The goat sucker

Spencer Wright at Traffic Cycle Design has created the Chupacabra, an imaginative all-terrain longtail taking cues from Surly’s superfat Pugsley and the forthcoming Big Dummy:
goatsucker
This is the kind of ride you’d want if you were bike camping, say, from above the arctic circle in Alaska to Tierra del Fuego along the spine of the Rockies and Andes. It’s not for show. It’s for real: see Riding the Spine for a chronicle.

25 thoughts on “The goat sucker”

  • freddiemac

    Well, dang it, I'll just say I like. C'mon people, it's been four days and no comments about this beauty. I'll say it again...I like it. I can't wait for the Big Dummy, when it comes out.

    BTW, what kind of hub is that? Is that an internal geared-hub?

    Reply
  • Martina Fahrner
    Martina Fahrner April 13, 2007 at 5:32 am

    Josh darn it, she's a beaut...
    but... is he really to ride all those miles on a saddle like that?

    Reply
  • Spencer Wright

    Freddiemac:
    It's a Sturmey-Archer XRK8 - an 8-speed disc hub. It definitely isn't an optimal choice, but the rider didn't have the cash to throw down on a Rolhoff. Oh well.

    Martina:
    The saddle, post, bars & stem are all temporary. The permanant hardware will be a Brooks B17 on a Thomson post, and homemade h-bars (a la Jeff Jones) on a Salsa stem.

    Thanks for the comments. The rider should be posting complete pictures on the ridingthespine.com website soon.

    Spencer

    Reply
  • AC

    I don't understand the chainline deflection thingy. What's the advantage? I love these hacks.

    Reply
  • DrK

    Its a brute....looks like something you would use on a farm. Where can I get one !

    Nice one,

    DrK

    http://www.bikesthatfold.com - All about Folding bikes!

    Reply
  • Martina Fahrner
    Martina Fahrner April 14, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Make sure you ride your Brooks in before the trip starts or pack a big jar of bag balm (well, pack it anyway!)... looking forward to reading about your adventures!

    Reply
  • Spencer Wright

    The gear transfer point has three purposes. First, the S/A hub has a really low gear range, and the transfer point brings it up a bunch. Second, it allows a low q-factor at the cranks while still permitting the HUGE tire clearance required by the Endomorph tires (you'll note that the Surly Puglsey uses a 100mm bottom bracket; this one is 68mm). Third, it decreases the chance that the rider will throw the chain by breaking it up into managable pieces, which can each be tensioned well.
    At first I resisted the gear transfer point - it's a little messy, after all - but it ended up being way easier than the alternatives.

    This bike is actually a replacement for an Xtracycle setup; the rider has been thrashing his B17 for almost a year now. He got tired of breaking Xtracycles, and was taking a month or so off before entering Mexico, and so asked me to build this.

    You can get one from me. But after sponsoring the rider of this bike, I can say that it's going to cost you.

    Spencer

    Reply
  • Jer_newlin

    Why don't the track ends for the intermediate gear transfer point face vertical? That way you can tension both chains in one step. Perhaps I'm asking the wrong folks.

    J

    Reply
  • Spencer Wright

    I thought about that. The thing is that the chances would be stacked against you. the two chains would never be tensioned at the same time.
    It actually works well as it's set up. The rear chain tensions really easily with the hub keepers on the transfer dropouts, and the Bushnell EBB does the front chain quicly as well.

    Reply
  • Ian Hopper

    Nice job spencer! Awesome that you could get goat back on the road this way! I've been following their progress since October of 2006 and am super inspired by them! I'm looking at having a custom longtail built, (one that would have the appropriate mounting spot for my stokemonkey) and I recently attended the NAHMBS to talk with some of the folks building longtails for that very reason. Where are you located? I dig the chupacabra, but I'm not sure I want to run endomorphs on a longtail for a cycle mainly used on the street...

    Reply
  • freddiemac

    Ian, why not the Surly Big Dummy? I am looking at building that up when it becomes available. If you have any concerns about it, lettuce know.

    Reply
  • Spencer Wright

    Ian:
    I'm in Truckee, CA.
    Spencer

    Reply
  • Ian Hopper

    Inre: the big dummy. I really like the BD, don't get me wrong. I'm just not sure that it's going to come exactly the way I want it. It's all in the details with a custom bike...

    Reply
  • tim.r

    wow,

    really amazing bike, exactly what i've been wanting since i heard big dummy won't accomodate a largemarge/endomorph tire on the rear. you gotta dig the transfer point to ditch the whole offset wheel/wide bb feel of the pugsley too. definately a plus running the profile crankset on there as well. i think i would have opted for the shimano alfine in place of the sturmey disc, or ideally a rohloff, but i'm amazed by this bike none the less.

    Reply
  • Ian

    Jacob just wrote a great story for our next issue of wend. Its about the riding through the copper canyon. I have been meaning to drop off some mags to you guys at clever, to I will in a few weeks when its out.

    Reply
  • Kurt

    Spencer- I'm in Truckee, down at Donner Lake. I'm an xtracycle convert and would *love* to see what you've built. Any chance we can get together? I'll buy you a beer at the new 50/50 or your choice.
    My business is attached to Donner Kitchen in the old Truckee Overhead Door shop. Stop by some time, we've got a dozen or so bikes ready for social rides around Donner Lake.

