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HP Gekko FX26 folding recumbent trikes become scarce in USA

HP Velotechnik has sold the last of its US supply of Gekko FX-26 folding recumbent trikes to its premium stocking HP Velotechnik dealers like AlphaBENT.

HP has announced some changes to the Gekko components for 2018 which include hydraulic brakes and downgraded wheel hubs. Up until now the lower-priced Gekkos had the same excellent-quality hubs of the most expensive HP recumbent trike models. For 2018, however, HP promises that people wanting the premium hubs will have to pay a premium price. Buyers who want the easier-to-maintain mechanical disc brakes and top-quality hubs of the 2017 models will have to act fast before the last ones are gone from HP dealers.

The Gekko FX-26 is an entry level recumbent trike with a market position competing head-to-head with the Catrike 5.5.9. Though the two trike models share some design features including an integrated folding mechanism, they are radically different in their components and their production. The Catrike 5.5.9. is manufactured in the USA and has a premium 10/30-speed drivetrain and bar-end shifter set, whereas the Gekko FX models are equipped with the much less expensive 8/24-speed drivetrain and twist shifters.

US recumbent trike manufacturer, Catrike, has implemented a different supply chain by manufacturing its own frames in-house using just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing methods. Catrikes JIT model assures the company that it won't run out of trikes unless it somehow runs out of materials or components. The downside of Catrike's JIT model is that popular models might have lengthier lead-times if they are not produced anticipatorially.

Although HP Velotechnik is a German company, it has the Gekko FX-26 models manufactured in Taiwan and exported directly to the USA. This takes advantage of the lower labor costs of Taiwan, but requires much longer lead-times on production and shipping. Customized Gekkos remain available from Germany at approximately a $600 premium over the US models.

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Bionx electric-assist on Bacchetta A26 recumbent bike

The Bacchetta A26 is the successor to the Giro ATT premium touring / commuting recumbent bike model. It is one of the fastest touring bikes made and A26 owners usually struggle to keep under a 15mph bike-path speed limit. 

On the open road, though, if you are commuting, you might just want to add an electric assist to ease the commute. Bionx offers a nice solution for this with a 350W rear wheel hub-based motor.

The standard interface to Bionx systems is to just pedal. This is because Bionx motors have a strain sensor that detects when you are pedaling and how hard, and the system multiplies your effort turning you into a Bionic Person.

However, it is always problematic to mount a battery, and it seemed moreso on the Bacchetta because we didn't want to force a rack onto it and we wanted to keep the weight low and central. At AlphaBENT, we have devised a nice battery mount for Bacchetta bikes that allows the battery to hang suspended just under the idler pulley. Advantages are:

  • plenty of clearance
  • low, central weight distribution
  • clearance for all leg and foot movement
  • universal design should work on all Corsa and Giro Bacchetta recumbent bikes.

If you are thinking of electrifying your Bacchetta recumbent bicycle, bring it on by and get it installed by Northern California's Bionx experts.

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HP runs out of US-available Gekko FX-20 recumbent trikes

Surprisingly, HP Velotechnik has run out of supply of its US-available Gekko FX-20 folding recumbent trikes for 2017.

Demand must have outstripped supply as dealers looking for Gekko FX20's in HP's US warehouse have been turned away empty-handed.

Gekko FX-20 trikes are some of the tightest-folding recumbent trikes in the industry and have all 20" wheels. This configuration is a bit slower than the 26" larger version of the FX20, but it folds up tighter and doesn't require a supply of two different tire and tube sizes.

HP Velotechnik maintains a supply of US-available Gekko FX-20's in their US warehouse and because these are shipped directly from Taiwan without touching German soil, they don't some with the same price constraints as the same model coming out of Germany. Gekko FX-20's are still available when custom-ordered out of Germany, but come at a $600 premium to cover the additional duties and international air-shipping.

This puts the price of a Gekko FX-20 shipped to the US from Germany on par with the base price of a Catrike Trail, or a base-model ICE Sprint-20 or Adventure-20.

