Time for my review of the Edge Fitness Systems Rickshaw. I wanted a replacement for my trap bar, and farmers walk bars for deadlifts and weighted carries, plus a solution that was user friendly for set up, for both my wife and me. It needed to handle 500+ lbs without flinching, and take a beating. The Rickshaw from Edge Fitness Systems has been the perfect match for my needs.
Why I Needed the Edge Fitness Rickshaw
This specialty bar is essentially a trap bar with an open front and feet that raises the bar off the ground. They named it Rickshaw, because it [pseudo] looks like a rickshaw cart.
In April of 2017, I started going down the path of looking for replacements for my Rogue Trap Bar and my Farmers Walk Bars.
- The farmers bars were clearly made by some dude in his garage, and my tight fitting bumpers and change plates didn’t fit.
- My wife uses the bars, but being that she’s only using 50ish a hand, this makes loading, and picking a pain in the back (literally).
- I typically use my driveway, which is sloped, for the start of my walks. This causes the bars to roll, and again, it’s a pain to load with them rolling and moving. Even when using the sidewalk, we run into the same issues of rolling and loading.
- I have nice iron plates; I don’t want anyone losing their grip, and banging them on the concrete.
- The Trap Bar is rackable, so it’s HUGE and often times, it’s not usable when someone parks on my street, and entirely unusable by my wife because it’s too cumbersome to move.
- Having to load the trap bar or an Olympic bar for deadlifts, then unload, and reload the farmers bars for carries, takes an excessive amount of time. I HATE set-up time in my routines.
I primarily used the trap bar for shrugs, deadlifts, and carries. The farmers bars were entirely used for carries. I do not compete in Strongman. I just like lifting stuff and think weighted carries are an excellent bang for your buck exercise that matches PERFECTLY with the garage gym life.
I currently own the majority of the specialty bars offered by Rick from Edge Fitness Systems, so when I stumbled across the Rickshaw, I was pretty sure I had found the match.
Enter – The Rickshaw…
The Feet & Handles
The feet are the huge selling point here, making loading and adjustments a breeze. They also seem to negate the issues with most trap bars where they roll out of place, or you struggle to find the right grip set-up: not too far forward or too far back. The feet allow you to load 45lb plates, (or bumpers), without any need for a jack, or for lifting either side. The feet make set-up and takedown a BREEZE on this bar. 45s slide on and off without any extra maneuvering or adjustment. This is especially nice when we start loading the Hundos on the bar!
I was concerned about the flat feet making deadlift reps a pain, much like hex plates, but that’s not the case. As long as your form keeps you locked in, (and let’s be honest, it should), you are solid. The first time I did reps with the bar, my technique was a little off. Set 2, 3 etc., were no issues. I’ve done AMRAP sets of 20 without problems as well. My wife does both deadlifts and carries with the bar; no problems. Since the feet aren’t helicoptering like hex plates, it’s really not an issue.
After a year of use, the rubber feet certainly show some wear and tear. I’m not worried about them falling apart or wearing through anytime soon, but after several years of regular abuse, I bet they will. You can see where two of them have[ pseudo] “ripped”, and that is because of a fun drop I did awhile back with 370 on the bar (see below for more details).
The high handles and feet place your hands at about 15 inches off the floor. A standard Olympic plate and conventional deadlift would have your hands at about 8 inches off the floor. Because of this, I certainly wouldn’t call it a deadlift replacement if you are concerned about your traditional deadlift numbers, or if you’re focused on your technique. My wife will likely never compete and she is a nurse, so the extra non-low-back focused lifting is a plus for her. I’m also a big fan of the more upright position, as it seems to target my legs AND back in one solid movement. I can lean a little more forward and get a deadlift pattern going, or lean a bit back and have a reverse squat style movement. As a side note, I recently set a deadlift PR without touching a straight bar since I got the Rickshaw.
The bar has about 26 inches between handles, which is middle of handle to middle of handle. At 6 feet and 250 pounds, I fit just fine. My wife is roughly 5 feet 6 inches and 140 pounds, and she uses the bar just fine as well. If you are a TANK of a human being, or are a little more on the petite side, you might want to do some measurements.
There is no knurling on the handles, which is common for specialty bars, but just be warned for heavier sets. Straps and plenty of chalk are likely a requirement.
- Note: I’ve heard of others adding grip tape or using truck bed liner to add “knurling” to their bars. I’ve yet to go down that path, but keep that in the back of your mind if you NEED knurling.
The bar has room for about 6 45s per side (5 and collars), and that’s with my deep-dish plates. If you have slimmer plates, you should have no issues loading the bar up appropriately. The sleeves are just shy of 12 inches in length. They are just a TINY bit tilted inward as well. We are talking a few degrees. Rick does this design on purpose. The nice part here, is for deadlift only sets, collars are likely rendered unnecessary until reaching the very ends of the sleeves.
