Bikernet Blog Search Bikernet
Ride Forever -
Thursday Edition

Threesome Report: Trikes News, Autocycle Adventures, Side-Car Views

Wayfarer reports on the three-wheeled industry boom

Ujjwal Dey

Share this story:

Incredible Custom Trike gets a War Veteran back on the road


Jim Schombs a Navy Seal had a stroke in 2001. The war veteran believed his motorcycle riding days were over. Then he talked to some older veterans he met who had disabilities. The elder veterans told him about Trikes - a motorcycle with one front wheel and two rear wheels which were safer and a lot more fun to ride for bigger adventures on the road.


Thanks to Haus of Trikes & Bikes in Fort Myers, Jim Schombs now is doing the thing he loves the most: Ride a Harley-Davidson.


Sales consultant Mike Tinneny knew Schombs' disabilities were obstacles to riding but also knew how to make it work with a custom built Trike.


On Jan. 21, 2019 Schombs received his new customized 2009 Harley Davidson Heritage trike.


"It gave me a good piece of life back and quality of life back that I thought I wouldn't find again," he said.


Without Haus of Trikes & Bikes - one of the largest combined trike and bike dealers in Florida - Schombs may not have been able to reclaim his passion.


"Once you ride a motorcycle, you will never get that out of your blood," Tinneny said. "It's a true addiction. Motorcycle enthusiasts will always have that itch, even if they don't ride for years."


"I've never seen someone so excited to get on his motorcycle," Tinneny noted.


The stroke of Schombs meant he lost control over most of the left side of his body, including his leg and hand. He would not be able to shift gears on a motorcycle or even a trike. On most motorcycles, the clutch and shifter are on the left side of the bike, the side of Schombs' body that was affected by the stroke.



"We had to use a centrifugal clutch so he didn't have to use his hand for shifting gears," Tinneny said. "Furthermore we added a drag racing shifter, which just uses finger buttons to shift up or down without using your left foot."


The hardest obstacle to overcome was finding a clean looking way to get into neutral gear, he said, since the shifter is made to race and not fall into neutral.


"To make it work, we changed the barrel in the transmission," Tinneny said, explaining that, "A normal transmission is set to first gear, neutral, second, third, etc. "We customized it so it starts at neutral then first, second, third, etc."


To accommodate the wheelchair in the back, the trike is made by Motor Trike. It has an air ride suspension to make up for the additional weight.


Tinneny says he's done plenty of bikes for veterans in the past, but Schombs' was one-of-a-kind, "since his needs were very specific."


He said everything just had to be changed, adding, "It's a complete custom."


"We nailed it on the first shot, too," Tinneny said.


"When you walk up to it you think, 'Oh, it's just a Harley trike,' but the more you look it at it you notice it's a completely customized trike."


Manfred Glanzner, owner of Haus of Trikes & Bikes, said in a news release, "I am very proud of our team. We were able to think out of the box and provide a trike, which I believe, will make Jim very happy. Giving back to a veteran who served our country for over 20 years, is the least we can do."


And it meant a lot to Schombs, too. Tinneny said he would call every few days to check on his trike.


"When he saw it put together, he was on it. He didn't want to get off it."


And he still doesn't.


After Schombs got his new trike, he started out riding in his neighborhood, a two-mile loop. Then he began riding short distances to the store or to see friends. Then he did what he called "further outs" around Cape Coral.


So far, his longest ride has been 25 miles, but Schombs tries to build up his endurance and ride every day.


"Once you ride," he said. "It's really special. Like having a really nice car you love that you lost in an accident or something, and you just can't find the same car again."


A Delivery Trike Is Coming


No this is not a rebirth of the Harley-Davison Servi-Car of the 1930s.


The T3 which is a tricked-out tricycle with heavy-duty suspension systems could soon become an option for delivering groceries to New Yorkers.


The T3 is a tricycle built for grown-ups, and it is not for recreation but for hauling.


Weighing at 150 pounds, it has an aluminum frame that sits on three small but durable bicycle tires with a heavy-duty suspension system in front. The suspension is meant for all-terrain vehicles supposed to navigate New York city’s innumerable potholes. It can haul up to three times its weight which means nearly a quarter-ton of cargo. A single click on the handlebar unleashes a power-boost from an electric-hub in the rear wheel to take it uphill.


The “T” stands for “trike,” is a prototype of an urban delivery vehicle from Upcycles which is a Brooklyn start-up founded in 2017. The purpose is to create a greener and more flexible alternative to trucks for delivering everything from groceries to office supplies. The the company built two earlier prototypes. This third incarnation labelled T3 is considered a bicycle under city law. It can travel on and fit within the city’s growing network of bike lanes and park on the sidewalk instead of parking in the street.


