Thursday, April 20, 2017

Buying, Carrying and Using a Cricket Golf Cart

Back in September 2015, I published a blog article titled "Should we take our own golf cart?".  At that time, I knew that I wanted a cart small enough to fit in the back of a pickup truck and still be able to put up the tailgate.  We ended up with two possibilities: a Kangacruz or a Cricket.

Both the Kangacruz and the Cricket are lengthwise collapsible, so they will (barely) fit in the back of a pickup truck with a raised gate.  They both have published carrying capacities of around 600 pounds, travel at about the same speeds and have about the same battery life.

The Kangacruz Aspire SS


Kangacruz Aspire SS (from their web site)
Of the two, I became convinced that I wanted the upcoming Kangacruz Aspire SS.  The SS was to have a longer battery life and, more important to me, an increased carrying capacity of about 650 pounds.  It also had a few more bells and whistles than the Cricket; things like turn signals, a better suspension, and bigger wheels.

The problem with the Kangacruz was their ongoing promises that the SS model was "coming soon".  Initially, it was to be available in early and we were told that it would be ready on time.  Then they said it was delayed to the summer because some parts were on backorder.  That changed to late fall, and so on.  I corresponded with them by e-mail and they were very nice, but had nothing that they could sell me.

When it came time for the Tampa RV Show in early 2017, they told me that they planned to actually have one at the show.  I noted that their booth at the show seemed to be inside of an expo hall and asked them if we'd be able to drive it.  Their answer was "no", it would not be available to test drive; just available to look at.

On the 18th of January, the opening day of the Show, we went to the Kangacruz booth early and looked at the prototype of the new SS.  And even though we were one of the first ones to visit them, we were told that we would have to pay them over $4000 now and that shipment "might be in March or April".  Not only were they kicking the can again, they had reduced the recommended weight back to 600 pounds from their earlier online listing of specifications.

At that point, we decided that we didn't want to put our faith in Kangacruz because 1) they had been promising shipments for about 18 months and still wouldn't provide a firm delivery date, 2) the weight limit matched the more popular Crickets, and 3) they are located in Canada, which worried us in case it might ever need service.

The Cricket SX-3


The Cricket SX-3 cart weighs about 305 pounds, collapses to about 58" in length, and seems to be the most popular collapsible golf cart we could find anywhere.  In the months leading up to the 2017 Tampa RV Show,  we were told by a local Florida Cricket dealer that they would not be shown at the show as they had in some previous years.

To our surprise, we saw the outdoor Cricket display at the Show shortly after we had walked away from the Kangacruz booth.  The sales people willingly handed us a key to one and told us to take it for a spin, on our own, away from their area.  We did and were impressed that such a small cart did such a great job.

The seats on the Cricket are just wide enough to fit two adults.  It's tight, but not uncomfortable.  The back seat folds down to make a bed that can be used to haul anything from groceries to camping chairs. It's top speed is about 8-10 miles per hour.

One of the things I never liked about the Crickets was that the steering wheel was in the center of the  cart.  With the new 2017 version, that has been changed and the wheel is thankfully more towards the left-hand side.  Their later models also feature LED headlights, which is either good or bad depending on your opinion of extremely bright lights on such a small cart.

Options included a top frame that has a vinyl cover at the top that is tied to the frame, a long rear-view mirror, and a plexiglass windshield.  There's also a cart cover (only used if top frame isn't in place) and a rainproof slip-cover that fits over the entire cart (top frame included, with windows on the front and side).

Our Cricket, bought at the 2017 Tampa RV Show

We liked it a lot, and decided to buy it with the standard (no-top) cover, top frame, mirror and windshield.  We also got a pair of aluminum ramps so we could load it into our pickup truck.  The ramps were about $200.  The total price, which had to be paid using cash or check, was in the neighborhood of $4300.  We got to pick our color (candy apple red) on the spot and after about a half hour of some top assembly and instructions, were able to drive it away into the fairgrounds and use it during the Show.

The Cricket sales people were very nice at the Tampa Show.  They apparently were getting about 10 of them every day of the show and were selling them all.  If you think you may want to get one at the show, I recommend that you get there on Wednesday (opening day) so that you can pick your colors and options  - and drive it home.  You'll also be able to use in inside of the show each day - a real bonus.

