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Three wheelers?? Terra Trike?

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Three wheelers?? Terra Trike?

Old 07-19-07, 03:36 PM
  #1  
jimmystewart200
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Three wheelers?? Terra Trike?

Does anyone on here have any experience with 3-wheeled recumbents? How do you like them? How much slower are they than a regular bike? More specifically, does anyone on here have Terra Trike? Thanks.
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Old 07-20-07, 04:37 AM
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I don't speak as an expert but as a keen Trike rider and I can tell you they are very good to ride, I find myself feeling much less controlled whenever I ride a two-wheeler now. Just being able to stop at traffic lights and not have to unclip is a great luxury. On the question of speed it often comes down to the rider. Obviously there is more rolling resistance with the extra wheel but also Trikes are generally lower down than two wheelers ( low racers aside ) so I find they are not that much slower. I have overtaken DFers many times ( even up hills on a few occasions ).

Don't have a Terra Trike I'm afraid so can't comment on that. I have an HP Scorpion which is fairly fast.
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Old 07-20-07, 04:59 AM
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Well, I'm about 6 weeks into ownership of a Catrike Expedition. The jury is still out on it...

My reason for buying it was the fact that as I'm getting in better shape, the limiting factor for not being able to ride further was the ol' butt/seat interface. A recumbent seemed to be the answer and the trikes really appealed to the engineer in me from a "neatness" standpoint. After reading the forums for about 9 months and seeing everyone who owns trikes praising them, I decided to try one.

Now, I will say that regarding comfort, I could sit on this thing for hours. In fact, when I stop to take a rest, I usually just sit on the trike. It definitely solved that problem. There are, however, some other things that cropped up as I started riding (primarily bike trails).

First of all, I basically feel like I'm sitting on the ground. In fact, I'm only a few inches from it. This may appeal to some people, but I sometimes feel like a little kid in a room full of grownups, if you know what I mean. And I'm 6'2" so I'm not used to that.

Next, I'm pretty much lying on my back as I ride and every little bump I hit gets transmitted right through to my body. I'm used to a DF bike where as I hit bumps I can take the weight off my butt and let the bike pivot under me. I obviously can't do this with the trike so I can get pretty jarred around at times. It can also be inconvenient when you approach a decent sized bump. For example, on one bike path that I ride on, it crosses a few streets along the way. At a couple of these crossings the curb sticks up about 3 inches or so. On my DF, I just lift myself up a little and go over it without even really thinking about it. On the trike, I have to make sure no cars are coming, get up just the right amount of speed to make sure I get over the curb, but not too much speed that I bounce and bottom out or damage a rim. In fact if it wasn't for my wife riding ahead of me and telling me it was clear to cross, I'm not sure how I would do it.

The other problem that arises from lying on my back is neck strain. My seat angle is about 37 degrees which is middle ground for a trike. The performance models can go down to 30 degrees or less and the more upright models are around 45 degrees. At 37 degrees, I find that after a while, I'm really straining to keep my head up. This didn't show itself in the 10 minute test riding I did in the parking lot of the dealer. Also, since I'm lying out almost flat, I tend to not let my legs hang on the pedals so I feel like I'm slightly holding the weight of my legs all the time. So, between holding up my head and my legs, the result is that the whole front of my body feels like it's in tension and it really wears on me after a while.

Now, you may be thinking, what about a headrest? My trike does have a headrest and it does feel a lot better when I rest my head on it, but when I'm pedaling my head tends to swerve slightly from side to side and if I try to use the headrest, the whole trike starts to oscillate from side to side. I've tried repeatedly to relax my upper body but I just can't seem to stop this effect. I've spoken to other trike owners who have this problem also, so I know it's not just me. Some have said that this goes away with time and others have said they don't use the headrest and they get used to holding their head up.

Regarding speed, I ride the same paths regularly and know how fast I typically go on my DF. I seem to be about 1-2 mph slower on the trike cruising on the flats. Uphill, I'm definitely slower, but on the downhills, aerodynamics takes over and I'm faster. I have no problem giving up a little in speed if I can ride comfortably though.

So, right now I'm trying to decide whether to keep the trike or not. For the price of the trike, I could go out and buy my wife and myself two really nice Trek hybrids and still have money leftover. In fact, I was bascially set on selling it until last night. I happened to grab a pillow of the couch and sat on the trike with the pillow behing my shoulders. It only boosted my upper body up about 3 inches but the more upright position felt totally different. Much more comfortable. My wife said she could make up a wedge shaped pillow for me so I'm going to try this and see how it feels. If it's better, I may give the trike some more time.

I hope that other trike riders don't come down on me too hard. I've been dreaming of this thing for a long time and I really would like it to work out. We'll see how it goes.

