TerraTrike Sportster Trike Review

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TerraTrike Sportster Reviewed on November 9, 2015

The Terratrike Sportster is TerraTrike flagship trike. Made in the USA, the Sportster delivers for people looking to go fast yet is not a trike that is super low to the ground. The Sportster has a seat height of 15 ΒΌ inches which would be considered high for a go fast trike. The Sportster is light, only 30 lbs. for the SL version and 36 lbs. for the Base and 37 lbs. for the GT Version. TerraTrike made the frame in the the USA out of 6000 series heat treated aluminum which is how they were able to get the trike weight down so low. I am happy to say that TerraTrike has made a great trike even greater for 2016 with their new steering system. Terratrike will be going away from the two bushings used on the Kingpin and replacing the bushings with a lower bearing and a delrine upper bushing. We got invited to attend the TerraTrike open house for their trike dealers. The event is very well run and I can’t say enough good things on how the the TerraTrike team treats their dealers. We got to see all the new 2016 models and got to ride all the new models, as well. I was the the most impressed by the new Sportster, with 24 inch front wheels and a 26 inch rear wheel. I knew the bigger wheel would ride a little smoother and I was anxious to try the Sportster with the 20 inch front wheels vs the Sportster with the 24 inch front wheels. I also thought the larger front wheels were going to be a problem and would limit the ability to turn sharp or rub the seat or my leg, but none of that happened. The test area that Terratrike had set up was perfect, it had smooth pavement, bumpy pavement, turns, straight-aways, some up hill sections and down hill sections. I got the opportunity to ride every model of Terratrike, back to back.
Frame: The frame on the Sportster is a non folding aluminum, TIG welded together and comes with a 250 lbs capacity. The frame is actually made in the USA and painted in the USA. I am happy to see TerraTrike make the trikes here rather than Taiwan, like the other trike models.
Paint: Terratrike will be offering some new matte finishes on the Sportster for 2016. I personally liked the new matte green they showed at dealer days. The paint looked to be a powder coat which is very durable and it looked to be applied evenly and consistently.
Drive Train: You can get the Sportster with three different component offerings. First, is the Sportster eight speed internal hub trike, where all the gears are inside the hub of the rear wheel. Second, is the Sportster GT which is a 27 speed drivetrain with a front and rear derailleur. Third, is the Sportster SL which comes with Carbon cranks and SRAM top of the line components.
Brakes: TerraTrike stuck with their ProMax mechanical disc brakes on the Sportster. The PorMax brakes do a fine job stopping the Sportster. The Sportster GT and SL brakes get upgraded to their Avid BB7’s. The Avid BB7 brakes are my favorite non hydraulic disc brake. They just work so well. They are very easy to adjust and you can get replacement brake pads at just about any bike shop. The brake levers have a parking lock where there is a button on the brake lever that you can push and lock the brake in the on position.
Seat: The seat fabric on the Sportster has been upgraded for 2016. The Sportster seat fabric is very breathable and now comes with some side padding. The seat fabric is held in place by simple nylon adjustable straps that are buckled behind the seat frame. The Sportster seat angle is very adjustable. It can be adjusted from 40 to 70 degrees so know you can find that perfect seating position. The seat can be slid easily along the main tube of the frame for the ultimate, in adjust-ability. Being able to adjust the seat independent from the boom is a nice feature. The rider now has the ability to position themselves closer or farther away from the handlebars, if they choose.
Ride: Typically, I would have to say that I am not a huge fan of aluminum frames on non suspended trikes. Aluminum frames typically just have a stiffer ride than Chro-Moly frames. I will have to say the the Sportster frame is one of the softest riding aluminum frames on the market. At Terratrike demo days, I kept going back and forth between the Sportster GT, Sportster 24 and Rambler 24. They all rode well. For someone not wanting to go to a suspended trike, I think the 24 inch wheels may be the ticket. The larger wheel rolls over bumps better than smaller wheels, carry their speed better, and just give a smoother ride. On the negative side, the 24 inch wheels are not as strong as the 20 inch wheels. Their 24 inch wheels raise the rider’s center of gravity up, making the trike slightly less stable. If you are a casual rider, it does not make a difference on the extra height. If you want to ride the trike around corners like you just stolid it, you will want the smaller 20 wheels. The new steering on the 2016 Sporster is much lighter than the two bushing set up on the 2015 models and older, which is a nice improvement.
Accessories: Terratrike is one of the best companies when it comes to accessories. Terratrike will be including their new Heal Sling on all trikes moving forward in 2016. One of the worst things that can happen while riding your trike, is to have your foot slip off the pedal which can cause an accident. In my opinion, just about everyone should be riding with clipless pedals and cycling shoes. Clipless pedals and shoes are safer and simply more comfortable than wearing your standard street shoes. For the people who can not be talked into the clipless pedals and shoes, there is the new Heal Sling. Terratrike also had a long list of well made accessories like racks, neck rests, mudguards, seat pads and mounts for lights and computers.
In Conclusions: If you are looking for light, sleek, and fast, the Sporster might be just the right trike for you.
Pros: Light, sleek, fast and made in the USA. Quick handling nice workmanship and paint.
Cons: Stiffer ride than a chro-moly frame.
Best place to buy: Your local Terratrike Dealer or www.industrialbicycles.com