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First hilly metric on a trike

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Old 05-13-18, 06:00 AM
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BikeArkansas
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First hilly metric on a trike

Since purchasing a Catrike 700 in December I have been looking forward to, and dreading at the same time, my first challenging and hilly metric century in a organized ride. It finally happened yesterday with mixed results, but I was mostly disappointed. My legs cramped, but that would happen to me on my Fuji. I did finish 66 miles. I climb so slow it is frustrating. Last week I rode a completely flat metric century with a 17.8 average, which I will live with at 68 years old. I will not even look at my average from yesterday.

So, I really want to change something. I was one of the better climbers, especially in my age group, until last October when a neck injury finally took me off DF bikes. Does a trike exist that is more suited to climbing than the 700? Although I really enjoy some of the advantages of the trike, should I look at a recumbent bike?
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Old 05-13-18, 06:27 AM
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Look at bikes. A P38 might be a good choice.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
Look at bikes. A P38 might be a good choice.
I came very close to purchasing a P38, but decided to give the trike more attention. I have also been considering a Cruzbike. A very good cycling friend has also turned to a recumbent due to a neck injury. He has been on a recumbent bike for a few months and is highly considering a Cruzbike. However, I do like descending on the three wheels and would really like to find a better climbing trike, if it exists. Beginning to believe it does not.
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Old 05-13-18, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
I came very close to purchasing a P38, but decided to give the trike more attention. I have also been considering a Cruzbike. A very good cycling friend has also turned to a recumbent due to a neck injury. He has been on a recumbent bike for a few months and is highly considering a Cruzbike. However, I do like descending on the three wheels and would really like to find a better climbing trike, if it exists. Beginning to believe it does not.
If 'better' meant a couple percentage points, then maybe. Otherwise, if you are looking for more substantial gains, then no, not really.
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Old 05-13-18, 06:12 PM
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If you are leaning towards three wheels for stability, I'm not sure if a moving bottom bracket like the ones on Cruzbikes is going to make you happy. From other people's tellings, it's a hit or miss with people managing Cruzbikes.
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Old 05-14-18, 11:34 AM
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I've never been on a trike, so take this for what it's worth. From what I've read a 2 wheeled recumbent might be better than a trike.
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Old 05-14-18, 07:17 PM
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A 700 is relatively fast... for a trike. But not for a 2-wheeler.
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Old 05-14-18, 07:49 PM
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In the trike world, one of the best climbers is reputed to be the Windcheetah. But acquiring and owning one of those is frought with difficulties.
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Old 05-16-18, 10:43 AM
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@BikeArkansas - I want to throw in a little perspective. I don’t know your age, and in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Do you know how many people ever complete a metric century? Ever? Whether by bike, recumbent, trike? You are one of the rare few. It may not seem like it because we’re hanging around cyclist friends, but in the broader scheme of things you’re a ROCK STAR!

I know you are comparing your trike time to diamond frame time.....I get that. I just want you to step back for a second and recognize what an accomplishment that was.

I know someone who was training for a marathon as a walker, who had a friend who was doing the same program but as a runner. One training day the runner friend decided to walk with the walker buddy. Part of the way into the training the runner commented on how hard it was walking the event (vs running), since as a walker you’re out on the course a lot longer. People who finish marathons in 3 hours are faster, but when I walked the Portland Marathon I was out on the course over 7 HOURS.

You completed a metric century on a trike. In my book that’s an accomplishment.

Off my soapbox now.
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Old 05-16-18, 03:56 PM
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2 things to consider... DF legs are not recumbent legs, whether 2-wheel bent or trike. It takes time to build the acquire and "normalize" the appropriate requisite muscle groups (which are different than DF'ing muscle groups). 2nd, riding a flat century or better and riding the same distance on a recumbent, again - trike or two-wheeler - can be massively different because you can't do what you're used to doing on a DF- stand to pedal. It's all on your legs and a**, no gravity-assist. You're going to be doing single leg presses, lots of them with no relief. At best, you learn to down-shift and spin like a hamster in a wheel.

Even the best triker I have heard of, one a relatively young stud who was a competitive DF hill racer, admitted he "lost" 2-3mph riding a Catrike 700. He said it was definitely a more comfortable ride, but the speed loss was what it was and there wasn't anything he could think of doing to get that back. That was after riding it competitively against his old DF friends for a year, so he had "acclimated" to the trike.

