Catrike Villager 2012 and prior Recumbent Trike

The Catrike Villager has been updated. See the review of the new Catrike Villager Here. 2020 Catrike Villager
Catrike Villager in Silver
2011 Catrike Villager

The 2011 Villager ~ a light weight Catrike with a lite price.

“Villager” is a good name for this affordable, versatile Catrike. Urban/suburban riders will find its higher seat, upright seat back and tall ground clearance handy in traffic. The Villager’s 12.5” seat height makes it one of the highest tadpole trikes on the market, right up there with the Ice Adventure and ideal for riders looking for a casual fitness or adaptive trike. The seat recline is now adjustable from 35 to 55 degrees making the Villager the most upright Catrike ever. Its 5.5” ground clearance lets you ride over speed bumps and curb transitions without worry. To keep it stable with that high seat it is also the widest Catrike.

Catrike’s Villager Recumbent Tadpole Tricycle

The other big difference is the gearing. To keep the price down the Villager is available with 9 speeds or for a few hundred dollars more you can get a Villager with 27 speeds so it can climb as well as the other Catrikes. With 9 speeds you lose some high and low gears but riders who aren’t in a hurry and don’t ride on hilly roads should not be bothered. Folks who thought Catrikes were too expensive, too low or too reclined for their tastes should take a ride on a Villager.

Easier to get in and out of, easier to see and be seen in and affordable, the Villager is a good trike for many riders who don’t have speed near the top of their list.

The Villager has 20” wheels all around. This means you will have a lot of tire choices to suit your trike to your riding conditions. From 2.25” wide knobby tires to 1.25” racing tires, they are all available in the Villager’s common 20” (406) tire size.

The higher seat gives you great ground clearance, but it also has some down sides. It requires a wider stance for stability in turns. Its stable 31” track gives it an overall width of 35” which means it will have to be lifted and tipped on its side to get through some doors. Performance oriented riders will not like the high seat as it increases wind resistance lowering top speed and raises the center of gravity making the trike more difficult to control in panic stops.

Like most (all?) trikes in its price range the Catrike Villager has twist shifters. I don’t like twist shifters much on any USS (Under Seat Steering) recumbent. The twist shift is designed for a mountain bike where it is operated by your stronger index and middle fingers. On a USS recumbent bike or trike with vertical handlebars you shift with your less robust pinky and ring fingers. On a direct steer trike it can take some practice to just twist shift and ride in a straight line. We have had several customers who find their hand strength is not up to the task. Not to worry, we can install Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters and a Shimano LX rear derailleur on a new Catrike Villager or Trail for $200.

My Review of the 2011 Catrike Villager

Catrike Villager Side view
Professional Review of the 2011 Catrike Villager Trike

The Villager is a great trike for riders who don’t care much about speed. If they won’t be climbing big hills they may find the economical 9 speed version ideal. These riders tend to be first time trike riders and they often enjoy it and love its lower price. If they have trouble getting into or out of a low seat because of a years of inactivity, a disability or a recent knee or hip replacement they may like the Villager even more. And everybody likes the Villager’s relatively light 34 lb weight.

The Villager is poor choice for performance riders who value speed over most other considerations. These riders should look at the Catrike 700, Speed, Road or Expedition. So, what type of rider should try the Villager? Riders who want fun & comfort more than speed, need a trike that makes riding easy or who don’t want a heavy trike, an import or a budget buster.

This Catrike is easy to ride and friendly for a casual first time buyer. And best of all, it’s an affordable way to park your car for shorter trips. Human power is great for the environment and even better for your health!

Tech Specs:

  • Wheels Front & Rear 20”(406)
  • Weight 31 lbs (14.1 Kg)
  • Wheel Base 37″ (940mm)
  • Wheel Track 31” (787mm)
  • Total Width 35″ (889mm)
  • Seat Height 12.5″ (318mm)
  • Turning Circle 14′ (4.27m)
  • Gear Inch Range 23.75” to 70”
  • Ground Clearance 5.5” (140mm)
  • Total Height 27″ (686mm)
  • Total Length 72″ (1829mm)

Fit & Ergonomics:

  • Seat Back 50 Degrees (from horizontal)
  • Rider Weight Limit 275Lb.
  • Seat Width 14″ (355mm)
  • Bottom Bracket Height 14.5″ (368mm) Only 2” Above Seat
  • Fits Rider X-Seams From 39” to 46″
  • (Option Extra Long Boom For Riders up to 53″)


  • Cane Creek Headsets
  • 9 Speed Drive Train
  • SRAM SX5 Half Pipe Twist rear shifter
  • SRAM long cage SX5 rear derailleur 1:1 Ratio
  • Avid BB5 Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Avid FR5 Flat Pull Brake Lever
  • Truvativ Isoflow 170mm, 38T Crank W/ Chain Guard
  • Power Drive Bottom Bracket
  • SRAM PG 950 11-32 cassette
  • KMC X9 Chain
  • Tires: Schwalbe Marathon

Additional Features:

  • Light & Rigid Catrike Space Frame, Non Folding
  • Roomy cockpit
  • Ackerman Steering Geometry
  • Negligible Brake Steer
  • Self Centering Steering
  • Aluminum Rod Ends
  • Up right seat
  • Presta valve tubes Standard, Schraeder available

Standard Options:

  • Pedals: Top Side Standard, Bottom Side Clipless
  • Rear View Mirror
  • Computer Sensor Mount
  • PTFE Chain Tube

Catrike Owner’s Manual for the 700, Expedition, Pocket, Road, Speed, & Trail (pdf 2.95Mb)