Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for product manuals? Check here. Looking for geometry, sizing and spec? Check here.Tap the button below to jump to the subject or scroll below the buttons to see all of the questions for all of the topics.

General Shimano Steps

Where can I learn more about the Shimano STEPS system?

For questions about the Shimano STEPS system, please refer to our very detailed page.

The max assist is 20 MPH. Does this mean I can’t ride faster than 20 MPH?
This max assist level means this is the speed at which the electric system will stop assisting you in pedaling. When you reach over 20 MPH, pedaling will be all human powered and your can go as fast as your legs can pedal and the downhill can propel you. Once your bike slows back down to slightly below 20 MPH, the pedal assist will kick back in if the system is on.
Why did Xtracycle make the switch from Bosch to Shimano?
When considering the design of our new bikes, we tested a great deal of e-bike systems and found Shimano to be the best fit for our new line of cargo bikes. We appreciated the simplicity of having one motor and one battery and we were excited that the Shimano EP8 meets the regulations requirements of many countries.
Is there an option for a Shimano motor with a hight speed limit?
No, there is not an option to install a higher speed limit motor on a Shimano powered Xtracycle.
What does STEPS stand for?
Shimano STEPS is Shimano’s e-bike system. STEPS stands for Shimano Total Electric Power System. Shimano incorporates its extensive experience and success in bike componentry into the creation of its premium e-bike systems.
Can I ride with the system turned off?
Yes, you can, but anticipate it being a little harder than riding a regular bike. This is because the bike is heavier than a standard bike so you will be pedaling more weight on your own.
Do you have to pedal on a Shimano STEPS Xtracycle?
Yes, all Shimano STEPS systems are pedelecs, meaning pedal assist. The Shimano system is designed to amplify the power you put into the bike, it will not work unless the rider does.
Can I install a Shimano STEPS on my non-electric EdgeRunner or Bosch powered Xtracycle?
Because the Shimano STEPS system requires a custom frame to fit the motor, retrofitting the STEPS on a non-electric bike or a Bosch powered Xtracycle is not possible.
Do the Shimano STEPS Xtracycles have a throttle?
No, the Shimano STEPS EP8 system does not have a throttle (button or switch that engages the motor when you are not pedaling). The rider must be pedaling for the motor to be engaging.
Can I ride my Shimano STEPS Xtracycle in the rain?
Yes, STEPS equipped Xtracycles are water resistant. This means they can be ridden in the rain but note; they are not meant to be submerged under water.
How fast does a Shimano STEPS Xtracycle go?
The max power of the Shimano STEPS system is 20mph. This classifies this system as a Class 1 pedal assist bike.
How do I maintain my Shimano STEPS Xtracycle?

Maintenance of an e-bike is just like any other. Check tire pressure, brakes, and chain before each ride, and take your bike into your local dealer for tune-ups. For more information on maintaining your Xtracycle, please check out there articles: 
– Maintenance: Caring for your new Xtracycle (this includes a detailed maintenance schedule)
– Maintenance: Basic Bike Maintenance Tool Kit Check List (this includes a check list of the maintenance tools you should have)

The max assist is 20 MPH. Does this mean I can’t ride faster than 20 MPH?
which the electric system will stop assisting you in pedaling. When you reach over 20 MPH, pedaling will be all human powered and your can go as fast as your legs can pedal and the downhill can propel you. Once your bike slows back down to slightly below 20 MPH, the pedal assist will kick back in if the system is on.

Shimano STEPS Battery

What is the battery range of a Shimano STEPS e-bike?
There are many variables that determine the range of your battery. These can include rider weight, wind, terrain type, and assist level being used. In general, a 630wH should have 30 – 60 miles of range.
How is the range calculated while I ride?
The range overview is recalculated continuously by calculating speed, driver behavior and power consumption. This means that range overview makes a prediction, which can vary depending on these different factors.
Are there various motor and battery options or just one for the Shimano powered Xtracycles?
We are only offering the DU-EP800 drive unit and the 630 wH battery.
Are second batteries available for purchase?
While Xtracycle does not have second batteries for sale, you can purchase additional batteries from a Shimano certified dealer.
Can I lock the battery?
Yes. There is a keylock included which you can use to lock and unlock the battery on the bike.
How should the battery be stored for the long term?

