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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    A thread about TRIKES

    I don't know much about trikes, but I think they're fascinating. I can see myself getting one at some point.

    I know there are several kinds of trikes, including fast recumbents, cargo trikes, and the good old upright "adult trikes."

    Please chime in with any info or opinions about trikes. And, of course, post any questions you have about these interesting vehicles.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  2. #2
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    I've got two things to say about trikes:

    #1 I want a Haley so badly.

    #2 I assembled a delta trike for someone recently, and while it was manageable to work on, I think I'll stick to Tadpole trikes if I ever get one of my own.

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    I've got two things to say about trikes:

    #1 I want a Haley so badly.

    #2 I assembled a delta trike for someone recently, and while it was manageable to work on, I think I'll stick to Tadpole trikes if I ever get one of my own.
    What are the pros/cons of delta and tadpole?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  4. #4
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    What are the pros/cons of delta and tadpole?

    From the haleytrikes.com site:

    Why two front wheels?

    -Delta (two rear wheel) trikes need extra chains, differentials, and special wheels for smooth turns. While this is a fine system, tadpole trikes (two front wheels) are simpler and easier to maintain, and new or upgraded parts are available from the stock of your local bicycle shop.

    -You can keep an eye on your cargo better.

    -It's easier to see if you'll fit between two obstacles without looking behind you while moving forward.

    -Front load trikes, from the general public's point of view, are more likely to be seen as work vehicles of some type (and not just a weird in-the-way bicycle) from their long history as ice cream trikes.
    (That last one seems a bit spurious to me...)

    I'm far from an expert, so I figured I'd use the tadpole guy's views on the topic. With that out of the way, I can say that for me, personally, both styles steer "funny" b/c I've been on 2-wheelers almost exclusively since kindergarten or whenever I got rid of the bigwheel. But, the tadpole feels predictably funny in a stable way, whereas the delta feels funny in the "holy crap, if I steer, I'm gonna fall" kinda way. There's more on the dynamics of steering a tadpole on the same haley site: http://www.haleytrikes.com/faq.html

    The main thing that got to me, really, is that building the Delta trike made me feel like I was working on a kludge, even though it was a factory-direct assembly. (Actually, i had to change the chainwheel and 1 of the 3 (!) rear sprockets in order for the chain to clear part of the axle...) Yeah, I got it to work, but there's a ot of extra "stuff" to get right.... and that always equals extra stuff that could go wrong. 3 rear hubs, a lot of trike-specific parts, 2 chains to fine-tune tension on, and of course the one impacts the other, as far as my admittedly limited understanding goes, it seems like a coaster is the only viable option for the rear brake.... although S/A does make some 14mm axle side-mount drum hubs.... maybe those would work. (Or maybe they're for tadpoles-- my experience with trikes is pretty much limited to a powerful lust for a Haley, some genuine admiration for Worksman front-loaders, and a bit of wrench-work on S.Olympics rigs.)

    The Tadpoles are pretty much normal bikes with 2 front wheels and a lot of cargo space in between'm. Some do take the one-sided trike hubs, but others (like the Haleys) are designed around typical front hubs. I've seen tadpole recumbents, too.... not built for cargo, but more for speed. On my commute home from my old office, I used to regularly pass a parked subaru with a recumbent trike mtb (knobbies, discs, mud on it) mounted on the roof-rack all summer long. and, by far the coolest ride I've ever seen at the annual SONJ statewide cycling competition is a recumbent tadpole set up for one-hand-only operation.

    Again, I know very little, but I do feel fairly certain of the tadpole preference, at least for now.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    My wife and I test rode on of these monsters a few years back... the only thing that kept us from buying it was the price tag, at the time $9,000usd. It was wicked fast even with two non professional cyclists on board.


    Work Cycles is coming out with a trike version of their Bakfiets, I may be tempted by that one...

    I have ridden a few Terra Trikes and Cat trikes and found them comfortable. My wife's father has one of the old folks trikes, that one drives me nuts, but he rides it from their townhouse to the grocery store, post office and such, probably a couple of miles at a time.

    Aaron
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  6. #6
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    I'd be tempted to get one of those Bakfiets trikes at some point, but I doubt it would work well on my "main drag" for shopping. No bike lanes there and I'd sure as hell be pretty slow on it.

    M.

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    Wish I had a little more time to write this morning.

    I've got two Niholas, which are tadpole cargo trikes with ackerman steering (i.e. the "box" is welded into the rest of the frame). Pretty capable machines, and acceptably fast, though clearly I get passed by comparable riders on regular bikes. They are good for everything from shopping, to child transport, to commuting (I'd recommend less than 10 miles each way), to touring-with-kids, to MTBing-with-kids. There is an adjustment period, and balance at speed is not as easy as some people think.
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trike_guy View Post
    Wish I had a little more time to write this morning.

