The T12 Roadster is the Trikke of choice for many riders, but the pre-2011 model lacks some of the comforts and amenities found on the current model. The old sandpaper deck grips are the most glaring deficiency and are likely the first thing that will need to be replaced. They wear out quickly, and once they are smoothed down your foot will easily slip off. Furthermore, they transmit all the road vibrations directly to your sole, and your feet will likely be burning after just a few miles.
Fortunately, there are several easy and inexpensive upgrades for the deck grips. The first choice is to replace them with Trikke’s own laser-cut grip tape (approx. $13) which reportedly will last 20 times longer than the stock grip tape. The second is to upgrade to the same rubber foot decks that come standard on the current T12’s. Although they cost substantially more (approx. $35), the increased comfort and durability makes it worth the expense.
The rubber decks are curved at the back to match the curvature of the new T12 fenders, but they will still work against the older straight-edged fenders if you don’t mind a small gap at the rear. Your feet should not be this far back anyway, so the gap will not affect your performance.
Although I have been planning this as a future upgrade for my copper T12, I got a chance to do the work first on my friend Megan Hanley’s black T12. Megan is a new Trikker, and she bought this Trikke secondhand off of Craigslist. It needed numerous repairs and upgrades before she could safely ride it, and I thank Megan for letting me photograph the deck upgrade for my article.
To remove the old decks without scraping and marring the paint, you will need a hair dryer or heat gun to soften the adhesive. At the time I began the grip tape removal on Megan’s Trikke, it had been sitting in the sun for two hours which also helped. Begin the removal by heating one end, and gently use a flathead screwdriver to begin the removal. Once you’ve got it started, just pull on it gently by hand as you continue to heat it.
Unfortunately, there may still be some adhesive residue on the metal deck even after the grip tape is removed. I have read of people using a variety of solvents to remove this, but as I had nothing handy (and had too tight a deadline to go shopping and play trial-and-error with things) I continued to heat the adhesive with the hair dryer as I rolled the adhesive off with my fingers. This does take some patience, but the adhesive will roll up much like rubber cement.
Before applying the new rubber decks, wipe down the metal decks with rubbing alcohol to ensure a clean surface for adhesion. Test fit the new rubber decks to be sure of their position before removing the paper backing. Now you’ve reached the easy part; carefully line up the new decks and press them into place. And just like that, you’ve got an old T12 with all the comfort and grip of a new one!
I again thank Megan for letting her T12 be the guinea pig for this work. We are both delighted with the results, and I will be doing this upgrade to my copper T12 in the very near future.