Ti-Trikes T -150 Review
Ti-Trikes T -150 Posted on November 8, 2014
The Ti-Trikes T -150 could be a good choice for the right person. I have raced two wheel bicycles all over the country for years and earned national championship and two state championships. It’s really great when someone builds something really cool and that performs at a high level no matter what group of people it is for. As a matter of fact, when I first saw the Ti-Trikes T-150 from a distance, I thought “oh look, there is a trike for a special needs person or large rider”. Right from the start you see that everything is oversize and very sturdy looking. You will also notice the super large seat and super wider stance of the trike.
What really caught my interest was the Ti-Trikes T -150 titanium frame and the incredible low price. Typically, a titanium two wheel bicycle frame alone will run $2800-$3200 plus an additional $2000-$5000 to outfit the frame with high quality bike parts. However, Ti-Trikes outfitted their T -150 with high tech parts and all for an unbelievable price of $3195.00. I talked to Ken, the owner of Ti-Trikes, and Patrick, Ti-Trikes head engineer, at the Recumbent Cycle Con trike show in 2014 and they gave me the low down on all the Ti-Trikes.
I was fascinated by the two of them. We got to spend a lot of time together that night after the show, eating some good food and drinking some good beer. Ken told me they got their start building high tech wheelchairs and products for NASA and the US Government. They also had a state of the art machine shop where they manufacture their trikes.
Frame: The frame on the T -150 is oversize titanium with two main tubes running front to back. There is a curved cross member section on the front of the trike that the two main tubes are welded into. The boom tube is welded to the main cross member and is adjustable similar to other trikes on the market. On top of the two main tubes, there is a riser with another smaller diameter Titanium tube that the seat attaches to. The two tube design gives quite a bit of room under the seat for some of your things. This is a perfect place to stash a Lithium Ion battery, controller and all your wiring if you wish to electrify your trike. Following the two main tubes back to where the rear wheel attaches, you will see the rear wheel dropouts.
Ti-Trikes makes the trike frame where it can easily be changed from a 20” wheel to a 26” wheel, or the other way around, just by replacing the frame dropouts. Changing the dropout for the different wheel size is the right thing to do. I see people change the rear wheel size of their trike all the time without taking into consideration what other affects it might have on the trike. Ti-Trikes did it right. If you go from a 20” wheel to a 26” wheel, it will put the crank lower to the ground thus changing all the trikes steering angles.
By having the ability to change the dropout, you can change your rear wheel size and preserve to correct frame geometry and steering angles. Ti-Trikes gives the T -150 a 450 lbs weight limit with the 20” rear wheel and 250 lbs for a trike with a 26” wheel. I am sure the frame will hold triple that weight but, like some other trikes, the wheels limit it.
Paint: Ti-Trikes is totally nude; there is no paint to chip or scratch. The beauty of titanium is that it does not rust or tarnish.
Drive Train: Ti-trikes T -150 trike came with a Paterson Metropolitan two speed planetary geared front crank. The crank gear range is from a 1.6 to 1, which is like shifting from a 45 tooth chain ring to a 28 tooth chain ring. The Paterson Metropolitan crank is controlled by a shifter which is located on the handlebar. Shimano SLX 9 speed rear derailleur is what’s used which is a middle of the road piece from Shimano. Ti-Trikes has this trike but with a 500 watt motor kit and lithium ion battery they call the T -250. The T -150 is one of the quietest trikes out there. They do not use any chain tubes and they manufacture their own unique chain idler wheel.
Brakes: Ti-Trikes chose the reliable Sturmey Archer Drum brakes. They stop the trike more than well enough. The real advantage is the reliability and that they are sealed so water does not affect the braking.
Seat: The seat is another feature that really set the T -150 apart from every trike on the market today. It’s made out of memory foam not unlike the Tempurpedic beds and the seats used on the space shuttle. The seat has just enough amount of softness; it’s not too soft and not too stiff. I found the seat to be very comfortable but hot seeing as the material does not breathe.
The back of the seat was contoured perfectly and offered plenty of support. The back of the seat was also made out of the same type of memory foam as the seat bottom. Its bottom can easily be slid forward and backward for different height riders. The back of the seat was easily adjustable with a small Allen wrench. Seat angle is difficult to measure, so let’s just say if you wanted to sit upright, you can do it on all the Ti-Trikes. The seat slides on the frame for sizing the trike but the boom isn’t as adjustable compared to other trikes.
Ride: Titanium is a very strong, durable metal with some amazing properties. Titanium is approximately double the strength of aluminum but has the capabilities of elongating (bending) and returning back to the same shape much better than aluminum or steel. Surprisingly, I found the frame on the Ti-Trikes to do a good job at absorbing road shock. I originally thought the frame with those two huge main tubes were going to make the trike too stiff. If aluminum or steel was used it would’ve been, but titanium did a wonderful job at smoothing out the ride. I think a good amount of the ride compliance came from the smaller tube the seat was connected to, along with the memory foam seat.
As for the frame, I think, undoubtedly, that Ti-Trikes has the strongest recumbent frame in the market. The steering was just a bit of a surprise. Ti-Trikes uses something called a steering damper on the front of their trike. When I saw the steering damper, I thought they must have a problem with their steering and a steering damper is generally a fix for that problem. I was totally incorrect. Ti-Trikes steering is precise, agile and responsive, the trike was able to turn sharper than I thought. I was impressed with its handling. The steering was light and the handlebars moved freely due to the quality headset that was pressed into the frame. The handlebars are the most adjustable on the market. They can be slid forward and backwards, in and out, up and down and can be rotated.
Accessories: Ti-Trikes can be outfitted with typical racks, lights, mirrors and other accessories that you may find on other brand trikes.
In Conclusions: All in all, I think the Ti-Trikes could be a good choice for larger and heavier riders with its oversize seat and wider stance. Is it the right trike for you? Well, you will have to decide if it fits your needs and riding style better than a different trike.
Pros: Super wide handlebars, very strong.
Cons: Someone looking for a go fast trike that rips around corners, keep looking. The memory foam seat does not breathe so it will feel warmer than a traditional mesh seat. I was disappointed in the frame welding quality; the welds were huge and very sloppy. Ti-trikes does most of the fit adjustment by sliding the seat rather than adjusting the boom length. The boom is very limited in it adjustability. This is not the best way to fit someone to the trike because it can position someone too close or too far away to the handlebars. The handlebars are way wider than most people will like. Very limited distribution and Ti-Trikes is adamant about their trike can only be received at a Ti-Trikes approved dealer. Therefore, Ti-Trikes cannot be shipped to you; you have to pick up at a Ti-Trikes dealer.
Best place to buy: Check Ti-Trikes website.
- Super wide handlebars
- Very Strong
- Seat doesn’t breathe
- Seat adjusts rather than boom