Category Archives: buying a trike
Cats are known for stealth … sneaking up on their prey undetected. Well, it looks like Catrike is sort of following suit. They are quietly introducing a new model … another full suspension trike. It is the Road AR. There isn’t much out about it yet. Catrike does show it on their website. They just have been rather quiet … no fanfare. HERE is a webpage about it. They say that it is expected to be in stock by the end of May. They show a price of $3550. That is $400 more than the regular Road model which has rear suspension only. It is somewhat like a trimmed down Dumont. It has 20 inch wheels all around whereas the Dumont has a 26 inch on the rear. Unlike the Dumont this Road AR does not fold. They offer it in 8 different colors.
Here is what Catrike says about this model:
he road AR is a vibrant and efficient machine. A progressive linkage air shock and CNC swing arm provide a highly adjustable suspension platform paired with the new patent pending front suspension to take the edge off the road for a smooth ride. An optimized cockpit design is supportive enough for a comfortable daily ride, commute or weekend adventure without sacrificing any control or performance. Lean into the corners with confidence. The road-AR brings excitement to the journey.
Here is a closer look at what some say is the best engineered front suspension on a tadpole trike to come along to date.
So if you are looking for a quality built well engineered full suspension trike which is hundreds of dollars lower in cost than most others you might want to consider this new model. I can hear it purring. With this trike you should be able to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
MANY ARE CONSIDERED, ONE IS CHOSEN
I came across this webpage which is a pretty well written article on the many varied considerations of selecting a tadpole trike to buy. Check it out.
And HERE is another webpage which delves into this.
HERE is an article on Trike Asylum blog on this.
Below are other articles on this subject:
I recently came across a webpage I found interesting and decided to share it here on my blog. It is part of a website of GOPBC.org (Georgia Organization of Parents of Blind Children). The title of it is “All About Bikes – for Parents of Visually Impaired Children“.
They write: “A much more detailed article about a great many cycling options for visually impaired and other special needs children and also a lot of information of general interest about unusual bikes, trikes, etc. There are lots of photos … “
Here are the contents:
Conventional Bikes vs. Recumbents
Common Bike Designs: Touring, Mountain, Hybrid
Suspension: Solid, Hardtail, Full
Child Carriers & Child Trailers
Tandems: Conventional & Specialized
“Active Trailers”; Trail-a-Bikes, Tag-Alongs and Similar Solutions
Passive Trailers for Kids & Utility Trailers
More Unique Tandem Bikes: Child Sized, Side-by-Side, Back-to-Back, etc.
Trikes for Kids
Trikes for Adults
Tandem Trikes and Convertible Trikes
Special Needs Setups including Wheelchair / Bike Tandem Combinations
Quad Bikes: 4 wheels for 1, 2, 3, and passengers
Truly Long Bikes: Inline options for 3, 4, 5, and even 6 passengers
Kiddie Cranks, S & S Couplers, and various unique bikes
The Biggest of the Big– 7 & 8 passenger solutions
Hauling Solutions– how do you get the bike where you want to ride it?
Answers to common questions
The final word
As you can see there is lots covered so it is a good general read about bikes and trikes.
Performer trikes have been around since 1999. Located in Taiwan they currently manufacture about 7 models according to their WEBSITE. Taiwan is known for bicycle manufacturing. Some of the well known trike manufacturers have their trike frames made in Taiwan. And HERE is a link to Performer’s Facebook page. The Performer website lists only one dealer here in the U.S.
Recumbent Bike Riders
1306 S. Atherton Street
State College, PA 16801 USA
There are a few other dealers in the U.S. however, they are not listed as dealers on Performer’s website because RBR is the sold U.S. distributor and any dealers in the U.S. get their trikes from RBR and not directly from Performer.
