Utility Bikes are becoming more and more popular, as people discover the useful work you can do with a bicycle. Regular bicycles just aren’t suited to carry over-sized and awkward items around an urban environment. But what do you do when you need to get your gear up on the mountain, when the only way to get up there is on tight singletrack?
Jeff Potter recently came up with a design for an all terrain tool hauler. He converted his mountain tandem into a utility bike. Previously he towed a BOB Trailer, which worked out to some degree, but it made the bike a bit long for getting down tight twisty trails. I followed that BOB Trailer one night, and it was throwing sparks as it bounced off the rocks alongside the trail! And from what I understand, it caused a couple crashes when it got hung up and abruptly ceased forward momentum. And the clatter! We called him Hop Sing, because it sounded like he was transporting a mini chuck wagon. Jeff came up with a pretty cool idea to solve the trailer problem. Here’s what Jeff had to say about his Mountain Tandem Utility Bike.
Bike Carson: Why did you build it?
Jeff Potter: I had been using a Bike Bob to haul tools around when doing trail maintenance but never liked the way the bike handled with a loaded Bob attached. Amy and I have a mountain tandem that we ride several times a year that I thought could be put to other uses.
BC: How did you build it, and where did you get the idea?
JP: I got the idea from your Kona Ute. I thought it would be “cool” to have a utility bike like yours, but lacking disposable cash, I came up with this idea.
The first priority in building the tool rack was that it had to disassemble easily. The second priority was that it had to be solid. I attached a second stoker stem to the stokers’ seat post which gave me a platform to brace the rack to. The front of the rack is attached with u-clamps tightened by wing-nuts, while the rear is secured by the seat post clamp. Mickey at the Bike Smith hooked me up with a couple sets of cradles from a Yakima rack which serve as my way of securing the tools.
BC: How does it handle off-road when loaded up?
JP: I’m able to negotiate the Creek Trail with it, and it rips down the Vicee Rim and Jackrabbit trails. Plus it’s easier to handle with tools than with a person on the back.