From the Trikke to the Skki - product extension of the year
By Mike Hanlon
July 17, 2006
July 18, 2006 Our prize for the best product extension of the year goes to the company that designs and manufactures the three-wheeled cambering Trikke and has now developed a new snow sport from the design and named it Skki. The Trikke is an ingenious human-powered machine that is both chainless and pedal-less. The rider propels the Trikke by slaloming in a graceful, non-impactful fashion, working the torso and arms as well as the legs to generate speeds akin to that of a mountain bike. The best part of the Trikke is the downhill cornering, where the cambering gives it a carving feel akin to that of a racing motorcycle. The Skki is not a logical product extension until you see it, as it offers an identical steering and riding motion that’s just perfect for the snow. There’s some big advantages too – it’s easier to learn than skiing or snowboarding because there’s a set of handlebars for turning, can be done in any comfortable snowboot and hence doesn’t involve any ski-boot pain, it’s 1000 percent less likely to cause a knee reconstruction, and it lacks for nothing in terms of thrills, spills and fun because you can be carving like a pro inside a few minutes! Most importantly, experienced skiers love it too as it’s an entirely new form of snow thrill. Check out the extensive image library.
Firstly, the Trikke
The Trikke (pronounced "Trike") is a three-wheeled cambering vehicle designed for fun, fitness, and sports-recreation and is enjoyed by people of all ages. The Trikke vehicle and Trikke 3CV Technology were refined over the past 14 years by Jose "Gildo" Beleski, a Brazilian mechanical designer, who sought to develop a product that combines the performance of a premium vehicle for serious sports enthusiasts, along with the safety and stability needed for kids and regular riders. His idea marries the dynamics of car suspension with a three-wheeled vehicle concept that allows a rider to ride and "carve" in a comfortable, upright standing posture. In 1990, Gildo created and tested the first version of the Trikke, and in 1999, he came to the United States to pursue his dream of developing and marketing his vehicle to the world.
The Trikke vehicle's means of propulsion is unique, as the smooth side-to side swaying that creates forward motion is not found in any other vehicle. To power the vehicle, the operator simply pushes off on the stable foot platform and simultaneously turns the vehicle, establishing angular momentum. Leaning into the turn shifts the centre of gravity of the operator and vehicle to the inside of the turn, resulting in linear acceleration along the path of the turn. The process is continued in the opposite direction, with each shift of the operator's and vehicle's centre of gravity to the inside of the turn resulting in incredible speed. The rider can then go for miles, uphill or downhill, without ever touching the ground.
Founded in February 2000, and based in Los Angeles, California USA, the company markets Trikkes for kids, teens, and adults under the product names Trikke 5, Trikke 6, and Trikke 8 – in original and S-Series models. The long-term objective of Trikke is to generate and serve an entirely new product category with numerous innovations and iterations to come. The Skki by Trikke is an example of these innovations.
Each Trikke product utilises three-point cambering vehicle ("3CV") technology to drive its models, a platform that combines excellent stability, efficiency, and manoeuvrability. And now the Skki
Instead of the Trikke’s wheels, the Skki is equipped with three short carving skis – two at the back under each foot, and one at the front connected to the handlebars which turn and lean at the same time, to naturally and gracefully lead the rider into carving their way across the slope. As the direction and angles of all three skis is fixed by the Skki’s three-point cambering system, everything is kept in line and the machine tracks effortlessly across the snow – carving like a professional skiier made easy.
The strength of Skki lies in the ease of use. The learning curve is very short, after a simple instruction, people of all ages can ride the Skki. The Skki makes the carving experience available to all. Novice riders find the Skki easy to control and very safe. The fact that they are not attached to the vehicle, gives them an unknown feeling of freedom. There is no need for extra equipment, the Skki can be used with hiking- or snow boots. This makes it accessible to a lot of people.
The Skki has been developed during the last four years by inventor and mechanical designer Gildo Beleski. The Skki has been tested thoroughly at skiing resorts in the US, Canada, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Andorra and Austria.
Trikke riders, professional ski teachers and resort management who have used the Skki were very excited about it’s performance. Comments from professionals about the Trikke Skki include “a relaxed and a fun ride”, “it’s easy to find the carving spots”, “it’s accessible for everybody”, “you use your whole body to carve … this makes it a unique experience also for a well trained skier or snowboarder.”
The skis are easily removed for transport, and the entire machine comes pre-packed in a custom carry bag that can be worn like a back-pack or carried by the shoulder strap. Not heavy either, the entire package only weighs 34 lbs.