– Store in a cool, indoor location with a stable temperature between approximately 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F).
– No direct exposure to sunlight or rain.
– Charge battery to around 70% before storing.
– Every six months, charge the battery back up to around 70%. 
– Before using the battery again, charge it completely.

What is the battery capacity?
The Shimano STEPS battery that comes with every Shimano powered Xtracycle has a 630 wH capacity.
Do I need to empty the battery completely before recharging to expand battery life?
No, as this will not affect battery life. Simply charge your battery any time you feel you need it.
How much does the remaining battery capacity decrease after several years?
Generally, the battery will decrease by approximately 5% a year. Which means about 95% capacity remains after year one, and 90% after year 2.
My STEPS battery is empty. Do I need to charge it right away?
You need to charge it back up to 70% if you plan to directly store your bike for six months or more. Otherwise, if you plan to use your bike in the very near future, simply charge the battery before your next ride.
How long does it take to charge a Shimano STEPS battery?
The battery will charge from 0-80% in 7.5 hours, and from 0-100% in 10.2 hours.
Will display still work if battery is empty?
Yes. When riding with an empty battery, the ride-assist will stop but there will always be some extra ‘bring me home’ energy to run the display as well as bike lights.
Can I still pedal if the battery is empty?
Yes, but you won’t have any support. As e-bikes are heavier than normal bikes, it’s best to avoid these situations. The brakes and shifters are fully mechanical and not connected to the e-bike system so those will continue to work normally.
Does pedaling recharge the battery?
No. Pedaling the bike does not recharge the battery.

General Bike

What bike rack for a vehicle will work with my Xtracycle?

We recommend the Hollywood Racks Sport Rider for Electric Bikes. It is uses a 2″ hitch tray rack and is compatible with all of our bike models. It can hold up to two bikes that are no more than 80 lbs. each. We highly recommend reading this article to learn more about shopping for a hitch and bike rack for a longtail cargo bike.

Can I convert my non-electric Xtracycle to be electric?

Yes, but it can be tricky. We recommend starting with this article: All You Need to Know About E-Bike Conversions

What is the overall length on Xtracycle bikes?

RFA Utility: 73.4″
eStoker: 82″
eSwoop: 83″
Swoop (non-electric): 83.5″

For more details on Xtracycle bike geometry please refer to the information here (new bikes) and here (retired bikes). The rear hub spacing on our bikes is 135 mm, which is standard for mountain bikes.

Do you recommend a chain tensioner on your EdgeRunners?
We do not and we are not aware of one that works on our bikes.
Where do kids and rear passengers rest their feet when riding on the back?

There are foot rest options available for all of our current bike models.

Swoop / Stoker: U-Tubes
RFA Utility: RFA FootRests
RFA Sport: RFA FootPegs

What is the rear hub spacing on your bikes?
The rear hub spacing on our bikes is 135 mm, which is standard for mountain bikes.
What size Xtracycle bike is best for me?

For more details on each model’s geometry and the best size bike for you, please refer to our Geometry, Sizing and Spec info page.

What are the dimensions of the front thru axle?

Diameter: 15 mm
Length: 125 mm
Thread Pitch: 1.5
Drop-out Spacing: 100 mm
Flat seat

Please note this only applies to bikes with a front thru axle.

My frame paint is chipped. Where can I buy replacement paint?

We do not have bottles of touch-up paint available but we do know the next closest Pantone color. Our bikes use paints from Y.S. Paint in Taiwan and to our knowledge, small bottles of these paints are not available. Matching colors, especially colors from different brands, is not an easy task and the color match will not be exact. That said, we believe these are fine for small scratches and dings.

My Perfect Paint is a website that offers a wide range of Pantone paints available in small bottles for a low cost. When ordering your touch-up paint, we recommend selecting the following:
Select paint type / application: Spray / OEM / Touch-Up Paint
Paint type: Brush Cap Bottles (1 oz.)
Sheen: For glossy paint, select Gloss. For matte paint, select Flat.

