Yesterday’s article detailed the new features of the Trikke T10 Roadster. I assembled my new Trikke on a Friday evening after work, but due to dwindling daylight I had to patiently wait until Saturday morning for my long-awaited first ride. This machine had been talked about in the community for so long, but what would it be like to actually ride it?
Ride Stance and Step Height
My first impressions of it came with it parked in my own driveway Friday evening as I set it up alongside my trusty old T8 Sport and T12 Sport. Having logged several hundred miles on each of those Trikkes, I was well-acquainted with their pros and cons. The T8 is light, nimble, easy to step on and off of, and easy to get going from a dead stop. Yet it is doesn’t coast well and it is harder to achieve and maintain the speeds needed to keep up on group rides. The T12 on the other hand is great for long distances and faster paces. It took some experience to get used to its larger frame. Getting it started and maneuvering in tight areas is more challenging, but once up to speed it rides like a dream. The biggest issue I have with it though is the very high step on and off the foot decks. I am only 5’-5”, and when I have spells where my fitness level drops I find myself uneasy about stepping on and off it. I have never had to do an emergency dismount on it, but the fear of getting hurt in doing so has always gnawed at the back of my mind.
As I climbed repeatedly on an off all three Trikkes to get direct comparisons, I could tell right away that the T10 was designed to give me one of the compromises I longed for. It’s riding position felt nearly identical to my T12, with the only exception that the handlebars were a few inches narrower. In terms of body position, reach, and the natural feel of the handgrips I felt right at home on the T10 even before its first carve, yet it was also much easier to get on and off of than the T12. While it’s not as low as the T8, I felt just as confident getting on and off and it didn’t bother my knees like the T12 sometimes does.
I headed to the Ironton Rail Trail early in the morning to beat the coming heat. I wanted to take it easy on my first ride, so I decided to start in the middle of the 2 1/2 mile spur. This section of trail is nearly flat, newly paved, and less congested than the main loop. By parking in the middle, I knew I could easily get back to the truck should I have any issues. I took a set of hex wrenches too in case I had any problems or needed to make adjustments, but there ended up being no problems at all.
Riding a new Trikke is like driving a new car; everything works as you have come to expect, yet is has its own distinct feel to it. The first thing I noticed about the T10 was how smooth and quiet it is. While part of that might be attributed to it not being “broken in” yet, it was clear that this is a well-engineered and well-constructed machine. That said, it also felt heavier than expected. That could be attributed to the fact that I had only ridden my T8 Air in recent months, but I was a little disappointed at the physical effort it took to get going.
As I got comfortable on my new ride, I began to learn more about it. The T10 responds better to getting its power from deep leans and pushes from your legs than your arms. For me, this meant changing my riding style a bit as I tend to favor getting power from my arms. As I adapted my style though, I could feel it really respond. I didn’t ride at a particularly quick pace, but when I got the carving motion right I could tell that this Trikke has a lot of speed and potential in it.
My ride came in at a total of 5.53 miles. This included doing most of the paved spur (leaving out only the hill on the east end) then repeating just as small section in the middle. Physically I was pretty tired, even though I had logged double that mileage two weeks prior on my T8 Air. Between the weight of the T10 and the way it encourages you to power it more with your legs than arms definitely gave my muscles a workout. You should not let any of this discourage you; it is just the nature of each Trikke to work a little differently . And I do have to confess that my fitness this year has been pretty dismal. Between Pennsylvania’s relentlessly bad weather this year and my working two jobs, it has been pretty much impossible to ride regularly.
Still, my initial impression of the T10 was a positive one. It was a smooth and comfortable ride. The large, ridged decks gave me good grip and confidence as I rode, and getting on and off them was equally comfortable. The drum brakes on this thing are fantastic and really have to be experienced to fully appreciate. The stopping power is excellent and much smoother than the Trikkes with disk brakes. There was no screeching or sudden jerking, and it felt more like stopping a car than a scooter.
Due to more bad weather and continued work commitments, more than two weeks elapsed before I could ride the T10 a second time. My first ride had been smooth and uneventful, but I found myself wanting more of a challenge. How would I feel riding it a little further? How would it handle the moderate hill the linked the Ironton Rail Trail’s spur and main loop? I was determined to find out and also determined to participate in the first LSM since the T10’s had arrived. There was a lot of buzz on the internet, and even though it would be a solo ride for me, I still wanted to be part of the global event. After all, there is only chance at being part of the first “T10 LSM.”
