This is a review of the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike. This trike is made by Catrike, an American manufacturer of premium tricycles for adults. They have created a great line, and the Catrike 700 is positioned right at the top.
This trike is aimed at the avid cyclist who wants the most efficient, speed-oriented trike available. It is for anyone who wants to get some speed going on a bike – with three wheels and a recumbent frame. It is lightweight, aerodynamic, and beautifully crafted, with premium components.
I took the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike out for a test ride, and had so much fun that I ended up staying out way too long and getting a sunburn. My daughter joined me for a while, and she agreed that it was an extremely relaxing ride. Here is a short video in which we both test ride the bike. It gives you a sense of what it feels like to ride this trike.
First Reactions to Riding the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike
First of all, a heads-up: you WILL be noticed when you ride this bike! A lot of people stop and stare. I think it is because it looks sleek and different, so it really stands out. I had more conversations with complete strangers during this test ride than we have when we take our cute dogs for a walk! I had people say things like, “Cool rig!” as I shot past them. Everyone pretty much got it that this was an out-of-the-ordinary bike, and that I was having a lot of fun!
I knew I was going to have fun with this trike from the moment I first laid eyes on it. It reminds me of the go-carts I use to build as a kid – except instead of being made of wood and junkyard wheels, it is made out of premium materials. And of course, it has details like gears, drive chain, and brakes! What it has in common with the go-carts of my youth is that incredibly fun feeling of being close to the ground while moving with speed, the wind flowing past you. I loved that feeling while I was test riding this bike.
Riding the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike
When my daughter first got on the bike, she wanted to know, “How do I steer?” I told her to just go. Sure enough, she was just fine. The thing is, there is something quite instinctive about just throwing your whole body into a recumbent bike. You just immediately KNOW how to use your arms to move the handgrips. Leaning is not required, but your whole body is involved in controlling the bike and transferring power to the drive chain. I was mainly interested in seeing how fast I could go on this trike, so I was surprised that the first thing that struck me was how comfortable it is. With your back supported, and your head cradled by the adjustable headrest, it is wonderfully comfortable. Once I tired myself out, I spent more than an hour just idling around with it – spin the pedals once, then lay back and enjoy the sun on my face. Repeat. Repeat again! It was just so much fun. That part of it was more like a Rest ride than a Test ride!
When I was actually going fast, I soon got the hang of the SRAM gears, which you change with your thumbs (as you can see in the video above, they are handily situated on the hand grips).
The thing that surprised me most about this bike was how much it involved my whole body. Basically, it felt like it gave me a full body workout. When you are climbing hills, you are pushing those pedals with your entire core and legs, while using your shoulders and arms to pull synergistically on the hand grips. That full body workout would in itself be a good reason to get a recumbent bike or trike, in my opinion.
Of course, you do have to consider safety. Most people I know who use recumbents add on a tall flag to make sure they are seen by motorists. I did not do this for my test ride, and felt a little anxious at first. However, it seemed that no one had any difficulty noticing me on a 7-foot-long bright orange bike! Note that the bike does in fact come with a flag mount and flag.
In that regard, I liked that the bike comes with a rear-view mirror. I always add mirrors to my bikes. They are a great safety feature. As a driver, I am used to knowing what is behind me, so I don’t like being on a bike and not knowing what is coming up behind me.
Turning on this bike was remarkably nimble, and I found it so much fun that I sought out obstacle courses to maneuver around!
Note that getting on and off this bike is a little tricky, as it is so low to the ground. Getting on requires lowering yourself carefully into the seat. To get out, you need to engage the brakes (so the trike does not move on you), while using thigh strength to stand up. I think a person with significant disabilities would need help to get on and off this trike. That brings me to the next issue.
Who is the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike Designed For?
Catrike report that all kinds of people buy this trike, including a lot of athletes, and fitness fans looking for full-body aerobic exercise.
The Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike will appeal to a wide range of people. People choose recumbent bikes and trikes for a variety of reasons. For some it might be because they have disabilities, or back problems. I know a keen recumbent bike rider who once told me that, “Sooner or later, everyone needs a recumbent!” He does a long-distance commute on his recumbent bike every day!
However, many people will choose a recumbent bike or trike simply for the quality of the ride. As mentioned, you can put the entire power of your body into the ride on this trike. This makes for a very different, and potentially a very fast bike ride!
Components of the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike
The Catrike 700 is designed for speed. As you can see from the photos, it puts the cyclist in a low, aerodynamic body position. It has a lightweight frame that is ergonomically designed to put you in an ideal position to generate power and speed. The big 700c rear wheel ensures efficient power transfer, and high gearing gives you great shifting options for hill climbing and speed.
You can quickly and easily adjust the bike to suit your leg length with a central adjustable boom. This video shows that, as well as the other key components.
The trike comes fitted with Avid BB7 Disc Brakes on both front wheels, with Avid levers on the hand rests for quick, powerful stopping. The pedals are double-sided, with one side ready for flat shoes, and the other side set up for clipless attachment. This is a great arrangement if you like to sometimes be casual and sometimes goes clipless. For me personally, I would swap these out for regular pedals, as I never go clipless.
The bike has SRAM gears, and a range of other quality components as well. You can see the full list of components at the end of this post.
Other Catrike Bikes
The Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike is the performance model in the Catrike line. Catrike offers many other models, including some with full suspension for added comfort (the Dumont and Road AR).
Catrike also offers models with a higher cockpit placement for ease of entry and exit (Villager and Trail). They have models that fold for ease for storage (Dumont, Pocket, 559, Trail). They even have models intended to take extra weight for extended cycle touring (Expedition and 559).
Catrike aspires to make the best trikes possible, in line with their mission of inspiring more people to ride and have active lifestyles. They take great pride in their engineering, and utilize in-house manufacturing process so they can control the performance of Catrike Trikes from the ground up. Each model in the line is thoughtfully designed to meet specific needs. If you are in the market for any kind of trike, you cannot go wrong by starting with a good long look at the Catrike line. If you are in the market for a performance high-speed recumbent trike, you owe it to yourself to take the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike for a test ride! Check it out here.
List of Components of the Catrike 700 Performance Recumbent Trike
|Brakes||Avid BB7 Disc Brakes|
|Brake Levers||Avid Speed Dial 7 Brake Levers|
|Front Derailleur||Microshift Triple|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM GX 10 Speed|
|Shifters||SRAM 500 TT Bar End Shifter|
|Crankset||FSA Gossamer Pro Triple|
|Bottom Bracket||FSA Road MegaExo|
|Chain Guard||FSA Guard|
|Cassette||SRAM 11/36 10 Speed|
|Idler||TerraCycle Sport Power Idler 15T|
|Headsets||FSA Zero Stack|
|Front Tires||406 Schwalbe Durano|
|Rear Tire||700c Schwalbe Durano|
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