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Thread: Trike advice

  1. #1
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    Trike advice

    I,ve been road and mt. biking for 15 years and I commute on mt. bike with slicks about 30 mile a day 3 times a week. I've for some unkown reason been facinated with trikes for like the last 6 months. It all began when I was looking for alternate transportation from my motorcycle to save gas and carbon. I ended up returning to my mt.bike but the thought of a trike still lingers. I cant justify sspending 2500 on something I know little about and I already have 4 bikes but I could justify spending like 1500. Actionbent is located in here in seattle and has some decent reviews for a lowerend bike and I think terra trike does to. But I havent found that many people online that commute on trikes, so my question is Do any of you commute on a trike and what do you think of it as opposed to a 2 wheeler? I noticed that most people that write about these ussually have a health problem that required them to ride something easier on the body, so am I being delusional about these trikes as a good means of transportaion or are they as cool as I hope they might be?
    ps I climb a 3 mile hill on the way home speed isnt everything but are these things super slow on the up hill or just mildly slower?
    thank

  2. #2
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    id say go test ride everything you can get your hands on..............it cant hurt...........and alot cheaper

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    I test rode a cattrike and it was everything I thought it would be but they only let you ride around the parking lot and it is such a different experience I cant tell if Im going fast or just being close to the ground makes it seem like Im going fast. I've even tried to rent one on craigs list but as expected no one will let a stranger test ride an expensive piece of equipment, I know I would have reservations. anyway hoping a commuter out there might have some extra info.
    thanks

  4. #4
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    I've been riding my trike to work every day for a year and three months - and that includes the winter! I'm 24 years old, and have absolutely no health problems that force me to ride a trike. I just like it more! I would never go back to two wheels for commuting.

    The very best feature of the trike, IMO, is the rock-steady stability of three wheels. I can rool over virtually anything and not worry about falling off. Sand, gravel, water, ice, potholes and bumps have no power over me. For this reason, I can put all my effort into going fast, rather than trying to avoid every little defect in the road.

    I also enjoy the laid-back stance of the recumbent trike. It is aerodynamic, so wind doesn't affect me nearly as much. It also keeps my eyes level with the road instead of staring at a patch of asphalt 20 feet in front of me. This allows me to scan the traffic ahead of me and make decisions long before I run into trouble.

    So yeah, definitely get your hand on one to try out for a while. I'm sure you'll be addicted in no time.
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    thats exactley what I expect.. do you use some kind of screen in the winter or do you just wear good gear or live in cali?

  6. #6
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-o View Post
    The very best feature of the trike, IMO, is the rock-steady stability of three wheels. I can rool over virtually anything and not worry about falling off. Sand, gravel, water, ice, potholes and bumps have no power over me. For this reason, I can put all my effort into going fast, rather than trying to avoid every little defect in the road.
    I love trikes, but the stability varies quite a bit with the model and the speed you ride. They're great at regular riding speeds. Taking a gravel road at 20mph is fun and perfectly safe to boot. You can hit stuff and purposely try to loosen things up without risk of crashing.

    However, at higher speeds, the handling can change dramatically. Bombing down a hill at 40mph on my 2004 Cattrike Road takes a gentle touch and I simply wouldn't want to attempt going 50 down the side of a mountain. Somewhere after 25mph, you really want to avoid hitting things. I've managed to flip my trike once (rider error followed by an overcorrection that turned me over). Flipping is much easier than it sounds even though you are low to the ground -- I don't particularly like going down steep hills because I have to be careful (not the same as slow). The good news is that you don't have as far to fall

    As far as speed uphill goes, it's all in the engine. I can outclimb many roadies even on very steep climbs. However the terratrike is much heavier than mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    I love trikes, but the stability varies quite a bit with the model and the speed you ride. They're great at regular riding speeds. Taking a gravel road at 20mph is fun and perfectly safe to boot. You can hit stuff and purposely try to loosen things up without risk of crashing.

