Behind the Scenes: Developing the Cyclone, the Hottest Toy for 2014

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Behind the Scenes: Developing the Cyclone, the Hottest Toy for 2014

February 04, 2014
posted by Melissa Enos

Most people know Radio Flyer for our red wagons, but we make tricycles, scooters and ride-ons too!  In fact, some of our greatest innovations in the past two years have been with our ride-ons: the award-winning Radio Flyer Ziggle last year, and new for 2014, the Radio Flyer Cyclone.

Both Ziggle and Cyclone provide hours of kid-powered fun for ages 3 to 7, and use a very different motion to move than the standard bike, trike, or foot-to-floor ride-on.

The Cyclone uses arm power to rotate large, 16-inch wheels and propels kids to spin 360 degrees, zoom forward or roll in reverse.  Molded handgrips allow riders to guide the Cyclone and an ergonomic seat offers a comfortable mission control to take sidewalks, driveways, and playgrounds by storm. 

We created a video to showcase all the smooth moves kids can perform with Cyclone. I also spoke with Cameron Eckert, the lead engineer on the Cyclone, to provide a behind-the-scenes peek at the development of the latest Radio Flyer innovation: 

Q: What inspired you to create the Cyclone?

A:  We were inspired by the success of the Radio Flyer Ziggle. While most riding toys are foot powered by pedaling or pushing off of the ground, the Ziggle delivers a super fun, surprisingly fast ride that uses the wiggling of the entire body to go.  It’s fantastic, so we wanted to explore other new ways to ride.

Q:  Why do you think kids will like the Cyclone?

A: The kids who tested it for us seem to love it for a lot of different reasons. Some kids just love to spin, and once they learn how to do it, they don’t stop – which explains the name Cyclone – it’s really the only ride-on that provides this “infinite” spinning. Other kids love the fun of the arm power – it’s completely different than anything they’ve ridden before.   There isn’t a steering wheel, so it requires the kids to rotate the wheels at different speeds to turn. Age doesn’t really matter much and it’s always funny to see a 3-year-old with some experience riding circles around a 7-year-old with no experience.

Q: What current toy/ride-on would you say it's most like?

A:  It’s a lot like the dual powered remote-control cars. It turns when more power is given to one side than the other and it spins when the right and left wheels go in opposite directions.  For ride-on toys, it’s hard to compare it to anything current, but if I had to, I would say it’s like a tricycle mixed with a Sit n’ Spin – which is a classic toy that I grew up with

Q: What did parents say about it during testing?

A: The moms all commented on how active their kids were on it. It’s a great upper body workout! And it kept the attention of the kids for a long time.

Q: Anything else people should know about the Cyclone? 

A: I might be a little biased, but I really think this is one of the best toys for keeping kids active and outdoors. They love to master it, and it’s perfect for large muscle development and improving their motor skills.

The Cyclone will be available exclusively at Toys R Us and beginning in February.  What do you think of our latest innovation?