Here are the Pantone colors for each bike model and color choice:

RFA Matte: Pantone 179-15 C, RGB 54-52-52
RFA White: Pantone P 168-9 C RGB 230 207 208
Stoker Matte: Pantone 179-15 C, RGB 54-52-52
Swoop Blue: Pantone P 120-1 C RGB 165-196-208

(You can order either TPG or TPX – the only difference between these two is TPG paints are being made in a way that better to matches the rising global standards for sustainable manufacturing processes.)

Before touching up spots on visible areas, we recommend testing the paint somewhere inconspicuous on your frame. After the paint has dried, if you are comfortable with the matching of the paint, you can then use the paint to touch-up places in more visible areas.

We hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.


What is the difference between the RFA in Utility mode and the RFA in Sport mode and what can they carry?

The RFA Sport is the same length as a standard eBike. The rear Sport MultiRack has a deck length of 18″ and it can carry two standard panniers and one child in a Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi seat. A PorterRack can be installed on the front and paired with a PorterPack for front cargo carrying.

The RFA Utility is a mid-tail cargo bike. The rear Utility MultiRack has a deck length of 25″ and it can carry 4 standard panniers, two children in or out of Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi seats or one adult passenger. A PorterRack can be installed on the front and paired with a PorterPack for front cargo carrying.

Aside from adjusting the DynamicDrops, what else is required to switch an RFA from Sport to Utility or Utility to Sport?

Because of the different lengths of the RFA when in Sport and Utility mode, a few other things would have to be taken into consideration when switching between modes.

  1. You need the custom RearRack made for the chosen installation mode of the RFA. The RFA Sport has a smaller SportRack and the RFA Utility has a longer UtilityRack. If you buy your RFA in Sport mode, your RFA will come stock with the SportRack. If you decide to move your RFA into Utility mode down the road, you will need to purchased the longer UtilityRack. If you buy your RFA in Utility mode, your RFA will come stock with the UtilityRack. If you decide to move your RFA into Sport mode down the road, you will need to purchased the shorter SportRack.
  2. Accessories. Because of the different deck lengths, the RFA Utility Footrests and Hooptie do not fit on the RFA Sport. If you start out with an RFA Sport and move up to an RFA Utility, you might want to add some of the accessories compatible with that model. If you start off with and RFA Utility, you can replace the Hooptie rails with Snackbars and the Footrests with a set of Footpegs.
Do all RFA’s come in Utility mode? Can I get my RFA made in Sport mode?
Out of the box, RFAs are set in Utility mode. If you order an RFA unassembled it will come in Utility mode. If ordering a bike through Direct Home Delivery, ordering it through a partner shop or ordering it at our storefront in Mill Valley, the RFA can be built in Sport mode. The mode can always be changed later by a local bike shop.
Can I use a Sport MultiRack when in Utility mode or a Utility MultiRack when in SportMode?

We advise only using the rack for the mode your RFA is set in. If your RFA is in Sport mode, only use the Sport MultiRack. If your RFA is in Utility mode, only use the Utility MultiRack.

Using a Utility MultiRack while in Sport mode would cause the weight distribution to be significantly unbalanced, leading to an unstable ride. Significant passenger weight carried behind the rear wheel on a cargo bike is not ideal and not recommended. While using the Sport MultiRack when in Utility mode would not cause this weight distribution issue, it would negate the benefits of having your bike in Utility mode since the shorter Sport MultiRack would not allow you to enjoy the benefits of a mid-tail cargo bike.

What are the DynamicDrops?

The DynamicDrops are unique to the RFA and they allow a bike builder to set the rear drop-outs in two different setting: the short Sport mode or the longer Utility mode.

The rear drop-out on a traditional bike frame is the spot on a frame where the rear wheel installs onto the bike. Historically, bikes have a fixed, welded-into-place rear drop-out, meaning your rear wheel can only ever be installed in that position. The DynamicDrops make it so the rear wheel can be installed in two different positions. The shorter Sport position means your bike will be the same length as a regular eBike. The longer Utility position will move your rear drop-out further back meaning your RFA can become a mid-tail cargo bike.

What are some good off-the-shelf fenders for the RFA?
RFA riders have had success with the SKS Chromoplastic Longboard 26″ fenders.
Is changing my RFA between Sport and Utility mode a quick job that I can do in a few minutes?
Because of how solid and secure the DynamicDrops connection is, switching between modes isn’t something you can do in a few minutes. That said, it is something a seasoned mechanic at your local bike shop could likely tackle in an afternoon. Because of the time and attention needed to safely adjust the DynamicDrops into an alternate mode, it is best to initially go with the RFA setting that will meet your needs at the moment, knowing that if your needs change, you can reconfigure your bike in the alternate mode to meet those changing needs.