I am very confused by the websites I am looking at. The Performer website shows that the only trike they manufacture with a cro-moly frame is the JC70CM-FRP model, but they show other models as having cro-moly frames elsewhere on their website. Performer shows the following models as having an “alloy” frame: JC20AL-FRP, JC20AL-Mesh, JC70AL-FRP, JC70AL-Mesh, and the Trike-E. The word alloy doesn’t mean much to me. There are a whole lot of different alloys so just saying alloy is meaningless as far as I am concerned. It is only a notch above saying that the frames are made of metal. Cro-moly is an alloy. Even steel is an alloy. By definition an alloy is a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements, especially to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion. For example, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. To add to the mess Performer shows more models available than the dealer’s website shows. I have always found this sort of thing when dealing with Taiwanese/Chinese companies and their websites. Somebody needs to get their act together. The more I try looking at these two websites the more confused I get. Quite honestly I don’t know if what I am showing here is accurate or not. Like I said, I find it confusing and frustrating. Somebody needs to get all this straightened out. I am going to try to list the trikes according to what I think I understand from Performer’s website. It ain’t easy folks! 🙂 And I sincerely apologize for anything I don’t have shown correctly as I really want to be fair and accurate. If Performer reads this or the dealer reads it and has anything to say to help and advise I welcome their communication. I will do my best to edit and get things right. To be fair to the dealer they are dealing with this same confusion so it is difficult to get things shown accurately and correctly.
Note: Since posting this article I have heard from Performer Trikes. They said that they have removed the one dealer from their website and they will change to word “alloy” to help clarify just what the frame is made of.
Note: Some of their models have 4 different versions which consist of different components such as shifters, derailleurs, sprockets, mesh seat vs. hard seat, etc. Some are 27 speed and some are 30 speed. Naturally the higher grade of components involved the price increases. I am not going to try to list and show them all here as there are just too many.
Performer trike e … $1395
Performer trike x FRP LX 27 speed … starting at $1650 (available in 4 different versions)
7005 aluminum frame
currently on sale on Amazon $1349 plus $175 shipping
Performer trike JC20 … $1795 (available in 4 different versions)
7005 aluminum alloy frame
Performer trike JC70 (30 speed) … $1750 (available in 4 different versions)
Performer Recumbent Trike JC70AL-FRP X.9 30 speed … $1949 on Ebay
7005 aluminum frame
7005 aluminum alloy frame
Performer provides a 5 year warranty on their trikes. Performer currently offers these colors:
Ebay currently sells 3 models of Performer trikes:
Be aware that you must look carefully at the postings on Ebay as there are some people selling used Performer trikes priced as much as or even more than new ones.
Buyers should be aware of some trade offs when considering buying trikes such as these. With so few dealers around and parts coming from Taiwan one might have some complications and delays in receiving repair/replacement parts. In keeping the cost down there are some things commonly found on most trikes may not be found on these. One thing in particular that comes to mind is the rear derailleur hanger which normally is a separate part made of aluminum and designed to bend to help save the rear derailleur from damage. Cheaper bicycle frames and these trike frames do not have these. Instead the rear derailleur just bolts onto the frame and should the derailleur get forced to one side the frame gets bent instead of a replaceable part. The frame can even get broken off should this happen. And it is not uncommon for rear derailleurs to receive such forces. I have had it happen several times. All in all Performer makes a pretty decent trike for the money although the lower end ones have lesser quality components.
I have found some other online sources to purchase Performer trikes:
Are you looking for a used tadpole trike? Or do you have one you want to sell? Probably the most popular place for both is BROL (BentRider OnLine). However if you are not familiar with their website you might find it difficult to find where to look for used trikes whether you are buying or selling. So I thought I would write about it in hope that it helps. BROL has a “fixed stationary header” … something I despise as it takes up valuable real estate on the computer monitor screen leaving very little viewing area available to try to see what you are wanting to look at. Why they do this I don’t know. It makes no sense to me … especially since their header is so large. To their credit I have noticed that recently they have made the header smaller which helps some, but I would still much prefer if they would simply do away with the fixed header. Anyway, in order to find the classifieds you need to click on their Message Board tab in the header. Then on the page which appears next you will see Classifieds listed under Forums. It should be the second one down the list right under Recumbents.
Click on Classifieds and then you should see a screen showing the various Categories in Classifieds. Trikes For Sale should be the second one down the list.