    Reply
  • Spencer

    Kurt-
    Sounds cool. Shoot me an email at snwright@trafficcycledesign.com.
    Spencer

    Reply
  • Jacob

    Goat wrote a thorough review about the bike and it is posted on our website.

    http://www.ridingthespine.com/Journey/chupacabra/ode-to-the-chupacabra

    Worth checking out.

    Reply
  • Bruce Wilson

    A Brooks saddle? He might want to have kids some day.

    Try one of these: http://www.hobsonseats.com/

    Reply
  • Todd (admin)

    I'll take the bait, Bruce. But my first instinct was to delete your promotion of this scare-mongering, pseudoscientific gimmickry. It's true that a lot of cyclists endure inappropriately selected, poorly adjusted saddles. Some of them might be Brooks saddles, and others have the kinds of slots and padding or noseless features you seem to endorse.

    The whole premise of the "saddles damage your junk" argument is that they put pressure on your taint. If your saddle puts pressure there, then indeed you might have a problem. Brooks saddles of appropriate shape and adjustment (there are around a dozen basic shapes, OK?) are _less likely_ to put pressure on your soft tissue because they _don't_ have the padding that quite obviously compresses up into soft tissue as soon as you sit on it. You don't need a hole in your saddle if your saddle is supportive enough of your sit bones (i.e., _not padded_) that pretty much only your sit bones are in firm contact with the saddle. Doesn't that hurt your sit bones? It can for a few miles to a few hundred with a new saddle, until it breaks in to your personal shape. Padding is simply a marketing feature pandering to anatomical ignorance and to people who might never ride their bikes long enough to break in a proper saddle. Slots and noselessness are cynical attempts to up-sell people who've already bought into padding and are having problems.

    There is one reason that Brooks saddles are the usual top choice of long-distance cyclists, and that their designs have barely changed over the last century: they're really comfortable. Yep, we sell them. I have ridden nothing else for over 10 years and plan never to. My wife and son like them too: no problems there. I should say that the most excruciating saddle experience I've ever had was a couple of blocks on a Brooks B17N. That's N for narrow, and my posture was too upright for that to be an appropriate model choice. A regular B17 suits me fine for that posture, and a B66 is right for Dutch posture. Don't lump all models together!

    Reply
  • Erik Sandblom

    Adjusting any saddle is very important. I adjusted the angle of mine just five degrees or so -- really very little -- and that cured my wrist pain. My knees and bum are sensitive to less than 5mm of height adjustment of the saddle. My friend has a similar bike (Brompton S12LX!) and rides over 100km over the weekend, and he has the same finicky experience with adjustment. You feel dorky doing the fine adjustments, but they really make a difference. He has a Brooks, always has had.

    What saddle you get is also very particular. I tried four different Brooks saddles and two of them were terrible. The one I bought was broken in after two or three hours of riding, total.

    Reply
  • Bruce A. Wilson
    Bruce A. Wilson October 11, 2007 at 4:09 am

    I did a search on MedLine and found eight articles from reputable medical journals:

    British Medical Journal 100(4)p. 947; 99(1),p. 135
    Mayo Clinic Health Letter 25(6)p. 4
    International Brazilian Journal of Urology 33(3)p. 443
    Medicine & Science in Sports & Excercise 35(2) p. 19
    Minerva Pediatrica 51(1-2) p. 19
    Clinics in Sports Medicine 13(1)p. 175

    All indicate that the standard horned bicycle seat tends to pinch and squeeze parts of the male body that ought not to be pinched or squeezed.

    On my own urologist's advice I've been using one of the Hobson saddles for about seven years now and find it much more comfortable than a standard one.

    But, hey, its your prostate.

    Reply
  • Todd (admin)

    Yep, Bruce, poorly designed and adjusted "standard" saddles can be a problem. I've read at least some of those studies and found it difficult to get past the obvious gross ignorance of variations within "standard" saddle design, as well as to basic adjustment issues. They also all seem to accept padding -- the more the better -- as an obvious help when to me and most other seasoned riders it is an obvious hurt, indeed the main unquestioned assumption that makes non-standard designs "necessary." When you sink into padding, padding sinks into you, pal. There it constricts blood vessels, traps heat, and chafes.

    I'm glad you like your saddle, and I'm sure that for some people with UNUSUAL pelvic structures, blood vessel and nerve layout, they are really the best choice. I know several people who have tried and rejected several "noseless" designs, and some who are happy with them. Find me a study that looks at unpadded traditional saddles set up by people who actually ride bicycles several thousand miles a year without trouble. Would a study conducted by and among people with such demonstrable competence in the field be cheating? If so, what makes these other researchers confident they can design better saddles? In some cases at least I'm sure it has more to do with confidence that they can _sell_ different saddles, on fear.

    You're using the same tedious tactics as in your helmet safety lectures: painting scary pictures without establishing the likelihood of their occurrence with enough context to rebutt. Children on bikes will have their brains on the street; grownups will be vegetables; riders of traditional saddle designs will be impotent, etc. You'd think China wouldn't have the largest population in the world with all the bikes culling them on all sides like this.

    Reply
  • Bruce Wilson

    "You’d think China wouldn’t have the largest population in the world with all the bikes culling them on all sides like this."

    Imagine what the population would be like otherwise!

    Reply
  • [...] I considered the best choice in bikes to be Surly’s Big Dummy and perhaps even the strange Chupacabra [photos] from Traffic Cycle Design.  I’ve also found the newly popular cargo bikes like the [...]

    Reply
Leave a Reply