Big Dummy Gets Smarter

7

by Byron on Jul 03, 2007 at 9:46 AM

Checked in with Surly Bikes yesterday on the Big Dummy and learned from Dave Gray, the Product Design and Development dude, that new factory samples are en route. Those samples should address much of our concerns with Bettie

  • Stand-over height
  • Rohloff’able
  • Whippiness
  • Disc brake compatibility

In my long-term Bettie notes, I’d complained about the stand-over height and whippiness as the two biggest issues. Cargo bikes should drop the top-tube right to the bottom bracket so you can easily step into and out of the bike, especially with a load or kids or both: the latest Big Dummy uses the Instigator’s top-tube design. The whippiness is an obvious problem and inherent to trailers whether attached or not. Any longtail should make that better, and Surly is making it stiff.

Rohloff is a good option, to simplify the drive train. Nuvinci is another.

The disc brake problem came up for us because we’re using Magura’s Gustav for the stopping power on really hilly routes, fully loaded. The Gustav’s need exact tolerances and the Xtracycle just didn’t have them, even after using Magura’s planing tool.

It was great talking to Dave and hearing about the Big Dummy.

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Planning ahead

0

by andrew_f_martin on Jul 02, 2007 at 2:15 PM

Now that it’s sunny and dry without a drop on the 10-day forecast …it’s time to start thinking about the rain bike. Some people dread the thought of getting back on the winter bike, but right now is probably the best time to get started with improvements and maintenance. I know that Brian Marcroft is already starting to get requests for Custom Rain bikes, and I’m about to order some new Velocity DeepV rims for my disc brake wheels. The best way to ensure a trouble-free winter of riding is good prep work!

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B.I.K.E. The Movie

2

by Byron on Jul 02, 2007 at 10:56 AM

Fredric King, producer Fountainhead films, sent us a B.I.K.E. The Movie pre-release packet with DVD and I dug the artwork so much I scanned and uploaded it for this post.

bike_movie.jpg

There’s so much going on with the film, the BLBC, and freak bikes, that it’s like a bike culture mashup:

“Driven by anti-materialism and a belief that the impending apocalypse will render cars useless and leave bicycles in power, Black Label Bike Club battles mainstream consumer culture and rival gangs for its vision of a better tomorrow.”

And that’s not all …

“This fascinating and gorgeously gritty film provides insight into a passionate subculture, and exposes the darker aspects of living on the wild side.”

The film is edited from over 385 hours of footage for over 2 years and “this shit comes from the gutter.”

An earlier post from us on the BLBC and the NYTimes.

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Single Speed Across America

4

by Byron on Jul 02, 2007 at 9:01 AM

I couldn’t believe it either, when I read that John Spurgeon road RAAM on a single speed built by Ira Ryan cycles in Portland. I was checking in on the results, there’s a mention, and Bike Portland posted earlier on it as well…

To me that’s sorta like using a fully-loaded track bike to tour, but then again the roadies I know probably think the Bettie is stupid.

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Derailed

8

by andrew_f_martin on Jul 01, 2007 at 8:32 PM

My biggest problem with bike racing is that it keeps you from riding your bike as much as you might like (huh?). We are in full-swing “Crit” season right now. The general rule to do well is race, and rest, or maybe do short, intense intervals. Races usually comprise of 60-75 minutes of a lung-busting tour around 4 city blocks. I like crits, I tend to do ok at them, but it’s days like today (Sunny, 78deg) that I get a little miffed that I have to race a crit. I spend a solid 4 hours driving to the race, getting ready, racing, and driving home. What a waste of a perfectly good day?!

I’m tempted to race getting the Tandem back together and rolling to Portland with my wife in the STP. At the least I think I’ll be taking some time off the circuit to get back into those long, sunny rides that I miss.

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iPhone in Pocket

3

by Byron on Jul 01, 2007 at 7:50 AM

Rode with the iPhone in my jersey pocket yesterday. It fit well in my old Timbuk2 strap pouch that I carry in my jersey. Also fits their large cellphone holder for shoulder straps.

As other reviewers have found, the iPhone is a breakthrough device that does all that you’ve read or heard about. I’m struggling with the touchpad now and I’m not going to try and ride and talk with it for a while (not that you should do that anyway).

Check our Photostream for a set of photos taken with our iPhone.

iphone_pocket.jpg

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Sealline Urban Shoulder Bag

0

by Byron on Jun 30, 2007 at 10:04 AM

sealline_small.jpg Pam’s been testing a Sealline Urban Shoulder Bag for a couple weeks and reports that she likes it’s light weight, styling, and features, but found that the carrying handle was too small and the shoulder strap twisted when riding.

Understanding that Sealline is differentiating themselves with features, like their QuickClip closure (shown below), it’s also nice just to have a big flap of velcro to throw the bag closed. What I noticed is the “heft” (or lack of it) and when compared to my Timbuk2 bags, I’m concerned that the Sealline isn’t going to last as long or get that Timbuk2 patina.

It’s like a nice sweater that you know if you wash it, it’ll lose it’s shape.

sealline_big.jpg

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In the bike shop: Jerry’s Davidson

1

by Byron on Jun 29, 2007 at 9:03 AM

Jerry Baker has been riding in the Northwest since the roads were dirt, back when shorts were wool, chamois were leather, and you switched gears by removing the wheel and flipping it around. Here’s Jerry with a new Davidson

jerry_davidson.jpg

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Brand Snobs?

0

by andrew_f_martin on Jun 28, 2007 at 1:59 PM

I’ll admit to being a bit of a label-hound when it comes to my bike stuff, but other times I want the cheapest part to do the job. Then there’s that special case where the brand name part is the SAME as the knock off. Apart from graphics and color - these wheel bags are identical. I have a couple of each in my garage right now and after inspection it turns out they are the same. I got the Performance bags for $9 on sale!

I’m a big fan of wheel bags. Keep yourself and your car clean if you need to lug them around. Protect them fragile spokes from people trying to pack overstuff the trunk on the way to the race.

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