Category Archives: FAT trikes
What more could you want in an off road human powered vehicle? This beauty is nearly unstoppable. It is an L Trike or Camel Trike made in China and sold from China thru ZZMERCK (Zhengzhou Merck). I find their media coverage a bit confusing. One place they call it an L Trike and another place they call it a Camel Trike. It is not even a trike so I don’t know why they would call it either one. Googling “L Trike” turns up nothing, but Googling “camel trike” gets results. It doesn’t come cheap … $7500-$8500. It looks nice, but I don’t trust the quality of Chinese products. Hopefully this is well made. I will say though that this trike is definitely complex in its design which translates into … “there is a whole lot of stuff that could go wrong and cause problems”.
I said it is rear suspension and it is, but at first I thought it was full suspension, but after taking a closer look at it I guess it is not.This quad weighs approximately 110 pounds (50kg) so it is not light. The wheels are laced rather uniquely. Although I have seen this before I don’t think it is all that common. They are laced only on the inside of the rim. No spokes attach to the other side. This is covered in one of the videos further below.
The one thing I noticed is that the cables are hanging way down low where they could easily snag of lots of stuff riding off road. They created lots of road clearance only to place the cables way down low. That makes no sense! I see it all the time on people’s trikes. Some people just don’t seem to care about such things even if you point it out to them. I wonder if they would change their tune if a drooping cable ruined their day causing a bad wreck. At the very least it could cause serious damage to the cable and possibly other things.
4×4 Fat Tire Recumbent Quad
Model/Price: Model: MF426E, Price: US $7,500-8,500
Brief description: four-wheel drive system, aluminum alloy 6061 frame, Vee 26×4.8 tire, DNM air spring suspension, SRAM11 speed, 500w mid drive motor, 48v 20ah lithium battery, climbing angle more than 35 degrees. For All Challenging Terrain!
Front derailleur: Sram NX11
Rear derailleur: Sram NX11
Crankset: Flywheel crankset
Flywheel: Sram NX11 11 speed 11-42T
Chain: Miche 11 speed
Chain tube: Nylon
Pedal: Exustar clipless pedals
Novatec bearing secondary drive hub
Customs Aluminum alloy 7075 secondary drive
Customs power divider
Customs shaft, hub, shaft hub, cardan
Front brake: Avid E3 hydraulic disc brake
Rear brake: BB7 disc brake
Spokes: 304 stainless steel
Tires: Vee 26-4.8 foldable tires
Front hub: Novatec customs hub
Rear hub: Customs shaft hub
DNM air spring suspension (double chamber)
48v 500w mid drive motor
48v 20ah lithium battery
Frame: Aluminum alloy 6061 T6
Seat: Nylon mesh
No way could I do this on my tadpole trike. I would find myself in a real predicament. This quad goes right up it …
The next video definitely demonstrates that it is all wheel drive …
This next video is suppose to be a demonstration of the quad riding thru snow, but there is very little snow on the ground so it isn’t much of a test. A standard trike with standard tires could go thru most of the snow shown, but probably not all the uneven ground, etc. as there would be traction problems …
The next 4 videos are about the design and bulld of the quad. You may have to pause them to read the English captions in order to follow what is being said.
That is a lot of money to lay down to attempt some off road fun, but hey, if you have it to spend you might as well go for it. You can’t take the money with you when life is over. BTW, you can’t take the trike with you either. We can only enjoy them here in this life … so do your best to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I know Catrike is aware of this, if for no other reason than the fact that I emailed them about it several years ago when I first discovered it.
Fat tire trikes have most definitely caught on and more and more are coming on the market. Those fat tires are nice, but they sure are expensive. And then there are the special wheels required to mount them … also very expensive. Many of us may think we would like to have a fat trike, but can’t afford to buy one. Maybe we struggle with justifying the expense. And even attempting to convert our existing trike over to a fat trike may be cost prohibitive … even if the frame would accept the wider tires and wheels (and it may not).
