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Hill Climbing Trike

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Hill Climbing Trike

Old 05-06-19, 07:59 PM
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Hawkowl2
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Hill Climbing Trike

Want a Tadpole Trike that is truly a hill climber. I'm thinking Front Range of Colorado, Mountains around Anchorage kind of hills.

I've read and talked, but the fog is thick with opinions not based on experience.

Any input?
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Old 05-07-19, 09:47 AM
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That's not much information for the question you are asking.

It's all a matter of simple physics. How much power can you produce, how much weight are you trying to pull up the hill, and how fast do you want to go down the other side? Different variable inputs = different answers.

In all honesty, I think you've got to try it with whatever you've got. If you think the hill is too hard, figure out what you have to do to acquire an easier gear.
Two things to remember:
1. If you put a Ferrari transmission into a Yugo, it still won't go 150 MPH. You've got to have enough power to get the job done. On a bike or trike, that comes from the rider.
2. Everything on a bike (or a trike) works together. You can almost never change just one part. If you install a cassette with a 40t big cog, you are going to need a longer chain and probably a derailleur change to make it work.
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Old 05-07-19, 10:22 AM
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Trikes are slow and inefficient. I question the choice in platform if uphill speed is a major issue.
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Old 05-07-19, 11:44 AM
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If you can locate some recumbent dealers in the general Denver/ Colorado Springs area, you may find some good information and advice. I find this link, for example, and looks like there may be two or three others: https://www.recumbenttrikesdenver.com/buying-tips/ And if you can locate somebody that rents them, try it that way.

I've been riding a gravel bike all over here in north Texas, compact double with 32-rear sprocket. Works great, even on the steepest hills. I rode it up in Colorado last summer, and just ran out of legs. The issue wasn't that the hills were any steeper, but the steepness was longer. So on a 100' high hill, push a little harder and you're on top; with a mile-long ramp, that didn't work. So moral of this is, get gears lower than you think you'll need. If you already live and ride in that area, you likely have a good handle on that. If, like me, you live elsewhere, beware.
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Old 05-07-19, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
Trikes are slow and inefficient. I question the choice in platform if uphill speed is a major issue.
Some might say them's fight'n words, not that I have a dog in this one ...
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Old 05-07-19, 02:57 PM
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Gear down. My wife has issues necessitating a trike. We ordered her ICE Adventure with the lowest gearing available, this allows her to spin up hills at slow speeds, sometimes only 1.5 mph. But she gets up them.

My experience is that with my trike (Catrike Trail) the recumbent position allows me ( I have a bum knee) to mash harder and more comfortably than I could with a normal bicycle. I kind’a push back through my hips into the seat. Anyway, trikes work better for us than bikes.

Mind you though, the hills in Texas are just that, hills. Mountains I know from nothing.

Last edited by boilermaker1; 05-07-19 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 05-07-19, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Some might say them's fight'n words, not that I have a dog in this one ...
Well, I currently have 2 tadpoles. A Windcheetah and a Trice QNT 20 with suspension. I have also owned two different Kettwiesels, a Logo tadpole, and a Rans Trizard, and a Trice QNT 26. I have done extensive test rides on a Catrike 700 as well. So I am a fan of trikes. But not for going uphill quickly.

I currently have 3 different recumbent bikes, and have owned several others that have come and gone since then. Highracers, midracers, USS, OSS, mostly SWBs, but one LWB too.

Been riding seriously since I was about 12, and that included recumbents since I was 17.

I also currently have three different road bikes too. Different vintages, and in different materials.

I am bikesexual. I'll ride anything.

My point is that I have a broad perspective that exceeds that of most cyclists, and I see the value in all types of HPVs. They all have their pros and cons.
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Old 05-07-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
Trikes are slow and inefficient. I question the choice in platform if uphill speed is a major issue.
LOL I don't know about putting it in such strong terms, but yeah: the advantage of a trike is in how SLOW it can go. If you want speed, get a 2-wheeler.

If you're set on a trike, and in particular a tadpole, then you want the stiffest boom you can find on a light frame. Those two items are sort of mutually-exclusive. The new Bacchetta/Carbontrikes might be the ticket; but I at least wouldn't be willing to pony up the $6K on a "maybe."
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Old 05-07-19, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
Well, I currently have 2 tadpoles. A Windcheetah and a Trice QNT 20 with suspension. I have also owned two different Kettwiesels, a Logo tadpole, and a Rans Trizard, and a Trice QNT 26. I have done extensive test rides on a Catrike 700 as well. So I am a fan of trikes. But not for going uphill quickly.