    I've got two Niholas, which are tadpole cargo trikes with ackerman steering (i.e. the "box" is welded into the rest of the frame). Pretty capable machines, and acceptably fast, though clearly I get passed by comparable riders on regular bikes. They are good for everything from shopping, to child transport, to commuting (I'd recommend less than 10 miles each way), to touring-with-kids, to MTBing-with-kids. There is an adjustment period, and balance at speed is not as easy as some people think.
    I will help Here is a link to Nihola they are a Danish built trike and very nice, a bit hard to come by in the US. From what I have read they are the gold standard for the tadpole cargo trikes. There are a few others out there like Workcycles, Haley and Christiana. There is also Worksman from the US though their offerings are extremely heavy and a bit crude by current standards. They do make both a tadpole and a delta version, you won't wear the them out in your lifetime. I have a fair bit of experience with the Worksman, they were the main form of transportation at several industrial sites I have worked at. At one plant they had some that had been in continuous service for over 40 years.

    Aaron

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    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I will help Here is a link to Nihola they are a Danish built trike and very nice, a bit hard to come by in the US. From what I have read they are the gold standard for the tadpole cargo trikes.
    Very kind of you! However I wouldn't put Nihola ahead of Christiana, its just a matter of which style of more appropriate for the buyer. Also as you pointed out http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2014/...fiets-finally/ could be big news. Maybe a second credible ackerman-steered trike, and one that could flat-pack for shipping. American buyers rejoice.

    In my humble but enthusiastic opinion, the Nihola company has vision that extends precisely to the edge of Copenhagen, and no farther. If you happen to want to buy one of their trikes, they'll be happy to sell it to you, but they appear to have no intention of doing anything that isn't targeted directly at Copenhagen. Buyers in Copenhagen are not enthusiasts, though the are dedicated and year-round. At risk of boring any potential reader, I'll note that when they sold SRAM S7 hubs, they geared them with the range 30 to 90 gear inches. I'm completely fit from riding a Nihola everywhere, and I have set one with 21 to 66 gear-inches, the other with 15 to 79 gear-inches. They have crippled their trikes. They can not be taken on adventures, certainly not by people who aren't conditioned. At the same time... 90 gear inches can not be used except racing downhill. (I suspect that on their current Nexus 8 models, the range is 27 to 83 gear-inches.)

    Additionally, the brakes are weak (very marginal in Oslo), and it would be really nice to fit tires fatter than 2.15". A disc brake mount in rear would be great for mounting serious gear hubs. And how about fixing it up so the axle doesn't slide forward under load? Or just mention to the customers that they are not contractually bound to remain on paved, flat surfaces. You can take those things on mountain bike trails, into real mud, kids love it. You can take the kids on tours with a tent. You can just plain drive around in the forests (very nice tamed forests in Denmark full of beech and oak). Ice, snow, hills, whatever. Put a Marathon Plus MTB on the order form with a Alfine 8, 23t rear sprocket, and touring rack. Bingo!

    So I have high hopes that WorkCycles will be able to introduce more enthusiastic owners to ackerman-steered trikes. I wonder though, if it will be as "nimble" as a Nihola is in tight spots. Probably will weigh more and I'm not sure about a partly wooden box. The Nihola frame and box construction really is nearly ideal in my opinion. That nice rounded metal tube around the top of the box is just what the doctor ordered when its time to start dragging. Its strong and easy to hold. The whole frame is just great. I've gone flying down gravelly forest paths with over 50kg of kids up front and the bumps are just soaked right up by the tires and frame. My trikes have both spent significant time teetering on the edge of falling over, either from driving off pavement or just from deliberately cornering at the edge. Just this past weekend I was trying to take in across a snow-covered grassy side-slope with 45-50 kg of stuff in front, 10kg in back, and it was on the hairy edge of falling over. I couldn't sit on the seat or it would tip. This is not the way they are meant used, but it doesn't complain at all. (Some passers-by were concerned that I was in some difficulty.) Its a shame that they are effectively undiscovered.

    As you can see I'm totally a fan of these things, but then they also have been one of the foundations of my family's life for approaching three years.

    Might come back with pictures later.
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I will help Here is a link to Nihola they are a Danish built trike and very nice, a bit hard to come by in the US. From what I have read they are the gold standard for the tadpole cargo trikes. There are a few others out there like Workcycles, Haley and Christiana. There is also Worksman from the US though their offerings are extremely heavy and a bit crude by current standards. They do make both a tadpole and a delta version, you won't wear the them out in your lifetime. I have a fair bit of experience with the Worksman, they were the main form of transportation at several industrial sites I have worked at. At one plant they had some that had been in continuous service for over 40 years.

