Playa Trike: second thoughts

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Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby melodiousdirge » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:48 pm

Hi all. A few months ago I read a few threads on trikes vs bikes to cruise the playa, and the pros of a trike seemed to be overwhelming. I rescued a trashed industrial trike from the scrap bin at work and stripped, cleaned, painted, replaced, rebuilt, etc. Tonight my efforts culminated in the first test drive of my sweet orange playa cruiser.

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Now, after riding it, and trying to maneuver it around, some of the cons are weighing on me, so let's go over what I see as the Pro's first.

1) Can haul lots of crap (ice/beer/moop/whatever) in basket on the back (yet to be installed)
2) Can cruise as slow as you want, even stop without putting feet down.
3) Relatively safe to operate while moderately altered - low risk of falling over.
4) Three tires vs two makes it less likely to sink in dunes (theoretically)
5) Not just another bike (although I'm sure at BRC, it's just another trike)
6) Is rather bulky and recognizable, making thievery more difficult. Locking one wheel would probably be sufficient, as it's difficult to pick up and carry off.

So the cons, that have been so recently reinforced for me are

1) You can't walk the stupid thing! If you want to get off and walk beside it, your heels bang into the back wheels. This is sort of a major point of frustration if you were to break a chain, or get a flat and wanted to walk the thing somewhere. Also, Pro #5 becomes a con in this instance, because you can't carry it either. Anyone have an ingenious solution to this? I was thinking of welding on a tab to the handlebars with a rope attached so I can pull it behind me if I want to. Just need to make sure I attach it in such a way that the thing doesn't wander as it's towed.

2) It has the turning radius of a school bus. Maybe I just am not familliar enough with riding it yet, but it felt like a sharp turn was all but impossible. Sort of a pain in the ass if you're trying to maneuver through tight spaces or between traffic or whatever.

3) Takes up a fair bit of space to transport - I think I can solve this by breaking it down into components, as I probably would a bike anyway, so this isn't a big deal.

4) Single speed drive: I'm not sure this will be an issue if the playa is hard and smooth this year as many say it will be, but the single gear on this particular trike is high enough that escaping from a dune might be a problem without dismounting. The bike I have to compare this against is a decent 21 speed mountain bike so riding it up and down my pea gravel driveway it seemed like a bit of a pig.

Anyone with Playa experience have reassurances or thoughts to add about whether my newfound issues are going to cause me a problem? Would it be worth the hassle to try to fit my regular bike in the equipment list as well?
More ideas than time.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby jkisha » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:15 pm

Sure looks pretty. Take the bike and the trike. It's always good to have options.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby Elorrum » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:26 pm

I swear by my trike. I bought a chopper frame on ebay and used it as a two wheeler first on playa. talk about a wide turning radius. as a trike it is much more manageable, but the turning radius, still wide. high center of gravity on a trike too, so a quick turn is a tippy turn.

the kit I got for the rear axle came with a free wheeling three speed gear cluster, and derailleur. the low gear is very nice in traffic, and in deep dust. you might be able to get a kit that fits your rear axel... something like this? I think you could screw a cluster onto the adapter. http://cgi.ebay.com/ADULT-TRIKE-FREEWHE ... 5ae0a957a9

If you are fit enough and a good rider, I think a single gear would work out fine.

You've named the pros well, and they are really nice pros... especially the slowing down and stopping and not tipping. I also found with a two wheeler that there was a lot of concentration spent on not tipping in the dust piles, and avoiding shall we say altered pedestrians and other bike riders. The wrist and shoulder stress involved in that kind of tired me out. not a worry on a trike, much more relaxed in the grip and shoulders and neck.

and yes I haven't found a bike carrier that will handle a chopper trike, so I take it all apart to transport it.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:25 am

If you don't care about speed you can gear it lower, because you are going to want it to be easy to peddle, for miles upon miles.

Can you just grab the front tire to lift and tow?

The front of my trike wieghs about 10 pounds.

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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby AntiM » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:55 am

We hang ours off the front of our trailer, back wheels resting on the front gear box over the tongue.

