Sunday, July 4, 2010

Big Apples Are Indeed BIG

Sometimes the itch to try something radically different than what you have already strikes you. I have had that happen with my tires on the QNT trike. I have been running Schwalbe Duranos for some time now. While the Duranos have performed well, I do have to admit that the high pressure and skinny profile leaves a lot to be desired comfort-wise, even with an elastomer rear damper equipped trike to soften the jolts.

So why not swing to the complete opposite side of the tire spectrum, eh? Enter the Schwalbe Big Apple Liteskins. These are the folding versions of the Big Apple  tire and are 20"x 2.15". They are leagues bigger than the Duranos I am used to seeing spinning at my sides.

I have yet to take a really long test ride on these, but my observations so far:

1. The tires are freakishly large looking. The trike looks like I am going to try to ride across a pond or something. I am not sure yet how I like the aesthetics of this.

2. The Big Apples seem to roll easily as well as the Duranos, with a benefit of giving me some extra gearing on the downhills due to the larger diameter. To be honest if there is a difference in the relaxed cruising speed on a smooth surface between the BA's at 50 psi and the Duranos at 100 psi I cannot perceive it.

3. Some road imperfections that used to rattle the front end like crazy with the Duranos are non-issues with the Big Apples.

4. Today there was some rain - which was good as I wondered about the wet traction. The Duranos seem to have better wet traction. I was able to get the front to push a bit with the Big Apples and I have never had that experience before.

5. On slower speed cornering below 15 MPH the Big Apples seem pretty predictable as to when the trike is about to lift a wheel.

6. Steering seems light and nimble. I was expecting some sluggishness but quick side to side moves are easy and light.

7. The BA's seem to climb quite nicely. On a few short and steep climbs I am used to I did not seem to be working any harder to maintain the same speed. I should note that with both tires I have done roll out measurements to set my speedo...

8. I have to say it again - they still just look so freakishly HUGE on the trike. Even from the pilot's view - they are huge looking as they roll along. HA! I guess I am just not used to it yet. Looking at my trike from above it actually looks a lot narrower than when I had the Duranos on it. Odd.

With the Duranos, I had learned what the tipping point was by riding the local school parking lot. So, I headed off to the same lot to test the BA's. After some riding, the BA's have what I would say is an "easier" tipping point than the Duranos - I can get the inside wheel to lift much easier than with the Duranos. I am not sure exactly how to feel about this and am a bit conflicted - especially as I am addicted normally to hard cornering and fast downhills.

The conflicted feeling comes from this: the tipping point with the BA's seems VERY predictable, versus the tipping point of the Duranos which is much more sudden. Within a few minutes of cornering and learning the tip point with BA's I was riding on two wheels in a very controlled manner, including riding in circles, etc. I could never do that with the Duranos, as once the wheel would lift it would go over if not immediately corrected. The BA's seem to just roooollll up their side like I was riding one wheel up a ramp. Granted this is all at slow parking lot speed so the next test will be to see how this changes the high speed cornering feel.

So far in all my maneuvers I have not noticed any extra slop or vague feeling to the steering. If anything the steering has gained a smoother feel to it.



  2. The seat is covered with a filter foam padding that is typical for a lot of recumbent seats. It can get hot - but it is not very dense so any sweat drains and it dries very quickly. One thing for sure - it is very very comfy! :)

  3. Yeah, it does look really comfy. Do you find your back gets so sweaty that it is a problem for things like cafe stops?
    I dont have a trike yet but am thinking about getting one second hand off ebay or similar and not sure if the hard seat puts me off some of them ie: windcheetah.

  4. I have not found it to be too bad. I do get sweaty - but most of my riding on the QNT is training rides, etc where I am not stopping too much. If I know there is going to be a lunch stop where I don't want to be drenched, I will take it easy on the ride before the stop. A mesh seat by far is cooler and less sweaty, but for me they are just not as comfortable and I cannot recline it far enough for my tastes.

  5. Thanks for the good info.
    Anymore plans to compare your trike and bike against each other to see which is faster? I really like reading those. (",)

    Keep up the good work.

    Sean R.