Equipped with a x20 component level mountain drive train, a 22-36T double chainring crankset, 11-40T cassette, Avid BB7 brakes, beefy 24-inch Schwalbe Smart Sam 24×2.10 tires and outstanding ground clearance, the TerraTrike Rambler All Terrain ($2399) has all the components and sure-footed stealth to venture off the beaten paved bike path onto dirt roads, gravel, sand and wide paths.
Although I rode it on plenty of paved paths, gravel grinding and wide packed-dirt trails is where it performed best, thanks to its rugged tires. Regardless of the surface on which you ride, be aware of taking sharp corners Dukes of Hazzard-style. Also, sudden, aggressive braking on downhills at higher speeds should be avoided. There are three Avid BB7 brakes and they work extremely well.
Unlike a standard two-wheeled recumbent, the TerraTrike All Terrain Rambler has no learning curve. Indeed, it is a well-designed chariot that offers a comfortable ride for distances short and long, as well as being a great alternative for cyclists with disabilities, back, balance or neurological issues.
Though riding downhill at controlled speeds is all pleasure, I found uphill to be a much different experience. It’s heavier (as compared to that of a standard two-wheeled bike) and not being able to stand up on the pedals. The technique that worked for me was to plant my back deep into the seatback, downshift to a comfortably low gear (there are twenty) and spin, spin, spin.
Other Notable Notations
- Ditch the heal clips and replace with clipless pedals. I found it makes it much easier to climb hills.
- Measure your “x-seam” accurately so that the seat position is properly set. This will make going up hills easier and faster.
- Transporting and storing the TerraTrike could be a challenge. Cyclists who live in apartment or condominium buildings without a ground-level bike or parking garage will find it’s on the wide side, making it a challenge to fit through narrow hallways and into elevators. Cyclists who want to transport the TerraTrike to a destination trailhead will need a truck or a full-size SUV if they don’t want to take it partially apart.
Even though I ride standard two-wheeled bikes just about every day for bike commuting during the week and recreationally on the weekends, I noticed a considerable improvement in my spinning technique, speed and overall endurance after three weeks of riding the TerraTrike. For me it was a great training bike for mountain bike racing because I was pushing a heavier bike up hills, riding comfortably for much longer distances and working muscles in my legs I didn’t know I had.
With two wheels in the front and one in the back, the TerraTrike Rambler All Terrain looks like a tadpole on wheels. But make no mistake. It is one snappy chariot!