Recumbent Trike Questions

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Psamathe
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Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby Psamathe » 7 Nov 2020, 8:22pm

(Sorry, a long post with several questions!)

Been away for a while (ill and deteriorating and NHS is more shut-down than TV News reports suggest). Not been on 2 wheels for ages and am mostly house-bound. I think a major issue making use of bike unsafe is I've pretty well lost my balance most of the time (hobble unsteadily round the house using furniture and walls for support). And I'm thinking that on a trike, if things (balance) got worse then I'm already sitting down and so would not be a danger to others or myself.

So I'm thinking maybe spent loads of money and get a recumbent trike. Logistics mean I'll have to be buying blind so I need to double check as much as I can from people more knowledgeable and with more experience (here).

I believe I'm after a recumbent trike, tadpole design and one that will take plenty of panniers. Also thinking I'd want folding (so I can ride to the station, fold bike and carry it onto train without having to book in advance in guards van). Searching internet has me pretty well narrowed down to HP Velotechnic Scorpion fx https://www.hpvelotechnik.com/en/recumbent-trikes-bikes/scorpion-adults-recumbent-trikes/scorpion-fx-medium-high-foldable-travel-trike/

But I've several questions and would appreciate experience/opinions/anything/etc.

1. Narrow Lanes: Much of my cycling is on single track country lanes and I've learnt that SUVs do own these roads. With 2 wheels you can stop and pull wheels up against verge and lean bike over - but not so practical with trike (but then I manage in a car but then a car has a reverse gear). Is this an issue or something that in reality isn't a problem?

2. Knees: My knees suffer and I often have to tape them up and always use jumpers knee straps. I think it's VMO/knee-cap issue and I manage OK on 2 wheels but is the recumbent trike different and worse (or better)?

3. Practicalities: e.g. going shopping, security, etc.: I assume no issues and e.g. with a folding one you could even fold it up and e.g. leave it in reception. Am I overlooking anything (I'd rather discover now that after spending £££££). Storage at home is OK (if folding).

And re the bike itself:

a. 20" or 26" rear wheel? (20" is easier as only one size spar inner tubes to carry and I'm after recreation/touring not speed)?

b. Only rear suspension (front ads weight and a lot of £££££). But roads round me (and some areas I've toured) are pretty potholey so is front suspension useful (stretching budgets a lot).

c. Many options of drive-train. Basic is Sturmey Archer (3 speed hub) and SPAM 8-speed derailleur (single chainwheel). Option of same but with 9 speed derailleur. Or a triple at front and 10 speed cassette (SRAM). I'm thinking triple SRAM but probably because it's a configuration I'm familiar with and Sturmey Archer was what I had on my 1st ever bike with gears when I was a child).

Any other thoughts about "you must get" or "don't bother with" or "it's the wrong trike" or "look at ..." (I did look at ICU Sprint X Tour but it can only take 2 panniers & rack-top bag - not enough for me).

I'm very open to all input as I'm way outside my knowledge and experience here. It's early days (still hoping to get something diagnosis or treatment wise from our NHS - but life is not great so I need to do something). I'm not decided yet but have to start somehwere.

Whilst it's not a panic rush, I believe that without a Brexit deal, these bikes coming in from EU will be subject to an 8% import tax which makes the already high price significantly higher.

Many thanks
Ian

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n0ct0
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby n0ct0 » 7 Nov 2020, 11:28pm

1. Narrow Lanes:

Not had a problem, but I’d be loathe to go down a narrow lane with high walls, not that there are many of those i.e. Hardknott Pass etc. Most drivers give you a wide berth as they can’t work out what it is they are looking at.

2. Knees:

I don’t have knee problems, but I do use short cranks (160) to reduce knee movement and I find that I get zero aches after a ride compared with when I used 175mm cranks.

3. Practicalities:

Can’t say as I don’t leave mine parked anywhere public, but it does take up a lot of space. Having said that the Scorpion FX I recently sold was spirited away in something the size of a VW Up! when folded.

a. 20" or 26" rear wheel?

