Friday, 27 February 2009

Xtracycle Kick-Back Review

The photo shows my Xtracycle with Kick-Back stand relaxing in the sun, and remaining upright with 80 kg in the panniers and front basket.

Emigrating is difficult. Setting up a business is difficult. Learning a language is difficult. Doing all these things just at the time that a global recession starts to bite is extra difficult. As a result, I've been doing a part time job delivering mail in order to earn a bit more money. The Xtracycle is the bike I've been using for this.

Unfortunately, my Xtracycle is one of the very early ones which had a weak point in the design at the point where the standard kick stand attaches. This broke off, leaving me without a kick stand. That was OK for trips between home and the post office or shops, both of which places have good quality wheel supporting racks which would keep the bike upright as I loaded it. However, it was a complete non-starter for a delivery job which involved standing the bike outside hundreds of homes each day.

In any case, the standard kick stand on the Xtracycle simply wasn't designed to keep the sort of weight we're dealing with upright.

I looked around for solutions and came across the Xtracycle Kick-Back. This is a specially made stand which fits into the tubing at the front of the Xtracycle.

You can see the parts which come in the box on the right. Everything you need to fit it is supplied.

As my FreeRadical is a very early production example it didn't have the holes required for the spring loaded clips also used by other accessories such as the wideloader. More modern FreeRadicals won't need this extra step of drilling holes.

In fact for most people it is a very quick job to install the stand. The only tools you will need are a screwdriver for doing up the screw which holds a stretchy cord to the rear stay - this is what provides the force to make the stand spring up - and a 5 mm allen key for adjusting the height of the stand. You want it so that it just forces one wheel off the ground when the bike is standing. If it is too high then you will find it is a considerable effort to park your bike.

I found I also needed to cut a couple of centimetres off the length of the black inserts for the stand in order that I could have the stand at a low enough height. I also recommend using copper grease when these are inserted. I ride in all weathers and without it the parts would seize in place.

And there you have it. The bike can now stand.

It's a very good product. The only one of its kind made especially for the Xtracycle, and I have found it to work extremely well.

It's been fitted since January 13th. That may not seem such a long time, but my bike computer tells me that I've covered over 500 km with the delivery schedule since then, and used the stand many thousands of times. Combined with a trailer, I've used the bike to haul as much as 225 kg ( about 500 lb ) of mail at once. It was as struggle to ride up the slightest of inclines, but the bike didn't fall over when I stopped.

If you want a stand which really works with your Xtracycle, this is the only one available which is specifically designed to do the job. It works extremely well and I suggest not bothering to consider any alternatives. It is Available here from BikeTrailerShop.com.

Our Xtracycle now
We now use our Xtracycle. with the Kick-Back, to make deliveries for our webshop. The bike has had several more upgrades since this article was written, and they're detailed in another blog post.

The Xtracycle is not the best tool for all jobs, but it does do what it does extremely well. I've lots more details of the Xtracycle on my web page about it. The front racks are here.

5 comments:

welshcyclist said...

Nothing to do with your post about the Xtra-cycle, which is great, but I must ask the following question. Why is it that the streets, roads, paths and cycleways, in the Netherlands, are so clean and devoid of rubbish, compared to the detritus that constantly fouls our highways and byeways, here in the UK, in my case South Wales. I've been out on my bike this morning, and am so ashamed of the condition of our streets, that we in the UK put up with. I can only guess, what visitors to our country think, when, they too experience our grimey roads for themslves.

David Hembrow said...

Yes it is cleaner here. We used to notice it when we came on holiday from the UK.

I think it's a combination of things. People drop less litter. Not none (unfortunately), but less. There is also money back on bottles, so they are rarely smashed. There is a much more comprehensive maintenance routine. This isn't only sweeping of rubbish, but also removing leaves from paths, dealing with snow, keeping plants trimmed etc.

You may be interested in my web page about recycling / bottle re-use.

Anonymous said...

A good review of a good product; however, I must take exception to the statement that it is the only centerstand specifically made for the Xtracycle. I have been making stands for the Xtracycle for over six years, and have recently moved from handcrafting them one at a time to producing larger quantities for general sale. You can see them at: www.rollingjackass.com Mine are more expensive than the Xtracycle version, but they have several features that the Kickback does not. The important thing is that bikes of this type are many times more useful when they have a centerstand, and now there are two options available. Val

David Hembrow said...

Val, that looks like a very good product. You're absolutely right that it's the sort of stand that the bike needs.

workbike said...

Great post David. When we've stopped getting bikes for everyone else I'll have to save up for one- I've only hat the bike fall over once with boys on it, but I don't want a repeat.

Welshcyclist- We have noticed the same in reverse. We have very little litter here and I have a habit of picking up what plastics are left about. When we went to the UK we had to stop out youngest collecting bales of the stuff every tiome we went out...