Most of us know the terms “full”, “mini” and “micro”. Full is full size, mini is smaler than full and micro is smaller than mini. This can be applied to a lot of things including … (drum roll please) … “ta da!” … FAT tires. Yep, there is full fat, mini fat and micro fat. Full fat is said to be 26 x 4 so a full fat trike has 26 x 4 inch wheels and tires all the way around. Mini fat is 20 x 4 so a mini fat trike has 20 x 4 inch tires and wheels all the way around. Then there is micro fat which is 20 (or 26) x 3. Yep, I said 3. It definitely is not a full fat of 4 inch tires and rims, but 3 inches is definitely larger than everything else out there I know of commonly found on tadpole trikes. It looks impressive when compared to more conventional/traditional tires normally found on tadpole trikes. Here is one alongside of a Schwalbe 2 inch Big Apple, a tire many of us are familiar with. As you can see there is considerable difference in both width and height.
So … Want a FAT trike but can’t afford one? There may be hope for you. Converting your standard tadpole trike into a Micro-FAT trike may be as simple and low cost as replacing the tires and inner tubes. Yep, I am talking about using your stock rims to mount these monsters on. At least it is my understanding that this can be done safely and that they will still perform properly. I would strongly advise anyone considering this to first check with a professional mechanic or the bicycle tire manufacturer to be certain this will work and will be safe. I am talking about using these 3 inch tires on your standard stock rims. I am only able to go by what some trike owners report and that is that they are successfully using these 3 inch tires on their stock rims. Warning- Rims are designed to use tires within a certain range. Trying to mount too narrow or too wide of a tire can be a problem and even dangerous. I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting or saying it okay to mount these tires on stock rims. I am only reporting that some have done so and claim they haven’t had any problems doing so.
I want to make it very clear that it is possible that these larger width and height tires may not fit on your trike as far as having the needed clearance in the frame. So before spending money ordering these tires and tubes this needs to be known. I don’t have any way available to tell you whether or not they will work on your trike. You are on your own. Some trikes will handle them okay while others won’t.
The best advice I could give it to look at your current tires taking note how much clearance you have available on the sides of the tires as well as the front side of the rear wheel as these 3 inch wide tires are considerably taller than the tires normally installed on a tadpole trike. That means they will come forward further into the frame as well as be wider. So if you already find you don’t have a lot of room left over between your stock tire and the frame you may not be able to install these larger tires. As you can see in the picture above this trike doesn’t have hardly any additional room available for a larger diameter tire, especially on the bottom most part of the frame.
Also keep in mind that even if they do fit they will change some things from what you are used to. For instance most likely your turning radius will be effected as these tires would rub on the frame sooner not allowing the wheels to turn as sharply.
These Kenda Flame 3 inch tires are available in 20 x 3 (76-406 ISO) diameter and, if needed, 26 x 3 (68-559 ISO) for the rear tire … although you may want a different tire on the rear to provide better traction. (They are also available in 24 inch.) It is my understanding that 20 x 4 inch inner tubes should be used in the 20 inch tire and 26 x 4 inch inner tubes in the 26 inch tire. The tire is listed as 20 or 26 x 3 but it only measures about 2.75 inches according to a picture of it online as well as what I have read about it. I don’t know if using a 4 inch inner tube will cause the 3 inch tire to increase in girth when inflated more so than a smaller inner tube would.
Above is a picture of the Kenda Flame 3 inch tire. You can see it doesn’t have much of a tread pattern as far as aggressive traction like a knobby tire has. And it is not available in any other tread pattern. So off road use would be limited in the realm of traction. That is why I mentioned that you may want a different tire on the rear. If you don’t ride in mud or other surfaces or areas require superior traction then this tire may be satisfactory for your rear tire. I am quite sure it would not suffice for me.
The best price I have found for the 20 x 3 tire is $17.59 with free shipping on purchases over $50 on BikeTiresDirect.com
The best price I found on a 26 x 3 inch tire is $29.57 with free shipping on excelcycle.com . There are also other brands of tires available but I don’t think you can buy them for anywhere near this price. That being said, take a look below.
I did find a Vee Rubber 26 x 3 inch tire (pictured above) on sale for $26, but it showed currently out of stock. You can, however, submit your email address to be informed when they have them back in stock. It is quite similar to the Kenda Flame tire.
Just one 4 inch FAT tire costs over $100 and the 4 inch tubes cost about $15 each. You can buy three of these 3 inch Kenda Flame tires and three of the 4 inch inner tubes for about $100. So if this will suffice for you you can see it is definitely a very inexpensive way to go. Keep in mind … you are only gonna be “sorta fat” with this set up.
