyone ever use anything else? Well -- if you regularly haul 50+ pounds, then the Tubus Cargo makes sense, but for EVERY other application on a standard "safety bike" the Fly is so perfect. More drift.

I like to use bucket panniers on this bike. It just feels right.

The B&M battery rear light will be replaced with the dyno version once I finish the wheel and hook up a dyno light.

The big ass bag is handy for coats, etc. It also holds two growlers perfectly. The double kickstand is essential, but needs to be cut down a hair. Full fenders with flap and pretentious RCW sticker completes it.

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rory said...

I like the idea of the seatbelt, but there's more to come on upgrading the V2(codename cargoturd) cycle truck. With Emma at only6 months, i have some time before I get to worry about carrying her.

also, I have been wanting to put the kickstand in the front, to support the front wheel, but is the kickstant mounted in the back a problem? should I really worry about this?

oh, and the xl-fdd was not fun to build. especially with that length spoke. i have yet to figure out where to mount the front light, but i'm thinking the tip of the boomtube.

Anonymous said...

What, Maddie doesn't get a cupholder?

John Speare said...

Rory - seems like the platform is a natural place for baby seat once she gets another 6 months or so on her.

My kickstand has had two issues:
- keep it tight enough. The way it attaches to the chainstays in that typical kick stand way makes it hard to really get snug. And if you get it too snug, you can crimp the stays. if you don't get it snug enough, it liks to loosen up. Then shit really goes south. I put a dab of red locktight in there to keep it snug for life. But thre's still a bit of play in there that bugs me.
- the lenght on the legs matters and I'm too lazy to dial it in. If you know of a good front stand solution to buy or make, I'd give it a shot.

-- i'll be building the xl-fdd up next week. i think i'm going to tie the bracket into one of the cleat mounting points, lots of options there. we'll see. i'll blog aplenty on it as i work thorugh it.

Anon: funny you should mention that. Maddie actually asked for a place for her rootbeer the other day on the way home from a growler run. I'm considering a sunken cup holder that doesn't get in the way of load hauling. can you believe it? I can't.

Anonymous said...


John Speare said...

anon- good catch. fixed it.