My trike pulls to the left, and is terrible to ride on the streets where I don't want to hit people.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby trilobyte » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:29 am

I've been wanting a trike for years, and finally got a Worksman Port-o-trike. Wheels are small (20 inch diameter) and the tires aren't knobby, but it should still get the job done. I'm not sure if yours is the same, but with mine I just reach an arm over to the left or right handlebar to walk alongside it. It has three speeds (ideal for negotiating playa dunes and getting a bit of speed out of the smaller wheels), and can fold into smaller than a 3' cube (a must, since we just don't have the space at home or in the vehicle we're taking to the playa). Then I'm also hoping to have the added bonus of using it to get around further in the city than I normally would on foot.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby Elorrum » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:53 am

trilobyte wrote:I've been wanting a trike for years, and finally got a Worksman Port-o-trike. Wheels are small (20 inch diameter) and the tires aren't knobby, but it should still get the job done. I'm not sure if yours is the same, but with mine I just reach an arm over to the left or right handlebar to walk alongside it. It has three speeds (ideal for negotiating playa dunes and getting a bit of speed out of the smaller wheels), and can fold into smaller than a 3' cube (a must, since we just don't have the space at home or in the vehicle we're taking to the playa). Then I'm also hoping to have the added bonus of using it to get around further in the city than I normally would on foot.


smaller wheels, better torque.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby DustHand » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:59 am

I don't have a trike, but have thought it would make a lot of sense. A couple of comments regarding some of your cons...

--for towing purposes, take a long enough rope so you can tie each end to each hand grip. then pull from the middle, so the rope forms a triangle with you at one point. It should pull true.
--I like the idea of no gears. The bike I will be getting when I arrive in San Diego will be a single speed. It's the KISS idea...keep it simple, stupid. Less stuff to get gummed up with dust and break.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby TinkerMom » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:31 pm

I have big long horn handle bars on mine. I can push it from the side and still hold on.

Image

And beacuse of you FigJam!! I had to have a butt can too.
Image

As for transporting. I flip it upside down on top of my ladder rack on my truck. It hangs above
all my stuff.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby TwoHott » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:02 am

Last year I brought a home made four wheel/two person/three petal mutant bike for the first time.

It has a poor turning radius but it wasn't really a problem. You can always do a three (or more) point turn if necessary. Otherwise you can pick up the front end. No problem.

Transporting is a space consuming, but its worth it. I throw mine in the back of my truck. I designed it to just barely fit in the bed.

I take extra bikes just for peace of mind in case of catastrophic failure. Or for a trusted friend to borrow.

The only time I pushed/ towed it was when, occasionally, I got stuck in a nasty dune. Then its usually only a few feet. Just in case, I'm looking to modify it this year so I can lock the steering.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby unjonharley » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:19 am

TwoHott wrote:

The only time I pushed/ towed it was when, occasionally, I got stuck in a nasty dune. Then its usually only a few feet. Just in case, I'm looking to modify it this year so I can lock the steering.


Good idea.. I will put a locking device on my steering.. Add a short rope for towing.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby TwoHott » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:05 am

Good thinking ahead.

IMHO, rope is so default. So I generally have several silk scarves on board. They can be used for many different purposes -- purposes that are more fun than towing a bike. :wink:
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby dinks » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:28 am

I rebuilt an identical trike for a buddy of mine for 2010. We extended the forks by 10" and made a cooler holder behind the seat. It worked great for him, even with the trike not having a "coast" feature or any brakes he loved riding that thing around (we were missing some parts). It was easy to spot and also made for a nice spot for the rest of us to chain our bikes to. It also made doing Ice runs really easy.

Turning radius is actually not all that bad, you can turn the wheel really far on a trike before you lift a rear tire.

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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby melodiousdirge » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:27 pm

dinks wrote:I rebuilt an identical trike for a buddy of mine for 2010. We extended the forks by 10" and made a cooler holder behind the seat. It worked great for him, even with the trike not having a "coast" feature or any brakes he loved riding that thing around (we were missing some parts). It was easy to spot and also made for a nice spot for the rest of us to chain our bikes to. It also made doing Ice runs really easy.

Turning radius is actually not all that bad, you can turn the wheel really far on a trike before you lift a rear tire.

Image


I love the extended forks - that is awesome - looks way more ergonomic to ride that way. If I had time I'd definitely be copying you on that one! I do plan on a basket, hopefully one that will either carry my small cooler, or have a hitch for my larger, wheeled cooler.

