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My Experience with Performer Cycles - F Trike (folding recumbent)

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My Experience with Performer Cycles - F Trike (folding recumbent)

Old 06-09-19, 11:27 PM
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XPat9
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My Experience with Performer Cycles - F Trike (folding recumbent)

I live in an isolated part of China. I needed a trike to begin training with because I plan on crossing the U.S. with a friend. I needed a folding trike because it’s apartment living here. I don’t have much experience working on bikes/trikes so I also wanted to try to save a little money in case I make mistakes assembling and maintaining the trike.

My best choice seemed to be the F Trike from Performer Cycles, Taiwan.

The first problem I encountered was a welding mistake inside the frame where the boom is inserted. The weld at the crossbar where the front two wheels attach had beaded, the size of a pearl, through inside the frame. The company wanted me hack off a good portion of the boom. I decided to order a very long fine metal file and file it down instead.

The next problem was the tie rods. You have a 50% chance of installing them correctly because the company doesn’t mark them and they only go on one way. The maddening thing is, if you put them on wrong, they appear to be perfect until you tighten them, and then the measurement is ever so slightly off. I was fooled by this for over a week. Finally, I switched them and it worked out better. However, you are not supposed to over-tighten them, so they WILL get loose and go out of whack. I plan on spending a LOT of time adjusting and re-adjusting, etc., etc. The shimmying, the erratic pulls to the left and right was pronounced unless you ride the bike under 10 km/hr.

I also had a problem with the front derailleur. It would go out of alignment when trying to get to the largest gear. Naturally, I thought the bolt holding it onto the frame needed to be tightened. And Performer Cycle couldn’t offer any other remedy. After 13 tries, I eventually stripped that bolt and that’s when Performer Cycle stopped communicating with me.

Yet, another problem was the gear under the seat between front and rear derailleurs that facilitates the long chain travel. After 15 minutes of riding it was covered with metal shavings from the gear teeth. I can’t see that gear lasting very long.

The last straw and the reason for this post is… I ordered an F-Trike. ‘F’ is for ‘folding.’ When at last I went to fold the trike, it wouldn’t fold. There is no information on the internet about why it won’t fold… another welding error? …paint sticking it together? The company won’t communicate with me. The dealer doesn’t know and has to communicate with a company whose customer service and quality control could be improved upon.

Last edited by XPat9; 06-12-19 at 09:55 AM. Reason: To improve communication
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Old 06-10-19, 10:37 AM
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The trike you bought sells for $1,700 here in the US. It's obviously an entry level trike but the review for the similarly priced X model on Bentrider is positive. There was also a comment on the X model about the steering being difficult to adjust for the correct toe-in. You must expect to adjust the toe-in on any trike that is sent partially disassembled. I owned two trikes sent to me that way brand new in order to save on shipping costs. It's very expensive to ship a trike in one piece. Both required some change to the toe-in. It wasn't difficult. One thing that did come up in another post about the F model is you can not fold the trike if you have installed a rack on the back.

As to the metal shavings. The idler wheel which you are describing may have a "chain keeper," a flat piece of metal that goes over the idler wheel to keep the chain from flopping off the wheel. It is made of aluminum and if improperly positioned will rub against the chain. If it is there, the fix is to loosen the idler wheel bolt, reposition the keeper and tighten the bolt. Also check to see there is no damage to the frame adjacent to the idler wheel. That may be the source of the shavings. The teeth on a good quality idler wheel should last for many miles. I never replaced the idler on my Greenspeed GTO with 29K miles on it and the one on my Catrike 700 is still the original with about 14K miles on it. However, I knew exactly how to put the trikes together when I received them.
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Old 06-11-19, 02:11 AM
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@VegasTriker
The seat was removed as well as the bike rack. The retaining pin is clear of the hinge mechanism. I pulled it with all my might, I slapped it with my hand, I kicked it gently with my foot. It will not fold.
BTW, thank you for your valuable input!
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Old 06-11-19, 02:17 AM
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Here's the welding bead inside the frame where the boom inserts. It was in there deep, so it was much bigger than it appears in the photo.
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Old 06-11-19, 02:22 AM
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Here's what may be a very serious problem that I didn't even mention. And it may be exacerbating the severe shimmying problem despite proper tie rod adjustment. Both front wheels are slanted inward at the top by nearly an inch.


