Gallery: John’s Xtracycle Cruzbike

I have been peak oil aware for a number of years and have seen the wisdom of cargo-hauling bikes for a long time, and the xtracycle “Free Radical” system seems like the best overall way to add a trailer and heavy duty hauling capacity there is. The Cruzbike is unusual (front wheel drive) but it eliminates the long-chain that robs most recumbents of some efficiency. The combination seems to work pretty well. —John

16 Responses to “Gallery: John’s Xtracycle Cruzbike”

  • arcadiagt5 says:

    Impressive piece of work.

    As I understand it the Cruzbike is an MTB-to-bent conversion and the xtracycle is also a conversion so I’m wondering what’s left of the original bike. :)

  • Bryan Ball says:

    The Cruzbike is available in a production complete bike version now. Looks like that was the basis of this conversion. Very impressive. Looks like a very useful machine!

  • John says:

    Yes, I bought my Cruzbike as a production bike (cruzbike.com) specifically because the xtracycle would not mate with my other recumbents (Rans Rocket, BikeE). So I bought the Cruzbike and then ordered the Free Radical kit from Xtracycle.com, and had my bike shop put it on. The Cruzbike makes the Xtracycle attachment a piece of cake, because there’s no chain lengthening to deal with, no cassette back there, just a simple tire.

    The picture above shows the bike loaded with a bunch of 2L bottles to recycle at the store. which is about 3 miles away across town. I bought 16 2L bottles and some small groceries yesterday and I think I was about at the load limit on the bike — I could feel a little to-and-fro action sometimes, and I wished I had disk brakes.

    That’s the next step for Sport Utility Bike status (disk brakes). Probably the only thing left after that will be some kind of loud horn or other signaling device. I’ve used a “zounds” compressed air horn that you refill with a bike pump on my other bikes — perhaps I’ll put one on the CruzTracycle …

    The FINAL final step will be an electric assist — a guy at the gristmill blog who lives in Seattle, biodiversivist, has made himself an awesome e-bike out of DeWalt LiOn tool batteries that power a motorized hub … with my clean back wheel I could put that together and bolt the batteries to the underside of the Xtracycle deck (which pops off) and put a power controller up on the handlebars.

    At that point I think I will have the a awesome cargo hauling vehicle …

  • jorge says:

    John,

    i admire your conversion but two questions always nag at me and pull at my goat every time i see your bike. the first concerns unsprung weight. the amount inherent in your creation seems to imply instability at higher speeds and i can’t imagine a shock that would be able to handle the stresses of a bigger load. did you lock out suspension travel for the rear?

    the second concerns traction. you live, i hope, in relatively flat lands because the extreme rear weight bias when xtracycle is loaded seems to imply poor traction for the front-wheel drive setup. hoe do you compensate for that bias?

    if you have found solutions i applaud your efforts…i am not against the proliferation of utility bikes in any form and if it works for you, kudos…i have a personal fantasy of xtracycling a pederson AND a steel rans v2 xl myself…

    i’m just concerned for your safety sometimes!

    jorge

  • John says:

    Jorge, thanks for asking about my safety! I do live in a relatively flat place — there are plenty of hills about, but most are relatively easily avoided if desired. Since I mean to use this as a work bike rather than for touring, I figure it’s not important that it be able to do great climbs.

    I have read that front-wheel slipping is a problem for some people on the Cruzbike, but it hasn’t seemed to be for me — I’m pretty hefty (105 kg) and even though the front carries less of that load than the rear, it’s still carrying a pretty good chunk of weight. In fact, one thing I used to experience before I added the Xtracycle was having the rear end lift up when I braked hard at a light … so the extra moment arm and weight back there seems ok to me.

    I haven’t experimented with the bike’s shock much– it’s adjustable, and I probably should take some of the play out of it because there can be a “pogo” effect (bouncing up and down) when trying to really ride hard out of a stop.

    But generally, I simply don’t go real fast — I probably average about 24 kph and I rarely get into the high gears because I tend to use the bike for errands and short trips. When I want to ride fast I’ll ride the Rans Rocket (or, when I can talk her into it, on the Rans tandem with my wife!) Cheers!

  • Andy Goetz says:

    John,

    I put a FreeRadical on a P-38. What is the load carrying capacity of your sprung Freeradical? Note that it is important that you put a 22-33-44 front sprocket set on your bike so that you can easily pedal your bike up hills, because with typical stock 30-42-53 gears, you quickly run out of legs and cramp up when you pedal up hills carrying a big load. the max safe load for my P-38 appears to be 60 pounds, 30 on each side, as low as possible, due to the low center of gravity of the rider and load in the recumbent position contributing to instability when loaded heavier than that. Here is a picture of me and my bike on Lightning Riders website, see the third picture from the bottom. The Lightningbikes guys didn’t like me making a cargo carrying bicycle out of their thoroughbred bike: http://lightningriders.com/ It might be better to not have a rear suspension when using a FreeRadical frame extension.

