ZÜCA All Terrain Cart / Ridge Roller Background…
If you read the article I posted last week, you know I’m a huge fan of using a cart when playing disc golf. Outside of quick rounds played with my NutSac, I use a cart almost every time.
Before I bought my first one, I did a lot of research. I really didn’t want to spend the money to be very honest. $400 is a lot of money to spend on something to carry your discs. Especially when you already own a few different bags! Do you know how many discs you can buy with $400?
(Currently priced at just over $300, see below for pricing details)
Because of that, my first thought was to go home made. There are plenty of you out there with converted strollers and ball golf carts. You prove that one doesn’t need to spend a ton of money to get wheels under their plastic. If you do a little poking around on line, you’ll find hundreds of different custom made disc golf carts.
That said, I’m lazy. I’m also not super handy. Another factor is that those strollers and ball golf carts work great on park style courses. They can be a significant headache when it comes to wooded and rugged courses that have elevation. They can also be large and unwieldy. For those and several other reasons, I began to explore the world of purpose built disc golf carts. Once I owned one, I was immediately glad I hadn’t built my own.
During my initial research this year, I found a clear front runner in the world of disc golf carts. There was a guy on line taking metal framed rolling luggage/cases and customizing them for disc golf. I wasn’t sure about a cart made in a home workshop. My hesitations were put to rest during a tournament I played in this spring in Wisconsin. At that tournament there were no less than 15 of these carts being used by players. I went home that night and ordered one.
The cart I’m talking about is the Ridge Roller. These were originally made for play at the Rollin’ Ridge disc golf course (currently ranked the #3 course in the country by DGCR). It soon gained viral popularity on line. A Facebook page and website soon followed. It’s fun to look at the growth of this brand. What started as a project in a home workshop has turned into a professionally manufactured product.
Just a few months ago, the creator of the Ridge Roller partnered with the maker of the rolling cases (ZÜCA). This resulted in the birth of the production version of the Ridge Roller disc golf cart. It’s available on the Ridge Roller site as well as the ZÜCA site (as the ZÜCA all terrain disc golf cart).
***At the time this post is being published, there is a considerable price difference between the ZÜCA site and the Ridge Roller site. Make sure and check both before buying. Right now, the ZÜCA site is about $100 less than the Ridge Roller site.
This partnership meant a big upgrade to the Ridge Roller. As I write this, I’m looking at the original Ridge Roller I bought. Right next to it is a brand new ZÜCA made cart that they sent me for this review. The differences are notable and they mark a huge improvement on what was already a great cart. For the purposes of this review, I’ll be referring to the current production model.
We play disc golf on a lot of varied terrain. It can range from flat and mowed park courses to forested courses with treacherous elevation. Nothing else matters if the cart isn’t well made. This is also where the purpose built carts shine over the home made carts. I’ve pushed and pulled my Ridge Roller through some rough courses (Squaw Creek, Lemon Lake Gold and Silver, and Highland Park to name a few). I was immediately happy I didn’t have a stroller or converted ball golf cart.
The ZÜCA / Ridge Roller is very well made. It took on ruts, roots, gravel, and hills just fine. There are a couple of issues with any cart on uneven terrain, but we’ll address that in a bit. As far as the ruggedness of the cart, it holds up nicely.
The frame is solid. Solid enough that the built in seat can support up to 300 pounds. The axel is just as solid. You would have to run this thing over with a car to bend or damage any of the metal construction.
The handle is thick and beefy and attaches securely. When tightened, it won’t move or bend. It also collapses for transport.
There are a couple things that could be better when it comes to durability. The most notable of those is the tires. The wheels themselves are fantastic. If the tires were filled with something solid instead of air, I’d have no complaints. Unfortunately, they are air filled. I’ve had 4 flats this year. While the cart can still get the rest of the way around a course on a flat, it’s not ideal. Each flat was fixed with that fix a flat stuff you spray into the tire.
***UPDATE: In June of 2017, I ordered these solid 12″ wheels for my cart. They are a direct replacement for the stock wheels on either your ZUCA or Delta (for the Delta, they are a bit of a tight fit, but still work great). The solid rubber wheels eliminate the need to modify the standard air filled tires. Another huge benefit is that they are not bouncy like air filled tires. This ends up making your cart more stable. For a minimal cost, it’s a huge upgrade to your cart that you’ll be glad you made!!!
Pro tip: Be prepared for flat tires.
This winter, I’m going to modify the tires on my cart. I ran into a couple of guys who were tired of fixing flats so they took pool noodles, cut them down, and made solid inner tubes. Works like a charm and no more worry about flats.
