Quite often we hear different opinions on how recumbents compare with trikes following different criteria.
Here below I want to share some thoughts on how each category is comparable with the others:
This is a summary table I came up with after having talked with several others people.
There are 13 different criterias to be able to assign a certain ‘weight’ to each type of bike.
In summary we could say the following:
Recumbents stand out for their speed on straight line, hill climbing, weight and ease of transportation.
Trikes do perform better in terms of ease of use, low speed stability, confort, braking and loading for tourism.
Tilting Trikes are superior on high speed stability, overall safety, fast turning, braking and ‘fun’ (quite subjective…)!
It’s quite interesting also to note that there is no criteria where TT seem to be ‘worse’ than the other 2 categories.
At the bottom we can also see “total figures” to be able to give some quantitative indications on how each category perform.
Of course this is based on personal opinions and experiences but I would be happy to hear also from you what do you think!
This Post Has 10 Comments
Another tilting trike I just came across (by the same maker: Steintrike), apparently not produced any more (because of balance issues ? not sure). But an interesting full suspended tilting design with back wheel drive !
Not sure that “high speed stability of regular trikes depends very much on design”
In fact regular trike must be low and with wheels very far apart to keep the centre of gravity very low but even in this case they DO tip over. There are plenty of videos and I also had bad experiences almost flipping over several times! Huge advantage of the tilting trike is that tilting wheels always work perpendicularly to the axles
Here is an exemple of high speed stability with a regular trike:
It’s a ‘racing trike’, very low for sure. The cyclist is just using the motor to be able to lean inside every turn…
The wheels are undergoing a LOT of lateral stress and will not last very long.
Even the tires are squeezed hard at every turn, not so good for their duration…
I don’t think the Wild One is considered a racing trike. It seems to me it’s quite the opposite: a fully suspended rugged all road trike.
The seating height here is the standard for that trike: 22cm.
You are right about lateral stress and tire wear, this video is about extreme driving conditions…but shows the stability that is achievable with a good design.
(Sorry for the mess: I wanted to post one message only, but it wouldn’t appear…too long ? Anyway, these ideas are not mine, but from a debate I followed on velomobilforum(.de), about this exact topic)
– in the same way, if the centre of gravity is badly placed, allowing the trike to tilt will not avoid the flipping over from happening, but make it happen at a different speed
– high speed stability of regular trikes depends very much on design: when the centre of gravity is correctly placed, there is no risk of flipping over any more (ex: Wild One from Steintrike); in that case, the advantage of the tilting trike would be less wear on the tires, as a regular trike will tend to drift at high cornering speed
– hill climbing abilities also depend on slope inclination: with one driven front wheel, a tilting trike will be more likely to loose grip on steep slopes, as the centre of gravity shifts backwards
This is true, Forward Wheel Drive (FWD) may loose traction more easily if the road is very steep and slippery (more than 12%)