Trikes have their place(s) and purpose(s). A triker being the firstest with the mostest on hilly courses is probably NOT going to happen for 99.999% of all athletes. Otoh, trikers who have acclimated and trained for their events will probably be able to stand and walk around with far less discomfort than their DF counterparts.

At least that's both my experience and understanding from recumbent riders with far more experience and athleticism than I have (or ever had). FWIW, I only "average" 17mph on a flat course on my Bacchetta Corsa. So, if you're riding @ 17.8mph over a distance of a metric century at age 68, my 62yo hat is off to you. Get on with your bad self!

(FWIW, over the last 5 years, I went from not riding at all to a Windsor Tourist (2 wheel Diamond Frame) to a Terra Trike Cruiser (a comfortable, but not known for its speed, trike) to an Easy Racers Gold Rush (upright seated, long wheel base, 2 wheel recumbent that IS known for its speed[especially with a fairing & windsock]) to a Bacchetta Corsa (reclined seat, short wheel base, 2 wheel recumbent usually considered a "fast stick bike"). While my fitness has steadily improved, my "average" speeds have only gone up from ~12mph to ~17mph overall on flat courses. Then again, I don't ride for speed and hillsare another story entirely, period (meaning all bets are off: I LOVEs me some downhills, but spin/grind up the hills)...Your mileage will definitely vary I am sure.)

PS...If I had it to do over again (and had the money at the time), I'd have stuck with a trike, probably switching out the Terra Trike Cruiser for a Cattrike 700...but the cost is what stopped me at the time...I traded "up" each time from the Cruiser onward, only tossing in an additional $50 or so each time I switched rides.

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Old 05-21-18, 05:39 PM
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I've ridden DF for 30 years and recently bought a Cat. Dumont. At 42lbs as sold it is a piggy getting up hills and at 42 degree seat angle not nearly as aero as the 700. I can spin well on a DF and often ride a fixed gear on long road rides but I not have developed a good spin yet on a recumbent trike. I'm working hard on a 25-30 mile ride with 28' per mile of elevation and 10-15 mph wind and average only 13-13.5 mph. I am 15-15.3 mph on the DF fixed gear at the same level of perceived effort.. My road bikes weight 16-19 lbs so much lighter than the trike, more aero and two wheels of rolling resistance not three. In your situation I wonder if a trike like the Cat Expedition only weights 35 lbs with a seat angle of 37 degrees would have a material positive ability to climb? I can get a lot of back and leg muscle climbing on the Dumont to counter my lack of spin. The Expedition will be slower on the flats than the 700 but still somewhat aero. But if you want to go fast on a recumbent you will need a bike, not a trike, unless you go with electronic assist motor and torque sensor.
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Old 05-22-18, 09:32 AM
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More wheels = more rolling resistance. Smaller wheels = more rolling resistance. More rolling resistance = slower climbing. If you want a cycle that climbs faster, go with two big (26" or 700c) wheels.

Some anecdotal evidence: I have the following:
  • a road bike: 2x700c, < 20 lb.
  • a Bike Friday folder/travel bike: 2x20", ~25 lb.
  • a "stick" high racer: 2x26", ~30 lb
  • a Zox 20 lowracer: 2x20", ??? lb
The road bike is the fastest climber, but not the fastest over all.
The stick bike is the fastest overall but not the fastest climber.
The Zox is a kick in the pants to ride, but painfully slow up hills.
The BF is a great travel companion but also painfully slow up hills.

I've heard that all else being equal (HA!), rolling resistance is inversely proportional to rolling diameter. My experience bears this out.

Back to my original advice: to climb faster, go with two big wheels.
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Old 05-24-18, 02:28 PM
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Any tadpole trike suffers somewhat from boom deflection, too. I don't know which is worse: boom deflection or soft rear end. Maybe both.
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Old 05-24-18, 07:55 PM
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Update: I did join a ride today that included, or actually featured, a climb. The trek up the mountain went well. Mostly, it went well because I simply pedaled up it, and did not try to push harder than the trike and my body wanted. I guess my attacking a climb is over and my age of simply riding the route is here. Not a bad ride today. Enjoyed it.
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