You have all talked me into bringing it. I think the cons are outweighed by the pros. I will just also rebuild my 20 year old specialized mountain bike and bring it along. I originally didn't want to bring it as I have a lot of history with it and I'd hate to lose it, but on an objective level it's sort of a POS and losing it might force me to get something slightly better ;)
More ideas than time.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby Bob » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:49 pm

Some day I will rig up a recumbent trike like the Munster's Dragula.

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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby Elorrum » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:56 pm

tinkermom, the set of hubs on the back of your trike fascinate me. Is there any sort of transmission there? Looking forward to having a closer look.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby Sic Pup » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:49 pm

TwoHott wrote:Good thinking ahead.

IMHO, rope is so default. So I generally have several silk scarves on board. They can be used for many different purposes -- purposes that are more fun than towing a bike. :wink:


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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby TinkerMom » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:00 pm

E! Yes it has a three speed planetary with tranny. I need a gear shift. My buddy
has one for me, an old huffy stick shift! Exciting!
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby trilobyte » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:54 pm

Dusthand, Schwinn makes a fairly reasonably priced single speed adult trike you may want to look at. When I was shopping around, I saw it listed at several places online for around $250, you may be able to get one at your local bike place or find one second-hand. Worksman can do their port-o-trike in single speed as well, though I thin it comes in around $400.

And woohoo for kids' bikes! As it turns out, the trike uses a fairly standard 20x1.75 or 20x2.0 inch wheel, and I was able to pick up some nice knobby tires and spare tubes at our local bike shop.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:19 pm

Adult trikes are on craigs list all the time.

Seniors get them then find they don't use them, so they show up a lot.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby melodiousdirge » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:52 pm

trilobyte wrote:Schwinn makes a fairly reasonably priced single speed adult trike you may want to look at. When I was shopping around, I saw it listed at several places online for around $250


http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Meridian-Tricycle/5679542
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby trilobyte » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:46 am

Yes, that's the model, though hopefully you can find it someplace other than Wal-Mart
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby unjonharley » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:48 am

FIGJAM wrote:Adult trikes are on craigs list all the time.

Seniors get them then find they don't use them, so they show up a lot.


The main reason for this is.. They buy a single speed trike from WalMart. The f'in things are heavy and hard to peddle..

Fig, Your lucky I'm not burning this year.. I'd have to smack your head and take your trike..

But then again I built a trike and added electric assist..

Just started picking up the parts for a stubbed up trike.. For stand up and ride electric or sit and peddle.. I want to put the peddles on the fork neck. The whole thing not being bigger than a large kids tricycle..
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby johannasom1 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:31 am

If it were me I'd put a small rear friction motor on it,so when you get tired you don't have to pedal.
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Electric trike help needed

Postby skulltronix » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:32 am

Hi
I need some advice on converting my REBIKE recumbent trike to electric. It has chain drive to one real wheel. The wheels are 20" rear, 16" front. The front fork has only 3.5" of inside clearance. One rear axle is free turning. The sprocket is on the other.
Anyone have suggestions? Please email me at info@skulltronix.com
Thanks!
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:52 am

Put a friction drive on the rear wheel that does'nt have the sprocket.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby skulltronix » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:24 pm

Thanks. Any idea of a supplier? I've worn my fingers thin looking via google.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:52 pm

Try electric bicycle forums.

I'm still trying to find a backup controler for mine.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby TwoHott » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:27 pm

Keep in mind that if your bike has a motor on it (and you can sit on it) then it is a full blown mutant vehicle/art car. All mutant vehicle DMV licensing rules then apply.

This is not as bad as you might think. If your goal is to zip right by everyone as fast as possible and make them eat dust -- then you are missing out on wonderful opportunities/interactions. We often cruise at barely above walking speed. Its nice to be able to slow and stop to interact with people. With more than two wheels you can go as slow as you want.
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Re: Playa Trike: second thoughts

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:30 pm

TwoHott wrote:Keep in mind that if your bike has a motor on it (and you can sit on it) then it is a full blown mutant vehicle/art car. All mutant vehicle DMV licensing rules then apply.

This is not as bad as you might think. If your goal is to zip right by everyone as fast as possible and make them eat dust -- then you are missing out on wonderful opportunities/interactions. We often cruise at barely above walking speed. Its nice to be able to slow and stop to interact with people. With more than two wheels you can go as slow as you want.


This is incorrect.

Before last years burn in the jrs, we were informed that 2 and 3 wheeled electrics were good to go as per state law!

Mine has a top speed of 10mph. :)
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