The sleeves are 2 inches in diameter on the money. (At this point, I only own Ivanko competition collars, Proloc 2s for my chains, and a pair of OSO Axle collars. The Prolocs don’t work. They don’t get anywhere near tight, but they also don’t work on my SSB or other specialty bars.) So, you’d need axle or compression collars.
Downsides, for weighted carries, the bar is [pseudo] one sided (due to the open front). This means you either carry it backwards every other set, or you do a quick 180 turn at the end of each set. Backwards isn’t bad for lighter sets, but I wouldn’t do it for a PR.
The bar weighs 50 lbs., but it would be nice if it was an even 45 just to make the normal calculations easier. However, I’ll take 50 over 30, or those weird amounts you get on CAP bars like 34 or 27.
The powder coat, like pretty much everything from Edge Fitness Systems, is awesome. After a year, I see almost zero issues. This bar has been used by me every single week since I got it, and usually twice a week by my wife (she carries and deadlifts on different days). I mentioned a drop earlier. Amazingly enough, after taking a tumble on the concrete, fully loaded with 370lbs, the bars’ powder coat is perfectly intact; not a single dent, scratch, or scuff. I had one small scrape on a rubber end cap that I was able to scrape smooth with a blade and the feet took a bit of damage, but I was able to gorilla glue them back together (Edge actually sent me new feet, free of charge). Seriously, no one could tell this thing had been dropped at this point. It ALSO protected my plates. Not sure how that happened, but no scuffs or paint chips at all.
The worst part of this bar so far, is storage. I can’t quite find a solid place to put it as its short and boxy. So, hanging on the wall, it sticks out a ways. And on the floor, it takes up a lot of room. What this has done though, is force me to use the bar for things like dips, push – ups, rows, pike planks, and shrugs. So, I just get more out of it.
It currently fits slightly under my GHD on one side, so it’s not TERRIBLE, but if anyone can recommend a storage solution that I end up implementing, I’ll seriously send you $50 (I’m not kidding). The key for me here is, I’d like it out of the way, but still easily accessible to my wife. She often lifts midday when I’m at work. If the bar is somewhere that she struggles to get it down from, (like my trap bar was), she just won’t do her weighted carries, which is a crappy solution.
Cost and Other Options
There are PLENTY of trap bar options on the market at this point: rackable and non-rackable, adjustable handles, Schedule 80 or legit Olympic bar sleeves, open front, and much more. From a cost comparison, Rogue’s Trap Bars are in the same ballpark as the Rickshaw, and EliteFTS’s Rickshaw is more expensive, (both their economy version, and the really fancy version with adjustable handle heights). You have the Biotest Trap Bar, the Ferrari of Trap Bars, almost doubling the price of the Rickshaw. You can certainly grab a trap bar from CAP for quite a bit less off Amazon, but you won’t get the benefits of the feet, plus I’ve heard bad things about the quality, plate loading ability, and more. So basically, the Edge sits right in a nice area of price comparisons to other options.
In an ideal world with an endless supply of room, we’d have a dedicated set of farmer’s bars and plates, along with a dedicated trap bar and plates, with a nice turf run for carries of all kinds. The bars would sit loaded and ready with a jack ready to load more plates if needed. But in the real world, where my half garage, sloped driveway, and shared walking path needs to fit everything I have and not drive me crazy trying to set it up, the Rickshaw tackles multiple needs in one package. My wife loves this bar, and both of us have commented about how we likely won’t deadlift or carry anything else ever again.
The bar is just flat out comfortable to use. That’s a weird statement for deadlifts and carries, but seriously, it seems to fit a very natural movement pattern for both carries and pulls. I’ve had only one flair up of low back pain since using this bar regularly. That’s with pushing my weighted carry to 500lbs, my deadlift to 450 for 5 reps, and still squatting heavy (I think this bar has a great carryover to the squat as my numbers keep rising). Add to that, the grip challenge and overall time-under-tension of carrying several hundred pounds around the driveway makes for a soreness from the feet up to the traps, and back down the arms. I’ve honestly considered writing a program where I do very little heavy back work, and instead carry the Rickshaw 3-5 times a week at varying tempos, weights, and times.
I think it’s pretty clear that I enjoy this bar. I also think that I’ve convinced a handful of other people along the way to grab one. This bar is NOT for everyone. But, if you are looking for a trap bar, I highly recommend taking a look at the Rickshaw. If you ONLY need a trap bar for deadlifts or plan to use it in the rack for tons of other work, or you ONLY need carries as an option, look into a dedicated trap bar or top loaded farmer bars. If you are like me and want a multi-purpose back friendly and time saving option for pulls and carries, the Rickshaw is at the top of my list.
If you have needs, wants, and an environment like mine, it’s a perfect fit with very few minor tradeoffs.
Link to order: http://www.edgefitnesssystems.com/rickshaw.html
First Impressions Video Review Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tZNNLln-bk
1+ Year Video Review: https://youtu.be/hhT0Heh6S0A