Saturday, September 03, 2016

Sunseeker eco tad sx vs 2011 catrike road

I bought a great Sunseeker ecotad sx (read my review here) from Utah trikes a few months ago then lucked into a well priced older model Catrike Road.

I've had a chance to take them on moderate length rides (around 8 miles) and my husband has taken them on longer rides (around 17 miles).  For the curious, here's what I've found.

2011 Catrike Road

pros

  • much lighter - I can load and lift without problem
  • I'm about 1 mph faster on the catrike
  • sleeker looking
  • more stable at high speeds
  • almost no pedal or brake steer
  • gear range is great

cons

  • because of the width and shape of the seat, I have to fold down both the back and middle seats in my 2007 sienna to fit it
  • low to the ground.  Getting in and out takes some getting used to
  • I feel cars don't see it as well
  • Not easy to adjust for different riders.  Changing the size requires adjusting the boom length and either installing a chain tensioner or changing the length of the chain
  • fingers keep hitting tires when grabbing for brakes
  • have to use a piece of velcro to lock the trike's brakes.  I'm installing locking brake grips soon.
  • Ride is bumpier

Sunseeker eco tad sx

pros

  • Seat is easily adjustable for different riders
  • higher seat is easy to get in and out of and is more visible.
  • granny gear is low enough
  • fits in a sienna with back seats down and middle seats up.
  • handle bars are wider than tires, so if my hands can fit, the whole trike can fit.
  • locking handlebars
  • ride is much smoother 
  • The seat looks like a wheel chair from behind (this is actually good, drivers give the sunseeker a much wider berth than the catrike).

cons

  • High gear tops out at about 15 mph
  • heavy to lift up.  I can do it, but it takes some work
  • twitchy at high speeds
  • When I hit a big bump, I tend to bounce "lower" in the seat and end up slouching.
My husband describes the catrike as like a mountain bike (he's a big road biker) and the sunseeker as a "putt-putt" beach cruiser bike.  On the catrike, my cruising speed seems to be 10-11, but I can hit 12 fairly easily.  On the Sunseeker my speed tends to be 9-10.

I'm very happy with my Catrike (even though it doesn't look like it from the list).  It is my main trike now.  It had some quirks, like my fingers hitting the tires when grabbing the brakes that I've had to get used to, but I love the added speed and handling.  The reclined seat is actually very comfortable.

But I'm keeping the Eco Tad for as long as I can.  This is a great trike, especially to have someone ride along with you.  The seat is easily adjusted for whoever wants to ride.  My husband can ride with me one day and my twelve-year-old the next with very little problem.  

Because it is slower and adjustable, I put my speed demon husband on the eco tad and myself on the catrike.  This puts us at about the same speed and we can enjoy riding together without me feeling like I'm holding him back too much.  (He can still easily outpace me on the sunseeker, but he has to work at it).

;tldr Neither trike is perfect.  If speed (>15mph) and handling is important, I'd pick a catrike.  For comfort, pick the sunseeker eco tad sx.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Catrike Road

Funny story,  I saw a great deal on a Catrike Expedition on a local ads site.  I went and bought it and when I got home I realized it was actually a Catrike Road.  Oh well, it should still be an awesome bike.  I'll have to get used to the lower ride and it seems a little bumpier over bumps than my Sunseeker ecotad, but we'll see how it goes.

Here she is:

Here is my comparison of the sunseeker eco tad sx and this catrike road.

Friday, August 12, 2016

It all fit

So today my husband and i decided to take my new trike (Sunseeker Eco tad sx) and our kids on a local bike trail.  I'm pretty proud because not only did we have fun, but we managed to fit my trike, a full sized bike, two kid bikes and a bike trailer all in the back of our sienna without having to take out the middle seats.  Not pretty, but it worked.



