Ricksycle FAQ:

When I first research the Ricksycle, I had many questions that NO BODY could answer. My purchase was actually a leap of faith because of the lack of information I had. Therefore, I've compiled a FAQ on the trike for you. If you have a question that is not on this page, please don't hesitate to write me via the form in the side bar.

I hope you will decide to purchase a Ricksycle from Rick at http://www.ricksycle.com. Please pass along in the comments to him that my site has helped you make your decision.

  • What do you like most about the Rickcycle?
    It makes you giddy. Everyone who gets on it, laughs! Then, when a second person joins you, you're both laughing. The entire time you ride, it makes you feel good about yourself.
  • How do you spell Rickscycle/Rickscyle/Rickcycle?
    The decal on the side of the bike says "Rickcycle".
    The official web site is http://www.ricksycle.com. They probably didn't use Rickcycle.com because someone else has already registered that domain.
    I don't remember seeing Rickscycle officially printed anywhere.
  • How good is the quality of the bike?
    For a recreational toy that is made by a company that specializes in building farm equipment, HFL Fabricating, the Ricksycle quality is excellent! You feel comfortable. You feel safe. You feel that it won't let you down on your bike trip. We rode the bike 475 miles across Iowa on RAGBRAI 2007 without ANY bike problems. It was really nice to ride past all the people standing in line waiting to get their bikes repaired. I had a friend put lights on the trike for Burning Man and he made the comment that all the welded joints were well done by a welder with many years experience; he said that I definitely got my money's worth out of this purchase.

    HFL Fabricating is located at:
    26861 Napier Road
    Kerwood, ON N0M 2B0
  • Steering is always the first thing to break. How is the steering made on the Ricksycle?
    The steering has held up VERY well. If you've ever ridden bikes that uses some sort of extension cable/bar for steering, you'll know that steering feels either sluggish or the bar will eventually bend under normal stress. This has not been the case with the Ricksycle; steering is very tight. I think Rick specifically designed the steering housing so that there is only one-way-force exerted on the steering bar.
  • How well does the bike go down hills?
    This is one situation where you could kill yourself on this bike. It is a trike. It has 3 wheels and they are not in a line so the scientific principal of centripetal force created by the wheels on a regular bike is not there to keep you straight. (Read more about "What causes a bike to stay up" at http://www.pedalmagic.com/Physics.htm. Note: This site sells a video; I am not endorsing their video but their information is good.) Fortunately, there is only ONE thing that will get you in trouble going down hills; that is a lack of experience with the joystick steering. I highly suggest you log at least a mile for every mph you plan go on the Ricksycle. (For example, ride 25 miles before going 25 mph.) Steering needs to be instinctive to you at speeds above 20 mph. Although we never exceeded 35 mph, the trike felt solid the whole time.

    Above 25 mph, there are two things that you don't want to do... Re-adjust yourself in the seat nor hit the joystick steering.

    When you re-adjust yourself at these speeds, you shift the backend of the trike and you get a little bit of swerving affect; it's the same side-to-side whipping affect that you see when a trailer is improperly loaded going down the highway. To stop the swerving, stop moving in your seat and just leave the steering alone; the bike will settle back into it's non-swerving position within 3 whips.

    The joystick steering is between the two passengers. You don't really realize how many times the steering is touched by both of you until you are going faster than 30 mph. Keep your arm still; minor-Minor-MINOR movements is all that is needed to steer at this speed. And when the steering is hit by you or your passenger, you MUST have the instinctive steering ability to recover. DO NOT PANIC or try to over compensate.
  • Is the bike comfortable?
    That is a big YES! We traveled 450 miles and were comfortable the whole way. If you are the left-side passenger, then you have a fender to rest your left arm. If you are the right-side passenger, then you have a fender to rest your right arm. The fender is smooth and never once chapped our skin. Your legs have a tendency to rub against the fabric of the seat while wearing shorts. At first, I wore bike shorts; then I realized that Serena's legs were not chapping so I chunked the bike shorts for regular shorts. When it came time to rest after 60 miles of pedaling, I opted to lounge on the bike instead of standing up; it is THAT comfortable.
  • Does the trike use the same muscles as a regular bike?
    No. Training on a regular bike will NOT prepare you for a long distance on this trike. However, you don't need that much long distance training for this bike; the gluteus muscles are used. It was only after 60 miles of hard up hill pedaling that my knees began to hurt.
  • What do I need that isn't provided with the bike?
    I have no idea why, but the trike comes with knobby tires. This is a street bike not an off-road bike. First thing to do is invest in slick street tires and put them on the bike. Street tires for this bike cost about $20 a piece.

