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  1. #1
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    Rhoades Car problems

    I recently purchased a new, modified Rhoades Car 4-seater. Unfortunately, my experience has not been a good one.

    I would definitely think twice before taking a Rhoades Car for a ride of any distance as mine has broken down 3 times in the four months I've owned it.

    Here is a list of the problems I've had thus far:
    1. Tailgate on the Rhoades Car cargo bed would not stay in the upright and locked position. This problem presented itself on my maiden ride
    2. Hinges in the Rhoades Car tailgate fell out. This took a couple of days for this to happen.
    3. One of the plastic connectors Rhoades Car uses to connect the cargo frame together broke. I've tried to glue it without much success.
    4. Drive sprocket on the Rhoades Car motor broke apart. This happened after I had had the Rhoades Car nearly two weeks. I had no load at all in the cargo bed at the time.
    5. At 6 weeks 3 of the Rhoades Car wheels folded as I pedaled down from a curb. I had to call a flatbed wrecker to carry me home at a cost of over $200.
    6. 2 weeks ago the right-rear axle bearing failed and is still in need of repair.

    To date, my repair costs have exceeded $1500, on a Rhoades Car purchased for $7500.

    Here are what I feel are some of the Rhoades Car design flaws:

    The drive train sprockets on a Rhoades Car are Chinese made and will not stand up to heavy use.

    The Rhoades Car aluminum cargo waggin' cannot handle any frame torsion as the plastic connectors will easily break. It should be noted that the Rhoades Car does not have any suspension whatsoever which makes for a rough ride on uneven surfaces - and riding on uneven surfaces will void your warranty.

    The position of the rear axle in the Rhoades Car is too far forward which causes steering problems with the vehicle; i.e., when loaded, the Rhoades Car wants to continue in a straight path even though the front wheels are turned as there is not enough forward weight for the front wheels to gain significant traction.

    Replacing the front wheels on a Rhoades Car is quite easy - replacing the rear wheels on a Rhoades Car is an absolute nightmare. The left-rear drive wheel on a Rhoades Car is nearly impossible to remove/replace, especially if you opt for dual disc brakes.

    Having said all of this, if you can find a good used Rhoades Car for very little money (1/4 of the new price), and you don't plan on doing much more than an occasional trip around the neighborhood with it then I think you might be satisfied with a Rhoades Car.
    Last edited by AlteredWalter; 06-18-12 at 03:50 PM. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
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    Well I hope something good comes of it all--but if you do a search, you will find that the general opinion of the Rhoades cars is not real high among riders of more-mainstream recumbents and velomobiles.

    Even though most have never seen one in real life, it is simply MUCH heavier and bigger than any recumbent bike or trike. I have seen the ads in certain magazines for years, and wondered who was buying them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlteredWalter View Post
    Here is a list of the problems I've had thus far:
    1. Tailgate on the Rhoades Car cargo bed would not stay in the upright and locked position. This problem presented itself on my maiden ride
    2. Hinges in the Rhoades Car tailgate fell out. This took a couple of days for this to happen.
    3. One of the plastic connectors Rhoades Car uses to connect the cargo frame together broke. I've tried to glue it without much success.
    4. Drive sprocket on the Rhoades Car motor broke apart. This happened after I had had the Rhoades Car nearly two weeks. I had no load at all in the cargo bed at the time.
    5. At 6 weeks 3 of the Rhoades Car wheels folded as I pedaled down from a curb. I had to call a flatbed wrecker to carry me home at a cost of over $200.
    6. 2 weeks ago the right-rear axle bearing failed and is still in need of repair.
    My experience with axle bearings on Rhodes Cars and similar adult trike products has been uniformly bad. I suspect they frequently have alignment issues and I don't know how to fix them.

    If I was still working in a shop today, I'd decline to accept one for service unless the customer had bought it from me. I'd decline selling one too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    They sure got an eye catching web site. Be easy to get sucked in if the design was your thing and the pocketbook big enough. Maybe this thread will get picked up by the search bots and warn ppl to stay clear.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  5. #5
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    I tried to be dispassionate and objective in my original posting, but quite honestly the Rhoades Car is simply a pile of junk. If you're still considering buying a Rhoades Car after reading this thread then you will have no one else to blame but yourself if you decide to buy one.

    Unfortunately I wasn't able to view the Rhoades Car prior to purchasing and relied instead on the reassuring word of the salesman - after all, their website looked good and I couldn't find much on the Internet about Rhoades Cars that wasn't posted by Rhoades Car itself.

    I haven't enjoyed one complete day's ride on the Rhoades Car without something breaking down - not one! I simply cannot afford the constant maintenance on this Rhoades Car - and breaking down a distance from home compounds the repair costs as a wrecker must be summoned to carry me either to a shop or home. I want to sell the Rhoades Car but my conscience prevents me from unloading this junk on someone else.

    I've been a cyclist my entire life - in fact I believe so strongly in cycling that I haven't had a driver's license since 1991.

    I thought I was getting a quality product when I purchased a Rhoades Car - boy was I sure mistaken.

    I hope that by relating my disastrous experience purchasing a Rhoades Car it will save others from a similar fate.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gavtatu's Avatar
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    are you sure ? the website says `Simply the finest 4-wheel bicycles in the world - and proudly made in the USA!`

    i kid, sorry its not working out for you !

