Posted on January 4, 2011 by Bryan Ball
“Folding” is the new buzzword in the recumbent trike world. Almost every major trike builder makes at least one folding model now and many are on their second generation. The competition for the title of “fastest and easiest folding trike” has been intense. At the Eurobike show a few months ago, HPVelotechnik seriously upped the ante with the new Gekko Fx.
The Gekko Fx is a non-suspended trike (a first for HPVelotechnik) that can fold up in an amazingly fast 7-8 seconds. The seat stays mounted to the frame and the entire thing locks together into a very easy to handle package. It’s nothing short of amazing. But more on that later… The Gekko Fx is far from being a one-trick pony.
This new trike uses an all aluminum frameset with three 406mm wheels. It has an integrated mesh seat and a very compact, stout look. The Gekko has all the same available options as other HPVelotechnik trikes. That means that you can choose fenders, racks, lighting systems and a myriad of component specifications. The base trike will start out at $2290 with SRAM X.7 components and Avid BB-5 disc brakes.
The Gekko’s 13″ seat height and swept cruciform make it very easy to get in and out of. The seat angle is adjustable from 34-42 degrees which should satisfy all but the sportiest of riders. The bottom bracket isn’t particularly high and the handlebars are very adjustable. The Gekko’s cockpit is definitely a very nice place to be.
If you’ve ridden an HPVelotchnik Scorpion, the Gekko’s handling will feel somewhat familiar. It’s perhaps just a bit quicker due to the shorter wheelbase but overall, it has the same predictable feel that HPVelotechnik riders have come to expect.
It also has that same solid and quiet personality that all HPVelotechniks have. The Gekko just feels like a trike that will last many, many years.
The Gekko Fx starts out at about 35 pounds before you start piling on accessories. That’s fairly light for a folding tadpole. But don’t be confused, this isn’t really meant to be a high performance trike. It’s firmly aimed at commuters and tourers and it performs as such. I’d put it in the same performance category as something like a Greenspeed GT3 or a TerraTrike Tour.
Of course, what really puts this trike on the map is its fold. I’ll get this out of the way and say that it really does fold in under ten seconds. No matter how many times I folded it, I still got a silly little grin on my face. It’s more than a little bit amazing. One caveat I’ll ad is that you do have to sort of lift the trike slightly when folding it if you want to do it that quickly. If you don’t have the strength to lift it or if you ad a lot of accessories, you can still fold the trike by tilting it on on one wheel. However, this is slightly more awkward and will probably add a few seconds to the fold time. But even a 20 second fold is still damn impressive. The overall folded dimensions aren’t exactly diminutive but it should easily pop into the back of almost any hatchback. Lifting and maneuvering the folded trike is very easy since it all clicks together and stays folded.
This brief review is of a late production prototype Gekko Fx. I’ll reserve my final judgement for the full on production model I’ll be getting early next year. But so far… I’m very impressed indeed.