The Big Dummy as an urban hauling and carting machine is well noted. There are also a few others who’ve taken it along ways less smooth. These latter caught my attention a while before the Americas trip, aiding the genesis thereof. Although I’m aware that many will consider detail excessive, I thought a few might like to see what 28,000km does to a bicycle and how it performed. Apologies to the masses!
The Xtracycle didn’t go on the Americas Trip as I was concerned that the attachment points between the main bike frame and the Xtracycle extension wouldn’t stand up to the hammering I intended to put the bike through. In the end, the Big Dummy did me proud, though I do agree with Sarah’s main objection – it’s not the easiest bike to get over a fence to a promising campsite…
To get the technical stuff out early, here’s the build/kit list that I had latterly:
18″ Surly Big Dummy (pre 2011 style) Military Green
Rockshox Tora 302 85-130mm U-turn (firm coil)
Canecreek S3 headset
Velocity 26″ Cliffhanger rim (36H, milled for rim brakes)
Xtracycle V-racks with 2011 Freeloader bags and girth strap
Porcelain rocket BD chainstay pack
2 x Ortlieb X-plorer kit bag (59L each)
Old Man Mountain Sherpa (pre 2011) front rack with own make rack-pack
Topeak Modula XL bottle cage with Nalgene 48oz bottle and drinking tube
Specialized MTB Air Tool pump
Cateye 610 rear light
While in the end I feel I probably didn’t carry enough stuff to justify using the Big Dummy, as I had a lot of spare carrying capacity, it did prove to be a pretty capable ‘go anywhere’ touring machine.
You can also see my main packs – 2 x 59L Ortlieb Xplorer dry bags. These come with rucksac shoulder straps. Our idea was to use them for side-treks. They proved ok for this as long as you took time to pack softer clothing to pad the ‘back’ and didn’t try to carry too much weight.
I started the trip with my existing ‘old model’ black Xtracycle Freeloader bags (see kayak-toting photo). They were already pretty bashed up, so when we were gearing up for México in Silver City, NM I splashed out on the new versions. With both I used a Cinchstrap/girth-strap to keep everything in place.
Carries lots of stuff – in as many ways as you can think to pack it.
Performs pretty well off and on road – especially uphill on sketchy ground
The frame takes a good and proper beating
A conventional drive-chain works fine
Carries too much stuff – harder to rationalise and not just carry it because you can!
If you can’t ride something, pushing is pretty hard work. And don’t try to carry it fully loaded if you can help it…
Kickstands may not be the way forward if you want them to be abuse-proof
Hopping fences and other nimble antics aren’t strong points.