No. 3 February - March 2004
Greenspeed's new entry level GT3 Folding
NEW GT3 FOLDING TRIKE
"The time has come", the
Walrus said. And indeed it has. Time has come to
tell you all about what we at Greenspeed have been working on for
over a year - a brand new trike! So this newsletter will
give you all the stuff you need to know about Greenspeed's new GT3
Folding Trike and more ;-)
Ian Sims, February 2004
- What is the GT3? - Design Rational
- Wheel size & folding
- GT3 Steering & Brakes
- GT3 Equipment, Options & Prices
- GT3 Delivery
- GT3 Specifications & Road
Please click any picture for a
1. What is the GT3? - History & Design
Since 1990 Greenspeed has been designing and
building recumbent trikes for everyday use, be it commuting or
touring the world, and these trikes have been hand built in small
numbers, using the best quality components. Thus, compared to mass
produced bikes, the cost has been fairly high.
Of course, compared to a machine with 1/3 of
its wheels missing, less frame, and a small saddle instead of a
proper seat, the recumbent trike is always going to cost more than
an ordinary bike, of similar quality.
However as the advantages of the recumbent trike
are appreciated by more and more people, we find that more and more occasional
and recreational riders are wanting trikes as well, so how do we
help these people?
During our market research we found that these
people often put their bikes on their cars and drove to their
favourite riding place. Furthermore, judging by the expression on
their faces while riding, compared to trike riders, it seemed they
were too uncomfortable to ride to the park or trail.
So as our mission on this small planet is to get more
people cycling more often, we decided that if we could produce a
that folded, so it would go into the trunk
of a car, and if we made it in large enough numbers, so that the
price could be lowered to within the range of people who run
cars, then they might be comfortable enough
riding their trike, to run their cars less, and make our planet a better place
to live :-)
1991 GRT 20/26 Touring Trike
Jeff McLean touring in India
1995 GTR Touring Trike
2003 GTO Travel/Touring Trike
2. Wheel size and folding
How to make a trike compact enough to fit into a
trunk? Well as you may know, we have been making the GTC and then
the GTX trikes with 16" wheels all round. We discovered that
these had both weight and performance advantages over the 20" wheels
used on the GTR and GTO, as well as being stronger and more compact.
Plus we found that they rode just as well, if not better than the
20" wheels. The 16" wheels also allowed the track to be
narrower, as they encroached less on the rider's leg space, as the front
wheels were turned on full lock. Thus these wheels were specified for the
So how does folding work? 1st, to make the seat
easy to remove, it is fixed in place by only one cap screw through
the front of the seat. Once this screw is loosened, the rear of the
seat can be lifted off the seat stay pegs, and then once the screw is
withdrawn, the seat lifts right off.
This exposes the hinge, which is set at an angle,
so that as the frame folds, the rear wheel and rack comes over, and
sits down beside the cranks, making a compact package. The
hinge has a quick release lever, and a safely cam, so that even if
it comes loose, the hinge will not disengage until the lever is
lifted forward and up, towards the front of the trike. Note that in folding,
the chain, cables and all adjustments stay in place, so there is no
need re-adjust anything after unfolding.
To pack down even further, the handle bars can be
folded, the front wheels removed, and rack and cranks removed.
However this should not be needed to fit the trunk of the average
Folded size with wheels and rack attached is 36 x
33 x 21 inches. Folding or unfolding takes less than one minute.
Boxed, shipping size with wheels, cranks and rack removed
is 30 x 28 x
Another benefit of the small wheels and narrow
track means that the GT3 can be ridden through doorways and gateways
that one would have had to carry the GTO through. So the GT3 should
be great for riding to work, where there are space restrictions.
Maybe it could even be parked under a large desk?!
GT3 - 16" wheels with narrower track
GT3 - Seat Removed
GT3 Frame Folded
Steering & Brakes
For this trike we have reverted to the original
Greenspeed crossover steering. There are a number of reasons for
1. It enables the trike to pack down further than
with the steering on top of the main frame tube.
2. It gives a much smaller turning circle, taking
advantage of the smaller wheels.
3. It gives a sportier feel on the road, more in
keeping with the recreational (fun) nature of the trike.
To eliminate "brake steer" a number of
steps have been taken:-
1. Reduction of track.
2. Shorter, stiffer, thicker gauge crossmember.
3. Use of 16" wheels.
4. Use of drum brakes only.
In the smaller wheels, the drum brakes are more
efficient, and give less windup of the cross member. Here is a quote
from the 1st GT3 Road Test done by the UK folding bike magazine, A
to B :-
Steering a 68cm-high projectile down country lanes is all very
well, but sooner or later you'll need to apply
the brakes. The GT3 has no rear brake, so the legal requirement for
two independent systems is taken care of with separate Sturmey
Archer front drums and levers. This not only gets around the brake
balance problem (see KMX trike, A to B 37), but enables the rider to
make hand gestures whilst braking in a smooth and controlled manner
with the other hand.
The magic ingredient is some carefully chosen geometry, including
'centre-point' steering that puts the tyre/road contact patch
immediately under an inclined steering pivot. Should you apply one
of the two front brakes, there's very little tendency for the bike
to swivel around the contact patch, so it stops in a straight line.