Where can I find the geometry (or frame measurements) of the Stoker?

The geometry for the Stoker can be found on the Stoker product page here under the “Geometry” heading. You can also find them on the “Geometry and Sizing” page here.

For descriptions of what each measurement means, please refer to our “Geometry Charts, Demystified” support article.

Where can I find the specifications (or what parts and components are included) for the Stoker?

The specifications for the Stoker can be found on the Stoker product page here under the “Specifications” heading. You can also find them on the “Geometry and Sizing” page here.

In short, how does the Stoker geometry compare to the Swoop or RFA?

For a full geometry comparison, please refer to the comparison chart on the “Geometry and Sizing” page here.

Two 24″ wheels26″ front wheel
20″ rear wheel
Two 24″ wheels
Higher step-over height
Lowest step-over height
Lower step-over height
Mountain bike style frame geometryCruiser style frame geometryCommuter style frame geometry

General Bag FAQ

Are Xtracycle bags waterproof?

No, Xtracycle bags are not waterproof. Some bags, like the Everyday Bike Pack and the PorterPack are water-resistant.

If you need to use waterproof bags on your bike, consider a waterproof pannier that can be used with the pannier rail.

How can I replace a buckle for my Xtracycle bag?

While we don’t have any replacement buckles available, there is good news! Replacing the buckles with a new set is super simple and won’t cost but a few dollars.

Most manufacturers makes their buckles slightly different so finding a matching end is unlikely. For this reason, you will want to replace the whole buckles. For the CargoBay or LockPocket, you will want a 1″ buckle. You can find those at StrapWorks here. You can find replacement dual adjust 1.25″ buckles at StrapWorks here.

If replacing a CargoBay, SlingSet or original FreeLoader buckle: That dual adjust part is important if your are replacing a buckle on a cargo bag since this will allow the webbing to slide through and cinch tight. The buckles at many local craft-store only adjust on one side so be sure to avoid those.

If replacing a LockPocket buckle: There is no need to use a dual adjustment buckle for the LockPocket. A 1″ non-adjusting buckle should be pretty easy to find at your local craft store.

When replacing the buckle, you will need to replace both the plug (the side that the other buckle snaps in to) and prong (the buckle you pinch in to release) of the buckle since they have to be a perfect match. To remove any sewn in buckles, you will want to cut those buckles off using some snippers. To put the new buckle back on the webbing, simple make the buckle a C-clip by snipping out a little of the plastic.  

For any velcro straps, we highly recommend Velcro One Wrap. You just need to cut it to the length you need, nothing more complicated than that. You can find this at your local hardware store, office supply store or online. 

Everyday BikePack

Is the Everyday BikePack compatible with non-Xtracycle brand rear racks?

Yes, it is! Here it is on a standard bike rack.

What are the dimensions of the Everyday BikePack?
6.5″ deep x 12″ wide x [13.5″ tall with roll-top rolled all the way down / 22″ tall with roll-top all the way up]. Each BikePack weighs 2.65 lbs.
Is the Everyday BikePack waterproof?
The Everyday BikePack is water-resistant but not entirely waterproof.
What is the capacity of the Everyday BikePack?
Roughly 17 liters with roll-top fully closed. Roughly 22 liters with roll-top fully rolled up and open.
Are the Everyday BikePacks sold individually or as a pair?
They are sold individually so if you want two, be sure to add two to your cart.

FreeLoader Too

Will the FreeLoader Too (2021) bags fit any non-Xtracycle brand longtail cargo bikes?
We do not know if the FreeLoader Too bags will fit on any non-Xtra brand longtails.
Are the FreeLoader Too’s sold individually or as a pair?
They are sold as a pair.
What is the different between the FreeLoader Too (2021) bags and the X3 CargoBays (discontinued. X3 SlingSet (discontinued)?

