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Azub Ti-FLY titanium suspension recumbent trike flight-ready summer 2016

On the heels of winning the "Trike of the Year" award for their outstanding-handling Tri-Con rear-suspension recumbent trike model, Azub has just announced the availability later this summer of their first full-suspension recumbent trike platform.

Dubbed the Ti-FLY, the new model leverages the natural lightness and springing characteristics of titanium as a 40mm travel spring. Upper and lower titanium cruciform pieces form a parallelogram structure which is a natural spring. Dampers tune the spring for desired suspension characteristics.

The engineers at Azub have mated this new front suspension technology to the proven supple rear suspension of the TRIcon model for a recumbent trike with characteristics unequaled in the recumbent tricycle industry.

Reservations for the Ti-FLY are being accepted right now at AlphaBENT. At a competitive sub-$5k base price, the Ti-FLY is to be available in a gamut of gearing configurations including:

  • Shimano derailleur-based 24-speed, 27-speed, and 30-speed drivetrains
  • SRAM Dual-Drive 24 and 27-speed systems
  • Shimano Alfine and Rohloff Speedhub internally-geared rear hub systems
  • and the amazing new Pinion 18-speed front gearbox

Azub estimates that they will be able to produce one Ti-FLY per day, so a first-come first-serve reservation system has been put in place for prospective owners to get their names into the limited production slots for this machine.

Like the Azub TriCON and Azub T-Tris models, the Ti-FLY will be available with either a small (20") drivewheel or a large 26" drive wheel. The larger drive-wheel will have higher gearing and a steadier ride with all other factors kept equal.

  • Ti-FLY 20 has 20" wheels all around
  • Ti-FLY 26 has 20" wheels in front and a 26" drive wheel for ideal handling and gearing

The Ti-FLY is aimed squarely at the burgeoning full-suspension recumbent trike market. Until 2016, only two companies, Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE) and HP Velotechnik, offered full-suspension trikes.

In 2016, the field will double with the arrival of the Catrike Dumont and the Azub Ti-FLY 20 and 26.

Azub's designer has written an interesting piece comparing the relative qualities of the Ti-FLY front suspension system as compared to other recumbent trike front suspension systems by HP Velotechnik, ICE, Catrike, and Stein. In a nutshell, he identifies the main advantages of this design as being lightweight through choice of titanium material integrated into the frame. He points out that torsion bars as used in the HP Velotechnik design is important for balancing load between the front wheels for cornering stability, and argues that in the Ti-FLY design, a balancing transfer of load between the front wheels happens through the middle section of the titanium plates since it is shared by both sides' suspension elements. It is an interesting read for anyone researching full suspension recumbent tricycles.

There are two videos on the web. One is in Spanish and the trike is shown while stationary. The rider narrates his experience and that it is quite agreeable. The other is a slick promotional video by Azub.

Initial pricing for the Ti-FLY in its various build-up configurations is available here.

Reserve your Ti-FLY full-suspension recumbent trike now.

More information...

HP introduces US-exclusive Scorpion FS-26 with upgrades and fast delivery

In an increasingly competitive market, HP Velotechnik is taking pre-emptive measures against the impending arrival of Catrike's new full-suspension Dumont model.

Production leadtime has long been HP's Achilles heel. Custom HP Velotechnik purchases often require a one month leadtime. This has been a competitive disadvantage as compared to Catrike's 1-2 week just-in-time production schedule or ICE's ability to ship a trike within mere days of receiving the order.

To address this issue, HP is now producing a standardized upgraded version of their best-selling and award-winning full-suspension Scorpion FS-26 model for the United States market. Trikes with the US-Special specification can be shipped immediately.

The US-Special has the following upgrades:

It is available only in the grey / white color scheme and with front derailleur tube.

At $5053, there is no discount over a similarly equipped Scorpion FS-26 with the same options, but, the ability to ship it immediately will no doubt sway some purchasers' upcoming trike-buying decisions.

More information...

New ICE pricing on March 1, 2016

ICE is revising prices for 2016. Some prices are up, some are down.

In general, prices of Full-Fat and VTX-related items have come down due to improvements in the manufacturing process and prices of standard Adventure and Sprint-related models have gone up.