If you want to post a trike for sale you must have an account and be logged in. There are some rules to follow all of which seem fair enough:
1 – The For Sale area is NOT for discussion. If you’re not legitimately interested in an item, keep your comments to yourself. Ad critiques are not welcome.
2 – Do not repost items for sale that are not yours. If you list an item yourself on eBay or Craigslist, you’re welcome to repost the ad here but don’t repost things that aren’t yours.
3 – Please lock or delete threads when items are sold.
4 – Do not post items for sale if you are a commercial entity. This section is for private individuals and BentRider’s sponsoring dealers only.
5 – Please post items for sale in the appropriate category.
“Our customer’s Catrike stories continue to nurture our passion to create more advanced, high quality and easy to use products that are created and made in the U.S.
As a courtesy, we want to share with you a price increase on three of our Catrike models that reflects the true value and cost to manufacture these products.
Beginning on March 1st there will be a price increase of $200 for the Villager, Trail, and Road models. For all other models the price will remain unchanged for 2016.
You can order now or before March 1st to save on these Catrike models.”
There is a website, takeatrike.com which offers information on buying a trike. According to their own words, “Take a Trike is your recumbent trike buying guide. Learn everything you need to know about recumbent trikes and how to buy a recumbent trike. Find out everything you need before buying a recumbent trike.” Their offerings include: ABOUT TRIKES, TYPES OF TRIKES, WHY GET A TRIKE, WHAT TO KNOW and SHOP TRIKES. Their shop trikes part is very limited only showing a very few brands and models … very disappointing. Actually the entire website is quite limited as far as the quantity of information they cover, but what they have is put together on one page making it easy and quick to read thru. It is obviously designed for those who are just starting their search and education about recumbent trikes. So what I am saying is I take issue with their statement about “learning everything” as they don’t provide much on any subject they cover. Never the less, I give them credit for putting together a website which could indeed be helpful to someone starting out knowing next to nothing about recumbent trikes.
This ‘tadpole rider blog’ has far more information available to help readers find out about recumbent trikes. If you are looking for trike brands, models, prices and links to their websites you can find them HERE.
There is also another website (Recumbents.com) which offers buying guide help.
Right now for a limited time you can save $200 on the purchase of a new Catrike. All models are included, however, there are only 4 colors to choose from … Candy Purple, Candy Red, Hyper Yellow, Candy Blue
So if you have been considering purchasing a new Catrike you might want to take advantage of this factory promotion. Just contact the nearest Catrike dealer. Locate a dealer HERE.
I am sure many of us who are old enough remember when it was somewhat common when looking at a used car to kick the tires. You can read about it HERE. I am not writing about buying a used car but rather a used trike. And kicking the tires certainly is not part of the process. I use the term only to imply that there are certain things one should look at and look for to ensure the trike is a good and safe purchase worthy of your money.
Some things are obvious while others are not. Many people may not even think to check out things which are quite important. Depending upon the age of the trike and the use it has had there are some tings one would and should expect to find. The condition of the tires is one such thing. Tires can be replaced easily enough, but if the tires are worn out the price of the trike should reflect that as the new owner will have to invest money for tires. The same is true of several other things and that is why it is important to take a close look. If a used trike needs a lot of maintenance and parts the asking price should reflect this and allow for it. So here is a list of some of the things to look for/at:
TIRES – Speaking of tires in addition to observing how much tread is left on them one should check for cuts, bulges, and the condition of the rubber as far as weather checking/dry rotting.
WHEELS – The wheels should be in good condition running true as they are spun around. The spokes should be fairly snug and evenly adjusted. They should all the there (none missing) without any sign of bends in them. Look for damage to the rims such as flat spots where the wheel was ran into curbs, etc. and was damaged as a result.
BRAKES – Most trikes have disc brakes. Check to be sure they work properly and are adjusted so that they grip well and don’t allow the trike to roll when applied. Look down into the caliper to see how much wear is on the brake pads. If they are badly worn then this will be more expense the new owner will incur. You can figure about $40 for replacing them on both wheels. The brake caliper is rather expensive if it has to be replaced. The Avid BB7 caliper can be found online from about $60 to over $100 each.
