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Thread: Trike : Slow?

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    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Trike : Slow?

    I hope this isn't a sensitive topic.

    About 30 years ago, I read about the Windcheetah. I'd never seen such a cool, fast looking machine. I decided they must be very fast. But I've never seen one in the flesh.

    In the intervening years I have seen other trikes, while on group rides. The things that strikes me is that I have never seen a trike moving fast. On group rides, the trikes are always being ridden rather slowly, like 15 mph on flat road. Other types of recumbents I've seen ridden fast and ridden slow, but the trikes have all been slow.

    I have test ridden a trike, briefly. I don't recall if it was fast. Being to low to the ground, it felt sort of fast, but I couldn't really tell.

    What gives? Have I simply happened to miss all the rides with fast trikers? Are all the fast trikers so far in front that I never see them? Are trikes inherently slow? Do trike riders tend toward the relaxed side? Did all the fast trikers switch to velomobiles?

    My initial awe at the Windcheetah left me thinking the trikes I see should be hustling along a lot faster than they are.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    I hope this isn't a sensitive topic.

    About 30 years ago, I read about the Windcheetah. I'd never seen such a cool, fast looking machine. I decided they must be very fast. But I've never seen one in the flesh.

    In the intervening years I have seen other trikes, while on group rides. The things that strikes me is that I have never seen a trike moving fast. On group rides, the trikes are always being ridden rather slowly, like 15 mph on flat road. Other types of recumbents I've seen ridden fast and ridden slow, but the trikes have all been slow.

    I have test ridden a trike, briefly. I don't recall if it was fast. Being to low to the ground, it felt sort of fast, but I couldn't really tell.

    What gives? Have I simply happened to miss all the rides with fast trikers? Are all the fast trikers so far in front that I never see them? Are trikes inherently slow? Do trike riders tend toward the relaxed side? Did all the fast trikers switch to velomobiles?

    My initial awe at the Windcheetah left me thinking the trikes I see should be hustling along a lot faster than they are.
    In another couple weeks I hope to be able to give you a good answer when my new Catike Road gets here. I have alway rode DF bikes and consider myself pretty fast (atleast in my own mind). I have a Velomobile on order but it won't be here for 6 months. The trike is to hold me over and get my bent legs in shape till the Velo gets here.

    I pretty much ride all out when I ride by myself, not so much when my wife goes along as she likes to take her time. I imagine I will probably ride just as hard on the trike as I do on my DF bikes, but who knows I may slow down and smell the roses, LOL.

    I too see people on trikes and they seem to be going slower, maybe that's just a perception, or maybe its just that comfortable they just take there time? I commute 25 miles round trip and plan to do the same on the trike. I will compare times, but as things are and from what I read 3 wheels is probably going to be slower than 2 wheels. I do hope to be as fast in the Velo and the trike as I am on the DF bikes, but time will tell?

    Bizman

  3. #3
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    I have been riding trikes for quite a spell now, and you are correct on some points. When I go out to ride fast, I take my two wheeler, and ride. When I want to have fun, and relax, I ride my trike. Now, a word about the windcheetah....I was at a fun ride in Punta Gorda a couple years ago on my Bacchetta Strada, which was pretty quick, and came up on a fellow riding a windcheetah trike. He was cruising along at about 17mph, with no sweat. It took me a long time to catch him, but it was flat there, and I had leg enough. That is a very fast trike. Catrike's 700, with the right rider onboard is a very fast trike. But for me, average cruising speed on the trike is 14-15mph, compared to the 17.5-18.5 that I cruise on my two wheeler.

    Your miles my vary,

    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    There are only two trikes I've ever seen that were capable of keeping up with my regular riding group. One is a Windcheetah with an average rider. The other was a Catrike Road with a former Cat 1/2 turning the pedals. Even with that motor, he had to draft the uprights closely to keep up at 18-20 mph. A Cat 700 may or may not be in the same league as the Windcheetah, I haven't seen one on the road yet. If I wanted to speed up a trike, the first thing I'd do is put spoke covers on all three wheels. I'd also adjust the steering so that it was as narrow as practical. Finally, I'd look into a streamlined tail bag or a tailbox.

  5. #5
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    What makes the Windcheetah and Catrike 700 fast? Is it the low seatback angle, or something else?

    It seems to me that the third wheel's rolling resistance, and the extra aero drag of the two outboard wheels and the arms out to the side, would be a problem for trikes, but the bulk of the rider's body should be as aero as a low-racer recumbent.
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    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Define "slow".

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    It may be about who it is who buys a trike. Most trike riders are older and no longer in the category of those who wish to break speed records (or capable of it). I own a Catrike 700. It is light relative to other trikes and comes with a narrow 700C rear wheel which gives the same gear range as a standard road bike. I'm not fast but managed to ride it over 4,000 miles in the first 12 months I owned it. My average speed (computer average) is nowhere near 15 mph. I wasn't out to break records when I bought it (my 3rd trike) but wanted a very low, nice looking, quality trike. I'm happy with it.

