SPECBIKE TECHNICS is a German company which manufactures tadpole trikes in Latvia. HERE is their Facebook page. The frames are made of steel. They offer galvanized coating inside and outside of the frame for corrosion protection. The frame is powder coated. All models but one have full suspension. The company guarantees their prices to be the lowest. Their base model for adults starts at about $1544 but it has no suspension but it does fold. It also has three 20 inch wheels instead of a 26 inch on the rear. Before you get overly excited know that shipping to the United States costs from nearly $700 to nearly $1000 and takes about one week. Please note that import taxes may apply.
To make matters worse I just read on their Facebook page that they have increased their prices by quite a bit … they say due to demand … which makes no sense to me. If sales are good I would think they should be able to maintain or even lower their prices instead of raise them.
The model shown above is full suspension with a 250 watt 36 volt Shimano Steps electric crank drive motor for about $4576. It is 27 speed. The seat height is about 12 inches. The shock absorbers are adjustable and various springs are available to accommodate the weight of the rider.
They offer a 2 year warranty on the frame. The seat is adjustable for angle and has a built in adjustable headrest. A built in rear rack comes on all models. Brakes are installed on all three wheels. All models are available with folding frames as an option for additional cost of about $331. The same is true of hydraulic brakes (a $221 option). Three fenders come on all models. 20 inch wheels come on the front with Schwalbe Crazy Bob 20 x 2.10 tires. With the exception of their base model on all other models the rear wheel is 26 inch with a Schwalbe Crazy Bob tire 26 x 2.35. Shimano components are mostly used thruout the trikes.
The electric motor can be added to any model for about $1764 additional charge.
I find their website somewhat confusing. They show a model I was looking at as having a folding frame and then a little ways down the web page they show it as an option for additional cost. Another problem I found on their website that makes no sense is they show a model without the motor for 2145 Euro and with the motor for 4150 Euro. That is a difference of 2005 Euro. Yet they state that a motor can be added to any trike for 1600 Euro. That is 405 Euro more. Something is very wrong in this.
BTW, Specbikes Technics also offers children’s tadpole trikes which list for about $921. I assume the price has gone up on these as well but thus far the website does not show the price increases … only their Facebook page stated it.
I have written about one or more of the trikes/quads offered by this company before but as time goes by they keep coming out with more offerings. They always look interesting. I won’t elaborate on them as I really don’t know much about them as far as their quality and customer service.
Chinese made trikes have, of course, been around for awhile. And they are known for low cost. Again, I have written about them previously. And HERE is another past posting on them.
TrikExplor is a Chinese company which is something which personally bothers me as I don’t believe we as Americans should be buying all the products we do from China. In doing so we build them up while greatly damaging our own country. Besides that they are a Communist country and I think it is morally wrong for us to do business with them. Please understand I have nothing against the people of China. It is the Chinese government I have an issue with. Furthermore the Chinese are well known for totally ignoring the law and manufacturing copies of well known products selling them at a much lower price.
I truly wish we had such products being offered right here in our own country … made in the U.S.A. … and at a competitive price. I suppose however that the market is lacking for that to happen. Even some of these Chinese offerings are quite expensive … over $7000.
Right now as far as I know such products are not being offered here in the U.S. with the exception of certain offerings from Utah Trikes. I guess only time will tell as to whether or not these somewhat special trikes and quads will catch on and be sold in sufficient numbers for other manufacturers to offer them.
For many years I have used Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and absolutely love them. I assumed that I would always use them. However, they now have some competition. Oh it is still a Schwalbe tire but I decided to try the Big Ben Plus tires. It is a balloon tire so it is lower pressure and a softer ride. What I have discovered about them is that they not only ride nice but they handle and roll superb. I am extremely impressed with them. They have a reinforced sidewall. They are E-bike rated. As stated they are a “Plus” tire but they do not offer the flat protection of the Marathon Plus tires. In fact, they have 40 % less flat protection which is a significant amount of difference. I have not had them long enough to know how they are going to wear but I am quite sure they can’t begin to compare to the Marathon Plus tires which get phenomenal wear. So my guess is as long as I don’t get flats I will stick with my new love (Big Ben Plus) and just sacrifice the difference in tire mileage. I am extremely impressed with them.
I had to raise the front fenders up using spacers and longer bolts as these tires are taller than the Marathon Plus tires. Also the rear fender had to be raised for the same reason. And upon installation of the tire on the rear wheel the tire was rubbing. Upon investigation I discovered that it was rubbing on the braces for the seat back angle adjustment. I had to adjust my seat angle up one position to stop the rubbing. I didn’t like having to do that but the only alternative would have been to saw off the braces making them shorter so they would clear the tire.
