Catrike 5.5.9 Review on November 9, 2015
People asked for a 26 inch rear wheel trike that folds and Catrike delivered. When Catrike was designing the 5.5.9, comfort and versatility was at the top of the list. Catrike called the 5.5.9 a premium grand touring trike, designed for spirited long distance riding. I will have to say it is the most comfortable riding Catrike I have ever ridden. The Catrike 5.5.9 is not just a Catrike Trail Folding trike with a larger rear wheel. The Catrike 5.5.9 is a totally new trike from the ground up. Catrike has made many upgrades to make the Catrike over the top comfortable. Catrike designed a seat to be 11 inches off the ground so getting into and out of the trike should be much easier than other Catrike models. Catrike also added a padded seat to the new 5.5.9. The Catrike 5.5.9 is Catrike’s longest trike, having a longer wheel base will help smooth out some of those bumps. One of my favorite features are the two transportation wheels and kickstand. The 5.5.9 can easily be rolled around the house or garage folded. The 5.5.9 also come with a kickstand so the trike can be folded and stood on end for storage. One of the things that set Catrike apart from other brands is that Catrike comes with some of the “got to have” accessories. Our 5.5.9 test trike comes stock with a rear fender, mirror, wrist rest and clipless platform pedals. I am very pleased to say that you can get a Catrike much faster now than ever before. Up until the 2016 season, every Catrike trike has been made to order. Now the procedure is tjat the bicycle dealer places an order with Catrike and Catrike would build the trike in the color the dealer requested. This process took about four weeks, until now. Catrike for 2016 will be stocking trikes, hurray!!! Now you can get your Catrike in your favorite color in less than half the time.
Frame: The frame on the Catrike 5.5.9 is aluminum, TIG welded together in Florida. I would have to say the welds are beautiful and of the highest quality in the industry. The frame is constructed out of oversized, shaped and manipulated aluminum tubing.
Paint: Catrike paint jobs are a work of art. There is no one in the bike industry that is better, maybe just equal to Catrike’s paint jobs. Their standard paint jobs are everything you want in a paint job-clean, consistent and durable, along with seven colors to choose from. If you buy your Catrike in the winter when Catrike sales are a bit slower, Catrike will give you five additional colors to choose from.
Drive Train: The shifting is superb on the 5.5.9. Catrike chose a premium SRAM drivetrain combination with ten gears to choose from in the rear and three in the front for a total of thirty. The SRAM X-7 rear derailleur performed flawlessly, making the X-7 with the SRAM 500 TT Bar End Shifter and Microshift front derailleur. Catrike uses this setup quite often on their trikes. Bar end shifters are Catrike shifter of choice and mine as well. Bar end shifters just make sense for me. I feel they are easier to use than the grip type shifters you see on most other brands. Grip type shifers work fine. If God knew I wanted to ride a trike with grip type shifters, he might have put my thumbs on the other side of my hands. I feel I do not have as much control of the grip type shifter compared to the bar end type shifters.
Brakes: Catrike chose my favorite mechanical disc brake system the Avid BB7 brakes with the Avid Speed Dial brake levers. This combination stopped the trike consistently and had no brake rub. I have no issue with the mechanical brakes that Avid offers. They are simple, reliable and easy to adjust. A super convenient feature of the Avid mechanical brakes are that each brake pad can be adjusted independently so you can really dial in your brake adjustment. Catrike chose a simple Velcro strap that you wrap around one of the brake levers for your parking brake. I really like this because it is simple and adds no weight to the trike. This also allowed Catrike to be able to use a premium brake lever. ICE trike chose a different route by adding a brake to the rear wheel and a remote shifter to control the brake. This works well but added almost a pound to the ICE trikes.
Seat: The seat that Catrike chose for both the 5.5.9 and Trail really differentiate Catrike from other brands of trikes on the market. The only other brand I can think of that that has a padded seat is Ti-Trikes. Both the 5.5.9 and Trail are touring-comfort trikes, I think the people that are attracted to the 5.5.9 and Trail are going to like the padded seat. The seat height of the 5.5.9 is one of Catrike’s highest at 11 inches. The only Catrike with a higher seat is the Villager at 12 ½ inches. The seat angle on the 5.5.9 can be adjusted from 44 to 51 degrees. I found the seat angle on the 5.5.9 to be quite comfortable.
Ride: I found the ride on the 5.5.9 to be very nice, I will have to say at this time, it is my favorite riding Catrike but that might change when Catrike introduces the Dumont in the spring 2016. So who does the Catrike appeal to the most? Well, most people looking to buy a trike. The 5.5.9 has most things people are looking for, easy to get on and off of, good quality, good comfortable ride, 26 inch rear wheel and it just makes me look cooler and faster than I am. The Catrike 5.5.9 has it all except one thing, front and rear suspension, and they will soon have that in the Dumont. I found the 5.5.9 to be a very comfortable ride, I am sure some of the changes, like lengthening the frame, adding a larger 26 inch rear wheel and adding seat padding, all helped in making the 5.5.9 to my favorite Catrike list.
In conclusion: I think Catrike will be very successful with the 5.5.9. Will they sell more trikes? I think the answer will be yes. Will the 5.5.9 steal sales from the Trail, Expedition and Road? I think it will. I have seen a lot of people who want to buy an Expedition but when they found out that it would not fold, that became a deal breaker. Same thing with the Trail. The Trail is a folding trike but there is a big draw to the 26 inch rear wheel which the Trail did not offer. The 5.5.9 covers most of the bases, I think it will be very successful model for Catrike.
Pros: Folding, light weight, 26 inch rear wheel, OMG paint, high seat and adjustable recline, great fit and finish.
Cons: The 5.5.9 Gained a bit of weight over some of Catrike other models. Catrike has lots of different models so it should be about choosing the best model for your riding style.
Best place to buy: Your local Catrike dealer or www.industrialbicycles.com