    In between the passengers is a protruding screw with a knob that holds the steering column to the seat. The passenger not steering has a tendency to grab this knob for pedal leverage; although the screw is not uncomfortable on short rides, I suggest you go to your local hardware store and get a 3/8" plastic cap and put it over this screw.

    Most bikes don't come with water bottles but they do have screws located somewhere on the chassie for you to install a water bottle carrier. The Ricksycle does not have any water bottle screws. However, I did find that mounting velcro water bottles worked just fine on both the left and right side of the bike as well as two extra bottles under the seat.

    Due to the low profile of the trike, you should run to the nearest Walmart and purchase bike flags. You will be on the road at some point and you want cars to see you as they approach from behind.

    I don't have a problem looking over my shoulder to see what's approaching from behind, but most people do. A rearview mirror, whether mounted on your helmet or on the trike, would be a good thing to have.

    A cup holder. Everyone on RAGBRAI wanted to know where the Starbucks cup holder was at. I haven't found one yet.
  • What don't I need that is provided with the bike?
    The knobby tires.
    The front fender is useless, it's generic, and is probably the poorest quality part on the bike. The front fender might protect the steering column from getting wet but it doesn't protect the passengers; get rid of it before you are forced to remove it while on a ride.
  • Does the bike have a basket or a way to carry extra stuff?
    Behind the passenger seat is a pocket that is stitched into the fabric of the seat. It can hold 5x7 papers or small items but nothing like a jacket or water bottles.

    Fortunately, the underside of the bike has enough loops and holes to mount a wire basket using a ratchet strap.
    (I even mounted a car battery down there!) I was able to carry up to 30 lbs in the basket without a problem. You can get the wire baskets either at Walmart or a hardware store.

    Note: In the second picture, the basket is not really tilted up. It just looks that way based on the angle of the camera.
  • Can a trailer be connected to the trike?
    Yes. Under the seat is welded a little 3 inch bar. (You should be able to see this bar in the above pictures.) The bar is hollow and is probably meant to be used when connecting a second set of passengers to the first. Fortunately, the manufacturer had the where-with-all to make this bar the same size as the hitching post on a regular bike. Thus, you can connect a typical trailer or carrage to the Ricksycle.
  • Does the trike have lights?
    The trike comes with 3 lights. One Cateye headlamp and two red flashers for the back. The Cateye headlamp mount is already installed when the trike arrives. I can't figure out where to put the two red flashers on the trike so they don't fall off... Therefore, I've been attaching the flashers to the wire basket I've mounted to the underside.
  • How much does the trike weigh?
    85 lbs. For the trike to be ideal for long distance touring, you would want it to be less than 25 lbs per person, or 50 lbs total. However, short distances (under 20 miles) or in leisure biking environments, you would not notice the extra weight.
    As I mentioned above, we carried a car battery on Ragbrai to power speakers. When we removed the car battery we did NOT notice a difference in speed going up hills. We DID notice a speed difference when going down hills.
  • How does the S pedals work/don't work?
    Before purchasing the Ricksycle, I was worried about two things... The steering and the S pedals. My only previous experience with S pedals has been on a paddleboat. Paddleboat S pedals are klunky, rub your ankles, and have no consistent cadence. Fortunately, the Ricksycle is NOT this way. The S bar is thick & has not bent despite the amount of power required to climb steep hills. The area around your foot is large enough that the S bar does not rub your ankles, and the ground keeps your pedaling a consistent cadence. If I am losing torque power due to the distance of the S pedal from the axle, then I don't notice it.

