This Space for Rent

Variations on a theme


City bike vs country bike, Xtracycle-style.


… ain’t city and country, just flat and drop bar. Both of ‘em are swanky. Sort of Cadillac & Mercedes. Neither one of 'em is COUNTRY.

xiousgeonz Wed Feb 4 20:53:09 2009

My Trek might have been moderately swanky 20 years ago (but it was still the lowest-end aluminum bike on the Trek roster) but it’s not swanky anymore. And there’s a lot more than just the bar (the Electra’s got an albatrossy one, which doesn’t seem all that flat to me) but the geometry of the bike. The effective seat angle on the Electra is so far back that I don’t think it’s even possible to go into a tuck to get away from the wicked evil headwinds, the rear triangle is so relaxed that it puts the rear wheel out in the next county (as opposed to the rear triangle on the Trek, which required me to cut back – over the objections of many people, up to and including info@Xtracycle, all of which thought I should just buy a nice 26\“ wheeled mountain bike instead – the mounting bracket on the Free Radical’s cantilever arm before I could fit it into the frame,) and finally there’s no way to fit the huge tires that the Electra has into the Trek (you might be able to fit them in if you replaced the wheels with 24\” wheels, but then the bottom bracket would be so close to the ground that it would be impossible to pedal. Which would be somewhat pointless.)

I’d bet the Electracycle could carry some pretty substantial loads with those tires it’s got on it (the couple that owns it uses it to lug both of their children around on it along with a couple of kids worth of toys and school stuff) but I’d not want to ride it on a randonnée unless I could get a promise from G-d himself that the only wind would be a tailwind. My Trek does not like heavy loads – the heaviest load I’ve managed to carry without unridable Xtracycle shimmy is only about 75 pounds, and that load took some tricky starting to keep myself from ramming my toes into the front wheel as I wobbled away from stops – but I can comfortably ride it for six hours at a stretch, and if I can get my average speed back to 25km/h I expect I’ll be riding it for more on the order of 18 hours at a stretch (if I ever become fit enough to ride PBP or any of the other epic randonneuring death marches I will probably borrow or buy a light bobtail bike to shave off the 23 pounds that the Free Radical brought to the table, but I am planning on using the Trek for any shorter brevet that I ride in.)

So, yeah, the Trek’s a country bike and the Electra is a city bike, even with Free Radicals appended to them.

David Parsons Wed Feb 4 23:21:38 2009

I guess drop bars and aluminum can be country :-)

siouxgeonz Fri Feb 6 11:21:39 2009

greetings – may i post pictures of your xtracycles on my blog?

naturally will attribute and link and so forth –

thanks in advance!! john

john g Sun Feb 15 16:21:32 2009

Yes, you may. Note that the Electra isn’t mine, and that I’ve since tweaked the Trek a bit more (the handlebars have been replaced with a Nitto Randonneur, the filthy pink tape has been replaced with boring old black tape, the pedals have been replaced with MKS touring pedals, and the banged up fenders were replaced with the lowest-of-the-line Planet Bike 45mm fenders) so the picture of the two side-by-side isn’t quite accurate now.

David Parsons Wed Feb 18 20:52:54 2009

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