[updated 9/27/16] I also managed to fit my Catrike Road in a 2015 Honda Fit:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Initial review: Sunseeker Eco tad sx recumbent trike

I recently purchased a Sunseeker eco tad sx from Utah Trikes.  Since I haven't seen a lot of reviews of this trike, I thought I'd post some of my thoughts.  I'm not a triking or biking expert, so YMMV :)

About the trike: It's about 70 inches long, weights about 46 pounds, is 31 inches wide and has 7 gears.  It is one of the cheapest recumbent trikes available, starting at $899. I chose navy blue, but in the light it can look purple (it's very pretty).  It also has a seat that adjusts back and forth with a quick release lever, so it can fit multiple riders easily.  The angle of the seat can also be changed easily.

Modifications: On reviews of this trike, I had read the brakes were insufficient, so I had the brakes upgraded to the avid disc brakes.  I had a rack added in back, and an "accessory bar" added in front, so I could mount a light later.  I was glad I had Utah Trike do these modifications because apparently to mount the rack took some fabricated parts.  I also added a flag and a water bottle holder.  I've also ordered some double sided pedals for it from Amazon so I can use SPD bike shoes to clip in or use my regular shoes if I want.  I also ordered some power grip straps and side view mirrors. (Edited 9/3/16 powergrips didn't work for me and neither did cleats.  My left foot hated them both.  I've moved to mountain biking pedals with homemade heel slings.)

I wanted to change the gearing because I think it is geared too low, but there was no cost effective way to do that.  I also wanted to upgrade the tires, but I decided to wait until this set wears out to do that.

About Utah Trikes: The staff at Utah Trikes was awesome to work with.  Since I had driven a distance, they quickly made the modifications to my trike, so I could take it home with me and not have to drive back.

Transporting the trike:  I took the eco tad home in the back of my minivan, a 2007 Toyota Sienna.  It fit in just fine with the back seats down (and the middle seats still in).  I just rolled the back wheel in between the two middle seats and it fit.

The ride:  I had fun riding this trike.  I like not worrying about falling over like I do on a bike. I've had moments of being one with the trike where I'm able to control it and not think about, just watch the scenery go by and it's amazing.  I'm assuming as I ride it more, I will just be able to ride without thinking about riding so much.

I think the seat is comfortable for the 3 mile rides I've taken it on.  I'll do a longer ride soon.

This trike can handle packed dirt and rock paths.  I took it on a dirt path around a pond near my home and it did fine on packed rock and dirt.  It did not do well in the sand.  I only had to walk it once, but forcing it through the sand hurt my knees.  However, if I had taken my bike on the sand I probably would have wiped out.  This is not an off road trike, but does fine on nice dirt paths.

This trike does have pedal steer. If I am not pedaling evenly, the trike will wiggle from side to side a little.  This should go away as my triking muscles improve.

My eleven-year-old son was riding the trike and hit the brakes hard and had the back wheel come up off the ground, so with more awesome brakes comes more awesome responsibility.  It has duel brakes, so it can have brake steer (like pedal steer, only from braking), so it's important to push both brakes evenly.

Speed: I average about 7.5 mph on the trike (including the time stuck in the sand).  On a regular bike, I average about 8.75, so I dropped in speed about 1.25 miles, which, from what I've read, is normal.  I'm optimistic I will be able to go faster as I ride more.

My husband who rides bikes a lot and averages 18mph, averaged 15mph on the trike, mostly because he had maxed out the top gear.

At higher speeds (>15mph), it can become a little twitchy and it takes very little to steer it.  It is not a trike for barreling down hills at 40 mph (or at least don't expect much control over the trike if you do).

Sunseeker eco tad sx VS Terratrike rover and rambler:  My husband and I test rode the rover, rambler, and the eco tad.  My husband (an avid biker) hated the way the terratrikes handled.  I felt like the eco tad felt a little more solid.

