New Xtracycle Bars and Setup in the UK

The longbike is nearly complete now; photos are attached although a Thomson seatpost has since been added – the old single-bolt seatpost is a useless piece of crap by comparison – and I still am looking to get a few more oddments before I can call it completely finished.

New to the bike are the 56cm Nitto Albatross handlebars on a Raleigh adjustable stem; the stem is maxed-out for height meaning that it has almost no “throw” forwards; on most bikes this would be very twitchy to ride but since this is an Xtracycle the long wheelbase compensates a lot.

I have the gearlevers and brakes in my favoured positions, but rather than waste money on bar tape while I faff with ergonomics I’ve cut up an old innertube, cable-tied it to the bars and polished it with Mr Sheen silicone polish, in lieu of grips; it’s not brilliant but it’s better than bare metal, it’s free, and will last a couple of months which is all that’s necessary.

IMG_8775IMG_8774

IMG_8775 by alecmuffett IMG_8774 by alecmuffett

Above illustrates the bike loaded with about 50lbs of books being taken to the local charity chops for disposal/resale. The momentum of that much luggage makes riding a treat, if a bit wobbly when the load is too far rear-wards. Improves when properly loaded.

15 thoughts on “New Xtracycle Bars and Setup in the UK

  1. CraigM

    Looking good, nuke to see it all built up. How about some alt photos without panniers in place, I’m interested to gauge overall length.

    I’ve got a much loved old steel MB frame that’s crying out for some love :)

    BTW, had the opportunity to try a ride on a Jones bike recently, very, very interesting … One of the things that stood out were the bars – http://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bar.html but the whole bike was damned impressive and I think much more in keeping with my bike ethos.

    Have fun

    CraigM

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      I’ll nip out and measure it… from rear bumper to front of front wheel including rubber ~= 216cm / 7’1″

      Incidentally, those aren’t panniers, they’re slings attached to hoop-inserts that mount into the xtracycle chassis; compare the three pictures at http://tomecat.com/madtimes/archive/000665.html – once I get a few more accessories sorted, I’ll do a proper photo session.

      Update: nice bars you link to; I considered H-bars but eventually decided that I was going to try to make the Xtra as much sit-up-straight as I could. My back is happier for that, but I might re-consider H-bars for the MTB.

      Reply
  2. Neil

    Looks good.

    I really must decide whether I am going to get an X and if so whether my mountain bike is a suitable donor. All very expensive whichever route.

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      Tell us more about the donor bike; if you’ld like I can help you cost it up against (say) a big dummy frame.

      Reply
  3. Neil

    Unfortunately my bike knowledge may not be up to providing sufficient information.

    It’s a Giant mountain-bike with front suspension only, twist grip gears (3×7). I don’t know the model, but would guess it was the entry level model or there abouts – I bought it secondhand off someone after borrowing it for mountain biking and it’s become my town bike with mudguards, normal tyres and a rack.

    Alternatively I should have access to my dads old bike a 40 years old bike with sturmy archer gears.

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      Both sound doable, though the first question is “do they have 26″ wheels”?

      If you can dig up the Giant model number, that’d be a big help

      Reply
  4. Neil

    Sorry, should have said, my Dad’s old bike is 700c as far as I know. My understanding was that there are 700 xtracycle kits, although the consensus seems to be to stick to 26″.

    Will try to identify the Giant better.

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      You should pop over some time and take a look at what I’ve got.

      The benefit of 26ers are you can replace with high-spoke-count wheels fairly easily, for weightbearing and strength; also there is a wider selection of rubber available. I was going with 48o wheels but the price was excessive – I’ll watch for special deals – so for the moment I have 2x 36o wheels instead; otoh if they can handle the weight the 29ers would roll even better… :-)

      Reply
  5. Neil

    So details – Giant Boulder Alu Shock. 6061-T6 aluminium frame 19.5″. 26′ wheels. Not sure what age, but hmmm, at least 5 years I think.

    Reply
  6. alecm Post author

    Neil: I’ve done some googling – I think you should be fine with the Giant; one of the favourite bikes for conversion is the Specialized Rockhopper which is not too different. The Boulder appears to be a 2001 design, so conversion should be a snap; in fact you should be able to do so trivially(ish) and then incrementally upgrade if you like…

    If you’ld like some idea-fodder, go browse http://www.xtracyclegallery.com/ and see what’s being done, some of them are fantastic :-)

    Reply
  7. Neil

    Thank you, that’s great. Sorry for the delay in responding, I became a dad after my last comment and haven’t had much time.

    Reply

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