HP Velotechnik (HP Velo) Scorpion Recumbent Tricycle
Given the list of new tadpole trikes to come out recently one might ask, what’s really new? Well HP Velotechnik answers “the Scorpion”. It has rear suspension, like their bikes, and they are advertising a smaller turning circle than most tadpoles. I want to point out I have not ridden one yet but should have one on January 06 though it was supposed to be here in December.
Hp-Velo first began to experiment with a suspension tricycle in 1991. I expect the Scorpion rear suspension works well, active with no pogo; it looks like the same swing arm they use on their bikes where it works well. The suspension should isolate your body from road vibration without being affected by pedaling forces, even on hills climbs.
The rear suspension may not provide enough lateral support for single wheel trailers like the Bob. The Bob may be a bad idea on any trike; it would tend to make the trike tip more easily, especially when heavily loaded. One of the advantages of a trike is the ability to gear down and crawl up monster hills, nice when loaded for touring.
The Scorpion comes stock with the SRAM dual drive 24-speed system so you should have a wide range of ratios and can shift 3 of the gears even when stopped. I would not recommend the optional 18-speed derailleurs especially if you will be doing touring.
The Avid mechanical disk brakes are a good choice and will do a good job. There is an available rear parking brake option. Trikes can use a parking brake; they don’t have a kickstand to hold then still.
HP Velotechnik is advertising the Scorpion as “from 36 1/2 lbs with pedals.” This would be light for a trike with rear suspension. I believe the Scorpion will need several available, extra cost lightweight options to get to this weight. No word yet on what the base model will weigh.
The Scorpion uses their adjustable BodyLink seat, which is designed for a bike where you would not need side support in corners. I have not ridden it yet but expect to have to hang on in near tip-over corners to avoid sliding out of it. This is an extreme maneuver and I don’t expect most riders to notice.
The frame is made from heat treated aluminum, as are their bikes. The cross member is bent up and forward which should make it a bit easier to get your feet under you getting on and off the bike. It also keeps a long wheelbase for control during hard braking, a nice touch. Shorter riders will appreciate the lack of heel interference with this design.
Like most modern tadpole trike designs the Scorpion does not use centre-point steering geometry. This is done to reduce brake steer and usually works well.
HP Velo Scorpion:
The rear rack is designed for the lateral cornering forces of a trike. Made with ½” alloy tubing it is rated for up to 56 lb of luggage. Two support tubes allow mounting panniers high or low. Flag mount & rear light protector tube included. For heavy loads consider the optional air shock. Large, aerodynamic Moonbiker panniers are custom tailored to fit.
The body link seat comes in one size and adjusts to fits you. Seat base angle, seat back angle and length are all adjustable. The seat pan gives some side support, the seat back gives less; you lean into fast turns for maximum cornering speed. Optional airflow seat cushion is recommended for improved seat ventilation so you don’t sweat as much. Headrest is optional.
Like many trikes the Scorpion has under seat indirect steering, which most riders like for the relaxing arm and wrist position. Most also find indirect steering more intuitive than direct steering. Advertised 12’8” diameter turning circle is one of the smallest. Kingpins turn on smooth, serviceable Ahead-type bearings. Steering rods bronze ends and cartridge bearings at the stem pivot are maintenance free.
The drivetrain is almost completely covered, protecting both the chain and your trousers. Special low friction chain tubes are drawn from PTFE.
The Sachs dual drive 24 speed is standard and has good gearing for climbs. Dual derailleurs with a double crank is an option, we can install a triple option if you want to climb real hills.
The available Streamer front fairing will improve your riding comfort in cold or wet weather. Custom mounts should simplify mounting. Fenders will help a lot in poor weather also.
The low center of gravity and weight distribution the Scorpion handles hard braking well. The standard disc brakes should have plenty of stopping power, even when wet. Each front wheel has it’s own brake lever so you may feel a little brake steer but the non centerpoint steering geometry should minimize this. The optional hydraulically coupled front brakes for one-hand operation of both brakes is a neat option.
The front wheels can be removed with one Allen wrench for transport. The rear suspension should ford somewhat too. It is not a folding bike but will get somewhat smaller when needed.
Optional V-brake at the rear wheel as parking brake, operated by a thumb-shifter at the handlebar. It is not a brake for use in panic stops. (With dual front disk brakes you won’t need it for stopping?)
The No-Squat rear suspension on the Scorpion looks to be the same as on their bikes. It works well on the two wheelers, It should be good on a trike too. It is tunable for rider and luggage weight and works independently of pedaling force. It absorbs bumps but not your pedaling energy. Your pedaling effort energy goes into forward motion not bobbing the shock.
You can tow two wheel trailers up to 69 lbs. With or without a rear rack mounted on the bike. This picture shows optional water bottle mounts on the rear of the seat. With a bit of practice most riders find they can reach them pretty well while riding.
|Advertised “minimum weight”||36 1/2 lbs with pedals|
|Seat height||9 1/2″|
|Suspension travel||2 3/4″|
|Suspension pivot||maintenance free|
|Seat||HP BodyLink-seat adjustable|
|Wheel size||20″ (ISO 406)|
|Max load||275 lbs|
|Rider height range||5′ 5″ to 6′ 7″|
|Frame||7005T6 heat-treated Aluminum|
|Frame warranty||10 years|
|Powder coat colors:||dark blue or orange|