The Sun EZ-3 USX is a human-powered, recumbent, three wheeled vehicle. It engages me in a way that the Segway did not. I am amazed this product, what some call a “bent trike,” is not better known.
What’s significant about the USX? It’s the most comfortable human powered vehicle ever, more comfortable than many cars. It’s safe, practical, and affordable. I hate exercise but I find myself impatient to get my next chance to ride this thing. The USX is potentially a major step forward in promoting conservation and healthy exercise in America.
Riding the USX is eerie, because it feels like relaxing on a perfect easy chair and performing aerobic exercise at once. You can go fast or slow, and both are wonderful. You can load the thing with 400 total pounds. You can pull carts. Some riders have decked out USX’s with ipod sound systems and other amenities.
There are some downsides. It’s heavy: 65 pounds. Going up hills is pleasant, but slower than on a bicycle.
Another big plus: you sit high enough to be noticed by car drivers, though I also added a flag and extra lights to err on the side of caution. Although it looks wide, and encourages cars to give more room than is commanded by bicyclists, it is actually narrow enough to roll through a standard door. You can stand it up on end so it takes minimal room when parked. You can just stop and rest while going up hill- it has a parking brake.
There are lots of other bent trikes — dozens — but most are “performance-oriented” — made for athletes. Some of the athletic brands are
ICE, HP Velotechnik and , Catrike. I have tried some of them, and I think they are fun and interesting, but not what I want. Some of them are expensive, very low slung (you’re practically on the ground while riding), and not so practical for non-atheletes. What I want is something that’s super easy to get in and out of, that’s fun to sit on while standing still, that’s high up enough to be safe around cars, and that is fun to ride slow. I want something for life, not for sport, and there’s not much competition in this niche. There is another interesting comfort-oriented bent trike, the Hase Leupus, from Germany.
Beware that sometimes enthusiast cults get lost in fantasy. The enthusiasm in the bent trike world sometimes reminds me of what happened with high-end consumer audio. Superstitions crowded out reality. People started to spend insane money on audio cables with impossible physical properties.
Even though the USX is ridiculed by some hard-core bent bike enthusiasts, it is an important product, even aside from the low price.