If you decide to stick with air in the tires, I’d say to buy a can of fix a flat (use the bicycle version) and keep it on hand. I’d also say to take just a bit of air out of the tires before using the cart. On fully inflated tires, bumps and roots tend to bounce the cart around too much. This causes the cart to tip and all your discs fall out. Softening up the tires a bit helps to absorb some of those shocks and bumps.
Pro tip: When you are going through rough terrain, push the cart instead of pulling it. It does get off balance pretty easily. Since the discs go in the open front of the cart, you will end up picking up all your discs off the ground if it tips. By pushing the cart, you virtually eliminate the problem of it tipping over.
As I mentioned in a previous article, carrying capacity is one of the major benefits of using a cart. There is plenty of room for discs and other stuff.
The ZÜCA / Ridge Roller has 2 levels of internal storage that can hold 25-30 discs depending on your ratio of drivers to mids to putters. That’s both a blessing and a curse. Within a month of getting the cart, I was carrying 30 plus discs. More than twice what I was playing with before the cart. For me, that hurt my game. What I ended up doing was using the upper rack for discs and the lower rack for towels, hoody, rain coat, etc. By not putting discs in the bottom section, the ZÜCA / Ridge Roller has a tremendous amount of non disc storage inside.
The storage is great for large soft things like clothes and towels. It does not work well for smaller or harder objects like beverages or camera equipment. When using the cart, the entire front of the cart is open with nothing to hold the items inside. Someone could probably make a simple device to turn the bottom level of disc storage into a safer place to store other things. Like I said before, I’m lazy and not handy. I’d rather there was just more secure storage already built in. As a note, discs are held in place fairly securely. They will fall out if the cart completely tips, but are otherwise safe.
Outside of the main compartment, the Zuca is a little lacking in storage. It has several pockets on the sides. There is no padded compartment for keys, wallet, phone, valuables, etc. I used a small padded zippered case to hold that stuff and put it in the bottom behind the towels.
There is also a kind of pouch (see pics below) that attaches to the pole. It has a couple of velcro close sections that could be used to hold your valuables. For me, this is the biggest opportunity area of the ZÜCA / Ridge Roller cart. Key, wallet, and phone should all have a safe place built in. They don’t. There are a few places to stash those things (an inside side pocket being the most obvious), but none that seem like they are meant for that purpose. There is no padded, lined, or otherwise optimized storage of those items.
One of the best storage features of the Zuca Disc Golf cart is the dual cup holders. Securely bolted to the back are two drink holders that will both hold 32 oz Hydro Flasks. On bumpy terrain, there is a chance of the hydro flask coming out of the holder (because they are heavy). They fit, but are definitely just a tad larger than what the holder is meant for.
Pro tip: If you are going to carry a single Hydro Flask, keep it on the side opposite of where you walk when pulling the cart. This will prevent you from accidentally kicking the drink with your heel as you walk. This will be more important for those of you with longer legs like me.
Since a picture is worth a bunch of words (and I’ve typed too many words already), let’s take a visual tour of the Ridge Roller to finish off the review.
The handle is thick and angled comfortably. It fits well in the hand.
The handle is adjustable to a number of heights. Regardless of how tall you are, you can get it set perfectly for you.
The handle retracts into the base. This makes it easier to transport.
Pro tip: When using the cart on rough terrain, push it instead of pulling it. The cart tips pretty easily when pulled over bumps, rocks, and roots. You can virtually eliminate this possibility by pushing it. I hear a lot of golfers say they won’t use a cart on some rougher courses. This little trick can fix most of that problem.
Because of it’s lack of storage pockets, it comes with this pouch. It’s not the best way to carry your keys, wallet, and phone, but it’s far better than the options on the cart itself.
The top of the cart is designed to be a seat. It is rated to hold up to 300 lbs.
Pro tip: Get the optional seat cover. This provides a bit of padding and makes it a lot more comfortable.
There is also a handle in the top of the seat. This is nice when you have to pick the cart up to carry it over terrain it won’t roll over (stairs, stream crossings, big rocks, etc.).
Pro tip: The cart can be awkward and unwieldy to carry by this handle. If you pick it up here, place your other hand on the top handle. Use that to lever the cart into a more balanced position that isn’t banging in to you. No matter what you do, the Ridge Roller is awkward to carry and can be tough to lug up and down stairs and steep inclines. It’s nice that it has a handle, but picking it up is a pain. I’d rather see two handles, one on either side, for a safer and more balanced carrying option.
The bag itself is made of durable material.
Pro tip: While the material is durable, it will not stand up to large thorns and other similar hazards. Try to keep it clear of these things or the material will rip.
One very cool thing is the assortment of colors you can get the cart in. If you, like many other disc golfers, like to stand out as unique, it looks like the Ridge Roller site will have a frame and bag in a color combo you’ll love.
