No announcement yet.

I am looking at a 10 year old hand cycle this weekend what should I look for?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    I am looking at a 10 year old hand cycle this weekend what should I look for?

    Looking at a Freedom Ryder this weekend but I dont know alot about them. Not sure what I should be looking at besides the obvious tire and bearing wear. This hand cycle is 10 years old but they say it has not been ridden alot. any ideas help I will take some pics maybe

    Hi Bud you know that you can come over on that fancy bike of yours and look at my Freedom rider, but here is a picture of it. Maybe one of the old timers here (Riders not age) can tell use what the difference is between my five year old one and the newer ones? Would be nice to figure out if all the gears worked and how the sifter cables and there sheaths look. Sometimes the derailleur (It has two little geared wheels which the chain runs around and it moves the chain up the cluster of gears in the front of the bike) gets bent and beat up. Check that the frame is not twisted up or cracked or rusted. Check the rims for flat spots, up and down from the axel, you can fix left and right, but large flat spots are there mostly for good. The seat of course, I sure someone else can think of something more.
    T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old


      thanks for the tips I will check it out thuroughly. Was reading in another thread how we could not stick wider tires on the old freedom riders. Even if this bike does not pan out I am still interested in getting a handcycle so might ride my other bike over one of these weekends and we can swap secrets.


        Sounds great to me I would love to try out your supper cool ride. But if anyone knows what changes have been make on the freedom rider in the last ten years I would still like to know. One thing that I forgot to mention is how the bike turns.
        Some are what's called lean steer, and the other type you steer by pushing it left and right with your hands. The learn steer requires more trunk control from the operator. I have the non learn steer.
        T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old


          Do you guys sit on a roho cushion as you ride these?
          I know my skinny ass would have to sit on a 4 inch roho.
          I have never tried one of these bikes myself.
          Would like to try one and see how my 38 year old shoulders would like it.


            Zen, i trust you're a lower injury as it does take a bit of the lower core to maximize the lean steer.

            Depends on the bike, there's the Classic twistshift which has been around since the '80's, it's a great bike. Could be a Craig Blanchette model (CB) or an LC. The only real difference is the shifters basically and perhaps the steering dampner.

            CB and LC's have the SiS shifter setup. I had a classic back in '82 I thnk it was. Great bikes, basically bullet proof and ride really well. It feels so cool going into a turn on a leansteer; really kind of surreal.

            The old classics a person could put on a larger tire as the front wheel was a 26" with the rears being 25's/

            The only drawback is the wheels in my opinion. They are designed to only take the 650c racing tire. In my area, I was contiunually getting flats. I rebuilt the wheels with 559 rims and added Marathon Evolution tires. I haven't had a flat since. I needed to change out the front brake also to a wider throw brake. Course bout any bike out there uses the 650c wheel. Dumbest size they could put on IMP. No tire choice at all and they all seem to make sure there's not enough clearance at the top of the fork to put on a taller, more durable tire.

            The beauty of a Freedom Ryder is that it's the only thing they build. Their components are top Notch stock, no needing to upgrade.

            My favorite was the Classic with the twist shift down by the side.

            With all my old Top Ends, I was always needing to upgrade components or fiddlin' with the seating, trying to maximize the stroke. Not complaining as I love working on handcycles. With the Freedom Ryder, I have never broken a cable or ripped a steering dampner like I did with the Top Ends.

            The only reason I sold it was because my injury was a little too high to ride it the way it should be ridden. I heard other higher injuries ride a leansteer. For me, I love my FRH.

            Art, For me a Roho just wouldn't work as it makes me feel too wobbly. I have 2 inch memory foam and have never had any hint of trouble riding long distances. Yeah, you should definitly look into a handcycle. It is so much fun being on the road out of the chair. I also use one of Mark B's Roadrace Powerpods. Incredible machine that would be beneficial for a recreational rider not in shape, a higher injury or even that skilled competitive racer. It trains the cardio and gets us used to riding at a higher speed with a faster cadence. Ican get the heartrate up and work as easy or hard as I want using it without the undo stress on the shoulders. Best thing I've upgraded my handcycle with.
            Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 11 Jun 2013, 4:00 AM.


              I'm a t4 with no core muscles and have been on a Freedom Ryder for 20 years. And patrick's right - I put 559's on my 1994 FR and they're great. Can't go any wider then a 1.4" tire, though. Not enough clearance under the caliper.

              Like Flying said, there are two basic things to inspect when buying a used bike:

              1. make sure nothing is bent
              2. make sure things that are supposed to move do and things that aren't don't.

              ~Frame should be straight, inspect the welds, check for rust.
              ~Spin the wheels and inspect for roundness; they may not be perfect, but should be very close.
              ~Spin the wheels again and look down the edge - is it moving side to side as it spins? a little is okay and can be fixed for $15 at a bike shop. Any more than 1/4" or so and the rim is bent.

              ~spin the wheels - they should spin freely and quietly.
              ~Crank the pedals and shift the gears (both levers) - you should be able to shift all the way through with ease. if the chain doesn't catch each gear perfectly, that's okay as it can be easily adjusted later. The big thing is to make sure the chain moves through all the gears on both the cassette and the crank.
              ~Move the chain off the crank - The pedals should turn smoothly and quietly.
              ~If it's a lean-steer model check the rubber bushings at the steering points behind and below the seat. The rubber should be soft (no cracks).
              ~Tires are easy to replace - don't worry about those. Any rubber parts will wear out or down and replacing them is part of routine maintenance.

              I help friends buy used bikes at police auctions all the time and always tell them to expect to pay about $50 or so in parts to get things up to snuff. Rubber needs replacing, sometimes the chain. If the frame is good but the parts are bad, haggle the price down. Anything can be fixed.

              Most importantly, take it for a ride. If you've never been on a lean-steer you'll want to ride for at least 15min to see if it's something you'll be able to do. It takes some time to get acclimated.


                If it's ten years old it's gotta be a lean steer as they have only been making the non lean steer (FHR) for around 6 years or so. Check out the frame carefully for cracks, I've cracked a few frames on the older lean steer bikes, use to have a Stage bike and chances are that's what the one your looking at is unless it's a superbike. I use to mostly crack welds on the seat back post because I weigh a lot and push real hard. A couple times I cracked open the welds on the down tube near the front wheel. The bike was unridable when I did this and had to find a good welder to fix it. Mike from Freedom ryder use to always replace the seat back posts for me at N/C, they really stand behind their product, there use to be a lifetime warrantee on the frame, not sure if that's still the case. I already cracked one seat back post on my FHR a couple years ago so even these bikes can have this happen. Just make sure not to over pay either, the bike is worth at most around 800 bucks, maybe less. I miss my lean steers though, lots of fun to ride but the turning radius is really bad.
                "Life is about how you
                respond to not only the
                challenges you're dealt but
                the challenges you seek...If
                you have no goals, no
                mountains to climb, your
                soul dies".~Liz Fordred