Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 22 Mar 2015, 8:30pm

I'm seriously considering purchasing a small Surly Big Dummy. My rationale is that I like things that are a bit unusual, I can haul my kids about, I can do more utility chores by bike AND in the Winter I can visit clients by bike rather than in my pick up truck. I'm a gardener and in the winter I generally use my heavy machinery less (mowers, strimmers etc) In the winter it's hedge trimmers, blowers chainsaws and light secateurs etc which are doable on a BD. It would also fall into place as my 'winter bike'. A posh one but there you go.

I also like the idea of my business (albeit a small one) contributing more towards a sustainable ideology. Planting several hundred trees and plants every year just doesn't seem enough.

I don't know whether a bike could go through my books as 'equipment' or not. I may have to ask my accountant. What do you think?

If there are any owners on here: Would you be able to give me your thoughts or an informal review?

Many thanks...b

EDIT: Apart from working my socks off from now until the Autumn I've EBayed (how did that become a verb?) lots of bits and bobs. I've got a rifle and pistol I want to sell but that's a bit more of a logistical conundrum for me to work out. Any ideas?

seph
Posts: 163
Joined: 3 Sep 2010, 8:22pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby seph » 22 Mar 2015, 9:45pm

No experience of the surly, but I would imagine it is quite capable, I would think with any long bike, or tourer for that matter, much would rely on how clever you are with the loadspace available.

I take it you've thought about trailers and cargo bikes like the ones here? http://www.practicalcycles.com/

For gun sales there are some airgun related forums, like the chinese airgun forum, but they can be a bit prickly about who gets full access to the site. Guess guns attract a few odd characters, who'd a thought it ? :wink:

for shotguns/firearms try a gunshop, many will sell on your behalf, for a small fee obviously.

At the risk of being moderated (I'm only curious, not looking to buy!) what is it you're selling?

User avatar
DaveP
Posts: 3333
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 4:20pm
Location: W Mids

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby DaveP » 23 Mar 2015, 8:38am

I don't want to pour cold water on any mans dream - get a Big Dummy if you want one! - but I would have thought that the awkward shapes of some of the kit you might wish to transport would make some sort of trailer an attractive proposition.

If memory serves, the Chinese airgun forum is American...
I believe the usual on line resources are: http://www.guntrader.co.uk/ http://gunsforsale.co.uk/ http://www.gunstar.co.uk/ Haven't used them myself.
But note that unless you want to involve the (probably chargeable) services of one or more RFDs, you will need to meet the purchaser for handover in person. This now applies to airguns as well.
The simplest approach may be to contact some local clubs and arrange for a post card on their noticeboard. Try not to have an unrealistically high value in mind - unless you have something special in your safe!
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully... That hasn't changed!

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 23 Mar 2015, 5:29pm

Thanks all. Advice to be digested. My local gun shop was hopeless. And they wonder why they are struggling. I've listed my HW97KT and HW45 Black Star on Gunwatch and Pigeonwatch. On Ebay: My cement mixer is doing very well surprisingly and even a traditional Swedish Axe has gained loads of interest as has my daughter' balance bike. I'm well on the way to reaching my target!

EDIT: I've just reread this and it reads like a murderer's essential kit list. Gulp!

FarOeuf
Posts: 441
Joined: 14 Jan 2014, 9:31pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby FarOeuf » 23 Mar 2015, 5:46pm

HMRC have an R&D tax relief scheme, to encourage 'science and technology' R&D. They offer 230% tax relief for companies who run projects which qualify. Qualifying, as per HMRC, is a subjective process, with HMRC being the ones who, despite lacking expertise, decide if you qualify. Personally knowing little about your work, but knowing something of technology development, I'd suggest thinking in terms of developing a more ecologically sustainable process of of transporting plants/shrubs/trees/gardening-services from source (wherever you keep stuff) to the ground.

For example create a project with the sole purpose of improving (in an ecological sense) the impact of gardening services, or some such. This is really what you want to do, as I'm inferring from your question. You'll need a bike for this project, you'll need to buy/make various carrying boxes/bags/etc. You'll need to run tests and trials. You might test the feasability of carrying medium weight stuff like lawn mowers, etc. At the end of the project (which may last a while) you'll have either developed new methods for transportation, or not. Doesn't matter if the project fails, to qualify for tax relief.

The details are on the HMRC website, and they're a bit messy. So I suggest printing out the main documents (and the 'definitions of terms' document) and sitting back with a coffee. You'd also need to speak to your accountant, as your project plan and results need to be submitted to HMRC along with your final year accounts.

If you need more info/advice, I'm no expert but I've a few R&D projects on the go at the moment, for which I've been through the qualifying process with an accountant who has experience of the scheme. Feel free to PM me, and I can maybe help with explanations/interpretations of the HMRC documents.

Alternatively, I don't see a problem with a company bike (I've had them). Though I wouldn't mention carting the kids about. My experience of Surly's is limited to the LHT, Cross Check and Troll. Each one has done exactly what they said it would, so I'd have no qualms about buying a BD if that was what I was after.

cheers,

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 24 Mar 2015, 7:50am

Thanks FO. This is fascinating. The HMRC is a strange animal. As a self employed gardener I've had countless issues with them over the last decade. I'll get some decent coffee this weekend and gave a peruse. Chatting to another like minded fellow yesterday I thumb-sucked an initial annual target of 10% of my clients to be serviced by bike. And then I'd go from there...b

FarOeuf
Posts: 441
Joined: 14 Jan 2014, 9:31pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby FarOeuf » 24 Mar 2015, 8:43am

I think everyone in business has problems with HMRC, unless you're rich enough to take them out for lunch...

some links to get you in the right area:

main doc index : http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cirdmanual/CIRD80000.htm
SME R&D scheme: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cirdmanual/CIRD90000.htm
R&D requirements: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cirdmanual/CIRD81000.htm
SME definition: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cirdmanual/CIRD91000.htm
R&D definition: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/cirdmanual/CIRD81300.htm

you'll find yourself looping round the documents, as they cross reference heavily. I found it useful to have the 'definitions' documents printed.

cheers,

mrjemm
Posts: 2933
Joined: 20 Nov 2011, 4:33pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby mrjemm » 24 Mar 2015, 9:27am

I really like this idea, HC, and if you fancy a SBD for the job, that'd be great. In the long run, you can still add a trailer to that if needs be. From all I read and hear, the big dummy rides well and is a capable bike. As I have mentioned in your earlier thread, I'd be tempted to get one myself, and when I am less broke, may well do so.

