The Eolo Radsail buggy is an attractive looking proposition, much less expensive than the competition with a tiny packed size. However it’s a compromised design. Hopefully this guide will hopefully lead you to an informed choice..
First a bit of background …
I have owned my Eolo Radsail Pro buggy for about a year and a half, and used it on both grass and sand. I am a fairly experienced power kiter, but buggying was totally new to me in 2006. My buggy is the 2005 model and has covered a few hundred miles now. Its not the oldest, but not the newest version avaliable.
According to Eolo the 2006/7 model has:
- Higher siderails to raise the seat.
- Stronger rear axle
- Stronger seat straps
However having done side by side comparisons I can't see any great difference in strength or size, hence I believe this this review can be applied to both 2005 and 2006 models
(Pilling Sands Mar07 - running on original barrow tyres on smooth beach)
Putting it all together …
It comes in an impossibly tiny box. I couldn’t believe a buggy fits in there, but it does. All the framing is stainless steel, a nice bonus – no powder coating to chip off here. The buggy is very easy to clean, and easy to keep looking as new.
Wheels are standard 4 groove barrows, with quite thin plastic hubs. The hubs are quite transparent, but almost see through. The tyres do not have inner tubes. Some people have reported problems with keeping pressure in the rads tyres, but I’ve had no problems. They are attached to the buggy with 12mm axle bolts, using the spanner provided with the buggy. The front forks only have enough clearest for standard barrows, no upgrade possible.
The bearings are the standard 6201-2RS.. Same as the ones in the Flexi foil buggy. Unfortunately they come packed with what I what I can only describe as 'porridge'. Hence the first job is to gently prise off the seals with a thin blade, and gently heat in vegetable oil in an old tin over the stove, until the porridge has dissolved. Allow to cool before drying!! Then repack with a good quality marine grease.
The main buggy can be put together from the four main sections in about 5 mins. This involves:
- clip the two parts of the rear axel together,
- slot the side frames onto holes on the rear axel
- clip the bottom rear seat clips to the straps on the rear axel
- bolt the front wheel and headstock at the desired distance from the seat, using the bike type quick release bolts
- Push the foot peg into the correct side (they are keyed to only fit one way)
The leg reach can be easily adjusted as there are five holes giving four possible positions, held with bike type quick release bolts. I’ve found these bolts quickly showed signs of surface rust, hence I now keep a thin smear of grease over them. This also helps with unscrewing and tightening them.
The seat is very comfy, and offers support well up the back. It has a small velcro pocket at the back for thin items like a spanner etc and a gel pad built in for comfort. I've done 30 miles plus in an afternnon in this bug, and it still feels comfy at the end of the day. Superb! The seat can be adjusted slightly up and down, backward and forwards to suit the rider. It is held on with 7 clips. These were a real weak point on the original buggies, and the main original source of criticism. The ones on my 2005 buggy seem OK, they are a bit flimsy feeling but I haven’t broken one yet. Time will tell.
Getting into the buggy…
I am exactly 6ft tall and weight 80kgs. To get my legs into a reasonable position I have to have the leg reach on the longest setting. Anyone taller than me could find it a little cramped.
When I get in the buggy I do notice some bending, twisting and flexing of the frame, from what fellow flyers have told me the rear axel did flex and 'bow' about 2cm. This may not be a bad thing as it gives a little camber to the wheels and a small degree of 'suspension' to the rear axel. The 'Bow' has started to permanently set in, even though I took the precaution of fitting the axel the opposite way up each time.
It may be a combination of the longest leg reach, and perhaps the bow in the rear axel but I find the seat height to be very low. Despite adjusting the straps, I can’t get the seat any higher, and the grass really tickles! The bottom of the seat is only 3cm above level ground, and is now wearing out, from all the grass and ground contact, and is looking 'furry'. I expect it will not be long until I wear a hole in the bottom of the seat. For comparison most other buggies have about 7-10cm. My flying site (ex Airfield ) is fairly flat, and hence I have only grounded a couple of times on big bumps, however it really hurts! If you have a bumpy flying site, forget this buggy!
The side rails originally have fairly thin black padding and a wide entry. I’ve enhanced the padding on mine with extra 50mm pipe insulation covered in nice black Nylon covers (from seller mcmac74 here on ebay). Super padded now, and a much more comfy fit.
The spec for the Rad buggy is as below, Eolo claim a max weight of 110kg. I do not believe this. There are reports on the Flexi foil forum (community-dot-flexi foil-dot-com), from a 100kg rider who totally bend the rear axel on his Rad bug.
I have used the buggy with a variety of Foil and Nasa powerwing kites, and it works fine.. The steering geometry is not very good though, and it is quite twitchy. The steering does not run straight, 'foot free'. This can be quite tiring, and does not make for comfortable long term cruising. You have to keep concentrating on the steering, or it will bite you.
I have had the buggy up to 28mph so far, and it doesn’t shake or rattle to much, but the steering does get progressively harder to control as the speed picks up.
The lightweight construction means its light enough so it can be lifted and carried easily
The weak points other people report are:
- The rear axel bends – I can confirm this. The split axel is a transport blessing and a design curse
- The rear axel blots break – there are only 12mm so not surprising. Luckily I can’t confirm this yet, but the reports do worry me and I inspect them regularly for signs of cracking.
- Seat clips breaking
- Seat seams giving way (this is starting on mine)
- Bottom of the seat wearing due to ground contact
- Tyres constantly losing pressure
To help tackle some of the issues, I've improved my buggy by:
- Filling the rear axel with Resin (needs care to avoid locking the wheel bolts or central clip) - Took three quarters a litre of resin at £6, and the axel does not bend as much now.