  7. #7
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    From what I've read here and there, I'm under the impression that the quality of a Rhoades Car is pretty low. Square mild steel frame, BMX wheels, bass boat seats... According to their web site, the standard 4-seater weighs 125 pounds, has a payload of 700 pounds, and has ONE disc brake to stop 825 pounds. That's unbelievable. Of course, the possibility of getting something that heavy and clunky to go fast is pretty slim.

  8. #8
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    I was surprised at how the rear wheels "float" on the axle. The only thing that really holds the wheels in place are the callipers on the disc brakes - really, I'm not kidding. I've never seen a wheel setup like this. Travelling over smooth surfaces where there are no lateral stresses on the wheels would probably be fine - but going over bumps in a Rhoades Car with a frame that is rigid (no suspension) and you're really inviting trouble.

    I don't understand why Rhoades Cars continues with this design. When I query them about this I'm told they've been doing it this way for 20+ years and have never had a problem. I have difficult time believing the last half of that sentence, but even if true, my research shows that the bulk of their sales have been for light duty applications. It is as if they're satisfied with their niche in the quad market and have no desire to expand or improve anything.

    It's a shame really as they could have a quality product if they incorporated some design changes and used some better components.

    It won't be long (what with the price of gas) before the market begins to fill up with quadricycle builders.

    But by that time it may be too late for Rhoades Car.

  9. #9
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    I believe that the reason Rhoades Car offers only one disc as standard is because changing the left rear drive wheel that has a 2nd disc brake is nearly impossible.

    Let me say that again: Changing the left rear drive wheel on a Rhoades Car that has the 2 disc brake option is unbelievably difficult. And it is simply because of the design.

    The design is such that the placement of the rotors don't give you clear access to the hex bolts that hold the wheel to the floating hub - the rotors partly cover these holes. The non-drive wheel (right rear) was easier to change as I could pull it and the floating hub off of the drive shaft, mount the wheel to the floating hub and then attach the rotor. Not so with the drive hub (left rear), it insists you use a gear puller to get it off - and I didn't have one. So I was faced with having to wedge a hex wrench at an angle (because the holes don't line up) to hold the hex bolt while I tried to tighten the nut through the spokes. If you've got images of a monkey and a football here you'd be correct.

    It's much easier to stick your elbow in your ear.

    EDIT: The right-rear disc brake isn't attached to the drive shaft (no posi-traction). So one brake cannot add to the stopping power of the other wheel. And each disc brake has its own separate lever, which I found to be odd.
    Last edited by AlteredWalter; 06-22-12 at 03:26 PM. Reason: clarity

  10. #10
    Dogs like me. Ajenkins's Avatar
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    Good lord, I just took a look at that site. Given the styling, I'm surprised they don't offer a "Help me I can't get up" pendant with each new purchase. Or maybe a free fill-up for your Buick.

  11. #11
    el padre
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    I bought a used one and had it for a while...did not ride it much because it was, as has been said, too heavy and not engineered well. Then I took it to an auction house and got at least as much as I paid for it, which was not much, it was so long ago I do not remember the amount.
    Sorry you got into yours...maybe you can get it 'running' and at least get part of your money back at an auction house? that would be an option.

  12. #12
    Senior Member WPeabody's Avatar
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    Had a look at those Rhoades cars a few years back, considering an alternate way to travel, but it would have been too wide, and my daughter wasn't too keen on sitting with me while we pedaled.
    What do you call a cyclist who sells potpourri on the road? A pedaling petal-peddler.

  13. #13
    Newbie Dogrobber's Avatar
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    I am new to the forum but not new to recumbents or a Rhoades Car. It's a heavy, badly designed pile of . . parts. My brother bought one when his MS made it impossible to ride a bike. The weight and poor design made it impossible for him to ride the RC. He sold it at a high loss to a neighbor who gave it to his kids to use as a glorified pedal car on the flat street in front of their house. He would have given it to me and I wouldn't take it - really. It was that bad.

  14. #14
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    I wouldn't mind one for free to try and see if you can gut it/upgrade it.
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogrobber View Post
    I am new to the forum but not new to recumbents or a Rhoades Car. It's a heavy, badly designed pile of . . parts. My brother bought one when his MS made it impossible to ride a bike. The weight and poor design made it impossible for him to ride the RC. He sold it at a high loss to a neighbor who gave it to his kids to use as a glorified pedal car on the flat street in front of their house. He would have given it to me and I wouldn't take it - really. It was that bad.
    I can believe it. I wish I could have seen a Rhoades Car before I bought one. I must shoulder some of the blame in that regard.

    If you're thinking about buying a Rhoades Car, don't. Save your money and have a look at something like http://lightfootcycles.com/products-...-overview/atc/

    They seem to get pretty good reviews from riders.

    I think my Rhoades Car has greater value as scrap metal - it is worthless JUNK!!!

    Here is what the Chinese are saying:

    罗兹车是垃圾

    (copy and paste to: http://translate.google.com/#zh-CN|en| )
    Last edited by AlteredWalter; 07-07-12 at 01:17 PM. Reason: clarity

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Lightfoot would be the way to go. For only one rider, a trike would be better. Lightfoot makes two seaters, also.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    Lightfoot would be the way to go. For only one rider, a trike would be better. Lightfoot makes two seaters, also.
    I'm sure it would be better than a Rhoades Car. Quite frankly, I'm surprised State Departments of Transportation even allow Rhoades Cars on roads as unreliable as they are.

    The only way Rhoades Car is going to improve its product is if people quit buying them.

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