Frequently Asked Questions
Even though our products are aimed at simplicity (really), there can be a steep learning curve associated with how to purchase an Xtracycle that's right for you. If you're unsure how to get what you need, start here with this collection of frequent questions (and answers) posed by our community. If you're not finding the answer you hoped for, you're welcome to search our knowledge base or ask our experts a question at our Get Satisfaction page. In addition, you can ask our RootRadicals Yahoo! group (signup required).
Thanks and hope to see you on the streets and trails soon! Ride on.
The short answer: Xtracycles are fun!
Xtracycle cargo bikes are designed by the folks that started the long-bike revolution in the bike industry. We ride these bikes to work, get the kids to school and use them to go camping on the weekends. The result of all that (test) riding is a bike that can carry 2-3 kids, groceries, camping gear, a guitar, and a bicycle blender (!) - while riding just like your existing bike, if not better. Better yet, while having fun cruising on your Xtracycle you’re also saving money on gas, investing in your health, and maximizing fun while minimizing environmental impact.
We stand by our products, and we support our customers. If you're not fully satisfied with your bike and your life with Xtracycle, we'll give you your money back - all of it.
Many bikes out there work great with the FreeRadical frame extension. 26" or 700c wheeled mountain or hybrid bikes with steel or aluminum frames work the best. For a more thorough guide on what to look for, please see this post. If you have specific questions on fit that aren’t covered in the above guide, feel free to contact us via email or our Get Satisfaction page. If you can, please include an image of the bike in question.
The combined weight of the rider and the load is not to exceed 350 lbs (160kg)! Each FreeLoader can safely carry 50 lbs (23kg); the SnapDeck, in front of axle, is rated to carry up to 200 lbs (90kg); the SnapDeck, behind the axle, is rated to carry up to 50 lbs(23kg); each WideLoader, 60 lbs (27kg). The FreeRadical is guaranteed to reliably and safely carry 200 lbs (90kg) of cargo load! Note that other factors impact load capacity, including the strength of your bicycle frame and existing wheels.
In most cases, no. The most important attribute for the rear wheel is that it be properly tensioned, and have even tension on each spoke. A mechanic can check this very quickly for you using a tensiometer.
Most production wheels from Taiwan or China are built by machines which results in uneven tension, regardless of the quality of materials. In most cases, average loads are not too much for a hand trued, machine built wheel from your existing bike, so have your local bike shop true and tension your wheel.
It comes down to personal preference and whether or not you're touring abroad with your Xtracycle. Steel is repairable, so it's great for touring applications where you may need to fix something in faraway lands (or just far from the closest bike store).
Ride quality of an aluminium frame with a FreeRadical installed is a bit stiffer than a steel/chromoly frame. More road vibrations will be absorbed by a steel frame, but you'll already get some bump softening by riding a longtail anyway. Join RootRadicals Yahoo! group and delve into the archives for this very, very longwinded debate.
If you have a bike that you want to turn into a LongTail, the FreeRadical is best for you. If you want a complete bike, and are 5'-0" to 6'-2" tall, the Radish is best for you. If you want to carry extreme loads (200lbs–300lbs) on a regular basis over rough terrain, the Big Dummy is best for you.
For kids under 1 year:
There's no great solution for the rear of the bicycle. There are several front mounted seats. We sell one here. There are others sold elsewhere. I have tried these seats and they are both wonderful and challenging. Wonderful given the closeness between you and the little guy/girl while you ride (sweet!). Challenging because they can really interfere with your comfort while riding the bike. If there's any way to try out a bike locally that has a front mounted infant seat, I'd truly recommend it. These seats aren't for everyone. You may wish to wait a few months until your under 1 year old is old enough to sit in the PeaPod III.
For kids between 1 year and 4 years:
Most US State Bicycling laws (check your own here) require, and most parents agree, that kids under 4 years (or 40 lbs) should be protected while riding a bike. Kids of this age are susceptible to distraction and even falling asleep while riding, so a simple handlebar and seat for this age group is insufficient. We sell a kids seat we call the PeaPod III (also known as the Yepp Maxi Easyfit) that we love, and has many desirable features. Our rear load platform can carry up to 2 kids in PeaPod IIIs.
For kids older than 4 years, but under 10:
We are selling a brand new accessory called the Hooptie which acts as a safety rail for bigger kids. Hooptie allows kids to crawl in under the bars to get seated, and then can be run narrow for maximum safety protection. Hooptie will accommodate up to 3 kids (max weight on top of deck is 150 lbs). Here's a great video of this setup in action.