New pricing will be reflected on the ICE website configurator on March 1, 2016

More information...

New tadpole trike fits shorter riders

HP Velotechnik has announced a new trike specifically designed for people under 5'-11". This trike will be introduced at the 2015 Interbike show 9/16-18.

The first Gekko FXS in the United States will be available for test-rides shortly thereafter at AlphaBENT in Sacramento, CA.

The new Gekko FXS is a great cycle for "short" [not that 5'-11" is exactly short] adults or growing children.

The HP Velotechnik press announcement introduces the Gekko FXS as:

The trike that fits everyone.

A tricycle for short people:With the Gekko fxs, HP Velotechnik caters to the whole family with a new vehicle class, which stands for safety and a multitude of individual adjustment possibilities.

The revolutionary concept from HP Velotechnik allows the frame to fit people from 3'11" to 5'11" within minutes. The innovative OrthoFlex-seat can be modified for different body sizes and needs. However the construction of the frame allows you quick and easy folding. The trike stands solidly on three wheels allowing anyone who feels uncertain about riding or people with balance issues to ride with confidence. It is basically equiped with 8-speed rear hub and compact disk brakes.

Thanks to the unique Triple-Vario-Design, the Gekko fxs can be adjusted to body heights between 120 and 180 centimetres with a few simple manual adjustments. Besides being able to extend the frame, even the comfortable "OrthoFlex" mesh seat has been given a dose of growth hormone by its designers.

The Gekko FXS is considerably more than just an exceptionally flexible special cycle. This already reveals the high quality features:

  • can be folded within seconds,
  • smooth 8-speed hub gear,
  • disc brakes.

The wide range of accessory options moreover makes Gekko fxs the perfect platform for adjustments in the therapeutic field. For this purpose, the manufacturer has developed an innovative guide handle for a companion and a 5-point belt system. According to their information, in Germany a therapeutic appliance number has been applied for. Thereby a settlement of costs through the health insurance would be possible in certain cases.

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Recumbent Tandem Rider #50 -- 2015 Summer

Issue #50 of Recumbent Tandem Rider Magazine is in the shop now. Features articles include:

  • Bacchetta Giro 26 review
  • Rolf Prima tandem wheels
  • Nite Ize SpokeLit LED spoke wheel lights
  • Touring California coast on Bacchetta recumbent bikes
  • Tandem cycling review
  • TATAR trike / recumbent tour of American River in Sacramento
  • Cycle tourism stories

Come get your free copy in the shop, or subscribe online at RTR Magazine.

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Bacchetta bikes in Northern California

AlphaBENT is now selling Bacchetta recumbent bikes!

With the shop fairly saturated with trikes, we have found that we haven't been adequately serving the two-wheel recumbent market.

We're taking immediate action to resolve this issue with new Bacchettas now gracing the floor of the shop.

Bacchetta has established itself as a premier manufacturer of fine recumbent bikes and secretly we've long glanced enviously at any of these beauties.

Time to stop casting sideways glances and enjoy the simplicity and speed of a good high-racer.

More information...


Catrike Dumont rollout schedule

Catrike expects to begin production of the Dumont in May 2016, but has not yet announced exact dates.

We'll keep you posted when we find out more.

More information...

Catrike price increases

This just in from Catrike...

Price increase on Road, Trail and Villager March 1, 2016

New Pricing effective March 1, 2016

Our customer’s Catrike stories continue to nurture our passion to create more advanced, high quality and easy to use products that are created and made in the U.S.

As a courtesy, we want to share with you a price increase on three of our Catrike models that reflects the true value and cost to manufacture these products.

Beginning on March 1st there will be a price increase of $200 for the Villager, Trail, and Road models.

New Pricing:

  • Villager:  $2,550
  • Trail:       $2,950
  • Road:      $3,150

For all other models the price will remain unchanged for 2016.

You can order now or before March 1st to save on these Catrike models.

More information...

Bike show 2015

ICE shows Fat, racks, apparel, and support for electric-assist at RCC

ICE owners Chris Parker and Neil Selwood both came in person to the Recumbent CycleCon show in Cincinnati (Sep 25-27, 2015). They brought one of their surprisingly popular Full Fat all-terrain trikes and a representative lineup of ICE models:

ICE has spent its R&D time working on the "niggly" things -- fixing things that could be better. They also make their first foray into apparel developing a much-needed jersey for recumbent riding.

