Tuesday, October 04, 2016

WW4M: Big Dummy

Big Dummy- finally.
This is another "WW4M" post. That means "What Works For Me" and it may not work for you. So, take that with the following words into consideration.....

Cargo carrying is something that makes your cycling life even more fun and versatile. Big Dummy owners already get this, but if you've never been able to figure out the "why" of some rigs like the Big Dummy, then maybe this post will help out with that. The simple thing to keep in mind though is carrying stuff. Essentially, that's what the Big Dummy is all about.

So, have you ever ridden your bicycle down to the convenience store, bought a sixer, or a gallon of milk, or maybe a bag of chips and a frozen pizza, and tried riding home with any of those things dangling from a plastic sack from your handle bars? It isn't fun, and it is potentially dangerous. Now think about buying all that stuff I mentioned and getting it home. Yeah....... Not happening, so you drive your car. What a hassle! If you had a Big Dummy, you could ride your bike there, go past the park, check out the flowers in the neighborhood, and buy a lemonade from those kids on the corner you always fly past when you are in your car. That's what a Big Dummy is for, ya big dummy! 

Okay, enough about your sedentary lifestyle, (only partially kidding), and on with the traits of this long tailed hauler that are unique. First off, the long back end...... Yeah, about that. You aren't going to be popping wheelies on this rig, (although somewhere I've seen it done), but with a bit of finesse and care, you can pop up that front wheel over curbs and smaller obstacles. I like my big, poofy 2.4" Bontrager XR-1 on the Northpaw rims which make it possible for me to run about 22psi and get a little cush when I do pop up over a curb. That's using the "YesTubes" method, by the way. I haven't gone tubeless yet. 

A key to making this work- The Paul Components Tall & Handsome seat post.
 I've spoken to a few other Big Dummy owners and they seem to agree with me that the Big Dummy has a short reach. or in old mtb jargon- a short top tube. This seems to call out for a set back seat post, or maybe even sizing up on the frame. I have a Large and I am sure I could have gone with an XL, since these have copious stand over height. 

Well, I ended up with a Large and I also decided to use a Brooks B-17 I had. Double whammy bad deal there for getting your set back on the saddle right. So, my answer came in the form of the excellently made, but very spendy Paul Components Tall & Handsome seat post.  It gets that Brooks where it belongs and it is a really nice seat post. Even the black anodization seems somehow richer than ordinary posts you see every where. Well, that's hard to portray in words, so you'll just have to take my word for that. 

So there's that short cockpit deal, but other than this the Big Dummy is really not too hard to handle. It steers a bit oddly, but nothing like a tandem does. You can get used to that steering deal easily. It rides really well. In fact, it goes right along much better than you'd expect, and the more stuff you throw in the back, the better it gets. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Surly's wizards of doom made it so that the Big Dummy is best when burdened. 

Put on some big tires and rims for the best Big Dummy action.
 So, yeah.... For me it all comes down to carrying stuff, like I said earlier. I love figuring out what I can do with this bike. For instance, I commuted for years with a messenger bag. It was cool, and I could carry a lot, but I was always fussing with that thing, and a lot of the time it was in the way, or uncomfortable. Now I just toss that stuff into the "cargo bay" of the Big Dummy and ride bare backed and free. Plus, I don't have to worry about "maxing out" my carrying capacity because, well, the Big Dummy can do waaaay more than what I would normally consider. 

Examples: I went up the other day and grabbed a ten pound bag of charcoal for grilling while also carrying my pump and two tubes in boxes along with a cable lock and a jacket, ya know.....just in case. Or how about just yesterday. I took so much packing material home to send out a frame I sold that the bundles were about the size of four bed pillows and I had all that tube and pump stuff in there along with a jacket, ya know......just in case. Try stuffing all of that in your messenger bag or back pack! Not happening folks. That's why something like a Big Dummy is super cool. 

I have more projects lined up for this rig. I'm going to add my XtraCycle Wideloaders, which are tubular and fabric "shelves" that stick out on each side of a Big Dummy frame. Then I'm going to haul some stuff for a house project, and take cardboard to the recycler, plus take bottles and cans back to the store, and more. Just finding excuses to use a Big Dummy is fun for me, anyway. Maybe you think it is, well.......just dumb! Whatever. I am having a good time with this thing, and I think more people should be on bicycles like this. 

Look for more about this bike in the future. 

Disclaimer: I bought this Big Dummy with my own damn money and I was not paid nor bribed for this post. So there. 


Tyler Loewens said...

And here is that link for wheeling a big dummy: http://surlybikes.com/blog/post/is_it_possible_to_wheelie_the_big_dummy

Kelly Maszk said...

thomson setback post on my large version

Exhausted_Auk said...

Marvelous machines! I stretched out my cockpit with an On One Fleagle handlebar. A minor bonus -
Fleagle's face is framed perfectly by the hole in the stem faceplate!

MG said...

Are those Bontrager tires a current item? I can't find them on their site, but would be interested in at least one.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG- No, sorry! Those were closed out several years ago. One of the best gravel treads for a 29"er too. Light, fast, and supple, plus they set up tubeless well.I think these ended up on my Big Dummy when the original owner had the wheels built for it back in '12 or so.