The Catrike Trail has a similar folding system, but is U.S. made with a higher component specification. ICE recumbent trikes are of a modular design with each trike priced depending on configuration. ICE trikes are custom-configured in England and air-shipped to the U.S.

HP anticipates having Gekko FX-20's in stock in America for 2018.

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Day-6 semi-recumbent / forward crank bikes back in stock soon

Day-6 semi-recumbent bikes will be in stock again soon. Production delays have made Day-6 bikes a limited-availability commodity for the past two months, but the wait is almost over.

AlphaBENT expects a new shipment of Day-6 forward crank bikes on Friday, July 28, 2017, but it's not clear how long they will last.

Some customers have been waiting two months, and other potential buyers have had to exercise their patience waiting for the delays to end.

Full stock of Dream-24, Dream-8, and Samson Day-6 bikes will be ready for a test-ride soon.

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Summer travel issue: Recumbent Tandem Rider magazine hits shelves

The 2017 summer travel issue of Recumbent Tandem Rider Magazine is finally in print and on the shelves at recumbent stores across the U.S.

This issue features

  • a thrilling tale of cycling in the Argentine Andes from Mendoza, past one of the tallest mountains (Aconcagua) in the world and on many tall mountain roads on a RANS Screamer tandem recumbent bike.
  • a side-by-side comparisons of the Azub Six and the HP Velotechnik StreetMachine GTE by two recumbent travel adventurers
  • recumbent-friendly trails and roads at Lake Almanor in California just up the road from AlphaBENT's warehouse location in Chico, CA.

The current issue is FREE and available at fine recumbent shops like AlphaBENT.

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Time ticking against Azub price increases

In an unconventional move, Azub is raising prices in mid-season.

On Monday 15 May 2017, Azub prices will increase by 2-5%. 

Full-service shops like AlphaBENT are taking last-minute orders through the weekend of 5/13-14 of 2017. Some Azub trikes like a full-suspension Ti-FLY with Pinion 18-speed transmission can be quite expensive, so a 5% discount is a significant difference.

Of all the recumbent trike manufacturers, Azub is the only one offering Pinion transmissions.

Azub has also announced a new configurator to help buyers customize configurations and place orders through top dealers like AlphaBENT with a minimum of hassle.

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Recumbent Tandem Rider Magazine goes online

Recumbent Tandem Rider (RTR) Magazine has been covering the recumbent industry these last many years since the beginning -- and now, for the first time, the print copy of RTR magazine is available online.

RTR magazine publisher, Charles Coyne, is a constant shadow monitoring the comings and goings in the recumbent industry. He has also taken the initiative of creating the Recumbent CycleCon (the industry's only trade show in the United States).

As regularly as clockwork, stacks of RTR magazines have arrived in leading recumbent dealer shops like AlphaBENT. These unique magazines have been a key source of product information, reviews, and adventures dealing exclusively with recumbents and tandems.

Recumbent Tandem Rider Magazine will continue to be available in its print version and physical copies of the latest issue can be picked up for free wherever they were available before. But, now, the exact same magazine can be viewed online at RTRmag.com

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Recumbent trike racks 1/2 off

[Disclaimer: This item was posted on April Fools Day, 2017. It is not to be taken seriously, though, perhaps, half-seriously. The rack and the trike are real and not Photoshopped. The trike is a Terratrike (perhaps an older Tour) and the rack is based on HP Velotechnik design.]

Today only, AlphaBENT is selling recumbent trike racks that are half off.

These racks are for trike owners who know that "less is more".

They are specially designed for non-touring trike-riders who have half a mind to take something with them, but aren't quite sure. The novel design leaves one side available for mounting dynamos and other accessories.

Manufacturers benefit from the 1/2-off concept by only having to design half of the rack and production is half as fast.

The first partial prototypes are in and AlphaBENT is selling them to test the market.

The new concept ushers in an era of fractional sales of fractional goods in the Fractional Economy.

Adherents of the Fractional Economy Concept say the economy gets a strong stimulation because recumbent trike buyers can purchase their trikes as they can afford to.

