Bringing Bettie Back

With Spring, warmer temperatures, and less rain, it’s time to bring Bettie back and we’re rev’ing her to 2.0. Just in time for the project, a Big Dummy was spotted in West Seattle.

I started thinking about an updated Bettie in this post and thought our readers probably have some thoughts on building another longtail, sport-utility, cargo bike. We’re building Bettie with a Big Dummy, transferring over most of the parts and the purpose of the project is to simplify it down – make Bettie easier to use, more friendly, and significantly less whippy.

How would you build up Bettie 2.0?



Nice to meet you on the bridge the other day. I posted comments on your Flickr post of my Dummy also.

For someone who is really making the most of his Dummy, see this thread over at

If the photos of my brake guard didn’t turn out, here’s one I took before hanging the bags on it. I think it may still need something to spread the point of contact a little wider where it hits the inside of the bag. I really don’t want it to wear a hole.

Also, hydraulic brakes would get away with a much smaller guard with their lack of external moving parts and smaller size.

Let me know if you want to compare my setup to Betty. Also, Aaron has one built up with 24” wheels.

Keep some of it but make some changes to freshen it up. 

* Nitto Albatross bar — keep them
* Magura Gustav M — keep them
* DT Swiss FR 6.1D —keep them
* Sugino Mighty Crankset — replace with a Surly crankset - as if having a Big Dummy isn’t Surly enough
* Deore LX derailleurs — keep them
* Bar end shifters — keep them - nice retro look and usability
* MKS platform pedals - switch to Tioga Spider Pedals for more foot contact space and a great “tough look”, but loose the powergrips
* Brooks B17 — keep it but have it branded with a logo
* Loud bell from REI — keep it
* Customize a full deck that covers the top and back of the v-racks.  Pad the top.

hmm - big dummy—I so want to build up my own.

Have it painted GREEN!  Go with some BikeHugger deck-art like those skater-kids do.  You could have the logo background painted, and then apply a nice varnish over the top.

Good suggestions—we were going to paint it green, but it comes in Army green so, close enough. We’ll decal it up instead and we’re working on a couple new angles. I like the custom snap deck idea and when we first got Bettie, Frank Steele (of TDF Blog) thought custom snap decks would make a good aftermarket product.

Whatever happened to “dancin’ with the one that brung ‘ya?” While I totally agree with the whippy factor, Bettie’s also a piece of art, a topic of conversation, and an environmental statement. Case in point: the weekend before last my wife and I rode our bikes to the train station for a long weekend in Portland, her road bike and my fully loaded Xtracycle (complete with bottle of wine for the 3.5 hours to PDX!). From the moment I walked in the door, folks at the station were asking me tons of questions, all amazed that they could turn a joe-average mountain bike into a cargo masterpiece!


I hear ya and see my comment [on this post]( where I said, “if someone wanted Bettie as is, we’d love to see it go to a good home. We’re less attached to the psychical aspects than the concept. We put lots of energy into Bettie and rewardingly that all came back at us.”

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