Performer Cycles said it was normal design. But if that is so, why is the right front tire's angle slanted far less than...


...the left front tire? I would really appreciate some input on this.
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Old 06-11-19, 02:26 AM
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I should have taken a photo that shows the pile-up of metal shavings. It doesn't appear to be from the retaining bar which is below the idler wheel. And luckily the entire mechanism is far from the frame itself. The chain comes well lubricated.
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Old 06-11-19, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by XPat9 View Post


I should have taken a photo that shows the pile-up of metal shavings. It doesn't appear to be from the retaining bar which is below the idler wheel. And luckily the entire mechanism is far from the frame itself. The chain comes well lubricated.
Your "metal shavings" appear to be from the idler wheel making contact with the aluminum chain guard plate. Bend the chain guard plate into an arc
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Old 06-11-19, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by XPat9 View Post
@VegasTriker
The seat was removed as well as the bike rack. The retaining pin is clear of the hinge mechanism. I pulled it with all my might, I slapped it with my hand, I kicked it gently with my foot. It will not fold.
BTW, thank you for your valuable input!
Did you loosen the bolt?
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Old 06-11-19, 08:32 PM
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@Skankingbiker

Thanks for your reply. The instructions make no mention of loosening that swing bolt. Nevertheless, I loosened it because the trike would not fold.
That action had no effect at all.
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Old 06-12-19, 09:58 AM
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In the assembly video on the Performer website, the scene where the mechanic clears the retaining pin before folding the bike is edited - cut - before revealing the secret handshake. Thanks to Performer for corresponding with the dealer - sending him the video revealing the secret. Even then, the dealer had to study the video because it wasn't very clear communicating the action necessary to unlock the hinge. The extra action needed to open it ends with a 'click,' however, hearing that click doesn't necessarily mean the hinge will unlock. The entire action isn’t that easy to do, but maybe it will become easier through repetition.
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Old 06-12-19, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
The trike you bought sells for $1,700 here in the US. It's obviously an entry level trike ...
That is only partly true. It is more accurate to say it is a 'bargain' trike. As part of the bargain the end user is expected to possess above average knowledge about assembling and maintaining the device. Purchased through a dealer the price becomes quite a bit more than $1700 but it still sells for less than a comparable Greenspeed because it is designed, built and marketed entirely in Taiwan. Anything else you might buy in a similar price range WILL be entry level. It will look it, it will weigh it, and it will be about as satisfying as "entry level" usually is. The o.p. was in over his head (still is) with this trike. That is the long and short of it. What they are calling a defect in the boom likely prevents the boom from being inserted too far. Cutting the boom was exactly the correct advice. A simple job with a hacksaw. I've never needed an explanation as to how to work the hinge mechanism of ANY bike, trike, wheelchair, ... anything ... someone who cannot with a little study of something like a folding hinge should be less aggressive in their criticsm of the hinge maker. Most people don't need or want such extensive hand-holding. We are happy not to pay 3x the price to get something no better performing but with better customer support.
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Old 06-12-19, 01:29 PM
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Actually the US price is not more than the $1,700 which I quoted. The US distributor is Recumbent Bike Riders, a major recumbent bike shop in State College PA. You can see their listing here - https://rbr.info/index.php/product/t...g-trike-27spd/. RBR has been a Performer dealer for at least 5 years but back in 2014 when Benrideronline reviewed the Trike-X model it was indeed sent to your home from Taiwan. They have models as expensive as $5,500 for the 27.5 lb titanium model. RBR lists 8 dealers across the US so you don't have to assemble the bike yourself if you don't import it directly from Taiwan.
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Old 06-12-19, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
That is only partly true. It is more accurate to say it is a 'bargain' trike. As part of the bargain the end user is expected to possess above average knowledge .....The o.p. was in over his head (still is) with this trike. That is the long and short of it. What they are calling a defect in the boom likely prevents the boom from being inserted too far. Cutting the boom was exactly the correct advice.

this. its like the people who complain about bikesdirect. online deals are deals for a reason. you have to have some competency. yeah, my performer has had some quirks and things that needed figuring, but i still think they provide an incredible bang for the buck, they have been great to deal with, and I would not hesitate to buy from them again
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