Since these are balloon tires there is plenty of room inside of them. So I am using heavy duty thorn resistant inner tubes with them to help prevent flats. And, of course, I continue to use baby powder liberally inside of the tires and on the inner tubes to help eliminate internal flats.
BTW, I previously tried the regular Big Ben tires and they did not impress me like these Big Ben Plus do. I had ordered the Plus tires but they sent the regular Big Ben tires so rather than going thru the mess and expense of sending them back I just installed them. When they had ran their course I switched back to Marathon Plus. Definitely the Big Ben tires did not do all that well in the wear dept. I still wanted to try the Big Ben Plus so the next time it was time to change tires I ordered the Big Ben Plus. I am so glad I did.
BTW, it is my understanding that the main difference between the Big Apple/Big Apple Plus and the Big Ben/Big Ben Plus is the Big Ben/Big Ben Plus have a deeper tread so they have more wear available out of them.
Did I mention that I really like these Big Ben Plus tires. Oh yes, I did, didn’t I? Hey, at least I have an excuse … I am getting old. 😉
Tis’ time to end this commentary on ol’ BBP. They are helping me to …
HERE is a web page where you can compare the various Schwalbe tire lineup as to rolling resistance, durability, flat protection, road grip and off-road grip. I will have to admit I take issue with what they show concerning flat protection. Marathon Plus has a 5 mm layer thickness while the BBP has a 3 mm layer thickness. That is 40 % difference yet they show both at nearly the same flat protection on this web page. That makes no sense to me.
I assume most of us have come across items others have lost and I assume most of us have lost items.. The old adage “finders keepers, losers weepers” come to mind. If we are fortunate it evens out but we are not always fortunate. Definitely I have not been one to have things even out. In fact, I think the only thing I have found while out riding that was of any real value was a Cateye taillight. It is not as bright as some of the ones that have come along since it was manufactured but still it is fairly bright. I seldom use it however. Recently I lost a headlight which I valued and do miss. I was using a universal clamp I have had for quite some time. It adjusts to accommodate various lights. I had switched to this headlight just this morning when I lost it. Apparently I did not have the clamp tight enough to securely hold the headlight. I assume somebody got a nice headlight out of the deal. I thought I knew where I lost it as I noticed it was missing just a short distance past the area I thought I heard something drop. I went back to look for it but didn’t find it. I ended up retracing my ride all the way back home and back again to where I first turned around looking for it. I even got off of my trike and carefully walked around looking for it. No one was around when I had heard the sound of something dropping. I was going across a boardwalk at the time and was nearly at the end of it. So if it did fall there I am quite sure no one else got it. And after a very careful look (three times) for me to have not spotted it would have to mean that it fell and rolled somewhere where it is very well hidden. I had just put brand new batteries in it and it was flashing very brightly which should have made it pretty easy to spot. It is kind of a sickening feeling when you lose something you value. Yes, it can be replaced. I just don’t like wasting money buying something I already had and was working fine. Anyway I immediately went to the LBS (local bike shop … or local bike store) and bought a new headlight identical to it. I like having at least one battery (AA or AAA) powered headlight and taillight as I can change the batteries while I am out riding if I need to. And the batteries last a very long time compared to the rechargeable type. They are another story and have let me down more than once with no recourse while I am out riding. Well, as they say … that is my story and I am stuck with it. So if you are riding along and see a headlight laying near the trail flashing away … well, no, it is not likely mine. That would be too far for it to roll. Hopefully you won’t loose anything … especially anything of value … while you are out riding. It is no fun, I tell ya. It is definitely not my idea of …
Oh by the way … since this happened I have removed the universal clamp mount (shown in the picture below) and am using the mounts that came with the lights I am now using. I added another mounting post opposite the one which Catrike has on the front derailleur post. It is working out well.
Have you noticed the increase in FAT trike riders over the last several years? Yeah, I am messin’ with ya again. I am not talking about people being overweight. I am talking about people riding FAT tire trikes. What brought this up you ask? Well, it all started on the Facebook Recumbent Trikes Group. One of the administrators posted a picture of several trikes all riding together and everyone of them was a FAT tire tadpole trike. If I were a rich man I no doubt would own a FAT tire tadpole trike. I don’t know why. I don’t have much use for one … just like I don’t have much use for a Jeep or pick up truck all jacked up with large wheels and tires on it. I really don’t have any desire for the Jeep or truck, but I think I would ride a FAT tire trike some if I had one. They not only look neat but I am sure they would be fun to ride some places … particularly off road.
