Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Battle of the Classic Trikes! Big Wheel vs. Green Machine

Every kid my age worth his salt - and that grew up in suburban hell - knows the age old debate between which "classic" trike is better - the Big Wheel or the Green Machine. 

Green Machine simply wins hands down. It took a bit more skill to ride so if you were fast on it you were the neighborhood "hotness" for sure. Sounds much cooler than "Big Wheel" which just sounds like some lumbering POS. Therefore, the Green Machine is the defacto winner in all times, places, and planes of the universe.

Check it:

Who can deny that?? The shades and glasses say "I am FASTEST!" That dude is like a shuttle on re-entry. HOT. "Pedal to the metal man.... Green Machine style." Nobody this cool would be caught on a tassel flapping Big Wheel if they crave real speed.

Plus, consider the killer features:

Look at those aero bar setups! Aero cup seat. Streamlined design. Way better than that wide, air catching Big Wheel setup that has sissy tassels at the end that create drag.... Green Machine folks - it rhymes with "lean" and "mean" - no tassels there. Plus look at the freakin water shooter feature on the updated version. On this thing you would be ripping up the road....spraying all those mouth breathing Big Wheel luddites off into the ditch...clearing the path 'cause you are hitting ultrasonic.

Check out this assessment... "This toy will turn your kid into a terror on wheels." Yo. Add to that: "I can just see some poor mailman getting soaked with one of these and watching as the kid zooms away." Amen, brother. You can't pull that trick on a Big Wheels - it's not fast enough for the getaway. Try to punk the mailman on a Big Wheels and you will get mail-schooled. On a Green Machine he won't even knew what hit him. Just a sudden cold wet blast to the dome, and the clap of the Green sonic Machine boom. Oh yeah.

And they even SAY it is fast. I mean check it!!!!!!!!!

"A racer for guys who like a ride thats REALLY fast!" Oh man..... one cannot deny these facts!

Compare that to the POS (Piece Of Slow) "Big Wheel" advertising:

The first send off that says "not cool" are the kittens. I mean really. Kittens are NOT the go to tear-it-up animal. Big Wheels = Kitten Wheels. Placid kittens at that...the kitten doesn't even get out of the way with the oncoming Big Wheel posse... it just stands there as if to say "MEH." It's not even a bobcat or anything. If there was a feline in the Green Machine ad it would have been at least a psychotic leopard breathing fire. All big Wheels has to throw down is the same kitten your grandma feeds off the front patio.

Note the tassels too. Those just say "I am not worthy" and "I am slow" SO bad. Plus the ad says "it's the coolest" (IE - Not the fastest) Even "coolest" is highly suspect - that is unless you think fuzzy kittens, tassels, and having your hair combed by grandma is "cool." No water gun? Sorry you didn't notice because the Green Machine rider blew you off the road. 

Still, some people just have to play the other card and deny Green Machine awesomeness. I had posted the above on another forum, when I get the following comments, which I will dissect below:

haw now Robert. You said in earlier posts that it depends on the conditions which trike is fastest. I have a problem with your assessment. The Greenmachine - with its swiveling rear end seems like it would be faster on a curvy technical course.
Indeed true. Green Machine clearly wins this contest. Thank you for your agreement.

But I think you are sacrificing efficiency on the straight away. I am of the opinion that there is energy expended with each pedal stroke with subtle rear axle movement. Similar to the front wheel drive argument on 2 wheeled recumbents. The Bigwheel on the other hand, has a nice, rigid rear end. I think there is more efficient power transfer to the pedals.
That is only because the weaker legs of the terminally slow require said stiffness to get any power to the ground. Big Wheels engineers know this and design it thus. The Green Machine, as is well understood, requires some amount of built-in flex to absorb the sick power it can lay down. If it were as stiff, it would disintegrate under its own power, let alone adding that of the rider. 

