Greenspeed Magnum XL Review

Greenspeed Magnul XL

Greenspeed Magnum XL Review on May 12, 2022

Greenspeed founder, Ian Sims, started building recumbent trikes in Australia back in 1990.  I new Ian personally and he was quite an 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”.  Ian was always about if there was an engineering problem he was driven to find the best solution for that problem.  Ian was never about trying to grow Greenspeed into a hundred million dollar company.  He was too busy having fun tinkering in his workshop in Australia.  Ian visited the United States in 2010 and found that the wants and need of customers in the United States, were quite different than what he thought. Customers in the United States were much larger, heavier, and wanted to sit more upright.  Customers wanted a trike with a higher seat height because they could not easily get in and out of the trike.  Ian went back to Australia with a new problem to solve.  Ian knew he had to build a stronger trike, but yet, wanted it to still be very light weight so he chose to make the frame out of aluminum.  Ian worked closely with a manufacture in Taichung, Taiwan who is very famous for their quality.  This manufacture also builds aluminum frames for other leading brands of recumbent trikes.  In 2012 The Greenspeed Magnum was born.  The Magnum was a huge homerun for Greenspeed.  It filled a very big need in the market, a high quality trike for a large person.  Fast forward a number of years and you can see there is now a Magnum series of trikes.  The Magum XL for extra large people, a Magnum GT26 for people who are looking for light weight and fast but still adjustable and comfortable, and a Magnum SD for people in between.

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 Magnum frame is probably the strongest trike frame on the marker with a maximum rider capacity of 450 Lbs.

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 hast for a long time. 

Drive Train: The shifting is superb on the Magnum. 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 twenty seven speeds. The Shimano front and rear derailleur performed flawlessly mated to the Shimano Dur-Ace Bar End Shifters. Greenspeed prefers Bar End Shifters and you will see them on all the Greenspeed trikes. Bar end shifters are my shifter of choice as well. Bar end shifters just make sense for me.  Greenspeed does not currently offer an electric version but I was talking to the Greenspeed sales reprehensive and it was on his want list for Greenspeed.  Electric Bike Outfitters 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. 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 really not the case.  If you really look at all the positives it is a wonderful seat.  The Magnum seat is much more breathable than some padded seat 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 enough difference to change the ride 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 you have difficulty getting in and out of a trike the Magnum 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 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.  Thus 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, again to reduce rolling resistance and tire scrub in the turns. Plus 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 centre 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 braking both brakes should be used, 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 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.  I would call Ian a legend in the trike community.

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. 

Pros:

Pros: Light, strong, exceptional handling, comfortable seat and just the perfect design for a larger person.

Cons:

Cons: There is nothing I do not like about this trike. 

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Trike Detailed Specifics

Greenspeed Magnum Seat
Greenspeed Magnum Front Wheel
Greenspeed Magnum Seat
Full Specifications 

Specifications

Frame Material

7005 Aluminium Alloy

Steering System

GS Crossover

Seat Type

Height Adjustable Aluminum

Seat Recline°

30-48°

Boom Type

Adjustable

X-Seam Range

44-54”

Wheelbase Length

45”

Overall Length (Max)

84”

Track Width

33.5”

Box Dimensions

39”x31”x20”

Crankset Height

16”

Seat Height

6.5”

Total Weight

44 lbs

Combine Load Limit

450 lbs

Turning Dimensions**

14’

Component Levels Available

27 Spd Shimano

All Dimensions are in inches/feet. All Specifications and Components are subject to change without notice.

* Seat fore/aft adjustment may limit recline range.
** Turning dimensions are from the centerline of the trike. NOTE: The fore/aft setup of the seat may change the turning dimensions slightly.