Ryan Ragland is a former professional motocross racer from Montana. After realizing that racing would not be a long-term career for him, he pursued a degree in engineering. With a deep passion for dirt bikes, it seemed inevitable that he would end up working as an R&D engineer for one of the most prestigious motorcycle brands in the world.
“My son Robby desperately wanted to ride a PW50 (a 50cc gas combustion motorcycle), and as a former racer, I'm not a fan of training wheels on motorcycles,” said Ragland. He scoured the market for a kid’s motorcycle that was safe (and light enough) for his 3-year-old son, but came up empty-handed.
That’s when Ragland put his motorcycle design background to work, experimenting with his ideas for a suitable (safe) bike for his son. He partnered with some colleagues and, using SOLIDWORKS to help with the design, it didn’t take long before the STACYC Stability Cycle was born. “Our concept is to keep a low seat height so the feet can easily touch the ground at any time,” said Ragland. “This provides a stable and confidence-building experience.”
|The STACYC Stability Cycle is an electric motorcycle designed for children. (Image source: STACYC)|
Designed to Be Kid-friendly
The STACYC is an electric-powered, two-wheel balance bike that weighs less than 20 pounds. The bike uses an industrial-grade lithium-ion battery designed explicitly for STACYC. The batteries are “quick change” so that runtime can be extended with the purchase of additional batteries. Parents can have a battery on the charger and another on the bike and simply swap them out just like you would on power tools.
It is one of the lightest bikes of its kind on the market today. “I think there are some electric bikes around the 40-pound range,” claims Ragland. “My personal test for a bike is the ‘bunny-hop test.’ If Robby can bunny hop the bike at his age, then it's probably light enough,” said Ragland.
Ragland believes young riders who cannot easily touch the ground with their feet shouldn’t be on a bike. That’s why stability is a theme for the STACYC bike. It is designed so 3- to 6-year-old kids can touch the ground at any time to keep from falling over. Fear is rapidly overcome and the enjoyment of the ride becomes their main focus. This promotes the development of riding skill and allows kids to challenge themselves to improve every time they ride. The STACYC is designed so riders can manage the bike completely on their own without parental intervention.
When Ragland brought the first prototype home to his son, Robby’s face told the whole story. Soon, Ragland's son was constantly rolling around the neighborhood on that prototype. But Ragland knew that not everyone was a fan of motorcycles. Ragland was worried when he was approached by a woman while walking in his neighborhood with his family. He was pleasantly surprised when the woman asked him about the bike and where she could get three of them for her grandkids. “She didn’t equate the STACYC with a motorcycle because the prototype looked like a bike,” said Ragland. Her reaction told Ragland that they were on to something.
STACYC has started out by selling consumer-direct and has been working to set up a dealer network throughout the USA. In 2018, Ragland expects to manufacture between 6,000 and 8,000 bikes.
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Mitch Bossart is an industry writer for GoEngineer.
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