I want to mention here and give credit to a fellow triker for enlightening me to this as he did this with his trike and swears by these tires for winter riding. He says he inflates them from 10 to 40 psi. Here is a picture of his trike with the 20 x 3 inch Kenda Flame tires mounted on all three stock rims. He reports that they do great riding in/on snow.
In installing these large tires there may be a concern of clearance and definitely most fenders that may currently be installed with have to be removed and remain off. HERE is an article entitled “what are the pitfalls of converting to a micro fat trike”.
One thing which just popped into my head concerning going with a wider tire like this on the rear wheel is the clearance of the chain. On my trike even with 1/4 inch wider tires than stock my chain is very close to the sidewall of the tire.
So if you have a hankerin’ for a FAT trike this may be something to consider. If we ride on these larger tires and go places our smaller stock tires can’t cope with we just may be able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
That’s a FAT CAT (& I know one when I see one)
(The question is “is it real or photoshopped?”
The head doesn’t look right … too small)
But hey, I am not here to talk about kitty cats. While out riding my tadpole trike recently I got to thinking about the fact that Catrike seems always to be slow to bring out models that other manufacturers have offered for years. One thing I can say is that when Catrike finally does offer such models they seem always to be superior to those offered by their competitors. Call me biased if you want, but I think this is a true statement. As I was riding along thinking about some of the models Catrike has come out with … their most recent being the Dumont … a full suspension model … it came to me that fat tire tadpole trikes have become quite popular and Catrike has not yet come out with a FATCAT model. There … I named it for them. There is only one problem. Utah Trikes already offers their quad and trike fat tire models they sell which they have named FAT CAT 4 and FAT CAT 3, respectively.
They use a Catrike Villager model as the base for these 3 and 4 wheel models. They offer gobs of options some of which can get very expensive, but hey, the end product is sure nice.
So anyway, Catrike may not be able to use that name. If not, it is too bad, as I think it would have made a great name for a fat tadpole trike model which they would produce (and I assume they will eventually come out with). All I can say is HERE KITTY KITTY! Bring it on Catrike. I sure hope you can name it “FATCAT“. I like that name.
Talk about FAT trikes is what this posting is about. I am not going to say much however. I will let another Steve speak on the subject. Trike Hobo, Steve Greene, of Trike Asylum blog fame discusses aspects of the ICE Full Fat recumbent tricycle, and also fat trikes in general. I can’t speak from any experience as I don’t have a FAT trike nor have I ever ridden one or been around any. Trike Hobo has an ICE FAT trike and gained personal experience and knowledge so without further ado here he is:
FAT is where it’s at for some folks. I am sure they are fun to ride, especially off road which, of course, is mostly what they are designed for. I will have to admit if money was not an issue I would probably have one in addition to my current tadpole trike.
Here is a low cost FAT trike made in China. I don’t know anything about the overall quality of it. As has been discussed on this blog previously buying a trike from overseas from a source unestablished as being reliable and providing great customer service would be a major concern for me. That being said, if the buyer is mechanically inclined most of the various components are pretty much standard bicycle parts and so they can be replaced. The frame being made of steel is fairly easily repair weldable by a qualified weldor should it fail. And it can always be reinforced if needed. So for me personally I would not be all that concerned about purchasing one of these. I am capable of doing all the mechanical work and the welding if the need arises. My biggest concern is not so much with the trike itself as it is dealing with the unknown … sending my hard earned money and not having the assurance I will receive my trike. I am not trying to say anything bad about the company as I know nothing about them. But I do know that there have been problems in the past with buying such products from China. In short, people have been ripped off. Well, anyway … on with the information available about this FAT trike.
$1,460.93 includes shipping ($950 for trike & $510.93 for shipping) Estimated Delivery Time they say is 11-19 days … which is very reasonable. What I don’t find reasonable is the shipping charge. Trident trikes only charge $125 and their trikes come from Taiwan.
