Category Archives: special trikes
The era was the 1970s … 1975 as I understand is when the first of these were introduced here in the United States. A rather unique recumbent trike of the tadpole configuration came on the scene. Even though it originated in Japan it was the United States where they were most prevalent. They were big and heavy yet supposedly they were built for racing on oval tracks. Obviously they were not designed for touring and general riding. They were quite long compared to tadpole trikes of today. Their days were numbered and now they are more less a collectors item. Not only were they long, but they had a wide wheelbase so they are not too practical as far as fitting on trails and thru various openings. Speaking of being long … the chain on these was 13.5 feet long. That is a lot of chain in case you didn’t know it. Most modern day tadpole trikes have about 9 to about 10.5 feet depending upon how far out the boom is adjusted. Some say that these Masa trikes did not handle well and could tip over easily … that too much of the rider’s weight was on the back wheel. That being said you can also read that the trike handles well and doesn’t tip over as easily as modern day trikes. Take your pick. I give up. Well, I have already said more than I know about them. 🙂 So I won’t say anything more. I will just post a couple of videos where they are featured and talked about.
HERE are lots of pictures of two of these trikes.
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I saw those words printed on shirts you can buy and thought they were pretty “catchy”. I think most riders would agree that it is a lot more fun and enjoyable going down a hill than it is climbing it. Many have reported reaching some pretty fast speeds on their descent. I am talking 40 to 50 plus mph. Velomobile riders have reported reaching speeds in excess of 70 mph. Going down the longest steepest hill I know of around here where I live the highest speed I have ever obtained is only about 28 mph. Here below is a picture of the hill I speak of. Looking at the hill one would think that it would yield higher speeds than that. I have only ridden my trike on it once as it is a distance away and not someplace I normally ride.
It is said and is quite true that we must climb the hill enduring the challenge and difficulty in order to enjoy the fun and thrill of going down it. Climbing a steep hill only using our human power can indeed be challenging. And certainly our ability to do so depends upon our physical condition and the gearing we have available. Low gearing is a must for hill climbing.
This is a 3 speed internal hub with a 10 cog rear cassette … totaling 90 speeds. I would love to have something like this on my trike.
I would settle for 81 speeds. The option to shift the internal hub instantly changing the available gear down lower would be a ‘godsend’ as they say.
My tadpole trike came with 27 ‘speeds’ (3 chainrings in the front and 9 cogs in the rear cassette). The newer ones are 30 speeds as they have a rear cassette of 10 cogs. They come with a 34 tooth cog as the largest diameter sprocket on the rear cassette. My trike originally had a 32 tooth sprocket as the largest cog on the rear cassette. I later changed it to 34 tooth which definitely helped a little bit with hill climbing. Still I could really use a smaller chain ring on the front. The hills I normally climb here where I live are not anything like the one in the picture above. I would definitely need lowing gearing to tackle something like that. Either that or I would have to make numerous stops to rest. That is one thing good about riding a tadpole trike. Stopping to rest doesn’t involve having to “dismount” and then struggle to get started again like a bicyclist does. And we don’t have to concern ourselves with balancing while going slow. We can climb a hill just as slow as we can manage the pedaling involved … perhaps at 1.5 mph … maybe even slower for some of us. Try that on a bicycle.
In the picture above you are looking at a 50 tooth cog . I have seen 42 and 44 tooth sprockets for the rear cassette and just now I found this 50 tooth. Given enough traction and strength in the trike build I would think that a person could just about “pull stumps” out of the ground with that low gearing. 🙂 Of course, one must keep in mind that when talking about a derailleur system the rear derailleur can only handle so much gear range. Going with such a large sprocket on the rear means that the largest front chain ring would have to be smaller in order for the rear derailleur to handle things. (I have an article on rear derailleur capacity.) So what you would gain in low gearing you would lose in high gearing (fastest speed obtainable). If we live/ride somewhere that has lots of hills to climb and yet we also like to go as fast as we possibly can we have a bit of a problem. Solutions are available, but they are not cheap. There are two and three speed internal hubs for the crankset as well as various internal hubs for the rear wheel. Some fabulous gearing combinations can be had for a price … more than what some trikes cost.