The X3 CargoBay was more of a nylon fabric bag with a small top flap closure, non-rigid bottom and the sides are enclosed. The FreeLoader Too is essentially just a sling that is made mostly from rubberized mesh with a rigid fabric bottom and open sides. The FreeLoader Too can handle a wider range of cargo, in my opinion, but you can no longer just toss your wallet in the bag like you could have with the CargoBay.

As for the X3 SlingSet, the new FreeLoader Too is more complex and serves more functions. It uses rubber coated mesh, serves as a WheelSkirt as well as a SlingSet, can be folded up and out of the way, and it has a solid “bottom” in the sling to better support gear in the slings.

Can I purchase an individual FreeLoader Too?
No, they are only sold as a pair.
What is the capacity of the FreeLoader Too?
Roughly 32 liters (please note that the sling is soft sided so the slings can be adapter to cargo of various shapes and sizes).
Is there a right and left side FreeLoader Too or are both sides identical?
The bags are identical so there is no right or left side.
What are the dimensions of the FreeLoader Too?

The PorterPack is custom made for the PorterRack. The patch attaches with two Velcro straps on the back and one Velcro strap on the bottom. (You can see these details in the installation manual here.) For this reason, it’s unlikely that the PorterPack will work on a non-Xtracycle brand rack.


How do I know if the 2021 version of the PorterRack will fit on my bike?

PorterRack mounts spaced 150mm apart vertically (measuring from center of boss to center of boss), like those shown in the picture below, are required to install the 2021 version of the PorterRack.

The 2021 PorterRack fits:

– All Shimano powered Xtracycles.
– Xtracycles where the PorterRack mounts are spaced 150mm apart vertically, which can include the Swoop, Classic, Stoker and pre-2018 frames that were sized large. Be sure to measure your mounts to confirm.

The 2021 PorterRack does NOT fit:

– Any Xtracycle without PorterRack mounts.
– Pre-2021 Xtracycles with PorterRack mounts that are spaced 110mm. This includes pre-2018 frames that were sized small / medium. In these cases, the rack can be modified by drilling new holes but this would have to be done at the buyer’s expense. Any rack that has been modified would not be eligible for return.

Can this rack be installed on a bike without threaded bosses on the headtube?
No, the PorterRack cannot be installed on an Xtracycle without the properly spaced PorterRack mounting holes.
Can this rack work on any other non-Xtracycle bike model?
We are not aware of any other non-Xtracyle bike model this rack is compatible with.


Is the PorterPack compatible with racks other than the PorterRack?

The PorterPack is custom made for the PorterRack. The patch attaches with two Velcro straps on the back and one Velcro strap on the bottom. (You can see these details in the installation manual here.) For this reason, it’s unlikely that the PorterPack will work on a non-Xtracycle brand rack.

Is the PorterPack waterproof?
The PorterPack is water-resistant but not entirely waterproof.

Passenger System

Hooptie / Snackbars

Can the Hooptie only be used on an Xtracycle or can it be used on any bike?
The Hooptie can only be used on an Xtracycle since it requires a specialized bike frame for installation
What size bolts are needed when using the Hooptie retrofit kit with the thicker LT1 version 1 FlightDeck?
M6 x 65 mm.
What is the spacing of the mounting holes on the brackets?

The spacing (from center hole to center hole) on the front bracket (the bracket that sits closest to the rider) is 5.5″”. ​The spacing on the rear bracket is 3.75″. ​The spacing from the front to the rear (#3 in my drawing), is 21 5/8″”.

Can the Yepp Nexxt Maxi / Yepp Maxi be used with the Hooptie?
Yes. The Hooptie rails will need to be in the widest setting. There is no need to remove the inner padded rail.
What are the brackets and Hooptie rails / SnackBars made from?
The brackets are made from Chromoly steel. The Hooptie rails and SnackBars are made from aluminum.
Do the SnackBars work on the FreeRadical?
If your FreeRadical has an LT1 version 2 FlightDeck and a Hooptie RetroFit Kit, yes the LT2 SnackBars will work. Currently, only the Front Snackbars are available for this older deck.

KickBack 3 / RFA KickBack

What materials are the KickBack 3 and RFA KickBack made from?

