archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

2014 Carbontrike

While ICE makes the VTX, and Catrike produces the 700 (both incredibly fast speed trikes that most folks think about when contemplating extreme performance machines), there is yet another worthy contender that ranks right there with the British and American triples. From Sweden, comes the awesome Carbontrike, a speed fanatic’s dream machine, that tips the scales at a mind-blowing 25.8 pounds, the lightest of any production trike. And how about a turning circle of 16 feet 8 inches? See the complete specifications of this speedster near the bottom of page.


See this trike compared to the Catrike 700 and ICE VTX on this TA Page.


Carbontrike 01 Carbontrike 01a Carbontrike 01b Carbontrike 01c Carbontrike 01d Carbontrike 01e Carbontrike 01f Carbontrike 01g Carbontrike 01h

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Carbontrike 02 Carbontrike 03 Carbontrike 04 Carbontrike 05 Carbontrike 06 Carbontrike 07 Carbontrike 08 Carbontrike 09 Carbontrike 10 from IRONCAD Carbontrike 12 Carbontrike 13 Carbontrike 14 Carbontrike 15 Carbontrike 16 Carbontrike 17 Carbontrike 18 Carbontrike 19 Carbontrike 20 Carbontrike 21

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The optimal trike?

When we first started looking at different trikes on the market, we quickly realized that they all lacked many things. We asked ourselves questions. Such as:

Why are they so heavy?

Why are they so wide that they can’t easily pass through a doorway or travel on narrow bike paths?

Why isn’t the knowledge from racing cycling and recumbents lowracer being used?

Why not utilized carbon fiber at its potential?

Why they were often not optimized aerodynamically?

Why weren’t the trikes constructed in a practical and smart way?

And so the idea of creating a super-light trike, with practical features was born. It should be narrow enough to be aerodynamic and to get through a doorway. We wanted to make man and machine into a dynamic unit.

It wasn’t before long we started to make great achievements when we used light and advanced materials. This is what has made CARBONTRIKES the lightest and fastest serial production trike ever made. This includes extreme racing trikes. The difference is that our construction, in addition to its extremely low weight, also allows daily use and touring.

Advanced manufacturing

The production of CARBONTRIKES trikes, wheels and accessories are made by hand and are carried out in accordance with the latest findings and best manufacturing processes available. It is the same methods and materials used in modern supercars, aircraft and the aerospace industry.

Our innovative production process begins with computer-controlled cutting of high quality carbon fiber fabric that is oriented and placed in specially made moulds. The parts cure under high pressure and heat to achieve maximum quality and strength. Exact temperature, increase in temperature, peak temperature and curing times are carefully calculated and tested to provide maximum strength to the carbon fiber laminates. We use prepreg or dry carbon fiber depending on the purpose.

To laminate the dry carbon fiber, we use only high-end low viscosity epoxy specially formulated for carbon fiber. We work closely with some of the leading manufacturers of carbon fiber products in the world. CARBONTRIKES are manufactured with carbon fiber that comes from the world’s leading manufacturers. We have close contact with Scandinavia’s most successful developer and producer of epoxy laminating system (the material that binds the carbon fiber fabric).

To protect the trike uses CARBONTRIKES 2-component special paint suitable for carbon fibers. That is cured in the heat. For maximum control we paint the frame by hand. The process is the best from an environmental standpoint. The method may give small optical defects compare to traditional spray painting. But it provides an extremely low weight. Despite the large surfaces of the trike, the paint on the frame weight only 22 grams / 0,77 oz.

Benefits of Carbon Fiber

There are many advantages of a carbon fiber construction compared to trikes built in metal. This is particularly true especially if the entire frame and all vital parts is also built of carbon fiber. A trike built in carbon has significantly higher stiffness to weight ratio compared to a trike built in aluminum or steel. Carbon does not suffer from exhaustion – something that is common for aluminum. Weight savings are often 50 percent or more compared to aluminum.

When designing a trike in carbon fiber composites, the design of the trike must be made according to how carbon fiber works. A trike made of carbon fiber cannot be built after the metal’s properties (which is a mistake we’ve seen a lot of on the trike market). To construct a trike out of composite is technically much more advanced, but the possibility to achieve a flawless product increases.

