Ricksycle Updated FAQ for 2010:

I've been riding the Ricksycle for 3 years and I figure it is about time to update this FAQ with the new information that I've learned.

I get about 2 emails a month from people asking questions for clarification about the FAQ section of this site. I look forward to answering those questions; I'd rather people ask than go away confused or not understand what they are purchasing.

  • Does the Ricksycle still make you giddy when you ride it?
    YES! It is a strange/good feeling when you pull out of the driveway and people wave and say "Hello" to you. They don't talk to you when you're riding a bicycle.

    And when you get a new rider, you both still giggle! It's like watching the other person realize one of those profound moments of life.
  • How do you spell Rickscycle/Rickscyle/Rickcycle?
    The creator of the machine is named Rick. Here is his official response:
    "The actual spelling of Ricksycle is that. RICKSYCLE. The Ricksycle is named after the Ricks haw. So you see, we used the 's' from Rickshaw. The logo on your bike actually is an 's'; even though it looks like a 'C'. So if people ask make sure to tell them that it is rickSycle.com." Rick.
  • Can the Ricksycle be pedaled by one person?
    Absolutely! It is no problem to pedal by yourself. In fact, after riding with someone for a while and then riding by yourself, you'll realize how much effort "they weren't" putting in!

    I go to the grocery store, throw things in the basket (or trailer if I'm getting lots of items,) and ride back home. Whole Foods has a parking space labeled "For Hybrids and eco friendly vehicles;" I take that spot!
  • How well does a three year old trike work?
    I estimate that we've put about 4500 miles on the trike. It's been to Burning Man three times and to the beach on South Padre Island four times. Both of these environments are very harsh - humidity, moisture, wind, temperature - and it has stood up well. The gears still work well although both rear derailers need a tune-up. The left gear cable now sticks after not being ridden for more than a month; this is another thing a tune-up will fix. But with consistent use and regular tune-ups and maintenance, the trike is in as good shape as any three year-old cycle.

    I did drive off a curb one day after riding in a parade and it warped the front tire. I really don't know how this happened; maybe it had to do with the amount of beer I had consumed for the day... Anyway, a simple rim replacement solved the problem and I have lifted both the front and back tire(s) over all subsequent curbs.

    The biggest issue is a crack at the base where the front section connects to the seat. There is a serious weld joint here. I think it has been caused by hanging the trike from the ceiling of the garage all these years. (You can see this in a video on the original FAQ named "Where could I store this thing in my house?") I don't think Rick intended this joint to support the downward force of the front section. Instead, the vehicle was probably intended that only an upward force be exerted by the front section on this joint. I'm sure I could have a master welder fix this.
  • If I were to purchase a new Ricksycle today, what option(s) would I choose?
    My first suggestion for the average rider is straps to hold the feet to the pedal. Whenever a gear slips, the pedals have a tendency to jerk and your feet fall off the pedal blocks. Mostly, it is just annoying to lose your cadence.

    Anyone who rides long distances or has steep hills more than half a mile long will want disc breaks. While on RAGBRAI, we've had many long down hill slopes that last for miles. You can just smell the brakes burning as we rotate from left brake, center brake, right brake, left brake, center brake, right brake... If we had to go from 35 mph to a full stop on a downhill, it just could not be done in any reasonable space.
  • How long do the tires last?
    The front tire seems to last forever; mine has never been changed. There is just not enough stress on it to wear off tread.

    On the other hand, the back tires are replaced about every 6 months or 500 miles. Since I typically provide more power to the pedals, my tire seems to wear almost twice as fast as my passenger's tire. Also, I think the weight of the trike lends itself to the early replacement as compared to a regular bicycle.
  • Does the Ricksycle have 14 or 28 gears/speeds?
    To answer this question, it depends on how you look at bicycle gears. A typical bicycle usually has one drive wheel upon which a rider exerts force. The trike has two drive wheels, one for each person. Each drive wheel has 14 speeds. I guess you can say that each trike with two drive wheels have 28 speeds or when you add on two more drive wheels for a four person capacity you then have 56 speeds, but all 28/56 gears are not available to each rider. Therefore, I say that the Ricksycle is a 14 speed cycle.
  • Do you have to get special replacement tires, tubes, etc.?
    Nope! The front tire size is 24" x 1.85. The back rim is an Alexrims DX32 and fits tire sizes are 24" x 1.75 to 2.15. Most any 24" bicycle tire and tube will do.
  • Why have I not seen more of these vehicles in my area?
    The first obstacle to the proliferation of the Ricksycle is just the lack of knowing it exists! I searched for months on the Internet looking for the keywords "Tandem Recumbent bicycle" and the Ricksycle never popped up as an search result. It wasn't until someone else sent me a picture before I even knew this trike existed.

