We have carried the Gekko fx 20 and Gekko fx 26 for years now and have been too busy selling them to do a review! Here is a long-term review of the many good things and a few not so good things that have come up over the years.
If you came in and said, “what is the best bang for the buck for a folding trike” we would say a Gekko. It has steady feeling indirect steering, hydraulic disc brakes, fits a wide range of people, nice looking paint job and is reasonably priced. They are the HP Velotechnik we sell the most and one of us owns one. Spending our own money on something is high praise around here.
The Gekko FX comes in two rear wheel sizes, 20” and 26”. The 20” will fit in the back of an SUV without folding and has a small turning circle compared to the 26”. The reason it turns sharper is that the 26” frame is stretched out longer to make room for the bigger wheel. So why have two wheel sizes? People fall into two camps- big rear wheel, and all 20” wheels. The big wheel crowd likes the look of the bigger wheel in back, like that the big wheel handles hitting potholes with less jolting than a small wheel, and think the trike is faster with a bigger wheel. The all 20” crowd likes the smaller overall length of the trike, better maneuverability, and that the trike takes one tube size. As far as the speed argument, if the gearing is adjusted by using different parts to allow the overall gear range to be the same it should make the two styles just as fast. In this case, the parts are the same on the two trikes so the 26” has higher gears which makes it faster (if you are strong) and the 20” has lower gears which are great for climbing hills.
One of the main reasons people buy a Gekko FX is the folding ability. So, what is it like? We have basically every brand of trike, so we learn the ins and outs of folding them all. We have how-to video on our website of us folding them to help customers remember how to do it. The Gekko Fx folds in a similar way to a Catrike folding trike like the Trail or 559. You either tip the trike upside down or lean it on
its side, release a quick release that holds the frame together, then fold the back of the trike under itself until it can be locked in place. Once locked, you can tip the trike on end where there are a pair of rollerblade wheels that act like the wheels on a suitcase. It takes about a minute for me to do it and is kind of fiddly, some pieces need to align for it to lock properly which takes some patience. HP says with practice it takes seven seconds; I say that is optimistic. We have some commuting customers who need to fold their trike daily to bring into the office. They report having trouble with the chain twisting at the idler near the folding joint and having the chain jam or come out of the bracket that holds the idler. We have made a different bracket for them that completely encloses the idler, so the chain doesn’t escape. Most customers fold only occasionally and seem to not have any trouble.
There are a few things that HP Velotechnik has come up with to address shortcomings due to the low price of the trike. One is an add-on seat pad called the Cloud Nine. It lays on top of the seat fabric and buckles into place. Cost is around $150 and goes a long way toward making the trike feel like a more expensive trike option. Another popular upgrade is a thumb-controlled parking brake. Cost is around $60 and well worth it for ease of use. Since these trikes come with hydraulic brakes, there really isn’t a good alternative beyond a Velcro strap to set the brake, which can be awkward for some customers. The third popular option is a seat angle adapter made specifically for the Gekko. The allows the seat back to be more upright than the stock trike allows. This can be a mixed blessing-sitting more upright can feel better for someone with neck issues but also can bring the knees closer to the belly and restrict breathing. Cost is around $110.
All in all, this is a great trike for the money. I think of it as a great platform to slowly upgrade as your needs change. Want more cushion, just add the Cloud Nine seat cover. Think it’s time for an electric motor, ask us about our Electric Bike Outfitters e-trike upgrade kit. This trike is worth hanging on to instead of buying something new.