Many of us have one or more hills to contend with … GET OVER ‘EM! … and KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Most of us are familiar with velomobiles and have seen various ones in photos and videos if not in person. All of them I have seen were built for one person … until now that is. Feast your eyes on this one of a kind prototype built by Trisled of Australia …
It is not in production and may never be. It was custom made for someone who wanted one. It is interesting. Can you picture something like this coming down the street towards you?
Here is a look at the framework underneath the body. As you can see it is basically two tandem bikes side by side. And it is a quadricycle, not a trike. That should make it a bit more stable.
HERE is an article about this vehicle. The article states that this trike was made for a charity ride across Australia, but to date there has been no such charity ride take place and this one of a kind velomobile has disappeared and its whereabouts are unknown.
Athough this is a delta style recumbent trike in this video I am sharing it here just because of it’s uniqueness. That is not to say that others have not made similar trikes and even bikes. I have written about one before. Here is a picture of it. As you can see it is propelled by rowing and not by pedaling.
Unfortunately it was back during my first tadpole rider blog and has been deleted and gone forever so I can’t link to it here. Of course, there have been many human powered watercraft of various sorts made over the years, but they are strictly for use in the water and not able to travel on land. I am only looking at trikes that can be ridden in the water as well as on land and also are classified as “recumbent”. Here is the video of this delta trike …
And here is another one I find even more impressive …
And then there is this one which mystifies me. With two large openings in the bottom where his feet step thru down onto the ground how can this shell float? There has to be more to this shell than meets the eye.
Yet another velocar is trying to make it to market. The man,Eliel Rojas, who came up with it refers to it as a velomobile and technically it qualifies, but I prefer to refer to it as a velocar as I think that more accurately describes it. His design is called an Ego. And I am going to resist all temptation to make comments about a person’s ego.
All images, videos and information herein credited to Ego’s inventor, Eliel Rojas.
It is an electric motor pedal assist 3 wheel trike which can be pedaled with or without using the motor or it can run solely on the 750 watt electric motor up to about 20 mph (32 kph). (This is the legal limit for a motorized bicycle in many states in order to be considered a bicycle. Faster than that requires it to be registered and licensed as a motorcycle.) It has a claimed battery range of over 30 miles (48 km).
The Ego’s canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle. It has large opening in the body along the sides to allow good air circulation and help reduce the effect of strong crosswinds by allowing the air to flow thru it. There are nylon curtain closures available to eliminate much of the air flow thru these openings.
Note: Since this article published I have heard from the inventor that the sides are now enclosed.
Eliel states that although the velo body sits high similar to a car (so it can be better seen than would be the case if it were much lower) the rider is seated in a “recumbent position”. (note: recumbent means reclined, laid back, prone) I don’t understand that as when I look at the picture of this vehicle the seat back is quite vertical. In fact, it looks like he is sitting in a small car rather than a recumbent trike. There is very little angle to the seat back … not unless it is adjustable and will go down much further than what is shown in the pictures. And, I would think that if the seat is reclined back the rider would not be able to see out the front very well. Perhaps this is another one of those cases where people are calling a cycle with the pedals out in front a recumbent when that is not the definition of recumbent at all. By that definition a cruiser is a recumbent.
I don’t know what size the wheels and tires are, but they look smaller than 20 inch. I could be wrong about this as they may very well be 20 inch. They just look quite small in diameter in the pictures. Maybe it is because the body is so tall.
Note: it has begun.
Here is the Kickstarter video:
Rojas tells us that the first 20 backers can get an Ego for US$ 3,750 if everything works out, while the estimated retail price will be more around $ 5,000. He further says that although that might sound like a lot, it’s actually right in line with cost of other electric-assist velomobiles.
I don’t know anything about how much money people might have or whether or not they are singing, but I know it is possible to travel along side by side on a tadpole trike. I have shown pictures of such trikes in the past on this blog. Recently I saw another such trike on Facebook which prompted me to write this article now. These trikes are a bit unusual as the tandem trikes are more commonly the same as tandem bikes … with one rider sitting behind the other.
I was going to post a picture of the side by side tandem here, but when I went back to Facebook looking for it it seems to have disappeared. I don’t know what is going on. Anyway, they really do exist although they are all custom built. No company known for making tadpole trikes yet offers them as far as I know. The closest thing to it is Utah Trikes. Here is one they made. It is a quadricycle however.
