1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

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Psamathe
Posts: 11932
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Psamathe » 27 Dec 2020, 11:37am

I'm moving closer to getting my 1st recumbent trike and am seeking opinions of others as I'm completely "out-of-my-depth". Reasons for switch DF to recumbent trike are medical from which I may recover back to 2 wheels in time but uncertain time and uncertain recovery so I need to do something ...

Use is solo recreational lanes riding and longer laden/camping tours.

Trike I've come down to is new ICE Sprint X Tour https://www.icetrikes.co/products/sprin ... bent-trike

Ground Clearance: 3" is a bit of a concern about "grounding" but maybe not - I just don't know. Low point on the bike is up by front wheels (in line with read wheel rim) so grounding means a 6" pothole (which is never going to happen). But touring you occasionally find yourself on rougher than expected tracks (so go back and find a different route!). And if you do "ground" it's a steel frame so paintwork and/or easy repair as and when. But I've no experience. Any thoughts? (Caterham Super 7's seem to run between 2¾" to 4⅓" sump clearance).

Configuration:
• 26" rear wheel with rear suspension (no front suspension - though can be retro fitted)
• BB7 Disk Brakes (because I like my DF mechanical disks)
• No dynamo hub (add too much to cost - but should I have day running lights and would this make dynamo more important?)
• Derailleur; 10-speed 11-36 cassette; Shimano Deore (48/36/26) chainring. Which I calculate to go down give 19" to 113" gear inches which should be fine on a DF but is that OK on a recumbent for laden touring? There is an option to go to SRAM S600 (44/32/22) which goes to 16" to 104" gear inches
• Airpro Hardshell Seat plus headrest (sweaty e.g. touring in warm places but reasons below)
• Rear parking brake (originally BB7 as spare disk/pads/etc. if ever needed but expensive to maybe just V-parking brake).
• Accessories (mudguards, racks, flags, mirrors, mounts, etc.)

I'd consider the Rohloff gearing option if people say it's a "must have" on such bikes (very expensive, difficult to justify but I've no experience and derailleur works).

Having "self-analysed" as to why I've made certain choices and moved away from other options I suspect part of my choice is because it's medical limitations pushing this direction, the appearance (sporty) is psychological for my situation (admitting I'm not up to 2 wheels any longer and the 1st time I've had to acknowledge "getting older"). It is difficult to explain and is a balance/compromise. e.g. The hardshell seat which is expensive and sweaty in warm places and I have to recognise might be a bad choice - so open to opinions.

At one time I favoured was HP Velotechnik Scorpion which has some "better" features (in my inexperienced opinion) but I've moved to preferring the ICE.

I'm buying blind and it's expensive. I had booked to visit Kevin (D-Tek) but Covid got in the way with tiers and lockdowns and being realistic the visit is unlikely to happen for a few months (due to Covid). The supply is on long lead times so if I don't order soon I'll start missing the better riding weather and possible touring (and I may recover enough for 2-wheels as well) - so wait until I've tried, made 110% sure, etc. and I'll likely miss 2021's better riding weather.

Any input appreciated (do tell me I'm wrong as I've no experience with these bikes).
Thanks
Ian

Jdsk
Posts: 5144
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Jdsk » 27 Dec 2020, 11:46am

I like our dynamo lights (and sometimes my dynamo charger) both for camping tours and round town... how much extra cost is involved?

Psamathe wrote:Caterham Super 7's seem to run between 2¾" to 4⅓" sump clearance

Traditional minimum for Sevens was a freely rolling Coke can... that's 66mm for the most common type. But there are now lots of obstacles where 75mm is required.

Jonathan

Psamathe
Posts: 11932
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Psamathe » 27 Dec 2020, 11:53am

Jdsk wrote:I like our dynamo lights (and sometimes my dynamo charger) both for camping tours and round town... how much extra cost is involved?

Additional £340 (it's a SON hub). On my 2-wheel tours I've found a solar panel once arrived is enough but I only ride for 3-4 hrs (40-60 miles) each day, partly because saddle/discomfort/etc. so maybe on a trike things would be different? I appreciate it's probably not a "do everything exactly the same" change.

Jdsk wrote:
Psamathe wrote:Caterham Super 7's seem to run between 2¾" to 4⅓" sump clearance

Traditional minimum for Sevens was a freely rolling Coke can... that's 66mm for the most common type. But there are now lots of obstacles where 75mm is required.

That suggests 3" on the ICE is very marginal - enough?

Ian

Jdsk
Posts: 5144
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Jdsk » 27 Dec 2020, 11:57am

Psamathe wrote:Low point on the bike is up by front wheels (in line with read wheel rim) so grounding means a 6" pothole (which is never going to happen). But touring you occasionally find yourself on rougher than expected tracks (so go back and find a different route!). And if you do "ground" it's a steel frame so paintwork and/or easy repair as and when.

Is that low point the long frame tube itself, or is there a chain guide below that?

