AFFORDABLE VS CHEAP TRIKES

There are both affordable trikes and cheap trikes. My advice is to buy the best you can afford even if you have to delay to save up. There are also dealers who offer financing enabling customers to buy a better trike paying for it over time. I definitely caution people not to by a cheap trike as you get what you pay for. Fortunately there are not very many “cheap trikes” being manufactured. I personally would suggest a Catrike or an ICE or HP Velotechnik or an Azub. I think you would be happier with your purchase as the quality is so much better.

You might be wondering why I did not include TerraTrike or Trident. Well, defintely they are more affordable, but I personally don’t think they offer the quality found in these others I have listed. I think you would be more content with one of the other brands I mentioned even though they cost more. Certainly there are a lot of testimonies to back this up. It is true that both trike manufacturers offer good customer service but that does not equate to product quality.

I left out Chinese trikes. The trikes themselves may be alright but customer service can be a major concern. If components parts fail and you can’t get them it would probably mean you would have to replace them with brand name parts which cost a lot more. Over time you will probably spend more than what you saved and deal with down time where you can’t ride.

Definitely avoid Mobo and Kent.  In my opinion a reputable dealer who cares about their customers won’t sell these cheap trikes.

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2023 TERRATRIKE MODEL LINEUP

TerraTrike boasts that they are the largest manufacturer of recumbent trikes. Certainly they are popular and sell a lot of their trikes. And they have acquired Australia’s Greenspeed trikes  as well as the North American distributorship of Great Britain’s KMX trikes. Here is a video sharing their 2023 model lineup and a bit about future plans.

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MATT GALAT EXPLORES 2021 TRIKE BRANDS

Well known tadpole trike rider, Matt Galat, shares a video of him visiting a trike dealer and taking test rides on various trikes.

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REVISTING THE LOW COST KENT TADPOLE TRIKE

little more than 2 years ago I posted an article about a low cost tadpole trike called Kent Cavalier. They are sold thru Walmart but were out of stock when I posted the article. Apparently they have been selling them and even though they are a cheap entry level trike they seem to be getting pretty good reviews (which I find very hard to believe). I am not here to promote this trike as I am relatively sure I would find one a great disappointment. Today is Sept. 28th  as I compose this posting and I checked on Walmart and they show if I ordered one today it would arrive shipped to my home by Oct. 11th. That is fast service. And I am amazed that the price has not gone up … it is still $698 and free shipping. If I were made of money I would have gone ahead and ordered one just so I could check it out With a 16 inch seat height for sure it won’t be a trike one could feel safe on and be able to ride very fast. Nope, I could not and am not recommending this entry level trike. I am afraid it would be all too much like the quality of Walmart’s cheap bicycles. In my opinion it is Chinese junk and I am not talking about a type of ship. I think this video below confirms it …

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MOBILITY 4 LESS

Many people are looking for tadpole trikes for a lower price. If you do an online search for “tadpole trike” guess what happens … at least on some search engines. Up will pop images in ads for tadpole trikes offered by Mobility4less. They are paid ads . They offer several different products and I noticed that they also offer financing and layaway.

If you are looking for non-motorized don’t look here as all of their products are motorized. They offer two tadpole trikes  (one regular and one FAT tire) and one FAT tire quad. The frames are made of mild steel. The e-motor systems on the regualr tadpole are 36 volts. It is a crank drive motor. The FAT tire tadpole trike and quad are 48 volt.  Strangely the safety flag is not included. The product arrives at your door shipped on a pallet. It comes with a full fender set and a neckrest. A rear luggage rack is provided which holds the 36 volt 12 aH lithium ion battery which is included. Mirrors are also provided. Below is a picture of the regular tadpole trike model they sell. It has 20 inch wheels on the front and 26 inch on the rear. Disc brakes are found on the two front wheels and a V-brake is on the rear wheel to be used as a parking brake. The trike has rear suspension and the trike folds up for storage and transportation. My guess is that the boom will need to be set for the rider’s x-seam and the chain adjusted to the correct length. I see in one of the pictures they show on their website the chain is way too long and the rear derailleur is not able to handle all the chain.

The trike comes with a hand throttle.

