NDIS and You

NDIS Registered Provider

If you are eligible for NDIS funding, you’ll need to get your plan in, in advance and have items like your pending Recumbent Trike included.

Don’t leave it for a reconsideration meeting or the next funding term.

START NOW! Get Going!

Registered NDIS Service Provider

We provide services for the provision of equipment through a number of services such as NDIS with Queensland Recumbent Organisation ID: 4050027885.

Seat Belt for Recumbent Trikes

Seat Belt for Recumbent Trikes

A seat belt for a recumbent trike is great for riders who need just a little more support and security.

Recumbent trikes are inherently stable and, for many riders, there’s no need to wear a seat belt. However, for some special needs riders, a seat belt harnesses can definitely be a terrific asset!

Seat belt for recumbent trikes

Seat belt for recumbent trikes

4 or 5 Point Harness

This seat belt we recently fitted has a 4-point harness system (i.e., the harness comes over both shoulders and around both sides of the rider).

Seat belt for recumbent trikes

5-point harnesses are also available. A 5-point harness has an extra strap that runs between the rider’s legs and underneath the seat.

The 5 point harness system is great for special needs riders who tend to slide down the seat.

(We know the seats are comfy and fun to slide down, but when riding it’s better to stay firmly on the seat for safety reasons!).

Seat belt for recumbent trikes are easy to adjust

Seat Belt Harnesses Fitted for Comfort

Harnesses can be easily adjusted to make the rider feel secure and comfortable.

One thing you could think about adding would be some sheepskin seat belt buddies to make the harness a touch more comfortable.

Seat belt for recumbent trikes

Racing Harness Adds to the ‘Coolness Factor’

You have to admit, that a seat belt adds to the ‘coolness-factor’ of the trike … especially when it’s called a 4 (or 5) point racing harness! Who wouldn’t want to wear one?! After all, there’s no way an upright tricycle or bicycle comes with a racing harness!

Want to know more? Give us a call today. We’re happy to talk with you about how a recumbent will best suit your needs.

By the way, check out some of the other modifications that can be made to recumbent trikes to accommodate different riders’ needs.

We can be found on Facebook as well. Talk to you soon!

High Visibility Flags for Recumbent Trikes

High visibility flags for trikes

High Visibility Flags … Which Colour’s Best?

Have you ever wondered which colour is best for high visibility flags for recumbent trikes? Which colour shows up best to other road users?

We have. In fact, we’ve spent so much time observing flags trailing out behind trikes ridden up and down our street that our neighbours must think we’ve gone nuts!

After following our kids around on many cycling journeys so we could observe different flags, this is the conclusion we’ve reached:

Orange flags are highly visible when the light is bright.
Green flags show up better when the light is dimmer.

Having said that, we must point out that we live in a subtropical region where the vegetation is primarily green all year round. It seems that in such an environment, the green flags seem to blend more into the background of trees while the orange stand out clearer.

Yes, I know there aren’t many trees on the road but our roads are lined with trees and bush … just in case you’re wondering.

Now if we were riding in snow, or on a sandy beach, green would show up perfectly!

So the question should probably be which colour high visibility flag works best for you based on the environment in which you live?

You could do what we do and stand out outside watching flags being ridden up and down your street until your neighbours think you’ve gone crazy. Or you could load your trike with flags of all colours under the sun. Or just choose your favourite high visibility colour.

Colours Which Don’t Work for High Visibility Flags

There are colours that don’t work well for high visibility flags. The colours of dark blue and dark red are less visible to the human eye so it’s good to avoid them.

Research has found that the human eye is most sensitive to light at a wavelength of 555 nanometers which is a bright green. Curious to know more? Check out this post or this video.

High Visibility Flags And Movement

While the colour of your high visibility is important, there’s one more element that is vital: movement! Movement catches the human eye very quickly so make sure your high visibility flag moves freely in the breeze.

In fact, it’s the movement, more than the colour, which catches the eye of a driver.

Ribbons add movement to high visibility flags

We’d love to hear about your favourite high visibility flag. Feel free to comment or leave a post on our Facebook Page.

