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Shop Reviews: Surly Big Dummy Review

Since I’ve owned a Long Haul Trucker eight years ago, Surly is one of my favorite bike companies. Being an Xtracycle owner for seven years, I love longtail cargo bikes and Surly sent me a cargo bike for our Cargo Bike Roll Call a few weeks back and for test riding around Milwaukee.

2015-10-08 14.00.04First Impressions

I remember the Big Dummy coming up years ago when Surly worked with Xtracycle on developing a complete long tail bike. I was always interested in the ride feel of the bike and got to ride it about three years back at Interbike. When I rode it with 200 pounds in the back- the bike felt shaky and I didn’t like the “shimmy” feeling as compared to my Xtracycle FreerRadical.

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A quick trip to the food co-op is a breeze with lots of room in the bags

The Big Dummy I rode this week felt totally the opposite. The frame improvements feel more stable even with all my weight on one side of the cargo bags and having passengers on the back end. I felt like I was riding my typical commuter (An All City Space Horse with Surly open handlebars) but more cargo room on the backend. Errands were a breeze to easily put all my cargo in the large bags that could expand easily from being small to large enough for a box. I could take corners quickly and easily and felt super stable. I could easily see using this bike as my everyday commuter and touring bike as I do with my All City Space Horse.

Strengths

  • Bags could easily expand or shrink to accommodate a wide variety of items including rain proof covers (great during these fall rain storms!)
  • Components are high end and durable. With the BB7 Disc Brakes and Shimano Deore shifting, I could brake quickly and shift quickly.
  • Super stable and stiff frame for quick turns and smooth riding
  • Slick 26″ wheels with Continental Town & Country tires provided a stable ride and felt safe to avoid flats even with all the glass that MIlwaukee’s downtown provides.
  • 26″ wheel platform rather than a 20″ wheel in the back. As an adultbeing able to use any of the Xtracycle accessories allows me to do more with the bike such as the Wideloaders,Hooptie, U-tubes and Sidecar.
  • Being able to use any of the Xtracycle accessories that allows me to do more with the bike such as the Wideloaders, P-Loaders and Sidecar.
  • Foot rests integrated into the frame which is nice for passengers however I would also most likely use also the Xtracycle U-tubes for additional room.

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    Fits nicely at the Collectivo Bike Rack Parking unlike my long john cargo bike.

Dislikes

  • While stable, the “shimmy” I did feel could be avoided with having colors on the v-racks on the back. Christina from Surly has assured me that they are coming up with those soon, so while I disliked having not having them, I’m glad to hear they are coming soon.
  • The deck doesn’t have any cushion or seat options available to kids yet. While I primarily use cargo bike for errands, it would be nice to have more cushion even for my adult passengers and kids that use the bike at my shop. Using an Xtracycle deck, hooptie and cushion solved this for the week however, one would have to go to an Xtracycle Dealer separately.
  • Not currently able to safely use a Yepp seat with formal safety standards (while many still do)- but again I’m assured that this will be changing soon and I’m excited to put that in a strength list soon!
  • Double Kickstand would be much stronger and with the double kickstand changing with Xtracycle not offering the freeradical- would be a good addition to make the bike more stable and continue to work despite compatibility changes that Xtracycle is currently doing.2015-10-08 13.28.56

Overall

Personally, I wouldn’t have considered the big dummy as a commuter bike but after test riding the bike for the week, I’m considering adding this bike to my main commuter bikes. With it’s super stable platform, quick speeds, more comfortable for adult riders & ability haul anything easily- this would quickly become my main commuter bike.

An added plus at $2,039 MSRP, the Big Dummy has better components than the Xtracycle Edgerunner 24D which retails for $1,999 MSRP (Tektro Aquila vs. BB7 and Shimano Altus vs. Deore).

All in all- the Big Dummy is a solid purchase for a long tail cargo bike and I’m looking forward to seeing the collars and Yepp Seat option coming out soon.

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