Jonathan

Jdsk
Posts: 5144
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Jdsk » 27 Dec 2020, 11:59am

Psamathe wrote:
Jdsk wrote:I like our dynamo lights (and sometimes my dynamo charger) both for camping tours and round town... how much extra cost is involved?

Additional £340 (it's a SON hub).

I use SP PV-8 hub dynamos, much cheaper:
https://spacycles.co.uk/m10b0s209p0/Wheels/Dynamo-Wheel-and-Light-Bundles

Jonathan

Psamathe
Posts: 11932
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Psamathe » 27 Dec 2020, 12:00pm

Jdsk wrote:
Psamathe wrote:Low point on the bike is up by front wheels (in line with read wheel rim) so grounding means a 6" pothole (which is never going to happen). But touring you occasionally find yourself on rougher than expected tracks (so go back and find a different route!). And if you do "ground" it's a steel frame so paintwork and/or easy repair as and when.

Is that low point the long frame tube itself, or is there a chain guide below that?

Jonathan

Low point on the main frame (I'm pretty sure). But on a trike you have more choice about road positioning, going slower (than Caterham) to avoid obstacles, etc.) - maybe that makes a difference.
Image

In my lack of experience I sometimes think it's a production bike, quite a popular one of if an issue then the design would have been changed and/or people not buying that model. But as I said, I'm outside my experience here.

Ian
Last edited by Psamathe on 27 Dec 2020, 12:09pm, edited 1 time in total.

Psamathe
Posts: 11932
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Psamathe » 27 Dec 2020, 12:05pm

Jdsk wrote:
Psamathe wrote:
Jdsk wrote:I like our dynamo lights (and sometimes my dynamo charger) both for camping tours and round town... how much extra cost is involved?

Additional £340 (it's a SON hub).

I use SP PV-8 hub dynamos, much cheaper:
https://spacycles.co.uk/m10b0s209p0/Wheels/Dynamo-Wheel-and-Light-Bundles

Jonathan

The SON hub is an ICE configuration option and I've not asked about my providing an alternative to be built into the wheel (I assumed it's not possible) or I guess I'd have to look at having the wheel rebuilt (which is quite possible as I have an LBS with an excellent wheel building reputation, though unsure of cost). Having wheel rebuilt later allows me to delay any decision on that aspect.

Ian

ambodach
Posts: 974
Joined: 15 Mar 2011, 6:45pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby ambodach » 27 Dec 2020, 3:48pm

I have an Adventure HD which has more ground clearance but with 20 inch wheels all round the rear mech is a bit low tho' I have never had any problem off road with my Bike Friday.
With a 26 rear wheel you are better placed in that respect and the top gear will be a bit higher. You really need a wide spread of gears as my lowest is 22 to 34 and I could do with going further down but the flip side is my highest spins out at about 18mph and 12 mph is a comfortable speed in top.
If you aim to go off road I think you should consider something with a better ground clearance. There are tracks I cannot use as the rise in the centre of the track is just too much for comfort.
Width is another factor for gates on cyclepaths and it would be useful for getting through doorways to be a bit narrower than mine.

Psamathe
Posts: 11932
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Psamathe » 27 Dec 2020, 4:12pm

ambodach wrote:....
If you aim to go off road I think you should consider something with a better ground clearance. There are tracks I cannot use as the rise in the centre of the track is just too much for comfort......

Many thanks.

I don't aim to go "off-road" but on previous tours routing (cycle.travel) can only use the information recorded on Open Street Map and that has on one or two occasions turned out rather "over optimistic" - still cycle paths but a bit overgrown or dirt track with raised centre/low tyre ruts. It's only happened a couple of times (over 4 months touring) so not a big issue to find an alternative (which I probably should have done on my 2-wheels anyway).

I don't tour in a rush so as long as I get to a camp site for the night I'm not unduly bothered by route changes.

One aspect I get confused about is in recognising the recumbent trike is a fairly different vehicle from my 2-wheel DF bike so I should expect I can't do everything in an identical manner - which can be beneficial as well e.g. I hate hills on my DF but I'm assuming hills will be easier/slower on a recumbent trike (on 2-wheel DF my gears are not ideal (23" gear inches) and 6-7 mph and I have to get off and push whereas recumbent trike just go as slow as necessary). I must recognise there will be differences - just without experience I can't assess those differences.

Thanks
Ian

hercule
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Joined: 5 Feb 2011, 5:18pm

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby hercule » 27 Dec 2020, 4:23pm

I bought my Trice QNT blind though not totally uniformed as I had a Hase Kettwiesel bought cheap from eBay to start with. I remember endlessly puzzling over ground clearance, track width (two widths were offered), seat rake etc. In the end and after 14 years I’ve never had a problem with ground clearance and that includes riding on forestry tracks; and it’s not something I’ve considered on my subsequently acquired ICE VTX which is even lower.

Unless you are gung-ho in your riding style then you should be able to steer round most obstacles. You’re probably not going to be blasting downhill as fast as on an upright bike if the road/track is very rough as you’ll get shaken to bits. Riding on or off kerbs is a no-no, but I don’t do that on an upright either.