"I can see a day coming when people will buy 60% of a trike one month and then buy 15% more when their next paycheck comes in.", said AlphaBENT owner, Hugh Kern, "I'm only partially sure that this is going to take off. A lot of people have been telling me that this is a half-a__ed idea, but, I decided to just run with it."

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Eon green back in Catrike color lineup

Catrike has resolved its production issues for the eon-green color and is now producing recumbent trikes in this color again.

One of the few manufactures doing its own in-house frame production and powder-coating, Catrike has extraordinary flexibilty in producing different colors and in shaking up its color lineup. However, the dark side of this is that when some sort of production or supply glitch hits, a popular color like eon-green can simply disappear overnight.

This is what happened to eon green in October 2016, and it took some months for the issues to get resolved.

For now, eon green is available again on all Catrike recumbent trikes.

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Catrike discontinues Hyper-yellow and Eon-green recumbent colors

Catrike has discontinued its popular Hyper-yellow and Eon-green colors due to supply issues with the green powder-coating ingredient used in both colors.

Because Catrike builds and powdercoats its own frames in-house, they have tremendous flexibility in making production changes on the fly. They also enjoy experimenting with powder combinations to make unique colors.

Hyper-yellow and Eon-green were the result of this experimentation and both relied on the same green ingredient component. However, late in 2016, there was a glitch in the supply of this green powder.

Now, the few remaining new Eon-green and Hyper-yellow Catrikes will be the last ones.

Other manufacturers using standard European RAL colors can produce a hyper-yellow equivalent by using an RAL equivalent.

(Note: some day-glo / flourescent-style colors can have long-term fading from exposure to the sun.)

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Electric recumbent trike: HP Velotechnik implements Shimano STEPS

HP Velotechnik offers electric recumbent trike options for most trikes models using Shimano STEPS motor system.

Shimano has entered the e-bike market with its STEPS motor system, and HP has adapted this system to most of its recumbent trike models.

Unlike many other electric-assist systems that use a rear-hub-based motor system, the Shimano STEPS system uses a motor incorporated with the pedaling system and a conventional rear hub drivetrain.

One implication is that conventional rear wheels can be used and that no attention needs to be paid to the torque-arms and torque-blockers that are integral with Bionx, Neodrive, and GoSwiss hub-motor systems. But, another implication is that attention does need to be paid to preventing the motor from putting excess force on the gearing system while it is shifting.

Shimano and HP solve this problem by putting the latest electronic shifting system which incorporates directly with the motor system. This shifting system is very easy to use as it involves electric buttons rather than mechanical cable pulling. It also changes the game for many shifting issues that can develop with conventional systems. Furthermore automatic shifting becomes a real option.

Electric motor is integrated with the pedaling systemOne of the key drawbacks of Shimano's approach is that it requires a redesign of the bike frame for conventional bicycles to accommodate the motor system instead of a conventional bottom bracket. However, because recumbent trikes use a boom system where the bottom bracket and cranks are at the end of what is essentially a long tube, all it takes to adapt this system to a recumbent trike is to design a Shimano-STEPS-compatible boom, and the capability becomes instantly available throughout the entire trike product line. This is what HP Velotechnik has done.

Shimano STEPS batteryThe Shimano STEPS system has a high capacity 418Wh capacity battery. This is not so high as the largest capacity 558 Wh batteries from Bionx and BMZ, but it is plenty sufficient for most daily cycling needs. The battery is rated for at least 1,000 charge cycles and weighs 2.6 kg.

For 2017, HP makes the Shimano STEPS electric recumbent trike system available on all of its trike models including the:

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Catrike Dumont arrives for Thanksgiving triking

Catrike is finally shipping their first Dumon full-suspension folding recumbent trikes.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the first Dumont has arrived, and we are very Thankful!

AlphaBENT will be open Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and building up the Dumont and getting it ready for test rides is a TOP Priority.

We'll post pictures and test rides will be possible as soon as it is built up.

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