Have a great and safe day cycling while flying the colours of your high visibility flag!

Want to know how visible trikes are from the driver’s seat of a car? Check out this post.

Can I Carry Luggage On My Recumbent Trike?

Carry luggage easily and conveniently on a recumbent trike.

Different Ways to Carry Luggage on a Recumbent Trike

If you want to carry luggage, your trike is the perfect vehicle. After all, most of the time, you’ll want to be carrying things with you (e.g., picnic, library books, groceries, etc.).

There are some terrific accessories you can add to your recumbent trike which are extremely convenient if you want to carry luggage.

First off, start with a luggage rack which can be mounted behind the seat as there’s plenty of room.

Carry Luggage With A Greenspeed Luggage Rack

Carry luggage with a Greenspeed luggage rack

The Greenspeed luggage rack is one of the most popular accessories.

The racks are made from tubular high tensile aluminium alloy which makes them feather light. The materials and design have been tested to their fully load capacity for 100,000 cycles on a vibration machine.

The luggage rack for the Magum Standard & Magnum XL is created from 12mm tubing and is rated at 40 kg (88lbs).

The luggage rack for the GT20 is 10mm tubing and rated at 30 kg (66 lbs).

Using the luggage racks, there are a couple of different methods we’ve used to carry luggage, or groceries, that have worked very well.

Carry Luggage In Panniers

Carry luggage with Arkel Panniers

Panniers are saddle bags which hang on both sides of the luggage rack. We’ve used Arkel 60 litre panniers which are high quality panniers. Carrying groceries home in these is a piece of cake … especially if you’ve purchased cake from the store!

Arkel Panniers clip onto the luggage rack

The bags clip onto the luggage rack and clamp tight.

Carry luggage with Arkel Panniers which clip onto the luggage rack

They’re easy to take on and off the luggage rack. In fact, you can take them right on into the store and load them up directly. Talk about being environmentally friendly! No plastic shopping bags as well as no car emissions on the way to the store. Can’t get much more green than that … especially if you’re on a Greenspeed recumbent! (Sorry … couldn’t resist that pun!).

Arkel Panniers clip onto the luggage rack

The Arkel panniers come with reflective strips built in. The camera flash catches the reflective tape giving you a bit of an idea of their reflective capabilities.

Arkel Panniers Have Reflective Strips

Arkel Panniers clip onto the luggage rack
Are the above panniers on the wrong way? …technically they are, the pointy bit is supposed to tuck under the seat but the rack is long enough there is space between the seat still and the bed roll part sticks up in the air like a sore (non-aerodynamic) thumb as below.

Panniers sore thumb

There is plenty of room to add a sausage or two.
A sausage or os
A sausage or two
trecking
And a “behind the seat” water bladder or hydration pack.

You’ll find plenty of combinations and after a bit of practice, you’ll be able to last many days on the road in quite reasonable comfort.

A couple with two trikes can carry an awful lot of gear. Perhaps one trike could sport a B/B motor with a solar panel on the top and she can tow he up the hills… well, no, we can’t say that as one bike is not permitted to tow another.

Perhaps he should have the motor so he doesn’t get left too far behind!

Other Options to Carry Luggage

Another method we’ve tried and tested is the use of top boxes (the same as used on motor bikes/mopeds).

Carry luggage using top boxes with the luggage rack

Our top boxes have transported all sorts of things such as basket balls, remote control cars (needed when going to play in the park), picnics, first aid supplies, extra drinks, groceries, books (from library visits), swimmers & towels, sunscreen, bike chains & locks, etc. You get the idea … very versatile.

Using top boxes to carry luggage

These plenty of room between the top box and the back of the seat for an extra bag to be hung off the back of the seat.

As the top boxes are weather proof and lockable, they’re great for carrying things you want to keep safe and dry. They generally have a large and very prominent reflector which adds to visibility.

Don’t Forget the Water

Water bottle holder

There’s even a place for the essential water bottle. By adding a bottle holder, the water container can be easily reached whenever it’s needed. In our case, that could be for drinking or for squirting your brother! (We ride with kids … in case you’re wondering). You can also add a water bladder or two behind the seat with each one carrying about 3 litres of water. A tube can hang over the top of the seat and you can suck a drink as required.

