Greenspeed GT 20 RS
Greenspeed Magnum GT20 RS Review on May 16, 2022
Greenspeeds founder, Ian Sims, started building recumbent trikes in Australia back in 1990. I knew Ian personally, and he was a quite innovative person. Ian was the kind of person that if someone presented him an engineering challenge he would say “I can do that and I think I can do it better”. If there was an engineering problem, he was driven to find the best solution for it. Ian was never about trying to grow Greenspeed into a hundred-million dollar company. He was to busy having fun tinkering in his work shop in Australia. GT 20 RS.
Ian came from a racing background. He was heavily involved in side-car motorcycle racing, designing, and building. His designs were some of the faster motorcycles on the track. Ian first became involved in human-powered bicycle racing when a local college asked him for help with some trike designs for a competition. By helping the local college kids make two radically different trike designs, the college team was awarded 1st and 2nd place on their 1st try. Ian then started getting a reputation with building trikes. He was later approached by two people who wanted to do a perimeter tour around Australia. Ian built them two trikes and they worked flawlessly for the entire journey. His trike-building career continued after visiting the United States in 2010. From this trip, Ian had a better idea of what people wanted and needed in the US. Ian then spent the next two years developing the Magnum series of trikes.
Frame: The frame on the Greenspeed Magnum GT 20 RS is made of aluminum that is TIG welded together in Tiachung Taiwan. I believe the welds are beautiful and of the highest quality in the industry. Ian chose a premium rear shock from Rock Shox which is air adjustable rather than a simple coil spring like other manufactures use. The Magnum GT 20 RS has a light frame with a maximum rider weight capacity of 300 Lbs. The Magnum series of trikes frames all fold for easy transportation and storage. The folding is performed by removing the two seat pins on the back of the seat and undoing the seat quick release on the bottom of the seat. The seat can be removed in about ten seconds without using any tools. The frame has a quick release in the center of the trike and the rear wheel folds up and over the main section of the frame. The rear wheel will come to rest between the left front wheel and the boom. This folding method is much easier compared to other brands that have chosen to fold the rear wheel under the main frame rather than over the main frame.
Paint: The Greenspeed paint jobs are very nice. The paint is sprayed on evenly and consistently. It is more difficult to get paint to stick to aluminum, but Greenspeed frame manufacture has got the process down and the paint jobs will last for a long time.
Drive Train: The shifting is superb on the Magnum GT 20 RS. Greenspeed chose a premium Shimano drivetrain with nine gears to choose from in the rear and three chain rings in the front for a total of 27 speeds. The Shimano front and rear derailleur perform flawlessly mated to the Shimano Dur-Ace Bar End Shifters. Greenspeed prefers Bar End Shifters and you will see them on all the their trikes. Bar end shifters are my shifter of choice as well. Greenspeed does not currently offer an electric version but I was talking to the their sales representative and it was on his want list for Greenspeed. However, Electric Bike Outfitter offers a nice reliable 350 watt motor kit which can be retrofitted onto any of the Magnum series of trikes.
Brakes: Greenspeed chose the Sturmey Archer Drum brakes and Tektro brand brake levers for the Magnum GT 20 RS. Sturmey Archer makes a special light-weight version to help reduce weight, the drum brakes look very nice and are the right choice for this trike. Ian likes the drum brakes and you will see them used on most Greenspeed trike models. The Drum Brakes offer more consistent stopping power than disc brakes because the brake surface and brake pads never get wet. I have no issue with the Sturmey Archer drum brakes. They are simple, reliable, easily adjustable, and stop well. Greenspeed has quick-release axles which make removing the wheels a snap. The brake levers have a little button you can press which will lock the two front brakes to help with getting in and out of the trike. The Sturmey Archer brakes have about four times as much brake pad material as a disc brake and will last far longer than the pads on disc brakes.
Seat: Ian told me that he had a chiropractor friend that helped him with the development of the seat shape. The seat frame is made of aluminum and the seat fabric is a simple mesh. With all the padded seat fabrics on the market, you would think the Greenspeed has been left behind, but that is not the case. If you look at all the positives, it is truly a wonderful seat. The Magnum seat is much more breathable than some padded seats, which can hold in heat and become less comfortable. The seat fabric is held to the seat frame with a shock cord. The seat fabric wraps around the sides of the seat frame and actually provides a small bit of suspension. You would not think this is going to make a noticeable difference in comfortability, but it actually does.