One thing for sure … you want to make sure that whoever you are riding with is someone you really get along good with and you better hope they bathed recently. 🙂
Another homemade side by side tandem tadpole trike …
Here is one under construction found on Atomic Zombie …
Obviously it would be easy to make these into a quad instead of a trike … and this too has been done.
And here is one with 6 seats …
Who knows what we will see next? One thing about it … although these might seem intriguing they would be very limited in practicality as they are too wide for riding many places, particularly on bike trails. The turning radius would probably also be a determining factor as to where they could be ridden. But hey, even if you don’t have a barrel of money you can travel along singing a song side by side. Sorry I couldn’t show you the picture of the tadpole trike I spoke of. It must have been deleted as I looked long and hard for it to no avail.
If you have a hankerin’ for a FAT TRIKE and don’t have (or want) to spend $8000 for one there is good news. Trident is now offering their 20 inch TERRAIN model for an amazingly low price of $1399 (plus $125 shipping). The Terrain is available as either a 3 x 20″ or a 3 x 26″. The 26 inch model sells for $100 more. And the Terrain model even folds so that is a plus for those who have space issues for hauling or storing. It makes perfect sense not to invest a small fortune into a trike that one intends to use in a way that will likely be hard on the trike … namely off road use.
Visit the Trident website for more information and details.
It has been windy in much of the United States recently. With the wind and the wind chill factor not many cyclists (or others) have been seen venturing out. I went out this morning and rode on a local trail. I saw one other cyclist the whole time I was out. It has to be a very strong wind to bother me and keep me from riding. I suppose if I were riding a bicycle or even a tadpole trike with the seat angle much more upright than my Catrike Trail is I would notice the wind a lot more and it would be a problem for me. However, I am thankful for my “recumbent” (laid back, reclined) riding position as the wind just is not an issue for me. I jokingly say “what wind?” when someone I am riding with objects to (or complains about) it. Although I am saying it just to tease them and give them a hard time I can honestly say that I am serious at the same time.
Yep, ‘what wind’ is my come back and I am so glad I can say it. It has to be either rather cold so that the wind has a noticeable wind chill factor or it has to be blowing hard enough to get my attention … say about 30 mph or higher.
Sometimes I think it would be neat to take advantage of the wind by using a sail on a trike. There are people who do it. There are a couple of manufacturers offering sails on trikes although it is more common to see them on a delta trike than on a tadpole trike.
There are even para-sails used as well as kites.
There is only one problem I foresee in this … one would have to admit that there is a wind. 🙂 That would take a lot of fun away for me. Besides that, I would probably lose control in a heartbeat and crash and burn. I spent 8 years in the U.S. Navy, but that didn’t make me a sailor as far as knowing anything about sailing a sail boat.
Sorry, but this just doesn’t look like it would be much fun to me. It looks like it would be very tiring … quite literally exhausting on the arms and upper body dealing with pulling on the rig almost constantly. And getting tipped over while travelling along at a pretty good clip sure isn’t appealing. I think I would rather just pedal along. Of course, I don’t think I would have any desire to ride in such a desolate miserable looking area as that anyway. (Different strokes for different folks.) For those who have an interest in this 3100 mile (5000 km) kite-powered trike journey thru Russia, Mongolia and China you can visit the website HERE, the blog HERE, his Facebook page HERE and check out more of his videos HERE.
One thing about it … like so many other things … it happens and there ain’t nothin’ we can do about it. I am talking about wind … sometimes with a capital W. Or as a friend is fond of saying … “you’ll have that!”. We just have to deal with it and for me I am glad I can quite often say … “what wind?” … all the while being glad I am not out there dealing with it on an upwrong bike as then I couldn’t say that. Yes, I remember it … part of the agony and discomfort of riding a conventional bicycle. I love my recumbent trike! And with or without the wind I hope to and plan on …
KEEPING ON TRIKIN’
Here are a few somewhat unique videos showing some homemade side by side tandem tadpole trikes as this family travels along on them.
And here is a video showing the assembly of the adult trike.
Here are the two boys riding along on their side by side tandem trike.
Here is a short video showing some of the detail of the kids’ trike.
And if you enjoy watching these videos HERE is a link to all the other YouTube videos by this person.
Now here is something you don’t see everyday although the people behind it no doubt would like to see this change. Right now this is in the Kickstarter program in an attempt to launch it into full production. For those who are into “classic cars” this is indeed a novelty.