For families that have a mix of kids under 4 and over 4:
Hooptie will accomodate up to 2 PeaPod IIIs. Hooptie provides extra protection for kids in the child seat, but isn't required. If you have 1 PeaPod III installed, and a Hooptie installed as well, you can comfortably carry 1 more kid over 4, and possibly two (smaller) kids over 4 years. Again, max weight atop deck is 150 lbs. Here's a picture of 1 older and 1 younger kid on the back of an Xtracycle
For kids older than 10, and adults:The Hooptie may be more than you need for this age range, and may make ease of mounting/dismounting difficult. For this age range, we offer a few simple accessories - like the Stoker Bar, Footsies and seat pads to make the ride safe and comfortable for these mature passengers. We call a setup with these accessories the Funwagon.
For kids or adults with developmental/physical issues.
Please call us so we can help advise based on your passenger's specific needs. 888-537-1401 x 2.
Call us first, we're a personable company and strive to make your longtail experience enjoyable. Ring us, M-F 10AM-5PM Pacific at 888-537-1401. If you still need to complete a return you can download and fill out a return form here. If we find that the product was covered by warranty AND failed due to manufacturer error, we will replace or refund a store credit.
If you want to test ride a FreeRadical or Radish, we suggest visiting a dealer in your area. Dealers can be found on our Dealers page. Building a good, friendly relationship with your local shop is instrumental in providing care for your bicycle and supporting your local economy. You can also give us a call here, 888-537-1401 and we'll give you a list of dealers in your area.
We'll ship to just about any country in the world. For a quick shipping quote to your country or state, feel free to email us or give us a call and we'll help you figure out some shipping costs. You can also add items to your cart and the web store will quote shipping for you without needing to make a purchase.
Yes, KickBack is designed to work with WideLoaders. Please watch this installation video to see the installation/removal in action:
Unfortunately, the KickBack is not compatible with Footsies. Some customers report that a few spacers and some tinkering will get them to work together. Some Xtracycle users have attached mountain bike bar ends to the racks to create a stable footrest for their small passengers, since the racks are the same width as your standard handlebar. You can also find a Razor scooter and DIY some pegs.
The FreeRadical will work with either disc brakes or linear pull rim brakes. If you are using disc brakes, you will need a 203mm rotor and a caliper mounted on a 160mm bracket. If you are using rim brakes you will need a linear pull (often called a V) brake. Cantilever brakes are not compatible. 700C wheels using rim brakes will require an adapter.
The FreeRadical is currently only made in the 26" version. This model has the brake posts welded on to line up with a 26" rim. You can use a 700C wheel with a disc brake without any modifications. 700C wheels using rim brakes will require an adapter.
The newer style bags of the FreeRadical are tensioned down using the plastic D rings of the straps slipped over a bolt and mushroom washer. Please download the LongTail Kit manual to learn more.
The Pannier Rack is compatible with the 2010 FreeLoaders. (NOTE: The Pannier Rack is not compatible with the 2007 (earlier model) FreeLoaders. This is because the extra cross bar of the Pannier Rack (where you hang your panniers) prevents the 2007 FreeLoaders from sliding onto the rack. The 2010 FreeLoaders are designed differently and therefore don't have this limitation. Customers have altered their 2007 FreeLoader bags in some ingenious ways to get them to work, but it'll void your warranty, so proceed with caution.)
Yes, you can install the FreeRadical on either of these types of bikes. You will probably need to add a chain tensioner to maintain good tension on your longer chain. Without one, you would have to slide the whole FreeRadical attachment back in your (presumably horizontal) dropouts to achieve proper tension. If you want to make a sweet-ass longtail fixed gear DO NOT USE A TENSIONER (you may need some half links too, since the dropouts are vertical and not horizontal)!
The FreeRadical is designed to fit frames with 135mm rear spacing (most semi-modern mountain bikes). It will also work in frames with 130mm spacing (most semi-modern road bikes). If you have an older frame with 126mm spacing, you may be able to spread the rear triangle enough to work with the FreeRadical. Please only do this if your bike is steel and you are a professional mechanic. If you are not a professional mechanic, talk to one about doing it.