    However, at higher speeds, the handling can change dramatically. Bombing down a hill at 40mph on my 2004 Cattrike Road takes a gentle touch and I simply wouldn't want to attempt going 50 down the side of a mountain. Somewhere after 25mph, you really want to avoid hitting things. I've managed to flip my trike once (rider error followed by an overcorrection that turned me over). Flipping is much easier than it sounds even though you are low to the ground -- I don't particularly like going down steep hills because I have to be careful (not the same as slow). The good news is that you don't have as far to fall

    As far as speed uphill goes, it's all in the engine. I can outclimb many roadies even on very steep climbs. However the terratrike is much heavier than mine.
    Stability does indeed vary with the brand and sometimes even depends on the year within a brand. There are trikes that are quite stable at high speed. Seek them out if high speed stability is a criteria.

    Chip
    recumbenttrikestore.com

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    thanks, I just found a store that sells greenspeed trikes near me, any good?

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    Quote Originally Posted by squirl View Post
    thanks, I just found a store that sells greenspeed trikes near me, any good?
    Yes.

    Chip

  10. #10
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    My GreenSpeed GT3 is nice and stable at and below 50 mph and as long as the road is not rough and windy its quite happy above that speed.
    GreenSpeeds are in the better than average category of trikes, they are also indirect steer which means a bit less twitchy than direct steer trikes especially at high speeds, we have lots of hills so I see alot of high speeds and low speeds crawling back up them, recumbents do tend to be slower up hill for most but not appallingly so.
    The ab trikes get pretty good reviews as well especially considering the price.
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  11. #11
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirl View Post
    I noticed that most people that write about these ussually have a health problem that required them to ride something easier on the body, so am I being delusional about these trikes as a good means of transportaion or are they as cool as I hope they might be?
    ps I climb a 3 mile hill on the way home speed isnt everything but are these things super slow on the up hill or just mildly slower?
    thank
    How steep are we talking (i.e. what's the grade or how fast can you max out on the MTB)? 3 miles can be a haul. Realistically, it's only mildly slower and possibly faster than your MTB. I would avoid super heavy trike models like the Sun though. I've taken my trike on mountains that roadies use to train for climbs. Most people are surprised how fast I can move it.

    I have a decent length commute I sometimes do on a trike (22 miles each way), and I think their suitability for that task depends on the roads you have. There is something inherently less depressing about taking a side or head wind on a trike. You can add panniers with very little aero penalty because they hang behind you. I find that people cut you more space unless you are fully enclosed. I think any trike will be faster than an MTB. Brakes work great when it's wet.

    The bad news is that you are significantly wider and you have 3 wheels on different tracks so dodging debris (roadkill, broken bottles, boards, etc) is harder. Narrow shoulders with rumble strips are not enjoyable. If your roads have narrow shoulders, you'll tend to stick out. Eyeballs are at headlight level if you ride at night. Because of the lower riding position, you get a lot more spray on you if you ride in the wet. If you have to ride in heavy traffic, cars that are next to you can't see you (definitely ride with a safety flag. My aero weenie side hates them, but they make a big difference.) Visibility is not an issue on open roads.

    I recommend taking a trike out for a test ride on roads that are similar to your commute and see how you feel. Note that it's a different riding experience and it will get easier and more enjoyable as you get used to the new low riding position and handling.

    As far as coolness goes, I think they are cool. I have multiple bikes and they all are very different. The trike is easily the most fun ride I have, though I tend to ride my highracer and racing bike most because I like speed and the narrow stance. However, the trike is the only thing I'll ride when I'm just tooling around town, and I do enjoy taking it out for the occasional century.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjs1948 View Post
    Stability does indeed vary with the brand and sometimes even depends on the year within a brand. There are trikes that are quite stable at high speed. Seek them out if high speed stability is a criteria.
    They changed the steering in the Road after 2004 and I hear that handling improved. Most of the performance models I've heard people report on seem to handle well. Most "cruising" models I've heard about don't handle so well at high speeds. I tested the Sun and Terratrike Cruiser when I was looking for a trike. They do not handle well at speed IMO, but neither does mine and I still would buy the same trike (but probably a newer model) if I had to do it again.
    Last edited by banerjek; 08-17-07 at 05:41 AM.