On the GT3 you can make quite harsh stops with one brake and feel
barely a twitch in the steering. A panic stop
locks the wheel at 0.3G, but the trike still pulls up more or less
straight (or in a curve, if you happen to be cornering). Peak
performance, using both brakes, is around 0.6G, and those with
strong hands can hit 0.65G, at which point the rear wheel begins to
lift off. Either way, the stop is nicely controlled and drama-free.
To get the best from the brakes, you have to juggle the levers
for perfect balance, but the GT3 provides plenty of feedback,
particularly at higher speed. Within a few miles, your body learns
to react to the subtle messages from the wheels, but even if you get
it wrong, the trike is essentially fail-safe.
From A to B, Issue #39, page 15. www.atob.org.uk
A to B # 39
4. Equipment, Options and Prices.
Last year Shimano released a new group set, the
Capreo, especially for bikes with small wheels. The jewel in this
group set is a nine speed cassette with 9t and 10t cogs which are
smaller than the normal smallest cog of 11t on most cassettes. The
use of this cassette has enabled us to provide a reasonable gear
range without the need for geared hubs, or oversize chainrings,
providing a lighter and more cost effective solution to the gearing.
Contrary to expectations, these small cogs have performed
faultlessly in over a year of harsh testing, thanks to the fact
that the chain/cog
tooth loading is lower with 9 cog on 16" wheels, than it is
with a 11t cog on 26" wheels. With the standard Shimano
Tiagra 52/42/30 touring triple crankset, the GT3 has 27 gears with a
range from 19 to 95 inches.
This is similar to a mountain bike gear range and
should be adequate for most recreational uses. Should a wider, lower
or/and higher range be required, then the Rohloff or/and Schlumpf
equipment can be fitted at extra cost, as all frames will have the
Rohloff OEM dropouts -see picture. The SRAM DualDrive will not be
available on the GT3.
Mirror, rear fender, and safety flag are standard
equipment. The standard GS rack will not fit due to the folding
facility, so only the special Cro Mo heavy duty racks will be
available, until the standard racks are ready. Other GS options
available for the GT3 are the new head rests, front fenders, 2nd
mirror, and the dynamo lighting sets. Dynamo, head light, and tail
light mounts are standard equipment on the GT3, and most GS trikes.
GT3 base price - $2,950 AUD
fenders $135 AUD
No, this is NOT a mistake - the price really is
$2,950 and not the $4,950 of the GTR or more for folding!
How? It is mainly just question of numbers. Up to
now we have been building and assembling trikes one at time, and
only producing hundreds per year. So now we have moved into
partnership with a larger company we have been talking with for a number
years, who make bikes in the thousands, and the trikes will be
assembled on their production line to our design and specification.
As we never out source work unless it is a better quality than our
own, you can expect the same quality or better!
The other things we have done to reduce price is
to only offer red or blue in the frame colours, use only 27 gears
instead of 72, and to have the luggage rack optional.
Shimano Capreo Rear Hub and 9/26 Cassette
Dynamo Mounting & Rohloff Dropout
Heavy Duty Rack
to the delay in delivery of Shimano parts this year, delivery of the
GT3 will be slower than we had hoped for. The 1st batch of 50 will
be delivered in April, and the next, larger batch, will be ready
some time after May, when the main Shimano order arrives, some
We are now taking orders for the
1st 50, and expect to have deposits for all these trikes by the end
of this month.
Many of our dealers are
getting one of the 1st 50 trikes as a demo trike, so hopefully
sometime in April, you will be able to test ride one at your local
and Road Tests
GT 3 16/16 FOLDING TRIKE
39" (98 cm)
Track 29.5" (75 cm)
Width 32.7" (83 cm)
69" (175 cm)
27" (68 cm)
16" alloy rims
16" x 1 3/8"
Sturmey Archer Drums
Shimano Tiagra 52/42/30
Cluster Shimano Capreo 9,10,11,13,15,17,20,23,26.
Range 19 to 95 inches
Cro Mo 4130 tubing
Angle 40 degrees
Height 10" (25 cm)
length adjust. Telescopic boom
Centre point Ackermann with inclined handle bars
circle 12 feet (3.7 metre)
clearance 2.6" (7 cm)
Weight 17kg (38 lbs)
fittings Rack, rear mudguard, mirror, safety flag
Price $2,950 AUD
Specifications subject to change without notice
So with the GT3 we take
a direct step forward to
compete with the cars, by using the assembly line. We hope that the
people who have asked for lower priced GS trikes will support us in
buying the GT3, as only by selling more trikes, can we afford to
build quality trikes in larger numbers, and thus lower the price, so
that more can afford to cycle instead of driving, to make our planet
a better place.
The 1st Road
Test was published in A to B in December, and please look
out for upcoming road tests in Recumbent & Tandem Rider, Velo
Vision, Bent Rider On Line, and Recumbent Cyclist News.
"testing" of one of our Road Test pre-production trikes on
the BMX track at the Out Door Demo Day, at Interbike, resulted in
some frame damage. See picture. Fortunately this was easy to repair,
and Christine is now using this trike as her transport to and from
the factory. As a result of this testing the production frames will
be a little stronger ;-)
Sims February 2004
Unauthorized "testing" on the Dirt
Demo BMX track at Interbike, Las Vegas, NV, USA
- Mountain Bike Action, Feb. 2004
69 Mountain Gate Drive
Phone +61 (0) 3 9758 5541
Web Site www.greenspeed.com.au