I got a lot of test-riding in last weekend, and the final brand of bikes that I had a chance to run around on were the recumbent trikes from Sun. Again, the folks at Latitude 45 Cycle & Sport in Petoskey, Michigan, were very helpful. I’ve never taken a ride on any sort of recumbent bike or trike before, but since I know that Little Ding may eventually ride one, I want to start getting familiar with them. Note to any recumbent riders reading this blog – any tips and/or suggestions about the different types of recumbent trikes out there, what to look for, especially for riders with challenges like Cerebral Palsy are appreciated.
Both of these recumbent trikes from Sun had steel frames, 21 speeds, and Shimano coaster shifters. Take a look at the bikes on the Sun website for all the details and specs. The blue trike has a slightly longer wheelbase, and felt very solid with those two wheels in back. However, the helpful bike guy at Latitude 45, named Patrick, told us that actually, if you whip that bike around corners at a good speed, you’ll get it up on one wheel, and that actually the red trike is the more stable of the two. The trade-off there, is that the red trike, with the steering right over the wheels, offers a much different steering experience – ‘twitchy’ steering is how he described it. It definitely rode differently around the turns than the blue trike.
The trikes come in one frame size, but they are highly adjustable and can be made to fit folks like me who are at least 6ft tall. The seats can be adjusted forward and backwards on the frame, and the seat itself is adjustable so that you can control the angle. Sun markets these bikes to ‘physically active baby boomers suffering with inevitable tennis elbow, back pain and knee problems who are looking for ways to maintain their health and fitness routines without exacting a toll on their aching bodies’. While I’m not sure that’s a great sales pitch, the recumbent angle does make for comfortable ride. They didn’t feel strange, though I thought they might. I do wonder about the coaster shifters on the Tadpole.. the red bike. Certain individuals with some limited mobility in their hands might have a problem with using them at that upright angle on that particular bike. I’d say the blue trike might be more useful for riders with special needs – and, it resembles the Versa Trike, which was designed with special needs riders in mind. I didn’t notice any method by which one could attach baskets or panniers or any sort of cargo-carrying device to these bikes, which would make these trikes even more useful. As for cost, the Tadpole will run you about $1250, while the blue recumbent is around $1150 so these trikes are a more serious purchase than say a beach cruiser. Overall, these trikes ride well, are easy to maneuver and easy to adjust so that they fit you just right. As always, my suggestion is to go test ride one for yourself.