I have no idea if there will be a maket for something like this. I guess only time will tell. One thing for sure, it looks too wide to be ridden on bicycle trails.
It is available with various options … wooden, aluminum or stainless steel dashboard, exterior paint colors , upholstery, and electric assist motor are among the options.
The Picar is obviously designed to look “classic”. As you can see, it has a fake engine in the front. The starting price appears to the $4999 according to their website.
At 130 pounds it is not light so it would be challenging to pedal around and uphill would be a real workout. To make matters worse it only has 3 speeds. Uhhh! This tank is strictly for flat lands. It definitely needs better gearing … say a 14 speed internal hub and at least a two speed crank such as a Patterson. Even with all that the rider would get a workout climbing a hill. 130 pounds … that’s 3 times heavier than most tadpole trikes.
Dimensions: Length – 8.2′ wheelbase – 3.9′
Weight: 130lbs / 154lbs with electric motor.
Finish: panel – wood, veneer, edge trim – leather.
Extras: LED lights, reflectors, mp3 system with speakers, USB port to charge your phone or tablet, and a micro SD card slot.
Seat: automotive synthetic leather. Adjust the seat to from 51″ to 72″.
Load: weight up to 250lbs
Drive chain, three-speed planetary hub Shimano Nexus; In addition, there is an electric assist option: Electric motor: 750Watt
Brakes – Disc brakes on all 3 wheels for production versions.
Battery: 7AH for electrical system. Electric motor version includes a 48v, 18AH LifePo4 battery.
Who knows. perhaps one of these days we might be seeing these listed among the “classics”. They might even be among those we see “out there” which are trying to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
The BEE – a universal urban tricycle. You don’t want to get stung by this one as once it mixes in your blood you just might not be able to shake off its effect. Yep, you would probably just give in and get one. There is only one problem at present … just a minor one, mind you. “The problem is” you ask? It is not yet available. It is currently in a fund raising program trying to get into production. You might say it is a matter of the BEE, or not to be. HERE is an article about this little bug.
And yes, it is also to be available in a motorized version.
There is only one thing I see about it I don’t care for and that is the bicycle type handlebars. They just aren’t comfortable compared to the typical tadpole trike handlebars. One reason I switched to a tadpole trike is to get away from the uncomfortable ride of a bicycle.
Here are the technical specifications:
Length: 210 cm
Width: 100 cm
Height: 145 cm
Weight: 45 kg without motor and accessories
Size of wheels: 406 mm (20″) double wall alloy wheel rims
Suspension: front-combined spring and shock absorbers with central preload spring
Brakes: Sturmey Archer 90mm mechanic drum brakes on the front wheels. Rim brake on the rear wheel.
Speed: Shimano 3×5 speed for hybrid .
Steering: full Ackerman, chopper type handlebars, turning circle: 6 m,
Optional electric motor support: EVbike 250/500W hub set, battery 36V10Ah LiFePO, speed limiter 25 km/h ,
Windscreens: polycarbonate windscreen, roof and side shields
Space: drivers´ height: 1.50 m – 2.00 m, adjustable back support.
Lights: Battery lights on front and rear.
Strong driver cage – weather protection, low side wind sensitivity
Protective shell out self locking U door – easy access, roll over protection
Car high body
Optional electric motor support: EVbike 250/500W hub set, battery 36V10Ah LiFePO, speed limiter 25 km/h
This is one tough little trike …
For those who don’t understand … that’s a joke. It isn’t really that tough!
I don’t know if this BEE will ever fly and populate planet earth or not. I guess we will just have to wait and see. It is a cute little bug! It would be a shame to not have it survive.
I came across this human powered vehicle recently and was impressed with the concept and the mission of this organization of providing a solution for mobility for those who otherwise have to crawl along the ground as they can’t walk. God’s Word teaches us to open our eyes and our hearts to see needs and then do what we can do to meet those needs. It is what PETInternational.org is doing. Here is a video telling the story behind the development of this trike. It has solid rubber tires so flats are not a concern. As construction costs go this trike is very low cost … $350 to build and ship. They are a strictly volunteer organization. The need of these trikes is tremendous and funds are sorely needed to build more and ship them to where precious people await them. I like the words seen on the video … “Where there’s a WHEEL there’s a way”.