Greenspeed Magnum XL Review
Greenspeed Magnum XL Review on May 12, 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 just too busy having fun tinkering in his work shop in Australia. Greenspeed Magnum XL
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 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. 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. Ian then 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 XL is made of aluminum that is TIG welded together in Tiachung, Taiwan. 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. The first Magnum XL trikes were produced with oversize round tubing but Ian further refined the trike frame by changing the main frame tube to a rectangle for maximum strength. The Greenspeed Magnum XL frame is probably the strongest trike frame on the market with a maximum rider capacity of 450 Lbs.
Paint: Their 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 Greenspeeds 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 XL. 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 performs flawlessly mated to the Shimano Dur-Ace Bar End Shifters. Greenspeed prefers Bar End Shifters and you will see them on all their trikes. Bar end shifters are my shifter of choice as well.
Brakes: For the Greenspeed Magnum XL, they chose the Sturmey Archer Drum brakes and Tektro brand brake levers. This combination stops the trike more consistently 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, and easy to adjust 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 and it will lock the two front brakes on to help with getting in and out of the trike. The Sturmey Archer brakes have about four times as much brake 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 XL 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. It wraps around the sides of the seat frame and provides a small bit of suspension. You would not think this is going to make a noticeable difference in comfortability but it does.
While riding the trike, putting your hand on the side of the seat frame can have you 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 you have difficulty getting in and out of a trike, the Magnum XL seat height can be adjusted from 14 inches to 18 inches off the ground.
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 the 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 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 XL 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. Also, swapping the tires from side to side ½ way through their life can obtain more use 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 will tend to steer the trike in that direction. To compensate for this, the Magnum XL has Negative Scrub Radius steering geometry, whereby the brake reaction steers the trike in the opposite direction to which side the brake is being pulled. 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, both brakes should be used for emergency breaking as this will double the braking power.
Ride: Someone, somewhere, sometime, wrote on the internet that if you have Schwalbe Big Apple tires plus the shock cord on the seat that it makes the trike ride almost like a suspension trike. Well I can tell you, I have rode over fifty different models of trikes over twenty years of triking and this is just not true. So do I like the ride? I think this trike will be exceptional for a larger rider, but a bit stiff if you are 110 lbs. Handling is fantastic and the trike is easily adjustable for your personal preferred riding position.
In conclusion: Do I like the trike? I think the Greenspeed Magnum XL is exceptional! Ian did everything right on this trike. The handling is a 10 out of 10, people really like the extra large seat and with a 450 lbs weight limit and drum brakes. This trike is as perfect as it can get for a large person. I think this is one of Ian’s greatest achievements and I am glad I had the opportunity to get to know the man.
Pros: Light, strong, exceptional handling, comfortable seat and just the perfect design for a larger person.
Cons: There is nothing I do not like about this trike.
- Exceptional handling
- Comfortable seat
- Perfect design for a larger person.
- Stiff for lighter riders
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Trike Detailed Specifics
- Seat height: 14 – 18″ (355.6 – 457.2 mm)
- Seat angle: 30 – 48º
Wheels and Tires
- Wheel size (front wheel): 20 x 2.0″ Schwalbe Big Apple
- Wheel size (rear wheel): 20 x 2.0″ Schwalbe Big Apple
- Max bottom bracket height: 14 – 16″ (355.6 – 406.4 mm)
- Ground clearance: 6.5″ (165 mm)
- Wheelbase: 45″ (1143 mm)
- Track width: 31.5″ (800 mm)
- Total width: 36″ (914.4 mm)
- Total length: 75 – 84″ (1905 – 2133.6 mm)
- Total height: 31″ (787.4 mm)
- Turning circle: 14′ (4.3 m)
- Folded size: 34 x 30 x 17″ (863.6 x 762 x 431.8 mm)
- Weight: 44 lbs (20 kg)
- Max payload: 450 lbs (204 kg)
- Frame material: Aluminum Alloy 7005 Folding
- X-Seam Range: 44 – 54″ (1118 – 1372 mm)