A post on the Tadpole Rider website yesterday raises questions in the minds of us who ride these machines. Steve Newbauer, a professional welder, has written in detail about a subject of concern to everyone who owns a recumbent tricycle. The topic is weld failures, and while these rarely happen on leading brand trikes, there have been instances worthy of attention. I have no expertise in welding, thus will not comment – I am simply going to provide links to discussions by those who know far more than I do, along with three photographs to illustrate the topic. There is a discussion topic on BROL about weld failures that makes for interesting reading. Within those two links, the companies of HP Velotechnik, ICE, and Catrike appear.
Understand that I have no knowledge whatsoever about the specific stories behind each of the following images. These could have occurred from the trike being subjected to extreme abuse by the rider, or they may have happened in ordinary riding circumstances that any of us would encounter on our daily rides, thus no inference should be drawn that an opinion is being presented here. Clearly, this would require considerably more background knowledge about the three instances, and I invite the owners of the pictured trike frames, along with the manufacturers themselves, to comment here. It should be clear that if a frame weld fails at key moments during a ride, severe personal injury could result, or in a better light, a rider may become immediately stranded very far from assistance of any kind. If this is simply a matter of me being unaware (as I sometimes am), with complete explanations from the companies having been previously offered, then I invite links and comments. Thanks!
I have personally owned both ICE and Catrike recumbent tricycles, and have never had any issue with broken welds. Obviously, these photos depict extremely rare occurrences, but if the weld quality was lacking, hopefully the manufacturing issues have been rectified since.