Which trike will be most stable in turns?

Gfmucci

Member
I am considering the Evelo Compass and various iterations of the Fat trike. The one most stable in turns will gain points with me.
Several factors affect stable turns, including the height of mass (battery, motor, rider), width between the two rear wheels, evenness of braking, among other variables. Most of these trikes are capable of speeds greater than 20 mph. A sharp turn at greater than 5mph is probably not a good idea in any of them. But I have not defined "sharp turn", whether it is a 5' radius turn or a 30'.

Here are some factors I've reviewed:

Width between rear wheels: Evelo=29.58 ; Fat trikes=30" (an insignificant difference?)
Seat height range: Evelo: 30 to 35" ; Fat trikes=33 to 39" (how significant is this?)
Battery location: Evelo: Under the rear basket ; most Fat trikes=a bit higher behind the seat post. (how significant is this?)

Regarding evenness of braking, hard braking in turns to avoid a collision is an eventuality to be considered. Some fat trikes only brake ONE rear wheel; some brake BOTH rear wheels. If there is a hard brake with one rear wheel braking, the bike will pull in the direction of the braked wheel (wheel will be a pivot point). If that is also the direction of your sharp turn, the bike will turn sharper than expected and potentially flip over.

Evelo: Brakes both rear wheels. Fat trikes: Mixed; some brake both rears, some just one.

There are Fat trikes with 20" rears and 24" front, and those with 20" all around so the height of the rider will vary among these. Trikes with 20" all around will sit the rider a couple of inches lower. (Note: The company in the above link has not responded to phone calls or emails. UPDATE: They did not answer their phone when I called 3 times in the middle of the day or respond to emails to their email address, but they DID TIMELY RESPOND to queries sent through their website contact information facility. But I don't understand why companies - 1 or 2 person shop??? - bother displaying their phone numbers or email addresses they can't or don't respond to.)

Also to be considered is how "twitchy" is the steering? The longer the handlebars are from the stem, the more gradual and less "twitchy" steering will be. The more "chopper-like" the handlebars, the more gradual turns will be. But there will be a tradeoff between twitchy flipping and lack of responsiveness in turns. This is where practicing "knowing the limits of your bike" is important.

And then there is this newer chopper design.
Trike chopper fat tire.jpg
The rider sits further back closer to the two rear wheels. That is likely to enhance stability but at the same time sacrifice front drive wheel traction. There are not enough specs available yet to know the width between rear wheels and height range of the seat, but the seat does appear to be lower than the more upright style fat trikes.

Any thoughts about the comparative stability in turns between these particular style trikes? Maybe the differences are too slight to make much difference.

I'm not comparing to tadpoles (most stable) or other recumbent trikes because I also need some good sized cargo capacity.
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
No trike is stable unless it is a tilting trike like the EV 4. Since your body is the highest point, it raises the center of gravity more than any hardware or seating position. Leaning puts that mass to benefit stability. The pedal forward trike makes that even tougher. It's not natural on a bike to bend at the waist to lean into a curve. It takes a lot of practice on a trike. I even find my tadpole trike to be pretty unstable in the curve. They just aren't designed for speed, no matter how much riders hope they are. I suspect leaning on that Addmotor will be a nuisance with that tractor seat and seat post design. Going to take a lot of torque on the clamp to keep that thing from pivoting.
 

MikeDD

Active Member
My wife has a Liberty Trike. It has a low center of gravity. It is also narrow. A sharp turn is a 30' radius. If you are going to ride an upright trike at any speed over 15 mph you better practice on two wheels.
 

Gfmucci

Member
If you are going to ride an upright trike at any speed over 15 mph you better practice on two wheels.
THAT I intend to do. The more familiar with the quirks and idiosyncracies of the handling of any bike, the better. Leaning into turns at the right times will be an essential skill with a trike - and not as natural as on a two-wheeler.