How do you like your TerraTrike Tandem?

edited July 2013 in Tandem
Hi. I have a 2003 Vision R85 tandem recumbent, and until seeing the TerraTrike, thought of it as the world's best bike. But even after riding for years on it, having to unclip and carefully balance on each start after each stop is a pain. And going up hills is limited because anything below about 4 mph gets pretty shaky and I worry I'll fall.

So knowing these problems would be eliminated on the TerraTrike tandem has me very interested in it.

So now I'm curious how current owners like theirs.

Are the seats comfortble? (The R85 has thick padding on them -- the TerraTrike doesn't).

Is transporting it such a burden that you don't use it often?

Anything that you don't like about the bike?

Any feedback you have is apprciated.

Thanks!
-Chris

Comments

  • Thanks for joining us on the forum, Chris.

    I think you would really like the no-need-to-watch-your-balance issue on the TT. The gearing makes getting up a hill as comfortable as going flat. You can just go slow and enjoy the climb. When not on a hill, you can always just go the pace you want to -- and start and stop at will -- no problem. My wife and I find we both look around and enjoy the ride a lot more riding on three wheels. We cover less ground than on a bike ride (2 wheels), but it's still a chance to get out, get good exercise, and enjoy the day. Until you've triked you just can't imagine how much riding on two wheels has required you to focus all the time on balancing.

    We have yet to make any really long rides. But we have found the seats quite comfortable. On the Rover, they're very easy to get in and out of, and you can easily throw on or attach some other layer of cushioning if you'd like. Of course, you can easily just stop and stand a minute to rest if you'd like. No need to hold the bike up or put it on a kick stand while you do.

    We're going up this weekend to pick up our trailer for transporting the Rover. Then as soon as we get it later this month, the Rover -- then Tandem! -- will be ours. I'm thinking the trailer will make transport so easy we'll actually ride a lot more. Even with good trails and roadways to ride close to our house, we're really looking forward to easily transporting the tandem to other trails nearby, and not so nearby. The Rover Tandem -- or single, as well -- should be very easy to load and unload from the trailer; and, the trailer easy enough to hitch and unhitch from the car.

    I hope all this helps, Chris. Thanks again for adding to the conversation here. -gw
  • We LOVE our tandem. We have the regular, not the rover. It's very comfortable, and cars give us plenty of space on roads. However, it is a slow vehicle, and best suited to trips that are reasonably made close to home.
    we are extremely fortunate to have an extensive bike trail system where we live, so we use our tandem on this. We do take it out nearly every weekend--both days!--and with the mild winter we had in the Northeast, it was only in storage for a few weeks. We love the view--it's almost like riding a beach chair. We don't have the independent pedaling system, and this has worked well for us. I ran into a couple on the tandem, and they swear by the IPS. Stops are much easier than on our two-wheel tandem--no need to even remove your feet from the pedals. We have toe clips rather than clip ons, but these seem to work fine.

    That said, it is a beast to transport. Apparently there is a trailer, but at the time we bought, the only transport option was the Alpaca carrier, which requires disassembly. We bought it from a local dealer who is also a non-profit organization, and there is not anyone within 25 miles who has experience servicing the trike. I trust my local shop as they service other trikes, but never a tandem. As things have needed tweaking, I've had to get creative and smarter. In order to get it to the shop, we had to disassemble, and it took three of us to reassemble. I have reassembled it by myself, but it took me over half an hour, and a lot books to get it to balance and mesh just right. I would love it if Terratrike came up with some sort of stand that fastened on the tubes so the trike could be reassembled without the need of extra hands to balance and level the back and front.

    I know this sounds like a lot of complaints, but it's a big investment. It's been well worth it, but it has drawbacks other tandems just don't have--service, speed and transport being the most salient. I would purchase a recumbent tandem again--it's just so much more comfortable and fun to ride than our two wheeled tandem. It's also great for me, as I'm short, but can captain, which I can't on our other bike, and I'm the more experienced cyclist. The opportunities for communication with your partner on the trike are also much more available. We seem to have fewer disputes about what to do when : )

    Good luck. It's a fun ride.
  • Sorry--one more thing. The trike steers really nicely, even at relatively high speeds. It has a very large turning radius, as you might expect, but the handling is superb. And we added some foam to the seat, and find them quite comfortable for long stretches of time.
  • WilhelmGGW wrote:
    Thanks for joining us on the forum, Chris.


    We're going up this weekend to pick up our trailer for transporting the Rover. Then as soon as we get it later this month, the Rover -- then Tandem! -- will be ours. I'm thinking the trailer will make transport so easy we'll actually ride a lot more. Even with good trails and roadways to ride close to our house, we're really looking forward to easily transporting the tandem to other trails nearby, and not so nearby. The Rover Tandem -- or single, as well -- should be very easy to load and unload from the trailer; and, the trailer easy enough to hitch and unhitch from the car.

    So have you picked up the attachment? How do you like transporting it on your slick trailer set-up.