Legs: Chromoly Steel
Spring: Steel
Mounting plate and hardware: Aluminum

The rubber tips on my KickBack 3 fell off. Can I buy some more?
While we do not sell additional KickBack feet, they are easy to replace. The feet are just regular 7/8″ rubber chair end caps that can be found at any hardware store for a few dollars, typically under $3 for a set of 4. Wrapping some duct tape on the end of the KickBack legs before you slide the rubber caps on might help them stay more firmly installed on the legs. Also, inserting a washer in the bottom of the rubber feet will prevent the sharp ends of the Kickstand from wearing through the rubber so quickly.
Can any KickBack 3 or RFA KickBack fit a non-Xtracycle brand bikes?
No, the Xtracycle KickBack 3 and RFA KickBack will only fit on Xtracycle brand bikes.
What is the height of the KickBack 3 plate to the ground on an uncut KickBack 3?
340 mm.
What Xtracycle brand bike models will the KickBack 3 work with?

The KickBack 3 is compatible with all EdgeRunners, Cargo Nodes and the Leap. A KB3 Radaptor is needed for use with the FreeRadical, Cargo Joe, and Radish.

If you are looking for EdgeRunner Specific KickBack 3 that is pre-cut, choose the Precut for EdgeRunners option.

If you are looking for a full length KickBack3 for any bike or cargo conversion other than an EdgeRunner, choose the Uncut Full Length option.

This KickBack 3 will not fit an RFA. For the RFA, you will want the RFA KickBack.

Will the RFA KickBack work on the RFA Utility and the RFA Sport?
The RFA KickBack is only compatible with the RFA Utility. It will NOT work on the RFA Sport.

Child Seats

What is the recommend weight limit for children in the Yepp seats?
40 lbs.
Are any front child seats compatible with Xtracycle bikes?

The Yepp Mini is a good fit for the front of many Xtracycles. We also believe the iBert might fit but we haven’t tested that one out yet.

Please note that how comfortable a rider is with a front child seat depends on the individual rider. What might be comfortable for one rider might not be comfortable for another.

Is there anything available to help keep my child’s head up if they fall asleep in a rear seat?
If your child falls asleep while riding, there is nothing included to hold their head up. Most riders will DIY a solution to help them keep their heads from wobbling when napping.
Are there are ways to buckle a person older than 5 years old into an Xtracycle?

We are not aware of any harness system for rear passengers older than 5. The Hooptie might offer a level of protection that would make you feel secure. Another option would be to attach a trailer to the bike built to carry older children and adults. Wike might make an option that would work for older rear riders – here is their extra large Special Needs trailer.

Can the Yepp Nexxt Maxi / Yepp Maxi be used with the Hooptie?
Yes. The Hooptie rails will need to be in the widest setting. There is no need to remove the inner padded rail.


What are the U-Tubes made from?
6062 aluminum.
Do the U-tubes (2021) work on older bike models like the the FreeRadical, Radish and LT1 EdgeRunners?
Yes, they do.
What is the weight limit on the U-Tubes?
There is no set weight limit on the U-tubes. When properly installed, they are like an extension of the frame and very strong and solid. One of the the biggest factors to consider is rider comfort in being able to balance the weight that is being carried down low on the U-tubes and keeping the bike balanced (i.e. don’t carry a load of bricks on one side and nothing on the other since it will make the bike very unbalanced).
How long are the U-Tubes and how far do they protrude from the frame?
The total vertical length of the U-tubes is 29.75″ from front to back. In the wide setting, the U-tubes will extend 5.25″ on each side from the frame towards the front and taper to 6″ out from the frame towards the tail end of the bike. In the narrow setting, the U-tubes will extend 4.5″ on each side from the frame towards the front and taper to 5.25″ out from the frame towards the tail end of the bike.
Do the U-tubes work on other non-Xtracycle cargo bikes?
No. The U-tubes are only compatible with Xtracycle brand longtail cargo bikes.


This reflector fell off my bike. Where does it go?

This reflector attaches to the bottom of the Herrmans H-Black MR8 E 6-12V.

Retired Products

Where can I find answers to my questions about legacy and retired products?

Frequently asked questions about retired products can be found here.

FreeRadical / Leap

Where can I find answers to my FreeRadical and Leap questions?

We have a whole page devoted to FreeRadical and Leap questions! You can find that page here. This page includes all FreeRadical and Leap FAQs.