Basically a bike extension designed to give greater load carrying capacity to your existing bike, will hold up to 100kg according to Xtracycle.
I’ve owned one of these for many years and it’s my urban van, occasional courier vehicle, plus my once in a while touring bike. More fun and more versatile than any trailer I’ve used, my Xtracycle has carried bikes, food, magazines, people, fat dogs, sacks of dog food, 12 ft long planks of wood, armchairs, thin dogs and me…. plus lots of other stuff I’ve forgotten about. I recently used to it move house, although I don’t own much stuff.
Charity shop run with two Xtracycles
My Xtracycle frame snapped just behind the bottom bracket and I had it welded, although Xtracycle offered to send me a replacement frame free of charge. Instead I got some new add-ons. Load your stuff in the freeloaders (rear panniers) carefully, because they can rub on the spokes with bulky loads, causing them to rip. If you can get hold of the old freeloaders with the rubberised backing, they’re a better choice because they’re stronger than the new all cordura ones.
I also have to mention the price, because it’s taken such a hike in recent times. Plus the accessories are pretty pricey as well.
How to build a cheap Xtracycle>>
Build your own
There are numerous sites with ideas on how to build an Xtracycle styled longtail bike. Some of them need no welding, such as this one utilising the rear triangle of a cheap full suspension mountain bike. Here’s a picture of a similar styled longtail I was involved in putting together in The Gambia. More info on the build can be found here>>
And still more home built diy cargo bikes can be found here>>
Using a cheap donor bike
The frame on my Xtracycle is an old Kona steel frame from the early 90s and cost me £10. There are plenty of decent options in the 2nd hand steel market – in recent years I’ve picked up an old Orange P7 and Clockwork for £50 each and a Specialized Hardrock and Rockhopper for similar amounts, all of which are great bikes and perfect donors for an Xtracycle. Add this to the price of an Xtracycle – (one UK stockist here) and you’ve got a great reasonably priced cargo bike.
Making your own Xtracycle accessories
It’s easy to make your own snapdeck, using a piece of ply cut to size. Plastic clips to attach it to the v racks designed for copper pipes can be bought from a local plumbing shop for very little. Really snug fit and good tyre clearance.
The Xtracycle is pretty much a ‘fit and forget’ affair from my experience , with no moving parts other than what normally moves on a bike. This is a dependable, eye catching and amazingly practical alternative to urban gridlock. I haven’t owned a car for a good few years and the Xtracycle has played no small part in making the decision to move the light side very easy indeed.
The Xtracycle as a tourer…
There’s a review worth reading here from the guys in the video below about touring with an Xtracycle and the likely problems.
Manufacturer’s website: www.xtracycle.com
some images from the Xtracycle flickr group