Randy
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Old 07-20-07, 08:02 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by RCBrust View Post

First of all, I basically feel like I'm sitting on the ground. In fact, I'm only a few inches from it. This may appeal to some people, but I sometimes feel like a little kid in a room full of grownups, if you know what I mean. And I'm 6'2" so I'm not used to that.

Next, I'm pretty much lying on my back as I ride and every little bump I hit gets transmitted right through to my body. I'm used to a DF bike where as I hit bumps I can take the weight off my butt and let the bike pivot under me. I obviously can't do this with the trike so I can get pretty jarred around at times. It can also be inconvenient when you approach a decent sized bump. For example, on one bike path that I ride on, it crosses a few streets along the way. At a couple of these crossings the curb sticks up about 3 inches or so. On my DF, I just lift myself up a little and go over it without even really thinking about it. On the trike, I have to make sure no cars are coming, get up just the right amount of speed to make sure I get over the curb, but not too much speed that I bounce and bottom out or damage a rim. In fact if it wasn't for my wife riding ahead of me and telling me it was clear to cross, I'm not sure how I would do it.

The other problem that arises from lying on my back is neck strain. My seat angle is about 37 degrees which is middle ground for a trike. The performance models can go down to 30 degrees or less and the more upright models are around 45 degrees. At 37 degrees, I find that after a while, I'm really straining to keep my head up. This didn't show itself in the 10 minute test riding I did in the parking lot of the dealer. Also, since I'm lying out almost flat, I tend to not let my legs hang on the pedals so I feel like I'm slightly holding the weight of my legs all the time. So, between holding up my head and my legs, the result is that the whole front of my body feels like it's in tension and it really wears on me after a while.

Now, you may be thinking, what about a headrest? My trike does have a headrest and it does feel a lot better when I rest my head on it, but when I'm pedaling my head tends to swerve slightly from side to side and if I try to use the headrest, the whole trike starts to oscillate from side to side. I've tried repeatedly to relax my upper body but I just can't seem to stop this effect. I've spoken to other trike owners who have this problem also, so I know it's not just me. Some have said that this goes away with time and others have said they don't use the headrest and they get used to holding their head up.

Regarding speed, I ride the same paths regularly and know how fast I typically go on my DF. I seem to be about 1-2 mph slower on the trike cruising on the flats. Uphill, I'm definitely slower, but on the downhills, aerodynamics takes over and I'm faster. I have no problem giving up a little in speed if I can ride comfortably though.

So, right now I'm trying to decide whether to keep the trike or not. For the price of the trike, I could go out and buy my wife and myself two really nice Trek hybrids and still have money leftover. In fact, I was bascially set on selling it until last night. I happened to grab a pillow of the couch and sat on the trike with the pillow behing my shoulders. It only boosted my upper body up about 3 inches but the more upright position felt totally different. Much more comfortable. My wife said she could make up a wedge shaped pillow for me so I'm going to try this and see how it feels. If it's better, I may give the trike some more time.

I hope that other trike riders don't come down on me too hard. I've been dreaming of this thing for a long time and I really would like it to work out. We'll see how it goes.

Randy
Of course we ain't gonna come down too hard on you . I think all of your points are very common issues for trike riders........altough hating being on the ground because you're a tall man seems ironically very childish .

On your headrest issues and head movements. Due to riding alot of km on the roadbike for quite a long time I tend to keep my upper body and head perfectly still. This translates to my trike riding. None of the trikes I've ever ridden have had headrests, so I don't expect one. Also I'm used to hunching over the handlebars of my roadbike for many many kms, as well as staying permanently ducked down to fit into velomobiles (I'm 6ft. 3"). Guess I've got a pretty stubbon neck .
I do however know trikeriders who ride just like you, throwing their upper body and head to the side with every push of the pedals. Quite cringeworthy to watch actually, mostly because it looks so painful! Not the case according to them, but I guess they've always ridden like that and they're just used to it . Doesn't seem to slow them down!
Hope the wedged shaped pillow goes well

To the OP. Trikes can be very fast in the right situation. For example riding with a bunch of roadbikes on a 500m velodrome @ 40km/h can be easy to keep up (if not a little awkward to work with such bikes using a trike). That same bunch would really get to me on the open roads, with the false flats and actual hills being the things that slow me down.
I know others would have other opinions, but I have the most fun riding a trike with other trikers or by myself. Also, IMO a trike is most at home on sealed bike paths and flowing roads and suburbia in general, rather then the open road and hills. Sure you can ride one anywhere if u so desire, but I betcha you enjoy your experience more riding bikepaths and touring suburbia.

