TrikeExplor – Part I: Solving a Chinese Puzzle

05/03/2020
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TrikeExplor offers an interesting line up of recumbent trikes and quads designed and manufactured in China. They first captured my attention in 2018 with their innovative folder, the M320, currently the world’s smallest folding trike.

Most folding trikes basically fold in half, which may be good enough for conveniently putting one trike in the back of a subcompact hatchback, but not two. Since the Evolve (briefly Edge 2) languishes in limbo and the Trident Odyssey remains a prototype, the M320 is the only option where the cross members fold in close to the frame for a truly small fold – 47x67x90cm.

For my use, I’ll simply fold back the boom, fold in the cross members, leave the rear wheel on, and pop it into my Honda Fit.

With my interest peaked in the M320, three questions arose: WHO is making these trikes, WHY is there a headset in the middle of the frame and HOW can I get one?

WHO?

TrikExplor was launched as the performance recumbent brand offered by Motrike in 2017 (http://motrike.com). Motrike reports that it is the largest global supplier of recreational tricycles and quadricycles, the majority being upright designs.

WHY?

TrikExplor designs share a common mainframe to which the cruciform (or fork) and the rear triangle of their 2, 3 or 4 wheel models are bolted. On the trike and quad designs, the headset location serves as one of two points where the cruciform is bolted to the frame.

This diagram illustrates the modularity https://sc02.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1aC11a…FXa1.jpg_.webp

In theory, a consumer has the flexibility to swap frame parts if they decide they want a different model. For example, you can purchase both a rigid and suspended rear for your M320, convert your 326 from standard to fat tires, or even turn your trike into a quad. In practice, I imagine the design’s main benefits are simplified manufacturing and shipping.

Modular design and bolted on frame parts are not new, but TrikExplor’s use of both elements is more extensive than other examples I am familiar with.

HOW?

TrikExplor has multiple dealers in Europe, but their plan to establish a US presence has been delayed by the Trump trade war. I did notice, however, a TrikEplor U.S.A. website has recently been launched at http://trikexplor.com.

In October I ordered a M320 directly from TrikExplor’s AliExpress store. In part II of this story I’ll share how the purchasing process went and my first impressions of the recently arrived trike.

In the meantime here are two photos of my trike just prior to shipping from China.


edh

Tim
Triking since 1997.

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