Upcycles has attracted the attention and support of Urban-X, a Brooklyn-based incubator program for city-focused start-ups created by the Mini car company. They have invested $60,000. Upcycle’s initial funding of $600,000 came from one of its founders philanthropist Joshua P. Rechnitz.


Two earlier versions were both made from steel and hence far more heavier — requiring more effort to pedal, especially uphill. T3 was designed from the start to be lighter and more easily and cheaply manufactured. Components of the trike include an electric hub motor for the rear wheel, a chain-drive system, suspension system and on-board computer.


“In the next year we are going from a prototype toward production vehicles, building and producing small batches from our shop — it will be about getting them into the hands of our test users,” said Nick Wong, an Upcycles founder member.


Getting a small fleet of the trikes on the street and putting them to work would help grow awareness of T3 delivery trike as per Mr. Wong. This seems like obvious marketing strategy on busy streets of New York with its many delivery on the roads.


T3 is still legally classified as a bicycle and can be parked in and go places trucks cannot since it is not a fully an electric vehicle. Its compact dimensions allow it to fit through standard commercial doorframes for deliveries as well as between anti-terrorism bollards that have been placed on dedicated bike paths of the modern urban landscape.


European cities have introduced restrictions on truck freight deliveries in urban areas. That has in turn helped foster interest in all sorts of human-powered “cargo cycles” leading to many start-ups in the automotive sector. The innovations are seen in personal types of heavy-duty two-wheel bicycles to different models of trikes and even four-wheeled quads.


There is constant innovation in Logistics and urban transport especially with e-commerce, drones, Uber, self-driving vehicles and electric vehicles gaining popularity (and investment) on a global scale.


In South East Asia two-wheeled taxis are common. Now Cargo Bikes present a whole new world of transport which was in the past only seen as humourous Asian memes on the internet where Asian motorcycles were seen transporting bulk goods in a very risky manner.


See our Article "TWO-WHEELED TRUCKS" from October 2006


U.P.S. has been testing other trike designs in the United States with pilot projects currently underway in both Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.


"To some extent we are seeing a return to the way things used to be done and are continuing to be done now in the developing world,” Ms. Alsion Conway an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at The City College of New York said. “After all, we’ve had bike couriers forever.”



Comanche gas/electric recumbent trike


A new dirt trike is made for adventure. Stanford University aerospace engineering graduate Dak Steiert created the Comanche - a gas or electric-powered recumbent trike that fits in the back of a hatchback or SUV - ready to be transported to adventure sport locations for fun and frolic to begin. Or you could just ride it on the mean streets where you live.


Four versions of the Comanche are hoped for – gas and electric off-road models, along with gas and electric street-legal moped models.


Compared to traditional motorbikes, the planned four are claimed to be more easily transported and offers greater stability. There are a set of outrigger wheels in the back, to keep the trikes from tipping over. They are better cargo-carrying capacity via an optional package that includes dual rear boxes and a rack.


The gas off-road model features a 6.5-hp engine that takes it to a top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) although optional upgrades to beefier engines boost that figure, maxing out with a 450cc engine that delivers about 70 mph (112 km/h). The electric off-road version, on the other hand, has a 5-kilowatt motor powered by a 24-Ah battery pack. It also tops out at 45 mph, and has a claimed range of 70 miles (112 km) per 5 to 8-hour charge.



The two off-road models have 11 inches of rear suspension travel, with 8 inches of front suspension available as an upgrade. For really serious obstacle-climbing, there's also a 14-inch independent front suspension option.


The gas moped model has a 50cc engine that puts out roughly 1.5 hp, while the electric moped has a 3-kilowatt motor and a 14-Ah battery pack, delivering a range of about 40 miles (64 km) per charge. In order to stay street-legal, both versions are limited to a top speed of approximately 20 to 25 mph (32 to 40 km/h). And no, they don't have pedals.


The Comanche is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign:


There are a number of packages available, with pledges for full vehicles starting at US$2,475 for the base gas off-road or moped models (planned retail $2,975), $4,275 for the base electric off-road (retail $4,950) and $3,650 for the electric moped (retail $4,175).



Gotcha Unveils Electric Trike


Gotcha is known for its bike, scooter, and ride share e-mobility products and now has announced it will add a new three-wheeled electric trike to its portfolio of assets. With this product launch, the company will be the first in the shared mobility industry to offer e-trikes to the public and the only shared e-mobility provider with four distinct products for first/last-mile transportation, all operated through one integrated app.


The Gotcha Trike is an approachable, easy-to-use shared mobility product. The three wheels, state-of-the-art stability reinforcement technology, and a robust kickstand mean it's more accessible and stable than a two-wheeled motorcycle.


Gotcha Trike goes up to 25 mph and can continuously operate up to 40 miles on a single battery charge. This capability allows riders to traverse significantly longer distances as compared to a scooter or bike.