  • John says:

    Andy: Great picture! I will take your advice on the gearing under consideration — now that I’ve ridden the thing a while I am open to making improvements — I think redoing the gearing and adding disk brakes are next.

    I think the maximum load for me is limited by the fact that I’m somewhat of a maximum load myself … right about 100 kg on the nose. That said, I know I’ve had 40 pounds in the Free Radical, evenly balanced, but I wouldn’t want to go a whole lot higher than that.

    Cheers!

  • Andy Goetz says:

    John,

    Check out getting the XtraCycle Wideloaders for much easier loading and carrying of big loads for only a few bucks more. If you have the square crank ends, you should check out the Nashbar Mountain Crankset 22-33-44 for only about $45.

  • john g says:

    awesome bike — can i post a picture on my site? http://www.xtracyclegallery.com

  • John says:

    Of course you can post a photo — thanks!

  • Jeff says:

    Hi John,

    I am about ready to purchase an xtracycle freeradical for my Cruzbike Freerider V2, and eventully add electric also.

    Can you give me any tips? Will I need to do any modifications to the xtracycle or cruzbike?

    thanks,

    Jeff

  • John says:

    Jeff — I think you’re all set — not only do you not need any “tips,” the Free Radical attaches to the Cruzbike much easier than to other “normal” bikes because you don’t have the chain complication, so you will have some unused parts left over from the xtracycle kit (the chain extension and some cable).

    I haven’t added the electric or the disc brakes yet — if you’re planning on doing either one or both, I would be inclined to do that before putting the Free Radical on, as it will simply be easier without having to unbuild the xtracycle — although it’s not terrible to break down again.

    I just bought four spare “snaphooks” the little plastic gizmos needed to affix things to the tube — like the “Pizzaloader” that xtracycle just sent plans out for. You’ll like the bike so much that you’ll look for other uses, so those snaphooks could be handy — if you order them when you order your xtracycle and then you’ll have them when inspiration strikes.

    Good luck to you!

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Xtracycle PizzaLoader says:

    [...] Using the instructions on the Xtracycle website (with a slight modification), EcoVelo reader John G. built a PizzaLoader for his bike. Here’s the note he sent me and a photo of the completed project installed on his CruzBike: [...]

  • Jeff says:

    Hi John,

    My bike shop said it would cost about $200 for the conversion. They said they would neeed to fabricate spacers and bolts to attach the free radical and I would need to purchase a rear wheel with a gear hub to fit in the free radical.

    I took back the bike and am going to have my friend with a machine shop help. I don’t think I really need to put on a regular rear wheel on the freeradical do I?

    Could you possible email me (or upload on this blog) a close up photo of where the freeradical attaches to the free rider, and a close up of how the rear wheel is attached? And any other advise.

    thanks,

    Jeff

  • John says:

    @Jeff: Ok, that’s weird. My bike shop charged me $45, the same as they charge to do a bike assembly. They didn’t report any of the issues that yours is, and I know they used the same rear wheel as came on the Freerider. Perhaps your bike shop is saying “We don’t know how to do this and, rather than admit that to you, we’ll quote an outrageous price and you’ll solve our problem by going away (which it sounds like you’ve done).

    I just took five snaps of the point where the two things meet, I hope that they give you the information you’re looking for. I don’t see an option for uploading photos here @ Ecovelo, so I’ll send them to Alan and ask him to post them so you (and subsequent Cruzbike/Xtracycle owners can see how it’s done — or, at least, how one bike shop did it (and seems to have done it well).

    Cheers!

  • Jeff says:

    Thanks John.

    If you can’t upload the photos here can you email them to: jeffredding (at) comcast.net

    What do you think of this idea?

    Attach an electric hub rear wheel, say a 7 speed to the freeradical Since the cruzbike is fwd, the gears would not need to be hooked up. Instead run a chain from the electric rear wheel to a bicycle generator attached to a snapdeck. This would allow you to generate power as you rode.

    It could be used to recharge cell phones, etc… Maybe even partically power the electric wheel itself. I am not much of a gear head, but it sounds like it may be worth thinking about. Here are a couple of links with bicycle generator info.

    http://www.windstreampower.com/
    http://www.los-gatos.ca.us/davidbu/pedgen.html

    Let me know what you think.

    Jeff

 
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