Pesky Trike Newbies

Recumbents and all feet forward machines

Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby HellBent » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:33 pm

Hi all,

After a lifetime of sedentary laziness and poor habits this close to fifty year old has decided to finally get moving via a touring adventure on a recumbent trike. With some back issues ( forty degree scoliosis and occasional discomfort through spinal stenosis) this form of cycling would appear to be the best way in which to lessen the difficulty I might experience on an upright.

I'm not that bright and never had anything much to do with bikes so I've begun to wade through information to try and make some informed decisions about what to buy and how best set myself up for a longish Australian tour.

I'll have a total budget of $5000 for trike and equipment needed for a tour, so I'm guessing about $3000 will be spent on the trike itself which makes a Greenspeed Magnum something close to what I might need or can afford.

Some questions if anybody has the time.

  1. Is there a particular trike that is generally understood to be the "go to" trike for touring at around $3000?
  2. Are trikes more susceptible to certain failures or mechanical issues?
  3. Dogs. Trikes aren't the ideal level for pesky dogs. What do most people carry to repel them? Or aren't dogs that much of an issue touring around Australia?
  4. Luggage capacity. Do most of you trike tourer types utilise a trailer, or do you find there's enough storage room found hanging panniers from the trike?
  5. What's the worst aspect of touring with a trike?

Apologies for what are probably often asked newbie questions, but if anyone has the time and patience, I'd be pretty grateful for any replies.
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by BNA » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:53 pm

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Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:53 pm

HellBent wrote:Hi all,

After a lifetime of sedentary laziness and poor habits this close to fifty year old has decided to finally get moving via a touring adventure on a recumbent trike. With some back issues ( forty degree scoliosis and occasional discomfort through spinal stenosis) this form of cycling would appear to be the best way in which to lessen the difficulty I might experience on an upright.

I'm not that bright and never had anything much to do with bikes so I've begun to wade through information to try and make some informed decisions about what to buy and how best set myself up for a longish Australian tour.

I'll have a total budget of $5000 for trike and equipment needed for a tour, so I'm guessing about $3000 will be spent on the trike itself which makes a Greenspeed Magnum something close to what I might need or can afford.

Some questions if anybody has the time.

You can buy great trikes at lower costs so don't think paying allot will give you the best that isn't always the case. If you don't already own camping gear make sure your budget allows for that because some of the better camping gear is pretty costly and will eat into your budget real quick.

  1. Is there a particular trike that is generally understood to be the "go to" trike for touring at around $3000?

    Any will do it but it comes down to the features of the trike. (As an example some trikes have bushes in the steering pins I prefer to have bearings) but Chromoly will be better for touring due to the fact you can get hold of a welder in the bush but an alloy frame if you have failure could mean the end of your journey due to the lack of folk able to weld alloy. I prefer direct steer where as some like UUS underseat steer I just find that there is more room in the cockpit with direct steer and many more options to custom fit accessories than UUS but that is a choice your going to have to find out. Try as many trikes as you can to get a feel for your likes and dislikes.

    Many trikes come with 16" front wheels I don't like that I prefer 20" more so for touring 20" tubes and tyres are easy to get and busted rims can be gotten with ease. If you want to cut down on the amount of spares you carry get a 20" rear wheel as well and doing this you will have very low end gearing to climb those long steep mountains.


  2. Are trikes more susceptible to certain failures or mechanical issues?

    Most trikes the idlers from factory are ok but not that crash hot so an upgrade to TerraCycle idlers are well worth it. http://t-cycle.com/idlers-chain-management-c-41/
    Most trikes out of the box or show room need to be stripped and placed back together making sure all bolts etc are done up right and everything is secure. Doing this not only places your mind at ease but gets you dirty and for you to have a better understanding of your bike. No point having a break done out in the sticks to only sit on the side of the road scratching your head not knowing what too do. Start doing it at home from the get go and things will be easier on your journey.

