TRIKKE BIKE TO THE RESCUE
A three-wheeled wonder is the answer to getting through nasty traffic snarls
"It's a cycle. It's a bike. Hey, hey hold your horses, it's a Trikke." This is a three wheeled pedal-less, chain-less personal mobility and fitness machine all rolled into one. The cambering Trikke was originally built for downhill riding. The inventors soon discovered that the shifting of the rider's body weight could propel this machine forward. In addition they also have an electric powered one, in case moving around your body weight tends to be an issue for you.
The Trikke's design is as simple two flat floor boards, connected to the twin rear wheels. The front end has a single wheel for steering to complete the stable three wheeled design. The flat floor boards are independent of each other, but are connected to the front end. These floor boards can camber, in other words lean left and right. Doing so is vital to riding the Trikke as this very movement by shifting the body weight is what powers the Trikke ahead. We had an opportunity to try out both the manual as well as the electric variant of the Trikke.
The Trikke manual model we rode was called the T8 Air and is an adult size entry level model priced at about Rs 30,000. Hopping onto the Trikke T8 Air was easy enough as the three wheels provided good balance. Getting a move on, with a slightly downhill slope beckoning, riding the Trikke T8 Air was more like standing on a tricycle, while turning also was quite simple by leaning into the turn. But the real challenge came along when the street flattened out. From here, it was body weight which had to power the Trikke and we initially couldn't figure out how to do that. After half-an-hour we figured out on how to get the Trikke running on flat roads. We could only imagine that mastering this on inclines will take several hours.
It was time to ditch this labour-intensive machine and get into comfort mode. What we had was the top-of-the line electric variant -Pon-e DX - which comes with an electric hub motor mounted in the front wheel and disc brakes along the rear wheels added for good measure. It's got a 36-volt battery with a claimed top speed of about 25 Kph and a range of 45 kilometers per charge. And while the manual does require more effort to operate, the electric one is heavier because of the additional battery weight.
This jump-on-and-go electric Trikke is priced at Rs 1,10,000 and at that price, this urban mobility tool undercuts the Segways of this world by quite a bit and perhaps this could be a critical factor for India and Indians to warm up to this machine. A cheaper electric variant priced at Rs 90,000 will soon be made available.
Both the electric and manual Trikkes can be folded into half and accommodated in a car's boot for easy transport although the electric variant is quite bulky to fit in smaller hatchbacks. The electric Trikke might be what many people would want to ride in case they intend to use the Trikke mainly for personal mobility and to make a lifestyle statement. You could opt for a trailer along with it to carry luggage which makes it ideal to take to the mall or even to the office. The manual version will be preferred by folks wanting a good cardio exercise while getting around town and will be aimed at a younger audience.
The Trikke, in India, is expected to be sold through the online model with city wise distributors to help in assembling the machines. Trikke India will also take care of the after sales service. The launch could happen later this month or in early April. For now, jump right onto our image gallery to see the Trikke in action.
Jay is the editor of indiancarsbikes.in, a motorcycle and cars blog.