True confessions:  The trike I really wanted was a Catrike Villager, but I couldn't justify the price, especially since the catrike is not easily adjustable for multiple riders without adding an $150 accessory.  However, if you have $2700 laying around, go for it.  (Edited 9/3/16 - I ended up getting a used catrike road which is an awesome machine, but I'm still keeping the eco tad.)

I am happy so far with the eco tad and am looking forward to many happy rides.

Tips:  Here's some tips I gained from my reading about trikes:
  • Be gentle on the brakes
  • Lean into a turn, a trike can tip on turns.
  • Be gentle on the controls, it doesn't take much to adjust where the trike is going
  • If you are trying to miss something (debris, a small pot hole) have it pass under the pedal, that way it will miss both the side and rear tires.
  • Be visible.  Use flags and reflective gear.  Cars will often give a recumbent plenty of room, but they need to see you first.  Be careful where cars could be backing out.





Saturday, June 25, 2016

Comparison of low-end recumbent trikes

I was interested in getting a recumbent trike.  I like my bike, but my balance is not great.  I can't take my hands off the handle bars to signal turns, or to scratch my nose, or really for any reason without tipping over.

I was wondering about a recumbent trike as a way to take the stress of balance out of the bike ride, so I could just enjoy the scenery.

The main thing I don't like about the recumbent trikes is that they are expensive (compared to a regular bike), storing them can be a pain, and that they are so low to the ground which makes visibility an issue.  I'm also slower on a trike than a bike by about 2 mph (this is normal).

But they are fun to ride and my biking distance increased because it wasn't limited by how my bum felt.

My main concern right now is weight and size.  I have to store this trike somewhere and I need it to fit in the back of my minivan with the middle seats still in.  I also need to be able to lift it.

(If you are on an iphone, try the reader view, for some reason, my scrolling table won't scroll.)


TerraTrike Rover Sun Eco tad sx KMX Tornado KMX Typhoon KMX Cobra Catrike Expedition Catrike Villager
Cost $999-1299 899 999 1099 1499 2550 2550
Length (inches) 69.5 70.5-78.75 71.5 71.5 73.5 77 69
Width (inches) 33 31 31.75 31.75 32 32.5 34.5
Height (inches) 29? 34 23.25 23.25 26.5 26 28.5
Material Carbon steel Hi tensel lightweight steel TIG welded high carbon steel with aluminum front boom TIG welded high carbon steel with aluminum front boom TIG welded high carbon steel with aluminum front boom 7005 hardened aircraft aluminum 7005 hardened aircraft aluminum
Weight (lbs) 44-47 46 41.5 41.5 43 35 34
Web page http://www.terratrike.com/specifications.php http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11619618.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617619.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617629.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617627.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617614.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617616.html
Speeds 8 7 8 8 24 10 10
Comments fits in my toyota sienna Will need upgraded tires
Fits in my sienna
16” front tires, same frame as the typhoon 20” tires
not cheap, but aluminum frame and well regarded not cheap, but aluminum frame and well regarded


(added 7/13/2016)

My husband and I test rode the Rover, Rambler, Eco Tad, Typhoon, and Villager.

My husband hated both Terratrikes.  He absolutely hated the way they handled.  He was fine with the other trikes.

I wasn't in love with the Terratrikes.  I wanted to like the new 2016 Rambler that I'd heard a lot of good things about, but it was having mechanical difficulties (one of the handlebars was loose and couldn't tighten) and so it was hard to get an accurate feel for it, but mechanical difficulties made me wary and since my husband hated it, we decided to look elsewhere.  The rover fits just fine in a minivan.

The Eco Tad (which I ultimately ended up buying) drove fine.  It was a good solid trike.  It is susceptible to  pedal steer.  I loved the way the seat was adjustable so everyone from my eleven year old son to my husband could take turns riding it.  It isn't geared very high, so if you want to go fast (>15mph) it can't do it.  There isn't a cheap (<$200) way to fix this.

I can lift this bike into my minivan with the back seats folded down and the back wheel slides between the middle seats, and I am good to go.

