Xtracycle Build : Getting it home

Arleigh is building, documenting and writing out her build up of a Salsa Ala Carte mountain bike with 650b wheels and a Xtracycle Free Radical Kit. This is an on going series so stay tuned for more installments.

Late this past week I took delivery of an Xtracycle Free Radical Kit at the shop. The Xtracycle is of the 700c variety (they come in 26″ or 700c) that will be installed to my Salsa Ala Carte with 650b wheels. The 650b wheels is why we decided to go with the 700c Free Rad Kit. There should be enough room on the 26″ version but I’m normally running a 41.5mm tire and also would like to run Quasi Moto 2.0″ tires for light off road touring.

Getting the Xtracycle home was a task in itself. I was wishing I had an Xtracycle to get the Xtracycle home. As you might know, I’m carless and work about 25 miles north of Charlotte, NC at a shop in Mooresville. My daily commute involves a 5 mile ride from the shop to bus stop. Here you see the Xtracycle after my 5 mile commute to the bus stop. The Xtracycle is strapped to my rack using a bungee and a couple of tie downs. The ride was actually pleasant, other than an unexpected deer almost running me over. (Deer are not common on my commute.. Unfortunately for you I had to take the Xtracycle and Freeloader bags out of the gorgeous box it came in. The box had funny sayings all over it, telling you how to recycle or reuse it. It saddened me to leave it at the shop but there was no way I was lugging the whole thing home safely.

Arrive safely I did. The bus driver thought I was on crutches and eyes were wide when I rode the last leg home through the darkness and street lights of Uptown Charlotte, NC. I am the odd ball in our city, always carrying random things on my bike or hands.

Next in this series is the Free Radical Anatomy.

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0 thoughts on “Xtracycle Build : Getting it home”

  1. Phil says:

    Congratulations! As a happy Xtracycle owner/rider, I predict you’ll be delighted with the feel of the ride as well as all the great basic hauling capacity you’ll have. Best wishes!


  2. Stuart M. says:

    I hope I am wrong, but I once looked into getting a 700c free radical and discovered there were limits as to the width of the tire it would accept. My 700c bike had 47-622 tires and they wouldn’t fit in the 700c FR. Maybe that has been fixed. I recall there being a thread on the Xtracyce forum page about what width tires would fit a 700 FR.

  3. Scott says:

    I can see how the bus driver would have taken that frame for a crutch. Funny.

    Will you still be able to rack the long bike on the bus? It would seem to me that it would no longer fit in the bus rack’s wheel wells.

  4. Alex Y says:

    I am a new reader of the site and I am amazed you are carless in Charlotte, NC. I grew up in Asheville and a lot of my friends lived in Charlotte. After spending some time there I would never get on my bike in that city. I ride the streets of Manhattan almost daily, but they at least tolerate bikes here. It seems like in Charlotte they might make a sport of running down cyclists. Maybe I’m being judgemental but that’s the impression I got. I have a great respect for you and your efforts in cycling.

    Just to tie this note to this post, I love reading about Xtracycles and wish I could get one but I could never get it up the stairs much less store it even in my decent sized apartment. Also, it seems ironic that transporting bike parts on your bike is always awkward. I’m sure I looked kind of odd when I had an Ebay frame strapped to my back and two forks sticking out of my bag riding my schwinn road bike to get the frame to the shop for some work. Keep up the great work, I can’t wait to see how this bike turns out.

  5. Arleigh says:

    Scott- I think 700x 38 is the limit on the Xtracycle. Thankfully my wheels are shorter so the tire size is fitting in the fatter area of the frame.

  6. Arleigh says:

    Alex –

    Riding in Charlotte isn’t too bad. I’ve lived in many major cities, Boston, DC, Baltimore and the worst was Columbia, SC. You simply need to know the area, and the roads you can ride on. Be smart.

  7. Ghost Rider says:

    Arleigh, this may be a silly question, but why didn’t you just build your Xtra up at the shop?

  8. Siouxgeonz says:

    +1 on Columbia! Getting over the water 🙁 🙁

  9. Arleigh says:

    Ghost Rider – I needed to document the whole process and taking up shop space for 3-4 hours wasn’t going to be good for me or my sanity.

  10. Ghost Rider says:

    I figured as much…it’s pretty fun to document the process and I think lots of folks will appreciate a step-by-step tutorial (especially when they see how easy it is to put one of these beauties together)!

  11. Alex Y says:

    Good to know. I guess I’ll have to give it a try if I ever make it back there. No better way to know a city than on the bike.

  12. MontclairBobbyB says:


    Thanks to you, there’s a new lease on life for my 650B Ala Carte… Thanks for the inspiration!


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