Swingtrike: Foldable three-wheeler carves through corners
Getting about on a bicycle is environmentally friendly, great for your health and cost effective. One drawback – particularly for those learning to ride or for whom balance is an issue – is the instability that comes with being on two wheels at low speeds. Tricycles offer a way to overcome this problem, but three-wheelers have their own set of stability issues when it comes to cornering at higher speeds. Like the Deliver-E Trike we looked at earlier this year, the Swingtrike aims to provide a best of both world solution by employing a tilting design that keeps all wheels on the ground across bumpy terrain and through corners, making it safer – and more fun – than traditional fixed frame trikes.
The front wheel drive Swingtrike uses a strong rubber spring between the rear wheels to allow it to rock and sway in a controlled motion while keeping all wheels on the ground.
The trike's track can also be adjusted from 300 mm (12 in) track to 500 mm (19.5 in) to offer more stability for the rider without effecting the lean functionality.
To up comfort levels, the Swingtrike's to saddle is located 20 cm (8 inches) behind the cranks and the steering bar is in a high position to give the rider a more upright seating position. The ergonomic position also ensures the rider is looking straight ahead, not orientated toward the ground. The seat is 6cm lower (2.5 inches) than on common bikes and the frame height can be adjusted for easier mounting and dismounting.
The Swingtrike has disc brakes all around, 20-inch wheels at the in front and 16-inches in the rear. Its standard three gear system can be upgraded to a Shimano eight gear hub and other options include include a child seat, aluminum carrier, lighting system and mudguards. It's also foldable for storage and transportation and retails for EUR1,699.
The German company also has plans for electric motor-support (pedelec) as well as some some interesting concept designs for electric tilting three-wheelers.
There is a Tricycle called Fun2Top in Japen, which have two wheel in the front, each with independent suspension, rear wheel with normal gears, all wheels with disc brake.
The whole idea about higher weight source around corners is a graat reason for tadpole trike and delta trike design. Tilting wheels are helpful, but the seat height and rider weight are pretty important considerations!
This looks like a clever idea, that has already been solved in a much simpler (and cheaper) way.
Compare this to most of the tadpole-style recumbent trikes, and it looks overly complex, with a poor basic design.
The gearing choices and overall design indicate that this is more of a neighborhood toy than a serious commuting or touring machine.
I ride a recumbent tadpole trike regularly (ICE Trice Q), and on most surfaces it will slide before tipping.
The secret is in the recumbent riding position, which keeps the center of gravity low, and minimizes wind resistance. I doubt that the Swingtrike will corner any better, thanks to the high CoG.
The recumbent seat is far more comfortable than any upright bike I have tried, and with simple polymer-based rear suspension (current models have available polymer front suspension as well) and 20\" wheels all round, ride will be far superior.
For about the same price as the trike in the article, I have a machine that can carry 90 liters of stuff optional paniers off the rear rack, has a 27-speed gear set with an 800 % gear spread from low to high, disk brakes up front with a rear parking / drag disk brake, as well as the rear suspension. 20\" wheels all round (as well as on my trailer) mean only one spare tube has to be carried.
Your Trice may be comfortable, but it\'s impractical in city traffic. It\'s way too low, leading to poor visibility for both rider and other drivers. It\'s also difficult to get in and out because the seat is so low. Width at about three feet is also too wide to comfortably share a lane with cars. Center of gravity height is meaningless. The tilting keeps the Swingtrike COG in line with the cornering force, which is why it doesn\'t fall down, just like on any two-wheeler.
I\'ve owned and ridden both uprights and recumbents. The problem with the \"recumbents are the perfect bicycles\" attitude is that it usually strikes others as arrogant overstatement. And they\'re right. Recumbents have their own drawbacks, which rabid proponents like to omit.
The comment from "Tiger Tony" is not really helpful.
The Swingtrike shown on GIZMAG was designed for elderly people who have balancing problems. Swingtrike offers also sport trikes with rear wheel drive. Please check the pic of the new vehicle on my facebook account. The new model will be on the market in summer 2011.
And... by the way: If anybody has really built a tilting three-wheeler he knows that dynamic inclination is definitely impossible with most of the ordinary inventions. I have tried all simple solutions - nothing worked. When you design a tilting trike with a very low seating position you get almost no view to the traffic. If your seating position is high enough (at least 600mm) you soon will get painful contact with the ground. I mean: your seat is located somewhere in the rear and the single front wheel tends to lose grip when inclining due to the additional steering function the wheel has to provide. That's a situation you want to avoid.
So it would make sense to put two wheels in the front. But on a light weight vehicle the main weight comes from the driver not from the chassis. Hence the two wheels have to support the area where the driver is located.
Now the Swingtrike offers a patented feature that reduces the steering forces on the single front wheel. As the vehicle starts to corner the two rear wheels - which have maximum grip compared to the single front wheel - start steering according to the inclination. The only idea that competes with the technical stability of the Swingtrike is possibly the Trikke-concept.
There are many folks, especially the elderly, who have arthritic knees or worse, who simply cannot easily get onto a recumbent and would find it almost impossible to get off of one without help. This is the reason why I'm driving a minivan now instead of a sedan and why I had to hang up my beloved Schwinn Moab mountain bike in favor of an Electra Townie. I'd love to try this swing trike, but the $2,000 price is too rich for my blood.
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning