You may be asking … “is a recumbent trike for me”? Keep in mind that one does not have to be old or disabled to ride a tadpole trike. But if you happen to be old or disabled recumbent trikes are likely your answer. They are highly modifiable and can be equipped to meet the needs of nearly everybody. From a basic tadpole trike to a FAT trike to a sophisticated velomobile there are lots to choose from. When it comes to riding on thru the winter most definitely 3 (or 4) wheels are far better and safer than only 2.
That is how I got started with tadpole trikes. Winter was fast approaching and I wanted to keep riding … riding safely. I knew 2 wheels were unsafe as a bicycle goes down readily on slippery surfaces. I had already experienced that more than once. Fortunately I never received any serious injury, but I was well aware it can happen. So I built me first tadpole trike and rode it thru the winter. I fell in love with riding a tadpole trike. It is so much more fun than riding a bicycle and it is much much safer. When Spring time finally came around I tried switching back to a 2 wheel recumbent bike, but quickly discovered that I much preferred riding the trike so I sold my bike which I didn’t care to ride anymore. That was in the winter of 2007-2008. So for 16 years now I have had the infamous “recumbent smile” on my face and never a moment’s regret. Recumbent tadpole trikes are difinitely for me. I bought a 2009 Catrike Trail and sold my homemade tadpole trike. I now ride a 2013 Catrike Trail.
Recumbent trikes come in two completely different design builds … a Delta with one wheel in the front and two wheels in the back …. and a Tadpole (originally called a Reverse trike) with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back.
Although my personal preference is a Tadpole design you may find you prefer (need) a Delta design. A Tadpole is like driving a sports car (Corvette) while a Delta is like driving a family sedan (Rambler). Not everybody is able to get in and out of the low seat of a Tadpole trike so for them the Delta is the only way to go. In all fairness there are some Delta trikes which are made low to the ground and built for speed and cornering.
These videos address these subjects:
As shown in the video above there is a lot of difference between a Delta recumbent trike and a Tadpole recumbent trike. I fully agree with the thumbs down for the Delta and the thumbs up for the Tadpole.
One last comment … I have found that riding a tadpole trike brings a whole lot more respect from motorists than one gets riding a bicycle. That, of course, adds greatly to the safety factor.
There is no doubt about it. Torque sensing is best and preferable over PAS (pedal assist sensor)(cadence sensing). That being said, not all e-motor system kits have torque sensing as part of their offering. I wish this were not so but alas it is what it is. My current e-motor came with both a hand throttle and a PAS sensor. I hooked up the hand throttle but I never messed with the PAS sensor. Just now I got it out of the box looking at it to see what would be involved in installing it. Of course, winter weather is upon us now so I don’t know if I will be messing with it before Spring when it warms up. I do need to get it installed for sure so that I will have “pedal assist”.
I paid big bucks for a torque sensor years ago.I had to buy a new crankset as the one from Catrike would not work with the torque sensor. I paid big bucks to install it. It didn’t work. A few months later I was having my trike worked on so I cautioned the mechanic that he needed to be very careful not to allow the torque sensor spindle in the bottom bracket to rotate as it has very delicate wires which will readily break.
He didn’t listen to me and he broke every one of the wires. It didn’t work before so it would not have mattered but I was getting ready to return it for a different type. I was very concerned about all the broken wires so my late brother in law who was a senior electronics technician repaired all of them for me. He did an excellent job on it but, of course, it was all for nothing since it didn’t work. Anyway, I got the other bottom bracket torque sensor but never installed it. It would have required me to purchase another crankset as the one I had bought for the first torque sensor would not work with the newest torque sensor. And the local bike shop could not locate a crankset that would work so I never installed it. Now I don’t have that e-motor installed anymore so it doesn’t look like I will ever use the new torque sensor. I don’t think much of that type of sensor. They are just too delicate and too difficult to install and set up properly. Now they have a different type which is not mounted in the bottom bracket. I like that concept much better.
Most of us are familiar with the term “drafting” where one vehicle follows close behind another and experiences a noticeable reduction in air resistance because the vehicle in front blocks the air the second vehicle would normally be dealing with. It takes less energy for those following the lead bike. Road riders often take turns leading breaking the air flow for those following. This is used in racing all the time and semi-trucks often practice it with each other. Bicycle world speed records have been recorded while riding on special railroad track bed behind a train equipped with a special shield blocking the wind for the cyclist. It is also done on land.
But what about just regular riding. Is there a noticeable difference when following behind another trike? This video deals with this.
