Catrike 5.5.9 Review on November 9, 2015, updated December 1, 2020
People asked for a 26 inch rear wheel trike that folds and Catrike delivered. When Catrike was designing the 5.5.9, comfort and versatility was at the top of the list. Catrike called the 5.5.9 a premium grand touring trike, designed for spirited long distance riding. I will have to say it is the most comfortable riding Catrike I have ever ridden. The Catrike 5.5.9 is not just a Catrike Trail Folding trike with a larger rear wheel. The Catrike 5.5.9 is a totally new trike from the ground up. Catrike has made many upgrades to make the Catrike 5.5.9 over the top comfortable. Catrike designed a seat to be 11 inches off the ground, so getting into and out of the trike should be much easier than other Catrike models. Catrike also added a padded seat to the 5.5.9 for more comfort. The Catrike 5.5.9 is Catrike’s longest trike, having a longer wheel base will help smooth out some of those bumps. One of my favorite features is the two transportation wheels and kickstand on this trike. The 5.5.9 can easily be rolled around the house or garage folded effortlessly. The 5.5.9 also comes with a kickstand so the trike can be folded up and stood on end for storage. One of the things that set Catrike apart from other brands is that Catrike comes with some of the “got to have” accessories. Our 5.5.9 test trike came stock with a rear fender, mirror, wrist rest and clipless platform pedals.
Frame: The frame on the Catrike 5.5.9 is aluminum, TIG welded together in Florida. 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. Catrike does it all, cutting, bending, welding, heat treating, painting and assembly of your trike all under one roof.
Paint: Catrike’s paint jobs are a work of art. There is no one in the bike industry that is better (maybe just equal) to Catrike’s paint jobs. Their standard paint jobs are everything you want in a paint job: clean, consistent and durable, along with seven colors to choose from. If you buy your Catrike in the winter when Catrike sales are a bit slower, Catrike will give you five additional colors to choose from.
Drive Train: The shifting is superb on the 5.5.9. Catrike chose a premium SRAM drivetrain combination with ten gears to choose from in the rear and three in the front for a total of thirty. The SRAM GX rear derailleur performed flawlessly, making the SRAM GX with the SRAM 500 TT Bar End Shifter and Microshift front derailleur. Catrike uses this setup quite often on their trikes. Bar end shifters are Catrike shifter of choice and mine as well. Bar end shifters just make sense for me. I feel they are easier to use than the grip type shifters you see on most other brands. Grip type shifters work fine on a traditional bicycle but not such much so on most recumbents. If God knew I wanted to ride a trike with grip type shifters, he might have put my thumbs on the other side of my hands. I feel I do not have as much control of the grip type shifter compared to the bar end type shifters.
Brakes: Catrike chose my favorite mechanical disc brake system the Avid BB7 brakes with the Avid Speed Dial brake levers. This combination stopped the trike consistently and had no brake rub. I have no issue with the mechanical brakes that Avid offers. They are simple, reliable and easy to adjust. A super convenient feature of the Avid mechanical brakes are that each brake pad can be adjusted independently so you can really dial in your brake adjustment. Catrike chose a simple Velcro strap that you wrap around one of the brake levers for your parking brake. I really like this because it is simple and adds no weight to the trike. This also allowed Catrike to be able to use a premium brake lever. ICE trikes and Hp Velotechnik chose a different route by adding a brake to the rear wheel and a remote shifter to control the brake. This works well but added almost a pound to the ICE trikes.
Seat: Catrike was the first company to offer a padded seat and it was a huge homerun for Catrike. People love the idea of a padded seat and without even setting in it would say “Oh, that seat is way more comfortable that the mesh version.” Catrike did a nice job on the seat, they used a breathable foam pad that did not hold much heat yet offered a nice amount of cushioning. ICE trike followed with a breathable vented, padded seat about two years later, one upping the seat on the Catrike. Hp Velotechink for 2021 will have a breathable padded, vented, seat out that the back and bottom are independently adjustable. Everyone in the trike industry are always trying to one up each other which has lead to some amazing trikes on the market today. The seat height of the 5.5.9 is one of Catrike’s highest, at 11 inches. The only Catrike with a higher seat is the Villager at 12 ½ inches. The seat angle on the 5.5.9 can be adjusted from 44 to 51 degrees. I found the seat angle on the 5.5.9 to be quite comfortable.
Ride: I found the ride on the 5.5.9 to be very nice, the 5.5.9 was my favorite Catrike until the Dumont was introduced now the 5.5.9 is in second place behind the Dumont. So who does the Catrike appeal to the most? Well, most people looking to buy a trike. The 5.5.9 has most things people are looking for, easy to get on and off of, good quality, good comfortable ride, 26 inch rear wheel and it just makes me look cooler and faster than I am. The Catrike 5.5.9 has it all except one thing, front and rear suspension. I found the 5.5.9 to be a very comfortable ride, I am sure some of the changes, like lengthening the frame, adding a larger 26 inch rear wheel and adding a padded seat, all helped in making the 5.5.9 Catrike the most popular trike.
In conclusion: Catrike has been very successful with the 5.5.9., the 5.5.9 has stolen sales from the Trail, Expedition and Villager which I think is fine.
Pros: Folding, light weight, 26 inch rear wheel, OMG paint, high seat and adjustable recline, great fit and finish.
Cons: The 5.5.9 gained a bit of weight over some of Catrike other models. Catrike has lots of different models so it should be about choosing the best model for your riding style.
Update from 2015: The Dumont which has front and rear suspension is now Catrike’s most comfortable riding trike.
Best place to buy: Your local Catrike dealer or www.industrialbicycles.com
Industrial Bicycles, Buy Now!