Of course, some people live where off road riding is more available and prevalent. In fact, for some that is all that is about all that is available to them. I guess it is all a matter of perspective. I am sure some consider themselves blessed to have the off road scenario while others might very well consider it more of a curse. I have to admit I much prefer riding on nice smooth paved trails with lots of green trees and what I consider beautiful scenery. Most of the western United States has absolutely no appeal to me. I am not even interested in visiting there much less living there. To me it is just barren wasteland … ugly and just of no appeal. That’s me. I am sure there are those who like it … even love it … wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Anyway, as the saying goes … different strokes for different folks. And again as they say … it is what makes the world go around. I mean … some people even like eating oysters (and many other foods I and many others find repulsive). Regardless of one’s position on these various things one thing is for sure … FAT seems to be here to stay … both when it comes to body weight and recumbent trikes. Regardless of what we ride may we always …
Where I live our original trail system consisting of about 21 miles runs alongside of the three rivers here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As one might guess that means the trails flood over making them impassible. So they are closed and remain closed for quite some time sometimes (all too often) That’s a bummer! It is not as bad as it used to be as other trails have been built over the years which are not along the rivers and they usually don’t have flooding issues like these original ones. Never the less it is the original trails called the “Rivergreenway” which are my favorite to ride on, especially this one in this short video here. I came upon this scene and didn’t attempt to go any further as I learned my lesson previously.
Several years ago I approached this same area from the opposite direction and foolishly attempted to ride thru it. I had no idea how deep the water was at that time but I soon learned. It was late winter so the water was pretty cold. Once I started riding into the water I was committed and could not very easily do anything but keep going. This area is about 2 3/4 miles away from where I live and I had a ride home with wet feet and wet butt. I will say this … it was invigorating as in … it is sure to wake one up and get their attention. I have ridden thru other flood water areas before and since then, but this one I no longer mess with. It is deep and to be avoided. No wet butt for me! Yep, learned my lesson. I like to …
Thru the years I have tried various ways to take video as I ride. I have mounted my camera on my trike a couple of different times but never liked the results. One thing I object to is the camera picking up road noise thru the mount I had for it. I have had the camera helmet mounted but didn’t care for that at all even though there was probably the least jarring of the camera that way. Most of the time I have just held the camera in my hand. I really don’t like doing that however. Recently I have been trying out a mount I made using the mount for a headlight. I had to modify the headlight mount in order to mount the camera. Much to my surprise it doesn’t transfer much road noise into the camera.
Where I live and ride the road and trail surfaces are fairly rough so getting jarred around is a problem I have to deal with when it comes to taking video. Much to my surprise the jarring around using this camera mount is not as bad as I expected it would be. Never the less it is still present so I am considering doing some experimentation to see if I can improve upon this.
Also I would like to be able to quickly and easily remove the camera to hand hold it should I come across something I want to catch on video which requires re-aiming the camera or even moving it following the subject matter. Also I want to be able to easily remove the camera (only) and take it with me if I should stop for lunch or shopping while out riding.
Many of us like to video tape our rides and we do so for various reasons. How do you go about it? Please tell us by leaving a comment.
Utah Trikes continues to offer their custom models and once again they just may have a winner. I am talking about a full suspension trike (or quad) with or without electric motor assist at a low price. They call it the Revolution Defiance FS. The starting price for the trike version is $2999 but it is currently on sale as I write this for $2599.
Here is a look at the front suspension. And below is a look at the rear suspension.
And below is the 3 speed internal hub along with the external cogs … 8 is stock or 10 as an option.
With a single chainring up forward and 24 (3×8) or 30 (3×10) speed back aft the rider has a pretty fair selection of gearing. Other internal hubs are available as options.
For those who prefer 4 wheels …
The Revolution e-Quad currently sells for $5999. It has FAT tires, hydraulic brakes and a 1000 watt motor. It also has various upgrade options. In stock format it is not full suspension however … only rear suspension. But hey, with FAT tires who needs suspension? Front suspension is available as a $200 option. Various motor options are available as well. They are all 1000 watt but the top speed ranges from 12.5 mph for the stock motor and increases to 15, 20, 25 and 30 mph respectfully … the top one being the most costly as a $200 option. This is achieved by the rpm and gearing of the motor. All the motors offer a reverse … something very practical on a quad.
Looks inviting, huh? I mean one just might be able to …
Most of us are familiar with “leg suck” where the rider of a tadpole trike can experience their foot dropping down off of the pedal and onto the pavement where it is then drug underneath of the crossmember of the frame resulting in serious painful injury.
One of the main ways of preventing this from happening is the use of special shoes/sandals and pedals known as SPD. Although this system is quite popular it is not the only means of preventing leg suck from occurring. I have written about all of this before and I am not hear to do so again. I am writing this article because something keeps happening over and over again which ruffles my feathers. There are many people who insist that others use these SPD shoes and pedal. They try to force their will onto others. On trike forums this happens all the time. There are various reasons why some of us don’t like SPD shoes and pedals and don’t care to use them.