Sadly you don’t have choice of track width within the various ICE ranges now. My QNT and VTX have the same width, the Sprint is intermediate between the VTX and the Adventure.

When it comes to buying recumbents I think there is merit to just jumping in and swimming with it. Test rides inevitably for a newbie mean a whole new learning experience and the novelty of a different configuration, once you have a few thousand miles under your tyres you’ll know better what you want. You won’t go far wrong buying a quality used machine first - and Kevin has a wealth of experience and stock if you take this route. You can sell them for very little loss if you upgrade or decide it’s not for you.

Shreds
Posts: 59
Joined: 19 Dec 2010, 4:43am

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby Shreds » 27 Dec 2020, 5:27pm

ICE VTX here. Superb and comfortable after getting used to the different configuration. My advice; stop worrying. It will all be good. ICE are very amenable, helpful and approachable.

Grounding: generally not a problem - yes its possible on a very uneven surface but no big deal. You get used to positioning the trike to minimise the effect.

Lights: essential obviously. I have a variety of front and rear to make the trike visible. Strangely cheapest are non cycle lights as well as purpose made ones. A couple of “Energiser” 450 lumens front lights stuck on with very strong velcro and with a couple of zip ties each to ensure they stay there are bright bright bright but able to be set dimmable if required. Fitted with standard rechargeable lithiums. No drag on wheel and for the price are unbeatable.

Hard shell seat: comes with padded cover and sponge pads for beneath to which I added a small piece of bubble wrap beneath the cover. Even on the hottest days of summer, plenty of ventilation so not unduly sweaty.

Brakes: Avid discs. No noticeable brake steer, but very effective even on long descents as they are ventilated. Easy to replace pads about same as life of conventional DF brake pads on normal calipers.

Mirror: very useful

Leg length v boom length. Adjust to attain best leg extendion without over exerting knees. Much as with DF but obviously slightly different being horizontal. You still dont want to be at full stretch in the same way as you wouldnt want to be on a normal saddle / pedal that risks tendonitis.

Gearing: depends on your experience. I actually dont find hills a problem. Just sit back and spin the pedals. My gearing is different using I think the standard 50/34 and 11/34 rear block with a 700c rear wheel. Just make sure you set your chain length correctly to suit your leg length. Both ICE and Park Tool offer advice on such matters if you are not sure. Do have a couple of D links for emergencies. Shimano chains can be quite picky and I believe KMC ones are better in that respect, especially as Shimanos dont appreciate normal chain tool shortening / repairs.

Pedals: lock in. I use Time Atac. Good ‘float’ but equally good lock in.

Parking brake: the velcro straps are fine, effective and cheaper/ lighter / replaceable compared to the V brake. Unconventional but you soon adapt to using them to prevent trike heading off downhill.

Biggest thing to remember, is standing astride the boom and dropping back into the seat using wheel to steady yourself if necessary. Otherwise you will look like an amateur!! Its the only way. (ICE manual provides a guide to doing this too!)

More than that enjoy! You may not want to go back to DF world! :D

nobrakes
Posts: 28
Joined: 9 Jan 2020, 10:17am

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby nobrakes » 27 Dec 2020, 8:42pm

You can’t go wrong with an ICE trike. Just remember to factor in being 3-4 mph slower than equivalent DF speed especially at all day tour speed. You will not care though because you will be superbly comfortable, have a nice view and will not be stressed about balance on steep hills. Trikes are addictive once you get into them.

UpWrong
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Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby UpWrong » 27 Dec 2020, 11:19pm

I'd go with the lower gearing, short cranks, mesh seat and drum brakes. I've learnt of the merits of each of these from experience. 3" clearance will probably be ok but I'd fit a frame protector rather than risk scraping the frame and devaluing it significantly.

OldBloke
Posts: 126
Joined: 15 Jul 2014, 3:34am

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby OldBloke » 28 Dec 2020, 12:34am

I ride on both hard shell and mesh seats. I find I get equally sweaty on both. The hard shell gives slightly better power transfer if the shell fits properly. If suggest you try both and see which is more comfortable.

I prefer all three wheels the same size. For touring it means you only need one size spare tyre and spare tubes.

With low enough gearing you can climb anything as long as you have traction and aren't in a hurry :) . I'd suggest go with the lower gearing.

Just my 2c worth,

OB

OldBloke
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Joined: 15 Jul 2014, 3:34am

Re: 1st Recumbent Trike Questions & Configuration For Any Thoughts

Postby OldBloke » 28 Dec 2020, 12:49am

To my mind daytime running lights are more effective than flags provided they are bright enough. If you only ride a few hours at a time battery lights with solar or power bank back up will be fine.

As far as I know SON is the only manufacturer with a single sided dynamo that is suitable for trikes. There are some very efficient bottle dynamos available these days that you could try later. Consider what you need for charging phone and GPS. Riding for an hour or two probably won't be enough to charge your phone with a dynamo.

OB