Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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Strata
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Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Strata » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:48 pm

I'm seeking the collective wisdom of eplaya on what brand of adult trike to get, and what features to seek out (or avoid). One speed or multi speed? Are the affordable $300ish Walmart options reasonably rugged or cheap crap? I'm fat, so the trike needs to be sturdy.

I've no interest in electrifying the beastie, just pedal power is fine for me. My regular bike usually works well. I'm interested in a trike to haul stuff (ice, coolers) and for better stability. And quite frankly, I'd rather be something big that folks swerve around than play the dodge ball game that is riding the city streets at night.

Also, what's worked well for you for shading your trike? If that's a thing you do. Seems like shade would equal wind surface, either in motion or stationary.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:51 am

Trikes pretty much just work on the playa, I don’t think I’ve seen one that’s too crappy.
The usual advice about bikes applies, if it’s a WalMart or other super-cheapie then pull it apart first to grease and adjust everything, don’t just run it as-is because they don’t take the time to do any of that.

About gears, the multi-derailleur setups that mountain bikes usually have are dirt and damage magnets on the playa but trikes typically have a 3-speed internal-hub setup that is very reliable in dusty conditions. I like having gears.
They make a 5-speed trike gear hub you can swap on that has the same three gear ratios plus one below and one above the three speed units. I put that on my wife’s trike because we live where it’s hilly but it’s overkill for a playa trike, not worth spending the almost-$200 for.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by AntiM » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:05 am

We paid under $300 for mine, on base. Three speed, sturdy, and no, we do not shade it. A big-ass shade hat does just fine. Not sure of the brand, but it is a step up from the WalMart cheapies. Do NOT buy one from China on eBay. Nope.

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Token
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Token » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:06 am

What the Cap’n said. It’s all in the greasing and setup.

There are four general categories for trikes:

Cheap big-chain store sub-$300 trikes.

Better and beefier ~$550 general purpose trikes.

Industrial tough guys in the $800 - $1000 range.

Specialty, electric, and snobbery class over $1K.

I’m guessing you’re looking at a modest budget trike you don’t mind destroying in the dust. Those are the crappy Kent, serviceable Schwinn.

I’d go with the Schwinn but have it serviced by a pro shop and set up correctly.

Otherwise, this is the way to go:

Image

:)

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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by lucky420 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:33 pm

Token wrote:What the Cap’n said. It’s all in the greasing and setup.

There are four general categories for trikes:

Cheap big-chain store sub-$300 trikes.

Better and beefier ~$550 general purpose trikes.

Industrial tough guys in the $800 - $1000 range.

Specialty, electric, and snobbery class over $1K.

I’m guessing you’re looking at a modest budget trike you don’t mind destroying in the dust. Those are the crappy Kent, serviceable Schwinn.

I’d go with the Schwinn but have it serviced by a pro shop and set up correctly.

Otherwise, this is the way to go:

Image

:)
I got one of the industrial tough guys (worksman) and then I electrified it :coffee:
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Token
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Token » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:17 pm

lucky420 wrote:
Specialty, electric, and snobbery class over $1K.

:)

I got one of the industrial tough guys (worksman) and then I electrified it :coffee:
I covered that ;)

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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Meat Hunter » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:32 pm

I do not have any experience a'tall with trikes that have multiple gears.

However, I do have a single-speed trike that I electrified and I have used it for the last four Burns.

During the first Burn, one time I was not watching and I allowed my battery run low (when I was about 1/2 mile from my camp) it was an absolute beast to peddle.

I promise you; I did not allow that to happen again.

In my opinion, I suggest that you try to locate and borrow a trike that is similar to the trike that you are looking at and peddle it on the grass for a good mile or so.

I think that would give you a pretty good idea of how it will perform on the playa.

One must remember that I am 74 years old, not very strong in the legs and I am not accustomed to peddling.

Your mileage most probably will vary.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:06 am

That’s what gears are for!!
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by lucky420 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:11 am

Token wrote:
lucky420 wrote:
Specialty, electric, and snobbery class over $1K.

:)

I got one of the industrial tough guys (worksman) and then I electrified it :coffee:
I covered that ;)

Yeah but I’m not a snob, just old with a bum knee. I want to see things yo... :lol:
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Token » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:29 am

lucky420 wrote:

Yeah but I’m not a snob, just old with a bum knee. I want to see things yo... :lol:
Hey, both of us, just I’m still in the denial phase!
:|

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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by FlyingMonkey » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:11 am

I bought one from a retailer that sells camping equipment to the World (lame attempt at Decommodification) and I was very disappointed with it's Playa performance. It had small diameter tires that were pretty narrow so it sucked whenever I hit a sand dune (2015). I had to walk it out of deep sand EVERY time. I got it because it was a folding model & that feature was nice. I think if I put monster tires on it that it would probable be pretty awesome but I would not recommend it "out of the box".

Aside from that the seat was comfortable & it peddled well although I think the cranks are shorter than normal. Tall people probably absolutely hate that model (I am not).

I like the utility of having a trike so I will probably modify it to suit my needs (beer hauler).

YMMV
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Zubeneschamali » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:56 pm

I have two Worksman trikes. One is a side by side dual pedal that's electric, the other is a single drive triple with seating for two in back. The dual has been to the playa 3 years in a row. The triple made its debut last year. We run a mobility services camp and offer rides and tours for people with mobility issues. Mine are in constant use for the 7 days of the burn, from 10am to 4pm each day and I've never had a problem.

