Utah Trikes Fat Cat V3 with Bafang Ultra

Koi Fish

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USA
Link to build: Utah Trikes - Sheri's Atomic Orange Fat Cat V3

Wanted to add some of my experiences with this custom built trike for others who might be looking into the Fat Cat V3 from Utah Trikes. There wasn’t a lot of information on this specific custom build besides the videos from the folks at Utah Trikes themselves. Here’s a summary of some of my observations and thoughts on this fun 3 wheeled beast of a ride. This is both my first e-bike and my first recumbent trike.

Why this trike?​

I live in a rural area with varied riding conditions including steep hills, fields, long gravel roads (potholes included for keeping you awake), and some short jaunts down a rural highway. The wider stance and larger tires give me both more visibility and a more secure feeling along with being further from the ground. Also, the fat tires are good over gravel and in my very gopher-y field. I liked the look of the fat tires as well. Steep hills and a bad knee made the e-assist a must for me.

Other trikes I considered were
  • ICE Full Fat - I attempted to buy this one but it was out of stock with at least a 9 month wait. The long wait along with it being the most expensive tipped the scales for the V3.
  • UTCustom Fat Tad Crawler - Harold at UT recommended the V3 over this one for my use case.
  • Trident Terrain - The aesthetics of this trike didn’t appeal to me and the lack of oomph from the Dapu motor got this one crossed off early.

Noted items:​

  1. There’s heel strike on tight turns where the wheels and the larger, custom pedals (to prevent foot suck) connect on my trike. This is my largest gripe. This is due to several factors including my 41 inch x-seam, 26 inch tires, and the large pedal width. If I had a longer x-seam there would be no heel strike issue. Alternatively, I could swap out my pedals to get that extra inch or so clearance.

  1. Chain bounces against the rear tire on rough terrain. Again, this is due to the tight clearances between the 4 inch fat tires, internal hub, and frame. Sizing down the tire would help but I wanted the 4 inch ones.

  1. The Fat Cat V3 requires an internally geared hub since there’s no room for a cassette with the fat tires. When I received the trike, the nuvinci 380 shifter wouldn’t display the level of gearing. For this specific shifter, that means the inchworm didn’t move. This seems to be a common problem with this shifter from my research.

  1. Being a person with larger hips, there’s some hip/butt sliding that’s needed sometimes to fully make some corners. There’s no tight cornering with this trike anyways but my dimensions make cornering harder. This could likely be alleviated with weight loss or the handlebar extenders from Utah Trikes.

  1. There’s a bit of frame (?) flex from the back tire and I’m not sure if this is something on all trikes or if it has to do with the dropout extender. I notice this the most when airing up the tire or loading/unloading my trunk bag. Everything is solid - this is just something I’ve made note of.

Bafang Ultra:​

Utah Trikes has the motor listed as the 750w incorrectly, it's the torque sensing Bafang Ultra (recognizable from the photos). This motor performs very well. It handles very steep grades and gives me the confidence to ride long distances. In the picture below, I did 40 miles that day on various trails with 55% of the 17amp hour battery left. That was after going up and down some pretty good hills. There is a bit of motor buzz but I would say it's within reason.

General:​

This trike is very fun to ride. It's not fast (unless I tap into the higher pedal assists or use the throttle) but it's comfortable and easy to ride all day long. Portable lawn chair! :) Utah Trikes did an excellent job with the customization and it feels very solid. It’s been able to tackle everything I’ve used it for. It’s great for long straighter stretches but it’s not built for winding switchbacks or tight cornering. It eats hills and going downhill is a blast. For my light offroad use it works splendidly but I don’t feel it would be as good with anything technical, single track, or heavier off-roading since it lacks nimble-ness and has a higher center of gravity.

It’s surprisingly easy to pedal even without the e-assist and with a larger gear range, I could easily see this working well without the motor.

Takeaways:​

Overall, I would purchase this trike again and am very happy with it. Your size and dimensions matter more than I realized with a recumbent trike and this one especially. If you can, I would recommend test riding before you purchase. While Utah Trikes answered all my myriad of questions, I assumed they would tell me about the pedal/heel strike issue before shipping it out. Some things you have to experience for yourself to know the right questions to ask. Hope this evaluation was helpful for folks looking at this trike.

Take care and have fun everyone!
 

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