    Make sure your boom is set to the correct length and done up so it doesn't twist or slide in it's sleeve. You will need to check over most of the wheels to redo the spoke tension and true each wheel other wise your going to be busting spokes and fixing spokes on the road side is a pain in the butt. On trikes keep a look out around all the weld joins and gussets for signs of cracks it happens due to the stick configuration most of the joints are high stressed trikes are not like a diamond frame bike where you have forces working against each other. Most frames are pretty robust.


  3. Dogs. Trikes aren't the ideal level for pesky dogs. What do most people carry to repel them? Or aren't dogs that much of an issue touring around Australia?

    I don't have an issue with dogs and if I do a very load and stern voice saying "STAY" works.

  4. Luggage capacity. Do most of you trike tourer types utilise a trailer, or do you find there's enough storage room found hanging panniers from the trike?

    Again this is a personal preference I carry a trailer because I like to live with a few comforts now while still living hard in the bush. If you do want a trailer match the trailer wheel size to your trike this is less spares to carry and if you modify your trailer you can take the wheels off and place on your trike for instant wheel backup.

  5. What's the worst aspect of touring with a trike?

Slow up hills, always leaning to one side because of road camber, Bee's bugs etc go straight up your wedding tackle so wear Lycra.

Apologies for what are probably often asked newbie questions, but if anyone has the time and patience, I'd be pretty grateful for any replies.


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Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby chuckchunder » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:43 pm

where abouts are you mate? some here might be willing to let you have a go and a chat, can get lots more info that way.

quick thoughts re your questions

1. nope, there will be lots of opinions. I'd say beware/aware of accessories that are suplied or extra - mudguards in particular, but things like headrests, computer mounts, spares/pump bags etc You definitely need clip in pedals. If you have any opportunity to ride one, do it. mrcomponents have some alternatives to the mainstream offerings.

2. not really. my greenspeed kingpin bushes generally lasted about 25,000km, and wear affected toe-in. not a fan like ricky, but they are very hard to break! I have ot had a problem with greenspeed idlers - 50,000km+

3. i've ridden a fairly long way in the last ten years, i have only had a problem with dogs three times. I ran over one, punched one on the nose, and the other was too unfit to keep up!

4. i've used a trailer, and not. a trailer adds one more wheel of drag and six or more kilos to your weight. you have to haul that up every incline. it will slow you down. whether that is an issue for you is hard for us to decide. I know of a couple who rode across the nullabor hauling 50kg of gear in panniers and trailers. not for me.

5. the view. if there is long grass, a road barrier or bushes, you can't see over the top. there are lots of best aspects!! Unlike Ricky I have never worn lycra, I always wear long pants, usually of the lightweight camping variety.

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Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby HellBent » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:53 pm

Wrote a lengthy reply and it disappeared.

Thanks Ricky, I appreciate you taking the time. All your points make perfect sense, and the "bugs up the jacksie" was particularly eye opening and something I wouldn't have considered.

I'll be wanting some comfort as well, especially with bedding as my back can get cranky from time to time, so a trailer will be a must I think. The Bobs look flimsy to this untrained eye and I wonder how reliable they are for the long haulo.

Is there a company that has a sturdy trailer, or is the leader in trailers?

Cheers
HB
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Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby HellBent » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:03 pm

Cheers chuckchunder for going to the trouble - everything is valid to me at the moment as I try to work it all out. I realize everyone will have preferences and opinions, just soak it all up and hopefully come to some choices of my own.

I'm not going to be interested in computers and gadgets etc - just not the way I roll, really, so the salesman will be struggling to get me into much more than the basic essentials.

Probably go the long pants myself instead of lycra, I think. And the trailer is just something I'm gonna need, so better get a few miles in the legs.