Also, if you notice in the advertisements there are many subtle and not so subtle clues to tell you that the Green Machine is clearly superior. Since these trikes are made by the same manufacturer, and thus designed by the same highly paid engineers, the truth in advertising cannot be ignored in this case. It is getting late, but I have time. Lets discuss:

As noted before, kittens are the animal of choice to represent the Big Wheels. Kittens. Need I say more? Not Bobcats. Not acid tripping leopards on fire. Kittens. My grandma likes kittens. She is also not fast. Fast people on Green Machines do not have kittens.... if they did they would only have them in a handy satchel to throw at the slower Big Wheel riders should their aqua cannons fail or run out of ammo. Going fast means needing a clear path, and nothing clears the path of the fools and wannabes faster than a water blast to the back of the dome followed by a flying kitten. There are no kittens, or wildlife of any kind, in the Green Machine ad. This is because all the animals have fled for safety from this fast beast.

"I can haz Green Machine?" Sorry kitty, Green Machines are for real animals. You're stuck with "Tassel Wheels."

The Green machine ad also notes; "Eight, nine, ten years old... old enough for Green Machine!" This is indeed telling. It's clearly saying, "... not for slow babies..." just using different words - so as to not offend the slow saps whose parents were too lame to get a Green Machine because the very sight of it melted their faces. The riders of the Big Wheels as you can see in the ad are in comparison much younger, and therefore much slower by default. Indeed, they have not yet developed the strength and mental acumen to deal with the awesomeness and responsibility that is the Green Machine at speed. Nobody would stick a newbie airline pilot in the captain seat of a jumbo jet full of blindfolded Nuns with no seat belts - throwing a Big Wheels rider into the seat of a Green Machine will yield even more disastrous results.

The Green Machine is "..a racer for guys who like a ride that's REALLY fast!" It is for racers... not 'lil kiddies, such as the tassel flapping Big Wheels. The Big Wheels ad says "listen to them spin..." kind of like, "listen to your grandma spin wool into thread to knit your sweater that has "I love my Big Wheel" written on it." The kids in the Green Machine ad are going too fast to listen to anything. At .16 seconds into the ad the Green Machine racers blow past some adult... the part of the video that was edited out of course was the adult diving up onto the bench in fear of having his legs broken from the imminent subsonic impact. Good thing he made it or the commercial would have been rated "R." (for "Radical!")

Motion blur like this is only accomplished by going uber fast via Green Machine.
Any faster and he will be gone like a plutonium powered DeLorean.

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Did you see the kid sprinting for the finish line on the Bigwheel??? That is the picture of power transfer to the pedals. You can almost see the rigidity of the setup with those pegs of the seat back inserted into the aerodynamic seat base.
Lets pretend we are in an alternate universe for a second. I am assuming you are referring to .14 seconds into the Big Wheels ad. Maybe under a zero gravity scenario where all the Green Machine riders were off fighting the invading aliens I can see your point. But we are in reality here. Clearly what is not shown in the ad is the Green Machine. This is because the older more fit and capable riders already finished. They are already at home preparing the next days assault on the tassel flappers. Sure the Big Wheel rider is sprinting, but turtles can sprint. Just because the turtle can sprint does not make them as fast as a flaming cheetah.

When the kid in the Big Wheel ad crosses the finish line, the finish girl does not even have a flag to waive. Therefore he cannot be the winner. Indeed, the winner crossed the finish line the hour before and the finish girl is still stunned from the blow by of the Green Machine. There is no checkered flag because it exploded from the sonic blast.

I don't mean to be the voice of doubt but I think it is fair to judge these two fine plastic delta trikes considering the conditions where they are being ridden. Clearly the Greenmachine is faster in technical turns. The Bigwheel is king of straightaways.
I can agree with your first assessment. Indeed the Green Machine is superior in all technical courses. However, the second argument is flawed. And yes conditions do matter. We will get to that. First, a quick study in aerodynamic design will reveal said flawed logic on who is the "king of straightaways."

