Saturday, March 6, 2010

New new centerstand!

A centerstand is a must for any serious cargo bike, otherwise loading and unloading becomes almost prohibitively difficult. A box bike has a couple advantages over a longtail in this respect: there is a great place ready-made to put a big honkin' center stand (under the box) and you have the option of loading the bike on the centerline, avoiding the tipping issue entirely. With a longtail you need to fit a center stand somewhere amongst the drivetrain and rear wheel and it needs to be wide enough to let you load one side of the bike at a time without tipping. This is one place where Madsen hit the nail on the head with their bucket bike: it has a centerstand as wide as the bucket. The design for that bike is a little less constrained than on a Yuba or Xtracycle because the rear wheel is so much smaller.

Yuba recommended the Hebie BiPod centerstand when I purchased the frame. It's a $70 piece of kit and operates just fine but is far from cargo-worthy. It would only hold the Yuba upright unloaded and on perfectly level pavement. It also flexed wildly under the weight of an unladen Mundo. I did some searching at that point and came across the Rolling Jackass centerstand but didn't seriously consider buying one because of the $350 price tag. I considered long and hard the problem of building a wide centerstand with an eye towards it carrying a child, and ultimately decided to buy a Rolling Jackass. The amount of time it takes to design and fabricate something like this was worth more to me than the price. the equation might have come out differently if A) I still had access to a machine shop, B) I knew how to weld, or C) had an abundance of free time. Val Kleitz, a fixture of the Seattle cycling scene, is Rolling Jackass.

The thing that really sold me on the Rolling Jackass was remote deployment. The centerstand is actuated by a mini BMX brake lever so you can put the bike on the stand before getting off it. On a good day with a reasonable load keeping the bike steady while dismounting isn't a problem, but on a bad day, in the rain, with a completely unreasonable load (who would buy a Mundo without plans to carry loads that would make an Xtracycle unridable?), remote deployment brings surety to a literally shaky situation. It's a feature that I really wanted and didn't want to take the time to design and test.

So the Rolling Jackass has been on the Yuba since the boxes went on and the Hebie will go on Katie's Volpe. The stand action is great, but mounting it was a bit on an adventure. Val designed the stand around Xtracycles, and he makes a version that fits the V1 Mundo just fine. The V2 required slightly narrower mounting holes and the unceremonious removal of the kickstand mount by hacksaw and file. I won't miss it. Any stand that can mount to a traditional kickstand mounting plate will not stand up to cargo use. So, if anyone with a Mundo reads this and decides to get a stand from Val, tell him what version you have. Also, if anyone fits one on a V3, please post pics!

The stock stand isn't quite wide enough for the boxes on our bike (especially when one has a 15 lb baby and the other has two bags of groceries and a case of beer), which led to me receiving an e-mail from Val a couple weeks ago with an offer to test out a prototype stand intended for heavy use that was wider and longer than the normal one. The only condition was that I push it to its limits and document the process. Well, I finally got around to installing it today, along with permanently mounting the top deck, and upgrading the mounting of the chainguard.

Here's the business ends of the two stands, stock in on bottom, prototype on top:


The new stand puts the feet almost as wide as the Yuba's H-racks and can hold the bike up with only one box mounted:


Look forward to more "I carried this on my bike" pics.


Matt in Tacoma said...

I dig the Seattle-Portland collaboration with design-testing. I would love to have remote deployment on my Madsen...

Quite an awesome bicycle you've created there. Load 'er up!

shetha said...

Fantastic! I don't much like the center stand on the ute, but I'm too lazy to change it. One day, I might. Until then, I don't depend on it unless the bike is unloaded. Also, the Madsen stand is WAY too far back in my 5'3" tall opinion. I could NOT reach the stand and the handlebars at the same time to get it deployed.

Anonymous said...

Mmm..rolling jackass. I would but the shipping the this end of the world would be a killer I bet.

I just wanted a stand to stop my mundo falling over when i parked. First I destroyed a normal kickstand then discovered a "normal" centre stand would foul the chain when folded. In the end i got a Pletscher which was pricey anyway, but going Ok. No good for any cargo loading though.

Anonymous said...

keller74: Where are you? Oddly enough, the USPS will ship worldwide for very reasonable rates (around $50.00 to europe). Worth checking into, anyway. Val

Val said...

Update: a mounting system for V2 and V3 Mundos has been developed and tested. It requires no modification of the bike's frame, and mounts quite easily. The adventure continues! Val

Hannah said...

Hi, I'm thinking of getting a Yuba and wondering if the stand it has now ( ) is good enough to hold the bike steady WITH a load? Another $350 for the stand you mentioned is just too much for me right now :-(


Hannah said...

Hi, I'm thinking of getting a Yuba and wondering if the stand it has now ( ) is good enough to hold the bike steady WITH a load? Another $350 for the stand you mentioned is just too much for me right now :-(


inkandpen said...

Hannah, it is far too late for this to be useful, but: I like the current Yuba centerstand. I like the Rolling Jackass better, but it is pretty seriously heavy-duty equipment. If you are carrying groceries and a kid or two, I think the Yuba model will be totally fine.