INTO THE RIDE #70
A CF That Can Really Haul!
by Randy Schlitter
The HammerTruck is a cargo hauler designed from the ground up incorporating our Crankforward design. As a Crankforward, it is an ideal package, since the lower seat and top tube height allows for easier mounting, controlling the bike at stop signs, and handling when loaded. At InterBike many cyclists instantly recognized the merits of using Crankforward design for a heavy hauler and took the “HammerTruck Challenge”. The bike was loaded 10 one-gallon water jugs, for an 80-pound load. Everyone was able to ride the bike back up the steep hill, and returned with positive comments about the smooth handling and great power transfer, plus the climb ability of the Crankforward position. We never told them there was any issue with standing and riding, and I observed many first time riders of CF taking to it naturally. The B-37 handlebars and curved riser placed forward make for a very inviting space to get off the seat and hammer it.
Based on the Dynamik the 4130 steel cro-moly frame is TIG welded and powder coated in a stunning silver and charcoal finish, all at our Hays Kansas plant. The custom frame features hard points to attach its made-to-order rack system. The rack consists of 1” and 1.125 aircraft aluminum tube, assembled using special fittings. The frame hard points are welded with tapped inserts, so removing the rack is a matter of 8 bolts and about 3 minutes. By itself the bike is a fun ride, even considering its wheelbase of 58.625”. All of our CF’s are longer than typical bikes, but the HammerTruck is another 9.125 inches over the Dynamik. The length makes the bike well suited to transport the loads, offering space to attach the large rack and bags. Being longer also means the design has to be stiffer in torsion. This is accomplished by adding a series of smaller tubes within the rear triangle. At 29.5 pounds, the bike is fairly light, and a very spirited ride. Adding the tube rack, runners, sling bags, and runner covers bring it up to 42.5, still light compared to other long haulers. This is good, because a light strong hauler can offer more net payload and better performance.
The stock rack comes standard with foot pegs in two places.
The stock bike comes with 27 speeds, a Truvativ Firex MTB crank, tough Kevlar tires, heavy duty Velocity Cliffhanger wheels, and Sram X7 rear derailleur, and RANS front. Stopping power is through front and rear from Sram Avid 160 mm Disc brakes. The rack is stock, with these standard and optional features:
· Built in hard points for mounting custom oversized rack.
· Stock bike features heavy duty aircraft aluminum rack
· No cables on top tube
· Swayed top tube for easy on and off
· Velocity Cliffhanger heavy duty wheels
· Bike weight without rack 29.5 with pedals!
· Many options:
– Runner Covers
– Sling bags
– Rain Fly
– Topper Deck
– Double Legged Kickstand
Options can enhance the utility of the HammerTruck, and the runners and fabric shelves are highly recommended, since they make loading and carrying heavy bulky loads a snap. To load the HammerTruck with runners attached just lean the bike over until a runner rest against the ground. Load the high side, grab the rack to lift and tilt to the other side. The bike is stiff enough to handle unbalanced loads, but for better handling, it is always better to split up the load. I have ridden with offset loads, and the tendency to steer towards the heavy side is enough to notice, something to avoid if hauling a load a long way. There is an optional double leg kickstand, useful when set up without runners, or parking the bike empty. The fabric shelves also double to protect the rear brake and derailleur from contact with cargo.
1. Leaning the bike over on the runners is the best way to load. Once one side is loaded, tilt bike over to the opposite runner and continue loading.
2. A fully loaded bag is secured by straps and support clips. To provide protection from the elements a cover attaches with velcro.
3. The practical HammerTruck is a useful multipurpose bike helpful in whatever you may need to haul.
What will come next? I imagine a whole line of accessories, ranging from child seats to a rack that doubles as a shopping cart, eliminating some hefting. The project has been close to my heart, since I was not car-bound in my early days. In fact I delayed owning a car until our first child was on the way. Even then we used a homemade bike trailer and a special trike called the TR-3, which featured a large wooden basket. Pedal powered (or sail) was always preferred over firing up the oil burner. The HammerTruck in a way is a return to those roots, and a welcome one. The good news is we are not alone; there is a growing movement to create and provide heavy haulers. There has been much inspiration drawn from the very friendly and eco-conscious folks at Extracycle, who at Interbike announced they have open-sourced their cargo hauling technology in the hopes more people will take up the task of hauling using man power. It is an honorable quest, one that brings many benefits to not only the users, but everyone around us. When more people start using human power to do things formerly exclusive to “oil burners” it brings us that much closer to a bike cultured society, which most will agree is a good thing, for the simple fact it creates healthier people, less pollution and greater appreciation of the environment around us. We are glad to join in with this effort of providing effective ways to haul. We have a passion and dedication that will for certain keep us inventing ways to haul, and ride. This is already evident in the new RAC system being offered for our existing CF models, but more on those later. For now ride safe and stay into the ride!