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Old 06-12-17, 03:16 PM   #1
Bill G
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Catrike 559 & Expedition Crank set change out Upgrade

I read about guys with the 26" rear wheel Catrike 559 and the Expedition Trikes not liking there gear ratio. Trying to lower the ratio by changeing the small ring up front ore there rear cassette gears. Well I found the perfect fix for my Catrike 559. I now have great low gears, great midrange gearing while still maintaining a solid top end gear ratio that gives me decent top end speeds.

I have been running the setup below for a year now with excellent results. The trike shifts fantastic.

I picked up a Shimano XT M780 165mm arm length 24/32/42 10 spd crankset with the XT bottom bracket (Your crank set Q factor will change and your cranks will be about 5 to 6mm wider). This is not a problem at all. My trike shifts great after all the correct adjustments were done. I also personally like the wider Q factor with the Shimano XT crank set.

Also I still have plenty of top end gearing for speed with this crank set change out on my 559. I find myself useing the middle ring (the 32) a lot. In my opinion the 24/32/42 front chain rings and the 11/36 10 spd cassette with the 26" rear wheel is the way to go, excellent gearing all the way around.

In the pic you will see the 2 spacers on the gear side and the 1 spacer on the non gear side to fit the 68mm bottom bracket, spacers included (The wider Q Factor I mentioned crank arms are about 5 to 6mm wider and derailleur throw will have to be adjusted wider on the out and in stops). Also the front derailleur will need to be lowered to the appropriate position, cable re adjust. The factory front Micro Shift derailleur works just fine and it shifts perfect with no issues.

It took me about 20 to 25 minutes taking my time to install and adjust everything including removing 6 links from the chain.

Ride Safe,
Bill G
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Old 06-14-17, 02:28 PM   #2
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'26" Rear Wheel Gearing Upgrade'

I always thought the rear wheel was the one at the back of the trike. Your post is all about the front.
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Old 06-14-17, 06:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
'26" Rear Wheel Gearing Upgrade'

I always thought the rear wheel was the one at the back of the trike. Your post is all about the front.


No it is not all about the front and how you came to this the way you stated it is beyond me. Its about changing the gear ratio of a 26" wheeled trike if you read the context and intent of the posting correctly.


Its about installing lower gears to help with the ratios because a 26" rear wheeled trike has taller gears by having a 26" rear wheel verses a 20" rear wheeled trike with the same gearing. My wife's trail came with the exact same gearing as my 559. Point being apples to apples because of the 26" rear wheel my gearing was taller. One of the things some guys don't like about a 26" rear wheel a stated in my posting. The trade of being the long wheel base and the added comfort and looks of a 26" wheeled trike.


The set up I did as stated gave me the best all around great gearing with much better lows gear ratios and mid gear ratios in my opinion while still having or maintaining a decent top end gear ratio. While having the advantages ride and looks of the 26" wheeled trike.


I have posted this on several trike forums and your the only one that did not get what I was saying. I think I explained it all pretty clearly.


Ya, I know the 26" wheel is the rear wheel (really). Re read and you will see I said guys try to lower there gear ratios on 26" rear wheeled trikes by changing the inner small gear ring up front. I then showed the option I choose instead to lower the over all gear ratio on my 26" rear wheeled Catrike 559.


I have no idea with what I wrote how you come to the conclusion you did.

Ride Safe,
Bill G

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Old 06-15-17, 06:33 AM   #4
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I was just joking. I knew what you were getting at.

FWIW, we have a Catrike Trail and a 559 at our house too so I understand the gearing issue. When I'm in full uphill granny gear mode on my 559, my speed drops down to around 3 MPH. Any hill so steep that I can't maintain 3 MPH I have no interest in climbing anyway.
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Old 06-15-17, 05:54 PM   #5
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I suspect that many new riders do have trouble with the 20.7 GI granny gear on the 559 wheel Catrikes but in reality it is not much different than the 19 to 98 gear inches that came on my first trike with a 20 drive wheel (not a Catrike). The stock 26" rear wheel Catrikes have a gear ratio of 20.7 to 117.6 gear inches essentially using road bike components 11/36 and 30/39/52 with a 170mm crank. You switched to what is more commonly used on mountain bikes but left the cassette the same. The new gear range is 16.6 to 95 gear inches so you lowered the lowest gear by 19.8%. Catrike gets a pretty wide gear range as a result of using the 10 speed cassette with a 36 tooth granny gear. I certainly did have trouble climbing hills with the 24 speed, 19-98 GI range on my first trike even though I had ridden my Linear LWB recumbent 3K miles in the year before buying my first trike. There is no doubt that once you get your trike legs, things get easier. These days I ride a Catrike 700 with a 21.9 to 124.2 GI range. I have no trouble climbing steep hills on it and wouldn't change out the gear setup. I very rarely shift into the smallest chainring.
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Old 06-16-17, 06:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I was just joking. I knew what you were getting at.

