archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

Speed Trike Spec Comps

Carbontrike 02



(2017 Update: The new GreenSpeed Aero, billed as the world’s fastest production trike, came upon the speed scene subsequent to the production of this webpage, thus is not included in the comparison chart. Click HERE to visit the Trike Asylum page for the GreenSpeed Aero.)

Are aerodynamic designs important for consistent high performance? Let us consider a trike pilot who pedals 10 miles per hour, and has a given wind drag of X. If this same pilot increases his speed to 20 miles per hour, will the wind drag be 2X? Likewise, if a speed of 30 miles per hour is attained, is wind drag then described as 3X? In other words, if a trike pilot goes three times the speed (30 versus 10), will he experience three times the wind drag? No. Wind drag will increase nine times rather than three times. Thus, aero high performance speed trikes must be well designed on many levels, perhaps a leading aspect of which is frontal exposed area to the wind.

Thus, these three top contending trikes are all aiming for this ultimate goal, and while some of the specifications are the same, others vary. Specification comparison is made easier if some numbers are all in one place, therefore this attempt at doing so. Of course, numbers are just that … numbers. The best way to determine which high performance trike is for you is to ride all three, and feel that wind to determine if one slices through it with less effort! What are the chances of that however? Okay, guess numbers will have to do.

Some numbers fall within a range depending on rider height. Each company varies somewhat in how they gauge the trike’s weight: Catrike, for instance, says, “Weight includes pedals, mirror, flag, computer mount and neck rest if standard on the model.“, while ICE says, “Weights quoted are for models in standard configuration and do not include pedals.” Thus, precise comparisons may not be possible. Keep this in mind. Please visit each website for complete specifications and ranges. This is only a general guide for quick reference.

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Trike Spec Table* * * * *


The whole of the backend is aluminium, from where the frame separates. Five of the 6 tubes are hydroformed, while the sixth is mechanically formed. The vertical brace is CNC milled and the dropouts are forged and CNC milled (forging makes a complex shape like a dropout much stronger than CNC alone). The 3 drawn tubes in the front boom are all CNC turned to optimise weight, strength and stiffness before welding.

All the aluminium parts made from 7005 Ali and heat treated to T6 after welding. Heat treatment after welding is essential to get the best out of an aluminium frame. First the frame is put in an oven and heated to a specific temperature to allow the alloy to normalise, and slowly cooled over 12 hours or so (T4 heat treatment). Then, the frame rests for 3 days. Next, it is heated again to a different temperature and slowly cooled, which brings the aluminium up to its maximum strength (T6 heat treatment). The names are the same but the process is different for 6061 Ali. The main frame is Chromium-Molybdenum 4130 steel, After all 15 main parts and brazeons are all welded and brazed together, it becomes one part.

Frames are manufactured in Taiwan because of the level of expertise there, and the rigorous quality checks. Each welder produces a test joint weekly, which is then cut open, polished, and examined under a microscope. If it fails, the welder produces no more production parts until he is back up to the required level of expectation. Every part is fully quality checked and assembled in ICE’s workshops in the United Kingdom.

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NOTE: If you would like to participate in TWO ongoing polls regarding these three SuperTrikes, click HERE to visit the “Triker Polls” page, or simply scroll to the bottom of this page.

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700 09Catrike 700

VTX 2014 + B_phatchICE VTX

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Catrike 700 / ICE VTX / Carbontrike rear frame comps:

700 VTX Frame Comparison

Click photographs for a larger view.

Carbontrike 01cThe rear frame area of these three trikes varies significantly in design and construction.

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Carbontrike 10Designing ultimate trikes requires knowledge, experience, and education.

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Carbontrikes, Catrike 700, ICE VTX

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A little story: We attend a car show that showcases the world’s fastest high performance automobiles. We walk up to an area where three impressive sports cars are parked for inspection, a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, and a Maserati. These low-slung beauties are just beckoning us to slide into the cockpit and go for a test drive. Quality of workmanship is impeccable. These three leaders of speed and style catch everyone’s eye.

Being the sharp connoisseurs that we are, we ask to learn more, requesting to see the powerplants that propel these legendary myths of motordom. We are surprised to learn that none of the cars have an engine, and if we purchase one of them, we must supply our own engine after we haul the sexy speedster home. What? We buy such a sought-after transporter of the human mind, but don’t get an engine? No powerplant? What good is it then? Well, it will be as good as the motor we place inside!

And so it is with human powered recumbent tadpole trikes. Clearly, the three trikes discussed on this page parallel the three cars now being presented, except that when we acquire one of these legendary trikes, there is no engine. Why? Because we, the trike pilots, are the engine, the powerplants that will propel these rockets down the road. Will the engine we install pull the full potential out of these three well designed triples?

If we install an old worn-out engine with little horsepower into the Maserati, how will it perform? It will look fantastic, but will it impress on the road? If we install a four cylinder economy engine into the Ferrari, it too will look appealing, but what happens once the throttle is opened up out on the highway? If we install an engine made of cast iron into the Lamborghini, even though the car still appears awesome on the outside, the performance will never reach maximum potential due to the unnecessary and undesirable weight of the massive engine.

For those who wish to acquire a thoroughbred trike, the only way the full potential of that trike can be realized is if the engine installed is also a thoroughbred, an engine that rises up to the capabilities of the vehicle. Of course, one of the amazing benefits of human powered tricycles, no matter their pedigree, is that fitness necessarily follows function, or at least can if the organic engine is mentally geared for the task. Prepare yourself. Realize the best that your new speed trike will offer you. Meet its challenge to you, to max it out on that endless flat road of adventure. Return home, breathing hard and fully stoked for another speed odyssey tomorrow. Know that if your trike could talk, it would say to you, “Well done commander! You are worthy!”

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When you pilot a Carbontrike, 700, or VTX, it feels like this:

Lamborghini Huracan

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Below are two polls. You may vote only once for each poll. This is a survey to discover what Trike Asylum readers think about the top three speed trikes, and specifically, which one they would prefer if they were to purchase one of them. The three potential answers are the same for each poll, but the parameter differs between polls.

Assume, for the sake of discussion, that you are going to buy one of these high performance speed trikes. The first poll is asking which of the three trikes listed you would prefer to own if money IS an aspect of consideration for you. The second poll is asking which of the same three trikes listed you would prefer to own if money is NOT an aspect of consideration for you.

The objective is to discover how much influence financial considerations are relative to the quality, design, performance, and rider satisfaction of a given product. Please contemplate and apply your real life situation when answering. In other words, would you really do this if you were in a high performance buying situation?

These two polls are fluid, that is to say, over time the results will change as more trike pilots cast their votes. Time, of course, will bring the objective into finer focus for potentially meaningful assessment by you and the industry. Check back to view results. If you need more study time, and are not yet prepared to vote, you may access these two polls, and others, on the “Triker Polls“ page – or simply revisit this page. Hundreds have already cast their votes – join the group now, and be heard in this alternative realm of triangular locomotion. Thank you for your thoughtful participation!



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