Main Technical Parameters:
Top Speed: 26 MPH (pedaling increases speed)
Top Range: 25 miles/charge (pedaling increases range)
Power: 550 watts or 1500 watts with PowerBooster**
Battery: Lithium 36V 12 ah
Re-charges in: 4 hours
Tricycle Length: 81″ Tricycle Width: 34″ Tricycle Height: 29″
Seat width: 15″
Ground clearance: 7.5″
Wheel base: 40″
Chain: 21 speed chain  (NOTE – their ignorance is showing as there is no such thing … it is 7 speed chain)
Mirrors: Aluminum alloy blue plated
Pedals: VP500 aluminum alloy
Max Weight Limit: 400 Lbs
Crankset: Shimano TX71 48 teeth
Front derailleur: Shimano TX51
Battery Charger: Included
Foldable: Yes
COLORS: Red
MOTOR TYPE: Brushless motor  drive
VOLTS: 36 volt
TIRE SIZE: Front: 20 * 1.5: Rear: 26 * 1.5
SHIPPING WEIGHT: 100lbs
TRICYCLE WEIGHT: 54lbs

They are currently offering free shipping according to their website.

Your Purchasing Options:

Electric Recumbent Tricycle with Lithium battery: $2,495.00
**Optional PowerBooster to get the 1500Watts: $289.50
Here is the trike folded up ….

I chose not to cover the FAT tire trike and quad here. If you are interested you can check them out on their website. I will say this much … they don’t come with fenders and they are a 48 volt e-motor system..

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TrikExplor

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author’s opinion.

By now many of us have seen and/or heard of TrikExplor, a Chinese manufacturer of tadpole trikes. They have come up with some interesting models over the years. They have an online store on AliExpress.

Their prices used to be quite appealing but with inflation and the world economy they are now about the same as what we are used to seeing for tadpole trikes being sold here in the U.S.

I find their motorized FAT quad most appealing. It looks truly to be a vehicle which can go just about anywhere and handle about everything. For $8000 it ought to. I much prefer this e-motor setup over a crank drive.

I really don’t know where I would ride it so I don’t have a need for it. I could not justify it. I could not afford it anyway. It is what I consider a rich man’s toy. I am sure it would be great fun if you can afford it and have someplace to ride it..

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TERRATRIKE SPYDER MAKING ITS DEBUT SOON

TerraTrike is coming out with a new model they call Spyder.  Using their own words .to describe it ..  “designed for performance, the Spyder is stiffer and aerodynamic where it needs to be for acceleration and sustained speed, and yet compliant for comfort. All elements of the trike converge to deliver a performance machine which will satisfy your inner speed freak.” It will be interesting to see how this model measures up. Call me prejudice or whatever but there has never been a TerraTrike model which has impressed me. Looking thru the specifications I am already unimpressed. I see it has a 19 foot turning diameter. That is unacceptable for me. It needs to be down around 14 feet to “get er dun”.  I hate having to stop and zig zag back and forth to get around a corner because a trike won’t turn sharp enough. Terra Trike has always come up short in engineering in my opinion. They are just a cheap trike poorly made and have inherent problems out of the box. Anytime I see a Terra Trike I am reminded of Walmart bicycles.

This model costs almost $4000. For that amount of investment one could get a much higher quality better engineered trike such as a Catrike. I wonder if TerraTrike ever redesigned their steering heads and got the jerky side to side problem resolved. It says it is designed for sustained speed so I hope they fixed this problem as most TerraTrikes are downright scary to ride at even moderate speeds much less high speeds. The seat and it’s mounting looks weak and likely to fail.  It is beyond me why anyone would pay that much money and get so little for their money, especially when there exists much better products for the same price. I think they have a lot of people duped. Otherwise they would go out of business. Different strokes for different folks as they say. If I have offended you I am sorry but I call them as I see them. As a professional weldor I have a lifetime of repairing poorly made metal products … rebuilding, reinforcing and  yes … reengineering them. It is easy enough to recognize what I call junk which will fail. I simply can not recommend TerraTrike products … at least not their trikes. If you have $4000 to spend on a tadpole trike you could do much better than this brand.

Here is Larry Varney’s review of the TT Spyder …

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CATRIKE DISCONTINUES THEIR EOLA MODEL

BOO HOO !!! This news really bums me out. I really like the Eola model and probably would have bought one in the future for my wife when she retires.  That being said it is uncertain whether I would give it to her or keep it for myself and give her my Catrike Trail model.

