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Value or De-value - larger "diameter" of rear tire on a recumbent Trike

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Value or De-value - larger "diameter" of rear tire on a recumbent Trike

Old 11-23-20, 09:47 AM
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Value or De-value - larger "diameter" of rear tire on a recumbent Trike

So if you upsize the diameter of the rear tire/rim on a recumbent: I'm just trying to figure out the advantage. I have read that it puts excess stress on the frame but perhaps not if the
particular frame is made for it. Just wondering how it affects ride, efficiency.... would it make you sit more straight up?

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Old 11-23-20, 02:36 PM
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I presume you are asking about a trike since that is what you have been posting about in the past. I doubt there is any undue stress on the frame for a trike built with a 559 or 700C rear wheel as I haven't seen any posts regarding frame failure at that location. The failures that I have read about usually involve the brazing at the cruciform on a tadpole trike. My CT700 does have noticeable flex in the rear wheel if you lift it off the ground and move the wheel side-to-side by hand. I've never noticed any effect from flex while riding. If you try the same procedure with a good 20" trike wheel like the one on my GS GTO, there is no discernible flex. Utah Trikes sells adapters for some models so you can change the rear wheel. Without and adapter you probably are going to run into interference with the frame. How their adapter affects the flex is probably a question they can answer.

The biggest change is probably in the gear range. The larger the rear wheel, the higher the gear range on both ends.
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Old 11-24-20, 11:07 AM
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As I have posted many times, my main reason for going to a 26" rear wheel was to get the RD and chain up out of the dirt and trash. In some gear with the 20" wheel my trike came with the tension wheel on the RD was little more than an inch off the ground.
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Old 11-24-20, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
The biggest change is probably in the gear range. The larger the rear wheel, the higher the gear range on both ends.
Bada bing bada boom boom boom!!!*
*albeit with a small quibble ... the gear range isn't higher on both ends. The gears are higher on both ends. A bad thing. However, a too high, low gear, because of a 26"/700C wheel, can be remedied relatively easily. A too low, high gear, because of a 20" wheel takes things like 60T chainrings to address. Not for the faint of heart.
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Old 11-24-20, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
I presume you are asking about a trike since that is what you have been posting about in the past. I doubt there is any undue stress on the frame for a trike built with a 559 or 700C rear wheel as I haven't seen any posts regarding frame failure at that location. The failures that I have read about usually involve the brazing at the cruciform on a tadpole trike. My CT700 does have noticeable flex in the rear wheel if you lift it off the ground and move the wheel side-to-side by hand. I've never noticed any effect from flex while riding. If you try the same procedure with a good 20" trike wheel like the one on my GS GTO, there is no discernible flex. Utah Trikes sells adapters for some models so you can change the rear wheel. Without and adapter you probably are going to run into interference with the frame. How their adapter affects the flex is probably a question they can answer.

The biggest change is probably in the gear range. The larger the rear wheel, the higher the gear range on both ends.
Thank you as always VegasTriker,
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Old 11-24-20, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
As I have posted many times, my main reason for going to a 26" rear wheel was to get the RD and chain up out of the dirt and trash. In some gear with the 20" wheel my trike came with the tension wheel on the RD was little more than an inch off the ground.
Thank you rydabent,
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Old 11-24-20, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Bada bing bada boom boom boom!!!*
*albeit with a small quibble ... the gear range isn't higher on both ends. The gears are higher on both ends. A bad thing. However, a too high, low gear, because of a 26"/700C wheel, can be remedied relatively easily. A too low, high gear, because of a 20" wheel takes things like 60T chainrings to address. Not for the faint of heart.
I'm not sure the big diameter tire is something I really need. However, I would love a bit of suspension on the rear end to ease my "hard tail" on
bumps .

Thanks,
Scubaquarius (alias, not "da" mechanic)
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Old 12-06-20, 09:19 AM
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As I've said before, another disadvantage of small wheels is that the small wheel will give you less gearing *range.* This is because of the way front derailleurs work - 'normalizing' gear ratios means larger chainrings but you're stuck with the same size steps between rings. The bottom line is that if you try to 'normalize' your gears at the high end, you lose a gear or so at the low end. This doesn't apply if you leave the entire range lower. The main advantage of trikes is that you don't fall over no matter how slow you go; and with a smaller drive wheel and the lower gearing associated with it, you CAN WILL go slower. This is not exactly a selling point for me, but it is for some people.