I currently have 3 different recumbent bikes, and have owned several others that have come and gone since then. Highracers, midracers, USS, OSS, mostly SWBs, but one LWB too.

Been riding seriously since I was about 12, and that included recumbents since I was 17.

I also currently have three different road bikes too. Different vintages, and in different materials.

I am bikesexual. I'll ride anything.

My point is that I have a broad perspective that exceeds that of most cyclists, and I see the value in all types of HPVs. They all have their pros and cons.
Not for going uphill if getting there the same day is a goal?

Last edited by Trsnrtr; 05-21-19 at 02:08 PM. Reason: fix broken quote
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Old 05-07-19, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by boilermaker1 View Post
Gear down. My wife has issues necessitating a trike. We ordered her ICE Adventure with the lowest gearing available, this allows her to spin up hills at slow speeds, sometimes only 1.5 mph. But she gets up them.

My experience is that with my trike (Catrike Trail) the recumbent position allows me ( I have a bum knee) to mash harder and more comfortably than I could with a normal bicycle. I kind’a push back through my hips into the seat. Anyway, trikes work better for us than bikes.

Mind you though, the hills in Texas are just that, hills. Mountains I know from nothing.
Thanks
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Old 05-07-19, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
If you can locate some recumbent dealers in the general Denver/ Colorado Springs area, you may find some good information and advice. I find this link, for example, and looks like there may be two or three others: URL Deleted as directed by Admin And if you can locate somebody that rents them, try it that way.

I've been riding a gravel bike all over here in north Texas, compact double with 32-rear sprocket. Works great, even on the steepest hills. I rode it up in Colorado last summer, and just ran out of legs. The issue wasn't that the hills were any steeper, but the steepness was longer. So on a 100' high hill, push a little harder and you're on top; with a mile-long ramp, that didn't work. So moral of this is, get gears lower than you think you'll need. If you already live and ride in that area, you likely have a good handle on that. If, like me, you live elsewhere, beware.
Thanks. Good stuff

Yes, I have successfully ridden road bikes in the mounains. Taht is why I asked the question.
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Old 05-07-19, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Hawkowl2 View Post

Not for going uphill if getting there the same day is a goal?
To be honest, I don't know what that means. In truth, I didn't really know what your first post meant when you said " truly a hill climber".

I assumed you meant that it climbed with speed and efficiency. A trike is not that.

You'll eventually get there on a trike, sure. Is that "true"?

It would help if you were clear about what your priorities are.
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Old 05-07-19, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
LOL I don't know about putting it in such strong terms, but yeah: the advantage of a trike is in how SLOW it can go. If you want speed, get a 2-wheeler.

If you're set on a trike, and in particular a tadpole, then you want the stiffest boom you can find on a light frame. Those two items are sort of mutually-exclusive. The new Bacchetta/Carbontrikes might be the ticket; but I at least wouldn't be willing to pony up the $6K on a "maybe."
Best that the OP understands their nature now than to buy one with a false understanding and be disappointed.

Trikes can sort of hold their own on flat ground, but most are heavy and flexy, and that kills you on hills. The latter being the biggest issue IMO. On a trike its easy to see the boom swaying back and forth with every pedal stroke.

So I agree with your general advice.
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Old 05-07-19, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
That's not much information for the question you are asking.

It's all a matter of simple physics. How much power can you produce, how much weight are you trying to pull up the hill, and how fast do you want to go down the other side? Different variable inputs = different answers.

In all honesty, I think you've got to try it with whatever you've got. If you think the hill is too hard, figure out what you have to do to acquire an easier gear.
Two things to remember:
1. If you put a Ferrari transmission into a Yugo, it still won't go 150 MPH. You've got to have enough power to get the job done. On a bike or trike, that comes from the rider.
2. Everything on a bike (or a trike) works together. You can almost never change just one part. If you install a cassette with a 40t big cog, you are going to need a longer chain and probably a derailleur change to make it work.
Nice macro, engineering 101. I am looking for something more responsive from personal experience.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
Best that the OP understands their nature now than to buy one with a false understanding and be disappointed.