I came across this video of a fellow trike rider illustrating the lighting he has on his trike. I really like it. It’s got everything needed … bright headlights, bright taillight, brake lights, side light and turn signals front and back.
The picture above shows a common place to mount a battery. However there are pros and cons about mounting it here. The best pro I can think of is that it keeps the weight down low helping the center of gravity to remain low and thus help the trike to handle better and safer. Another pro is that the key is in easy reach from the seat. I like all of that but even so I am considering relocating the battery because of the biggest con. In this location the battery is subject to getting water and mud on it. In this picture above I wrapped the battery in plastic trying to keep it clean and dry. It definitely helped. I even taped around the plug in the front which is very susceptible to water and mud getting on and in the opening and on the electrical contacts. It gets so bad that the plug won’t plug in or if I can get it in it doesn’t make electrical contact and I have no power. I have to try to clean it out and up in order to use the battery. Like I said, placing the plastic on the battery did help but I didn’t leave it on there as it was not practical to have it on there. First of all it greatly interfered with plugging and unplugging the power cable. This is something I have to do frequently when I switch from one battery to another. I probably could come up with something else to help keep it clean and dry … like maybe a plastic bag of some kind. It definitely needs something. And I really don’t want to have to relocate it. You may have noticed the rubber tarp straps on the battery and wondered about them. The battery by itself weighs 14 pounds. That is a lot of weight sitting on the battery mount to constantly be working the aluminum metal mount and fatigue it to where it breaks off at some point in the future. The tarp straps help hold the weight of the battery and take a lot of strain off of the aluminum mount in hopes that it never fails. It may not win any fashion contest but it works … it works great. Nope, this is not a good location for an e-battery as it is constantly getting mud and water flung all over it. My other battery is up above the rear wheel on a rack. That places the weight up high but it doesn’t get messed up like the lower battery does. It is always very clean and dry. Well, enough talk … it is time to ride boldly ride. Hope you manage to do the same.
Do you need a new mesh seat for your trike? HERE is a resource that can make you one. It is especially useful if you have a trike which is no longer made and no mesh seat is available anymore. They also offer these services:
NEW REPLACEMENT RECUMBENT SEATS
REPAIR OF SEATS, BAGS & RELATED GEAR
New seat mesh backs start at $75.00. New complete mesh seats start at $165.00. Prices are subject to change due to rising materials costs.
Features of Recumbent Seat Fix new seats —
Simplified designs with proven features and strong, quality materials
Self-adjusting Lace-Loop system, just like high end running shoes. No metal grommets which can pul out
TorqStrap provides rider with strong area to push into, lower back support, and focuses power in strong part of seat
Minimized seams and maximized stitching
Open back provides excellent ventilation
Design allows for variables in seat frame construction
Phone consultation with the person making your seat
Handmade in Colorado, USA
Some of the available new seat options —
Choice of 2 styles mesh fabrics – standard and high density
Extra reinforcements for heavy or strong riders
Seat bottom pads of made from air-flow honeycomb gel
Considerations and modifications for special comfort needs as well as physical limitations
Custom requests may be possible — it never hurts to ask
It is good to know there are some resources we can turn to should the need arise. It can help us to …
Tomorrow as I post this is December 25th. It is the day when most of the world pauses to one degree or another to acknowledge the fact that God came to earth in the form of a human Baby on a mission to provide a way for man to be saved from the consequences and penalty of his sin. Man can not save himself although many try. That Baby grew into a Man and completed the mission He was on. Unlike us He lived a perfect life free from sin. This was most important as He was to be the sacrifice offering for sin … the only offering acceptable to a holy God. You can read more about all of this in great detail HERE . Sadly the world (most of mankind) has rejected this salvation God offers to us. Doing so comes at a very high price as our eternal soul is at stake. God offers us this FREE GIFT of His salvation, but for all those who reject it and ignore it they forfeit the opportunity He offers to be forgiven of our sin and we then must pay the penalty and answer to Him in judgement. God is love and He demonstrated His love for all of us by dying a cruel agonizing death in our place. His love is AIMED AT YOUR HEART. He has done all that is needed and all that He can and will for us to be saved from our sin. The choice and decision is ours. Once we breathe our last breath it is too late to choose Him and receive His gift of salvation. Our fate is sealed. So I ask you … if you have never responded to His invitation … WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? Someday your heart will be asking … WHAT WILL JESUS DO WITH ME? The answer to that question can be readily found in His written word … the holy scriptures. God is holy and can not allow sin in His presence. We as sinful people have a problem. Our eternal soul will spend all of eternity either with God (if the sin problem has been taken care of) or apart from God. Being apart from God means spending eternity suffering in anguish in hell fire. God has warned us. We are free morale agents. God created us with the ability to choose to do what we want. We have free will. We are not robots preprogrammed by God to do what He wants us to do. There would not be any expression of God’s love in that. Recognizing and responding to God’s love for us loving Him in return is the ultimate expression of love. It is not a matter of obeying God because we have to. It is all about obeying God because we want to … we want to please Him out of a motivation of our love in return. Yes, God demonstrated His great love for us while we were yet sinners … in the very act of sinning and rebelling against Him … Jesus Christ died for us. Therein is love!