I swapped from a Scorpion FX with 20” all round to a Scorpion 2 with a 26” rear wheel, this made getting the correct gearing a lot easier with standard chainrings. Not a problem if you don’t need to pedal along at over 20mph.

b. Only rear suspension (front ads weight and a lot of £££££). But roads round me (and some areas I've toured) are pretty potholey so is front suspension useful (stretching budgets a lot).

I’m glad I gave front suspension a miss, for the number of times the road is that bad it’s easier to slow down, and the HP front suspension is complex and expensive.

c. Many options of drive-train.

I’ve tried all 3, 30 speed with a front triple, 24 speed SRAM and 24 speed SA. The SRAM is better than the SA, but as they no longer make it, it’s a moot point. The front derailleur was my least favourite as with the IGH you can change gear while stationary.

Any other thoughts about "you must get" or "don't bother with" or "it's the wrong trike" or "look at ..." (I did look at ICU Sprint X Tour but it can only take 2 panniers & rack-top bag - not enough for me).

I’d say go with the FX. Mine was the original FX, and the FX2 that HP now sell fixed the problems that had; higher BB, stiffer frame, better pannier locations. I would go with the Ergomesh seat as it’s better on a trike for cornering than the Bodylink. I’d also avoid too many options with HP as they charge over the odds for them and the prices are high enough already. There’s a price rise coming in the new year too.
Last edited by n0ct0 on 8 Nov 2020, 12:42pm, edited 1 time in total.

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squeaker
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby squeaker » 8 Nov 2020, 11:33am

1) there's a common assumption that a 'bent trike rider has a mobility disability - make use of it ;)
2) shorter cranks (eg 155's) and resisting the temptation to leg press advised
3) although there's no need to find somewhere to prop you bike against, trikes do take up significant floor space (even when folded) - they are also heavy awkward lumps - I have an ICE Sprint and I would only consider a 'ride then fold for train option' once in a blue moon (ie never!) - it's bad enough getting it in the back of a hatchback - others may differ... Would be a definite 'try before you buy' for me if rail travel was important.
a) 20" with rear sus., use Big Apples on the front
c) probably a triple, my wife's ICE 'T' has 52-38-26 with 11-32 cassette (15-90") - top gear rarely used ;)
Radical bags work well on mesh seats and can add 40l of (not waterproof, but very durable) capacity
HTH
"42"

tatanab
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby tatanab » 8 Nov 2020, 11:54am

Psamathe wrote:1. Narrow Lanes: Much of my cycling is on single track country lanes and I've learnt that SUVs do own these roads. With 2 wheels you can stop and pull wheels up against verge and lean bike over - but not so practical with trike (but then I manage in a car but then a car has a reverse gear). Is this an issue or something that in reality isn't a problem?
Experience from upright trike not recumbent.
This is not an issue. Logic applies. If I meet a tractor and trailer I will simply perform a U turn (easy on an upright) and retrace a short distance.
Only once in 50 plus years of trike riding have I confronted a driver, and that was last year. A lane wide enough that if the driver had only pulled to the side we could have passed albeit slowly. She just stopped in the middle and said I should go back. I pointed out that she might have pulled to one side, and anyway she had a reverse gear not me.
squeaker wrote:1) there's a common assumption that a 'bent trike rider has a mobility disability - make use of it
Circumstance described above. If the driver had forced the issue I would have retreated, but very slowly since obviously it takes a lot of time for me to dismount, turn the trike around, remount etc.

hercule
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby hercule » 8 Nov 2020, 1:50pm

Gearing: My Trice QNT has a triple, 9 speed cassette, and Sturmey 3 speed. Lots of gears with plenty of range at top and bottom even with 20” wheels all round.

Loading: there are other options, most particularly adding in Radical Design seat bags which can add another 25l of storage to your panniers and rack bag. I think a 20” rear wheel is better for load carrying as it keeps the load low down: essential in maintaining stability.

Never had a problem with confrontations on narrow roads but if I did I would make my point, either slowly back up using feet or struggle to get out of trike and laboriously push it back up the road... :evil: The reality is that in 14 years of riding a bent trike I think I’ve only had one encounter with an idiot driver (by comparison, one every few rides on an upright).