* 26 inch X 4 inch FAT tires * steel frame * 24 speed * mechanical disc brakes on all 3 wheels * comes with neck rest, front chainring guard,
Available color: red, orange, black, blue, silver and green
It has direct steering which I applaud. It lacks fenders which is quite typical. And finding fenders to fit a FAT tire trike is challenging, if not impossible. The rear disc brake is actuated by friction lever so it could be used for parking to keep the trike from rolling or as a drag brake on descents. One needs to be careful of that however, as the rear wheel can lock up and contribute to loosing control.
The tires are Chinese, of course, so probably are not the quality of some others such as VEE or Schwalbe tires. But, hey, for $950 for the entire trike … once they are shot put better quality tires on it.
As you can see in the picture below the only thing that folds is the boom. That being the case this trike is still pretty bulky as far as fitting it into some vehicles and other small spaces. I also see a cable which is unattached and laying on the ground. I don’t know what that is about, but it is not desirable.
I am sure that all the components are inferior off brand ones, but I am pretty sure they work and would suffice for most of us. Again, they could all be upgraded to better quality components when the time comes.
The shifting levers can be seen although not close up enough to make out much of anything. I tried cropping and enlarging the image, but I still could not make out much.
There are alternatives such as the Trident Terrain FAT trike. It also folds (better than the Chinese FAT trike). It lists for $1399 plus $125 shipping (total of $1524). That price is for a 20 inch wheel trike. For only $100 more ($1624) you can get it in 26 inch wheels.
Utah Trikes sells the SunSeeker Fat Tad CXS trike which they produce starting at $1899 plus $299 shipping (total of $2198). That is about a $737 difference and I think is about the next cheapest FAT trike available. It features rear coil-over suspension and integrated front suspension. It too comes with Chinese tires.
So if you are wanting a FAT trike they can be had for less than $8000 like the one ICE sells … or even $4559 for an Azub FAT trike . (One could buy a very nice used car for that kind of money.) Yep, I would buy one if money were not an issue. Alas, I will just have to continue to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
on my non-FAT trike and be content. 🙂
Honestly I am most thankful I have what I have.
According to what I read Azub had no intention of getting into offering a Fat Trike model. They already had great sales going and didn’t need to add this model even though they were aware that fat tire trikes are becoming quite popular. My understanding is that they were asked to make one for someone and they agreed to do so. And that led to manufacturing and selling them in their lineup of models. The Azub Fat Trike has 26 inch wheels all around. It is built on the T-Tris frame with the rear stays being widened to accommodate the fat tire. The rear stays section was purposely made short to keep the length of the frame as small as possible for best off road usability.
The trike lists for $4291 and has several options available which you can check out HERE. With their top of the line/most expensive options the price goes to $6144.
I wrote an article previously about this trike. The picture above is part of that article. Fat trikes most definitely outperform traditional tadpole trikes, but even so, they have their limits and this frozen lake expedition was super challenging. Much of the time was spent off of the trike trying to push, pull and lift it along over the difficult terrain. Even tossing it over crevices in the ice was involved. It wore him out physically as each day was quite challenging. There are pictures of all of this in the article.
I am sure most of us won’t be trying anything like this, but if you enjoy exploring off road a Fat Tire Trike might be the cat’s meow for you. Just be safe as things still can go wrong aboard one of these.
I just received an email from a local bike shop which had an advertisement with the words “Get FAT in ’16”. Of course, they were talking about a FAT tire bicycle and not about gaining weight. Unfortunately many of us, myself included, tend to do well at the latter. But FAT bikes and trikes are catching on and more and more of them are being sold. Most of them are a bit costly and so they are something I am not likely to ever have, especially since I consider them impractical as one’s only trike unless you ride exclusively someplace where they are needed over a regular trike.
Just some messing around I did with photo editing
actual comparison of ICE FULLFAT & ICE Adventure
I have never ridden one, but I am sure they are fun to ride. Going thru snow would definitely be easier on the FAT trike. Even so, FAT trikes have their limitations too. For me, riding thru snow would be about the only use I would have for one as all my riding is on trails, streets, roads and sidewalks.
More photo editing going on here. Powerful motorcycles can’t make it up this hill much less a human powered FAT trike.
Just like the “monster trucks” can do some pretty amazing things a regular truck can not possibly do so these FAT trikes can way outperform a regular trike when it comes to riding off road. They are not designed nor intended to go fast and are not nearly as safe as a regular trike if one is ridden fast. But for slow going over rough surfaces they are the cat’s meow. That is what they are made for. Yep, they are pretty amazing.
