Off road dummy

One of the reasons I really wanted to get a big dummy is that it is an off road capable singletrack hauling machine. There is a nice trail through pueblo canyon between my house and downtown.

Probably 2.5 miles of single track and double track with some nice views.

The bike handles pretty well off road. The rear wheel is underweighted on climbs so it spins a bit without careful climbing style. But unlike a normal mtb you don't have to worry about accidental wheelies. Similarly it is hard to properly weight the front wheel when you hit a little dip or a loose turn due to the large wheel base. I am also running slick tires. But overall it handles pretty well through the local off road conditions. Including singletrack. As long as I am cognizant of how long the bike really is and whether the freeloaders are stuffed or not, it is not too hard to ride single track here. Additionally, you can ride down some stupid steep things and through some technical things that are easier on the dummy than a regular MTB. As long as you have traction. The big dummy does suck on anything you could high center on. Logs and some curbs and dropoffs are bad. Constant vigilance...

I usually ride down town, load up with whatever I am buying and then ride the roads back home with the load. Like this full load of groceries and coffee grounds for composting.

I have had some issues with the long wheel base. Mostly clanking hops up onto curbs at speed. It is much harder to unweight the rear wheel than on a normal bike. I have hit the rear wheel pretty hard before, but actually pinchflatted today. When I went to fix the flat I noticed this:

I lost part of one of the freeloaders strap a riding home with it unbuckled a couple of weeks ago. I had not idea where it went or when it happened, but I did not think too much of it at the time. When I went to change the tire today I found the remains wrapped between the disc brake and the spoke. One of the Big Dummy's hazards is getting stuff caught in the rear wheel and having no idea it is there until it is too late. With the snap deck and the free loader bags you can't really see the rear hub at all while riding or otherwise. Additionally the long chain and wheel base degrades the "feel" of the rear wheel, and deck and bags muffle sound pretty well. This is the third thing that got up in there. One plastic bag, one tumbleweed like thing and this strap. The first two had to be repaired to get rolling, the plastic bag actually locked the cogs to the spokes and created a disconcerting psuedo fixed wheel with a huge delay due to the long chain, all while giving Elena a ride to a friends house. This one was unnoticeable until this week when it started clanking around back there a little bit. Not too big a deal but it is something to be aware of.
It is also kind of hard to check if your rear tire is well inflated and inflate the rear tire while it is on the bike. Again, something to force myself to be aware of.

Overall I have been riding the big dummy almost exclusively this month including about 25% off road. I also have an offroad route on the way to work that is pretty fun on the BD. It is great when I am not going to go for a really long ride on the way in or home. Probably 6-15 miles a day so far this month, I loves you big dummy.

My next plan is to get some fatter slicks. Probably a 2.5" hookworm up front and a 2.35 road apple on the back. In retrospect, I wish I set my bike up with large marge rims (and a rohloff...) like this one: here, here and here. Maybe next time I build wheels for it. I don't think I am going to fit fenders on it. It runs pretty dry for the rider due to the virtual fender of the snapdeck/freeloaders and I think I would rather have really fat tires...


Mark Bishop said...

Why the larger tires? Why do you wish you had the larger rims? I get the Rohloff, duh! Is it all just to keep from pinchflatting? Those hookworms are wicked heavy from what I remember. I thought you might go for the big apple or a Marathon from Schwalbe.

John Speare said...

I found the xtracycle to be a really fun trails/dirt bike. All the points you mention are true true: be mindful of the rear wheel spin on unweighted climbs; the bomber descents are better than ever on a long-wheel-based bike; and watch those high spots in the trail.
When Maddie was about 3 years old she sat on the companion carrier on our xtracycle and loved to do mellow trail riding. She was the bell ringer and loved it when there was someone on the trail ahead of us.
Ok ok; I know you can't stand it Tarik -- here's a pic: http://www.johndogfood.com/john/reduced/03-30-06%20006.jpg

h2oflow said...

I too enjoy the Trail "Pedigree" of the BD. I've taken mine down some pretty nasty single track in Northern Cal. I thought with the longer wheelbase it might not be possible, but just beware that one can lock up the front brake and stuff it in the right situation. That's right, I had the whole shit kit come up and over the top to crash down upon me. No injuries, but I was stunned by my ability to endo a longtail! Keep the rubber side down. J

Andy R said...

I have the Rohloff. I love the Rohloff. You should buy the Rohloff. :)

I put the Big Apple 55s on mine. I didn't even know they made that size until I looked for the 50s on the Schwalbe site. I like the 55s a lot. So smoooooth.


Neve_r_est said...

You should check out the WTB Weirwolf LT 2.55. It's basically a huge fast rolling cyclocross tire. I've been running them on my gravel commuting longtail for about 3 months, haven't found anything they don't do fairly well. Big tires rule for longtails.

Planet Bike Cascadia fenders fill clear a 2.55 tire BTW.

Check it: http://picasaweb.google.com/neverest1979/OrganicHybrid#

And the what what I've been doing with it: www.nonconformcycling.blogspot.com


Tarik Saleh said...

Better rolling loaded at lower pressures. Big fat round tires are a joy to ride in all occasions, but especially on a big loaded bike. I may go with Big apples indeed... I think the heavy tires are not too bad on this bike as the sidewalls take a beating it seems...

Cool, thanks for the pic. I got something similar for the new baby, I can't wait until she is strong enough to try it...

H2O flow,
Wow, I can't imagine endoing it. I have ridden down some short very steep little hills and it was comically stable. I think I would have been very hesitant to take the same line on the normal MTB...

Man that is some nice work on the hybrid bike! Is that a chainsaw engine? Well done. I am familiar with the WTB 2.55 weirwolfs I have been running them on the front of my rigid single speed for the last 3 years or so. I love them, but I think I ride enough on the road that I would rather run a slick than a knobbie.