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Thread: Handcycle

  1. #1


    Hi everyone, I just joined the forum after purchasing my first handcycle and was referred to this site to get information pertaining thereto. From looking at the threads in this subforum ("Exercise & Recovery"), I am not sure if there is a more specific subforum that deals with handcycles...if so, please point me in that direction. If not, expect me to have lots of questions.

    Look forward to learning from you guys!


  2. #2
    Ask away, plenty of cyclists on here

  3. #3
    Good start would be the type and brand of handcycle you bought. What type of info do you need; setting up, training, etc.? I've been riding for 40 years this coming May and it's the best thing I did for myself. Congrats on the bike!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    Good start would be the type and brand of handcycle you bought. What type of info do you need; setting up, training, etc.? I've been riding for 40 years this coming May and it's the best thing I did for myself. Congrats on the bike!
    It's a 2009 Quickie Mach II. Not in the greatest condition, but mechanically sound and I couldn't pass up the deal. I've got three rides in so far, nothing more than an hour yet, but I hope to build up quickly. I am an avid cyclist and usually spend between 8 - 12 hours a week on the road (and occasionally off the road on a mountain bike), so I already have good cardio and I know how to train (assuming that its basically the same theory as training for leg cycling: intervals mixed with endurance miles). Now I just need to build up some upper body strength; as it stands now, my arms give out way before I can stress my cardio. I thought hills were tough on a leg pedaled bike, LOL!

    There are two things I would like to know about at this point, the first being leg position. Right now, the bike has platforms right in front of the seat so that when I am sitting on the bike, it is like I am sitting in a chair with my feet flat on the floor directly in front of me. I would like to be able to have my feet extended out to the front somewhat and be able to switch between the platforms that are currently there and out in front. Is there any way to do this? I thought about trying pegs on the front fork, but that would interfere with the gear cable.

    The bike came with a three speed internal hub front wheel with the shifter attached to the top tube (is that what its called on a handcycle?). The shifter is basically a small lever that moves up and down to shift. I dont like the fact that I have to stop pedaling and take one hand off the pedals to shift. Are there any better options? I have seen a guy in my local area that rides a handcycle (the kind you completely lay down on), and it looks like he has shifter and brake cables attached to the pedals. Is that something that can be done on my bike without breaking the bank?

    Also, is there a good Strava group for handcyclists?

    Thanks in advance,

  5. #5
    Hey Jesse, It wold help knowing your injury level or type of challenge you have.

    Being an avid cyclist already really helps bigtime. Also you probably know the handcycle you have is one of the most basic entry level bikes around. Nothing wrong with it if you just want to ride occasionally on a flat even surface. It'd be on the level of a Walmart special 3 speed bike. It's not worth putting any money into it at all. It's very inefficient and down right dangerous imo.

    If you still have use of your abs and trunk muscles, a Freedom Ryder leantsteer would be a great choice for you. Used ones can be had for 400 on up depending on model. Some have very little use because the person buying had no idea what they were doing. For me, it was like sitting in a jet cockpit going around corners because the whole body leans into the turn. Loved it. I had one of the first F/R Twist Shifts back in the early '80's when they were still made in Texas. I loved that bike.

    Used Top Ends are decent. I had them from the early '80's (XL model) til around 2009 (XLT Gold). I'd stay away from the basic XLT. A very old design, and inefficient. I loved my Top Ends but the later models didn't suit what I was looking for in a hand bike so went back to Freedom Ryder. Wasn't a choice I wanted to do but man it sure is nice not to be continually fiddling trying to get comfortable on the bike. Love it big time.

    Florida is a mecca for handcyclists. Top End has their headquaters there. There must be a plethora of them for sale on Craigslist etc. You could even start a thread looking for a proper one for sale. Check out the Disabled Sports in Florida for contacts and I trust they have a lot of bikes to try out.

    Again, knowing you level and abilities will really help. In the meantime, keep using your Quickie and concentrate on form and function while cranking. Positioning for a fully upright handcycle, if I remember right is;Shoulders should not be raising up and down too much. There should be a slight bend in the elbow at the 9 O'clock (forward) position while squeezing the rhomboids against the back of the seat;and no leaning back and forth in the crank cycle. 6 O'clock position is 90o bend at the elbow as much as possible with shoulders down. I can look up the positioning if you need them. Warren Strickland (a handcyclist killed riding years ago) and I spent a lot of time experimenting with positioning and discussing it over the phone and emails. That's all changed with the newer full recumbents.