Well, that’s how we carry luggage. If you have any other ideas, we’d love to hear from you! Leave a post on our Facebook Page or contact us direct.

Recumbent Trikes + Disability

Greenspeed Hand Magnum

Down the page to:

Recumbent Trikes Provide Excellent Support for People with a Disability

Disability, or limited ability, should not prevent people from experiencing the joy of riding. In fact, the original reason we began exploring the world of recumbent trikes was due to Eric’s disability. Back and neck problems made it impossible for him to ride a two-wheeled bicycle.

Since getting into recumbent trikes, we’ve meet countless people and families with needs like ours – namely, to be able to:

  • safely get out and ride
  • experience the freedom cycling offers
  • enjoy exercising,
  • explore the great outdoors in comfort!

It has been our privilege meeting and helping these wonderful people to discover the world of recumbent cycling. For many, riding a two-wheeled bike wasn’t an option but they have thrived on being able to ride a recumbent trike.

Riding with a Disability/Limited Ability

Each of these people have come to us with their own story.

For example, some people have balance problems, weakness in a limb, autism, recovering from a stroke or knee replacements, visual impairment, etc.

Some have been young (7 yrs old) and others have been a little more experienced in life (90 yrs old).

Almost regardless of their abilities, each of these people had something in common. They all wanted the freedom to exercise or enjoy the pleasures of being outside.

Greenspeed Hand Magnum
Greenspeed Hand Magnum

Adjusting Recumbent Trikes To Suit Rider’s Needs

Sometimes, our journey with riders of different abilities has meant a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box.

Recumbent trikes have been adjusted to meet riders’ needs with new supports (eg., calf supporting pedals), the addition of a small step, a different configuration of gears, 2 into 1 brake levers, rear wheel parking brake, addition of rider-assist-motors, extra supporting straps, creation of tag-along-recumbent for a visual impaired rider, etc.

2 into 1 Brake Lever
2 into 1 Brake Lever [click to enlarge]
Assistive Step
Assistive Step [click to enlarge]
Special Pedals and Straps
Leg or Calf Support Pedal [click to enlarge]
Converted Greenspeed Anura
Converted Greenspeed Anura for sight impaired rider [click to enlarge]
Rear Drum Brake
Rear Drum Brake to assist Entry/Exit (and parking)

Special foot straps
Special foot straps

Special foot straps

For people with back issues, we can add a little shock cord to the seat and vary the tension to different parts of the seat, allowing firmer or softer areas in the support structure.

From Wayne

My name is Wayne, a retired Civil Engineer from Brisbane. I have mobility issues insofar as I have limited use of my limbs on my right hand side. This is due to a Neurological condition that has existed for almost 20 years and has been slowly progressing. For comfort, I chose a Greenspeed Magnum XL with adaptations to the gear levers and brakes to meet my mobility requirements [pinion gearing and different brake system with internal geared hub and drum parking brake] along with a special assembly [Calf support pedal], which was fitted to the right crank to hold by foot securely in place – otherwise preventing it from slipping off a standard pedal.

It has been great dealing with Queensland Recumbent and Eric made a real effort to gain full understanding of my mobility issues. He worked hard to reduce the constraints that relate to the right hand side mobility issues by proposing and implementing the sound technical solutions as described above. Eric has since made the suggestion that a Pinion gearbox system to replace the gearing system already in place to make my Trike even more accessible.

I have no hesitation recommending Queensland Recumbent to any person of any age with or without mobility issues. Being able to visit the place of business in Tewantin (Noosa) and trial the Trikes is a definite advantage – it is only 2 hours travel north on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane. Furthermore, being able to talk to Eric face to face is a significant advantage.

Massive thanks goes to Eric and Susan.


