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Totally new and looking for first recumbent trike

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Totally new and looking for first recumbent trike

Old 07-15-18, 05:14 PM
  #1  
HippieMama
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Totally new and looking for first recumbent trike

Hello all! I joined this site a few months ago when I was starting to check out different bike models. My purchase was put on hold for a bit, but now I'm ready to move forward. I have decided to take a look at recumbent trikes because I liked the way the one I test drove rode. I'm considering Terra Trike, but open to other brands. I'm new to biking beyond the basic box store bikes I had as a kid. These trikes have several options and I'm not quite sure what is enough or too much for my desired outcomes. Can anyone offer some advice?


Things to consider when making suggestions ~~

- I am a plus-size woman. I've already lost 50 pounds though, so I'm excited to see the scale moving in the correct direction. I know many bikes I've seen have a 275 pound limit. I'm just under that now.

- I am wanting to train for some fundraising bike rides - including a century ride.

- It would be great to be able to go on multiple day rides, so the ability to add some storage would be great.


Thanks!
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Old 07-17-18, 12:09 AM
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I'm pretty certain you will be very tempted to buy a Delta (one wheel in front, two in back) because of the storage options. If so, do yourself a huge favor and avoid Sun trikes like the plague. Get a Greenspeed Anura (used if the price is a deal-breaker) and call it good. If a Century is in the plans you do not want a ~60lb. trike holding you back.
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Old 07-17-18, 12:15 PM
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I suggest finding a nearby dealer or rep and trying them out. I spent 3 hours riding HPV, Catrike, AZUB trikes to compare things like steering, fit, suspension, etc. Really needed to ride them all to finally pull the trigger on a purchase, which was the Performance Gekko model without suspension.
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Old 07-17-18, 03:29 PM
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Where in Missouri do you live?

A serious trike is a significant investment. It's worth the time and effort to take a trip to Bike Center on Manchester near St Louis. They have a good inventory and they sell enough of them to know what they are talking about.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Where in Missouri do you live?

A serious trike is a significant investment. It's worth the time and effort to take a trip to Bike Center on Manchester near St Louis. They have a good inventory and they sell enough of them to know what they are talking about.
I'm in the Springfield area, so St. Louis is just a quick drive up the interstate. Thanks for the shop suggestion!
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Old 08-22-18, 10:51 AM
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Many trike owners start with a TerraTrike because of the comparative lower prices, large dealer base, and still quality trikes. The Rover is where I started. It is heavy 44+ pounds dependent on configuration), it's greatly customizable, and has a rider weight limit of #400 . I's great as a starter trike. I bought my wife a TerraTrike Traveler, and put a 24" rear wheel and a NuVinci 380 hub, and she loves it! I have since moved to a Catrike 559. My next trike will have suspension, as these old bones don't like be jostled around.
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Old 08-23-18, 11:46 AM
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I second the idea of test rides at a shop. There are differences in seat height, track width, and cockpit size which may be significant to you. A test ride will tell you a lot that you can't get from staring at specs in a catalog. No matter what some people, even dealers, will say, weight does matter. Not a pound or two, but sometimes I think Sunseeker makes their frames out of an alloy of cast iron and depleted uranium. Even their aluminum frames are heavy beyond reason.
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Old 08-24-18, 06:48 AM
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Make sure it is at least an 8 speed.
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Old 08-24-18, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Make sure it is at least an 8 speed.
Yep. A few weeks ago, I borrowed a Catrike 700 for a moderately hilly ride. The owner had it set up for fast flatland riding, with a 42/23 low gear. My legs were fried after 30 miles of horsing that thing up 8 and 10% grades at 30 rpm. Almost had to make the 'call of shame.'

8 speeds is suitable for flat rides, but throw in any hills at all and even 16 will be totally inadequate.
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Old 08-25-18, 04:42 AM
  #10  
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I think Rydabent meant "Make sure it has an 8-speed cassette," and he assumed you would have a double or triple chin ring. (Just guessing.)

I don't know much about 'bent gearing, but I'd imagine a 46-30 crank set or something would be plenty fast on the flats and still give you climbing gears.

Also --- even with a single up front, you could run an 11-28 or 11-32 cassette. 42x32 would be pretty low.

If you can ride 8- and 10-percent grades ... i thought people weren't supposed to ride bents up hills? Eight or ten percent would almost have me walking my diamond-frame.
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Old 08-25-18, 08:43 AM
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Not ride recumbents up hills? That's a novel notion for us long time recumbent riders. The problem with most two-wheeled recumbents and hills is they become unstable and hard to steer at very low speeds. For the ones I own that is about 4.5 mph. For trikes, there is really no minimum speed if you have a decent gear range on it and they are not made out of depleted uranium as BlazingPedals suggested. I rarely ride my two-wheeled recumbents these days but it would have to be a very steep hill to make me walk up it. I have never walked any of my trikes up even the steepest hills. I may will get passed by the roadies but that's OK with me.
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Old 08-25-18, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I think Rydabent meant "Make sure it has an 8-speed cassette," and he assumed you would have a double or triple chin ring. (Just guessing.)