CHAIN – A trike requires about 11 feet +/- of chain. That is about 2.5 to 3 times as much as a bicycle. The chain wears out so one should check for wear. The chain should be checked on how it “fits” on the sprockets. It should be tight and not wallow around or able to be lifted up off of the sprockets much when pulling on the chain away from the sprocket. The chain should be clean and lubricated … not dry and rusty. All the links should be free (move without binding) as the chain revolves around the sprockets. If the chain shows neglect and has these problems then I would say that the current owner has not taken care of the trike and it might be best to look for another one. Of course, depending upon what else is going on the trike might still be ok and worthwhile just so long as the price is right.
SPROCKETS – The sprockets should be in good condition without noticeable wear. If they are worn replacing them along with the chain will be costly, especially if you have to pay labor in addition to parts for a mechanic to do it.
CABLES – The cables should all look good and work well. Braking and shifting should be smooth and move readily and freely. There should not be any freezing or sluggishness. There should not be any sign of fraying going on. Of course, a part of this is the SHIFTERS.
FENDERS – If the trike has fenders they should be in good shape and solidly mounted. If not, replacing fenders can be expensive, especially if you buy those provided by the manufacturer of the trike.
BOOM – Sometimes the boom is shortened to accommodate shorter riders. If it has been shortened and you are a tall person this is something to be aware of as a shortened boom may no longer be long enough to extend out properly to accommodate you. If this is the case a new boom will be required.
HEADSETS – The headsets can be out of adjustment or parts worn and in need of replacement. Again, this can be a bit expensive, especially if it is necessary to pay labor charges for a mechanic to do it.
STEERING LINKAGE – The steering linkage should be in good shape with no sign of wear and looseness. The toe in should be checked, especially if you buy the trike. Improper toe in settings will effect handling and tire wear.
AXLES – The axles should be in good shape without wear and sloppiness.
FRAME – The frame just may be the most important part of the trike and it is very important to check it over thoroughly including the bottom side. Look for any signs of cracks or broken welds. Sometimes the broken welds can be difficult to spot if they are in their early stage. You have to know what you are looking for to spot problems. Here is a picture of a broken weld in it’s early stage.
Most used trikes being sold are in pretty good shape and have many more miles of service left to offer a new owner. I would just caution everyone by reminding them of the saying … “buyer beware”. We must look out for our own interests. If a used trike needs money invested in it for these things I write of then the seller should be reasonable and adjust the price accordingly. If they are not willing to do this then I would not deal with them. As they say, there are other fish in the sea.. Whatever you buy here is hoping that you can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Tadpole trikes are ever increasing in popularity as the word gets out about them being so comfortable to ride as well as fun to ride. And safe to ride must be tossed in there as well. They are not inexpensive to purchase however. Many people choose to go the route of buying a used one as they are a less expensive route to go and most of the trikes are in very good condition. I started riding a tadpole trike back in November of 2007. At that time I rarely saw any used tadpole trikes for sale. As the popularity has grown now I see quite a few available. There are several different resources available to check for used trikes. Some owners who are selling their trikes are only wanting a buyer who will come to them to make the purchase while other owners are willing to ship the trike.
A word of caution here for the seller — make sure you have the money in hand and it is good money before allowing the trike to leave your presence. By “good money” I am talking about the fact that even a cashier’s or certified check can’t be trusted these days as they are often counterfeited and used to swindle unsuspecting sellers out of their item(s). The seller assumes that since they were paid with a cashier’s or certified check it is safe and they are guaranteed their money so the allow the item(s) they are selling to be taken away or shipped out only to find out days later that the check they were given is no good. This happens a lot on dealings on Craigslist. It is best to play it safe and wait however long it takes to find out if the check was good or not. Craigslist offers some saftey tips on their website. And there are other similar resources offering advice. HERE is one of them.