Below is a news article about the decision to discontinue this model.

Catrike Eola discontinued

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BACCHETTA CT 2.0 carbon fiber tadpole trike

 

Thru the years there have been a few carbon fiber trikes manufactured and sold. None of them have ever seemed to go over all that well and most of them disappeared from the market. The latest one to appear that I am aware of is made by Bacchetta, a company well known for its bicycles. Their trike offering is the Bacchetta CT 2.0  and it lists for $5995 which is not inexpensive but then carbon fiber never is. I consider them to be a “rich man’s toy”.

To my way of thinking making a bike or trike out of carbon fiber is not at all practical. As stated it is expensive and when damaged it is pretty much junk. So why make a trike out of carbon fiber you ask? Mainly because carbon fiber is light in weight while being strong. But not many people need a trike that weighs 1 to 4 pounds less than one made out of aluminum. For those who qualify to meet the restrictions of physical size and body weight the Catrike Pocket only weighs 28 pounds … only one pound more than this carbon fiber trike.

Here are some specs on this trike:

Frame Full Carbon Monocoque w/Internal Storage. 28 Degree Seat Angle.
Idler Alligt 68mm w/Aluminum Drive Teeth
Seat Integrated Carbon w/Vertical Seat Back Adjust
Seat Pad BCT Custom
Handlebar BCT Custom Aluminum
Rear Derail Shimano XT 11 speed, RD-M8000-SGS (extra long cage)
Front Derail Microshift FD-R58-B with 31,8mm clamp, black
Shifters MicroShift BS-M11 11×2 speed for Shimano DynaSys
Crankset SRAM Force 22, GXP, 50-34T 170mm
Bottom Bracket SRAM Force, GXP, BSA68
Headset Tange Seiki 1 1/8″
Cassette Microshift, CS-G113, 11-42 T
Front Brake Tektro M521 Gemini SL Hydraulic, black
Rear Brake N/A
Brake Levers Tektro Gemini SL Hydraulic (with parking brake band included)
Front Wheel 406 BCT Lightweight Disc, Tubeless Ready
Rear Wheel 700c BCT Lightweight Disc, Tubeless Ready
Front Tire 406 Schwalbe Pro One Tubeless, 28c
Rear Tire 700c Schwalbe Pro One Tubeless, 28c
Chain KMC X11 11 Speed
Pedals N/A
BB Height 14 1/4″
Seat Height 7 3/4″
Wheelbase 47″
Weight 27 lbs.
Weight Limit 275 lbs.
Gear Range 21″-120″
Color Matte Black w/Clear Coat- Red or Blue Stripe/Decal Option
Frame Size Standard Only
X Seam 37″-48″
Overall Width 29″
Overall Height 27″
Overall Length 65″-76″
Turning Circle 19′
Track Width 27.5″
Ground Clearance 3″

Looking thru the specs I see some which would greatly concern me and be a real turn off. The fact that is has a very large turning diameter(19 feet) would be problematic as well as the ground clearance of only 3 inches. It could and would get easily damaged. And with only an overall width of 29 inches I would be a bit concerned as to how it corners compared to a trike of 32 or so inches. As you can see it comes with a partial rear fender .

I was just looking at the various options available when placing an order for this trike. Several hundred dollars could be saved by selelcting some of these options. In doing so weight is added to the trike resulting in it weighing as much as some of the lighter weight aluminum trikes such as a Catrike 700. With all the various options they offer one could change the final price considerably … especially upwards. The pictures show a neckrest but I noticed that it is a $130 option. I would think that at $6000 they could include a neckrest which is a necessity in my way of thinking since the seat is 28 degrees.

Naw, I prefer the Catrike Pocket … not a prema donna like this carbon fiber build. It might be a beautiful machine but not at all practical in my opinion. I only need to lose about 50 pounds to qualify for the weigh limit of the Pocket. I  reckon time will tell whether or not this Bacchetta trike remains on the scene or disappears like all the others that have come along in the past. Hey, whatever you choose to ride …

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AeeDEA E-TRIKE … INDIA’S FIRST OFFERING INTO THE RECUMBENT TRIKE MARKET

 

The Aeedea Company in India is now offering a tadpole trike. It is available in both a manual version as well as an electric motorized version. My first impression of it is summed up in two words … ugly and crude. But hey, maybe it will grow on me.