Lets begin with the Green machine:

This ride is clearly ahead of its time. Da Vinci would be proud. He might bang his head on the wall and think "Why.... why did I not come up with this?!?!" Low slung. Futuristic. Aero bar setup. Note the absence of any fluttering tassels or other drag creating paraphernalia. Its natural riding position is "hardcore" and screams "O.M.G" Its appearance is out of a futuristic graphic novel. It likely scared innocent moms of the day because it resembled a UFO from a superior planet they could not comprehend. The front wheel looks like the underside of a spaceship. Maybe it is a design homage to the superior intelligence that designed this machine. The newest version of this asphalt melting rocket sports a water canon designed to douse the doubters and haters while on the run. Multitasking at speed. Fool soaking water canon or fluttery tassels - you decide where the cool is in that equation.

The seat is solid. Why? Because at ludicrous speed you cannot have the back of your seat fly out of its structural fatigue creating peg holes. When you are getting away from the mailman you just drenched from 20 feet out, or speeding off from old Mr. Phelps you just hurled a kitten at, you need a stiff seat setup. That my brother is power transfer. It also provides a stiff back to lay down power when you are Green Machining over all the Big Wheel players turning them into "Soylent Green."

Now the "competition"

Large frontal area. High bars. Arms out wide. Sorry but you will never gain enough aero advantage on the straights with your arms that way up in the airflow. Styling that says, "I am not Green Machine cool." Plain wheels. It's riding position says "going to grandmas." Fluttery tassels create drag and just yell "I am slow and wear knitted kitten shirts." The ground clearance is way high, what it that about? High ground clearance means unstable at speed.

There is one instance where the Big Wheel CAN be as fast as the Green Machine, I will admit. When the fast rider on the Green Machine comes flying up from behind, at such incredible speed as to make impact unavoidable with the slower Big Wheels, and then rear ends the Big Wheels, sending it tumbling into the curb, ditch, mailboxes, neighbors fence, and trees. In that split moment, the Big Wheels riders experience true Green Machine speeds. And they are thankful, because everyone wants to be the fast dude, even when they repeatedly are owned by him/her.

Conditions do matter for sure to determine a "winner" of sorts. Let's recap then:


Screaming fast straights: Green Machine
Technical racing: Green Machine
Pwning Mailmen: Green Machine
Clearing the road of fools: Green Machine
Causing adults to dive out of the way: Green Machine
Making old ladies wet their granny panties from futuristic appearance: Green Machine
Soaking Mr. Phelps on the corner and he never even saw who did it: Green Machine (water cannon equipped)
Stealing other peoples women: Green Machine
Running over neighborhood bully gaining full respect: Green Machine
Sonic booms: Green Machine
Ability to hurl kittens as WMD's: Green Machine
Terrorizing wildlife: Green Machine
Fighting off alien hordes: Green Machine

Other Conditions:

Riding to grandmas to get your sweater: Big Wheels
Blown off the road by unseen force from behind: Big Wheels
Riding AROUND kittens: Big Wheels
Head stomped by the Mailman: Big Wheels
Mr. Phelps running after you with walker (and catching you): Big Wheels
Losing your girlfriend: Big Wheels
Neighborhood bully cramming tassels in your behind: Big Wheels
Crashing and running to mommy for Band-Aids: Big Wheels

The evidence is clear..... I choose Green Machine!!


  1. Hahahahahahahahahaha I love this. I'm Jake by the way.. the one in the 1st video. My green machine took a beating that day, but it was well worth it.

  2. As a owner of both trikes in the mid 70's, I'd like to correct this quote:

    "But I think you are sacrificing efficiency on the straight away"

    This is entirely false and the green machine was superior. Reason being is on both trikes, the pedals were directly connected to the front wheel. The green machine's front wheel was mounted to a stationary fork so when the rider applied force, all energy was transferred to the wheel. With the Big Wheel, the fork was not stationary and when the rider applied force, he had to counter on the handlebar with his hands to prevent the front wheel from wobbling with each stroke. This worked OK at low speeds, but at high speeds, up hills or other situations of high force input, the front end would wabble/sway drastically.

    The Green Machine was superior all around, but Marx made both trikes, so either way, our parents hard earned money went to the same company who was set out to divide the neighborhoods - Wheelies VS Greenies!

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