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Vanilla goes long with new Xtracycle frame

Posted by on October 4th, 2006 at 2:59 pm

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Xtracycle, the company that sells kits to convert bikes into longtail, cargo-hauling machines. Besides besides a great company with a solid product, much of the recent excitement has revolved around the news from Interbike that Surly now makes the first Xtracycle-equipped bike, their new Big Dummy model.

Now comes word that yet another well-known bike company has joined the Xtracycle chorus.

Todd Fahrner of Stokemonkey fame has posted a photo that confirms the rumor I’ve been hearing for months; that Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles has been working on an Xtracycle-specific longtail bike. I’ll let Todd’s photo do the talking.

This bike belongs to Ben Leonard (seen here flying), who works with Sacha in his shop in Southeast Portland. How does it ride? Fahrner — who is the closest thing you’ll find to an expert on this topic — took it for a spin and had this to say:

“Ben’s a very lucky man. This is the lightest, most comfortable longtail I’ve ridden yet, at least unladen. Single-speed pending a little work, upright, sprung and softened with air, steel, leather and cork, it just floats over the harsh old concrete and basalt streets, up curbs, over the grass, dreamy. Perhaps more importantly, it looks like an object of burning crazy love instead of dull cool utility; it erases the line. That kind of genius just might save us.”

Check out more of Todd’s Fahrner’s photos, but don’t get too excited about owning one of these beauties yourself…that is, unless you don’t mind waiting in line for year or so.

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Elliott @ Austin On Two WheelstoddmykleMJ Recent comment authors
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I think if more cyclists would drop some money and get an xtracycle or trailer than they would *really* see a reduction in their automotive-motives.

BTW: The xtracycle hauls beer well…


It looks beautiful, and i’m sure it rides great.

But I don’t get the motivation. If a framebuilder is building a custom frame to make a cargo bike, why don’t they just build a stretched-out rear frame with luggage bars on it? Then they’d have an Xtracycle-shaped bike without having to buy an expensive Xtracycle …


mykle, those “luggage bars” made by xtracycle aren’t all that expensive (you don’t have to buy the whole kit to get just the racks and bags), and they’re uniquely designed to exploit longtail geometries, unlike current panniers. xtracycle is a platform with a growing collection (slowly but surely) of compatible enhancements, so you gain a lot of value by following the pattern.

Elliott @ Austin On Two Wheels

Sacha White is not the only builder making custom Xtracycle frames. No waiting list on this one either.