There's been at least one cycling gardener in my area, and I've seen another bloke riding along with a small tree in a trailer. Made me smile and was certainly noticeable- could put advertising (your name, business and contact details at least) on the sides of the long tail. You could always try crowd-funding perhaps; maybe it's a more US style thing, but looking around Kickstarter, there often seem to be small business start-ups wanting funding for a cycle based business like this.

Another aspect that just occured to me, is that a Big Dummy would be less tempting to light-fingers perhaps, if not less nickable than a bike/trailer outfit; one, it would stand out more, and thus be more recognisable, two, it's a bigger item that's less easy to scarper with (unless riding of course), and three, it's one solid item rather than a pair of easily seperable peices that are both of value to a thief and harder to lock.

hoppy58
Posts: 296
Joined: 9 Mar 2011, 3:07pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby hoppy58 » 24 Mar 2015, 9:58am

Have a look at the you tube video Charlie the Bikemonger, on tour on a Surly Big Dummy...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqv1tPszZKQ. Great stuff.

Neil C
Posts: 120
Joined: 11 Mar 2014, 6:37pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Neil C » 24 Mar 2015, 10:26am

There is a Xtracycle Free Radical on Ebay at the moment. If it doesn't go for too much it might be a cheap way to see if the concept works for you.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Xtracycle-Fre ... 4ae6e7e55c

mrjemm
Posts: 2933
Joined: 20 Nov 2011, 4:33pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby mrjemm » 24 Mar 2015, 11:35am

Good to see that ebay post, Neil- shows they work on P7 frames, of which I have a spare sitting in my garage, as well as the one which is my Frankenbike (already with Surly forks... :D ).

I like the Charlie vid. I note it's the older curved top-tube version, while the current one has a straight top-tube, with the small triangle stay up to the seat-tube.

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 16 Jun 2015, 9:11pm

This weekend I did a mini weekend camping tour, fully loaded with tent, etc, stove, la-la-la and a few other non-essentials on my Big Dummy. Only 80 miles, and all went swimmingly...

...except for the fact it was TOO good! This bike surely is up there with the best tourers. (I own a Surly DT too) it handled the load and hills without complaint and was a sociable 'conversation starter'. My average speed was only a wee bit lower than my DT even though I was on tow paths for 50 of the 80 miles.

I'm feeling a bit weird

(Sure it will be more cumbersome on ferries etc and a pain in the posterior if the back tyre blows, but other than that...)

Bigdummysteve
Posts: 353
Joined: 24 May 2015, 9:29am
Location: Oxfordshire

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Bigdummysteve » 20 Jul 2015, 2:28pm

I seriously love my Bigdummy,I take our 11 and six year old kids to school,do the shopping, it really is the most versatile bike I've ever owned. I've also just completed a Jogle covering about 1200miles including several hundred off road on trails and canal towpaths.
Mine is equipped with a rohloff hub which suits the bike very well,also I've fitted it out with some frame bags by porcelain rocket, while on tour it worked great. All the camping gear was slung in the dummy bags and waterproofs etc lived in the frame bags,no searching in the bottom of panniers and fast camp setup in the evening.
Xtracycle also make some useful accessories such as wide loaders and long loaders to help transport unusual loads, it redefines what you can use a bicycle for without compromising day to day use.
The only negative is the length could limit public transport options, I used a courier to get my bike to Scotland as I was unsure if it would fit. The length also makes it nearly impossible to loft the front wheel so while it's fine off-road it does have limits. Generally the handling is great,stable but not unwieldy,I've hit 50mph fully loaded with camping gear and felt completely at ease.
One option is buying the frame set only if you have a donor bike, that said the dummy cargo kit and frame takes you up to a grand and the standard running gear is well chosen ( LX hubs with Alex adventure rims and BB7 disk brakes etc)
If your ever in Oxfordshire your welcome to a test ride,2500 miles on mine now and I still love it, the only other bike I want is possibly a 29er for off road touring.

User avatar
Heltor Chasca
Posts: 3016
Joined: 30 Aug 2014, 8:18pm
Location: Near Bath & The Mendips in Somerset

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 20 Jul 2015, 3:25pm

I've now had one for 400 miles. It's all the above and more. The Big Dummy club is exclusively a gang of chilled, open minded people who possibly need their heads read

I am still after 2 wide loaders. Any ideas who I can get them off Steve? I've heard Xtracycle have their set of supply problems

reohn2
Posts: 40711
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Surly Big Dummy - Does Anyone Own One?

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jul 2015, 11:31am

Heltor Chasca wrote:I've now had one for 400 miles. It's all the above and more. The Big Dummy club is exclusively a gang of chilled, open minded people who possibly need their heads read

I am still after 2 wide loaders. Any ideas who I can get them off Steve? I've heard Xtracycle have their set of supply problems


Have you thought about a tent makers/repairers?
-----------------------------------------------------------