Single Hand Operation Gear Change and Brake
1. Twelve speed forward Pinion Gearbox 2. Dual front Drum Brakes 3. Five speed IGH (rear gearbox) 4. Rear Drum Brake (park/emergency brake)

One handed Operation
One handed Operation

Leg or Calf Support

Versatile Magnum SD
Versatile Magnum SD

While you can do similar things on different trikes, for most situations where modifications need to be applied to allow better management/access to a trike, the Magnum SD is an excellent place to start. There are three main variations of the Magnum:

Versatile Magnum SD
Step into the Frame
  • Place brakes to park position.
  • Walk into one side of the pedals. Lift one leg to the other side then back to the chair and sit.
  • You can fit two Grab Handles to the trike to support your weight when getting seated.
Versatile Magnum SD
Step into the Frame
Versatile Magnum SD
Sit using full body weight support
Versatile Magnum SD
Lift foot onto platform…
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Lift foot onto platform …and clamp

Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Strap in leg/calf

Should the situation require, the strap can be put on the leg then pant legs pulled down over the top of the strap.

Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Leg is held in position

From here you are ready to roll. The ankle area is held in a square on position. Use your upper leg and knee to control the pedal in conjunction with the other leg.

Hand Control

On this particular trike, the rider is unable to control the trike from the right hand. All controls have been placed so, whilst in motion, the rider can control the trike by the left hand only.

Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Single Sided Operation – releasing parking brake
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Applying brake whilst riding
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Changing 5 gear hub at rear
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Changing 12 speed gearbox at pedals

The Recumbent Smile

At the end of the day, we’ve witnessed something outstandingly beautiful.

Over and over again, we’ve seen the ‘this-is-absolutely-fantastic-smile’ that spreads across their faces when they’ve first tried a recumbent trike suited to their individual needs. Truly, it’s a contagious smile that affects everyone around them!

We look forward to witnessing the ‘recumbent smile’ many more times to come.

Thank You To Riders of All Abilities

One more thing … we’d like to thank all of these people, and their carers, who are so inspirational!

Rather than sit down and let life pass them on by, they’ve all decided to make the most of what they have! No wonder we get such a ‘kick’ out of fitting/adapting a recumbent trike for new riders!

Now It’s Your Turn

If you, a family member or friend, is unable to ride a bicycle due to a disability or limited ability, then it’s time to try a recumbent trike!

We’re happy to talk with you to find how a recumbent trike can suit your needs.

Feel free to contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, apart from the standard recumbent trikes, Greenspeed makes a hand-propelled trike which is extremely manoeuvrable and easy to use. The Hand Magnum is easier to manage and out performs most hand-powered trikes on the market.

But… it doesn’t end there! Use your imagination and ask questions. Maybe something hasn’t been done before but the imagination is a very powerful thing. Even if you can’t think of the how, at least mention to someone what you would like to be able to do and get a couple of imaginations working together.

Recumbent Trike Visibility

Recumbent Trike Visibility - Can You Clearly Be Seen on a Trike?

Are Recumbent Trikes Visible to Drivers? – That is the Question!

One of the questions we’re often asked by newbies to trikes is … “Can drivers clearly see riders on trikes?” The thinking is that recumbent trike visibility must be poor because trikes are lower than bikes. Surely, it’s harder to see a recumbent trike rider than a 2-wheeled bike rider? Does this mean that trike visibility is more like trike invisibility?

Rest assured, we have the answers to these questions and the news is all good and SAFE!

There’s an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words so let’s bring on the photos …

How Visible Are Trike Riders From the Inside of a Vehicle?

To answer this question, check out these photos. Even from inside a vehicle like a 4WD, trikes can be clearly seen by drivers.

Here is a rider less than one car length from a 4WD.
visibility_O

From the drivers seat:
visibility_I

While this trike only has one flag displayed, we believe two flags are better than one!

During all the years we’ve been riding around, we’ve had no problems being seen. In fact, we’ve turned many heads and have been highly visible. There are a few reasons for this.