I know there are those who will read this and get upset over it. There will be those who want to tell me it has no place here on a blog about tadpole trikes. But you know … none of that matters. There is not a more important message to communicate to others than this message. In obedience to God I am willing to ruffle a few feathers upsetting some. This timeless message may touch a few hearts and that is what matters. So on this Christmas Day I present the Christmas message. It is not about the many things man does at this time of year … putting up an evergreen tree and decorating it, giving gifts to one another, feasting together as family and friends or any number of the things man does during this holiday. The truth is most everything man does is based on paganism practices the Roman Catholic church brought into our culture. And no where in the holy scriptures are we commanded or instructed to observe the birth of Jesus Christ. And He wasn’t born in December anyway. With all of this being true it is important not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” so to speak. This Christmas holiday does exist in our culture so I for one intend to take advantage of it and proclaim the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The reason for the season is truly all about the fact that Jesus did come to earth to provide salvation. He came the first time as a helpless Baby. He will be returning soon … very soon … as the King of kings and Lord of lords. His word tells us that He is coming to pour out His wrath (His anger) on all of those who have rejected Him and the salvation He alone offers. Far better is it to accept and respond to His love now than to be the recipient of His anger later. We are without excuse if we fail to respond to His great love while it is being offered and is available to us. Time is short. Besides none of us know what a day may bring forth. Our last final breath could be seconds away. It is all a most serious matter. The greatest gift is not one placed under a tree. The greatest gift is the One Who was placed on a tree. His Name is Jesus. Merry Christmas to all!
Heaven or Hell … it really is your choice.
This song says it all …
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS and thereby miss out on the salvation our loving God is offering you.
For many years I dealt with my hands being closer to my tires than I liked. In time I discovered something which could and would change this. It involves buying new handlebars. Catrike’s 559 model has taller handlebars than all their other models. I don’t know why that is but I am not complaining. I took advantage of it. My original handlebars were from a 2009 Trail. They were reused on my 2013 Trail frame when Catrike replaced my 2009 frame under warranty. The wrist rests did not exist in 2009 so when I bought the 559 handlebars I got the mouning bars for the wrist rests. I took advantage of that and bought the wrist rests … one of the best upgrades I ever made.
I ride on our local trails and some of them follow along our local rivers. They tend to flood over and river silt gets deposited on them making a muddy mess. With my hands so close to the tires mud builds up on my brake levers and twist shifters. It is a muddy mess to deal with. I no longer have that problem now that those components are higher up away from the tires.
This picture shows that the 559 handlebars are taller than the Trail’s handlebars.
Yes, replacing my original handlebars with 559 handlebars was a great decision. It raised my hands up higher away from the tires and provided a way to mount wrist rests. I like it when a plan comes together. So if you deal with this same issue you might want to try this.
Hase is offering a great looking product … adjustable crankarms which can be set between 65 mm and 165 mm … quicklly, easily … and without the use of tools. HERE is an article about them on Recumbent News. Adjustable crankarms are never cheap but these are super expensive ($452US, 350 Eur). They are really nice though. As you can see in the picture there is a red button to push to adjust them.
Like a chain gobbler these would be really nice for dealerships which allow customers to ride their bikes and trikes trying them out. Unfortunately the bicycle industry does not offer shorter crankarms on their cycles. Many of us could greatly benefit from using shorter crankarms.