    Aaron

    Aaron
    Nihola even has a trike especially designed to carry dogs!

    http://www.nihola.com/products/dog.html


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Worksman "PAV" trike here........

    http://www.worksmancycles.com/shopsi...tml/pav-3.html

    I've pimped mine out to use as a city "pickup truck".
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Nihola even has a trike especially designed to carry dogs!
    The guy who founded and owns the company seems to have a vision of what he wants, and he sticks to it. For example, that "dog" model is just a regular model with a door in front. One would think it would be brilliant for kids, but the door isn't on the normal model because its less strong in crashes. Likewise, I've seen two different styles of low-step-through rear frames for a Niholas, but they don't use them on the highest volume models. Just about all the competitors (like WorkCycles) are exclusively low-step-through, but the Nihola guy apparently doesn't think thats what he wants to sell, so almost everything they sell is medium-step-through. (Which I rather like actually.)

    Its actually nice that someone can be employed in the industrialized world manufacturing things their way and not some boring optimal way discovered by bean counters.
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

  13. #13
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    As my back issues have worsened it has been getting harder to ride a standard bicycle and for the past several years I have had the opportunity to use my friend's Catrike... he is planning on replacing the Cat this spring and I will be taking the Cat permanently.

    From a riding perspective it is about as comfortable as it gets and I have paced road riders in the park (to their amazement) while being able to converse with them... it idles at 40 kmh, handles like it is on rails, and can change direction so fast your neck will hurt.

    And when you are done riding or need a rest, it is a comfortable place to lounge.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    Worksman "PAV" trike here........
    What kind of velocity does a single-speed trike like that manage?
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

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    Yeah I like the lounge chair aspect there. Touring in a comfy chair. I wouldn't want to be near cars though.
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trike_guy View Post
    Yeah I like the lounge chair aspect there. Touring in a comfy chair. I wouldn't want to be near cars though.
    I have taken naps on that trike...

    Also looking at giving it a lift kit with 24 inch front wheels and a 29'r rear to allow for more off road / trail / winter capability... wheelsets would be swappable.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Also looking at giving it a lift kit with 24 inch front wheels and a 29'r rear to allow for more off road / trail / winter capability
    I suspect that too much of your weight is on the front wheels for good winter performance. Unless its pretty flat and the snow is not deep.
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trike_guy View Post
    I suspect that too much of your weight is on the front wheels for good winter performance. Unless its pretty flat and the snow is not deep.
    The contact pressure on the wheels is much less than a regular bike... I will treat it like my Pugsley and will probably look at studding the tyres and having a little more hookup on the front is probably going to be better than too little.

    I know a fellow here who rides a trike all winter... says it is the best winter bike ever although I think a regular mtb with fatter tyres will crawl over the snow better.

    Unless I opt for a fatrike set up.

    I plan to put the trike on a set of scales to see where the weight is distributed... the stock cat (touring model) is a very well balanced machine and going up at each should not affect that.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I plan to put the trike on a set of scales to see where the weight is distributed... the stock cat (touring model) is a very well balanced machine and going up at each should not affect that.
    A regular bike is not well balanced though, 2/3 of the weight in back plus only one front tire to push through the snow. I've been noticing how this works on my trikes...

    A fat trike sounds pretty awesome, or a fat quad. Something a person should be able to rent.
    the lonely nihola enthusiast

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trike_guy View Post
    A regular bike is not well balanced though, 2/3 of the weight in back plus only one front tire to push through the snow. I've been noticing how this works on my trikes...

    A fat trike sounds pretty awesome, or a fat quad. Something a person should be able to rent.
    This is why my Extrabike is such a killer in the snow... 64 inches of wheelbase with your weight perfectly centred makes it go through snow as well as any bike.

    The rear wheel is unweighted a great deal so needs a studded tyre in the rear to maintain traction on glare ice and to climb slippery slopes, the extra wheelbase also reduces the influence of rear wheel shifts on the front end.

  21. #21
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trike_guy View Post
    I suspect that too much of your weight is on the front wheels for good winter performance. Unless its pretty flat and the snow is not deep.
    A concern I have with the Catrike on snow has to do with visibility. We get a lot of snow here, and piles of plowed snow are two to four feet tall along roads, and even taller at corners and in parking lots. A mountain bike doesn't have great visibility, and it seems the Catrike would be much worse. What do you think?

    Also, what are the physics of jumping a curb with the Catrike and various other trikes?

