Catrike Trail, Posted on November 13, 2015 updated November 2, 2020
We complained for years that Catrike needed a folding trike and Catrike finally delivered. I hope Catrike reverse engineered and tested everyone else’s trike. If this is true at least it would be an excuse while Catrike is the last to market with their folding trike. So with my first look at the trike, it looks petty similar to the Catrike Villager but with a lower seat height. But then I noticed two things, the wheels on the bottom of the seat, and some black piece under the trike. Our testers really wanted to play with the folding mechanism and see if the long wait was worth it. Ok, so here we go. Step one, loosen the quick release on the back of the seat and fold the seat down. Check. Step two, unlatch the hinge underneath the trike with the quick release. Check. Step three, pick the trike up and fold the rear wheel under the trike. Check. Step four, snap the rear frame into the plastic clip. Check. (The clip holds the front and back of the trike together when folded.) Next was to stand the trike up on end. Now we know what the small black piece was for, it’s a trike kickstand! So our testers had a lot of fun teasing each other about trike kickstands. So the guys’ conversation went something like this “Trike kickstand, no such thing, Dude. I am telling you the new Catrike Trail has a kickstand. Hey man, you BS your friends and I will BS my friends but don’t BS me!” I am sure it takes a long time to do the CAD work to get it right. I am sure it is no easy task to get the trike to fold, the rear end to swing underneath and turn 90 degrees all at the same time. I am also sure Catrike tested that hinge super thoroughly. The hinge is a big deal, I am sure Catrike was not willing to give up any frame strength and you surely do not want any movement at the hinge. I will have to say you have nothing to worry about. I am sure Catrike did more than enough worrying about the hinge for everyone. So did Hp Velotechnik Gekko FX pave the way for Catrike? I think so. Both trikes’ seat fold the same. Both trikes use a flat fold under design. Both trikes have transportation wheel on the back of the seat.
Frame: The frame on the Catrike Trail 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 oversize shaped and manipulated aluminum tubing. Catrike does everything in house, cut, shape, bend, weld, heat treat, paint and assemble every trike.
Paint: Catrike paint jobs are a work of art. There is no one in the bike industry that is better (maybe just equal) than Catrike’s paint jobs. Their standard paint job is 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 Trial. Catrike chose a premium SRAM drive train combination with ten gears to choose from in the rear and three in the front for a total of thirty. The SRAM XGX rear derailleur performed flawlessly. Catrike mated the GX rear derailleur with the SRAM 500 TT Bar End Shifter and Microshift front derailleur. This is a combination that Catrike uses on every trike. Bar end shifters are Catrike shifter of choice and mine as well.
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 trike 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: The seat that Catrike chose for both the 5.5.9 and Trail really differentiate Catrike form other brands of trikes on the market. Both the 5.5.9 and Trail are touring-comfort trikes, I think the people that are attracted to the 5.5.9 and Trail, are going to like the padded seat. The seat height of the Trail is 9 inches, which is fairly low. The seat angle on the Trail can be adjusted from 42 to 52 degrees. I found the seat angle on the Trail to be quite comfortable.
Ride: I found the ride on the Trail to be typical Catrike. 20” wheels all the way around and Catrike’s aluminum frame puts the Catrike in the stiffer riding category. So who would want to buy a Catrike Trail? Someone who wants a folding trike, made in the USA, with a sporty ride and that is lighter than most other brands of trikes.
In conclusion: The Catrike Trail is a solid trike that has a sporty ride and folds for transportation. The Trail is a good value and come with some accessories that you would have bought anyway. The trike folds down to 43” x 32.5” x 22” and only weighs 37 lbs. The Trail can carry people up to 275 lbs. The Catrike trail has been upstaged by its younger brother the 5.5.9. The 5.5.9’s higher seat, long wheel base, 26 inch rear wheel, has sway a lot of people in that direction.
Pros: Folding, light weight, OMG paint, adjustable recline for the seat, great fit and finish.
Cons: Really none. It just comes down to what you are looking for in a trike.
Best place to buy: Your local Catrike dealer or www.industrialbicycles.com
Industrial Bicycles, Buy Now!