    Some people on Ragbrai wanted to know if they could put clipless pedals on the trike. I suspect not but then, I have no need for clipless pedals. I don't even use them on my road bike or mountain bike.
  • How long does it take to get use to the stearing?
    It takes about 10 miles to get use to the steering. During this time, you'll push and pull on the steering going the wrong way and typically just freak out. You will question whether you'll ever get the hang of steering; just be patient and persistent. It takes about another 10 miles for it to be instinctive where you can look under the trike, reach around the trike, or hand off items (such as food or drink) to your passenger without having to stop.
  • What is the worse thing about the trike?
    The worse thing about the trike is all the people stopping you to ask "How do you steer?" "Can you pedal separately?" "Where are the brakes?" etc. It's the same questions over and over again. But then, we were on a roadtrip with 23,000 other bikers. It's probably different if y'all are riding alone.
  • Does it really fold up into a small packing for transportation like this picture shows?
    Yes it does, but
    it's not easy to get the trike into this configuration. It takes a little puzzle work and about 30 minutes to complete the job. Once it's packed, I use a ratchet strap to hold it together. (This is the same ratchet strap I use to attach the basket under the seat.) I use old towels between the 4 parts of the bike for cushion. Then, two people can easily pick it up and carry it or pack it into a small hatchback with the backseat folded down. I equate the space to 3 bikes closely packed together, but half the height. Click on the picture to the left to see a 3 minute Quicktime video about how to bundle the bike for transport.
  • How is the trike packaged when shipped from the manufacturer?
    The trike comes heavily wrapped in bubble-wrap with cardboard surrounding the bike. The whole thing sits on a wood pallet so that the transport company can move it. However, when you unpack the trike for the first time, there are no instructions about how to put it together. Click on the picture to the right to see a 2 minute Quicktime video about how to put the trike together.

  • What colors does the trike come in?
    Red. Blue. Yellow. Orange. Green. Black. Gray/Silver.
  • Who is the primary audience for this bike?
    I would say that the Ricksycle is best for active Seniors. This is not fast transportation, Seniors are rarely in a hurry, and it's not hard to ride at all. My parents loved it and can't wait to go on a trip up the Katy Trail in Missouri. Serena's parents were also quite amused and came back just laughing!
    We also put a 5 and 8 year old on the bike. Although the 5 year old probably didn't help pedal, she could still reach the pedals at it's closest setting. The 8 year did just fine with their parent along for the ride.
    At Burning Man, the Ricksycle became known as the "Farrari" of all our camp's bikes. We blew past everyone on the desert with this thing. Any time we hit a sand trap, I just shifted into the Granny Gear and kept on going while other bikers got off and pushed their way through the sand. Serena rode out into a 3 hour long dust storm, picked up people where lost, offered a mask & googles, and took them back to Center Camp. I also dragged/pushed/carried 2 other handmade rickshaws throughout the week; I did this so the person pedelling would not be "dog tired" once they got to the destination approximately 1 1/2 miles away.
    If you are a social person and like outdoor activities, then you'll love this trike.
  • What speed can you maintain?
    Up hills, no matter what grade it may be, you will GO SLOW; this is typical of all recumbents. Fortunately, the bike has two great granny gears and you rarely have to get out a push. For example, I got out a pushed while Serena pedaled on a REALLY LONG 8% grade.
    On a 1% downhill grade, you can maintain 18-22 mph. We were very surprised we were going so fast but the bikers that measured our speed insisted their speedometers were calibrated correctly.
    On a flat surface, you can maintain 12 mph with effort. 9 mph without effort.
  • Where could I store this thing in my house?
    When the trike is put together, it does consume quite a bit of space. For me, I hang the trike from the ceiling and drive my cars under it to park. The trike is exactly three studs apart so hanging it from the ceiling was no big deal. The trike is also perfectly balanced from the front to the back so it can hang from the mid-point without turning over. Click on the picture to the right to see a 1 minute Quicktime video of me raising the trike.
  • Can I use a bike rack to transport the Ricksycle?
    Carry your Ricksycle on your bicycle rack!
    I have a 2 bike bikerack on the back of my car. If I remove the trike's steering column and put it in the car, the rest of the trike sits easily on the bikerack.
    Carry your Rickcycle on your bicycle rack!
    It actually balances there just fine. I just use some tie-downs to keep the back part of the trike on the bikerack. With the trike seat unfolded, I'm sure this kills car mileage so I don't go far in this configuration.