I’ve also got a Rogers Clubman upright trike, actually I think you need a pretty good sense of balance to ride it at any reasonable speed! Lots of fun though!

UpWrong
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby UpWrong » 8 Nov 2020, 3:50pm

squeaker wrote:1) there's a common assumption that a 'bent trike rider has a mobility disability - make use of it ;)
2) shorter cranks (eg 155's) and resisting the temptation to leg press advised
3) although there's no need to find somewhere to prop you bike against, trikes do take up significant floor space (even when folded) - they are also heavy awkward lumps - I have an ICE Sprint and I would only consider a 'ride then fold for train option' once in a blue moon (ie never!) - it's bad enough getting it in the back of a hatchback - others may differ... Would be a definite 'try before you buy' for me if rail travel was important.
a) 20" with rear sus., use Big Apples on the front
c) probably a triple, my wife's ICE 'T' has 52-38-26 with 11-32 cassette (15-90") - top gear rarely used ;)
Radical bags work well on mesh seats and can add 40l of (not waterproof, but very durable) capacity
HTH

+1 especially with regards to practicality of folding for conveyance by train. Look at numerous folding videos for: HPV Scorpion and Gekko (they're different), Catrike Dumont and Trail, Azub Tricon, ICE Adventure.

Psamathe
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby Psamathe » 8 Nov 2020, 4:29pm

Input is all much appreciated.

Re: Fold & Train: This would be very occasional (e.g. visiting more distant family where being unable to drive would add lots of £££ with taxi at both ends, both ways and local station you can wait an age for a taxi ...)

Re: "Try Before You Buy": I'll have to think about how I could do this. I've chatted to one reseller but they don't keep stock and being unable to drive makes getting anywhere distant much more challenging. (But rail travel would very occasional).

Loads more for me to reflect on. Many thanks.

Ian

Psamathe
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby Psamathe » 8 Nov 2020, 4:30pm

n0ct0 wrote:... I would go with the Ergomesh seat as it’s better on a trike for cornering than the Bodylink.....

Whilst I've not sat in either, aesthetically I have a very strong preference for the Bodylink seat (which I accept is a poor justification). What are the downsides to the Bodylink. They do have a Bodylink seat "wings" option - would this help reduce those negative aspects?

Ian

UpWrong
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby UpWrong » 8 Nov 2020, 5:06pm

If you say whereabouts you live then forum members are likely to offer you a chance to view/ride their trikes, at least within the constraints of boom adjustment.

Mesh seats are less sweaty and provide a degree of suspension. Their shape can be tweaked by adjusting the strap tensions.

Psamathe
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby Psamathe » 8 Nov 2020, 5:11pm

UpWrong wrote:If you say whereabouts you live then forum members are likely to offer you a chance to view/ride their trikes, at least within the constraints of boom adjustment......

I live South Norfolk. I have e-mailed the local CTC branch but only yesterday (so too soon to be expecting any reply).

Thanks
Ian

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n0ct0
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby n0ct0 » 8 Nov 2020, 6:16pm

Psamathe wrote:
n0ct0 wrote:... I would go with the Ergomesh seat as it’s better on a trike for cornering than the Bodylink.....

Whilst I've not sat in either, aesthetically I have a very strong preference for the Bodylink seat (which I accept is a poor justification). What are the downsides to the Bodylink. They do have a Bodylink seat "wings" option - would this help reduce those negative aspects?

Ian


I like the Bodylink seat on a two wheeler, but it’s very narrow when cornering on a three wheeler. I agree, the seat wings may help, but I didn’t want to pay an extra €200 to find out, so thought I’d try the Ergomesh on the new trike, with good results. If you can find someone with the wings fitted it’s definitely worth a try. I’m just a skinflint at heart. :D

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby Tigerbiten » 8 Nov 2020, 6:47pm

1:- Narrow lanes. I tend treat my ICE sprint as a "virtual" car. So either I have to pull in or the other driver has to. A lot of the time the other driver is willing to back up as needed. So it's rare for me to have to back up but I'm willing to do that if needed.

