26" Wheels On Front Of Trike?

Hi, folks. I am just wondering if anyone has put 26" wheels on the front of their trike? I am considering trying this with a Traveler. I would like to try running 26" wheels all-around for home area rides, and swapping to 20" or even 16" for airline checking of the trike.

Also, for those of you who own Terra Trikes with the same type of steering and hand grips as the Traveler, would a 26" wheel and tire fit with your hand grips? Would it interfere with the steering?

I realize that doing this will change the handling and "tippiness" of the trike, but several folks have reported success with this mod on other brands over at BROL.

Thanks,
Steve W
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Comments

  • edited November 2017
    hand to wheel and hand grip and hip/frame to tire clearance will be your ergonomic issues.
  • How many user s on BROL have done this mod with a Traveler? That's the first thought you should have, when you read about them doing this mod.

    You are going to raise the front end by roughly 3" at the wheels. So at the cranks, more like 5-6". (Unless you put a 26" on the rear, in which case it should be a wash.) Keep in mind going with a 26" rear might not work on the trike, if there's not enough clearance in the chain stays. You may need to change the dropouts to get the clearance for the much larger tires. (I have to have my 20"x3" much further back in the dropout to clear it from rubbing on my Rover. I couldn't do 26" at all without radically changing the dropout.)

    By putting 26" on the front, it's going to change getting in and out. It's also going to recline you a lot more than the stock 20" tires do. And the Traveler might not fold up right with the larger tires, so that's another consideration....

    I have to ask you, though... Why are you thinking about going with 26" fronts? What benefits do you perceive it's going to give you?
  • It looks like a narrow 26" rear wheel would fit. 26" wheels on the front would fit but your hands would get really close to the rotating wheels. Not a smart situation. And you would be very limited in steering as the turned wheels could hit the seat. And every time you switch wheels you would probably have to tune the front brake calipers. Folding can be done put it would be a big package.
    For speed you could change out the front tires for high pressure 20" and high pressure 26" rear wheel. Then when traveling change the rear wheel back to 20"
  • the tour-ii frame extenders will probably work on the traveler for a 26-inch wheel. problem is that you will need to change chain length switching between 20 and 26. this could be handled with a chain-gobbler.

    possible concern with a 26-incher is that your low gear will be raised 30%. depending on your riding locale and if you have good knees, maybe no problem.

    at the front end, you would want serious fenders to avoid sanding down hands, arms and thighs. might wish to read up on the rans trizard in that regard.

    can be quite an interesting hobby making the good trike fit your needs. by all means, go for it! please post your thoughts if you do. seems like the brol types posting on all 26ers are regarded as full bullgoose loonies by the mainstream but my book, trying such better than thinking about it.
  • Maybe we can get a response from TT if the Tour II drropout would work on a Traveler. I know when I stopped over there the day before Riderfest, I asked about if a Traveler would take a 26" on the back. They told me it would but you get into the issue of a better chance of heel strike.
  • Peanut wrote: »
    Maybe we can get a response from TT if the Tour II drropout would work on a Traveler. I know when I stopped over there the day before Riderfest, I asked about if a Traveler would take a 26" on the back. They told me it would but you get into the issue of a better chance of heel strike.

    I found a Traveler at my local bike shop and it looks to me like a 26" would fit in the rear of the Traveler frame just fine as is.

    I decided against this after test riding the trike because I'm afraid it would be too tippy with the 26" front wheels. Thanks.

  • What do you mean by "tippy"? Do you think the trike would tip over while you are on it? I don't feel that way with 24" wheels. I go fast around turns with no issues. But, my definition of fast might be 6-7 mph.
  • The higher the center of gravity goes the more prone to tipping the trike and rider become. The riders core is the most mass of the combined trike and rider weight. Consider the lowest part of the core is the butt and as you raise the butt you raise the core. Will someone tip with 26" wheels all around ? Maybe, all depends on the scenario but it will tip much faster then just about any other wheel combo.
  • Come on! A trike with 26" wheels is only 3" higher than one with 20" wheels. It really isn't much of a difference.

    If anyone is afraid of tipping over, ride one of those trikes that's almost on the ground. But, when a car runs you over, you will wish you had larger tires!
  • You're not trying hard enough, it will tip.
  • actually, big wheels front, small wheel rear should drop your roll center by moving the center of gravity aft as well as a tad lower than with all 20s. certainly would reduce the likelihood of becoming a catapult load under hard brake application.

    that thought in mind, had one of the terratrikes with 24s front, 20 rear, and the other with 20 fronts and 16 rear. both cases increased pedal clearance enough to allow curb hopping, easier getting on and off the trike, and improved [my humble] trike aesthetics. had nexus-8 rear wheels on both for climbing hills.

    dunno if that setup made the trike more stable but i felt a bit more secure than with all 20s. seems to me that if all 24s made for a tippy problem, the all-road and all-terrain folks would be posting such concern on the forums.

    think too if the all 26s of the brol chaps advocating such made for tippy it would be commented on. could be at speed that increased gyro effect of the big wheels could make for a stable platform.