Fiber Composite is an anisotropic material, unlike metal which is an isotropic material. This mean that metals has exactly the same properties in all directions, while using fiber composite allows controlling the properties by orienting the fibers. So the stiffness, damping, weight and design can be controlled entirely by the structure’s needs and not vice versa.

Damping capacity of composite materials is well known, combined with the ability to control the stiffness in different directions depending on how the carbon fiber cloth is laid. The carbon fiber’s damping ability will remove vibrations from the road and eliminates the need for mounting heavy and expensive mechanical suspension system.


All CARBONTRIKES composite parts are built according to the monocoque principle. Which means that all carbon fiber parts are manufactured in one piece, at the same time – without any weakening joints or heavy metal parts. This makes it light, stiff, strong and safe.

Monocoque construction is the most efficient and optimized way to design a trike made of carbon fiber. The design is superior to those currently on the market, which is based on pre-fabricated carbon fiber tubes which are glued together with metal parts. To construct this way means that almost all the advantages of using carbon fiber are lost.

Product development

All product development and composite manufacturing is done at CARBONTRIKES in Sweden, to achieve full control and ensure consistent high quality. Other parts and accessories are carefully selected and tested. Product development takes shape based on sketches. After that the ideas are then implemented in a CAD-system using the latest technology. From the CAD-models we create prototypes that are manufactured under rigid control and with careful craftsmanship.

Our goal is to create light, fast and user friendly products that are market leaders. To succeed, we have a large network of top specialists and researchers to assist us with their knowledge. CARBONTRIKES also has frequent exchanges with some of the leading manufacturers of carbon products in the world. Although we are a small company, we have the unique expertise required to create a world-leading carbon fiber trike.


CARBONTRIKES motto is lightweight. Of course, without compromising the riders safety. Therefore, trike, wheels and accessories are thoroughly tested. A natural step in safety is to use a hydraulic brake systems. Dual hydraulic and ventilated disc brakes on front wheels reduces the braking distance significantly compared to a traditional racing bike or two-wheel recumbent. Compared with other trikes CARBONTRIKES low weight further contributes to minimize the braking distance. Hydraulic brakes also provide grip regardless of weather. Rain, snow and cold weather is no problem.

Even if the road surface is slippery, our trikes low center of gravity is always a safe and secure handling. CARBONTRIKES goal is to deliver the speed and the low weight of a lowracer. But safety and ease of use of a trike.


We think that form should follow function. But that doesn’t mean that the design shouldn’t be pleasing to the senses. Smart and practical solutions are something we strives at CARBONTRIKES.

We are proud of the design in our products, but we also have a close collaboration with external industrial designers. Carbon structures provides significant design opportunities to give minimal weight, high stiffness, good vibration damping and to make the trike attractive and aerodynamic.

CARBONTRIKES has an adjustable size to fit different riders. The seat size and boom length is variable. As a result of this the trike will fit the rider perfectly and the second hand value will be kept at a high level.


To optimize and evaluate the aerodynamics and efficiency of our products, we use the SRM power measurement systems. We have hired the heaviest and strongest Swedish elite cyclist* we could find for the analysis of extreme load, power and speed. In our tests, we can see that the rigid frame allows the rider to push the pedals to generate maximum reward and momentum with each revolution. No matter how much technology we use, we will never stop evaluating our Trikes in a human way – how it feels and is perceived – CARBONTRIKES is always a machine built for pleasure!

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CARBONTRIKES started in spring of 2004 by Lars Viebke.

Lars Viebke has built and explored composite construction since the age of 12. He built his first recumbent cycle as a teenager. Lars has since built several recumbent bikes for touring, with which he explored much of Europe. He bikes daily to and from work. Lars has studied at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. He graduated from there with a Master of Science specializing in composites, lightweight construction. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Product Development and finally a Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics. On CARBONTRIKES Lars is CEO, designer and product developer.