FWIW, we have a Catrike Trail and a 559 at our house too so I understand the gearing issue. When I'm in full uphill granny gear mode on my 559, my speed drops down to around 3 MPH. Any hill so steep that I can't maintain 3 MPH I have no interest in climbing anyway.
I see now you were joking... embaraced 😐

It looks like you being a 559 owner yourself you definitely understand the pros and cons of the gearing with a 26" rear wheeled trike.

I wish Catrike would offer other front crankset options on a new trike. I talked with them in detail and even sent pic's. They said they would consider it but nothing obviously came of it as a factory option.

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Old 06-16-17, 06:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
I suspect that many new riders do have trouble with the 20.7 GI granny gear on the 559 wheel Catrikes but in reality it is not much different than the 19 to 98 gear inches that came on my first trike with a 20 drive wheel (not a Catrike). The stock 26" rear wheel Catrikes have a gear ratio of 20.7 to 117.6 gear inches essentially using road bike components 11/36 and 30/39/52 with a 170mm crank. You switched to what is more commonly used on mountain bikes but left the cassette the same. The new gear range is 16.6 to 95 gear inches so you lowered the lowest gear by 19.8%. Catrike gets a pretty wide gear range as a result of using the 10 speed cassette with a 36 tooth granny gear. I certainly did have trouble climbing hills with the 24 speed, 19-98 GI range on my first trike even though I had ridden my Linear LWB recumbent 3K miles in the year before buying my first trike. There is no doubt that once you get your trike legs, things get easier. These days I ride a Catrike 700 with a 21.9 to 124.2 GI range. I have no trouble climbing steep hills on it and wouldn't change out the gear setup. I very rarely shift into the smallest chainring.
All great points...I get what your saying but for my situation I prefer to keep my gear ratios more knee friendly after my right knee surgery. I have the lows I need for hills while still having a decent top end and as said a nice mid range gear ratio as well. I do understand getting your trike legs as I have been riding them now for quite a while.

Thanks,
Bill G

Last edited by Bill G; 06-16-17 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 06-16-17, 08:28 PM   #8
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I wish Catrike would offer other front crankset options on a new trike. I talked with them in detail and even sent pic's. They said they would consider it but nothing obviously came of it as a factory option.
I suspect that the design concept for the 559 was to distinguish it from the Trail with higher stock gearing. I can tell you that was certainly a part of my purchase decision.

If I were doing it over today I think that I'd buy myself a Trail. The Trail folds a bit more compactly so it would fit in my Honda Element differently and would store under a certain shelf in my workshop. I'm sure that I could live with spinning out the 95 inch high gear once in a great while. The derailleur arm on the Trail does drop mighty close to the road surface but that has never been an issue for Mrs. Grouch.
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Old 06-16-17, 08:45 PM   #9
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I suspect that the design concept for the 559 was to distinguish it from the Trail with higher stock gearing. I can tell you that was certainly a part of my purchase decision.

If I were doing it over today I think that I'd buy myself a Trail. The Trail folds a bit more compactly so it would fit in my Honda Element differently and would store under a certain shelf in my workshop. I'm sure that I could live with spinning out the 95 inch high gear once in a great while. The derailleur arm on the Trail does drop mighty close to the road surface but that has never been an issue for Mrs. Grouch.
Yes sir,

I do agree about the Catrike Trail I like my wife's Trail a lot and would have been just fine with one myself. On the other hand I do really like the long wheelbase and the ride look and stability of my Catrike 559. The gearing change I did above gave me a top end just a hair taller than the wife's Trail and very comparable lows for the hills the one thing I needed out of the gear ratio change.

As far as the folding goes for us we don't use it at all though it is a nice feature. I wish Catrike had offered both these trikes at a lower cost without the folding ability. We might be in the minority here on this but that would have been fine with me.

My wife absolutely loves her Catrike Trail as I am sure your better half does to.

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Old 06-17-17, 07:48 AM   #10
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Adding an IGH or "mountain drive" works well also.

I opted to go with SRAM SSD3 (iirc) on the wife and mine. Lowest gear combo resulted in a sub 3mph cruising speed. It would have been a little tougher on the larger wheel models.
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