The Width of Trikes Positively Effects Recumbent Trike Visibility

If you look at a trike along side a bike, you’ll immediately see that there appears to be more to a trike. The appearance of more width and substance, in a trike, attracts the attention of other road users. While a standard bicycle handle bars are not that much thinner in profile to a recumbent, the all-togetherness of the recumbent profile makes it look more solid. Additionally, a bicycle riding near the edge of the road is in constant danger of coming adrift on the likes of gravel whereas a recumbent is many times more stable and don’t just fall over.

Trike width is a factor in recumbent trike visibility.

Recumbent Trikes Sport Visibility Flags

Recumbent Trike Visibility is enhanced by flags

There’s plenty of room to mount high-visibility flags on a recumbent trike which is a safety feature bikes don’t utilise. The flags flap when the trike is in motion or whenever the breeze hits them. It’s this movement of bright colour that captures the attention of other road users and alerts them to your presence.

Recumbent Trike Visibility is enhanced by flags

We prefer to mount two flags on each of the trikes we ride. Our thoughts are the more movement, the more attention will be drawn to our position. As we ride with children, there’s no way we’ll take any risks so double flags works well for us!

Flags increase recumbent trike visibility!

Trikes Attract Attention Because They’re Unusual

Okay, you may think this is a bizarre statement but it’s true. Trikes aren’t as common as bicycles. When there’s something unusual on the road, motorists give it their full attention which is great news for trike riders! After all, it’s hard to hit something that you’re staring at and trying to work out what on earth it is!

When you start riding a trike around, you definitely attract the attention of anyone you pass or who passes you … including vehicle drivers. As a result, we’ve found that other drivers give trike riders more ‘wiggle’ room than bikes. This is something that suits us just fine!

By the way, if you really want to attract attention, try riding past a school yard during recess when all the kids are in the playground!

Back to the topic of visibility …

The unusual appearance of trikes promotes recumbent trike visibility!

So if you’ve been questioning whether trikes are visible and safe to ride on roads, we hope you now feel more confident and reassured. You will be seen when riding on your trike! Of course, as with any activity, it always pay to be alert and keep an eye on what’s happening around you for your own safety.

Just One More Thing … Mirrors Are a Must!!!

No matter how visible you are on the road, always be alert to what is going on around you. This is why we love our mirrors which get used ALL the time!!! Mirrors allow you to check on any traffic coming up behind.

Mirrors allow riders to see what's happening behind them

There have been a few times when I’ve been out testing a new trike without mirrors and have gone to check the mirrors that weren’t there. It’s only then that I realise how much I rely on mirrors.

Mirrors allow riders to see what's happening behind them

We prefer to ride with two mirrors – one on the left and one on the right. The more visibility, the more forewarning you have on traffic coming up from behind.

Mirrors are like having eyes in the back of your head so that you can see what’s coming up from behind as well as what’s going on in front. Mirrors = extra vision. Seriously, why would you go without them?

Also, the mirrors let me check on the kids to make sure they’re peddling and haven’t turned on their pedal-assist! Many have been the time when I’ve been peddling uphill and they’re sitting there with their feet up – literally! :o)

Have fun riding today – Get out there ! ! !

We’ve had a reader add that two flags are better for keeping swooping Magpies at bay, certainly an issue where we live. Additionally, you can buy LED lights to go on or are built into a flag post giving excellent visibility at night. Thank you, Steeve.

One thing to remember when you add lights, be careful when thinking of adding “blue” coloured lights as I believe it is illegal on public roads in Australia.

Bicycle riding and mobile phones (Qld)

To keep yourself and other road users safe your full attention is needed when riding. Using a mobile phone held in your hand when riding a bicycle is illegal—even if you’re stopped in traffic. This means you can’t:

  • hold the phone next to or near your ear with your hand
  • write, send or read a text message
  • turn your phone on or off
  • operate any other function on your phone.

We were not aware of this until we found this info – check in your area.

Rear Wheel Size Does it matter

recumbent rear wheel size

Rear Wheel Size – 20″ or 26″ – Does it matter?

Yes, it does matter and should be a consideration in what you take home. The first issue I see is that ground clearance for your chain from sand and mud decreases as the wheel size decreases. If you went to the other extreme from a large diameter wheel and perhaps to a 16″ wheel, you would find it difficult not to be cutting the grass or pulling up weeds, if you are off a defined sealed path.

