Since our summer holiday our Trice X2 recumbent tandem trike has been off the road. Today that changed.
The problem was that the rear hub gears gave up while we were on our summer holiday. By that I mean totally locked. The X2 has 81 gears (3 chainrings, 9 on the rear cluster plus 3 bub gears) and it was the hub gears within the SRAM dualdrive where we had the problem.
ICE have been their usual helpful selves giving advice and once we had made up our minds sending us a new back wheel. We are not having hub gears anymore, so currently we have a 9 speed capreo hub/cluster at the back and have not yet changed our chainrings. That means our lowest gear is currently around 16", we are thinking about having smaller chainrings but that means changing the cranks. If we want a matching set then it would be approaching £350 so we are going to stay as we are for the moment.
Anyway today was the moment of truth. We ended up doing around 14 miles. The route was lovely, we went to Stanwick Lakes and then followed the Nene Valley Way and then a bridleway all the way to Thrapston, lots of recent work has made this a really nice ride. We came back via Denford and the back way to Raunds avoiding Ringstead.
The X2 was running beautifully. We did not have a speedo but a few times we were hammering it in top gear which means over 30mph. We both felt that it was running better than we can remember so maybe the problem with the hub gears had been coming on slowly.
Although this was our long term goal when we bought the X2 we have not been riding it together much before, instead it has been used as a boy train mostly in the past when it has a lot of road presence.
It is proving to be all we hoped for, it is easy to chat while riding and the X2 is the most comfortable bike or trike we have. The mesh seats and more upright position compared to my XXL make it like riding your favourite armchair. You don’t get as sweaty as the hard seats, of course you are also a lot slower uphill. The extra width over the XXL means that the mirrors work better (as the view goes past the panniers better).
The only downsides to recumbent tandem trikes are
- weight (ICE currently say "approx 77lbs/35Kgs")
- storage (we keep it in it’s transport trailer)
- cycle path gates and barriers. Big issue. We do have to lift over some particularly unfriendly ones.
- Cost. It is a lot, you could buy a car for far less. On the other hand you get what you pay for. We have had our X2 for approaching 5 years. It gives every sign that it will last indefinitly (which was our plan).
Note that our problems with the Hub gears on the X2 should not be taken against all hub gears. The SRAM dualdrive is not really designed for tandems and we have put huge loads on it when towing a child (particularly on the Company of Cyclists holiday in the Cotswolds 2 1/2 years ago) or sometimes with a child on a childseat and towing a trailer or towing the Bikes at Work spine trailer.