Rohloff put off (delay)

Procrastinating on the Rohloff install for the Big Dummy. Got a long weekend coming up where I can fit it in so finally will get it done! Not sure why but I’m expecting it to take all day. Setup tandem-length cables in ex-mech & shifter, remove derailleurs, install OEM2 plate, install cables, install shifter, install chain-tensioner, install 185mm disc rotor, fit wheel, and test run.

Maybe some “brake noodles” for the shifter and on the ex-mech. Something like these:

Rohloff put off (delay)

Home Improvement Big Dummy

The Surly Big Dummy continues to please. Took it to a local big-box hardware store and came back with a decent load. Probably the largest load in size and density; with a 10litre (2.25 gallons) can of paint and four  2metre (6ft6in) lengths of decking. With the bungy cord cargo net it worked a treat. Although I rode cautiously because of the load all the cargo behaved itself over various bumps for roughly 2kms (1.5miles). Check out the pictures.

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It was great fun and it really drives home to my wife just how useful this bike is.

Home Improvement Big Dummy

Surly Big Dummy Review

What’s long, green, a little heavy, great fun and has the potential to change your life?

It’s the Surly Big Dummy. A long-bike or cargo-bike it could have many classifications. What appeals to me the most is how fun it is to ride.

Now that I’ve had it for a few months I have a much better idea of the bike’s intricacies and handling.iphone 002

In short I love it. My wife loves it. It’s starting to change our lives. Where we’d normally drive to the shops we get on our bikes and ride. When I feel like a ride and my wife’s a bit tired I take her on the back and that means we’re together and I get a decent ‘work-out’ on the bike. All this cycling is changing her, too. She’s excited to ride and has purchased a new Avanti Metro 8.

My (our?) main use for it is shopping but I also enjoy commuting to work upon the big green carrier. My work-commute is 67kms round trip and I spend about 2 hours 40 minutes in the saddle. The handling is very nice. Moderately relaxed steering geometry only becomes twitchy on tight corners. Frame geometry is configured toward upright riding: think town-bike or Amsterdam-bike. It’s no problem to get the bike through the anti-bike devices that guard bike-paths around Melbourne. I’ve never clipped anything whilst riding it. Any clipping of objects is done whilst wheeling the bike: usually coming in the back door.

The Xtracycle Freeloader Bags can fit a great deal of stuff but to truly get the most out of the bike I think a cheap motorcycle-type cargo net adds to it capability significantly. And when you have those little cargo nets you will get the most out of a set of wideloaders.iphone 004 There’s enough space to carry a brand-new, in box, 6 litre slow cooker; without the wideloaders. I’d be hesitant to do this sans-cargo net, though. My trip was successful because of the cargo net.

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If you have a modicum of fitness you won’t be particularly slowed by the Big Dummy rolling on Schwalbe Big Apple tyres at 60psi. I’ve found that it only slows me about 1-2kph compared to my Cannondale Bad Boy 8 on Continental Sport Contact tyres at 90psi. The weight of the Big Dummy is about the same as a low-end steel frame hybrid: one of those over sized steel-tube ones that are built to look like they’re aluminium but are just plain mild steel.

Having my wife ride on the snap-deck is really good fun and great resistance training. It lets you find out what your knees can handle. It’s also really nice to be able to have her right next to me and able to chat regardless of how hard I want to ride (but she doesn’t like it when I take the bike faster than about 30kph). It may be read as a slight against her but she’s the heaviest load, with shopping, that I’ve taken on the Big Dummy. Including the shopping I’m estimating about 85kgs. Added to my 90kgs the bike was close to its stated limit of 180kgs. I didn’t find this difficult until a hill near home that is about 5% gradient for 300metres or so. Then I felt it on my knees. If anyone thinks that’s the bike they’re wrong: it’s clearly my gear choice &/or fitness level. I wouldn’t want to carry much more than that on the Big Dummy and agree with its stated weight limits. If one was to want a bike with higher loads then consider the Yuba Mundo.

It’s in my nature to think of ways to improve things. The Big Dummy has few additions or modifications that I’d make. They are:

  1. It’s not really the bike but change the saddle (most people will do this so that they have a better fitting cushion for the pushin’, anyway). I’ll be fitting this Charge Spoon Wiggle Edition.
  2. Chain-slap will scratch up your frame after a few kilometres of bumps. Put in some protection. At the moment I’ve got some packing foam on the frame until I decide on something more aesthetically pleasing.
  3. To avoid chain-slap an idler would be a good addition. Terra Cycle make these ones.
  4. Total-dreaming: I’d love to put a modification on the Big Dummy to have a belt-drive to a Rohloff gear hub. This would require some kind of mid-mounted hub that operates as a 1:1 transmision from cranks to the Rohloff. Something like the awesome Chupacabra of a person who goes by the name Goat might be appropriate.

Overall the Big Dummy is big green fun. If you’re on the fence, get off and get riding the Big Dummy.

Surly Big Dummy Review

Big Dummy Farmers’ Market Ride

…and mini-review of Surly Big Dummy

Took the Surly Big Dummy to the farmers’ market today. Gave my wife a dink there and back. Loaded up with our weekly shop and the special shop from the supermarket (for things not at the farmers’ market; like cream). It was a nice ride, lovely weather, and lots of fun having my wife with me. She loved it and had a smile on her face all the way there and back. On the return she even rang her sister whilst I was riding.

Under load the big dummy has a little bit of tyre squirm but the deflection in the tyre shape was totally acceptable. The frame was very ridgid: never felt it flex or wobble. We did experience some chain scrape on the rear SKS fender (26-inch, 65mm width) which surprised me because the fender is cut-out to allow clearance for the chain. Will have to test if the Dremel can take off the material in an acceptable manner and correct if possible.

Next Big Dummy ride will likely be a work-commute.

Big Dummy Farmers’ Market Ride

Big Dummy Arrival

My Surly Big Dummy arrive and it’s very nice. The good folks at Lonsdale Street Cyclery did a superb job of packing the bike: easily worth the $50 that I paid for it. The seller in Canberra was great to deal with and very accommodating. My original intention was to make a road-trip up to collect the bike and transport it back. Then my car blew its water-pump and I was without transport. Now the bike has arrived, is assembled, and a few adjustments away from being a joy to ride.

To be a bit of a trend-follower I intend to fit a Rohloff Speedhub and either trekking, or Titec Jones H-bar, handlebars. All that remains at this point is mudguards (SKS of course, 26-inch P65) and the Xtracycle wide-loaders (aka. Cargo Vans, H-racks).

Big Dummy Arrival