Ti-Trikes T-150 Posted on November 8, 2014
The Ti-Trke T-150 could be a good choice for the right person. I have raced two wheel bicycles all over the country for years and have one national championship and two state championships. I love high tech bicycles, tricycle and just about anything with handlebars or a steering wheel. I really appreciate when someone builds something really cool and that performs at a high level no matter what group of people it is for. When I first saw the Ti-Trike T-150 from a distance I thought “oh look” there is a trike for a special needs person or large rider. Right from the start you see that everything is oversize and very sturdy looking. You will notice the super large seat and super wider stance of the trike. But what really caught my interest was the Ti-Trike T-150 Titanium frame and the incredible low price. Typically a Titanium two wheel bicycle frame alone will run $2800-$3200 plus and additional $2000-$5000 to outfit the frame with high quality bike parts. Ti-Trikes outfitted their T-150 with high tech parts and all for an unbelievable price of $3195.00. I talked to Ken, the owner of Ti-Trikes, and Patrick, Ti-Trike head engineer at the Recumbent Cycle Con trike show in 2014, they gave me the low down on all the Ti-Trikes. I was fascinated by the two of them. We got to spend a lot of time together that night after the show, eating some good food and drinking some good beer. Ken told me they got their start building high tech wheelchairs and products for NASA and the US Government. They also had a state of the art machine shop where they manufacture their trikes.
Frame: The frame on the Ti-Trikes is oversize Titanium with two main tubes running front to back. There is a curved cross member section on the front of the trike that the two main tubes are welded into. The boom tube is welded to the main cross member and is adjustable similar to other trikes on the market. On top of the two main tubes, there is a riser with another smaller diameter Titanium tube that the seat attaches to. With this two main tube design it gives you quite a bit of room under the seat to stash some of your things. This is a perfect place to stash a Lithium Ion battery, controller and all your wiring if you wish to electrify your trike. Following the two main tubes back to where the rear wheel attaches, you will see the rear wheel dropouts. Ti-Trikes makes the trike frame where it can easily be changed from a 20” wheel to a 26” wheel or the other way around, just by replacing the frame dropouts. Changing the dropout for the different wheel size is the right thing to do. I see people change the rear wheel size of their trike all the time without taking into consideration what other affects it might have on the trike. Ti-Trike did it right if you go from a 20” wheel to a 26” wheel, it will put the crank lower to the ground and change all the trike steering angles. By having the ability to change the dropout you can change your rear wheel size and preserve to correct frame geometry an steering angles. The Ti-Trike gives the T-150 a 450 lbs weight limit with the 20” rear wheel and 250 lbs for a trike with a 26” wheel. I am sure the frame will hold triple that weight, but the wheels would be the limiting factor just like most other trikes.
Paint: The Ti-Trike is totally nude, there is no paint to chip or scratch. The beauty of Titanium is that it does not rust or tarnish.
Drive Train: The Ti-trikes T-150 trike came with a Paterson Metropolitan two speed planetary geared front crank. The crank gear range is from a 1.6 to 1, which is like shifting from a 45 tooth chain ring to a 28 tooth chain ring. The Paterson Metropolitan crank is controlled by a shiftier which is located on the handlebar. The rear derailleur is a Shimano SLX 9 speed which is a middle of the road piece from Shimano. Ti-Trikes also has a trike called the T-250, which is the same trike but with a 500 Watt motor kit and lithium Ion battery. The T-150 is one of the quietest trikes out there. They do not use any chain tubes and they manufacture their own unique chain idler wheel.
Brakes: Ti-Trikes chose the reliable Sturmey Archer Drum brakes. The Sturmey Archer brakes stop the trike more than well enough. The real advantage is the reliability and that they are sealed so water does not affect braking, if you are caught in the rain.
Seat: The seat is another feature that really set the T-150 apart from every trike on the market today. The seat is made out of memory foam like the Tempurpedic beds and seats used on the Space shuttle. The seat has just enough amount of softness not too soft and not too stiff. I found the seat to be very comfortable but hot being the material does not breath. The back of the seat was contoured perfectly and offered plenty of support. The back of the seat was also made out of the same type of memory foam as the seat bottom. The bottom of the seat can easily be slid forward and backward for different height riders. The back of the seat was easily adjustable with a small Allan wrench. The seat angle was difficult to measure, so lets just say if you wanted to sit upright, you can do it on all the Ti-Trikes. The seat slides back and forth on the frame for sizing the trike to the rider and the boom is not really that adjustable.
Ride: Titanium is a very strong durable metal with some amazing properties. Titanium is approximately double the strength of aluminum but has the capabilities of elongating (bending) and returning back to the same shape much better than Aluminum or steel. I found the frame on the Ti-Trike to do a good job at absorbing road shock, which I was surprised at. I originally thought the frame with those two huge main tubes were going to make the trike too stiff. I am sure that if the trike was made out of Aluminum or steel, it would have been way too stiff, but the Titanium just did a wonderful job at helping smooth out the ride. I think a good amount of the ride compliance came from the smaller tube the seat was connected to, along with the memory foam seat. As for the frame, I think there is no doubt that Ti-Trike has the strongest recumbent trike frame in the market. The steering was just a bit of a surprise. Ti-Trikes uses something called a steering damper on the front of their trike. When I saw the steering damper, I thought they must have a problem with their steering and a steering damper is a fix for that problem. I was totally incorrect. Ti-Trikes steering is precise, agile and responsive, the trike was able to turn sharper than I though t. I was impressed with its handling. The steering was very light and the handlebars move freely due to the high quality headset that was pressed into the frame. The handlebars are the most adjustable on the market, they can be slid forward and backwards, in and out, up and down and can be rotated. There is no doubt you can find a comfortable position.
Accessories: Ti-Trike can be outfitted with your typical rack, lights, mirrors and other accessories that you may find on other brand trikes.
In Conclusions: I think the Ti-Trikes could be a good choice for larger and heavier riders with its oversize seat and wider stance. Is it the right trike for you? Well, you will have to decide if it fits your needs and riding style, better than a different brand of trike.
Pros: Super wide handlebars, and only 36 lbs.
Cons: Someone looking for a go fast trike that rips around corners, keep looking. The memory foams seat does not breathe so it will feel warmer than a traditional mesh seat. I was disappointed in the frame welding quality; the welds were huge and very sloppy. Ti Trike does most of the fit adjustment by sliding the seat closer to the pedals rather than adjusting the boom length. The boom is very limited in it adjustability. This is not the best way to fit someone to the trike because it can position someone to close to the handlebars or to far away. The handlebars are way wider than most people will like. Very limited distribution and Ti-Trike is adamant about there trike can only be receive at a brick and mortar Ti-Trikes approved dealer. What that means is that Ti-Trikes can not be shipped to you, you have to pick up at a Ti-Trike dealer.
Best place to buy: Check Ti-Trikes web site or www.industrialbicycles.com