On that! I've read some people just go from the couch to the trike, more or less, without any physical preparation, and just ease their way into it. I'm inclined to do this as well and just build up slowly over time. Any pitfalls in this method?
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Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby HellBent » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:19 pm

Sorry, chuck. I'm in Indonesia just now, but will be back in Perth on 12th September. I think there's a trike club in Perth, could make contact there as well I guess and maybe get some info.
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Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

Postby Cheesewheel » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:20 pm

HellBent wrote:Hi all,

After a lifetime of sedentary laziness and poor habits this close to fifty year old has decided to finally get moving via a touring adventure on a recumbent trike. With some back issues ( forty degree scoliosis and occasional discomfort through spinal stenosis) this form of cycling would appear to be the best way in which to lessen the difficulty I might experience on an upright.

I'm not that bright and never had anything much to do with bikes so I've begun to wade through information to try and make some informed decisions about what to buy and how best set myself up for a longish Australian tour.

I'll have a total budget of $5000 for trike and equipment needed for a tour, so I'm guessing about $3000 will be spent on the trike itself which makes a Greenspeed Magnum something close to what I might need or can afford.

Some questions if anybody has the time.

  1. Is there a particular trike that is generally understood to be the "go to" trike for touring at around $3000?


I went through this issue about a year ago.

this thread may help
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=56854
if you have back issues, it might pay to invest in a trike that has a seat you adjust to a variety of angles so you can ease up on any pressure points that may arise - note the more you adjust the seat angle, the more you may have to adjust the boom (the pole that sticks out in front of you with the pedal chain ring) since it will slightly make your feet further away or closer to the pedals - so a trike with an adjustable seat may not work so well if adjusting the boom requires complicated mechanical adjustment.


  • Are trikes more susceptible to certain failures or mechanical issues?

  • I have several bikes and I have found my ice trike to have the least mechanical issues

  • Dogs. Trikes aren't the ideal level for pesky dogs. What do most people carry to repel them? Or aren't dogs that much of an issue touring around Australia?

  • I think the biggest danger posed by dogs is not so much their biting but their snarling and yapping which can scare the sh*t out of you when they bolt out of nowhere. The greater danger is that they will send you into the bitumen or gravel rather than their gaping maws of slobbering death. Dogs are more of an issue out on lonely rural country roads that don't see much traffic (since the same such dogs on busier roads tend to get turned into squashed dogs).
  • Luggage capacity. Do most of you trike tourer types utilise a trailer, or do you find there's enough storage room found hanging panniers from the trike?

  • I do have a trailer but i find their is ample room with a pannier rack and tied down bags that I can mount behind the seat. If I am doing touring with a lot of equipment I prefer the trike since it can take the weight and faster speeds (such as when you are going down hill) without jeopardizing safety issues
  • What's the worst aspect of touring with a trike?

  • being closer to the road, which means you get the car exhausts and the fumes and grass from people mowing their lawns and the general dust factor. I invested in a good pair of wrap around sunglasses (ugly fish) which at least keeps the stuff out of your eyes.

    Apologies for what are probably often asked newbie questions, but if anyone has the time and patience, I'd be pretty grateful for any replies.[/quote]
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby HellBent » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:38 pm

    Thanks for the link to your thread, cheesewheel, it brought to my attention a lot of trikes I didn't know existed and more things to consider- not sure that's a good thing.shock: :)Also cheers for the seat adjustment aspects.

    Can I ask what trike you opted for or have decided on?

    It seems to me there are a few major considerations that I should really take into account such as frame material, brake set up and seat adjustment (because of my back) but other than those three issues, most trikes seem to be fairly reliable around the $3000 mark. I'm not finding any "don't go near that one" or "worst trike ever" comments.

    Are there any lemons I should be warned of?
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby Roinik » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:03 am

    If you want a cheaper trike, check out the following sites:
    * http://www.ozhpv.org.au/forsale/forsale.html
    * http://www.gumtree.com.au
    * occasionally http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bikes/list?search%5Btaxon_ids%5D=10. Nice looking RV from Vic on there atm.
    * rarely http://www.ebay.com.au and caveat emptor!

    The same rules apply to the second hand trikes regarding kingpins etc. These are cheap to replace if you've got the tools.

