by Craig Anderton
I like clever things. I like multi-function things, and I don’t like to lug gear around any more inconveniently than necessary. So when I found out about the RocknRoller Multi-Cart, I had to check it out.
The main feature here is that you can configure it in numerous ways—dolly, hand truck, cart with sides for holding in weird-shaped stuff, or even put a shelf on it for an instant live performance setup (DJs and keyboard players, take note). We’ll cover all these options later, with photos of course, but let’s cover the basics first.
Actually there are several different models of varying sizes, from the R2RT (39 inches extended) to the R12RT (52 inches extended). The RocknRoller web site has a convenient chart that gives the specs on their various models. I received the R10 for review (the second-largest option), as well as the accessory shelf.
The unit comes disassembled, but it’s quite easy to put together—a child could do it, and an adult would find it only slightly more difficult.
It certainly seems sturdy enough, with welded joints and best of all, tires that don’t need inflating and can’t go flat. The R10's front wheels are casters, but only one of them has a lock to keep the wheel from rotating; I’d prefer it if both casters had a lock.
The secret to being able to create various configuration is that the extension “handles” can lock into different positions or lay flat. To move them you pull on a cable that brings the ends inward, which releases them from the brackets that otherwise hold them in place.
The instructions tell you to be careful when folding up handles to avoid pinching your finger. They’re right, which I found out the hard way. Aside from that, extending or shortening the frame is easy, and once you figure out how the process works, you can configure the Multi-Cart into any of the eight main configurations without difficulty. So, let’s look at the options.
Here’s your basic short dolly. Stick some bulky thing on top, then slide it around.
Extending the frame creates a longer dolly.
You can also fold up the ends to create barriers to hold stuff in place while moving it around.
And because you can shorten or lengthen the frame, you can configure the Multi-Cart for smaller gear as well.
You can fold up only one end if what you want to move around is somewhat longer than the extended frame.
This concept also works in the non-extended frame configuration.
Tilt the Multi-Cart up with one of the ends folded out, and now you have a hand truck. See what I mean about a Transformers movie?
The Multi-Cart also folds up into a relatively compact version for storage or transportation.
But the coolest aspect to me is that you can add an accessory shelf so after you’ve transported your gear around, you can add the shelf and set up your live performance act. You can put the shelf at two different heights, and it works with either the extended or non-extended frame size.
Here’s the extended size with the shelf. Of course, the big question is whether the shelf can support something like a heavy keyboard, and the answer is definitely yes. Take a look at the underside . . .
Two telescoping beams run the length of the shelf, and attach to the main Multi-Cart frame with bolts and wing nuts. You can push on this shelf all day, and it doesn’t flex.
What’s cool about this is you can pretty much cart around whatever you need to cart around—amps, guitars, keyboards, DJ setups, cases of CDs, whatever. Throw it in the back of a van if you ship a lot with UPS or Fed Ex, or use it around the house when doing repairs and you need to move materials. The price is right, too, given that what you get is both sturdy and useful.
This is one of those products that works as advertised. But when you actually start using it, you may realize (as did I) that it does more than you might have thought originally. Versatility is a beautiful thing—and not having to buy different carts for different purposes is even better.
UPDATE: After four months, I've found the Multi-Cart to be exceptionally useful not just for gigging, but around the house. I have a hand truck, but it hasn't gotten any use lately because of how easy it is to configure the Multi-Cart for the task at hand. I've also found that with use, pulling the ends inward with the cables becomes easier to do. Overall, while my initial impressions were favorable, they've not only been confirmed over time but my opinions are now more favorable than I when I first wrote this review.
Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.