The KMX typhoon I disliked.  It might have been because the seat was just a tiny bit far back.for me, but yeah, not my favorite.  The seat is also narrower and I kept feeling like I was falling off the seat.  My husband liked it fine.

Catrike Villager - if money is no problem, get this one.  I loved this trike. I didn't notice any pedal steer.  It felt very stable.  It's only disadvantage was that the seat didn't move, you had to move the boom which means you have to change the chain length if someone else wants to ride.  You can add an $150 chain tensioner to make that easier.  The other thing was my ankle kept clipping the front derailleur (or what ever it is called). That was probably do to bad peddling technique, but it didn't happen with the eco tad.

Comparison of low-end recumbent trikes

I was interested in getting a recumbent trike.  I like my bike, but my balance is not great.  I can't take my hands off the handle bars to signal turns, or to scratch my nose, or really for any reason without tipping over.

I was wondering about a recumbent trike as a way to take the stress of balance out of the bike ride, so I could just enjoy the scenery.

The main thing I don't like about the recumbent trikes is that they are expensive (compared to a regular bike), storing them can be a pain, and that they are so low to the ground which makes visibility an issue.  I'm also slower on a trike than a bike by about 2 mph (this is normal).

But they are fun to ride and my biking distance increased because it wasn't limited by how my bum felt.

My main concern right now is weight and size.  I have to store this trike somewhere and I need it to fit in the back of my minivan with the middle seats still in.  I also need to be able to lift it.



Terra Trike Rover Sun Eco tad sx KMX Tornado KMX Typhoon KMX Cobra Catrike Expedition Catrike Villager
Cost $999-1299 899 999 1099 1499 2550 2550
Length (inches) 69.5 70.5-78.75 71.5 71.5 73.5 77 69
Width (inches) 33 31 31.75 31.75 32 32.5 34.5
Height (inches) 29? 34 23.25 23.25 26.5 26 28.5
Material Carbon steel Hi tensel lightweight steel TIG welded high carbon steel with aluminum front boom TIG welded high carbon steel with aluminum front boom TIG welded high carbon steel with aluminum front boom 7005 hardened aircraft aluminum 7005 hardened aircraft aluminum
Weight (lbs) 44-47 46 41.5 41.5 43 35 34
Web page http://www.terratrike.com/specifications.php http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11619618.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617619.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617629.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617627.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617614.html http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617616.html
Speeds 8 7 8 8 24 10 10
Comments fits in my toyota sienna Will need upgraded tires 16” front tires, same frame as the typhoon 20” tires
not cheap, but aluminum frame and well regarded not cheap, but aluminum frame and well regarded








Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Night in Bethlehem

My family has a tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve by pretending we are in Bethlehem.  We dress up in towles, turn off the lights, and eat semi-authentic food by candlelight.  Usually this is fun and traditional, but this year the kids actually liked what I made, so i'm writing it down so I can remember for next year.

Chicken broth, about 3 cans
Barley, about half a cup
curry powder, about 3 tsp
1 onion, fried
3 cloves of garlic
3 chicken breasts
1 can of chickpeas
6 mini carrots, chopped
pepper

handful of raisens for garnish 

put the barley in the chicken broth, add in the onion, garlic, carrots, and curry powder.  cook until barley is tender, about 90 minutes.  Add in chicken and chickpeas cook about 20 minutes. 

My husband added paprika and cayenne pepper to his.

I also made homemade pita bread, which was quite good.  I served cucumbers, appricots and raisens on the side.  Almost everyone ate it without complaining.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Moving to lollipop on a nexus 7 - Don't do it

I was excited to up grade to lollipop on my nexus 7.  I did not have a good experience. I experienced freezing and locking. 

I did a factory reset and it became boarder line useful, but it stopped being able to charge.  It was taking ten hours instead of three or four.

  My nice husband reflashed it back to kitkat which is where it will stay until a major patch for lollipop comes out.