    After that there's a few bike shops that stock recumbents. Unfortunately for you most of them are east of the WA border. There is at least one stockist in WA on Canning Hwy (help me out here lads - my memory fails me here). From what John Lewis has mentioned previously, the owner of Logo trikes in Osborne Park (?) is currently doing some time in the FIFO space however may make trikes on request. John's Logo is a nice looking and riding machine too (convinced my wife that she now wants a trike).

    There are at least four Australian trike manufacturers that I'm aware of:
    Logo - WA and by special order only right now.
    Greenspeed - Vic. (and their variant MR Recumbent Trikes in Geelong)
    Trisled - Vic
    Trump Trikes - SA

    If I get this right, from your inference regarding the Magnum, you initially require a trike with extra load carrying capacity. This will change over time with the more miles you put on the clock. One major thing to carry with you is a decent tool kit as you'll always have to do some repair on the road.
    You don't need the best kit, you just need the best attitude.
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:23 am

    HellBent wrote:
    Are there any lemons I should be warned of?


    Not now most trikes are pretty robust and well built it mostly comes down to how you fit the trike and what is the most comfortable for you.

    One other thing some trikes there design makes them quite high meaning that if you have issues getting up or down in the lower types of trikes these higher ones are like sitting on a slightly lower kitchen chair that has 4" cut of there legs. Maybe something else to consider if you find placing your butt nearly on the ground hard.

    Since your talking touring make a seat pad from this ACS10 it's a god send to have air around you and worth the purchase if your trike you go with doesn't have this as seat material.

    http://www.empind.com.au/shop/item/air-circulation-mesh-acs10



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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby Cheesewheel » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:04 pm

    HellBent wrote:Thanks for the link to your thread, cheesewheel, it brought to my attention a lot of trikes I didn't know existed and more things to consider- not sure that's a good thing.shock: :)Also cheers for the seat adjustment aspects.

    Can I ask what trike you opted for or have decided on?

    It seems to me there are a few major considerations that I should really take into account such as frame material, brake set up and seat adjustment (because of my back) but other than those three issues, most trikes seem to be fairly reliable around the $3000 mark. I'm not finding any "don't go near that one" or "worst trike ever" comments.

    Are there any lemons I should be warned of?

    I was lucky enough to score a second hand trike from one our fellow BNA'ers (ice trike).

    Before I got it, I managed to test ride a greenspeed from a LBS. The experience made me realize I would appreciate a trike with suspension ... which also might be another plus you might want to consider for the sake of your back.
    (others have mentioned how the vibration caused by zooming

    The only thing I would change if I had my time again would be to opt for disc brakes (since the drum brakes don't have such great stopping power ... more of an issue if you are going down hill with a bit of touring weight).

    I also custom made a flag (made from a regular bike flag pole and a balinese flag) since the puny one that came with it didn't really allay my safety concerns .. although to be fair, I have never really had any cause to be concerned (despite being slightly wider and lower to the ground than what is afforded by a regular bicycle). It seems that motorists offer you a wider berth on account of a recumbent trike rider distinguishing themselves as a "god damn crazy cyclist" as opposed to just a regular "crazy cyclist" .. although to be fair, I have never ridden one through the heart of someplace like Sydney (nor do I plan to)

    Here is a link which might help you locate someone nearby who has a recumbent they may let you test ride

    http://www.recumbent-world.com/

    Even if you test ride a two wheel recumbent you will get a feel for how your back will handle the general set up.


    btw mirrors (one for each side) are an absolute necessity . Even though I have mirrors on every bike I ride, I find that the set up of the trike grants the most effective awareness of my 360 degree environment.

    the other thing is that its probably wise to include mudguards since the geometry of most models means the tyres will throw whatever is on the road up in your face and/or all over your hands and arms

    The only other consideration is that due to the reclining position you cop a face full of sun. Unless you are a fan of sunscreen, growing a beard , wearing a cap with flaps you can wrap around in an almost burqua'esque manner and/or wearing a nose cone (little thing that hangs off your sunglasses to cover your nose) seems to solve the problem

    The other good thing about recumbents is that most of them have ample space to sling a water bladder behind the seat so you c an always travel with plenty of fuel in the tank. There are a range of products to do the trick - with a bit of ingenuity the insulated camelbak pouch does the trick nicely for probably the cheapest.