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    Thanks that was the kind of information I was looking for. Im planning a ride through washington and oregon next month mabey this would be a good trip to develop some bent legs and test out a trike on some of oregons passes.
    Oh yah, someone on craigs list has a Sun EZ TAD CX for sale ($1200 less than 2 months old) in my area, any comments on these. I cant find any information about thier wieght or reviews. They seem to sell new for $1300 - 1500 so I know they arent highend but any thoughts?

  13. #13
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirl View Post
    Thanks that was the kind of information I was looking for. Im planning a ride through washington and oregon next month mabey this would be a good trip to develop some bent legs and test out a trike on some of oregons passes.
    Oh yah, someone on craigs list has a Sun EZ TAD CX for sale ($1200 less than 2 months old) in my area, any comments on these. I cant find any information about thier wieght or reviews. They seem to sell new for $1300 - 1500 so I know they arent highend but any thoughts?
    Very heavy! Hold out for a used Catrike.
    safe riding - Vik
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    thats kinda what I figured, when the manufacturer or dealer doesnt put the wieght on the web site it probably means its heavy. so the 30 to 34 # area is about right?

  15. #15
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Oh heck no...lol...the Sun page does list the weight 47lbs!!! I wouldn't be surprised if it was closer to 50lbs in real life.

    The Catrike Road is 33lbs and very nicely made - no comparison.
    safe riding - Vik
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  16. #16
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    Very heavy! Hold out for a used Catrike.
    +1. The Sun weighs a ton, the components are crap, and it is not nearly as well made as the Cats. Pricing is all over the place on the Cats, but you should be able to pick up a good one for $1400-$1500. Before you pay $1200 for a used Sun, you should spring for a brand new Terratrike for $1300

    There's a dude named Krash selling a 2004 Cattrike Pocket with a Velokit for $1500. It's a good deal because you get a velomobile (which will keep rain and cold off you) along with the Pocket which is a nice light trike. The velomobile part removes in a few minutes. I have a Velokit that I bought from Krash -- very cool. Go to http://www.krash.us/velokit-forsale.html for details. Here's a picture of mine if you wonder what a velokit looks like.

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    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    I was talking to the guys at wiz wheels at a bent rally. They claimed that their trikes are tested up to 70 mph being towed behind a car. That says a lot I think.
    chris@promocycle.net

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    Using my Edge 305 GPS as proof, I've gone over 55 mph on my WizWheelz Race. Still going strong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    +1.

    There's a dude named Krash selling a 2004 Cattrike Pocket with a Velokit for $1500. It's a good deal because you get a velomobile (which will keep rain and cold off you) along with the Pocket which is a nice light trike. The velomobile part removes in a few minutes. I have a Velokit that I bought from Krash -- very cool. Go to http://www.krash.us/velokit-forsale.html for details. Here's a picture of mine if you wonder what a velokit looks like.

    Darn, just got back from a trip and saw this post, I would have bought that one in a second. If anyone else sees a good deal like that, please let me know.
    thanks
    jef

  20. #20
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    I have two WizWheelz Trikes; one for me, and one for the wife. We like them a lot. The WizWheelz or Terra Trikes are hard to beat for the money. Best prices for trikes overall compared to other brands we looked at, good components as well as a big choice in trike models. Also, they have a lot more seat adjustability than any other trikes we looked at. The seat adjustability feature is what made the decision for us to buy the WizWheelz brand trikes. There were no dealers in my area so they delivered them to the door by truck. The guys at the factory are very nice. Check out there web page it is very informative. Also I find both trikes to be very stable in handeling including faster speeds such as down hill.

    The only upgrades I made right of the get go was to install the Terra Cycle upgraded idler pullys on both trikes. They smoothed things out nicely and made the drive train noise almost nill. I recommend this upgrade on the front and rear idlers. It's a little expensive but worth it in the long run.

    Best of luck to you, do the research and get what you like.
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    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    Since you're still looking... Yes, I commute on a Actionbent trike and actually take the "long" route to work each way. Mine is mildly modified for hill climbing by adding a SRAM 3 speed DualDrive hub/rim and a smaller chainring. Overall, these trikes come with a very wide gear range but I wanted more... and got it for a minimal investment (NOS ebay). Some upgrades I've developed (idler and steering; <$150-) and of course the trunk; rack; lighting; seat pads; and flag... and this is one really nice cruizer. I wouldn't trade any other trike for the ride I get with this one. It is perfect for commuting, touring, exploring, and even local club rides (with roadies even!).

