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TriSled Recumbent Trike

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Kelly riding
Kelly riding...
I bought this trike because it was available cheaply, and I wanted to see whether I would actually use a trike if I had one. Ben put it together for a school so it's very light (all 0.9mm wall tubing) and very low (for track racing). He did not expect it to last, simply because I'm heavier than it's built for and I tend to ride it quite hard. It also only took me a couple of months to put 3000km on it, which is fairly serious mileage. I was riding 30km each way to Paramatta every day for work. Despite that the trike has lasted well, I suspect I did around 6000-7000km on it over two years, before finally selling it in 2001 to a guy who was going to do it up for his kids.

Having it gave me a real appreciation for the fun inherent in a high performance trike. It's sort of like go-cart racing, but with you providing the engine. Since I'm reasonably fit, that means a heap of fun can be had. I raced at Canberra a couple of times, which I enjoyed, but mostly it was the ease of commuting on it that made it worth while. I once managed to get from Paramatta to Newtown faster on my MTB, but that was a one hour sprint with a lot of traffic risks taken.

On the trike it was a more consistent 28-30kph average, despite having to stop a lot more often to navigate intersections (you can't see over stopped cars on the trike, so more caution is required). The low aspect also makes head winds much less of an issue, you're almost always in the bottom half metre where the flow is turbulent and slow. Most noticeable when riding with an upright, who will let you know what you're missing ;-)

commuter setup
The trike as I had it set up for commuting - 20W front light, flag, mud guards, mirror and air horn.
rear view
From the back it looks as though the wheel is out of alignment. Quite possibly it is, now. I definitely twists quite a lot when I'm riding it hard.
rear rack
The rear "rack" - a rail that can hold one pannier. Not a big pannier, but it does work.
low in the middle
The low point is only about 15mm off the ground, and that's with 1.95" tyres. The Comp Pools (1.75") that I use for racing reduce that below 10mm. Hence the brazed on lump of brass to act as a bash plate, and the messy looking splodge of paint in that area.
horn mounting
Air Zound mounting.
seat
The drivers zone.
chian line
Chain line. The chain tube is curved up like that because the holder for it hits the ground on bumps and gets pushed backwards. In theory I could fit a small bag into that space under the seat, but I never got round it making the right shape bag.
touring
Touring, with a trailer to carry the gear. Not a lot of fun on rough roads or gravel, and will not go uphill on gravel at all, as there's not enough weight on the rear wheel. The trailer also proved unstable at speed (wobbled badly at about 60kph). But it did let me take the trike touring, when I didn't have any other bike that would fit on the train.
towing megatrailer
Towing megatrailer and a bed. This is way, way outside specification. Did I mention that Ben said I'd voided the warranty? About the time I told him what I was doing with the trike...
That said, I had remarkably few problems. There were a few experiments involved in building the trike, and a couple of things Ben has since changed. The steering arms both broke at the welds, because the metal is too thin for the stresses. Trikes made after mine have reinforcing there. When I got it it had 24 spoke wheels, which I eventually upgraded to 48 on the front and 36 on the back (matching the number of holes in the hubs).

I did a number of nasty things to the trike over the time I had it. Aside from towing the 80kg megatrailer rig above, I let Glenn Forrest ride it at Canberra (he's about 2m tall, 110kg, and very strong). That gave me an idea of how Ben felt watching me ride the trike... I also hit an awful lot of bumps with the low point of the frame, and did a lot of cornering on two wheels. My top speed was at least 90kph, where my speedo stops working reliably. Once, I also went off a flight of stairs on it, as I was about to go down a ramp at 30+ kph I saw someone start walking up it so I swerved and went down the adjacent stairs - dropped about 1m and flew about 3m horizontally. It hurt (no real suspension) but the trike seemed to survive.