I don't know much about 'bent gearing, but I'd imagine a 46-30 crank set or something would be plenty fast on the flats and still give you climbing gears.

Also --- even with a single up front, you could run an 11-28 or 11-32 cassette. 42x32 would be pretty low.

If you can ride 8- and 10-percent grades ... i thought people weren't supposed to ride bents up hills? Eight or ten percent would almost have me walking my diamond-frame.
Most bents and trikes have mountain bike drive trains. My trike is a 24 speed, and I have never met a hill that I had to get off and walk. I have a 24 in front and a 34 in the rear for a low. My rear wheel will spin before I run out of leg strength.

Many times on some hills when I am on my trike, I am spinning away, and some young guy 1/4th my age is walking his DF bike up the hill. Yes 1/4th my age since Im 80.

Last edited by rydabent; 08-25-18 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 08-25-18, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for the actual numbers. Since I am new to trikes, i have no clue if a 48-38-28 triple is low, medium, or high gearing. i have a better idea now. 44-34-24 seems a little low ... but I am a little old and more than a little fat and I need the help on the hills.
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Old 08-25-18, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
... and they are not made out of depleted uranium as BlazingPedals suggested.
No, they're not. I just have to wonder what they do to make their aluminum frames weigh so much. Solid rod instead of tubing?
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Old 08-27-18, 07:56 PM
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I am a fairly fit rider and still under 60 years old. I'd opt for the lowest gearing you can get. Being a trike, as already mentioned, there is no minimum speed for stability. We have some seriously steep hills around here and there is no way one can get up them with a low gear of 28 up front and 32 in the rear. Not so on a standard bike, but on a bent it is near impossible.
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Old 08-28-18, 08:43 AM
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greenspeed gto

i'm somewhat new to the recumbent trike life. my tadpole is a Greenspeed GTO. i replaced the drive train with a 50-39-30 (from a 52-42-30) and a 11x34 cassette (from a 11x32) ( this change was mostly due to very poor shifting with a mismatched FD). the beauty of this trike is the 3-speed SRAM hub. can go way low on the steep climbs, and the 'overdrive' gear on the hub make the 50T plenty big for flats or downs. cannot imagine driving a trike without very low gears; in fact, that's part of the fun of the tadpole, climb as slow as you feel you need to, keep the HR down, etc.
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Old 08-28-18, 10:14 AM
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I like the idea of having an IGH as a sort of three-range auxiliary transmission.
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Old 08-29-18, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I like the idea of having an IGH as a sort of three-range auxiliary transmission.
One thing that has been missed in the gearing discussion is that a lot of trikes, especially Delta trikes, have 20" rear wheels. This has a profound effect on the gearing. For the better actually. Nicely low gears are very attainable with 'standard' crankset and cassette choices. Higher gears OTOH are much harder to come by and this is where the IGH supplemental final drive can really come to the rescue. Sadly, I know of no Delta set up that way. It makes for a really complicated (expensive) drivetrain with the need for a differential which is almost a must with the kind of extreme gear range possible with the additional IGH ratios.
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Old 08-29-18, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
No, they're not. I just have to wonder what they do to make their aluminum frames weigh so much. Solid rod instead of tubing?
I don't think you are far off. The rear axles are solid rod and the pushrods for the indirect USS steering linkage are substantial diameter if not solid rod. Then there are the additional frame tubes. Some of those frames have tons of redundant (seemingly) tubes running every which way. They are very confidence inspiring to many (it must be said) female or older riders that equate heft and solidity with safety.
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Old 11-17-18, 03:26 PM
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After going to the Recumbent Cycle-Con in Nashville, I am fully on board with the suggestion that you ride as many different brands as you can. Before, I thot that the steering was pretty much the same on all trikes. IT IS NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I found that many really expensive trikes with direct steer had handling that was for the lack of a better description-----------squirrely.
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Old 11-17-18, 06:55 PM
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Just to be clear, the trike I borrowed had a 700c drive wheel, not 20". Low gear was something like 48 inches.
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Old 11-17-18, 09:35 PM
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I can tell it wasn't a Catrike 700 you rode because the gear range on it is 21.9 to 124.3 gear inches thanks to Catrike using an 11/36 wide range cassette in the rear. You can make a trike with crappy steering whether it is direct or indirect. I've owned expensive trikes with both types of steering and found them to be stable at speeds in the upper 30s mph range.
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Old 11-18-18, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
I can tell it wasn't a Catrike 700 you rode because the gear range on it is 21.9 to 124.3 gear inches thanks to Catrike using an 11/36 wide range cassette in the rear. You can make a trike with crappy steering whether it is direct or indirect. I've owned expensive trikes with both types of steering and found them to be stable at speeds in the upper 30s mph range.
As I wrote, the owner had set it up that way. It was NOT stock, nor was it new. Whatever changes the owner made may have also been responsible for the heavy steering. I didn't make that post to complain about the trike, I made it to illustrate that low gears are desirable if there are hills.
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