Impressions page 2.

Rear suspension on the triceScorpion rear suspensionMoving to the back of the bike the final obvious divergence in design become apparent. Whereas the Trice makes use of an elastomer spring similar to that on a Birdy, the Scorpion has a mountain bike style coil spring and damper. I suspect you could probably tune the rear suspension of the Scorpion more but I have no idea if this would bring benefits. I found the Trice frame and fork more elegant but the difference was not enough to make me choose one over the other.

Both trikes were fitted with optional rear racks. These were mounted on the end of the main boom just behind/under the seat and do not move up and down with the rear wheel. The racks were big enough for two Back Roller Classics and a Rack Pack but no more. An alternative to a rack or to supplement standard panniers are 'pod' panniers that hang underneath the seats. However, unlike panniers they cannot be used on a standard bike, so if you decided you didn't like recumbents then you'd have to sell the bags with the bike.

As the rack's mounting points were so far forwards, the racks themselves were quite substantial and rather heavy, say, when compared to a standard Tubus steel rear rack. However they were very sturdy and we did not detect untoward movement in our luggage. One oddity was that the Trice rear rack was asymmetrical. The right hand side (looking from the back) was swept out slightly more to give clearance for the wider right rear fork assembly. It looks a bit odd but did not seem to affect the way the trike handled or behaved.

Brakes: the Trice has dual hub drum brakes and the Scorpion has disc brakes. The parking brakes are actuated by a separate lever on the Scorpion which works quite well. The Trice has a rather more agricultural pin that you push into place after grabbing a brake lever. This is less easy to use than the Scorpion's parking brake.

Gears: the Trice is very conventional with a triple chainwheel and standard derailleur changer at the front of the boom. At the rear was an eight speed derailleur setup. The Scorpion designers chose a combined three speed hub and derailleur setup on the back wheel. The three speed hub provides the three ranges that a triple chainring gives. On both trikes there is minimal ground clearance (two or three centimetres) between the bottom of the rear derailleur changer and the ground.

This approach makes the front of the Scorpion look cleaner but more importantly allows you to select the lowest range when stationary. This is impossible to do with the Trice and with these trikes you can't pick up the rear wheel on your own and change gears at the same time (as you can by picking up a touring bike). This is a big problem if you are cruising at high speed and have to stop very suddenly without having time to change down.

So how do they ride?
The first few minutes were really rather strange. I noticed immediately that under hard acceleration the trike started weaving. Part of this was due to me transmitting the leg movements through my body to my arms so I took care not to do this. Some of the effect though was simply that the forces of pedalling are in the direction of travel. Although the frames contain much of this effect you are constantly first straining the structure on the left and then a half rotation later on the right. On a normal bike these forces are contained better in the rigid diamond frame but also in the vertical rather than horizontal axis. So the forces are up and down rather than in the direction of travel. You don't really notice them in the same way on a normal bike.

We discovered quickly that both trikes braked well even when only one of the brakes was actuated. This is apparently due to some clever choice of angles of wheel centres and pivot centres and is a little surprising. You would expect them to pull hard to the one side but apart from a little jink as you first apply the brake, both trikes pull up straight albeit a little less impressively than with both brakes.

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