    Again, yours is a basic entry level bike. Once you go up, or down lol, to a semi recumbent or full recumbent, then you'll really see the benefits of what a handcycle can do. The main thing is to ride; there's nothing like being on the road going fast without being confined to the chair.

    There are some avid handcyclists on the forum. I'm surprised they haven't chimed in yet. If you find something that may be more efficient; you can always pm me or one of the others trustfully will chime in and of course ask on this thread.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 12-24-2015 at 04:27 PM.

  6. #6
    Welcome, Jesse. Patrick is the man (one of several on the forum) and knows what he's talking about. That handcycle is not intended for competitive riding, and I'm pretty sure there's not a whole lot you will be able to do about the leg position unless you just want to start hacking away at the handcycle (which might be a fun project).

    I'm guessing that you are able-bodied and are looking at this as an upper body exercise you can do outside as an adjunct to regular cycling?

  7. #7
    Thanks for the replies guys. Yes, I am able bodied and am trying this out as something to do on my leg recovery days. Sounds like I bought somewhat of a lemon, but oh well...for the foreseeable future, I plan on just riding it on flat ground.

    Patrick, that would be great if you could provide a link discussing positioning (maybe with some pics). Should I actually have my upper back pressed against the seat? So far, I have been riding with just my lower back, really the top of my glutes, against the seat, and leaning forward slightly away from the seat-back. I find I can create a lot more power on the pull stroke, but then it leaves me with no resistance on the push...I am assuming I should try to keep an even stroke/even resistance throughout the entire rotation?

  8. #8
    I was involved in "race chair" racing (not a handcycle) for 12 years of 10Ks, and marathons. Then got Freedom Ryder handcycle used it several years for recreation and exercise. I've been paralyzed most of my life, so when my shoulders started to weaken I sold the FR and bought a Quickie Mach II, just like the one you got.

    The ONLY reason I got it was the seat was close to the height of my wheelchair seat, meaning I could more easily slide onto it. The whole experience of riding it was so disappointing, and I kinda knew it would be, after experiencing the FR handcycle. After using it for a year I sold it to parents of a young teenaged girl who would use it for limited biking at family outings.

    The bike you bought is not a lemon. It's generally for persons who don't wish to compete, or get into serious bike riding, but want the joy of biking for recreation. Yes, they have only a limited number of gears. Your bike is absolutely not meant for speed beyond what's recommended in the manual as it would become totally squirrely and unsafe.
    Please consider selling it cheap to someone who wants to use it as it's intended, and then purchase a handcycle meant for speed and competition. You can exercise your upper body using the numerous gears, and tackling hills.
    Meanwhile, just sit on the Quickie seat any way that's comfortable, feet on the footrest, and crank. The crank is adjustable up and down as you may have noticed, and should be at about chest level.
    Also, please do web searches for photos and videos of handcycles and you'll see the major differences between race units and the Quickie Mach II.

  9. #9
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Salisbury NC
    What do you consider to be the danger Patrick?
    Last edited by djrolling; 12-26-2015 at 05:05 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Salisbury NC
    You can get a lot of good out of the upright you purchased. It will help strengthen your upper body and if you ever get one of the others that have been suggested you will be faster on it right off the bat than if you had not done anything on the upright. What size chain ring is currently on it? You might could put a smaller one on there if you are wanting to get more of a cardio work out, you would not be going faster but cranking more. The fact that it is a three speed does limit things more....not sure why they made any with less than seven gears. I have an upright an attachment that for all practical purposes is an upright and a Freedom Ryder LC-1 and I ride using the attachment(turns my wheelchair into a an upright handcycle) everyday but if I were going to do a long ride with a group of cyclist I would use the LC-1. Another thing that is good about an upright is that you are much more visible to motorist. When I ride my LC-1 by myself I am a little more nervous that someone will not see me. Maybe someone down in FL will offer to let you test ride one of theirs to help you out if you get one of the other bikes.

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