Trikes can sort of hold their own on flat ground, but most are heavy and flexy, and that kills you on hills. The latter being the biggest issue IMO. On a trike its easy to see the boom swaying back and forth with every pedal stroke.
I don't think so. What you can see is the pedaling torque induced swaying of the front end around the pivots in the steering heads! It isn't possible for a boom made of 1/4" thick aluminum over 2.5" in diameter to flex that much under pedaling forces that you can perceive with the naked eye! I'm being emphatic because this myth is so often repeated. The forces needed to shape tubing of this size are so immense that these vehicles cannot be fabricated without access to hydraulic bending machinery and cyclists imagine that they are accomplishing deflection amplitudes of as much as an inch from their puny (by comparison) thighs ... sigh ... I despair.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I don't think so. What you can see is the pedaling torque induced swaying of the front end around the pivots in the steering heads! It isn't possible for a boom made of 1/4" thick aluminum over 2.5" in diameter to flex that much under pedaling forces that you can perceive with the naked eye! I'm being emphatic because this myth is so often repeated. The forces needed to shape tubing of this size are so immense that these vehicles cannot be fabricated without access to hydraulic bending machinery and cyclists imagine that they are accomplishing deflection amplitudes of as much as an inch from their puny (by comparison) thighs ... sigh ... I despair.
Oh, I think so. Have you ever ridden an ICE trike? They have very flexy booms. And because it's a 3 wheeled machine, you have a very steady frame of reference to observe it.

I can't observe it when riding a bike because nothing is fixed. But trikes are a different story. It is very easily observable. And direct observation is pretty good evidence.

You keep saying its a myth without any evidence of your own. Your myth is a myth. I am tired of you repeating it. See how easy that is?

Actually, I'll add that I can easily observe boom flex on a bike too, but only when on a trainer.

Why not try that yourself and see?

Last edited by Steamer; 05-08-19 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 05-08-19, 12:30 PM
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Two schools of thought on this. One is that steady speed uphill is just a matter of weight, gearing, and power. But that just doesn't fit with everyone's experience of how a good road bike seems to leap uphill while a MTB grinds along.

I can tell you that my Terra Trike Rambler is a pig! It slows down hard and flexes plenty. But it's got the gears to live comfortably as a pig. For whatever reason the flex is a lot more obvious going downhill than up.

For short bursts you will often read that you can't stand up on a bent like an upright and that's true, but on the other hand you can really brace yourself against the seat and lunge hard.
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Old 05-08-19, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
To be honest, I don't know what that means. In truth, I didn't really know what your first post meant when you said " truly a hill climber".

I assumed you meant that it climbed with speed and efficiency. A trike is not that.

You'll eventually get there on a trike, sure. Is that "true"?

It would help if you were clear about what your priorities are.
As a Newbie I'm restricted so replies are delayed.
Sorry you thought I wasn't clear. I am looking for personal experience from people who climb, or cannot climb, long steep grades like those in Front Range Colorado or Alaska. Could have included Tucson Arizona area.

I don't believe "You'll eventually get there on a trike, sure. Is that "true"?" If the trike is slow and the grade is steep and long it takes a great deal of endurance to get there.
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Old 05-08-19, 03:48 PM
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Thanks Darth Lefty.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:29 PM
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Thread Summary:
Trikes are ungainly beasts. Lots of fun on the flat. But to venture into all but the most moderate hills need to regear to very low gears. Even then the motor(rider) needs to be physically and mentally prepared for a long climbing slog.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 05-09-19, 01:48 PM
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I don't have a trike (coming next month), but a recumbent bike. I am looking at putting a smaller front ring on it (and a bigger one too, since it's a triple), but for me, the really steep hills I need to keep spinning, so lower gearing is a must. The nice thing about a trike is that it doesn't matter how slow you go, you won't fall over.

I will take a couple weeks getting used to my trike, then I'm going to go try some of the bigger hills around here and see what I might want to do to adjust the gearing. I might even get a mid gear installed from Utah Trikes.

