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Considering a 2nd or Replacement Trike - Advice?

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Considering a 2nd or Replacement Trike - Advice?

Old 12-07-22, 07:56 PM
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Considering a 2nd or Replacement Trike - Advice?

I just got into riding a tadpole trike this year and really enjoy it. It's about the only form of exercise that I consider "fun", and my MD has stressed the need for me to exercise. . Although I'm quite happy with my Catrike Villager with Bosch pedal-assist, I do find that it doesn't quite fit ALL of my needs.


The Villager is great on paved surfaces but not-so-much on unpaved ones. So, because I live in a fairly hilly area, with a variety of trail surfaces, I'm considering either a replacement for the Villager, or adding a 2nd trike for dirt/gravel riding.


My requirements would be:

- fat tires for use on gravel/dirt
- torque sensor pedal-assist motor with available throttle, and (and this is a unique one.....)......
- similar wheel spacing as the Villager. By this I mean the distance between the front wheels, and the distance of the front wheels to the rear wheel. This is so I could use the same trike rack configuration for either trike when hauling it from place to place.

(That 3rd requirement would become moot if I decide to replace the Villager rather than purchasing a 2nd trike, of course.).

So, I'm looking for recommendations on which make/model tadpole trike would fit these requirements. For the sake of argument, don't consider the budget for now.

Any thoughts?


Thanks!
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Old 12-08-22, 10:19 AM
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What tires do you have on the villager? I put Big Bens on my trike and it handles unpaved surfaces pretty well. Might be a good interim measure if you aren't running the biggest tires you can.
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Old 12-08-22, 02:51 PM
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Hmmm...That's actually a good thought. Right now my Villager has 20 x 1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Does anyone know the maximum size tires that a Catrike Vlllager can take?

Thanks!
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Old 12-09-22, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by newbert
Does anyone know the maximum size tires that a Catrike Vlllager can take?
Have you tried asking Catrike?
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Old 12-09-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by newbert
Hmmm...That's actually a good thought. Right now my Villager has 20 x 1.75 Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Does anyone know the maximum size tires that a Catrike Vlllager can take?

Thanks!
My Trek Tandem came with OEM Bontrager H2 26" x 2.0" comfort (Road) clinchers. Those were impossible to get during Covid and the new ones I've seen look nothing like the old ones. I had some unmounted Schwalbe Big Apple in 26" x 2.0" and seriously, they look like 26" x 1.75" when I mounted them. There is so much space under the fenders now it looks like I put the wrong size tires on. Clearly there is no 'standard' for what a 2.0" tire is. That is the dilemma Catrike, or anyone else has when telling you what the maximum size tire will be for your trike. But I suspect you can't go too far wrong in assuming 20" x 2.0" on your trike before anything rubs. Which isn't a problem since I'm not sure anything (conventional) bigger exists. FAT tires are an answer to a question no one asked. They look cool, and that is the beginning and end of it. They are not practical nor are they necessary. If your 1.75" tire can't handle it, maybe you don't need to be there? As I understand it, FAT (3"+) tires are for flotation in deep sand or snow. For dirt and/or gravel trails, a 'normal' tire can work way better than they are given credit for.
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Old 12-09-22, 05:35 PM
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My Big Ben 20" are 2.15" tires. A little bigger than the fat apples. I love them!
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Old 12-12-22, 07:50 AM
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With respect to Leisesturm, I have a different opinion on Fat Tires. While it is possible to ride gravel on tires less than 2" wide, it's not necessarily comfortable on a rigid bike or trike. All gravel is not equal, and while the Marathon Plus tires are fine on finely crushed and packed limestone, when the surface changes to rutted forest service road washboard gravel, more shock absorbing is needed. My experience riding a two wheeled rigid bike with 3" wide"Plus" tires inflated to 14-15 psi was a revelation. The floating effect of riding over irregularities was amazing, and the large footprint of the tires gave me great traction. Riding those same roads on my trike using the stock tires, I thought the trike was going to shake itself to pieces. Now I have mounted knobby tires, 20 x 2 and 26 x 2.1. I'm still in the process of evaluating their effectiveness, but they definitely help on the rougher chip seal pavement. I suspect that they will be good on moderate gravel that I've encountered on some rail trails, but rougher terrain would require either slowing down significantly for ruts, rocks and such, or else bigger (fatter) tires to cope with surface irregularities.
Just because there may also be ruts, baby heads and potholes doesn't mean that I shouldn't be there. A two track pickup truck road can be uncomfortable for a trike with narrow tires, but can be a plush ride with wider (3-4"+) tires. There is also the issue of clearance from the road and obstacles. Fat Tires will give you more clearance.

