The Catrike 700 may be the fastest recumbent trike available, certainly the fastest for under $3000. It is light, low and has a 700c rear wheel for lower rolling resistance and smoother riding. It is much faster and lighter than some more expensive “performance” trikes. Its 700c rear wheel helps give it a 130” high gear so it can make use of that speed too. No need for extra large chainrings that may not shift well. I think the big rear tire gives a bit less rolling resistance, especially on textured roads like chip-seal pavement.
Catrike 700 Recumbent Tadpole Tricycle
The stock tires are a bit thin for some of the varied conditions encountered when commuting or on gravel bike paths. You could fit wider tires without much effort or expense. The 700c rear wheel also gives a little smoother ride, never a strong point on a Catrike due to their rigid frames. The 700c” is a very common size, spare tires and tubes will be easily available at any bike shop worth their salt. The 16” (349 ERTO) front tires are considerably less common. There are several good tires available but only recumbent savvy shops will know about them. Its 2008 price of $2750 combined with its 33 lb weight (on our digital scale) means it is less money and less massive than some heavier, slower carbon fiber trikes.
Like all Catrikes the 700 has direct steering. Now before you say “direct steer is twitchy at high speed” try the Catrike 700 yourself. The 700 (and the Expedition, Catrike’s other, more versatile new trike) have the longest wheelbase of any Catrike recumbent trikes. I think the long wheelbase of these trikes gives them very good high-speed stability, the best I’ve felt in a direct steer bike and in my opinion better than many indirect steer trikes. The longer wheelbase also helps eliminate brake steer which is already minimal on any Catrike.
The seat recline is not adjustable. Some riders will find the 27 degrees from the horizontal seat on the 700 a bit extreme; your neck may not like it for longer distances. It comes with the Catrike “Space” head rest, nice but I never seem to get any headrest adjusted quite where I like it. The 700 certainly is very aero. The lumbar curve on the 700 seat is a nice addition, I really like it. The Catrike seat cover has many buckles which allow you to in effect adjust the amount of lumbar curve but tightening and loosening them. Another nice addition is the TerraCycle chain idler. Quiet, smooth and durable, it may be the best idler in the business.
Now the downside (every bike/trike has them.) The 7” seat height combined with its 27-degree recline puts your head pretty low for visibility in busy traffic, proceed with caution. The 33 lb weight comes with a 250 lb weight limit, eliminating it from consideration for some larger riders. At 2 ¼” the ground clearance will limit your riding in some places like speed-bumps and rougher gravel roads. This is a large trike, about 80” long. It will be harder to fit in a car than most trikes. Like all Catrikes the 700 does not fold, but the pedal boom can be removed if you have to. Like all Catrikes the seat-recline is not adjustable. Like almost all tadpole trikes I personally feel it is too low for riding safely in heavy traffic.
So, now you know how I like the 700. Try one for yourself and see if YOU like it too!
2008 Catrike 700 tadpole trike specifications:
- Wheels Front 16 ” (349)
- Wheel Rear 700c
- Weight 33 Pounds (15.0 Kg)
- Wheel Base 45″ (1143mm)
- Wheel Track 27.5” (699mm)
- Total Width 31.5″ (800mm)
- Seat Height 7.00 ” (178mm)
- Turning Circle 18′ 4 ” (5.59m)
- Turning Radius 110″ (2.78m)
- Gear Inch Range 25” to 130”
- Ground Clearance 2.25” (57mm)
Fit & Ergonomics:
- 27 Degrees Ergo Seat (from horizontal)
- Rider Weight Limit 250Lb.
- Seat Width 14″ (355mm)
- Bottom Bracket 16″ (406mm)
- X-Seam 39 to 46″
- (Option Extra Long Boom Up to 53″)
- 27 Speed Drive Train
- Shimano Dura Ace Bar End Shifters
- Shimano LX Rear Derailleur
- Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes
- Avid FR5 Flat Pull Brake Lever
- Truvativ Elita EXO 165mm Triple Crankset
- SRAM PG 950 11-32 cassette
- KMC X9 Chain
- Standard Colors:
- Silver Cat or Black Cat
- Optional Colors:
- Basic: MSRP $99 (White, Yellow, Red, Blue)
- Neon: MSRP $129 (Lime Green, Pink)
- Sparkle: MSRP $149 (Orange, Red, British Racing Green, Blue)
- Schwalbe Stelvio tires
- New Boom Clamp System
- Ackerman Compensation
- No Brake Steer
- Self Centering
- Clipless Pedals
- Mirror, Computer Sensor Mount
- Aluminum Rod Ends
- Double Bend Frame
- Ergo Seat
- Space Neck Rest
- TerraCycle Pulley
- Exclusive patent pending Vertebrae Space Frame (VSF)