New cycling jersey for recumbent trike riders

In the words of Chris Parker, they have obsessively over-designed and engineered a cycling jersey for recumbent trikers.

  • high-tech fabric stays dry
  • windproof front material
  • maximum ventilation on the back
  • soft non-chafing material on the inside of the collar
  • light-reflective accents on the sleeve sides
  • front gather to keep it from scooping air
  • zippered pockets to keep change and sundries

Manufactured in Spain and Poland. Expected price will be near $90.

Rear carrier / rack redesign includes optional top-mounting capability for 26" wheels and battery attachment point

ICE rear racks have been re-designed to NOT attach to the back of the seat. The new racks have a nice pannier hook point at the bottom and attach to the trike at the suspension pivot.

A solid battery mounting point is integrated into rack for electrified ICE trikes.

A new optional racktop structure will be available for 20" wheel-sizes and an ultra high structure for 26" wheels. The racktop structure is intended for lighter-weight top-mounting packs rather than heavy stuff.

Structurally, the sides of the rack are independent of the top, so full-weight panniers are supported without the top-structure.

Pedelec electric-assist convertability

With an eye toward the future of pedelec recumbent trikes, ICE has incorporated a battery mounting point at the bottom leg of the rack.

The attachment point is perfectly designed for ICE trikes in order to allow the chain through without interference and so the battery will not interfere with the folding of the trike.

This year (2015), ICE offered its first pedal-assist models equipped with the well-engineered 250W Neodrive electric-assist system from Germany. However, due to international battery shipping restrictions, the only dealer in the U.S. who actually sold Neodrive-equipped ICE trikes in 2014 and 2015 was AlphaBENT.

Until ICE works out a supply-chain to other dealers in the United States, this will remain the state of things.

Redesigned suspension pivot

An integral part of ICE suspension trikes is a pivot pin or axle.

When it was originally designed it was seen as a rather mundane item and not thought about much. However, as time as progressed, it has become apparent that the pivot pin is an ideal solid spot at which to mount other load-bearing structural members.

This idea was pioneered by HP Velotechnik years ago. Unfortunately, HP Velotechnik designed their original systems such that the pivot had to be disconnected in order to attach things like racks. This made installation and removal of racks a dealer-only proposal. [Newer HP Velotechnik designs have an innovation that circumvents this issue.]

ICE has redesigned the suspension pivot to have a thicker, compression-bearing sidewall and it incorporates a 45-degree chamfered edge at the ends. The chamfered edge allows racks and battery-mounts stay in place with compressional friction. This is the same principle pioneered on certain Mavic bottom-brackets long ago and then integrated as a fundamental design of most Schlumpf-drive installations.

More information...

New GT20 folding recumbent trike with 20" wheels by Greenspeed

Greenspeed is developing a new trike platform to replace its GT1, GT3, and GT5 series of folding recumbent trikes for 2016. The new platform (currently known only as "GT20") was shown publicly complete with test rides of a prototype at the Recumbent Cycle Con convention in Cincinnati.

Greenspeed's GT20 borrows its design from GT1, Anura, and Magnum trikes which have all been in production for several years now. In common with the Magnum are:

  • 20" front wheels and possibly an interchangeable 20" / 26" rear drivewheel
  • 90mm Sturmey-Archer drum brakes
  • detachable seat with clamping seat-stays
  • variable seatheight adjustment
  • cambered wheels for maximum width at the point of the contact patch

The new trike borrows the Anura's rectangular square tubing for the main structural backbone, and uses the Anura-style moveable clamp meaning that the length of the frame can be cut down to size for shorter-legged riders.

Further, borrowing from the GT3 (and more lately the Magnum, as well) it features:

  • over-the top folding with central hinge
  • bar-end shifting and locking parking brake levers as standard equipment
  • crossover indirect steering tying to forward-aiming steering arms

The GT20's design improves rider ingress and egress with the swept back cruciform design pioneered by HP Velotechnik as a backward V and then improved upon by Azub with a graceful backward arch. The swept-back cruciform puts the standing position of the rider closer to the seat minimizing fall-back when sitting down.