I have a page created on this blog for USED TRIKES 4 SALE which lists several resources. I am not going to repeat them here. With the help of the internet many people are listing their trikes online so it is an excellent place to look. Of course, the internet is vast so there are numerous resources online. Some are better than others. Some trikes are priced quite low while others are priced rather high. Some times buyers have got great deals making most of us quite jealous. 🙂
We all have our own financial limitations and capabilities so not everybody can afford the higher quality trikes. We just have to do the best we can. I will say this … buy the best trike you can afford. Buying certain lower cost trikes isn’t usually a very good idea. Most people who buy “entry level” trikes soon regret it and are not satisfied with what they bought. Even if the trike itself satisfies them as far as its quality the most common disappointment is lack of sufficient gearing. If you buy a trike and then start trying to change it upgrading such things as the gearing it gets expensive in a hurry and the bargain is no longer such an attractive deal. You can invest a lot of additional money into such a trike and in the end you still have an entry level trike which lacks the quality of some of the others they could have been bought initially … and probably for less than the money to do the upgrade.
There is an old adage … “BUYER BEWARE“. Most people selling their trikes are no doubt pretty honest. However, there are no doubt some who are trying to sell one and not disclosing something significant … like perhaps a damaged frame such as a hairline crack (in or near a weld usually) or a misaligned (bent) frame due to some sort of accident which occurred in the past. It is important that the wheels are in good condition as they are expensive to replace. The same is true of most of the components such as shifters, derailleurs, brakes and the like.
Some sellers are offering trikes with some to many accessories included. Keep in mind that if you have to add these on to the trike you buy you are talking quite a bit of additional money. So if you are fortunate to find a trike that comes with such accessories at a decent price you are ahead of the game.
As with most things common sense and wisdom go hand in hand. You can find a tadpole trike out there. They are available. I wish you well and many fun safe miles on whatever you end up with.
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Wow! That boom looks like it is really up there. I am sure however the position of the camera adds to the effect. Never the less, it is still a high boom. And the angle of the boom is quite severe so the height increases drastically as the boom is extended. But the boom height is only part of the deal. The other part is the seat height. Comparing the seat height with the boom height is more critical than just looking at the boom height alone. Most tadpole trikes typically have about a 14 to 16 inch boom height. Of course, the angle of the boom as it extends out greatly effects the actual height. A boom with little angle to it won’t change the height much as the boom is extended out. However, a boom that has a pretty steep angle will greatly add height to the boom as it is extended out. I know I have repeated myself a bit here. I have often wondered why some trikes are made with such severe boom angles since this extreme height gain is the result. I would think that would be very undesirable.
Does all of this matter? Well, that depends. It depends upon the rider. Some people have no problem with the boom height way up above the seat height while others have a big problem with it.
When talking about the height of the pedals, boom, crankset, etc. the term “bottom bracket” (BB) is used. By definition: “The bottom bracket is the part of the bike that connects the crankset to the bicycle frame and allows the crankset (made up of pedals, crank arms and chain rings) to rotate freely.” Of course, that definition is for a bicycle. However it is basically the same for recumbents … just in a different position.
In the image below I have placed a white with blue dot in the center of the bottom bracket and attempted to illustrate the BB measurement from the ground up to the center of the bottom bracket. The red arrow shows the BB measurement. The green arrow shows the seat height measurement. The purple line shows the difference between those two.
As you can see in the picture below I have drawn red lines which show the seat height vs. BB height. The light blue line shows the angle of the boom. The Performer trike on the left side has a steep boom angle and the pedals are quite a ways up above the “common” seat height. The TerraTrike Rover trike on the right side has a fairly level boom with a very high seat so the pedals are down low below the seat. That is quite unusual for a recumbent tadpole trike.
It is an individual choice as well as possible need to choose the setup on the right. I am not sure what that need involves. I am thinking it is more psychological than anything. I could be wrong though. As for me, I would choose the one on the left. I say that because I don’t have the “need” of the other arrangement. And the arrangement on the right means that performance, handling, comfort and some aspects of safety suffer … things that a tadpole trike are known for. I would not want to give those up if I didn’t have to. The bottom line here is that some folks just prefer one over the other.