A typical run would be from a camp (say G / 915) to center camp to bring a couple to Mobility Camp for an art car tour. I'd have 400 pounds on the back, 175lbs pedaling, mostly in 1st gear thru the city due to the dust, then I could get up to 3rd gear once I was on open playa. The rims are beefy and tires are wide so there is a good float. Our street B between 9/9:15 was the dustiest I've ever witnessed and yeah it wasn't fun pedaling thru, but the trike performed.

The Worksmans are well made (in America), sturdy, and heavy duty.

I've shaded and decorated with lights in the past. Meh. Mine are working trikes. I don't have time on playa for the constant tweaking and fixing.

On the flip side, there's a cost to all that but I found mine on CL for a fraction of the retail price. And you're not going to find instant solutions if something does fail on playa. The bike repair camps stock for the standard 26 inch Huffy crowd and may not be a help.

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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by capnjonny » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:14 pm

Couple of thoughts on trikes

Any size tires and tubes other than 26" you should bring spares since you might not be able to find them on the playa. bring a spare tire and tube in any case.

From what I hear trikes are unsafe at anything over about 10 mph . They tip over if you turn going fast.

From what I have seen the Schwinn Meridian single speed is probably all you need . Simple often being better.

250 lbs is the max loading for a Meridian, I think,

Used ones go for around $250.

You should probably remove the fenders as you won't need them.

You can electrify a trike with a front wheel motor kit .

For sure, whether you buy new or used take it apart and re grease the wheel bearings, the steer tube, and the bottom bracket. If you don't know what those are , find out.

With all bikes, beware of buying a "Burner Bike from someone just before the event. I worked in a bike shop at the 2016 and 2017 burn and a lot of folks showed up with a Burner bike they bought that was literally falling apart. You don't want to spend your whole week there on foot.

One more thing. don't bring any bike that doesn't have 26" wheels. One woman came in with an old Schwinn varsity with a shredded tire. The bike used a special size wheel that would be impossible to find. Same with 24" or 20 " wheels. what ever you do , don't bring a "racing " style 10 speed with 27 " or 700c tires. Go out and by a second hand mountain bike with rigid forks and knobby tires and you will probably be fine.

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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:37 am

Trikes unsafe in BRC? Man where you do get this crap?
The percentage of people who wipe out on a bike is a lot higher than those who wipe out on a trike on the playa. I’ve never actually heard of anyone wiping out on a trike out there, but lots of bike crashes, often when they hit a soft patch of silty playa in the dark.
Hell you can even ride a trike on the playa drunk and stoned and not fall over.

And the gears on trikes are the internal-hub kind, playa doesn’t affect them, they work great. Really great. Especially when loaded heavily (like often ends up happening) and the playa is soft and hard to pedal through.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by FlyingMonkey » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:37 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:Trikes unsafe in BRC? Man where you do get this crap?
The percentage of people who wipe out on a bike is a lot higher than those who wipe out on a trike on the playa. I’ve never actually heard of anyone wiping out on a trike out there, but lots of bike crashes, often when they hit a soft patch of silty playa in the dark.
Hell you can even ride a trike on the playa drunk and stoned and not fall over.

And the gears on trikes are the internal-hub kind, playa doesn’t affect them, they work great. Really great. Especially when loaded heavily (like often ends up happening) and the playa is soft and hard to pedal through.
I've had a rear wheel of my trike come off the ground during a high speed turn but I really don't think I could flip it if I tried. I guess the length of the wheelbase may be a factor but really, if you manage to topple a trike you are probably doing something wrong. And yes, I have almost high sided a few times on a normal bike hitting soft Playa.

I think most bicycle crashes involve speeds not safe for the particular bike, not paying attention & crashing in to stuff, and being too freaking out of your mind to safely ride anyway. I blame the rider, not the machine.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Sunny D » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:10 pm

I have a trike that’s of the Monterey brand 3-speed that I purchased new through Craigslist for $150, and rode on it all week on the playa last year. I also installed an electric motor (to assist me with my freshly torn ACL) and it was the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had. It is very heavy, takes up a lot of room,and cumbersome when loading and unloading to the trailer, but that was the only downside.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by Canoe » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:59 pm

Sunny D wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:10 pm
... Monterey brand 3-speed ... I also installed an electric motor (to assist me with my freshly torn ACL) and it was the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had. ...
If you could, a photo or two, and some names of parts, would go a long way towards a head-start for describing something I bet a lot of people would like to know about, now or in the future.
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Re: Adult Trikes: Any recommendations?

Post by s_ting » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:09 am

Sunny D wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:10 pm
I have a trike that’s of the Monterey brand 3-speed that I purchased new through Craigslist for $150, and rode on it all week on the playa last year. I also installed an electric motor (to assist me with my freshly torn ACL) and it was the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had. It is very heavy, takes up a lot of room,and cumbersome when loading and unloading to the trailer, but that was the only downside.
Fellow ACL-er! I'm going to be on the playa this year about 8 weeks post-op for my torn ACL. Hoping all goes well and I don't re-tear my graft. Luckily Elliot will be providing us with a passenger trike so my boyfriend can pedal me around. Just wanted to give a shout--it's good to hear from others who had success with e-trikes through ACL injuries. Though I must say I felt way better pre-op than I do now post-op...

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