I was cutting it close on time, but I did manage to get out for a Sunday evening LSM ride. I again went to the Ironton Rail Trail but this time started in Dark Town at the southeast corner of the loop. I often choose this as my starting point because no matter which direction you choose, you get the slight incline going out and the slight decline coming back. I chose to head clockwise around the loop which took me through the Biery Freight Yards section and then over the Lehigh Street bridge. There is a slight climb up and over this bridge, but I only really considered it a hill in my earliest days of Trikking. Still, it was the first climb of any sort I faced on the T10 and I was relieved to have handled it just fine.
I have to say, from the moment I set out on this second ride I felt very comfortable on the T10. It didn’t feel as heavy for some reason, and I already had some sense of how it liked to get its power. Yet I was still feeling a bit fatigued and nervous as I branched off the loop onto the spur to do my first real hill climb on the T10. There’s a long incline as you approach the MacArthur Road bridge. It’s not as steep as the big hill on the loop, but it’s still a significant climb. I had made it up twice in recent months on my T8 Air, the first time without stopping, the second time stopping only because I had to let a pack of bicyclists through. I had hoped to make it up equally well on the T10, but unfortunately I was unable to. This is where I really felt the difference on the narrower handlebars. I made it about halfway up before losing momentum. I stopped not due to fatigue, but because my climbing technique relies more heavily on arm power, and I just couldn’t keep the momentum going with my legs on the T10. I gave it a good push start to try the rest of the way and made it a bit further before running out of steam. I had climbed about 80% of the hill, but decided to walk the rest of the way. It was disappointing, yes, but given how far I did make it, I remain confident that I can modify my technique to make it the whole way on future runs. Steeper hills are going to pose a challenge to the T10 though.
After the climb, the rest of the ride was truly a joy ride. I only went as far as Chestnut Street before turning around, but the rest of the way back was mostly an easy glide. I got the T10 up to 17 miles-per-hour as I rode back down the hill between MacArthur Road and the loop. The T10 was steady and smooth even at this speed which further boosted my confidence in it. I had no trouble getting up the smaller incline to the loop with the momentum I had built. My favorite part of the ride came after though, as I continued the 2 1/2 mile return to where I had parked. This was where I finally found the T10’s sweet spot and held it there for long stretches of time. There is a very natural arc where the T10 surges forward, and it seemed to give me great feedback on exactly where that arc is. It requires more leaning and leg action that I am used to riding with, but as I continue to adapt to it I see this as a good thing as it is helping me become a stronger and faster rider.
This ride racked up another 6.32 miles, bringing my total T10 mileage to 11.85 miles. Trikke says it should take 30 miles to fully break in a new Trikke, so I am aware that I am still operating in that zone. I would expect this new Trikke to feel a little stiffer and take a little more effort until I get more miles on it. Despite that, I definitely felt more comfortable on my second ride than on my first. I have decided that I am not going to make any modifications to it until I am past the 30 mile break-in period as well because I want to learn to ride this the way it was designed to be ridden. The narrowness of the handlebars is a concern to me though, particularly in regards to hill climbing. I have a set of bar ends I may try later on to remedy this, though overall I am not a fan of bar ends. I will continue to comment on hill climbing as I get more rides in and work on adapting my technique.
Overall, my impression is that the T10 Roadster is a well-engineered machine. Trikke has achieved their goal of making it a true midpoint between the T8 and T12, and even with my shorter stature it is a machine that I am comfortable riding. When I’m on it, it rides more like a T12 than a T8 in terms of speed, smoothness, and cruising ability. Yet I can step on and off of it with confidence more like my T8. Those were the two main characteristics I was hoping for in the T10, and I am satisfied that this design has achieved it.
I look forward to sharing more rides, and I hope that both my work schedule and Pennsylvania’s weather will let me get out there more often as we head towards the end of summer and autumn. In the meantime, I would love to hear from others on how they are enjoying their T10’s. Feel free to comment on this post, or send in your own article which I will be happy to post here.
The moment my new T10 first set wheels on the Ironton Rail Trail
Even though they're slowly restoring this railcar, it's sad to see it looking rough and getting vandalized. And I love photographing my Trikkes with these painted arrows.
Good view of the new handlebars and grips as well as how purple it looks when the sun shines on it
A nice closeup of how purple the paint looks in the sun, and, and you can even see some of the sparkles!
One of my favorite photo spots at the end of the paved spur near Portland Street
The asphalt machine looked like it wanted to eat my beautiful T10, so we set down the trail in a hurry!
The hill begins at the corner in the background, and I got this far up it before running out of momentum.
The trail levels out just around the bend ahead before it goes under MacArthur Road. I was disappointed to stop short of making it the whole way up, but I did come close.
A beautiful place to stop for a break and a photo op
Jamie is 47-years young and enjoys exploring Pennsylvania's myriad rail-trails on her Trikkes. When she's not riding, she enjoys reading, writing, caring for her cats, and obsessing about Game of Thrones.