The 5 Best MADE-IN-USA Recumbent Trikes of 2018
Looking out at the bike trails and pathways, it's becoming more common to see recumbent trikes than ever before. That's because there is a growing legion of new riders that have finally discovered the unique benefits of riding recumbents. But with so many models, and brands to choose from, which models are the most popular for new riders?
We always strive to recommend the “right” platform for the rider and application. If you are serious about riding and don’t know where to begin, visit a dedicated Recumbent Dealer like The Electric Spokes Company, or Voltaire Cycles, and take advantage of the free test-rides and dealer knowledge. The following list is a good place to start to orient your thinking about trikes and their differences.
These 5 Trikes are MADE-IN-USA. They are trikes we most often recommend to customers for their first demo ride, and the ones we strongly advocate due to the ease of manufacturer support, parts replacement, and warranty service.
#5 – The TerraTrike Rover
In the recumbent community, WizWheel (parent company of TerraTrike) is both an industry pioneer and a universally respected brand worldwide. The founding owners Jack Wiswell and Wayne Oom are credited for much of what we today enjoy as recumbent trike riding communities. The company’s 2010 entry level model called the “Rover” hit a sweet-spot in for affordable, durable, and high-sitting recumbent trike. This opened the door for many older riders that previously struggled to get in and out of lower seated trikes.
The Rover is credited for introducing an entire generation of older riders to the world of trike riding. We’ve seen Rovers that have remained outdoors throughout the winter season on the Jersey Coast and still come back to life once they’ve gone through a full tune-up.The Rover’s hi-tensile steel frame and it’s tighter turning radius made it extremely practical for owners. Add the seemingly endless line of accessories available such as wider seat frames, custom accessory mounts, and 3 different drivetrain options, the TerraTrike Rover is the quintessential entry-level trike.
If you are looking for something affordable, reliable, and backed by TerraTrike’s Lifetime warranty, we strongly recommend the Rover.
#4 – The Catrike Dumont
The Dumont rolled out last year after considerable hype about the company’s first full-suspension (FS) model. Did the trike live up to expectation? Well, the jury is still out. That’s not to say that we don’t LOVE the Dumont. In every way, we are devoted fans of this incredibly well-designed and purposefully built trike that offers true FS ride features for a fraction of the cost that other high-performance FS trikes afford. When comparing a Dumont and a 5.5.9., most riders will feel the difference instantly – though for some riders, the suspension still isn’t noticeable enough to smooth out ALL bumps. Fortunately, this is a criticism that all FS trikes have received to some degree. When people hear “FS”, they are thinking – “it must feel like you are riding on air”. For some, that may be the experience. For others, it’s not so obvious.
All this is to say that we LOVE the Dumont and Catrike’s design of a FS but we recognize that it might not be as easy of a decision for everyone. The Dumont delivers exactly as promised – no hype and no over expectation. If you are looking for a FS trike with performance level components, on an award-winning frame under 5k, there is only one trike and one manufacturer – The Catrike Dumont.
#3 – The Trident Stowaway
The Trident Stowaway. Holy Cow(!) was this a hit last year. We received more inquiries and test rides for this model than any other entry level trike. The price point, ergonomics, and accessory options are appealing to new riders. But what most catches our attention is the Stowaway’s profile. It is less boxy and angular than a Rover, and matches what higher performance trikes offer in ergonomics, aesthetics, and to-a-degree, in performance. We also love the fact that Trident Trikes is a small salt-of-the-earth owner-operated company with plenty of devotion to customers and dealers.
This is a low-to-mid priced trike. It is a step above entry level, but priced competitively with the component selection. Let’s face it, nothing can compare to the feel of high-performance components like carbon wheels, X2 shifters, and hydraulic brakes, and for those out there who are transitioning from high-end road bikes, this platform isn’t going to feel as good as say any Catrike or TerraTrike’s Sportster models. But if you are looking for something that’s priced under 2k with excellent ergonomics and folding options, then this trike will be high on your list. The closest competitor is the TerraTrike Traveler – another excellent choice which you should compare and contrast. Finally, don’t be surprised if in the next few years, you find more riders on Stowaways than any other entry level trike. We believe the long-term trajectory of this platform is very strong.
#2 – The TerraTrike Gran Tourismo
The TerraTrike Gran Tourismo is an entirely new departure from TerraTrike’s traditional straightforward frame design. Right out of the box, you will see both frame and seat differences that depart substantially from company’s typical simple and somewhat boxy look of their first models. The Gran Tourismo (GT) is coming into the market just when other manufacturers are dialing in precision ergonomics, aesthetics, components sets, and 2 decades of consumer feedback. The one distinctive feature unlike any other recumbent trike is the 24” drive-wheel offering a sweet spot of power and gear options that are either lost or feel clumsy in either the standard 20” and 26” drive train options. The subtleties and the nuances of riding with a 24” rear wheel require an entire review unto itself. To summarize, we are huge fans. For this reason, you absolutely MUST test ride a GT and compare it’s benefits with any other trike on this list. On this note, the x20 option is much the preferred gear choice.
#1 – The Catrike 5.5.9.
Is anyone surprised? Still our favorite all-around full size trike with option to fold. What could be better? If you are looking for the best collection of components, performance features, stability, award-winning performance, and the ability to fold it and stick it into the backseat of your Mini Cooper, then the Catrike 5.5.9. has no peer in this price range.
The Florida-based company offers the 5.5.9. in 8 stunning colors and boasts that all colors are in stock with 3-day shipping to dealers throughout the U.S. This means that once you’ve convinced yourself that there is only one trike you’d want to ride for the rest of your days, you won’t have to wait 3-6 weeks for your ideal color to be prepared and shipped to the dealer. Instead, you can ride out of the shop, turn it (gently) on it’s side, un-hitch the center frame hinge, fold it, and then place it into the trunk of your car.
We also love the fact that after-market electric assist kits such as the Bionx, Bafang, E-Falco, The Copenhagen Wheel, Hilltoppers, and Electric Bike Technology kits can all be installed with minimum challenge to us dealers. The Catrike 5.5.9 is still in our minds, the best bang for pocketbooks looking for the best design and component set in the mid-to-high price range.
To come test-ride any of the above trikes or any others, please call our shop at (973) 500-3082 and schedule a demo ride. We love to compare and contrast subtle differences with new riders, and with everything, our best price guarantee will insure you won’t feel you could not have gotten the trike for less.