I don't know what the OP encounters when "off road", but personally, I'm saving for a Full Fat. I don't want to be limited by rough terrain.
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Old 12-12-22, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa
With respect to Leisesturm, I have a different opinion on Fat Tires. While it is possible to ride gravel on tires less than 2" wide, it's not necessarily comfortable on a rigid bike or trike. All gravel is not equal, and while the Marathon Plus tires are fine on finely crushed and packed limestone, when the surface changes to rutted forest service road washboard gravel, more shock absorbing is needed. My experience riding a two wheeled rigid bike with 3" wide"Plus" tires inflated to 14-15 psi was a revelation. The floating effect of riding over irregularities was amazing, and the large footprint of the tires gave me great traction. Riding those same roads on my trike using the stock tires, I thought the trike was going to shake itself to pieces. Now I have mounted knobby tires, 20 x 2 and 26 x 2.1. I'm still in the process of evaluating their effectiveness, but they definitely help on the rougher chip seal pavement. I suspect that they will be good on moderate gravel that I've encountered on some rail trails, but rougher terrain would require either slowing down significantly for ruts, rocks and such, or else bigger (fatter) tires to cope with surface irregularities.
Just because there may also be ruts, baby heads and potholes doesn't mean that I shouldn't be there. A two track pickup truck road can be uncomfortable for a trike with narrow tires, but can be a plush ride with wider (3-4"+) tires. There is also the issue of clearance from the road and obstacles. Fat Tires will give you more clearance.

I don't know what the OP encounters when "off road", but personally, I'm saving for a Full Fat. I don't want to be limited by rough terrain.
Right tool for the right job. The 2.15 Big Bens are great for city + pathway + chipseal + small gravel. If I was going hardcore off-roading I would buy a bent with a full suspension like the Scorpion Fs20 from HP.
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Old 12-13-22, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl
Right tool for the right job. The 2.15 Big Bens are great for city + pathway + chipseal + small gravel. ......
Then that (or similar) is what I'll look into come spring. I didn't mean to imply that I go off-roading on my Villager....

Thanks, guys!
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Old 12-13-22, 06:19 PM
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I'd love to try out an ICE Full Fat. They offer as an option the Shimano Steps E-assist.
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Old 12-20-22, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by newbert
Then that (or similar) is what I'll look into come spring. I didn't mean to imply that I go off-roading on my Villager....

Thanks, guys!
I'm at just about the same decision point regarding a second trike for off pavement.

I mounted knobby tires on my ICE Sprint X Tour and took it to the logging and forest service roads in Bent Creek experimental forest, south of Asheville. There was gravel as large as 2"+, with occasional grapefruit and football sized rocks half submerged in the surface. The ride quality varied, getting better as I let air out of the tires. I got down below 20 psi and the ride smoothed out considerably. Washboard sections were barely noticeable. So one CAN go on pretty rough roads with 20x2" and 26x2" tires, although that solution is probably less than optimal, as are most results when trying to get one trike to be able to handle riding both on road and off road.

Still, if you're on a strict budget, swapping out the Marathon Plus tires for something knobby (I used Schwalbe Little Joe) and going low pressure can get the job done and you can take the Villager off pavement. That being said, this solution is probably best for the gravel on rail trails and semi civilized gravel roads. A rear tire with knobs gives better traction off pavement than one with slick tread.

If money is less of an issue, Sun Seeker has an electric Fat Tad, although I can't speak to the type or quality of the motor system. With Fat Tires and low pressure, you shouldn't need suspension. Since the tires are 20" all around, the dimensions might be closer to the Villager and your trike rack than going to the 26" tires on the larger ICE Full Fat, which is a very expensive solution.

If you are limited to having only one trike for both on and off pavement, you'll probably want one with front and rear suspension, as previously suggested, but you may want to swap out the tires with different surfaces, even so. Good luck and please keep us posted on your decision.



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