Why suburbia? Well, the streets are your racetrack! There's nothing like racing to the shop to buy the paper on a crisp dewy morning, cutting every corner millimetre perfect along the way, racing flat out through thin allyways and 3-wheel sliding through damp leaf-litter. Then ride home and park your trike on the lawn and read the sport liftout. Perfect Saturday morning

Here's a video that I made ages ago. I think it sums up how fun a tadpole trike can be in the right environment.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=uKl7a24aqtY
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Old 07-20-07, 08:16 AM
  #5  
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I've got a 3.4 model which I purchased new about 4 years ago. With the 20" wheels you are about 4" off the ground and will probably be slower than your DF, with the exception of downhill runs. I've completed a number of century rides, including 2 Seattle to Portland rides on my 3.4. My average speed for this two day event was 12.5 mph. With that said, I'm 63 and use to be faster, or at least I think I was, but can't remember details very well anymore.
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Old 07-20-07, 11:09 AM
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I got into a trike (the Actionbent Tadpole Trike) because I wanted something that reminded me of my go-cart days. It did... then I realized it was a recumbent as well. It is a different feeling to all other bikes. I gvet a lot of respect from cars but I also make myself very visible. Most of my routes have bike lanes and when I don't, I am riding with a group. So far, the trike has been accepted by several primarily DF groups and with the acception of hills, I can keep up except for the hard core riders (hammer and nails, 17-19mph)... I would guess that the 15mph average groups are compatable with my ability levels.

WARNING: Trikes are adicting!
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Old 07-20-07, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmystewart200 View Post
Does anyone on here have any experience with 3-wheeled recumbents? How do you like them? How much slower are they than a regular bike? More specifically, does anyone on here have Terra Trike? Thanks.
I have a 2004 Catrike Road, but I've tested a few other trikes. I don't know how many miles I have on it, but it's a fair number and I've done multiple centuries and done steep climbs on it.

Of all my bikes, I'd have to say that the trike is the most fun. When I'm in town, it is my preferred ride. It is great in stop and go situations because you don't have to unclip and the low speed maneuvering can't be beat. I love it.

Trikes are more fun than a DF in headwinds and sidewinds. Somehow, the riding position makes those conditions less depressing.

It is slightly slower overall than my DF, but not much. I can ride with the same people, but I have to work a bit harder. The trike is best at low and medium speeds (i.e. less than 25mph). At higher speeds, it's not as sure footed as a regular bike and as you approach 40mph, you really require a gentle touch. You can improve your speeds by mounting lighter, thinner tires (1 1/8" Stelvios) work well and ride reasonably well at high pressures and putting disk covers on your wheels as shown below.

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Old 07-20-07, 08:13 PM
  #8  
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Just purchased a Catrike 700. Its fun but its not the only bike I own. Tried commuting with it and it worked well although it takes a little getting used to being so low. Its just a very different type of bike to ride and getting on a DF after riding a trike is a weird experience.

Check out the www.catrike.com and their board.

Dwayne
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Old 07-21-07, 06:03 AM
  #9  
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Regarding the 3rd poster about holding your feet up get some clipless pedals not only can you relax your legs you will also pickup some speed.
Unlike another poster I find my trike fine at over 50 mph but it is an indirect steer Greenspeed GT3 very stable, every ride exceeds 40 mph due to terrain.

Regarding the Ops questions, I am about the same speed as a MTB on the flat alot faster down hill and touch slower uphill, this was before the shell was fitted it is now faster on all except the uphills.
The earlier Terra trikes have a reputation for less than perfect handling at speed, newer ones get better reviews.
Trikes are very addictive being able to crawl up hills with no handling issues, fly down them and sit at the lights ready to go with no unclipping etc.
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Old 07-21-07, 06:43 AM
  #10  
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I owned a Catrike Speed for 3 years (now sold), and I just bought a lowracer (Optima X-low)

The Xlow is a lot more fun and definitely faster.
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Old 07-22-07, 04:26 AM
  #11  
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I get tempted by the lowracers occasionally but then remember I spend a lot of time climbing 20~25% hills and I suspect trying to keep a lowracer on line and upright under those conditions could be entertaining.
Plus I suspect the Xlows and their ilk would not be happy on light MTB tracks and some of the short cuts I take.
Also the full fairing removes a reasonable amount of the speed difference.
But yeah tempting.
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Old 07-22-07, 09:14 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by RCBrust View Post
Well, I'm about 6 weeks into ownership of a Catrike Expedition. The jury is still out on it...

So, right now I'm trying to decide whether to keep the trike or not. For the price of the trike, I could go out and buy my wife and myself two really nice Trek hybrids and still have money leftover. In fact, I was bascially set on selling it until last night. I happened to grab a pillow of the couch and sat on the trike with the pillow behing my shoulders. It only boosted my upper body up about 3 inches but the more upright position felt totally different. Much more comfortable. My wife said she could make up a wedge shaped pillow for me so I'm going to try this and see how it feels. If it's better, I may give the trike some more time.

