Instructables

Xtends - Convert Your Bike Into A Long Cargo Bike

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Picture of Xtends - Convert Your Bike Into A Long Cargo Bike

Here is how I added an extension to a bicycle so I could haul boxes of vegetables from a farmer's market. The Xtends unit uses a discarded bicycle frame and some electrical tubing. My cost was under $20 but the Xtends unit could be built for free if you have a good recycle pile.

The Xtends unit can be removed to return the bicycle to its normal configuration.

The Xtends unit involves welding. For a similar conversion that does not require welding see: http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Sport-Utility-Bike-SUB/. Step 9 has some suggestions on how to make the Xtends unit without welding.

NOTE: I have added Step 11 to show you a way to make the Xtends unit that is simpler and stronger. Please check it out.

This project assumes you have some experience disassembling and reassembling bike parts. See this Instructable (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-Up-a-Bike/) to get some idea how this works if you are not already familiar with it.

This project involves welding EMT conduit. Please see my Instructable for suggestions on ways to do this with a minimum of risk: http://www.instructables.com/id/Welding-EMT-Conduit/

 
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Step 1: Select A Bicycle

Picture of Select A Bicycle
Almost any bicycle can be fitted with an Xtends unit. Some bikes are probably better for this project however. I used a 26" bike with a heavy frame for strength. The stays in the rear fork are going to be carrying the load so it helps if they are sturdy.

I pulled this frame from my scrap pile after it had been stripped of handlebar, brakes, chain, front fork, etc. It looks weird because I just put parts back on it that I had lying around. It does support the idea that you can use whatever bike you have as a starting point.

I will call this the "main bike" from now on.

Step 2: Remove Rear Wheel and Related Parts

Picture of Remove Rear Wheel and Related Parts
Once you have selected your main bike remove the rear wheel, chain, derailleur and rear brake. These parts will all be moved back to the Xtends unit in step 7.
cargoman2 years ago
Just thought you might like to know that your Xtend bicycle was the inspiration for my first bike build. I was looking for a cargo bike that I could build without too much hassle and came across yours. I will post my bike build instructable soon but just wanted you to know that I got my idea from this bike. Thanks and nice job.
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MagaSaga2 years ago
Where could you find/get that metal axle tube ?
One.3 years ago
yay its kewl!
bikeframe (author) 3 years ago
I have added a wide footprint kickstand to the Xtends Cargo Bike. You can see how it was made at http://www.instructables.com/id/NJAK-NOT-Just-Another-Kickstand/.



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jumpfroggy3 years ago
Was this the metal electrical conduit from Home Depot, or similar? Just curious because I'd love to use that stuff for welding, but from what I remember it's zinc-plated steel. Welding zinc releases toxic fumes, and enough of that causes some kind of metal poisoning.

Might be fine if you do a very small amount in a well-ventilated area, just wanted to point it out. I wish they sold non-zinc coated steel conduit, because that stuff is a) cheap, and b) would be great for projects like this.
you can weld zinc plated stuff as long as you sand the galvanized stuff off and where a mask
bikeframe (author)  jumpfroggy3 years ago
Here is a link to an Instructable with a good discussion of EMT safety precautions.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Bicycle-cargo-trailer--200-lb-capacity%2c-%2430-for-pa/step11/Safety-considerations/



bikeframe (author)  jumpfroggy3 years ago
Yes. The rack was made from EMT conduit. Electrical Metal Tubing conduit is cheap and readily available but requires careful preparation to weld.

I prepare the area of conduit where the weld will be. I vaporizing the galvanized coating with a MAPP torch (done outside!). Then I use a flap-pad abrasive wheel to polish the welding area on the tubing.

I do my welding outside my basement door with a 20" fan positioned so there is a constant flow of air away from my work area. Even when I am using old bike frame tubing I work outside and make sure the fan carries the fumes (eg. paint fumes) away from me.

Thank you for the warning message. Welders come with DVDs these days and there are good safety tips shown there. Be extra careful of any fumes!
Cool, that's great tips regarding the pipes. I almost bought some EMT a while back, since I have access to a welder and was going to play around. Just figured I'd point out the danger, for those like me with more equipment than knowledge.