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    on by skijor's Avatar
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    All of the "upper" end trikes I've seen have been tadpoles. It seems like two wheels in front, and the rider's torso would tend to channel/cup the wind more than a two wheeler.

    That and all trike riders I've seen have been "past their prime".

  9. #9
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    Define "slow".
    You have a good point, that just saying "slow" and "fast" without numbers attached is confusing.

    I'm using "slow" to mean cruising at 15 mph or less. To me, "fast" would be a sustained cruise at 21 mph or above. Both are on flat road, no wind, no drafting involved.

    That's just based on the group rides I do. 15 mph and you won't catch up at regroup/rest stops. 21 mph and you can stay somewhere around the front.
    Last edited by jyl; 06-30-14 at 10:18 AM.
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    Senior Member wbuttry's Avatar
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    a fairing will also make a trike faster. I want a trike but half to wait till publishers clearing house give me my check for 1 million dollars believe me not holding my breath
    10 mph journey

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    Stick to a DF bike no matter how uncomfortable if you want that kind of speed. I've been to a rally where there are many trike riders, some who are pretty young, but I can't recall coming across any who could do a sustained 21 mph for any distance. There are very expensive delta trikes - Hase comes to mind where you can spend more than 4K on one of their delta trikes.

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    Senior Member wbuttry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
    Stick to a DF bike no matter how uncomfortable if you want that kind of speed. I've been to a rally where there are many trike riders, some who are pretty young, but I can't recall coming across any who could do a sustained 21 mph for any distance. There are very expensive delta trikes - Hase comes to mind where you can spend more than 4K on one of their delta trikes.
    I don't even sustain 15 mph on my df or my tour easy I am not into speed
    10 mph journey

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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    You have a good point, that just saying "slow" and "fast" without numbers attached is confusing.
    When I say "slow" I mean that a new trike rider can expect to lose at least 3 mph compared to any other platform.

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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
    Stick to a reclined Highracer or lowracer if you want that kind of speed. I've been to a rally where there are many trike riders, some who are pretty young, but I can't recall coming across any who could do a sustained 21 mph for any distance. There are very expensive delta trikes - Hase comes to mind where you can spend more than 4K on one of their delta trikes.
    FIFY.

    Ahem. IMO the M5 gives me the speed with the comfort. Aero wins. If you want a trike and want to go fast, get a velomobile.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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    Senior Member
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    The OP has a whole stable of DF bikes and he asked about trikes. No argument with you about the speed of a low-racer but that's not what he was asking.

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    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'm well aware of how fast the two-wheeled sort of recumbent can be, especially if faired and socked. And how fruitless it is to draft them. But I've always been curious about trikes.
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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Thanks. I'm well aware of how fast the two-wheeled sort of recumbent can be, especially if faired and socked. And how fruitless it is to draft them. But I've always been curious about trikes.
    a windcheetah would be your best bet. It's all about swept area and aero with both 2 wheelers and trikes
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    At TaterTOT last week, there were about 40 or 50 trikes, a half-dozen recumbent bikes, and two velomobiles. Most of the trike riders were sporting significant aerobellies, so it wasn't a surprise that they dinked along the trail. A couple of the guys had ICE Vortexes and they were as speedy as our Gold Rushes.

    Come to the next OHPV meeting- we'll probably be talking about TaterTOT and the upcoming Recumbent Retreat.
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    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I have both a LWB bent and a trike. I am usually about 2 mph slower on the trike with no wind. However if there is a wind especially above 20 mph I take the trike because it then becomes faster.

    BTW I ride my 2 wheel bent right at the same speed I ever rode my DF bikes.

  20. #20
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    We own a couple of CT roads and I agree with the above poster that mentioned they take the two wheeler when they want to go fast.
    Between the weight of the bike, the 20" wheel, and boom steer I find it nearly impossible to ride the bike over around 20 under power. Even going down a hill, the stock gearing leads to some serious boom steer around the low 20's In spite of that, coasting downhill can lead to some really high speeds. The average gets knocked down having to go back up.
    One Foot Less

  21. #21
    Senior Member aRoudy1's Avatar
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    Slow? Just more time to enjoy the ride!

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    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aRoudy1 View Post
    Slow? Just more time to enjoy the ride!
    Oh, yah, you betcha:

    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  23. #23
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Earlier I posted that on my trike I am about 2 mph slower than on my LWB bent. I might add tho that I am a fireball on both going down hill especially with the wind. My son finds it kind of maddening that even on my trike I can coast down hill faster than him on his $2000 mountain bike. And by faster, I mean dramatically faster. I just plain quickly roll away from him.

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    I think one of the issues that you can not ignore is that the muscle groups used with a recumbent can be very different than a DF. It surprised me.. I have a Windcheetah and on the flats I can easily go 20+ but climbing is a very different game. I can't come close to my DF climbing. I can feel the different muscle groups being used on the trike and now believe those that claim it can take a year to adjust. So unfortunately it makes it even harder to judge if it is a good choice for you on a single test ride.

    Cheers

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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