Tire size varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in general, about the biggest tire you can fit when using 26" wheel is a 2.35". If you are using 700C wheel, the biggest 'for sure' fit is a 35mm. (Some people have fit tires up to 38mm, but whether or not these larger tires work is very dependent on the shape of the tire itself.) If you are using fenders, you will have to reduce the width accordingly.
The best way to protect your investment is to follow some standard locking advice:
- Always lock up in a well lit, conspicuous place where either you can keep an eye on it from afar, or there's enough activity and traffic to deter a thief from hacking your lock
- Use a U-lock from a reputable company. Try and get the front wheel, donor bike downtube and metal pole with the U-lock. Avoid having the lock sit close to the ground or with a lot of space to prevent the use of leverage to break apart your lock. Read
- Try not to leave your bike outside overnight. The dead hours of the early morning increases cover time for thieves to pick/break your lock.
- Use some old chain and inner tube to lock your saddle/seatpost to your bike, especially if you have a quick release collar
- Use locking wheel skewers to secure your wheels to your ride. Pinhead Components makes some good security accessories.
As far as Xtracycle specific advice, using Whatchamacollars to secure your racks to your Xtracycle are useful deterrents for thieves. If you're ever stuck somewhere without a lock but need to be away from your bicycle for a brief moment, you can always buckle your FreeLoader straps through your rear wheel to prevent someone from riding off (but that doesn't prevent them from tossing it into the back of a pickup truck).
Protecting cargo is a bit trickier. Most people report no problems leaving low value items inside the FreeLoader inner pockets. We keep pumps, tires, tools, snacks, clothing and much more in our inner pouches without theft. The more conspicuous the cargo, the more likely some enterprising and opportunistic thief will steal from you. Some riders wrap their cargo in black plastic trash bags leaving passersby to ignore or imagine that trash is inside (plus, they double as rain protection for your cargo). Another option is using a locking mesh net or other backpack security advice, but if someone wants to get in, they will.
If you live in a high-density urban environment like New York City, follow the bike security advice of these NYC Xtracycle riders.
If risk taking is against your constitution, you can follow j3r3my911's advice for heavy duty security and go all out.
The best step to avoid rust inside/on your Xtracycle is to avoid water. Since that's nearly impossible in winter and spring most places, the next step is prevention. J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver, or motor fogging oil, offers a nice protective coating to the inside of your steel tubes. Condensation can form when a cold bicycle is brought indoors into a warm, humid environment. Frame Saver reduces direct water contact from occurring. Surly Bikes Spew has some helpful advice on protecting your frame.
Other tips are:
- Use front and rear fenders. This will cut down on the amount of water being sprayed onto you and your frame/fork.
- Dry off your bicycle after every wet ride. No need to be finicky, just remove the water by lightly bouncing your bike first, then taking a dry shop rag and running over the frame and other components.
- Stuff a plastic bag under your saddle. This is a must for leather saddle users otherwise your expensive saddle will quickly deteriorate.
- Don't launch yourself, no matter how tempted or inebriated, into bodies of water, submerging your steed. Save that for the Huffy bike from Wal-Mart that you found in the trash.
We have a Get Satisfaction page that allows us to respond to general questions and more specific ones.
For a more community vibe, check out the RootRadicals Yahoo! group. This is a community of Xtracycle users sharing ideas and answering each others questions. Join up and search the archives or post a new query if you can't find all your answers. You are also free to email us or give us a call at 888-537-1401 and we'll help answer all of your questions – as long as they are about Xtracycles. :)
We're always interested in hearing pitches of how a potential employee can help grow Xtracycle, but you've got to come with some serious ammunition.
We are not stocking the item at this time - there is no problem with the item, we've just paired down our inventory for a while. We contacted Rocky Mounts and they said that they will sell the item, but it's not listed on their website. Sooo.....If you want to order one or two, call: 800-873-1871, ask to purchase the "Lariat Recumbent." Their price is 84.95 + tax/shipping.
If you've got a great event, cause or 'xtremely innovative promotion opportunity, submit a brief proposal via email. We review applications every quarter and we'll see what we can pull off together!
Employee Purchases, Pro Deals and Industry Deals do happen, but each has their own requirements. Employee purchases are only allowed for employees of dealers registered through our Dealer Program (aka RootsResellers, apply today. If you work for a shop that resells FreeRadicals, your best bet is to purchase the product and accessories through your distributor. Pro Deals and Industry Deals are shared with companies that we feel best embody the everyday cycling culture.