Pain in areas such as the neck, butt and knees cause many cyclists to switch to recumbents. A lot of other people shy away from the low-slung bikes and trikes, however, as they have concerns about visibility. That's why Australian manufacturer Hiele has created the Trivek. It's a semi-recumbent delta tricycle that lets its rider sit back in a comfy seat while still sitting tall enough to be seen by motorists.
Along with its ergonomic-but-not-too-low seating arrangement, the Trivek also has a few other interesting features.
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One of these is a steering system that allows the trike to lean into turns – this makes it more stable than traditional upright tricycles when turning.
Additionally, hand controls on the under-seat handlebar allow riders to adjust the damping of the steering system as they're riding. This means (for example) that they could set the steering to be more responsive when maneuvering slowly in traffic, while making it less so when traveling quickly on long straight highways.
Its front wheel-drive drivetrain is also pretty interesting. The bottom bracket and the front wheel hub are essentially combined, situating the cranks/pedals on either side of the front wheel – it's not a penny farthing-like direct drive system, though.
Instead, a chain on one side of the wheel transmits the rider's pedaling power to a Shimano 8-speed hub transmission, which is mounted above the wheel (a 14-speed Rohloff model is optional). After being "processed" by the transmission, that power is then relayed back down to the wheel, via a second chain on the other side.
Other features include dual rear 160-mm hydraulic disk brakes (a rim brake is used in front), adjustable seat height, and quick-release wheels featuring Alex rims and Schwalbe tires.
Hiele is now raising production funds for the Trivek, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$1,899 will get you one, when and if they're ready to go. You can see the trike in action, in the video below.