You don’t believe this, do you? Me neither.
But here is some real video showing some of what these fabulous trikes can do off the road …
Yep, you could get FAT this year. I am sure many will. Just try to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Siberia … just the thought is intimidating … particularly in winter time. Imagine attempting to ride a tadpole trike across frozen Lake Baikal some 700 or so kilometers (approximately 435 miles) with average temps around 14 degrees F (-10 C) and snow storms where the temperatures plummet down to about -22 degrees F (-30 C). Then there are the terrifying earthquakes which frequent the area. In short, it is no picnic.
Lake Baikal is the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. With a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft), Baikal is the world’s deepest lake. By surface area it is the 7th largest lake in the world. It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined. It is located in southern Siberia.
Honza “Jan” Zdansky is Azub’s main test rider of their prototype FAT-Tris trike and made the attempt to cross the frozen lake against such impossible odds. He found himself walking much more than he did riding.
Here he is riding down onto the frozen surface of the lake at the start of his journey.
He started out riding, but he found himself doing more walking than riding as his journey progressed ever so slowly it was quite challenging. He found that he was not able to ride across/thru much of the surface of the frozen lake. He had no choice but to pull, push, lift and just plain struggle and wrestle with the trike to move it forward across the frozen lake’s surface.
Sometimes it was impossible to pull the trike and he had to push and steer the trike which, of course, is even more tiring.
Having to do this so much of the time was taking its toll on him and requiring periods of rest trying to recuperate.
He also lifted it numerous times to sit it back upright after it tipped over several times from being loaded down and quite top heavy causing it tip over readily especially when he was not seated on it to help hold it down. Out there for several days all by himself he had to carry quite a bit of equipment and supplies some of which were loaded up high on the trike resulting in a high center of gravity. In this picture below the trike just tipped over all by itself when he let go of it while it was sitting on an uneven surface.
Here is a look at some of the all too typical surface he was dealing with.
Several times he dealt with serious and scary dangers. Eventually earthquakes brought his attempt to cross the lake to an end. Most of the videos have English subtitles which can be read. If they do not appear you may have to turn them on.
Here is a short “trailer” about his expedition:
And here is the full video:
And here is Jan’s discussion about his expedition:
Brrrr! I am cold just looking at this picture.
If it were a Catrike he could say “Here Kitty Kitty”.
He had to deal with crevices in the ice which, of course, are always dangerous. As you can see he had to lift the trike up and literally throw it across. And some of them he chose not to attempt to cross over as the ice was bad and unstable. Consequently he was forced to go way around them adding considerable distance and frustration to his expedition … not to mention further exhaustion. When this occurred he lost an entire day and spent the day absolutely tiring himself for nothing. It took its toll on his mental and emotional condition.
Each and every day was physically exhausting as he struggled to make headway. Several times he found he could no longer go further where he was at and had to turn back to find another way.
He often fell down in his struggle trying to move the trike along, but occasionally he did get to ride the trike. However, even when he could ride he still had to get off the trike to check out the surface to figure out which is the best and safest path to take.
But not nearly as much as he would have liked.
Just looking at some of the areas where he was pushing or pulling the trike it looks like it would not have been a problem riding it, but I wasn’t there so I have to believe that there were always reasons why he was not riding at the particular point in time. Perhaps some of it was simply a matter of the immediate danger where he was at and the need to be able to see and react standing up on foot rather than being seated on the trike. I have no idea. I am just guessing concerning this.
I know in just the off road riding I have done I have some times found myself getting into places and situations where the going got very difficult and I had to get off and push, pull, lift, carry, etc. and sometimes regretting I did whatever I did to get myself into that situation/predicament.
I can only assume that this last picture I am sharing here was taken early on since it appears to be an expression of joy and triumph. With the attempt ending in having to give up I would not think that this picture was taken at the end.
I certainly have to give him great credit for trying. It was surely a difficult, dangerous and challenging adventure. The thing I come away with in this story is that as neat as FAT trikes are and superior to a standard tadpole trike for off road riding they too have their limitations and just perhaps people need to recognize this and keep it in mind lest they find themselves in imminent danger which could end tragically. Regardless of what we ride and where we ride we all need to be safe and …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’