Xtracycles banned in California?

Just brought to my attention from the website:

What Is Proposition 65?
In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 775 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

What types of chemicals are on the Proposition 65 list?
The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.

This all sounds pretty good right? Keep chemicals out of our water and soil can’t be a bad thing, right?

For several months Xtracycles have been Out of Stock, and many folks have been patiently waiting (thanks folks). After 5 months they are finally available… but NOT IN CALIFORNIA. Apparently this product (which can effectively help replace thousands of car trips a year) contains a wee bit too much lead. You can buy one directly from the manufacturer, but not from a supplier. Who knows why. I’m sure it has something to do with red colored tape.

Proposition 65 also limits certain bicycle dynamos (generators), lights and even a few bottom brackets.

In case you are unsure of which state California is, it is the state that also has an emissions law that prohibits 75mpg two-stroke scooters, but allows more Hummers and bus-like SUVs than anyone would know what to do with.


  1. Ghost Rider

    Is this for real? Where is there lead in an Xtracycle…the ends of the brake cables?

    I’ve looked at California and scratched my head in wonder for a long time…they’ve got some really innovative and far-reaching environmental laws on the books, but c’mon, some of this is just ridiculous.

    Don’t even get me started about Cali’s crazy gun laws…

  2. Paul

    Wow, I thought Texas had some really stupid laws! A car battery and those HUGE HUMMERS sometimes have two of them which contain LEAD are OK?! But a little bike with some paint/frame lead is too much a hazzard??

  3. DDK

    So Xtracycle modifies its paint/weld/foam/whatever next year. How is setting anticarcinogenic standards bad? And most 2-stroke engines are ghastly when it comes to emissions. I’m all for cracking down on them — again, so the manufacturers just need to improve their emissions next year. None of this bans a product, it just mandates improvement. Yay.

  4. Ghost Rider

    DDK — good point, but these kinds of laws often penalize small folks with innovative products that may fall within the letter (but not the spirit) of the regulation. So a little product tweaking is in order, and lo and behold, you get an improvement.

    I was wondering about two-stroke engines…that seemed like an odd example to throw in. Sure, they’re incredibly fuel-efficient, but at tremendous emissions cost.

  5. Len in California

    My friend just bought an xtracycle kit (in
    California) for a mountain bike this past weekend.

    The Xtracycle website lets you buy the kit, and it is not listed as out of stock on Tuesday, Oct 7th at 5:15pm.

    Sounds like this might be an urban legend.

  6. Dominic Dougherty

    No urban legend. As a bike shop manager and purchaser in CA, I am unable to order Xtracycles through any of my suppliers due to Prop 65.

  7. Ken Sturrock

    From a public health standpoint – the law is pretty useless too. Practically every building you walk into has a “cancer causing” sign on it so you really have no way of realistically assessing risk. Yet another good idea gone astray.

  8. Ghost Rider

    Len, the article states that you can order directly from Xtracycle, but not through a dealer or other supplier.

  9. Val

    So, what about lead-acid batteries under this law? Seems as though they should all be banned, which would mean that most motor vehicles, and nearly all electric vehicles, would be history. What loophole do they slip in through?

  10. RL Policar

    It’s the gas powered loop hole…

  11. Raiyn

    I’m with Ghost on this one. Where the hell is there lead on an xtracycle?

  12. Dave

    Speaking of Xtracycles, the LA Times is on the bandwagon today –,0,7756408.story

  13. Paul Rivers

    Well, now you’re thinking like a manufacturer. Their product has lead in it, there’s a law that stops you from selling it, what’s the problem? *obviously* it isn’t a bicycle with lead in it, no, the problem is the law because you don’t care what happens to the people who use your product or the environment when it’s thrown out if it costs you money.

    Sorry to be a little over the top, but seriously – shouldn’t the article be saying “Why the hell does an Xtracycle have lead in it, and why did the people who made the Xtracycle keep making a product that contains lead?”.

  14. Wayne Myer

    @Paul: This is why laws and policy are so poor in attempting to mandate “common” sense.

    The idea of Prop 65 obviously is a matter of harm reduction, but it is nearly impossible to write all of the possible contexts that require consideration and exception. Whatever amount of lead could possibly be in an Xtracycle (if it is the paint, it’s still a miniscule amount) is offset by the health benefits of cycling.

    And just because the article doesn’t say what you want it to say does not mean the article is somehow off-base. I think the sentiment here is that the net cast by the law is so far and wide that it starts to cause harm by capturing the very entities that are striving to improve the whole situation.

    Yes, hopefully the folks at Xtracycle can resolve this matter and attain compliance in a financially reasonable and timely fashion.

  15. Dman

    Wayne: You’re right, if the lead is in the paint it’s not a big deal to the end user.

    But what about all the people working in the manufacturing of the product?

  16. Dominic Dougherty

    Oh they live overseas… so they’re not important.

  17. Ghost Rider

    Dominic!!! Folks might read that and think you’re serious!

  18. climbinskier


  19. Jeremy at Xtracycle

    There is no lead anywhere in the Xtracycle Free Radical product itself, or the paint.
    The lead is in the plastic in those little plugs that you take out and throw away when you unpack the Free Radical kit. We are dealing with this issue right now, and we will keep you posted on the situation.

    In the meantime, if you live in California, you can order directly from us. Our distributer is removing the plugs manually, so they will be shipping to dealers again soon as well.

  20. Ghost Rider

    Jeremy, thanks for chiming in…how ridiculously silly about those plugs, but glad to hear you’re addressing their lead content (?). Please keep us in the loop and thanks again for clarifying things for us.

  21. Paul Rivers

    I’m glad to see that California’s laws have been effective. They prohibit products with lead in them, so lazy manufacturers who otherwise wouldn’t mind throwing lead into landfills which eventually end up on our water supply have to clean up their act in order to sell their product.

    Why on earth is there lead in little plugs that you take out and immediately throw away? I can’t even begin to think of a good reason, but I’m happy to see that California’s laws are obviously having their desired effect – keeping lead out of our environment and landfills, despite manufacturers who are lazy or just want to save a buck or two by using products that (completely unnecessarily) have lead in them.

  22. Mohjho

    So let me get this straight, the xtracycle is not banned, but the delivery components are? Maybe the poster should be a little more specifice when he publishes hot news flashes.
    “I’m sure it has something to do with red colored tape” only spreds disinformation.

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