    Still enjoy the Rover attachment for the Tandem. Exactly how is the build time to attach it, minutes and leave it attached forever or could it be dis-assembled for transport?

    Still cant wait for the tandem or the trike.
  • So have you picked up the attachment? How do you like transporting it on your slick trailer set-up? Still enjoy the Rover attachment for the Tandem? Exactly how is the build time to attach it, minutes and leave it attached forever or could it be dis-assembled for transport?

    Still no word from the dealer about our Rover tandem attachment. Our dealer in Springfield IL is a good one, so I'm sure our (backordered) unit has still not arrived. We plan to have the dealer install it on our Rover, and we'll possibly never dismount the attachment and go back to riding one at a time -- so I can't tell you about attaching and unattaching the tandem part.

    Actually, we thought all along that it's the tandem that would much better fit how the wife and I want to ride.. together. We could just get two Rovers, but she's not nearly as strong as I am. So being together on a single tandem will give her the chance to not push as hard as I, and we still stay happily together all the while.

    We really appreciate that the Rover gave us the opportunity to ease into triking gradually. With the single unit we've had for a couple of months now, we've been able to confirm we really like this before laying out the additional money to make our single a double. And even taking turns each time we go out, we've been able to work on our training.. working ourselves up gradually to the much longer rides we hope to do when we get the tandem.

    We've been using that new trailer right away, too. Just with the single trike until we get the tandem. It's been the great enabler for us.. to get out further from the house and enjoy some of the great trails around here close.
  • Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I ordered and just picked up the tandem (pro) yesterday. I think it's going to be great, but unfortunately my stoker badly sprained her ankle the night before getting it, but we'll be out as soon as possible. In the meantime, it's still pretty darned fun even solo :D
  • My stoker's sprained ankle was well enough finally for our inaugural ride on the Tandem Pro today. Wow. Do we love it. I already knew that a tandem (any tandem) is a fantastic way to for two people, even if of very different physical capability, to combine their energy into one great experience for both. But then add recumbent to that to eliminate any neck, wrist, or seat discomfort and it is that much better. Now add stability to that with the trike, and it's the ultimate way to ride.
  • We have the Rover Tandem. We love it and are doing lots of modifications due to the fact that we've discovered we're not leisure riders. Even though after the upgrades the rover may be as expensive for us as other 'high end' tandems, we're preferring the rover due to the internal gearing and minimal chain routing/flow. It sits higher than others, allowing us to trail ride and see the bumps better, and it has a good clearance to the trail. We've taken it on some very very rough trails (see http://tandemriding.blogspot.com) and actually bottomed out once or twice. I can't imagine these trails if we had a standard tandem. With so many rail trails opening up and not paved... it's a perfect tandem to start and upgrade as you find necessary.

    LOVE IT!
  • We too are very fond of our Rover Tandem, and have modified it quite a bit.
    In addition to adding a BionX SL350 Rear Rack electric assist and an 8 speed rear derailleur to it, we've also added special needs pedals for the stoker, clip-on pedals for the captain, IPS so we don't both always have to pedal, a larger chain ring at the stoker position for higher top speed, Rambler seat covers for added comfort, plus Terratrike's foam pad for the stoker. All that is in addition to the usual Rover accessories: flag, 2 bells, mirror, grocery panniers, 2 seat bags, headlight (via the Rover accessory mount) and taillight, 2 water bottle holders, and Schwalbe Tryke tires.
  • We bought our Terratrike Tandem Pro used, several previous owners, and absolutely love it, for all the reason others have mentioned, especially the 'communication gap' and 'ability gap' encountered when riding separate machines. We joke that we now can fight up close and personal without having to scream across the street at each other...
    Ours came with a homebuilt roof rack that mounts on the luggage rack of our Ford Explorer that makes it EASY to transport. We live in the mountains east of Albuquerque and have torn up the trike trying to ride it on our dirt/gravel/rutted road, so we always haul it to a paved roadway before riding.
    With all its' attributes, ours has a "high maintenance" problem, especially with the rear wheel. The 'quick disconnect' rear axle repeatedly comes loose while riding no matter how hard we tighten the spindle and Terratrike says they have no ability nor plans to replace it with a solid nut-threaded rear axle to strengthen it. We try to ride almost daily, and the axle comes apart and the rear wheel falls out of the hangers, usually locking the chain in a knot, every 30 miles or so. A couple months ago it came apart, bending the rear fork and hanger, and it took me an hour of jerry rigging it back together enough to limp it back to the vehicle. That cost a few hundred bucks including new chains and having to take it to our local dealer to re-align the frame and hanger slots.
    We still consider it our favorite ride, though much heavier and slower than riding individual bike/trikes. Being able to BOTH get in a good workout no matter how slow we go is wonderful, and improves our love life as well :O)
    We just hope for Terratrike to implement an improved rear axle wheel before I have to build one myself.
  • We still have individual Trikes and Bicycles, but Our TerraTrike Rover Tandem is rapidly becoming Our Favorite Fun Machine...Slower, but much easier to "smell-the-roses" and simply enjoy the Ride.... :) .....508009pl3aue.jpg
  • jdevport wrote: »
    We bought our Terratrike Tandem Pro used, several previous owners, and absolutely love it, for all the reason others have mentioned, especially the 'communication gap' and 'ability gap' encountered when riding separate machines. We joke that we now can fight up close and personal without having to scream across the street at each other...
    Ours came with a homebuilt roof rack that mounts on the luggage rack of our Ford Explorer that makes it EASY to transport. We live in the mountains east of Albuquerque and have torn up the trike trying to ride it on our dirt/gravel/rutted road, so we always haul it to a paved roadway before riding.
    With all its' attributes, ours has a "high maintenance" problem, especially with the rear wheel. The 'quick disconnect' rear axle repeatedly comes loose while riding no matter how hard we tighten the spindle and Terratrike says they have no ability nor plans to replace it with a solid nut-threaded rear axle to strengthen it. We try to ride almost daily, and the axle comes apart and the rear wheel falls out of the hangers, usually locking the chain in a knot, every 30 miles or so. A couple months ago it came apart, bending the rear fork and hanger, and it took me an hour of jerry rigging it back together enough to limp it back to the vehicle. That cost a few hundred bucks including new chains and having to take it to our local dealer to re-align the frame and hanger slots.
    We still consider it our favorite ride, though much heavier and slower than riding individual bike/trikes. Being able to BOTH get in a good workout no matter how slow we go is wonderful, and improves our love life as well :O)
    We just hope for Terratrike to implement an improved rear axle wheel before I have to build one myself.