    expect 26s up front would make for a faster and smoother ride. were i a few decades younger would buy a set of leathers and a motorcycle helmet and check out behavior of big wheels in fast turns compared to all 20s.
  • I understand you would think three more inches should not be that big of a deal but it is. Look at it as a stability triangle. With the three wheels making up the triangle. Fact is with a lower center of gravity the center of gravity on the twenty inch wheels is more stable. The center of gravity will move within this triangle. When the COG (center of gravity) leaves the triangle you will flip. Effects of raising the center of gravity is a variable which will move the center of gravity upward causing side forces to act such as speed, height of the person, turning. Centrifugal force causing the COG to leave the triangle and flip.
    Example:
    Turning into a corner on a twenty inch wheel at 10 mph might reach tipping point so you lean into the direction of the tip allowing you to change the center enough to make the turn. Same corner with a 26 inch wheel or a 24 inch wheel you will lean into the tip and continue to tip over. I was an Instructor in the Navy teaching heavy equipment and the laws of physics applies here no matter the size of the object.

    The only way to make it work is if you could widen the front wheel stance three inches as well.
  • just ran across this maker of all-26 tadpoles:
    http://matix-bike.de/en/3-produkte
  • My other hesitation over trying this is the handling. I have heard from others who have done this type of mod on other brands that the handling becomes heavier or more “truck like.” I already feel that direct steered trike feel too heavy, so the idea of attempting this on a Traveler just doesn’t sound like I woul like how it feels.

    I have a chance to pickup a used Tour II which has much lighter indirect steering and may attempt this conversion on that. Doesn’t TT sell a bracket for the rear that allows a 26” to be installed?
  • @JamesR, above you say
    expect 26s up front would make for a faster and smoother ride.
    Could you please explain why you would expect a faster ride. A smoother ride, for sure, but I don't understand what bigger wheels up front would do to increase one's speed.

    And a special thank you to you for Maxit trike link. I think they have done it the right way... designing the trike from the ground up to come equipped with all 26's. Looks like a nice ride. Do you know of a domestic dealer?

  • Those Matix trikes are heavy ! Weight from 25 Kg..
  • TCEd wrote: »
    Those Matix trikes are heavy ! Weight from 25 Kg..

    Front suspension adds the pounds or should I say kgs.
  • was thinking 26-inch very skinny, high pressure, more inertia at high speed - https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/road-bike-reviews/compare/
  • @JamesR, above you say
    expect 26s up front would make for a faster and smoother ride.
    Could you please explain why you would expect a faster ride. A smoother ride, for sure, but I don't understand what bigger wheels up front would do to increase one's speed.

    Folks who have done this type of mod report significant speed gains. My personal opinion is that the larger diameter tire reduces scrub loss compared to the smaller. Since a trike can't roll into a turn like a two-wheeler can, any steering input causes energy loss due to the front tires scrubbing. Therefore, any change which reduces rolling resistance also reduces scrub loss, a significant factor for tadpole trikes.

  • Thanks for that! How much of a loss, any idea?
  • What is considered significant ?
  • https://www.xootr.com/bicycle-wheels-406mm-vs-700c.html

    Short version, wind resistance and rolling resistance largest factors on moving bike. Double speed , rolling resistance doubles. Double speed, wind resistance increases 8 times.
  • Thanks for the link. I've read several good articles by Karl Ulrich in the past, so I can easily trust this source.
  • From the same article

    " A much more significant factor is the riding position of the rider (with an upright riding position increasing the power requirement by as much as 25 percent over a crouched riding position)."

    One of the cheapest gains is to recline those trike seats and it's free.
  • There's that northern Michigan wisdom!
  • There's that northern Michigan wisdom!

    This northern Michigander and his wife are off to the Pacific coast of Mexico tomorrow, need some sunshine, cold beer and warm water.
  • edited December 2017
    TCEd wrote: »
    What is considered significant ?

    This guy reports 3 to 4 mph:
    https://sites.google.com/site/jbolf38/trike-and-trailer/Ice-T-Project

    Several have reported gains over at brol. Here's a recent thread about it:
    https://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=127801

    From a blog, with links to brol:
    https://etrike.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/3x700-wheels-on-a-tadpole-trike/

    One of those links (good overview):
    http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=91528
  • 26" wheels faster than 20" wheels? Probably. Hands on the TT handlebars getting real close to the spinning 26" wheels? Definitely. If your answer to that is front fenders then you are increasing the frontal surface area and possibly negated any speed increase. Most of the trikes that were tested with large wheels had low seat heights and high bottom brackets. Most also had vertical steering arms away from any of the wheels be it 20" or 26". My opinion on this whole issue. The current crop of TT trikes with higher seats and direct steering are not designed to be comfortably compatable with 26" wheels. Some of the older TT trikes with lower seat heights, indirect steering with vertical steering bars are better and safer for 26" wheel testing.
    But hey, I would love to be proven wrong.
  • edited December 2017
    mrbill5 wrote: »
    The current crop of TT trikes with higher seats and direct steering are not designed to be comfortably compatable with 26" wheels. Some of the older TT trikes with lower seat heights, indirect steering with vertical steering bars are better and safer for 26" wheel testing.
    But hey, I would love to be proven wrong.

    As I said earlier in the thread, I got to test ride a Traveler and decided that it might be too tippy (as you say, due to its high seat height). I also don't think the handling would be to my satisfaction. I do think the tire hand clearance would be fine though.
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