I’ve been going to The Recumbent Cycle-Con the last five years representing either Linear and/or Avenue trikes. It’s always fun seeing the new products and getting some cool swag from the other vendors. The best thing about it is getting to try things out on the track before you decide to stock them. Do they live up to the hype or not?
This year the standout was the new offerings from Terratrike. I think it was time for them to go from being “the Chevy of the recumbent industry” to being one of the creative leaders slugging it out with Catrike, HP Velotechnik and Ice. They have been the affordable, middle of the road option which has done well for them. Now with the addition of the ATC line of the Spyder A and the Spyder, they are taking it up a notch and competing with the high end players.
It was good to see major refreshes throughout their line as well. I liked the GTS which is a hot rod version of the Gran Tourismo. I was hoping the Gran Tourismo would catch on-it’s been my favorite Terratrike. It was good to see the Traveler get rid of the folds in the frame members the front wheels are attached to. The original idea was folding to fly with the trike as luggage, but never really came together. It added flex in the frame which could cause rapid front tire wear if not aligned with the flex accounted for. The fold down handlebars should make it easier to roll into a smaller SUV or Prius.
The new Rambler with 24” wheels all around is a “wait and see” change for me. We sold three 24” conversion kits for the Rambler over the years and they were all returned. Customers felt they made the trike too tippy when going around corners. I rode the new version which is now an inch and a half wider between the wheels and it felt fine on the test track. It’s also nice that the seat height is higher for folks with limited mobility to ease entry and exit.
The Maverick, which is the replacement for the Rover, looks pretty good with the new round tubing and eight lb. weight loss. It’s kind of funny that the Rover had a 400 lb. weight limit and its replacement has a 275 lb. limit. Now the Rambler is the heavyweight king at 400lbs.
The other big news was the continuing battle for the coolest racing trike. To be honest, I don’t pay a lot of attention to racing trikes because they historically haven’t sold well for us. To go fast, you need to be low and flat to the wind which makes the seating position hard to get in and out of, and too reclined for most customers that try them. We found that people would try them, then get an Ice Sprint or a Catrike 5.5.9 that was higher off the ground and had a more upright seat angle range.
The coolest looking racing trike is the new Bacchetta CarbonTrike 2.0. That carbon monocoque frame just looks fast as hell and is impressive looking in person. It weighs 27 lbs., has 3” of ground clearance, 28 degree seat angle, 275 lb. weight limit and costs $5995.
The new Terratrike Spyder ATC has a two- piece aluminum frame and a carbon seat and carbon front and rear wheels. It weighs 28 lbs., has around 3” of ground clearance, seat angle range not yet released (probably mid to high 20”s), 250 lb. weight limit and costs around $4999 for the carbon equipped ATC version and $3499 for the standard Spyder. Compare that to the Ice VTX at 31 lbs., 2.6” ground clearance, 25-32 degree seat angle, 230 lb. weight limit and a price starting at $4250 or the Catrike 700 which weighs 34 lbs., has 4” of ground clearance, 25 degree seat angle, 275 lb. weight limit and cost $3950.
The real take away for me was the comradery between the industry people and dealers. Mickey from Laidback Cycles and Jonathan Garcia from Rose City Cycles went around talking up the idea of lending a helping hand to each other to help boost the recumbent bike/trike slice in the overall bicycle market. And, of course I could hear Peter Stull telling stories and laughing that laugh of his halfway across the convention floor.
It was also a treat to run into customers of ours, 12 hours away in Nashville, having a great time feeling like insiders rubbing elbows with company owners and engineers of their favorite brands. If you get a chance to go, don’t think twice, it’s really a fun thing to do.