I have used them and I am one of those who don’t like them. My reasons don’t really matter but I will share it anyway. First of all even if I didn’t have any issues with my feet (which I do have) I don’t like to “clip in” because I want to be able to remove my feet from the pedals quickly and easily. If I were to tip over I don’t want my feet clipped to the pedals. If I were to be involved in a wreck I don’t want my feet clipped to the pedals. I could get seriously injured or be unconscious and my feet would still be clipped in. That concerns me. Even if someone were to come along and happen to know how to release the clips it might be painful and even cause more injuries. And if first responders have no idea how to release the clips that would also pose a problem.
Another reason I don’t like using SPD is because I have neuropathy in my feet. That is nerve damage for those who don’t know what neuropathy is. As a result of the nerve damage my feet hurt all the time and are quite sensitive. Being clipped in is rather uncomfortable for me.
Many people object to being clipped in because of foot discomfort. Like me they need to be able to move their feet around a bit on the pedals. Also many people find the SPD shoes/sandals uncomfortable to wear and need to wear comfortable shoes/sandals while riding.
I would never consul anyone to not use some sort of protection against leg suck even though there are those who don’t have a problem with their feet gong down onto the pavement if their feel get bounced off of the pedals. Some tadpole trike riders do not use any means of protection and do just fine without it. I am one of those people. I have spent money on various protective systems and used them. However, I stopped using them and just ride with BMX platform pedals wearing whatever footwear I want to and do just fine.
In closing I just want to appeal to others to stop trying to force your personal preference and opinion of the matter onto others. Leave them alone and let them choose whatever they want to use in this matter. There is nothing wrong with educating a “newbie” about the danger of leg suck and perhaps the various options available to help prevent it from happening. Please stop at that. It is their choice, not yours. And may we all …
I love watching Matt Galat’s videos as they are always so well done and interesting. For quite some time now he has had a drone he uses to capture video from up above. That really adds greatly to his videos in my opinion. Recently he put together a video of his ride thru Japan from back in 2017. The entire video is drone camera footage. I think it is super neat to watch. I hope you agree …
Click HERE to check out more about Matt’s world touring on his tadpole trike.
Today is January 1, 2020 … New Years Day . Yep, a new year is off and running. Some people make a New Year Resolution … something they decide they should do to make a change in their life. I have never been one to do that. for that matter I have never been one to set goals to achieve in life. I just live my life day to day. For me that works great as I don’t deal with stress or anxiety. I never have. And I don’t have to concern myself with disappointment as a result of something not happening in my life. I am sure some, perhaps many, would argue that my thinking and approach is all wrong … that I have nothing going on to challenge and “grow” me. Perhaps this is true. I don’t really know nor do I care.
Why am I writing this you ask? I don’t know. It is Jan. 1st … New Years Day … and I needed to come up with something to post. Another question is … where am I going with this? And again, an honest answer is I don’t have a clue at this point in time. I got myself into this and now I need to get myself out of it.
Oh yeah, I am suppose to be writing about New Year resolutions. Do you make them? If you do, how well do you do at keeping them? Someone will probably say … this year I am going to ride my trike at least 30 miles a day. They start out with the best of intentions but within a few days they fail to achieve the 30 mile distance. Thus they have broken their word they made to them self and perhaps to others including God. When this happens we tend to be hard on ourselves. It is not good.
Perhaps a different approach is needed. God’s Word cautions us not to boast about tomorrow because none of us know what will happen in the next second of time much less tomorrow. That being the case perhaps we should say”with the Lord’s help I will try to …”. And perhaps we need to think along the lines of “if I fall short of my goal I will accept it and move on picking back up and working toward achieving what I started out to do”. And if we discover our goal was set too high for us to accomplish that is ok. We simply need to lower the bar and do whatever we are capable of. Beating up on ourselves is not the answer.
Here in the United States as well as some other places in the world New Years Day bike rides are quite common. Some people ride by themselves. Others ride together with family or friends. And some ride in planned organized rides in our communities. Here where I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana this community has such an organized ride for bicyclists as well as motorcyclists. It is nice to have these rides available. There is only one problem … ol’ man winter” The weather dept. can definitely mess up our plans. Sometimes the weather is just too nasty to venture out … at least for many of us. I personally have only ridden on a couple of these New Years Day rides as the weather was not to my liking most years. Actually for me, riding the couple of times I did go was enough for me. I am not crazy about going anymore. Riding with a large number of people in close quarters doesn’t appeal to me. I much prefer to ride with just a very few other trikes. I really don’t like riding with bicycles at all. Most cyclists tend to meander around all over the place and pose a dangerous threat to my safety and others. So even if the weather is decent enough to venture out on Jan. 1st I usually just ride by myself staying away from the crowd. To quote the words to a song …. “the name of the game is I like it like that”.
No, I am not making any New Year Resolution, but I will be out there as much as I can riding thru the winter and doing my best to …