While riding the trike and putting your hand on the side of the seat frame you can actually feel the movement of the seat fabric around the seat frame when you hit a bump. I have seen trikes that have lot of miles on them where the anodization is almost worn off the seat frame from the movement of the seat fabric around the seat frame. Ian also made the seat height adjustable, if case you have difficulty getting in and out of a trike, the Magnum GT 20 seat height can be adjusted from 12 inches to 17 inches off the ground. The seat angle can also be adjusted from 30 degrees to 48 degrees so almost anyone can find that perfect comfort position.
Handling: Many recumbent trikes have “direct” (tiller type) steering, where, for cheapness, the handle bars are clamped directly onto the kingpins without any intermediate linkage, and bars have to be moved in the opposite direction to which you are going, with the weaker muscles of your arms. Whereas the GreenSpeed “Crossover” steering was invented by GreenSpeed to provide control with your bicep muscles, thus the steering is much easier and more intuitive to use. Furthermore, unlike other types of “indirect” trike steering, the GS Crossover steering provides superior Ackermann compensation, and a smaller turning circle, due to the fact that the steering rods cross over from one side to the other.
GreenSpeed as well as other forward thinking human-powered vehicle companies have discovered that the rolling resistance of bicycle tires does not increase until a camber angle of 10 degrees is reached. To improve stability without making the trike wider, to counteract tire distortion while cornering, and to reduce rolling resistance in the turns, the Magnum front wheels have 5 degrees of negative camber. Plus on tight turns, the steering geometry changes the camber of the inside wheel from negative to positive, to reduce rolling resistance and tire scrub in the turns. By swapping the tires from side to side ½ way through their life, more life can be obtained than if they were ran vertically.
Unlike a bike, the front wheels of a trike are offset some distance from the center line of the machine. Thus, applying one front wheel brake, as when hand signaling for a turn while braking, will tend to steer the trike in that direction. So, to compensate for this, the Magnum has Negative Scrub Radius steering geometry, whereby the brake reaction steers the trike in the opposite direction to which the braked wheel is pulling it. This happens so subtly that all the rider notices is that the trike continues in a straight line, when only one front brake is used. However, for emergency breaking both brakes should be used, as this will double the braking power.
Ride: I think the ride is incredible for me, that does not mean it is incredible for you. I like fast and light and the Magnum GT 20 RS is all that. Plus with the added rear suspension, you end up with fast, light, and extra comfortable. I think Ian designed this incredible trike for someone just like me. I am a big fan of the Scorcher tire that Greenspeed uses on this trike. The Scorcher tires do not have any puncture resistant material in the bottom of the tire like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus which means the tire is much more compliant but more apt to getting a puncture. The Scorcher tires have a nice soft side wall which contributes to improved flexibility improving ride quality and rolling ability.
In conclusion: I would not call this a race trike but a high performance trike that has exceptional handling and a very comfortable ride.
Pros: Light, fast, exceptional handling, plus a rear suspension makes this trike a real winner, only 39 Lbs
Cons: Special cassette from Shimano that your local bike shop will not have in stock. I would have liked to see Greenspeed use a traditional size cassette then increase the front chain ring size up to a 53 tooth,
- Exceptional Handling
- Rear suspension
- Only 39 Lbs
- Special cassette from Shimano which can be hard to get
Best Place to Buy:
- Seat height: 12 – 17″ (305 – 432 mm)
- Seat angle: 30-48°
Wheels and Tires
- Wheel size (front wheel): 20” Alloy rims with Stainless Steel Spokes
- Wheel size (rear wheel): 20” Alloy rims with Stainless Steel Spokes
- Bottom bracket height: 14″ (355.6 mm)
- Ground clearance: 6″ (152.4 mm)
- Wheelbase: 39” (990.6 mm)
- Track width: 29.5″ (749.3 mm)
- Total width: 31″ (789.3 mm)
- Max length: 76″ (1930.4 mm)
- Total height: 27″ (685.8 mm)
- Turning circle: 12′ (3.7 m)
- Folded size: 34 x 28 x 15″ (863.6 x 711.2 x 381 mm)
- Suspension travel: rear 4″ (101.6 mm)
- Weight: 39 lbs (17.7 kg)
- Max payload: 300 lbs (136 kg)
- Frame material: 7005 Aluminum Alloy
- X-Seam Range: 41 – 51” (1041.4 – 1295.4 mm)