How does a newbie decide on a trike style?

edited March 2010 in General Discussions
Hi all,

I am new to the world of recumbent bicycling, though I knew ten years ago (the first time I tried one) that I wanted to get one. Having recently moved from a big city into a more bikeable area, I think the time is finally arriving!

But I have no idea what type to get. I am pretty settled on a trike rather than a bike, and am leaning toward USS rather than OSS. But I don't know for certain, and there are no recumbents stocked in my local bike stores (Eugene, Oregon)

How do I decide between OSS and USS, and between short and long wheel base, and between tadpole and delta design?


  • i am no expert on all the differt styles of bikes but i can give you some pointers and things to think about. 1st is price range. i am not aware of any bike on the market that can't be upgraded at some point. 2nd is the type of riding will you be doing like long distance or speed or off road etc. 3rd is transportation. there are many options in this catagory. 4th is research. you can never do enough research. for me, i have a zoomer elite with the 26in wheel upgrade, and i absolutely love it! i'm getting my 8yr old a zoomer this spring and am real close to talking my better half into getting a zoomer as well. by the way, she never liked riding at all until i got mine! good luck and choose what's best for you.
  • Hi Bumblebee,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I am looking to spend between $1,500 and $2,500, ideally that would include the extra costs of shipping and a few accessories like mud guards etc.

    I find a regular bike very uncomfortable to sit on and also gives me back pain, so I don't ride much normally, but I expect to mostly use it on established bike paths and sometimes on bike lanes in low traffic areas. Speed is not a big consideration, but there are a few hills in my area so it will need decent gearing. Thus the Path 3 is out.

    Transportation: Ideally it would fit in my station wagon - I'll have to measure the back hatch and see if it'll fit.

    What does the 26in wheel upgrade do?
  • Ava,

    We pride ourselves in being the world's most comfortable ride, no matter how far you're trip takes you!

    If you're looking for gearing options for your hills, the Cruiser is a great place to start. The Cruiser has a stable ride with a flexible frame that smooths out the road. Evolving from there is the Sport which is the aluminum version of the Cruiser, a bit lighter with a more solid ride. Then the Zoomer is also aluminum but is more narrow and has a different steering system (direct steer) which makes it very responsive, giving it a 'sports car feel' versus luxury. The Cruiser, Sport, and Zoomer are the base models that can be upgraded to the Tour, Sport Elite/Pro, and Zoomer Elite/SL, respectively. Let us know if you have any questions on the upgrade models. (Custom TerraTrikes are also available.)

    As far as transportation, all of our TerraTrike models can usually fit in a hatchback - although sometimes excluding the TT Tandem. In shorter vehicles the rear wheel may need to be positioned between the two front seats. The rear wheel also has a quickrelease which will give you several more inches to play with. I have yet to come across an extended vehicle that will not carry a TerraTrike, although seats will need to be folded down or removed from the back of the vehicle. If a hitch is available, we also have a hitch rack that will carry up to two TerraTrikes.

    The 26" wheel will shift your gear range higher. This will give you the opportunity to travel much faster in your high gears on flat ground or riding downhill, although it will also cut out the bottom hill-climbing gears. You can choose which wheel you should be riding on depending on your preferred cadence - faster cadence will prefer the 20" rear wheel, slower cadence the 26" wheel. Also considering your hills - long, steep hills will prefer the smaller wheel.
    Jessica Kessenich
    Sales Coordinator
  • hi ava, jess gave out a lot of great info. Here is a list of items I believe everyone should have on their trike. At least one flag ( I have two). At least one mirror. Lights on the front and back. A rear fender or all three if you decide on a zoomer. The handle bars sit over the front wheels and my arms got wet a couple of times. A locking parking break. It is easier than just the one strap. If your trike doesn't fit inside your vehicle, a lizzard skin is nice to have. There is a lot of chain and it will flop around a lot if it is transported on a rack. I have a nice gouge on the paint from this. Also, if you get a zoomer, there is no mount for a water bottle. Fastback makes a frame mount botlle holder that for me works great. I hope this further helps you.
  • Thanks Jess and bumblebee - sorry it took me so long to get back to you, life got in the way :)

    I'm leaning toward a Zoomer (base) at the moment. I've checked out my local bike shops but none of them stock any of the Terratrikes (hardly any recumbents at all) so I'm unlikely to be able to test drive anything. I can't get anything till April because I won't have the storage space till lots of time to change my mind again about the model to get!
  • great choice ava. i love my zoomer and wouldn't trade it in for any other bike. i test rode my uncle's cruiser once before i ordered mine. the rides are a little bit different, but if you can find someone with any tadpole trike, you'll get the idea pretty quick. just remember to lean with the turns. the nice people here ship thier trikes fully assembled if you can't find anyone local. good luck!
  • If you are in Eugene OR, there are three Terra Trike dealers in Oregon (according the the Web Site). A 5 Star in Portaland, one in Salem and I beleive there is one in Grants Pass. You can look on the Terra Trike home page under order, find a dealer. That way you can get a hands on and have a local shop to work with. I'm suprised that no one from Terri Trike didn't recommend you look up a dealer. When I bought my Path last fall, I was driving from Phoenix AZ through Utah to Idaho and stopped at Utah Trikes and took a spin. No dealers here in Wasilla AK or elsewhere. All I could find at the bike dealers were Delta's which appear to be unstable to me. I ride my Path seveal times a week, as I watch TV, using the trainer. Can't wait until the snow is gone so I can get out on the bike path. Just hope my 66 year old knees hold up.
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