    PS...by visibility I mean both seeing and being seen.
    Last edited by Roody; 02-28-14 at 04:17 PM.


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  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    The comment on gearing ... that is a lot of bikes. I routinely have to gear many of my bikes down from the factory setup. I typically have my bottom gear around 18" for my loaded up bikes, for general riding I can get away with something closer to 30".

    Trikes are a niche market, as are cargo bikes, cargo trikes even more so. We are beginning to see more and more of them as people wise up to them and what they are capable of.

    Aaron
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    First Cyclist To The South Pole: http://www.gizmag.com/south-pole-fat-trike/30245/

    I owned a WizWheels tricycle in 2004. It was called the Terra Trike 3.2. The company changed its name to TerraTrike. It was very fun to ride. The only problems I had were the steering was affected by braking. Back then the manufacturers didn't quite have the geometry perfected to avoid that. These days almost all of them have it right and steering isn't affected by braking.

    If you don't like plenty of attention don't buy one.

    They are not as stable as you might think. I flipped mine one night while turning on a slight slope. Nothing broke but I was lucky. On wet grass my rear tire would lose traction. It wasn't a knobby tire. It was a high pressure Kenda Kwest 406 tire.

    These can be fast if the rider is strong. An equally strong rider on a conventional bicycle will be faster.

    I really like recumbents. Trikes are very fun. One flaw in the design of recumbents is that on bumps all of that energy is transferred into the riders back. Standing isn't an option when hitting a pot hole or road debris. Models with rear suspension are available. I would save my money to pay for that upgrade. It would make all the difference in the world for comfort. The padded seats or mesh seats are comfortable on smooth roads. In hot weather my back always got sweaty.

    Riding on icy roads would work with the right balance and a studded rear tire. Tires with an aggressive tread would be needed for the front to be able to make turns. Studded tires would work best.

    Since tadpole recumbent tricycles are so low to the ground they would be useless in deep snow. Only a customized model similar to the South Pole tricycle would be able to make it work. I went out in two inches of snow today with a studded front tire and a new medium tread comfort bike tire and I had trouble staying up right. Once I got to the icy road with no snow I was fine. My TerraTrike was only about six inches off the ground under the seat.

    As far as not being seen by cars; the weirdness of them makes them stand out and cars do see them when they approach from behind. The low height could be a problem for a car entering the road from the right. They might not see it behind parked cars and other things along the edge of the roads. Tall snow banks would be even worse since they're solid with few breaks. I always rode with an orange flag on a pole. Some riders use elaborate flags to get even more attention. They seem to work.

    I would enjoy owning another one someday but not right now.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  24. #24
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Here is some good info from another thread that I am copying with trike_guy's permission....

    Quote Originally Posted by trike_guy View Post
    Well! Turns out that I am also a year rounder, and currently doing that on a trike (a Nihola) because it helps makes things smooth with picking up and dropping off kids. (Bad mood this morning? Who cares, into the box and we're going!)


    I'd say it actually is pretty safe, and not usually too slow, though there are tradeoffs. There is more rolling resistance breaking three tire tracks through snow, but also no problem with stability on a shifting base. There is no problem slipping and falling, but at least on a tadpole trike there is less weight (as a percentage) on the powered tire, making it easier to spin. (For that reason, I use pannier bags and leave the box empty while in commute mode.) You can use the front brakes aggressively (on a tadpole) but its also possible to slide sideways without that being the idea (for example when locking the rear tire). Also three wheels can mean benefiting less from other bikes breaking trail, and its heavier to move around by pushing, pulling or lifting... but you get off the saddle less because you can often rock and dig through spots at speeds too low for a 2-wheeler.


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  25. #25
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    A concern I have with the Catrike on snow has to do with visibility. We get a lot of snow here, and piles of plowed snow are two to four feet tall along roads, and even taller at corners and in parking lots. A mountain bike doesn't have great visibility, and it seems the Catrike would be much worse. What do you think?

    Also, what are the physics of jumping a curb with the Catrike and various other trikes?

    PS...by visibility I mean both seeing and being seen.
    You don't jump curbs with a trike and have to ride vehicularly in that you don't hug curbs, take the lane (they move pretty fast), make yourself as visible as possible, and ride like you are invisible to the guy in the pickup who wants to change lanes.

    With the Catrike I can come off the line almost as fast as the cars... the acceleration is rather excellent since it puts you in an ideal position to deliver power and speed can be maintained with less watts because of the better aerodynamics.

    Because they are an odd sight and are wider they are more noticeable from the rear, the bags with the reflectors always stay on the bike.

    You also have to be cognizant that cars will misjudge how fast a trike can be...

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