You can only fit a large wheel if the stays are long enough to accommodate it. Within that limitation, you're not going to over-stress the stays. However, it is true that a large diameter wheel is weaker laterally than a small wheel. It has less triangulation for its size. I don't think this is a significant factor for most riding situations.
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Old 12-06-20, 11:30 AM
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Another reason to is that with a 26" rear wheel, you can use standard mountain biking gears that are readily available and maybe cheaper too. For what it is worth IMO trikes with a 26" rear wheel just looks better.

And again with a 26" rear wheel and a 20' front wheel, you are always riding down hill.

Adding still another reason. I have posted this on some bike forum a while back. When I put the 26" up grade on my TerraTrike it raised the seat about and inch and lowered the BB about and inch also. I like that because when pedaling, it lowers my knees pretty much out of my line of sight, and keeps them from flashing in my face as I ride.

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Old 12-09-20, 04:09 PM
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What exactly are you thinking about doing?

First the frame stress issue. You can't normally just install a 559 rear rim on a trike that was designed around a 406 rim. The tire will extend 3 inches farther forward from the dropout and contact the chain stay bridge. Putting a 3 inch extension onto the chain stays, unless the extension is carefully engineered and designed, is where I would expect trouble due to the additional leverage. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it would take more engineering than I know how to do.

Now the gearing: A 406 rear wheel makes common mountain bike gearing easy to do. That will usually result in a low gear of around 20 gear inches. Think a conventional kids tricycle with a 20" diameter front wheel. 20 gear inches is fairly low, but not super low. Many trike riders want something lower than that. Again, that's do-able, but you're going to have to think it through. In my experience, many more trike riders are looking for easier hill climb gears than faster high gears.

A 3rd issue is the one that surprised me. I have a Catrike 559 and my wife rides a similar Catrike Trail with a 406 rear wheel. The Trail, being 6 inches shorter will just fit, unfolded, into the back of my Honda Element. My 559 won't because it's too long. The Trail is also 6 inches shorter when folded and standing on end. Folded it will stand up on it's kickstand in the back of my Element. The 559 has to lay flat. I also had to redesign the storage area in my shop for the 559 to fit. As for gearing, I bought the 559 because I thought I needed the faster high gears. My normal flat road riding speed is around 10 to 15 MPH so I don't need the faster gears. If I were doing it today, I would get myself a Trail like my wife's with a 406 rear wheel.
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Old 12-10-20, 08:20 AM
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You don't need 'normal' road gears unless you're planning on being consistently above 14 mph. I think that eliminates most trike riders.
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Old 12-13-20, 01:02 AM
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I purchased a Sunseeker EcoTad with 20” wheels from Utah trikes and changed out the 20” rear wheel to a 700c with Utah’s extensions.I felt like I was hot rodiding lol.Somehow someone accidentally popped a few spokes in a front wheel.After looking around I decided to have 700c hoops laced to the front hubs.Trike is now leveled out and I feel safer Due too better visibility being up higher.I feel imo that I added value to my trike but for some It would be considered the wrong trike to upgrade.

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Old 12-16-20, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Another reason to is that with a 26" rear wheel, you can use standard mountain biking gears that are readily available and maybe cheaper too. For what it is worth IMO trikes with a 26" rear wheel just looks better.

And again with a 26" rear wheel and a 20' front wheel, you are always riding down hill.

Adding still another reason. I have posted this on some bike forum a while back. When I put the 26" up grade on my TerraTrike it raised the seat about and inch and lowered the BB about and inch also. I like that because when pedaling, it lowers my knees pretty much out of my line of sight, and keeps them from flashing in my face as I ride.
I would like the fact of getting my knees out of my chest, definitely .

Thanks,
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Old 12-16-20, 07:56 AM
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Thank you everyone for your informative responses and varying points of view,

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