The new trike will use Greenspeed-signature seat mesh with bungee strapping. Also, the wheels will use a specially modified Sturmey-Archer hub which is much narrower than the standard hub width and an innovative Greenspeed outer spoke-hole / flange system. Greenspeed first used this design more than 10-years ago, but has standardized it on this model to minimize the material in the hub while having very strong flange at the spoke interface. The narrow hub-width and standard drum-brake specification allow the GT20 to have a solid axle with minimal penalty for packability and no penalty for wheel removal.

The lowest seat height seems to be in the range of the Magnum, so it is relatively high as trikes go. However, this relatively high center of gravity is offset or stabilized by the afore-mentioned wheel camber and wide effective contact width. The GT20 has a lower weight-limit (estimated at 300#) than the highly-spec'ed Magnum's 400# limit, and the seat width is correspondingly slightly smaller, so it will fit average-sized riders better than the Magnum and should be lighter.

There is a possibility that Greenspeed will depart from its long-standing aversion to larger wheel-sizes and offer a large drive wheel for the GT20.

Greenspeed has been a leader in the recumbent trike industry with founder Ian Sims receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award due to his influence in designing the ground-breaking GTO touring trike which lent its design lessons to all of the later Greenspeed models and the recumbent industry as a whole.

Some dealers such as AlphaBENT owe their start in the recumbent trike industry to working with Greenspeed in bringing GTO trikes into the American market many years ago just after the turn of the millenium.

More information...

Sun-Seeker full-suspension "Fat" trike

Sun-seeker showed a new full-suspension "Fat" trike at Interbike.

The display model was just that. We did not get a chance to actually ride it, but did spend some time examining it and asking questions.

  • Wheel size is nominally 20". However, due to the size of the tires, the overall wheels are comparable to 24".
  • Seat is a mesh on frame with adjustable angle. Seat stays are held with pins.
  • Components include conventional disc brakes and derailleurs.
  • Rear shock spring on the display unit was extremely hard. This can be either because the spring rate is very high, or because the preload is set high. Either way, a 160 lb downward force seemed not to budge it.
  • The front suspension employs elastomers. The ones on the display model were quite stiff. There seemed to be more give from the pneumatic tires than from the shock.
  • Overall weight was reported as 57 lb.
More information...

Catrike introduces full-suspension folding trike with 26" drivewheel

Catrike has introduced a new trike to compete head-to-head with the ICE and HP Velotechnik full-suspension folding trikes.

This trike, dubbed "Dumont", is full-suspension with Catrike-style. It melds the

  • rear suspension design of the Road,
  • seat-height of the Expedition,
  • back-adjustable seat-style of the Trail, and
  • folding system of the 559

all into one trike with Catrike's unmistakeable design -- meaning it has direct steering, USA-made aluminum frame, the rigidity of the peace boom, high-end SRAM components, and a raft of accessories that might otherwise cost more.

New to the Dumont, though, is a nifty little anti-dive front suspension spindle to take the edge off the road. "Anti-dive" refers to properties of a suspension when it does something other than compress when braking. Antidive front suspension are used in many BMW motorcycles. The system used on the Catrike spindles is similar to the front suspension of a Birdy folding bike and is a time-tested solid concept.

The actual travel of the front suspension is less than an inch.

The Dumont sports two idler pulleys, including a fancy new big one fresh off the Terracycle machines, to route the chain from front to back.

The hinge is fastened with a quick-release and angled at 45-degrees as pioneered by ICE on its compact flat-twist Sprint and Adventure trikes.

Folding the Dumont occurs downward similarly to Catrike's 559, Trail, and HP Velotechnik's Gekko FX-20 and Gekko FX-26 trikes. Once folded, the Dumont, like the 559, stands up straight and can be rolled about on two trundle-wheels.

The rear swing-arm, though similar in appearance to the swing-arm of the Catrike Road, has been re-designed to handle the higher twisting forces that accompany the large drive-wheel. The rear shock is a sophisticated gas shock with adjustable spring and compression / rebound characteristics.

The unit shown at Interbike appeared quite almost ready for prime-time, so Catrike's estimates of a possible March 2016 timeline for production seem plausible.

Pricing is still indeterminate but likely to be higher than the 559.

More information...