Mårten Danielsson has an extensive experience in bicycle competition. Thanks to this he has a great insight into the importance of the cycle’s low weight and good aerodynamics. His search for the most advantageous bike built for speed, has over time lead him to different types of two wheeled recumbents and trikes. From his former profession as a technology and motor journalist, he has brought with him both knowledge and fresh ideas to CARBONTRIKES. Mårten still bikes over 10 000 km or 6200 miles/year. Mårten has a degree in media and design. On CARBONTRIKES he manages sales, marketing and product development.

CARBONTRIKES goal is to create light, fast and user friendly products that are market leaders. To succeed, we have a large network of top specialists and researchers to assist us with their knowledge. CARBONTRIKES also has frequent exchanges with some of the leading manufacturers of carbon products in the world. Although we are a small company, we have the unique expertise required to create a world-leading carbon fiber trike.

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Price Trike: 5950 € in EU. The price include 25% swedish VAT. Outside EU: 6490 US$. The trike is assembled, adjusted and the steering is laser aligned. In a just a few minutes you can adjust the trike to your personal needs and preference. The few tools required are included.

Price Frame-kit: 4950 € in EU. The price include 25% swedish VAT. Outside EU: 5490 US$. The frame-kit includes: Frame, adjustable carbon fiber seat part, carbon fiber boom, front wheels, carbon fiber wheel mountings, 3 x headset, carbon fiber handlebar, tie rod, bolts and clamps. The frame has been completely assembled steering and front wheels. The steering is laser aligned.


Frame: Handmade in strong and lightweight aero grade carbon fiber prepreg in a monocoque construction. Naca 0021- profile.

Total length: 215 cm* (7′)

Total Width: 74 cm (29″)

Bracket Height: 39 cm* (15″)

Seat Angle: 28°

Height: 69 cm* (27,5″)

Seat Height: 19 cm (7,5″)

Wheel Base: 115 cm (45″)

Wheel Track: 70 cm (27,5″)

Ground Clearance: 8 cm (3,1″)

Turning Circle: 510 cm (16′ 8″)

Steering: Self centering, ackerman compensated, indirect steering with fully eliminated brake-steer and bump-steer, optimized for high speed cycling

Front Wheels: 406 mm (20″)

Rear Wheel: 622 mm (28”) option: 559 mm (26″)

Weight: from 11,7 kg*** (23.1lb)

Person length: 160-195 cm (5′,3″-6′,5″) Shorter on request, adjusted via boom and seat

X-seam: 90-125 cm (35″-49″)

Maximum load: 105 Kg** (232 lb)

Trunk space: over 6 Litres (over 1,6 US gal) inside the frame

*Size adjusted for a 180 cm (5,9 ft) cyclist.

**The limitation of the weight is more an indication of the rider body size. The Carbontrikes can easily carry 25 kg (55lb) extra in our Radical Design bags.

*** Weight with our light weight option parts 11,7 Kg (25,8 lb). Weight with basic parts 12,7 kg (28 lb). Even lower weight can be achived with special parts. The weight does not include pedals and seat pad. The weight can vary +/- 5%, then each trike is handcrafted.


Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR / Dura-Ace 10-speed

Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra

Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed

Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 50-34 or 52-39-30 170mm (triple increase weight with 135g)

Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-28 or SLX 11-36 10-speed (11-36 increase weight with 150g)

Chain: YBN S10C hollow pin

Idler: Aluminum 7075T-6

Headset: 3 x Shimano PRO RM-11, machine bearings

Handlebars & Steam: CARBONTRIKES, Integrated aero carbon unit. Naca 0024- profile

Link rod: Ergal with low weight maintenance-free rod ends

Front brakes: Tektro Volans, Hydraulic disc, 160 mm disc

Brake levers: Tektro Volans, Tool free reach adjustment

Rear wheel: Lite, aero rim, 28 reduced spokes, red alu nipples

Front wheels: Alex DA16 Aero, Black, 32 H Ultra strong side-hinged hub with tapered 25mm 7075-T6 alu axle

Spokes: DT 2,0 mm

Front tires: Schwalbe Durano, foldable (406×28)

Rear tire: Schwalbe Durano, foldable (622×28)

Seat pad: Optional

Color: Carbon fiber / Black

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