- Adding extra side rail padding, and nice nylon covers
- The low seat position proved to be a real problem, hence I've just fitted bigger diameter tyres on the back to raise it up, and it now has 5cm clearence. I'm using 18h x 8.5w Multi Rib these semm to be handling the extra loading long term.
- Wrapped the footpeg in the tread of an old bike tire held with cable ties. For more grip
To sum up …
This is an ideal buggy for beginners like me to learn the rudiments of buggying. HOWEVER it is flimsy, and needs treating carefully, or it will have a short life.
- It can be bought for new for £165 here on ebay
- Stainless steel construction throughout
- Easy to put together and dismantle
- Small packed size – will fit in the boot of any car
- Super comfy padded seat.
- Easy to adjust
- Includes foot straps.
- Too weak and lightweight construction
- Seat far to low
- Weak rear axel and wheel bolts
- Weak Seat clips
- Poor Steering geometry
- Poor padding on the siderails
- Cannot upgrade to wider front wheel
Should I buy it???
Many peoples opinion is that this buggy is weak and poorly designed. They are right! It is not as stiff and solid as other buggys, but remember that it is inexpensive and can be completely dismantled packed into the boot in 5 mins.
The Radbuggy is designed a basic starter buggy, so compromises must have been made. Everyone considering buying this buggy needs to carefully consider their requirements. In my opinion, do not buy this buggy if:
- You are over 90kg
- Are over 6 foot 2
- Want to do anything beyond cruising
- Want to perform tricks!!
- Fly on a bumpy site
So the big question .. is it worth £165?
I do not think so.
In my opinion it has too may disadvantages over the competition, and I think there are better options:
- Buy a 'better' bug secondhand under £200
- A Flexifoil is a good beginners bug, that is strong enough to freestyle in later.
- Libre Special second hand is an ideal cruising bug.
- Buy a new RS bug - from Germany - seller 'gura01' here on ebay (e.g. item 260025671128). Sometimes goes even less on auctions. Very strong cruising bug, similar to Libre Vmax. See rsbuggy-dot-co-dot-uk
- Lots of threads on flexi foil forum will a test to the quality. Search for on 'gura01' on community-dot-flexi foil-dot-com.
PS - I have no connection to Flexi, Libre, or RS.
So why on earth did I buy it ..
Mine was £90 second hand – as new. Is it worth that – DEFINATELY! Loving it – its in the back of the car right now – ready just in case…
Update Spring 2007 ...
I've just bought myself a SuperRS for use on the beach. VERY pleased with it, its strong, solid, huge and heavy, the exact opposite of the Radbug.
However .... the Radbug still stays in the back of the car every day, ready for those "after work stress busting sessions". The RS is far to big for that ... :¬)
Was this guide helpful? - If so PLEASE rate it below - Select 'YES'!
Lastly - Five star service from Eolo in 2006?
I wrote to Eolo via the contact form on their website, to see if there is a fix for the low position and the wear caused to the seat.. A revised attachment points, new side rails, or new seat design perhaps??? The reply took a couple of days ...
"... would like to first of all apologise for the many inconveniences with your buggy seat. This is not usual. Please kindly confirm your seat colour and address to send you a new one for replacement."
The replacement seat arrived within 4 days, so 5 STAR service from Eolo! Comparing the old and the new seats, they are identical as far as I can tell. All construction, materials and measurements are the same. It's a shame they have not addressed the cause of the problem here - low seat height.
However, trying to fit the new seat to the buggy I got a shock. The front five clips on the new seat cannot be clicked together. The 'male' part of the clip is the wrong shape, and very brittle The two back clips are fine and they fit fine in all 7 sockets. The 'male' parts of these back clips are the same shape as my current seat clips.. How silly! I wonder if I've been sent a older seat with some of the old fragile clips?
I wrote to Eolo again to say the replacement seat is unusable, but got an auto reply to say their customer service is on holiday for two weeks. Lucky them! I'd not heard a peep from Eolo for a couple of weeks then another seat turned up (making 3 in total!), this time the buckles work correctly, and having compared I can see its still identical to my original 2005 one. Phew! worn seat sorted. However I still have a low seat issue ...
I've written to Eolo again to ask it they can address my issues with the height of the 2005 buggy, and suggested they could send 2006 side rails. No reply after a couple of months, so it appears Eolo are not willing to help on this issue, which is a shame as they are obvoiusly aware of it.
Finally – what Eolo say about the 2005 bug …
'Made in the highest quality stainless steel, this buggy brings you to the first step in the buggyriding. The seat has been designed thinking in rider´s commodity. It has 7 tensors to adjust the seat to different lengths and heights.
This fantastic seat also incorporates a pocket on the back to carry all your possessions during your flight time.
The central bar can be adjusted aswell for different lengths easily due to its 2 quick releases.
The rear axle can be dissembled in 2 parts, same as the lateral bars, making it very easy to carry.
The maximum recommended weight goes up to 110 kg.
All this stuff, and even more (DVD, instructions, mini catalogue,…) is what you will find in the compact size carry box 73 x 28 x 37 cm, and just with a light weight of 14 kg!
Don´t miss this opportunity!'
As a final PS - what others say about this review ...
If you have a comment about this review, something to add, or just plain old disagree! Pop me a ebay message, and I'll update the review and maybe post your comment here... All feedback gratefully received!
'Hi Andy, Just a quick note to let you know that your buggy guide (Radsails and RS), along with the flexi foil forums, convinced me to finally sell my Radsails and buy a RS! £230 including fat tyres and wide axle - I am now King of the beach, thanks for your advice! Stretcha****