    Of course, I prefer the hardshell seat... I prefer the 26" rear tire... and the components are all middle of the road with known brands like Avid, Shimano, SRAM, Alexrims, KMC. At over 2000 miles, no components have given out yet (except the replaced idler).

    Climbing... all depends on the engine. The trike weighs a true 37lbs out of the box and mine is at nearly 40lbs with "stuff". I gear way down (14 GI) when I first raise my brow to the mountain. I am slow but I put in no more effort than pumping up to 15-16mph on the flats. Three miles of climbing all depends on the grade. 3 miles at 12% is hell no matter what you ride but a comfy 5-6% grade is just an incline. But the downhill!!! that is exhileration... for months it would put a tear in my eye just for the pure joy of gliding down a smooth fast roadway for miles. Oh, and with 160GI on the top end of my gearing, I can pedal even faster on those downhills!

    I bought the Actionbent trike sight unseen... as a matter of fact, I didn't even realize they were considered recumbents. I just know they looked like go-carts and I always loved those as a kid. First ride and I was hooked! No regrets... just pure joy... and a comfort in knowing that this was probably the best bike related investment I've ever made.
    Today is a great day to ride!

  22. #22
    Recumbent Trike countersTrike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    +1. The Sun weighs a ton, the components are crap, and it is not nearly as well made as the Cats. .
    Funny looking back at the comments! I had '03 and '04 Catrike Speeds. Very well done (key word - done) couldn't upgrade easily or do any more than change to clipless and add a fairing. Terrific trike overall, but not an off-the-shelf modifying trike. Both went.

    Then in '05 I got 2 cheapo EZ Tads- an SX & CX- (sold the CX cheap to get rid of it). Changed everything but the frame on the SX, upgrading along the way. Yes, it was a heavier dumpier looking trike, but was an ideal base. Weighs 77 pounds now but has full body, full insulation, 2 fairings, proper gearing for a heavier vehicle, windows, vents, almost everything but the kitchen sink.

    Almost 3 years later; what do I ride? A heavy junky EZ Tad SX. With a ton of Turtle Wax 521 shine. Different horses...........

    countersTrike

  23. #23
    Senior Member Tourezrick's Avatar
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    Trikes

    Greenspeed, Catrike, ICE, HPVelotechnik Scorpion - all good. I started recumbenting over a decade ago, and have had four 2 wheelers and 2 trikes. Still have a Toureasy and my Scorpion, but since I got the Scorpion at the end of April, the Scorp has 1700 miles, the TE has 400. Trikes are fun, you never hear of the runner's grin, or the roadie grin, or the mtb grin, but a short ride on a trike will most surely put the 'trike grin' on your face. Going up hills? Yes, a little slower than a two wheel 'bent, which is a little slower than a road bike, but I can stop and restart at will, and I had my fill of "fast' back when I raced sport cars, so for me, a bike is fun, not fast, and a trike is the most fun of all!
    Tourezrick
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  24. #24
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countersTrike View Post
    Funny looking back at the comments! I had '03 and '04 Catrike Speeds. Very well done (key word - done) couldn't upgrade easily or do any more than change to clipless and add a fairing. Terrific trike overall, but not an off-the-shelf modifying trike. Both went.

    Then in '05 I got 2 cheapo EZ Tads- an SX & CX- (sold the CX cheap to get rid of it). Changed everything but the frame on the SX, upgrading along the way. Yes, it was a heavier dumpier looking trike, but was an ideal base. Weighs 77 pounds now but has full body, full insulation, 2 fairings, proper gearing for a heavier vehicle, windows, vents, almost everything but the kitchen sink.

    Almost 3 years later; what do I ride? A heavy junky EZ Tad SX. With a ton of Turtle Wax 521 shine. Different horses...........

    countersTrike
    Pictures please.
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  25. #25
    Recumbent Trike countersTrike's Avatar
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    Probably seen this photo before-
    http://www.frappr.com/?a=photo&gid=5...sh_slideticker

    Might make a nice dartboard!

    countersTrike

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