    If after umming and aaahing and doing whatever test riding you can, you finally get your heart set on a model you want, it might be worth your while, after communicating with them and doing your order, to fly in to where ever the closest distributor is and start your tour of australia from there

    Flying furniture (canberra) is reputable and probably the widely ranged stocked retailer of the nation
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby HellBent » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:20 pm

    Gee fellas, that's a mighty lot of generous advice, links and overall good-blokey-ness there. Thanks a bunch for giving me a sound base in which to begin my considerations, you've made me aware of some issues I certainly wouldn't have come to by myself.

    It's appreciated.

    Cheers
    HB
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby John Lewis » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:26 pm

    Andrew and Joanne Hooker rode round Australia on Logo trikes.
    Their book Ants, Dust and Flies in my Coffee is a good chronicle of the ride with a lot of good information.
    I think they have an ebook version too. Have a look here on their site.
    http://www.where2pedalto.com/welcome.htm

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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby chuckchunder » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:08 pm

    HellBent wrote:Sorry, chuck. I'm in Indonesia just now, but will be back in Perth on 12th September. I think there's a trike club in Perth, could make contact there as well I guess and maybe get some info.


    another bagus link for you - http://www.wahpv.org

    there is also a for sale page there.

    not sure whether people are still meeting to ride, haven't been myself for a couple of years.

    I am embarrassed to say I have four trikes (five if you count the one needing some welding). I'm south of the river, opposite one of the river shared paths, you are welcome to come and see and maybe have a ride. I can talk trikes til the cows come home. I've PM'd you my phone number, give me a call or txt when you are back in Perth.

    cheers
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby Aushiker » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:34 am

    I believe you are coming to Perth so this might be of interest ...

    Image

    On the subject of trailers. I noticed your comment on BOB and was a bit surprised I must say. BOB trailers are generally considered the best of that style with others copying them. My first trailer was aBOB Ibex and I did a bit of road and off-road touring with it. It handled the task well.

    Image

    I have now updated to a Extrawheel Voyager. If you are going to be in Perth you are most welcome to come and have a look at it and I can throw a 20" wheel on it so you can see how it looks.

    Image

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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby missinglink » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:08 pm

    Roinik wrote:There is at least one stockist in WA on Canning Hwy (help me out here lads - my memory fails me here).


    http://www.garlandcycleworks.bikeit.com.au/

    I think they still have a Greenspeed GT3 there for demo.
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby HellBent » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:40 pm

    Hi John - I actually stumbled across the wheretopeddleto site and had a bit of a read. I've been searching for any blogs on serious Australian off-road triking but have come across only upright bike off-roads such as CJ Coops (think that's his name) and " a dutch girl", both really enjoyable reads and motivation.

    chuck - cheers. You'll be getting a call.

    Aushiker - my judgements obviously aren't too well formed on anything right now, and the query on the Bob was just an observation as they simply appear (to this untrained and inexperienced eye) to not be robust enough for a bit of long term off-roading. Thanks for giving me some first hand experience with them. And the link to the Tarantula is mighty interesting. Cheers.

    Missinglink - Thanks for the heads-up on where I might get a look at a greenspeed.
    Last edited by HellBent on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby HellBent » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:44 pm

    I'm interested in off-roading as I want to be in the bush more than anything, and wonder what are people's thoughts on the ability of trikes to handle tracks like Oodnadatta, Grand Central Road, Tanami, Ghan etc. What happens in case of heavy sand? Can you hitch a chest harness and pull the trike through?
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:26 pm

    HellBent wrote:I'm interested in off-roading as I want to be in the bush more than anything, and wonder what are people's thoughts on the ability of trikes to handle tracks like Oodnadatta, Grand Central Road, Tanami, Ghan etc. What happens in case of heavy sand? Can you hitch a chest harness and pull the trike through?