There's a guy with a velomobile that has a ridiculous gear range with a triple up front, 9 speed cassette, and a 3 speed (I think) mid-drive that really extends his gear range. He can pedal up over 40 mph, and as he puts it, 'still climb a telephone pole with a good cadence'.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:25 PM
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And then there are e-assist electric motors some of which produce good torque for climbing. But there is the issue of how far you would ride and battery range or perhaps multiple batteries. I also have a Windcheetah Hyper Sport that probably weighs about 30 lbs with CF tailbox and CF wheelcovers. This is light for a trike. Additionally the seat is an upright 50 degree seat angle and the bottom bracket is low. It is basically a CF trike with a CF boom. It is probably a "good" climbing trike. On Tuesday nights there is "bike night" at the Circuit of the Americas an international F1 track outside of Austin. The loop is around 3.25 miles with 50' per mile of elevation gain. "The Hill" (there are several hills) is a little less than 1/4 mile and the grade is 14-16% the best I can tell. I don't have adequate gearing for The Hill. My cassette is a 13-30 for roller hills. The chainring is a triple 52, 39,30 and the rear wheel is 26". I think this is around 24 gear inches for the low. I slog up the hill at 2.5-3 mph. Last time at the track a guy on a 29' wheel unicycle passed me! My Garmin turned off thinking I had stopped :-( He didn't look especially fit and a bit over weight. He had a lot less bike weight and wheels to get up The Hill and a small handlebar so he could stand and pull against the bar. Bottom line with skill needed a unicycle was faster than a "fast hill-climbing" trike. I don't think it was an issue of he having a bigger engine. Remember besides climbing a long steep hill or mountain you have to get down it safely. The Windcheetah takes a lot more skill for really fast descents than I have. Steamer might but I don't. So if looking for a fast climbing trike be sure it can descend fast and controllable as well or you will loose time on the descent that you gained on the climb. I have a Catrike Dumont full suspension trike with a TSDZ2 motor and 17.5 Ah battery for the really steep hills but they are short and not mountains. Don't know if the motor or battery is up to mountains. But IMO you need a 20" rear wheel to get the gear inches down for really steep stuff. A 20" wheel with a 36T cassette and 26T grany on a triple is 13 gear inches. About 10 GIs less than I am currently running on the Windcheetah. BTW Steamer knows what he's talking about and is "Mr. Windcheetah".
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Old 05-21-19, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bowzette View Post
On Tuesday nights there is "bike night" at the Circuit of the Americas an international F1 track outside of Austin. The loop is around 3.25 miles with 50' per mile of elevation gain. "The Hill" (there are several hills) is a little less than 1/4 mile and the grade is 14-16% the best I can tell. I don't have adequate gearing for The Hill. My cassette is a 13-30 for roller hills. The chainring is a triple 52, 39,30 and the rear wheel is 26".
Tell me more about that bike night!

I'm out having fun with my Catrike Dumont [Front is 30, 39, 52; the rear is 11-36 cassete] but need to keep my legs moving.

I had a blast on the Rookie Tri. We road the path around Decker Lake, so good hills on parts. I didn't know the course and messed up as I didn't downshift in time and had to crank up the hill. Yikes! I had missed a turn in the water, so was already wiped out before I started the bike portion. The best part was everyone who had passed me in the water I passed on the bike portion, but they caught and passed me during the run — still a fun time of it.

I had forgotten to hit my watch to start on time, but there is a steep hill at the top left — about 60' elevation climb. I couldn't downshift, just cranked up in high gear averaging about two mph — a lot of walkers on the hill.

Can not post images or links. Look at Decker Lake (290 & 130). The 12 Mile bike path was around the lake — just a blast since roads were blocked to traffic, Travis Sherrif and DPS out diverting traffic. I started to stop for a STOP SIGN and had DPS wave me through. (closed course, no traffic but mentally see a stop sign, I stop). Being waved through, Yeehaa!
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Old 05-21-19, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hawkowl2 View Post
Thread Summary:
Trikes are ungainly beasts. Lots of fun on the flat. But to venture into all but the most moderate hills need to regear to very low gears. Even then the motor(rider) needs to be physically and mentally prepared for a long climbing slog.

Thanks for the input.
That pretty much sums it up.
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Old 05-21-19, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by roundrocktom View Post
Tell me more about that bike night!

I'm out having fun with my Catrike Dumont [Front is 30, 39, 52; the rear is 11-36 cassete] but need to keep my legs moving.

I had a blast on the Rookie Tri. We road the path around Decker Lake, so good hills on parts. I didn't know the course and messed up as I didn't downshift in time and had to crank up the hill. Yikes! I had missed a turn in the water, so was already wiped out before I started the bike portion. The best part was everyone who had passed me in the water I passed on the bike portion, but they caught and passed me during the run — still a fun time of it.

I had forgotten to hit my watch to start on time, but there is a steep hill at the top left — about 60' elevation climb. I couldn't downshift, just cranked up in high gear averaging about two mph — a lot of walkers on the hill.

Can not post images or links. Look at Decker Lake (290 & 130). The 12 Mile bike path was around the lake — just a blast since roads were blocked to traffic, Travis Sherrif and DPS out diverting traffic. I started to stop for a STOP SIGN and had DPS wave me through. (closed course, no traffic but mentally see a stop sign, I stop). Being waved through, Yeehaa!
COTA site for Bike Night Bike Nights | Circuit of The Americas On the Windcheetah I average 14-14.5 mph and the e-assist Dumont 22-22.5 mph with an average heart rate of 80-82% of max HR for either one. I work just as hard I just go a lot faster with the e-assist. The WC is more than half the weight of the Dumont with motor but goes just as fast down The Hill-really aero.
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