Several months ago I bought some really cheap (low cost) brake pads off of Ebay. When I say low cost I am talking $3 for one set. Compare that with $21 for the Avid brand. Avid BB-7 is the brake pad involved. I installed a pair of these low cost brake pads and am happy to report that they have been performing great. It is time to replace them now which I will probably do today. I sure can’t complain about them. They have done every bit as well as the Avid brand … maybe even better. I just checked and I have almost 7000 miles on my trike since I installed these low cost brake pads. I don’t have records of the mileage I have got out of name brand Avid BB-7 brake pads so I really can’t compare. I am just going by the time factor the best I recollect it. I don’t think the name brand pads lasted any longer time-wise. Certainly having great working reliable brakes is quite important. Based on my experience with these brake pads I would highly recommend them to everybody. There is a problem however. They now cost about $10 a pair. I am glad I bought several pair when I did. Ah ha! That seller may not offer that price anymore but I just found another one which is lower yet … $9 for 4 pair … that is $2.25 apiece. And the shipping is free. Of course, I don’t know anything about them so I can’t recommend them. There maybe others offered thru Ebay but I stopped looking. I don’t know about you but I like saving money and finding great deals. Hey, be safe out there so you can …
“Clipping In” isn’t for everybody. I am among those who don’t like using SPD pedals and shoes. There are various options one can use in place of the SPD system. One option is magnetic pedals and the leader in this seems to be MagLOCK. It is not inexpensive … starting at $110. And that is just for the pedals. You still need to have shoes with a steel plate so the system will work. Regular SPD bike shoes will work and a steel plate and screws comes with the pedals which fits on the shoe replacing the SPD clip. Anyway, MagLOCK offers two different models … their original known as Fort Knox which sells for $175 and Stealth model which sells for $110.
If you are interested in viewing more MagLOCK videos click HERE.
The MagLOCK company offers a rather unique thing. For $135 one can “try out” the Fort Knox pedals which normally sell for about $175. Used pedals which have been returned are involved. You can read about this program by clicking HERE. You can keep the used pedals for the $135 price or if you want new pedals you return the used ones and pay the$40 difference.
One can add or remove magnets in the pedals to change the magnetic strength. Of course, there is only room for so many magnets inside so there is a limit to increasing the magnetism.
With this system one can move their foot about on the pedal pretty much wherever they want it. That is a big plus for some riders. I have only heard good reports/comments about these pedals. If I were a rich man I might even give them a try. For sure we all need to stay safe out there and …
One thing I have noticed since I started using my current hub motor which presently is hand throttle only is that when applying electrical power to the motor it seems to store energy somehow and my trike when I let off the hand throttle will and can coast faster and longer than if I were simply pedaling under human power only. It is considerably noticeable. I am not sure what the term is for this. I titled this post Inertia or Stored Energy but neither one may be correct.
I have a new (never installed) torque sensor for the bottom bracket (crankset). I bought one when I bought my e-motor conversion kit from Grin Technologies. It required a different crankset than what came on my Catrike so I spent good money to buy one. With my assistance and guidance my LBS installed the torque sensor with this new crankset but the unit was faulty and never worked. Grin Technologies told me that this particular torque sensor has been very troublesome and many have not worked. Of course, they didn’t tell me this until after I bought it and spent all this extra money to install it. It was a lot of wasted money. Grin Technologies had me send it back to them and they sent me a different torque sensor and, of course, it required yet another crankset. Consequently I never installed this 2nd torque sensor as I just didn’t/haven’t had the money to go thru all of this again. I am considering it now however. I would really like to have true pedal assist and not just a hand throttle. Some hub motors have a torque sensor built into them and are located inside the hub motor. Unfortunately mine does not. I don’t like anything about this “after market” approach as I call it. It is a very poor way to accomplish this. The unit is difficult to install and it is very easily damaged as it has extremely tiny wires which break very easily. That is my story and I am stuck with it as well as sticking to it. I spent the money for a torque sensor initially as I wanted a system that “felt natural” when pedaling. That is still my goal. I need to take the torque sensor into my LBS so they can figure out what is needed in the way of a crankset, discover one and get it ordered. As many of you know having a hand throttle only presents a problem sometimes as it violates some trail rules. Personally I think it is ridiculous but it is the way it is. Remedying this situation will help ensure that I can …
I am sure most of us remember the saying “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure” … or … “is worth a pound of cure”. It proved true today while I was out on my daily ride. The small bolt (machine screw) which holds my flag pole holder onto the back of my seat frame broke off and everything went south. At least it tried to. Fortunately I have a plastic cable tie around the flag holder bracket securing it to another place nearby which does not allow the flag holder to fall down onto the ground. I also have my two flag poles connected together by a small elastic bungee cord which prevents the loss of a flag as I ride along. Between these two safeguards I didn’t lose anything. I replaced the broken bolt upon arriving back home and everything is good to go. I have lost various stuff before so taking these preventative measures have paid off.
In the picture below you can see the black bungee cord connecting the two flag poles together.
And here is the plastic cable tie (yellow) which saved the loss of the flag holder. The red line points to the bolt that broke.
Yep, an ounce of prevention still equals (is worth) a pound of cure.
