My Trice QNT with my house in the background

Saturday, March 28, 2009

2: Research - What's Important to Me

I was excited and couldn't wait to learn more about trikes. Looking around I found several excellent resources. The recumbent community, though not large when compared to the bicycle community, is quite vocal. A few things that struck a chord with me were steering style, adjustable seat angle, rear suspension and brake steer. These are things I hadn't even thought about when looking at the Cat.

Steering style is either direct or indirect. Direct has the handle bars coming right up off the steer tubes while indirect has them mounted, and swiveling, on the frame and tie rods connecting and directing the wheels. Most opinions agree that indirect feels more natural and a bit less "squirely".

Adjustable seat angle is just that, not fixed in one position. Though I had thoroughly enjoyed the position of the seat on the CatTrike, having the ability to adjust it for different conditions did sound like a good idea. Not just that, if it was adjustable it needed to be easy. I don't want to have a 15 minute tool-in-hand job each time I wanted a change.

Rear suspension would be nice. I knew that. Some suggest that a 26" rear tire eliminates the need for this but then you have the added issue of 2 different tubes to carry. Not a huge deal but if suspension wasn't too much more I'd probably want to go in that direction.

Brake Steer was a new concept for me. As the front wheels are typically the braking wheels on a trike and they are independently operated, some braking systems allow you to steer the trike by applying different pressures on each wheel. Sounds cool huh? Well on further reading it is actually a problem. If you break harder on the left wheel than the right you tend to steer to the left. As this occurs, inertia causes your weight to shift to the right, which is the less braking wheel. Basically, it mean a loss of control and this can happen even if you don't try to brake more on one side than the other, a wet brake shoe or a poorly adjusted/failing brake could cause you to take a turn into traffic. Minimal/no brake steer means you maintain control. Sounds like a really good idea to me.

Alright, I've got a list of things I want but I've got a budget too. Can I get them all? You bet I can.

Enter Inspired Cycle Engineering.

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