    I think the second reason is cost. Most people are use to purchasing a Mongoose bicycle from Walmart for $100 and get sticker shock when they see the Ricksycle. I got sticker shock when my wife bought an $1800 mountain bike. Without that purchase, I may have never purchased the Ricksycle. This trike is now a reasonable cost to me when you consider that two people ride it and it gets much more mileage than that $1800 bike.

    Storage space could be an issue too. For the first three months, the Ricksycle kicked the car out of the garage. I think the car was lucky in that I figured a way to hang the trike from the ceiling! Where ever you put it, some engineering will be required when finding it a home.
  • Do you know anyone else who own one?
    I know a lot of people who want one. I know a lot of people who have borrowed mine. I only know one person who committed and made the effort to purchase a Ricksycle. We've got a tow bar to turn it into a 4-seater ride.

    I get emails from prospective Ricksycle riders. Rarely do they contact me after their purchase. I would love to hear anyone's story. Maybe one day we will have a forum for all things Ricksycle.
  • What are the differences in the old trikes and new trikes?
    A couple of friends have purchased a new Ricksycle. Here are the minor differences I've found between mine which is 3 years old and theirs:

    • The biggest difference is the new fenders. I mentioned in my original FAQ "Is the bike comfortable?" that you should take care of the fenders to keep a smooth place for your arms to rest. Well, those fenders are no longer there and instead they were replaced by rubber flaps. If I remember the story correctly, some woman reamed him for the "poor aesthetic design of the fenders." So now, the trike comes with flaps.

    • Replacing the fenders with flaps did solve another problem whereby the tires would rub when the load on the Ricksycle approached its maximum limit.

    • The Ricksycle no longer comes with knobby tires. Instead, the front tire is more like the tires you would see on a regular bicycle. The back tires are like none I have ever seen before... They are flat and about 1.5 inches wide. These tires would make a terrible bicycle tire but they completely make sense on the Ricksycle where leaning into a turn is not required. I suspect these tires also last longer than regular bicycle tires.

    • When I purchased my Ricksycle, it came heavily wrapped in bubble-wrap on a wooden pallet. Today, it comes in a box with an assembly manual although I don't think you really need it. (This is coming from a person who reads all manuals.) Some people have commented that watching my video showing assembly is very similar to reading the manual.

    • I feel like the new trikes come with a little more reclining seats than mine. The more reclining, the more power you can you can put into your pedaling which I like. However, not everyone likes to recline while riding... they say it feels un-natural. Also, the more you recline, the farther away from the steering you get; thus, you have to hold your arm out further which may be tiring until your arm strengthens.
  • The Ricksycle seems to break the rules of engineering but it still works very well!
    I couldn't figure out how to formate this into a question... so I'm making the statement:

    In engineering school, they taught me that to make something structurally sound, you need triangles. Look at a building as it is being built; there are triangles throughout the skelton. Look at any bicycle; you see a triangle from the pedals, to the seat, to the front wheel.

    There only two minor triangles on the whole Ricksycle! The seat connects to each wheel at a 90 degree angel. The front wheel connects to the seat at a 90 degree angle. But yet, everything works perfectly and soundly. Maybe it is due to the sheer strength of the materials used in the Ricksycle. Maybe... I just forgot anything they taught me in Engineering School.
  • There is a website out there saying that a Ricksycle can be purchased for $1700. Is this correct?
    Well yes... but be sure you are getting the Ricksycle you expect. If you have run across this website, it is selling Ricksycles with ONLY ONE SET OF PEDALS. To this day, everyone I have spoken to wants two sets of pedals; a set for each rider. Be sure that when you order your Ricksycle, you get your proper set of rider pedals.