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Need help identifying tadpole trike

Old 09-05-11, 07:41 AM
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gbalke
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Need help identifying tadpole trike

Going to look at a tadpole trike for my wife today, but have little info as to make and model. Owner states there are no markings on the bike.

It has Shimano components, a single caliper brake on the rear, bar end shifters, 21 speeds. Can anyone recognize the model from the pictures below?



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Old 09-05-11, 09:00 AM
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Although I own a trike, I am new to the market. To me that looks like a custom job. The wheel alignment looks way off and with only one break that might be a little scary at times. Could be an early model ride built several years ago too. Hope someone can shed some light for you.
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Old 09-05-11, 01:21 PM
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BE WARY about buying a tadpole trike that has no front brakes First, you might be able to find a similar looking trike in the buyer's guide on www.bentrideronline.com or post the pictures there and ask for identification. Secondly, there has been several discussions on the few trikes that come with a rear drag brake ALONG WITH TWO FRONT BRAKES. The consensus was that it wasn't a good idea because braking with just a rear brake can cause the rear wheel to lose traction and the entire trike can come around on you causing loss of control. It is not intuitive and I have never ridden a trike with a rear brake but I would suggest you read those posts before buying this trike.
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Old 09-05-11, 01:50 PM
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Sorry, I can't place it yet, but it does look like a fairly solid construction, even for a custom job. I'd certainly buy it, just to appeal to the tinkerer/up-grader in me. I personally like the mesh/bucket seat set-up.

After examining the lower picture closely, you should be able to retro-fit disc brakes on the front wheels, leaving the rear as a backup or parking brake. A good bike shop should have the tools and/or know-how to install disc brake (including welding anything to make it possible).

It will be a matter of preference whether you want two independent front brakes, or link them together under one lever. I have both systems on my trikes, and kind of prefer the later on my Anthrotech - hydraulic drum brakes on the front and calliper brake on the rear. I like being able to have all three wheels provide stopping power. Then again, my Nomad has only independent front disc brakes, and being able to brake-steer into a fast tight corner can be fun and useful.

In terms of living with a rear-brake only trike: yes it can be dangerous if you don't take the time to learn the trikes limits - where is the edge when the rear wheel begins to let go of the road, for example, and do you get grip back when you let go of the brake handle right away? It could make a good first trike as long as you look into upgrading it with front brakes in the future.

For just puttering up-n-down the street, say from the corner market to home, and the terrain is flat, then a rear-brake should work just fine as long as it is in good shape.

And yes, the front wheels look like they will need some re-alignment, which could be easily adjustable by the steering tie-rods.

Good Luck, and keep us informed!
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Old 09-05-11, 02:07 PM
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The king pins/steering knuckles look flimsy to me. Just some bent steel? Most trikes use a cast assembly. The frame looks robust, though. I agree, it looks homebuilt, although those are some pretty elaborate bends on the crucifix for a homebuilder to have made. I wouldn't touch it unless I was prepared to do some serious engineering and fabrication, because it is going to require the attentions of another homebuilder to make it run as well as a commercial unit.
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Old 09-05-11, 02:15 PM
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Looks like a homebuilt Thunderbolt, built from plans designed by Rickey Horwitz:
https://www.ihpva.org/Projects/Practi...ons/index.html

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Old 09-06-11, 06:56 AM
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My wife and I drove down to see and test ride the trike. It is most certainly a home built bike and has quite a solid frame. My wife is unable to pedal a normal bike due to knee issues, but had no problem on the trike. We bought it, at a very reasonable cost, with the intention of using it as a trainer for her to strengthen her knees. The rear brake should be Ok for the "speeds" and flat terrain she'll be riding; she's no Lance Armsrong.
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Old 09-06-11, 07:59 AM
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Bought at a reasonable price it should serve your wifes needs quite well.
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Old 09-06-11, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Bought at a reasonable price it should serve your wifes needs quite well.
At 1/10 of what a Catrike Trail would cost us, it was hard to pass up. Plus it opens the door for me to buy a tadpole of my own.
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Old 09-07-11, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
Looks like a homebuilt Thunderbolt, built from plans designed by Rickey Horwitz:
https://www.ihpva.org/Projects/Practi...ons/index.html
good catch, Jeff! the rear seat mount certainly is quite distinct, so it looks like a match to me!
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Old 09-20-11, 11:50 AM
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Update on the home-built tadpole I bought for my wife. We took the trike out for her maiden ride lastweek to a local park that has a relatively flat pathed bike path surrounding a lagoon. My wife made one lap around and heading down a slight incline, approaching the water, instead of turning to the right away from the water, paniced and did her impersonation of Fred Flintstone. Needless to say, she stopped the trike but at the cost of a scrapped and possibly sprained ankle. All in all, she told me that she had fun riding the trike. She was sidelined due to the injury and several consecutive days of rain. I took this opportunity to replace the brake lever for one with more leverage and a locking feature and also installed new Kool Stop pads.

Today she went out again and rode the trike, still somewhat sore, but managed a 1 mile lap around a different bike path. She loves the new improved braking on the trike, she can stop on a dime. Hoping the weather stays sunny for a while to allow her to get in more riding.
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