Cricket post-buy review


Now that we've had it a while, we still love our Cricket.  However, there are some things that are definitely worth noting:


  • They told us at the show that it should carry more than 600 pounds.  We were concerned because you sometimes may want to take four "larger" adults.  We tried it out and it seems capable, but it can "bend up" (picture an upside down "V") with all of the weight.  It does a lot better if you put the two heaviest people in the front seat.
  • One of the biggest reasons we wanted a Cricket was because it could collapse to fit in the bed of our truck.  However - and this is important - you can't collapse it unless you remove the frame for the top; the top won't collapse.  So, if you want to collapse it, you have to remove the  entire top and store it (it's pretty large), or break the top frame down into pieces by removing 8 bolts, 8 nuts, and 16 washers.  Not good at all if you plan to take your cart in and out of your truck/SUV a lot.   In the long run, I decided to remove my truck topper so that we could fit the un-collapsed cart in our truck while traveling.  We will have to remove the vinyl top, windshield and rear footrest each time, but that's a lot better than removing or dismantling the entire frame.
  • The charging cord isn't long. To charge it at night without an extension cord, I had to park it about two feet from my coach and use a plug in the basement area.  One morning, I went out, turned the key and drove off - cutting the still-plugged-in charging cord.  I quickly replaced it with a cord bought at Home Depot, and bought a magnetic reminder strip to put on the steering wheel whenever it's plugged in.
  • Those LED lights are bright.  Man are they bright.  Especially at night.  
We have driven the Cricket in loose sand, through bumpy grass fields, on concrete, asphalt, and over tree stumps in the campground and have never had a problem.




10 comments:

  1. Just came across this review and I purchased a Kangacruz at the Tampa Show, so on the defense of Kangacruz Aspire SS, since your talking apples and oranges, and they are 2 completely different carts. The Kangacruz has many features that the cricket does not have and is much better built. They did not want $4000 at the show, you had to put down a deposit to order the cart, which was totally refundable if you changed your mind. The Kangacruz is also Custom built one cart at a time in Canada and not on a Chinese production line, so it takes time for them to build them and there is a waiting list. The Kangacruz does not flex like the cricket and could go on but will leave it at that. They may cost a bit more but you get what you pay for. oh and you could not test drive it at the show because of the Tampa Show liability regulations, they were not allowed, because they were in the building and not outside.

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    1. You're right, I AM talking apples and oranges! I had been corresponding with the Kangacruz folks for 18 months BEFORE the Tampa show. I was told repeatedly that it would be available "in a few months" - and the production dates kept sliding to the right...a lot. For some of reasons you stated, I thought I wanted one instead of the Cricket. However, Kangacruz lowered their SS total weight (carried) to 600 pounds (instead of 650) shortly before the Tampa Show. The Cricket's weight limit is the same. When I was at the Tampa Show, I went to their booth on the first morning of the show (Wednesday) and was told - again - that they wouldn't be going into production for "at least two more months". But they still wanted money to order it. Because they lacked the kind of business planning I would expect (advertising availability and then not delivering for almost two years) and didn't even have the foresight to find a way at Tampa to allow test drives (get an outdoor venue, or have one outside the expo hall), that sealed the deal for me. (Not to mention that the 2017 Crickets had their steering wheel repositioned).

      I can't believe you'd buy one without even driving it. Did you even GET IT yet? If so, when?

      Good luck with it. Hope you enjoy your Kangacruz!

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    2. Did get it a while ago, picked it up at their location actually, perhaps if you were not so negative about things and quick to judge and looked at the overall structural design of both closer, you may have thought differently. There were reasons why it took as long as it did go go into production which were explained to us in detail and we were also shown why from different proto types at the factory when we picked it up. Do not regret buying it at all. I do enjoy the Kangacruz, Good luck with the cricket, hope you enjoy it, I use to have one, enough said.

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    3. Thanks for your follow-up, but I don't think that waiting for two years to get a Kangacruz, watching their site, corresponding with them via e-mail on several occasions, and holding off on any other purchase while I was patiently waiting qualifies as "quick to judge". I not only became very familiar with their structural design, I went over it quite thoroughly with them at the Tampa Show. I reminded them that I had been waiting for over 18 months as they had production delays and offered to buy one that day if I could test drive it. The answer was "no" and, if I wanted one, I'd have to put down a substantial deposit and I might get it in two more months. Given their penchant for delays, I simply gave up.

      I have no doubt that the Kangacruz is a good cart (see my much earlier post where I said a lot of nice things about it, including that it was my #1 choice!).

      I'm glad you have no regrets; neither do I.

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    4. Kangacruz is made in China and is modified in Canada to collapse.I ordered on on June 1st sent a deposit.Was told it would be in Mid August.On December 9th I cancelled the order due to non delivery and told sept nov and just got tired of waiting .Now I am looking for something in the USA.BTW i want to saw Ray was always good to reply and was very prompt returned my Deposit

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    5. That's been my main issue with Kangacruz all along: they just can't deliver. You're right in that Ray promptly responded, but he just couldn't get a unit.

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  2. Has anyone used a reciver hitch mount carrier for their min golfcar? If so, what manufacturer and model?

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  3. We have had to explain this Blog and situation a countless number of times, to customers that have read this and asked about it, so we think it is now time to say our part about this, since it lacks a lot of information.

    Mike was first inquiring about our original Aspire cart, which he never ordered, and was discontinued a few months after he first inquired about it.

    After the original Aspire was discontinued, we were engineering a completely new design for a collapsible cart which was the Aspire SS.

    During that time, we did not offer a collapsible cart only the newly designed non-collapsible Aspire RS model.

    Yes Mike was told that we were working on the SS model and yes there was a wait of just over a year before they went into production.