I just mentioned “comfort” in the above paragraph. I want to touch on this. Before I started riding tadpole trikes I rode recumbent bicycles. I had two recumbent bicycles and both of them had the bottom bracket down low. For awhile I had both my bike and my trike. When I would go from riding my trike to riding my bike I noticed that the bike was not nearly as comfortable to ride as the trike is. (I also noticed that it wasn’t nearly as much fun to ride as my trike is.) It was a no-brainer … the trike wins! And so because my bike just sat around I eventually came to the decision that I might as well sell it. I dood it and don’t miss it at all. So for me the bottom bracket position made a big difference in comfort. The higher position of my trike got my vote.
There is one trike model that I want to point out. It is the well known Catrike 700. The pedals on it are considerably higher in comparison to the seat height than other Catrike models as well as other manufacturer models. The seat height is 8.5 inches and the BB is 17.5 inches. That is 9 inches higher. Compare that with the Catrike Expedition which has a 10 inch seat height and a 16.5 inch BB height. That is a 6.5 inch difference between the seat and the BB. So there is 2.5 inches of difference between the two models. That may not sound like all that much, but you just might be quite surprised at the difference it can make.
Just for comparison, two similar trikes, the CarbonTrike Race tadpole trike has a BB of 15.7 inches and a seat height of 7.9 inches. That is 7.8 inches difference. The ICE VTX has a boom height of 15.9 inches when fully extended and a seat height of 6.5 inches. So that is a range of 5.19 to 9.09 inches of difference.
One thing to keep in mind for those who do a lot of hill climbing … when the trike is actually climbing a hill the BB will become even higher in relation to the seat height. That can be a problem for some people.
I will only mention here that this matter of seat vs. BB height also significantly effects the power and efficiency of pedaling. You won’t see recumbent bikes and trikes which are known to be fast with one’s legs down low. They are always up fairly high.
As stated, some people have physical issues and can’t handle the “normal” recumbent seat height and angle and the relationship with the height of the pedals. So keep this in mind and try to check into it. You sure don’t want to buy the wrong trike and discover you have a problem with this. And it is not just a matter of age. We are all different. I reckon it is a good thing that we have quite a variety of choices among trikes and their build design and features. Whatever you choose to ride here is hoping that you can …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
Another nasty winter day is here and so I am working on this blog trying to come up with something to post on it. I came across this video. I had watched it before quite some time ago and life went on. I didn’t realize that one of the people featured in it is someone I have come to know about since then. Upon revisiting the video I made the discovery. So without further ado here is Matt Galat checking out trikes at a dealership.
Of course, the trike he has now (the one he was riding when the wreck happened … when he got hit by a truck over in China) is none of these trikes mentioned in the video. That trike was an HP Velotecknik fx26 Scorpion.
Not everyone lives near a dealer where a tadpole trike can be purchased. In this day and age of the computer and the internet we don’t even have to leave home to shop for a trike. There are dealers who ship out trikes pretty much anywhere and everywhere here in the United States and even beyond. Two of the best known are Utah Trikes and Hostel Shoppe. Another well known, popular and respected online retailer is Amazon. And, yes, they sell some tadpole trikes … namely KMX (K 3, Kompact, Venom, Tornado, Viper, and Typhoon), TerraTrike (2 & 3 speed Rovers, Rambler GT, and Tandem Pro), and Performer (X 27, JC 20, JC 70, and Trike E). For those not familiar with Performer trikes they are basically the same thing as ActionBent trikes. ActionBent is now defunct (out of business). This may not be a complete list, but it is all I found. There are some manufacturers who will sell and direct ship their trikes to the individual customer rather than going thru a dealer. I know that Trident does. I have a friend who bought an ICE trike this way. I need to mention that he did so by telling them he wanted to become a dealer. He has bought two trikes from ICE this way thus far. Both are for his personal use. He has not yet sold any ICE trikes as a dealer even though he would like to. Anyway, I am not sure just what their policy is on this. Looking at their website I don’t see this mentioned. Perhaps by contacting them it can be done. Keep in mind that when one orders a trike shipped to them they might find themselves dealing with some setup work. If this is the case one needs to be mechanically inclined and equipped to do such work.
Concerning Performer trikes you might want to read this customer’s write up about his personal experiences upon ordering one.