This side has a slim outer pocket. It also has what appears to be a nice sized zippered pocket. Appearances can be deceiving….
It zips open to a big open hole to the side of the disc frame. There is another slim pocket inside which might be an OK place for phone and wallet. It would be smushed up against the hard side of the rack, but it would at least be out of the elements.
The other side has two pockets. A thin one with a zipper. This will hold one, maybe two discs.
And an elastic pocket that will hold about 5 discs if you really cram them in. I was also able to fit a towel, rain coat, or a thin hoody in this pocket.
The front flap tucks away into a mesh pocket during play.
The internal frame seems well made and comes with one divider on the top level.
Internal disc storage of 25-30 discs is possible. I’m not a huge fan of the front facing disc storage. I’d rather see it face upwards so things are more secure. Upward facing storage would also make accessing the discs a bit easier. Overall, the discs go in and out pretty easily while still being secure. If the cart tips, they are all coming out. Make sure the cart doesn’t tip.
Pro tip: If you need more storage, carry less discs and use the lower disc area to carry towels, clothes, ets. It does not carry small items or camera equipment well. Make sure whatever you put in here is secure or it will fall out of the front of the cart.
The raised front matches the axle height. That allows clearance over most roots, rocks, and other obstructions. It also allows the cart to sit in a good bit of water without getting the contents wet.
The quick release wheels and axel are nice since the cart will not fit in most cars standing up. Removing the wheels is a space saver. I did have issues getting the right amount of tightness on them. Too loose and the ends fell off. Too tight and the wheels don’t spin freely.
Pro tip: When tightening the wheels, make it snug but not too tight.
Pro tip: If you stand it up (only possible in jeeps, vans, SUVs, etc.) in your vehicle for transport, secure it somehow. Otherwise it will roll around and tip over as you drive.
Pro tip: Replace the inner tube with a solid core. You can do this with pool noodles.
Pro tip: If you choose to keep these inflated with air, deflate them and then refill with fix a flat.
Pro tip: Do not keep the tires fully inflated. They will bounce off of the smallest bump and cause the cart to tip. Instead remove just a bit of air for a smoother ride.
Pro tip: Carry a small pump. Get one with a small head. The head has to fit inside the opening in the wheel which is tight.
The drink holders are great and WILL hold a 32 oz. Hydro Flask.
Pro tip: Store a single drink on the opposite side that you walk on to prevent your heel from kicking the drink out of the holder while walking. If storing two, be careful not to do this.
I played most of the 2015 season with a ZÜCA all terrain disc golf cart / Ridge Roller. Not once did I ever second guess spending the money. It was definitely a worthwhile purchase and I’m happy I had it.
That said, it is still an early generation product. There are several things I do wish were better (storage for things other than discs being the biggest one). I would bet that over time, this cart will see several revisions that will make it better and better each successive time it is updated. The first of those revisions has happened recently. The upgrades present on the ZÜCA made cart are a big improvement over the cart that not too long ago was sold only on a FaceBook page.
If you talk to owners of the Ridge Roller, they are all happy with their cart. If you are in the market, it is a worthwhile choice.
As our regular readers know, Mind Body Disc is about honesty and transparency in all the reviews we publish. Because of that, I feel compelled to let you all know that I no longer personally use the Ridge Roller cart. I have switched to the Delta Ten (review coming soon). The Delta is about $100 more than the ZÜCA all terrain disc golf cart, but I needed two things the Ridge Roller just didn’t offer.
One was secure storage for my camera. I carry a very expensive camera and lens on many rounds and there just wasn’t anywhere to safely carry it on the ZÜCA / Ridge Roller. In fairness to the Ridge Roller, it was designed as a disc golf cart and it does a tremendously good job of doing that. If you don’t have several thousand dollars in camera gear to carry along with your discs, this should not dissuade you from purchasing the ZÜCA all terrain disc golf cart.
Two was upward facing disc storage. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know about my back problems. Having to bend down to look inside the front of the cart to see my discs just wasn’t working for me. This is another specific gripe that only a few of you will ever relate to. That and I haven’y had all my discs fall out of the Delta Ten once. It happened several time with the ZÜCA.
I want to be clear that if I didn’t have the above two concerns, I would still be using my ZÜCA all terrain disc golf cart today. I would not have even considered spending another $400 on a different cart. And I will say that the Delta is not perfect either. It’s just the better option for me at this time.
I would encourage you to give the ZÜCA all terrain cart serious consideration for your disc golf cart dollars. I believe that of all the carts currently available, it represents the best value for your money. It is a great piece of equipment and I enjoyed playing the 2015 disc golf season with it at my side.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”