Performer JC 70 Review
Performer JC 70 Review on October 22, 2022
George Chen, the owner of Performer Cycles, has always been a cyclist. George fell in love with bike riding as a youth and his passion for the bicycle and riding community has only grown. George had the opportunity to ride a recumbent bike almost thirty years ago and he was shocked at how much more comfortable and faster it was than his current upright two wheel bike. George instantly became a big fan of recumbents. George’s passion for cycling led him to opening his own bicycle factory almost twenty five years ago. He got his start doing contract work for other companies which is all well and good but if you met George you would see he has so many ideas in his head that building products for other companies is not what he is about. Soon after opening his factory, George started his own brand called Performer Cycles. George is like Henry Ford; he wanted the best quality control for his products. George chose to do the entire manufacturing process himself in his own factory, where he could control the quality of his bikes and trikes.
When I visited some other factories in Taiwan, it was quite different. You had the guy who only build frames and they have a relationship with someone who only paints, then there is someone else who does all the assembly. I am not a big fan of this type of manufacturing because there are too many different people involved and it is more difficult to control quality. George can walk out in his factory at any time and inspect frame manufacturing, painting, assembly, and packaging within minutes. Performer’s best selling product is their recumbent trikes but they are well know for their recumbent bikes as well. Performer can build bikes and trikes out of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum and chrome-molly steel. Their carbon trike and carbon tandem are really incredible. The material of choice for most bikes and trikes is aluminum. For most situations aluminum is the best material to work with. I have seen some of the old school lugged chrome molly steel road bikes that George produces. They are works of art. The old school lugged frames with fancy sculpted lugs remind me of the Italian racing bikes from Pinerello, Colnago, and Basso from the early 80’s. George has an incredible first mate. Her name is Christine. She has been with Performer Cycle almost from the beginning. Christine has been a big part of the day running of Performer Cycles. Christine is a small energetic lady with a big smile that really knows her products and the bike industry very well.
I just did a consultation with a gentleman who was a professional basket ball player. He is over 6’-7” tall and simply there is no trike large enough for him on the market. He could actually send his measurement to Performer Cycles and they could produce a one of a kind trike specifically for his size. I can not think of any other company willing to do that type of customer service.
Frame: The frame on the JC 70 is made of aluminum that is TIG welded together in Taichung Taiwan. I would have to say the welds are beautiful and of the highest quality in the industry. The frame on the JC 70 is a non folding design. The seat can be removed by the quick release pins. Not the easiest seat to remove but still very doable for most people. The Performer JC 70 has a maximum rider weight capacity of 265 Lbs.
Paint: The Performer JC 70 powder coat is extremely well done. The powder coat is sprayed on evenly and consistently. The color and depth to the paint is amazing. It just looks to be a very quality paint job. I did notice the paint did seem to chip a little easier than I thought but overall it is a thumbs up paint job that should last you a long time.
Drive Train: The shifting is superb on the JC 70. Performer 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 Microshift front derailleur and Shimano Acera rear derailleur performed flawlessly mated to the Microshift Bar End Shifters. Performer prefers Bar End Shifters and you will see them on all of their trikes. Bar end shifters are my shifter of choice as well. They just make sense for me.
Brakes: Performer Cycle likes Tektro Disc Brakes. Tektro is a huge brake manufacture and probably the largest bicycle brake manufacture in the world. Tektro makes a wide variety of brakes. The brakes that Performer Cycle chose for the JC 70, is a simple cable actuated disc. A big advantage to Tektro brakes is that replacement pads are available. Sure, Performer could have used a less expensive brake, but with those cheaper brakes there are no replacement pads that are available after market. I thought the trike stopped fine with the Tektro Disc; nothing unexpected, just good, solid, predictable braking.
Seat: Like all the other Performer bikes and trikes, the seat is interchangeable. The most popular seat for trikes is the mesh seat where it is very breathable and well constructed. However, I do think Performer should come out with an updated version where it is padded and the bottom is a bit larger to fit big American butts. The other seat option is the FRP which is available in a fiberglass version and a carbon fiber version. This seat gives the trike that racy, high performance, feel. The seat height is 10.2″ (260 mm) and the seat angle can be adjusted from 34 Degrees to 40 degrees.
Handling: Direct steer vs indirect steer: which is best? If you have read any of my other reviews it is easy to see I have made up my mind in favor of indirect steer. 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. The Performer JC 70 has direct steer but that does not mean I don’t like it. Actually, for a direct steer trike, I would give a slightly above average score compared to other direct steering trikes. I thought the trike rode nice and straight and the steered well. I thought the trike also handles well while pedaling hard and braking hard. The turning circle did seems a bit large, so you have to plan your turns a little more in advance compared to some other trikes.
Ride: I think the ride is good and the comfort is far better than most trikes. Living in the Midwest, our road conditions are fairly poor due to freeze and thaw action and a lack of funding by so many communities to repair the roads.
In conclusion: You may never have heard of Performer Cycles but they have been building quality trikes for a very long time. Here is how I think the Performer JC 70 scored 8 out of 10 points
Frame quality and ride for a rigid trike: 7
Component value: 10
Front fenders: 3
Value for the money: 10
The pricing just does not look correct for what you are getting. Is it really 40% less than the price of it closest competitor the Catrike Expedition? Yep it really is!
Pros: Performer trikes are just such an incredible value that, if they doubled the price, it is on par with some other brands.
Cons: The front fenders are not up to par, just too wimpy. I did not like the bracket sticking out from the side of the fender either.
- Good quality components
- Low price, high quality
- Great paint job
- Fenders are weaker than perferable
- Doesn’t fold
- Direct steering
Best Place to Buy:
Trike Detailed Specifics
- Seat height: 10″ (254 mm)
- Seat width:16″ (406 mm)
- Seat angle: 34 – 40º
Wheels and Tires
- Wheel size (front wheel): Jalco X320 20 x 1.5″
- Wheel size (rear wheel): Jalco X320 700 x 35c
- Max bottom bracket height: 16.7″ (424 mm)
- Ground clearance: 6″ (152 mm)
- Wheelbase: 41.3″ (1049 mm)
- Total width: 31″ (787 mm)
- Max length: 116″ (2946 mm)
- Total height: 32.6″ (828 mm)
- Weight: 40.6 lbs (18.4kg)
- Max payload: 264.5 lbs (120 kg)
- Frame material: Aluminum
- X-Seam Range: 36 – 48″ (914 – 1219 mm)