Randy
Randy,

I use some foam on a couple of my bents to push my shoulders slightly forward and keep my neck more vertical. It is surprising how little foam can make the ride so much better. Trikes are so different from DF bikes that it is worth taking some time to make sure you get the most from your bent.

Good luck!
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Old 07-23-07, 10:47 AM
  #13  
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1. Yep; 27 1/2 years+ 2. luv 'em 3.Depends on the "motor": faster than some / slower than others 4. Yep, down to 3 trikes- and one is a TerraTrike (and motorized- a hybrid now).

I had to re-join Bike Forum since my computer gives me problems and knocks links off. Rarely had problems with any trike- dumb luck, I guess! Absolutely love how they kept me nimble, no flab, provide recliners- umbrellas- stereos- more, will take many more upgrades than most bikes, great fun to see stereotypes collapse about aerobellys and white beards since I am clean haven, short hair, skinny.

Had my share of flips, being attacked by a light pole, leg suck (under the front axle while moving) flying off curbs, drifting in unexpected sand on the road- but no end-os or anything broken. Just shrugged problems away.

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Old 07-23-07, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by geebee View Post
I get tempted by the lowracers occasionally but then remember I spend a lot of time climbing 20~25% hills and I suspect trying to keep a lowracer on line and upright under those conditions could be entertaining.
Plus I suspect the Xlows and their ilk would not be happy on light MTB tracks and some of the short cuts I take.
Also the full fairing removes a reasonable amount of the speed difference.
But yeah tempting.
So far, I found that going uphill is easy IF I have plenty of momentum. I suspect that the lower wind and rolling resistance (the latter compared to a trike's) really helps me conserve my energy up to the crest of the hill.

I've worked on my slow-speed balance too, for those occasions when I have to granny-gear my way up, or go around tricky obstacles.

I haven't found packed dirt, rock dust or thin gravel to be much of a problem, but in thick gravel, it's nearly impossible to start from a complete stop.
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Old 07-24-07, 05:47 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by GreenGrasshoppr View Post
So far, I found that going uphill is easy IF I have plenty of momentum. I suspect that the lower wind and rolling resistance (the latter compared to a trike's) really helps me conserve my energy up to the crest of the hill.
Works only with shorter hills. Momentum is very important and the bents I've ridden allow you to leg press your way up even very steep inclines that last only a few hundred feet. Between momentum and brute force, you can often outrun roadies, especially on rollers.

For long steep climbs that go on for miles (like when you go up a mountain), you simply must go slowly.
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Old 07-24-07, 12:38 PM
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People often wonder what I'm doing when I fly past them on the rolling hills. When they catch up to me on the top of the next crest, they realize what's up. Saves a lot of energy putting a little power in on the downhill.

For long climb... I just gear down early and start spinning and tell people I'll see em at the top.
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Old 08-09-07, 08:04 PM
  #17  
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I have about 700 miles on a WW tour and love the trike. The only mechanical mod is have duty front idlers. It does take a bit of getting used to , but once you are it's great! The only real issue of any kind I have had is being stupid and putting unlocking and putting my feet down before I was stopped, not a good idea, nearly broke my leg... live and learn.

Rodney
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Old 06-24-12, 07:26 PM
  #18  
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own a cruiser for 4 years, love it, have been upgrading as needed, now wondering about clipless bike shoes. My average speed is 13 mph, on asphalt bike paths. Does allow for sightseeing, and eliminates dumping 2 wheeler. Any thoughts regarding shoes?
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Old 06-24-12, 07:42 PM
  #19  
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Since this Zombie Thread has been asleep for five years, I'd suggest starting a new thread here in the recumbent forum asking for clipless pedals/shoes advice.

I use SPD-style pedals with Shimano MTB SPD shoes on my recumbent bikes.
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Old 06-24-12, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by maxamillion View Post
own a cruiser for 4 years, love it, have been upgrading as needed, now wondering about clipless bike shoes. My average speed is 13 mph, on asphalt bike paths. Does allow for sightseeing, and eliminates dumping 2 wheeler. Any thoughts regarding shoes?
Sigh... zombie thread.

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Old 06-26-12, 11:31 AM
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info is still good though, Don't mind raising the dead.
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Old 07-01-12, 08:32 AM
  #22  
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Last fall I bought a Terratrike Cruiser for both me and my wife. For now I ride my Stratus, and she rides the trike. I bought the 26" upgrade rear wheel mainly to get the RD and chain further up out of the dirt.

You will find that a trike is the easiest most relaxing way to "bike". No energy used to balance, and when you stop you can leave your feet clipped in and just relax. BTW what other bike can you ride up a mountain at 3mph hands free.
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01-26-15 12:48 PM
jyl
Recumbent
39
08-20-14 12:04 PM
si mark
Recumbent
118
11-17-11 07:02 PM
Haff
Recumbent
25
01-04-11 07:32 PM

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