Gotcha plans to begin adding e-trikes to existing and new systems later this spring.


Gotcha will be hitting the road with its newest mobility product on a 979-mile trek through the Charleston S.C. - the trike will be helmed by none other than the company's CEO and founder, Sean Flood. Beginning in Tallahassee where the company was founded 10 years ago, Sean Flood will journey on the e-trike for seven days across five states, completing the trek in Austin, TX during the renowned SXSW festival.


"Gotcha's fleet of e-mobility products delivers a holistic suite of vehicles that provide viable micro-transit options for our riders," said Sean Flood. "We want to revolutionize the way people view shared mobility. Our e-trike gives riders an alternative option that provides added stability, longer trips, and more accessibility." 


SXSW festival-goers and media members will get the first in-person look at the trike at an event on Sunday, March 10th. Guests will be able to ride e-trikes and Gotcha's other unique e-mobility products on a test track.


In the evening, Gotcha will premiere a Trike Trek documentary that chronicles Flood's cross-country trip the previous week. For more details on the event and to RSVP, visit Gotcha's Facebook page. The track will also be open on Monday, March 11th from 11:00am to 4:00pm for e-trike rides.


Follow along during the Trike Trek on Gotcha's social, @RideGotcha on Instagram and Facebook. Visit for more information.


ABOUT GOTCHA: Gotcha is the only mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) company offering four sustainable micro-transit products—e-bikes, e-scooters, e-trikes, and 100%-electric ride share vehicles—through one proprietary, app-based platform. Gotcha empowers communities to lead happier, more productive lives through alternative forms of transportation specifically designed for each market served. Gotcha currently operates over 50 shared e-mobility systems in cities and universities across the US. For more information, visit , email or call 843.647.7342.



Australian Postmen bikes to make way for e-trikes


Postie bikes are going to make way for e-trikes as growth in parcels stamps out letter delivery. The sound of the local postie bike coming up the street will give way to the whirl of an electric trike as Australia Post rolls out its new mail delivery vehicles.


Australia Post said the new electronic delivery vehicles (eDVs) had more sun protection and carrying capacity, and would keep posties safer from swooping magpies.


Mitch Buxton, the general manager of network optimisation for Australia Post, said people would start to see more of these types of vehicles coming out to deliver to houses.


"Our postie bikes in the past have been great workhorses, but they are limited in what they can carry," he said. "It [the wave of new trikes] means there's a place for a postie many years into the future."


Online shopping growth means more to carry. Australia Post estimates that the volume of parcels has grown 10 per cent per year, for the past three years. They predict that by 2020 one in every 10 items bought, will be bought online. Therefore posties needed to adapt.


"We're not really carrying as many letters as we used to and we're starting to see more parcels," Mr Buxton said. "These are designed so that we park on the footpath and then service our parcels to the door."


The trikes were trialled in Tasmania in 2017, and the first wave of the new fleet is being trialled in Rockhampton, central Queensland.


The legacy is 50 years of postie bikes. Honda C110x are the most common delivery bikes, rolled out by Australia Post in 2018. The bikes are only available to Australia Post contractors, meaning only used bikes are able to be bought by the general public.


They have a modified seat area and exhaust to typical two-stroke motorbikes, modifications experts say are in place to improve postie comfort.



Australia Post first introduced motorbikes to its delivery fleet in the 1970s, with the Honda CT90. 


Along with these new e-trikes, Australia Post has also ordered a new fleet of 4,000 electric pushbikes.


The new vehicles are a world away from what Rockhampton man Michael McCabe remembers from his time as a postie in 1970. "You had to bring your own bike but you were given a Postmaster General bag, which is now called Australia Post of course," Mr McCabe said. "I was 'lucky' to be given the run that went all the way from Davis Street in Allenstown all the way out to Blackall Street, over all the hills … probably 10 to 20 kilometres. "So by the time I'd done that half a posties run I'd pedalled many, many, many steep hills. "It was all pedal power back then."


Despite the enormous physical challenge along with the climate bearing down on him, Mr McCabe has fond memories of the job. "My favourite thing were the lovely older ladies on Agnes Street who would always have a glass of cordial waiting for you when you got to the top of the hill.


"I also got to know many dogs."


According to Australia Post, despite their health and safety benefits, e-trikes have some limitations. Speed and terrain an issue for trikes exist. 


"They can't go everywhere, they do a certain speed and can go on certain terrain," Mr Buxton said.


"What we're doing now is going through our entire fleet and all of our rounds and we're making assessments and making sure that we're introducing vehicles that are fit for purpose for those types of conditions," he said.


THAT’S THE ROUND UP FOLKS. Send me your Trike News, Autocycle Adventures and Side-Car Views – photos most welcome – always at your service at


Ride On, Ride Free!!!

Share this story:

Back to Trikes Tech & News

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.