    On your rear axle, are the serrations gone or worn off?(sorry, can't remember on which component they are on) . On my pro, I haven't had any problem with the wheel, but I did stretch the front chain out so much that idler no longer is able to take up the slack. I figure I did that on a couple of brutal climbs in too tall a gear.I know mine has the 32h rear, while my buddy just bought 1 with 36h wheel with disc brake. I think I am going to build a stronger BMX wheel and upsize the tire also. That, I think would alleviate any rear wheel issues.
  • I have a Rover tandem with IPS which is a nice cruiser, but far from an exercise machine. The tandem is very nice bike, but it is very slow, heavy, and steers like a wagon. I have a few observations on ownership: 1). Transporting the beast can be accomplished without the purchase of a trailer - if you have a full size pickup and the strength to lift and tie down the bike; 2). Maintenance of the Nuvi gear box is easy, but can need a few adjustments; 3). Not a hill climber; 4). Frame creaks like a piece of junk and has considerable flex and 5) seat could use more padding for long rides - 15-30 miles. Overall, I like the tandem, but as an owner of a Catrike recumbent - there is noticeable differences. The Catrike's quality is superior, yet both are well made. Key aspects to consider when buying a recumbent tandem is how do I transport the bike and can I perform simple maintenance
  • Thanks for the feedback Eric. I have a standard Rover (not YET a tandem), and have never noticed any creaks from the frame, but lots from the seat (not really a problem, but a bit annoying - and most of this goes away when I concentrate on pedaling form). Are you sure it is the frame that is creaking? I certainly can understand how such a long tandem trike could creak, I just want to convert my Rover to a tandem with "eyes wide open". Utah Trikes is no longer a TerraTrike dealer, but when they were, here is how they customized the Rover tandem. Notice the raised rear pedals and the center frame triangle support. I have often wondered if they did this just to raise the rear pedal set, or if it was more for additional frame support. If the ladder, you might be able to fabricate something similar if so desired. This triangle design comes standard on the TT Tandem Pro.

    I'm not sure of which Catrike you own, but I think you will find TerraTrike builds several trikes on par with a number of Catrike models when you compare them dollar for dollar.

    Last winter I installed a Bafang BBSHD electric assist with the idea of making life easier for my wife and I once the conversion to a tandem is complete. This should really help with hill climbing, or really any incline at all.
  • eric1963 wrote: »
    I have a Rover tandem with IPS which is a nice cruiser, but far from an exercise machine. The tandem is very nice bike, but it is very slow, heavy, and steers like a wagon. I have a few observations on ownership: 1). Transporting the beast can be accomplished without the purchase of a trailer - if you have a full size pickup and the strength to lift and tie down the bike; 2). Maintenance of the Nuvi gear box is easy, but can need a few adjustments; 3). Not a hill climber; 4). Frame creaks like a piece of junk and has considerable flex and 5) seat could use more padding for long rides - 15-30 miles. Overall, I like the tandem, but as an owner of a Catrike recumbent - there is noticeable differences. The Catrike's quality is superior, yet both are well made. Key aspects to consider when buying a recumbent tandem is how do I transport the bike and can I perform simple maintenance
    TrikeBrider - You are correct in stating the seat provides some of the creaking noise, yet the frame does creak. I have used lock tight on the "set" screws which helps some, yet I believe an insulator of some sort would resolve most of the creaking issue. I have a Catrike Trail which folds and never creaks, but I enjoy both.
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