HERE is their web page. This trike has a 250 watt motor. The starting price is 113,312 Indian rupee which is currently $1,526.36 US dollars. The top price is 176,750 Indian rupee which is currently $2,380.84 US dollars. There is no further information on their website explaining these prices. My guess is the lower price is for the manual (non-motorized) version while the higher price is for the motorized version. Their website , like their trike, isn’t very professional looking.

As you can see, it has a very wide wheel base. The steering is somewhat unique as to turn the wheels the rider moves the handlebars forwards and backwards vs pivoting them around a central axis. You can see this in the video below. The handlebars are way too high for my liking. I would find them uncomfortable compared to if they were about a foot lower. The seat material looks like it would be quite hot to sit on. I much prefer a mesh seat like most trikes have. Again, this looks like something put together by an amateur builder.

Their website does not provide much useful information such as seat height, seat back angle, turning radius,  wheel base, number of gears, gear inches, tire sizes, included accessories, etc.

Specifications and features:

1. Made of light weight aluminium
2. Highly engineered indirect steering system
3. Digital pedal assist modes 0 to 100%
4. Range varies between 100 to 160 kms on one full charge, varies based on work derived from the motor
5. Maintenance free Brushless DC motor
6. All rain proof
7. 20 amps 36 volts 3c high quality Li-Ion cells, with water proof encasing
8. Comes with a 5amp high speed charger, full charge in 3 to 4 hours
9. All wheels with disc brakes
10. Adjustable seat with recline and position adjustment
11. Adjustable pedal boom to accommodate rider height between 5 ft  6 inch to 6 feet 2 inch
12. Electric variant comes with water proof saddle bags
13. Direct throttle to bypass pedal assist
14. Motor power cut off with 15. Street legal with a 250 watts motor
16. A 5 amp wall plug high speed charger

Color options :

1. Matt Fluorescent yellow and Matt Black
with Blue and Black upholstery

2. Matt white and Matt black
with White and Black upholstery

That definitely looks like a very high boom yet with a rider seated onboard it doesn’t look all that high.

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A Review of an Azub Touring Setup

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.”

Other videos available from this fellow triker.

His website … every which way but lost.

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TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

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.

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CATRIKE 700, ANOTHER FAST ONE

Catrike 700 … well known and quite popular. I have always wanted to ride one and finally I did a few months ago. Would I want one? No, they are not for everybody and I found they are not for me. But at least I can say I rode one. I have to admit I am rather amazed when I come across people older than me who ride one. One guy I saw riding one recently was well into his 90s. And he was moving right along too.

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SPECBIKE TECHNICS

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.

 

The company’s email address is specbiketechnics@gmail.com

They also show sales@specbiketechnics.com as a contact email address.

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.

Specbike also has a store on Amazon.

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CATRIKE DUMONT FULL SUSPENSION FOLDING TRIKE

The Catrike Dumont model has been around now for a few years. It is the top of the line for Catrike and is quite popular. Here is a video chucked full of information about this model …

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TADPOLE TRIKE SHOPPING — comparing trikes

Here is a video about a couple who are visiting bike stores checking out and comparing various tadpole trike brands and models (Catrike, HP Velotechnik and ICE)  …

 

 

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TERRATRIKE MAVERICK … NEW ENTRY LEVEL OFFERING

Several years ago when I first put together my TRIKE PRICES page there were a few sub $1000 selections. Then most of them faded out until only KMX offered a few. And most of those were for kids. TerraTrike used to offer the Rover model for $999 but that ended. Like so many things the price went up and put it over the sub $1000 category.  Not everybody can afford the more expensive trikes so there is a need for the sub $1000 market. Well, TerraTrike stepped back up to the plate offering the new Maverick model and the current price is $999. The Maverick will be replacing the TerraTrike Rover. At the time of this writing there is not much information available that I can find on this new model which I can share here. I know that it has a high tensile steel frame as did the Rover but it is considerably lighter than the Rover. Like the Rover and Rambler it has horizontal handlebars.

 

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