Different design trikes will also allow the chain to approach the rear derailleur at different angles:

Smaller wheels limit the gearing capabilities, not just in the smaller gear to wheel diameter, but also in the travel/swing of the derailleur from minimum to maximum. Having a large diameter front and rear chain ring or sprocket to make up for a smaller diameter wheels is fine to the point where if you are not careful of your gear selection, you may not have enough chain to change to all gears. The rear wheel size of the trike can has an effect on the look of the trike and on the way the trike handles and the speed in different situations.

The smaller 20” (or 406mm) wheels are great for people who need low gears. People who are touring with heavy loads, live in very hilly areas and rely more on leg than motor power can benefit from the low gears which can easily be achieved with a 20” drive wheel.

Larger 26” (or 559mm) drive wheels give good high gears easily and have a good range of tyres available from off road to racing specs. Larger wheels can hold speed a little better on rough surfaces so lighter weight riders covering flatter areas can benefit from 26” rear wheel options. There are other good options that will make allowances for larger wheel diameters to achieve effective low gearing such as the Schlumph Mountain Drive.

A 700c rear wheel is the standard racing bike wheel size which means the widest range of fast tyres are available. It’s large size also allows easy access to high gears for fast riding. The 700 is roughly a 28” wheel in the inch based measuring system.

Fats… Off road and travelling on the extra wide 26” wheels with 4” tyres allow you to run very low pressures for traction on soft and loose surfaces such as snow, mud and sand. The larger the wheel, the more tyre is spread along the surface. Smaller, narrower and harder wheels will dig into softer surfaces.

Front Wheels

The general front wheel size for recumbent trikes is 20″ (or 406mm). In general terms, as there are a lot of determining factors, the smaller wheel size allows for a stronger wheel. On a bicycle as you go into a corner the bike is leant into the corner keeping the weight of the rider above the wheel geometry. The weight bearing strength alters little but in the case of a recumbent trike, the wheels remain in their upright position where in cornering the trike and riders weight is pushed against the side of the wheel.

The front wheels are subject t much higher forces than the rear wheel. A larger wheel with the same width will provide less strength. Most recumbents have very particular design qualifications that are based on particular wheel size and it is not recommended to try putting a larger wheel than as manufactured.

Suspension Yeah or Neigh

Suspension Yeah or Neigh

Suspension: Yeah or Neigh?

Chocolate is the easy answer. The more chocolate you eat and padding you add between you and the seat, the less you will need suspension, though to the other extreme, the more your trike frame will appreciate suspension.

For some, including me, suspension can mean the difference between riding and not. For those with back and or neck problems where vibrations can cause discomfort or real pain. Rear suspension is a great start to a resolution while full suspension (front and rear) is pretty good.

Some people don’t understand the need for complexity on what is essentially a “push-bike” and complexity always has costs of some sort. There are a large number of recumbent trikes around and you can easily select a model that fits your needs or beliefs. Suspension is not compulsory for most but it is helpful to a good few.

As with recumbents that are not mass produced, the price of additions also tends to be higher than what you can get on cycle from Big W. The question is – does the result justify the inclusion. For me, no suspension means no riding, no riding means no exercise, no exercise leads to things like social exclusion, physical deterioration and all that can lead to like diabetes, stroke and alike. Some times it is more important to find a way to get a situation workable for you, so when it comes to this area the only person you need to listen to is you.

Try the difference:

  • Look at the price tag
  • Sit on the seat
  • Go for a ride
  • Lift it off the ground if you need to put it in the car regularly
  • See how easily it folds and what work is involved with that action
  • Deos the rear wheel fold flat without having to remove it
  • Can you have quick release (QR) wheels if you need to get it into a smaller space
  • Does the braking system (Disk/Drum) prevent QR
  • What seat sizes are available and do they adjust suitably

Suspension Yeah or Neigh!

Who has the answer: You do.

Electric Assist

electric assist mid or hub motor

It is not uncommon for people to want to include Electric Assist (a motor) when considering a bike or recumbent trike.
Mid Drive or (Direct Drive) Hub Motor: is one right and the other wrong? I don’t think so.