    I feel that is a normal time span and not out of line with having to engineer and design the cart and system as well as all parts and mechanical and electrical components involved with the system, not to mention bringing in new CNC equipment and programming it to make the parts. Then there were some glitches that had to be ironed out on top of that, like all new developed products.

    During all that time he never did actually order one, he just kept asking when they would be available.

    The Aspire SS is custom built as ordered, we do not stock them, so when the cart was launched at the Tampa show back in 2017, we already had over 20 orders BEFORE the show had even started, all with deposits, from very interested customers.

    When Mike got to the show, yes there was a wait list, there were over 20 customers who's carts we had to build before his if he ordered one at that time.

    He got frustrated and went with our competitors cart, which is a completely different cart in comparison.

    We believe that everyone should have a choice but there is no need to bash another product without stating all the proper facts and information.
    We feel that this is a one sided article is a bit of a defamation of character of the business, since it does not give all details.

    The other guy that commented on there, his cart was ready to be crated and shipped the same week that he canceled.

    In short, we are not a large company and it takes time to custom build things and certain things are out of our control, such as delayed parts shipments and including blogs and comments found on the Internet.

    There are many of happy Aspire SS and RS Owners that would beg to differ what Mike states, Unfortunately they do not go posting stuff on the Internet in blogs.



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    1. For the record, Kangacruz, I merely reported the facts of my personal experience. Read everything I've posted - even the replies to comments - and you'll see that I have at no time questioned the quality of the Kangacruz product. I have publicly said that I wanted one, and it was (at one time) my #1 preference for a golf cart.

      You said that I originally inquired about the Aspire RS. That's simply not true. On December 4, 2015, I inquired about the Aspire SS (the subject line was "Interested in the Aspire SS" - I still have the e-mail). Ray responded, telling me that the SS shown on your web site would "not be available until the new year, but most likely sometime after January". That would have been January 2016.

      Since that time, I corresponded with you via e-mail and phone over the course of many months. Each time, and this was later reflected in your expectation dates on your web site, I was told that the production dates had slipped and it would be available sometime in the coming months. I continued to wait.

      A full year later, you said that you would be at the January 2017 Tampa RV Show. And you were, but you didn't make arrangements to allow potential buyers to test drive the unit before putting down thousands of dollars on a promise that you might have a unit available by March or April. After a full year of holding out waiting for this great cart, I decided I didn't want to wait any longer.

      And that's the gist of it. My only issues were that I asked and asked and asked if I could get one and was repeatedly told that you weren't able to ship. In an e-mail to me on 12/26/2016, Ray told me that "The only Aspire SS in existence right now is the one we are bringing to the show". So the Aspire SS still wasn't in production as of January 2017. You were right in your observation that I was frustrated.

      The Aspire SS I saw at the 2017 Tampa show looked sturdy and well-made; I wish I could have driven it! But, my personal experience (which is what a blog relates) is that production delays and concerns about obtaining service in the United States eventually pushed me to the Cricket. I don't believe I left out any critical details, and certainly didn't bash your product at all, much less "without stating all the proper facts and information." Geez, for the 100th time, I like your product! :-)

      I wouldn't have even kept the discussion and photo of the Kangacruz model on my blog if I didn't like it, and I encourage anyone looking for a collapsible cart to check out ALL collapsible models, particularly the Kangacruz and the Cricket.

      Ray has called me before, and you have my e-mail address. If you had an issue with anything I said, I really wish you would have called me. I would have been (and still would be) glad to add an update to the article to clear up any misunderstanding.

      I hope that Kangacruz sells a lot of Aspire SS's, that the people that buy them are happy with their experience, that the production delays of 2016/early 2017 are a thing of the past, and that your business is successful.

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    2. Mike, for the record, not to nit pick but again to get the facts straight, I did not say that you originally inquired about the Aspire RS, I stated that you originally inquired about the "original Aspire" which was discontinued. The Aspire RS came after the original Aspire was discontinued.

      Kangacruz simply wanted to set the record straight from our side of things, since we were constantly having to explain what was stated in this blog to customers.

      As far as Ray contacting you before this was written, I (Ray) wrote this and my facts are straight, since I am also the owner of Kangacruz. I am also the person who personally engineered and designed the Aspire SS, the mechanical and electrical parts components as well as the programming of the CNC equipment to make the parts, as well as built the first batch of the Aspire SS carts while training any other staff involved in the process, so I was defending myself and my business and my product.

      I am sure that if you were in my position, you would have done the same especially after the number of times that I had to explain myself and my businesses position regarding this blog to customers.

      After all a person can only answer so many inquiries that are along the lines of "I am interested in an Aspire SS but don't want to wait 18 months for it" before it gets completely aggravating and frustrating, so I guess it may be karma in some way.

      So Mike, you state "I would have been (and still would be) glad to add an update to the article to clear up any misunderstanding."

      I say to you, that you have total control of your blog and what is written in it, so you do what you feel is right in this matter, I personally have said my piece and have closed the book on this.

      All the best






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