The Outrider USA Coyote is a pretty unique machine, no matter how many wheels we’re talking about. The default designs of most vehicles are geared toward able-bodied people. The very fact that the Coyote is an adaptive vehicle, that people with a wide range of physical capability can use, immediately sets it apart. Plus, even if you didn’t know those details, its overall design is worlds away from anything else.
So, who is Outrider USA, and what’s the company’s story? Here’s a little bit more information about the team, how the company started, and how it sees itself in 2022.
Back in the 2000s, Outrider USA’s two co-founders, Dan and Tommy, were college students with a commute. They both loved mountain biking, and their school—Appalachian State University—was about five miles away from where they were living. So, naturally, they put two and two together and decided to ride their bikes to get to and from campus.
If you’ve ever commuted anywhere by bicycle, and you suspect that living that last paragraph was fraught with absolute peril, you’re right. As the story goes, the main road between their place and campus was a 40- to 50 mile-an-hour, completely unforgiving stretch of roadway. There was little-to-no berm, and it was basically a pretty bicycle-unfriendly environment. Still, they put lights on their bikes, and they did the thing as long as they had to.
After a near-miss with a truck, the guys realized that their comparatively slow speed as measured against other traffic on the road they were traveling was the biggest safety issue.
Existing e-bikes weren’t fast enough, either—so, it did what anyone with an engineering-minded brain would do: It started building the vehicle it wanted to see in the world.
While the team's first machine (T-Wrex) was a handmade e-bike, pursuit of better aerodynamics eventually led the pair to recumbent designs. From 2009 onward, they kept evolving recumbent electric trike designs, using the name FFR Trikes.
After several iterations that shaved weight, experimented with solar charging, and improved the drivetrain, the team eventually successfully Kickstarted its Horizon trike in 2014. Using a combination of pedal and electric power, this trike was also completely adaptive—and where the Outrider USA story took a sharp turn away from most other all-terrain vehicles.
As the team described it at the time, “The Horizon started with a thirst for adventure and independence. We designed the Horizon to be adaptive for all sorts of different physical abilities. Regardless of whether you are fully able bodied, have a spinal cord injury or have reduced physical functionality—everyone loves adventure and fun.”
After nailing down its general design philosophy, FFR Trikes eventually began to come up with four-wheeled designs—and realized it needed a new name. Thus, Outrider USA was born. With its available Tri-Pin control system, riders who have cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries can operate Outrider USA’s current lineup, too. Why can’t everyone get outdoors and enjoy some adventure, the team reasoned? Usually, it’s because they don’t have the tools—not because they don’t have the will.
As of June, 2022, the company remains a small team, which calls Fletcher, North Carolina home. Outrider USA’s machines are designed and hand-built in America, and proudly use American manufacturing as much as possible. It’s a company that’s thinking way outside of all the boxes, and is also trying to help as many people get outdoors as possible.
Some have noted that Outrider USA’s machines aren’t cheap, which is true. Not outsourcing manufacturing to the lowest bidder tends to do that. Although the company doesn’t give specifics, it does state that its vision is “to create a pathway to an Outrider for any individual who can truly benefit from one.” Since the company makes that claim, it might be worth reaching out to them if you or someone you know might need help.