Electric Assist Considerations

For the un-initiated in the pedal power world, both bikes and trikes can consume finances and at times feels like it’s leaning a little towards the concept of a boat (a whole in the water you throw money into). Well, maybe not so bad but it can certainly be a bit more than you’d perhaps expect after shopping at BigW for a pushbike for the child’s birthday ($100 – $150).

When you start talking push bike parts, even for the two wheel cousin, you can start to spend many thousands of dollars. You could look at the end of the spending process without being able to see much if anything for your efforts. Part of the reason is the design of parts for such items as Internal Geared Hubs (IGH) is to make them small and light. In an effort not to add more rider effort than need be, on a constant basis, to push along the road or up a hill, the weight of the parts.

Generally when parts are designed, they take into account that a push bike will be ridden by a very fit person perhaps producing 250 watts of energy to motivate the bike into motion. So far there has not been much thought that a 250kg robot who can produce 1,500 watts of energy would be doing the riding.

I know I’m at the bottom end of the muscle power application ladder and I’d only likely apply that very fit person’s 250 watts to the pedals for a minuscule amount of time. Any other great bursts of speed would be in fright of being run over by a truck or perhaps a good downhill run.

My physical condition likes to have the backup of being able to get home, should I after a bit of a ride, have done a little too much. Electric assist for me is therefore pretty important. We have seen quite a number of trikes go out to others that have had a similar situation and I see no problem with the desire to add a couple of hundred watts that can be applied by other than the rider should the need arise.

Some other people just like the thrill of being able to keep up with the more athletic without the need to be burning so much winter store (fat). In any case, electric assist motors are popular but when you go make your purchase, please have already considered what your needs will be. Without thinking about do you fit on the trike, or does it fit under you, does it serve a long term purpose or similar thoughts: you can consider things like power requirements before you even look at a recumbent trike.

During the years I have seen a number of different hub and Bottom Bracket [B/B – where the pedals connect] mounted motors on recumbent trikes. My own trike has a hub motor with lots of battery storage. We have also had in the family garage, the forward mounted (mid drive or B/B) motors.

On a standard shape push bike (bicycle), the pedals are about mid way along the bike and with the introduction of this type of motor they were called mid drive to match the position of the pedal bracket (bottom bracket).
electric-assist-pushy

For a tadpole recumbent trike, the pedals overhang the front of the trike, generally a little in front of the front wheels. The same motor is used here and it replaces the pedal crank system mounted in the Bottom Bracket.

electric assist recumbent trike
electric assist recumbent trike

While it is good to have a mid mount motor to take advantage of the gearing system, sometimes an over-kill on the size of the motor can overload the drive chain system. Remembering that the average Joe, isn’t going to create a lot of power, if you put yourself on the trike and then add a 1,000 watts, you are no longer an average Joe (or Joanne). Suddenly you’re a SUPER JOE (or SUPER JOANNE) and you can almost climb Mt Kilimanjaro in a single battery charge.

Instead of having just Joe peddling you have half a dozen Joes peddling all at once. The chain and sprockets that were designed for Joe, were not designed for Super Joe and can very quickly deteriorate (fail). Add a 20 hundred weight trailer to your pedal machine and instead of the trike (or bike) being able to spring into action, it is almost chained to the spot and all that power is applied to the system more assertively and for longer.

We have met a chap recently who has added to this topic by telling us of his long and intense efforts to try and over come some of these problems, chain and sprocket wear and it is still a work in progress. Past customers who have later added reasonably high powered mid mount assist motors have reported similar and additional problems. These relate to the drive system and to the weight balance of having those few extra kilos hanging out over the front. I spend quite a bit of effort to get rid of the kilos hanging over the front (belly) so I can well sympathise with the recumbent in the same situation.

For the recumbent it can also affect the steering and wheel alignment. Part of delivery of a recumbent trike is to set “toe-in” on the front wheels to improve steering and tire wear. If you add extra kilos with additional leverage force out front, be sure to check your wheel alignment to get the best wear from your tires. Add plenty of watts up front and expect a much more limited life from your tires.