2:- Knees. Can be iffy if you have any arthritis type damage behind the knee cap. On a recumbent your trousers pull both ways centered on the knee and force the knee cap down onto the joint. I find this accelerates the start of pain in my knees. So I do +90% of my riding in shorts.

3:- It depends where you are. I'll ride to the shops. Lock the trike to something. Shop. Unlock. Ride home. But I don't live in the middle of a city.
Trains:- I've done it but it can be iffy as trikes are not allowed on most mainline trains. Best way is to fold it and put it in a soft bike bag. That way you don't have a trike but oversized luggage. Downsize is it still weighs in at +25 kg.

A:- Gearing. My thinking is the wider the range, the better and first gear wants to be around 12.5". So that's where the SA hub matched up with a triple come in as it basically gives you 5 chainrings.
B:- Back wheel size. Are you after speed or silly low gears. Bigger size back wheels roll easier so tend to go on trike build for speed. The converse is that silly low first gears for hill climbing are easier to get on small back wheel trikes. So decide on speed or ease when picking back wheel size.
C:- Front suspension. That's more iffy. The right choice of tyre and pressure will damp out a lot of the road buzz from iffy tarmac. Where I find my front suspension most useful is it cut down the amount of bump steer at speed. I don't deviate so much off my line if only one front wheel hits a lump/dip at speed. But I do run my suspension on the stiff side with regards to my weight.
D:- Luggage. A combo of panniers and/or side bags will cover most of your needs. If the worst comes to the worst then a two wheel trailer is the same width as a trike. My large Carry Freedom trailer has a 100 liter aluminium box on it which I use when I'm on tour.
E:- Seat. I use a narrow hard shell seat with love handles on my Sprint. With my style of riding I find it fits me better than the mesh seat. With only one arm it helps to lean as far as possible into the corners. The narrow hardshell seat lets me do that, the wider mesh seat doesn't.

Luck ........... :D

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squeaker
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby squeaker » 8 Nov 2020, 7:19pm

Psamathe wrote:Whilst I've not sat in either, aesthetically I have a very strong preference for the Bodylink seat (which I accept is a poor justification). What are the downsides to the Bodylink. They do have a Bodylink seat "wings" option - would this help reduce those negative aspects?
I have a Bodylink seat on my Grasshopper - very adjustable and comfortable - but not that straightforward to remove/replace, which you have to do for the Scorpion's fold - maybe HPV have sorted this for the Scorpion FX? I'd also guess that the Euromesh is lighter; it's definitely less sweaty... As for aesthetics, you don't look at it when riding ;)

Getting back to trains: a Gekko Fx 26 might be my choice if I wanted to travel by train a lot - as the seat stays with the package, but less load options (26 as the rear is unsuspended).

Other things to think about - disc brakes for touring? Drums need far less maintenance (= virtually zero), IME.

If you haven't found him yet, take a look at Ja Yoe for some of his experiences with HPV Scorpion trikes, esp the luggage options. Also a few ideas over at Azub...
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Auchmill
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby Auchmill » 8 Nov 2020, 9:54pm

What about hills? We're in our 70's, pretty fit, we walk 5-10 miles every day, cycle too on MTB's and I have a road bike. Wife fell off her bike and needed a hip replacement. We bought Gekko FX's then found we couldn't get up the hills around us in the Scottish Borders. On the flat, or gentle slopes fine. So we got them converted to pedelecs. What a difference. We only use the power for hills but it means we can do trips with 2000 feet of ascent. The "book" range is 90 miles, but logging our battery usage it would be over 150 based on our trips so far. We had intended to do Via Verde's in Spain where we go for 3 months in the winter which we did on our normal bikes and would be great on the trike as there are no steep hills. Also the Velo Francette. But something got in the way this year. :(

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Recumbent Trike Questions

Postby [XAP]Bob » 9 Nov 2020, 8:18am

Hills are generally ok there is no minimum speed on a trike, meaning you can gear down as far as is needed.

However this can mean it takes longer to get up them.

It also takes between 500 and 1000 miles to get the different muscle sets working.

In terms of the balance issues - I am now limited to trike riding, having no balance function whatsoever.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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