    You will have no problem HB on those tracks using a trike but it is hard work not all trikes will handle the rugged conditions frame wise plus your going to need balloon tyres for best result and like 4WD adjust tyre pressure for the sandy areas. When you do start to bog in I did as you say used a length of para cord rigged up as shoulder harness connected to a Carabina. I tied off on the cruciform and the trike will follow you under it's own accord so your not fighting with it. To do these regions on a trike your going to have to be season selective because hauling a trike trough mud is bloody hard work. Dirt corrugation is just the worst you feel every bit of it and you will be shaken to hell and back not to mention it's really slow work. On trikes you hit a sand patch be prepared to have the steering ripped out your hands so hold on lightly and let the trike take the path. Be real careful of crests with vehicles coming the other way the speed in which a trike responds is pretty poor no matter what your reaction time is even on a tar road it takes a while to change course but you will son pick up on this when you get
    one.

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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby Roinik » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:47 am

    Just stay off the Strzelecki track if you want to stay away from lots of trucks. They won't be expecting a trike and won't see you if it's dusty. Travel any of those outback areas outside of summer as it is sooooooo much cooler.
    You don't need the best kit, you just need the best attitude.
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:26 pm

    HB this might also interest you.

    http://www.steintrikes.com/index.php

    One other thing you might want a light mouth and nose cover your going to eat bugs or ride into swarms of locals when touring on a trike........... Whatever you do don't waste the chance to get protein :wink: :mrgreen:

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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby HellBent » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:13 pm

    Cheers everyone for the continued advice.

    I contacted the person with the Tarantula advertised on Gumtree with no reply.

    Ricky, that Stein appears to have the type of suspension I imagine one would go for for off road touring, however, the more I look at the tracks and areas I'd like explore, the greater my apprehension as to a recumbent trike really being suitable for that type of an adventure. Perhaps I'm wrong and someone with experience in extended off road touring on a trike might be able to clarify.
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    Re: Pesky Trike Newbies

    Postby chuckchunder » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:14 pm

    HellBent wrote:Cheers everyone for the continued advice.

    I contacted the person with the Tarantula advertised on Gumtree with no reply.

    Ricky, that Stein appears to have the type of suspension I imagine one would go for for off road touring, however, the more I look at the tracks and areas I'd like explore, the greater my apprehension as to a recumbent trike really being suitable for that type of an adventure. Perhaps I'm wrong and someone with experience in extended off road touring on a trike might be able to clarify.


    Even the Steins would find those tracks heavy going. While Steintrikes have lots of suspension travel they still have three wheels to drag through the sand and mud, and they are pretty heavy relatively speaking. It will be very slow going on anything but hard pack, particularly if you are pulling a trailer. Corrugations are also more of a challenge on a 'bent bike or trike cause you can't stand up and allow the bike to pivot under you, even for a short time. You have already thought of the most important aspect of 'bent off roading - how do I move the thing if I can't pedal. Keep this in mind when looking at any trike or bike!

    Bikes are cheaper and faster than trikes. I have a bike built by Wayne Kotzur, custom built for a tour across China that never eventuated (built for someone else). With front and rear suspension and full rack it is heavy in bike terms - 19kg I think - but is still easily faster than all but one of my trikes. Built by the same bloke who built the bikes for these guys - http://www.timcopejourneys.com If I were looking at riding those tracks, I'd be getting a bike. That's as far as my advice can go in terms of bikes - I'm still on trainer wheels myself.

    There is a guy on bentrider who goes touring in the deserts, I'll see if I can find a link for you. And maybe have a look at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com lots of hours to be wasted there, though not so much 'bent orientated.

    cheers
    Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
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    chuckchunder
     
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