Good advice. Thanks!
pedrobedro3 years ago
This looks like the base for a tandem with a bit of alteration. Nice.
Great idea and design. I have a built a couple trailers and currently own a long tail bike. My long tail has the cargo hauling capacity mostly on the sides down near the center of the rear wheel (basically huge side bags). If you incorporate some way to carry part or all of you cargo lower you will like it even better. I have a trailer I built that was a big learning curve in this area.

sarliaee3 years ago
Had you considered using the existing bottom bracket cups and bolting the rear axle through it using some large washers?
bikeframe (author)  sarliaee3 years ago
I will add some pics of a version I am building that uses a frame with the crank arms removed but the bottom bracket left intact. I can use the crank arm bolts to attach the Xtends unit in the main bike. Quick, easy and no welding required.
beijing20133 years ago
ingenious, I like it
mattbomb3 years ago
from the back of the nice big rack that i really like, you should weld bars from the corners of the rack to a couple inches away from the back tires to add more support on the side,
bikeframe (author)  mattbomb3 years ago
Thanks for the suggestion. The 1" tubing of the rack makes it pretty solid, but more support like you suggest never hurts. I want to be able to remove the rack and put a different one on the bike if needed. I will think about how to make a removable connection with the lower part of the seatstays.
ya man make it like a tank man you should be able to pull a car from th e rack its so strong. uhmmm, i got an idea but i dont no if i can explain it with just words but here, it you the middle tube of the rack, were the seat post connects to it. you could have somthing like a seat post, just have it slide out, then those 2 little bars going from the cross bars to the front of the rack "the part that your backs to when your sitting on it" ya those bars you could make "lock in" to a little hole, notch what ever. so just have some bolts(a hinge) so when you want take it off you just slip the "lock" and slide it out. hope ya'll under stand
This is a really good instructable! There is only one thing I've been wondering as I've been reading. It looks to me like the pedals come very close to the ground. Does that affect your riding at all?
bikeframe (author)  Thekodanator3 years ago
Thanks for your comment and question.

I think my photos make the pedals look closer to the ground than they really are. I have to tip the extended bike to 40-45 degrees before the pedal hits. That is a lot more tip than I would care to do riding, especially loaded.

The main reason for that angle-matching stuff in step 3 is to get the chainstays of the Xtend unit to line up with the chainstays of the main bike. You can see this in the first photo in the intro. The chainstays are parallel with the ground and so the pedal height of the extended bike should be the same as it was before the extension was added. (I think.)

You could raise the pedals by adding some blocks between the Xtends unit clamp and the seatstays of the main bike. The angle that the Xtends unit makes with the main frame is easy to adjust.
bikeframe (author) 3 years ago
I just loaded 100# of cement blocks on the cargo platform and took the Xtends bike for a ride. It took a bit of balancing to get started. Once I was moving the bike was quite steady and easy to control. I really didn't feel the weight except when starting or stopping. I did figure eights in our cul de sac.

The veggie boxes I want to haul are about 12" X 12" X 16" and weigh up to 40# each. If I build side platforms down around the level of the axle I could get wo on each side and one or two over the wheel. (I hope that big a load won't happen very often.)

BTW the step-through frame choice was pure chance but it definitely makes it easier to get on and off the bike when it is loaded.
Uncle Kudzu3 years ago
i love it!

i keep racking my brain trying to figure out ways to make a long bike without a lot of precision cuts and welding (which i can't do). this design is pretty basic. very clever, bikeframe!

and you like the way it rides? does it feel heavy or shaky?
bikeframe (author)  Uncle Kudzu3 years ago
Thanks for your comments.

The main bike weighed about 35# and the Xtends unit adds another 12#. The bike without a load is steady and solid. I have not ridden it yet with anywhere near the 200# load I am shooting for. I will strap on some cement blocks and let you know how it goes.

One suggestion I have had is to put a smaller load platform on each side and lower down. A lower center of gravity would probably give a steadier ride. The load carrier can be configured many differnt ways.
wow, you're aiming for a 200lb load? very interesting! it probably would be a good idea to at least have the option of lowering some of the load/center-of-gravity. think of the way touring bikes distribute the load with panniers.

smart of you to choose a step-through frame for the main bike. good thinking all the way round.