Worth Considering

My own trike has what is called a hub motor and it has given several years of excellent service. The hub motor is called this as the actual hub of the wheel has the motor built into it. On mine it is the single rear wheel, it could be the two front wheels or even all three or it could be just the front wheel on a delta trike. I think for me the hub is appropriate but where do I think a Mid Mount Motor would be more appropriate? In a situation where a motor needs to be more “high and dry” a mid mount or Bottom Bracket motor would be very appropriate:

Electric Assist Fattie
Electric Assist Fattie motor high and dry

The hub motor does not have an internal geared system so it limits the ability to have an economically priced large gear range. Hub drive can not take advantage of the gearing system to create extra torque to climb the rocky crags. It does however have no affect on the rest of the drive system as far as wear and tear goes. The hub motor takes a load off the pedal system and while making it easier for me also makes it easier for the chain and sprockets. I can’t tow a 20 hundred weight (really heavy) trailer up a hill but I am more than happy that it can get me up a long steep hill and home.

I would suggest that the Australian legal power restrictions for a bike/trike are a good place to start. There are situations where a mid mount motor is good. There are situations where a hub drive will serve you and your trike better. If you add a motor to a trike with a Continuously Variable-speed Transmission, remember there are manufacturer limitations on gear ratios and power (watt) application [i.e.: you may void your warranty].

If you have an urge to spend more money on gears and you have fitted a hub motor and need more, you can add a Pinion 9, 12 or 18 speed gearbox up front. If you have fitted a Mid Drive motor and need more gears you can consider a Rohloff Internal Geared hub. In either case, don’t be surprised if you add another $2,000 or more to the cost of the bike/trike. For me and my hub motor, I fitted a Speed Drive [$600 approx] to the pedals so I click with my heels to change gear ranges and then a standard gear shift for the rear cassette.

electric assist speed drive
Electric Assist and Speed Drive – kick one side for high, the other for low gear range

Fore-something is good …whats the word – oh yes, fore-thought, it could save you a lot of fiddling and money. One returning customer whom fitted a high power B/B motor, tried a 250 watt motor and said he wished he’d have stayed at the 250 watt level which provided all the power he’d need and would have saved a lot of hard work. Have a think then get out there and have fun.

One less car One comfy seat

Queensland Recumbent - One less car

Another happy QR (Queensland Recumbent) rider! Lisa has been riding every day since their trike was collected and have just written to say …

“All up (we’re) very happy with the trike.”

Love the flag! That’s a brilliant way of making an already highly visible trike more eye-catching! Fantastic safety feature!

Thank you Carl and Lisa for your feedback.
Regards
Eric and Susan

Susan has also joined the ranks of XL riders. At about 60kg (…am I allowed to say that) Susan is well within the weight limitations of the 200+ capability of the Magnum XL. What has drawn Susan to the XL was the seating comfort of this Magnum. The seat is a little wider and higher at the back, so a rider of Susan’s stature is cradled quite comfortably by the well shaped, cool, elastic strung, mesh seat. Susan finds the front of the seat rolling down really adds to the comfort.

This added comfort and a sturdy feeling ride, makes rough ground or sleeper foot bridges, much more tolerable for a dainty lady. The XL is certainly worth a look.

Magnum XL Seating Comfort
Magnum XL Seating Comfort
Queensland Recumbent - Magnum XL by Greenspeed
Queensland Recumbent – Yellow Magnum XL by Greenspeed

The Magnum XL still has the four height adjustment, as shown on the Blue Magnum SD (seat further up). You ca go from quite low and reclined to quite high and upright with this seat. Many tikes have no height or recline adjustment but the Magnum XL/SD and the GT20 allow a terrific range of adjustment. My own trike (Eric’s) has many positional adjustments, on the seat or off the seat :o( [not, mine’s not a Magnum but Mr Greenspeed is working on that with more new models coming soon].

Magnum XL Seating Lay-Back
Magnum XL Seating Lay-Back
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