Much of the nation (United States) has been rather hot lately and being out there riding is like riding in an oven. It reminds me of my motorcycling days. Once it gets into the 90s F (30s C) it doesn’t seem to help riding fast as all you feel is very hot air. Having e-assist I normally ride much faster than I can and do ride without it. And normally riding fast … I am talking about 16 to 23 mph … means I feel a lot of air movement which usually feels really good. But when the air temperature is in the 90s it doesn’t matter how fast I ride it just feels miserable. Going fast just doesn’t help. I am not a fan of heat so riding in it is not very enjoyable for me. I don’t know how long this hot weather is going to last but looking at the extended weather forecast isn’t encouraging. That being said I am most thankful for the e-assist and my canopy as they help immensely. I still get rather warm but nothing at all like I would be without them. Before I had them I was one of many who chose to start riding early in the morning (6 to 7 AM) when it was at its coolest part of the day and be done riding by 11 AM or so when it was starting to feel pretty warm. There are things a person can do to help stay a bit cooler. I am always amazed when I see people out in hot weather dressed in black or other dark clothing as there is nothing more miserable one could wear than black when it comes to absorbing the sun’s rays. I always try to wear white or other light colored clothing which reflect most of the sun’s rays. I also see people wear hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up in this hot weather. I mean, what’s up with that? I think perhaps they have some elevator issues … as in … their elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor. Wearing hats, helmets and such traps heat from leaving one’s head. With a canopy I don’t wear anything on my head but if I ride without my canopy I wear a visor type hat that is open in the top. I would be super miserable wearing a regular hat which keeps all that heat trapped. One could also wear self-wicking clothing or special clothing designed to be wet and help cool our bodies. There is a hat being advertised on TV lately that does this. Of course, one can always pour water over themselves to cool off. That definitely works. Hey, whatever it takes to …
From the “land down under” (Australia) comes this video I share here. This triker, Darren Broadhurst, is among the few who is on an ongoing trike journey around the world. He rides an Azub Ti-Fly 20 inch … which is a fully suspended model.
His video channel description … “After retiring from a full military career I’ve been cycling and travelling around the world for the past 4 years. These are the videos along the way.”
Most all of us grew up with Schrader valves as Presta valves were unheard of. But as time passed along came “skinny Minnie” and the controversy began. I had never heard of Presta valves until I bought my 2009 Catrike Trail which came with them. It didn’t take more than a couple of days before I learned to hate Presta valves. I say that the French can have them. I think they are ridiculous. So soon after purchasing my trike I took action and did something about this. I drilled out my rims to accommodate Schrader valves and never looked back. I have not had to deal with Presta valves since. HEREis a good article on this subject.
I vote for getting rid of Presta valves. I sure would not miss them. There is only one thing about Presta valves that I like and that is the threaded metal stem with the nut which tightens down keeping the stem from pushing into the rim. At least 3 inner tube manufacturers offer this feature on their Schrader valves and I use them whenever I can.
I am totally amazed when I hear/read of cyclists who actually like and prefer Presta valves over Schrader. It is one of those “I don’t get it” things … like … what’s wrong with them? Oh well, to each his own as they say. Hey, if Schrader valves were good enough for Benjamin Franklin’s dad they are good enough for me. What did I just say? Oh never mind. Just know that I am for Schrader valves and against ol’ skinny Minnie. France can keep them. Schrader valves work just fine. They help me to …
Face it, there is simply wisdom in trying as many trikes out before purchasing one. They are not cheap to buy and once they leave the store their value usually drops off considerably. Some dealers will work with customers if they are dissatisfied with their purchase but there is no guarantee of that. It can be risky business to buy a trike you end up regretting and facing the aftermath. So common sense dictates that we do our homework or should I say leg work (actually both) and go check trikes out riding as many as you can and if possible any you find yourself interested in taking a much longer ride on them as it may help you discover something that wasn’t noticed on a short ride. I don’t know how many dealers there are around which are willing to do this, especially if they don’t have easy ready access to someplace customers could ride from their store and be gone for an extended ride. I don’t know what their policies are as far as requiring a security deposit to take a trike out for an extended ride. That reminds me of a true story of a business neighbor I once had. I had a welding shop and he had an automotive transmission repair business. A guy came into his place of business asking to borrow a log chain. The business owner told him it would require a security deposit. The guy told the business owner if I had that much money I would just buy one. The business owner told him that if he didn’t bring the chain back he did just buy one. I fully agree with the business owner in his practice of requiring a security deposit of a sufficient amount to cover replacing the chain. So I don’t know if any trike dealers require a security deposit to cover the cost of the trike but I can’t say as I blame them if they do. Anyway, good hunting and may you find the trike that is just right for you.