North2South Crafts

Recumbent Cycling Journey Two Wheel and Three Wheel

Owning Pairs Of Recumbent Cycles

TerraTrike Rover i8 and Sun EZ Sport CX

  

We have enjoyed leisure cycling. As a kid as my parent bought me a new Schwinn Panther in the 1950s. When I was 12, I built a Sting Ray bike from a throw away 20” Schwinn I found. When completed that was the most fun bike I ever had. It wasn’t fast, but it was rock sold, simple, comfortable, handled great, and looked great using Schwinn parts. Our wedding gift to ourselves was a set of Schwinns. A Schwinn Collegiate Sport for me and a Schwinn Collegite for her. (The spelling is correct) In the mid-90s a set of his and hers Sears Grand Tetons replaced the Schwinns. We had lived Arizona in the 80's and returned to Michigan in '93. Living in rural Michigan, the treadmill was my primary exercise...indoors and available anytime (Winters were long). For family reasons we relocated to Texas in '06. Now in our 50’s my wife had mini-strokes and I survived prostate cancer opting for surgical removal. Long riding still wasn’t comfortable so we tested replacement seats and never found any that really felt better. Riding the diamond frame Grand Teton began to leave me numb in the lower section.

With research and a dormant interest in recumbents cycles, we purchased two EZ Sport CX bikes. Each we adjusted for our maximum comfort. We added a few accessories such as speedometer/computer, baskets, small bike bags and lights. I selected Kenda K-Rad 1.9 wire bead tires for both bikes to help on some trails and paths. Combined the 20” and 26” K-Rads looked great, rode nice on solid trails and gave high mileage. We returned to Arizona in '14.

Twice on the EZ Sport my wife lost control while going low speed. Once the wheel got caught in a narrow crevice once the front wheel slipped on a sidewalk/curb transition. She didn’t break anything but got some nasty scrapes and bruises. She hinted to investigate a trike. I had to agree as I’ve been and drawn to them since we first discovered recumbents.

Well with pandemic time happening we helped the local economy and purchased two new (last years 2019 final models) Terra Trike Rover i8s. The 2020 Maverick was also in stock, which replaces the standard Rover, we selected the Rover. We swapped and added the needed accessories to the trikes and am loving them.

The Sun (aka "Sunseeker") 2012 EZ-Sport CX

The long wheelbase Sun EZ Sport CX recumbent seems close to the usual upright bike. The rider sits high yet for most people one’s feet can touch the ground. The higher seat does limit it’s back incline. The EZ Sport CX stays more in it’s own class compared to other higher priced long wheelbase recumbents. It’s gearing is good and allows comfortable speed ranges. The CX (ChroMoly frame) is not the lightest being at 40 lbs but it is quite friendly and handles good. Tolerances and some details aren’t perfect but for the price these bikes are good. I’ve put many miles on mine and still ride it occasionally.

This is a big bike. About 85.5" long but surprising easy to adjust to. The bottom bracket is low and it is fun to ride. The seat is higher than most of the long wheelbase recumbent bicycles. It gives an eye level view to auto drivers similar to a regular diamond frame bike. The seat can be easily adjusted to your "x-seam" size and seat angle preferences. Most riders can touch the payment with a foot while seated otherwise hold the brake and straddle the frame. Mounting / dismounting requires you to hold the brake or the bike can roll out from under you. We installed locking brake handles. The bike has 24 speeds using Shimano and Sram components and linear pull brakes.

  

The bike is good for me for short distance and leisure cycling. You can not ride it hands off of the handlebars due to the center of gravity of the design. It handles well as I have ridden it to 22 MPH with no issues. Turning circle is large. At low speed it is surprisingly good on park trail paths. I'm sure the 20" front wheel aids with low speed turns. The AX model is Aluminum, is lighter and costs more.

The EZ Sport CX is a pain to haul due to it's length. We own a crew cab F-150 with a short bed. It takes some work to travel with two of these. We used a Pipeline rack to lock the front wheels down at the front of the bed. The tailgate must remain down and the bikes are well strapped in. Trash bags kept the seat backs clean. For longer distance travel and when we had towed the camper, I made a UV-tolerant PVC riser which lifted the rear frames so the bikes were a few inches above a closed tailgate.


The EZ Sport Rack in action.
The rack lasted couple years before it cracked and broke apart from the Texas and Arziona heat and travel vibrations.

Gearing can be difficult to keep finely tuned. I experienced some gear slips on the crank high and lowest end gears. Middle crank gears were were OK (the ones we noramlly used). I focused the tuning for them. Casual park rides were great. Sub division riding brought up a visibility issue as we approached stop signs. Sitting back further from the from wheels we had to inch forward more than on a regular bike to see approching traffic to the sides.

Accessories were installed such as mirrors, speedometer/computers, lights and baskets. KRad tires were installed on both front and back to improve gravel and trail riding. When the baskets went on the trikes, I adapted a lighter weight office style wire basket mounted to the seat back frame. The EZ Sport CX was great to the 20 mph range as it almost gives a light almost motorcycle feel otherwise we stayed in the 9 - 12 MPH casual range.
The EZ Sport CXs are great looking and good riding bikes which are easy for most riders to adjust to.



The TerraTrike Rover i8 (model year 2019)


The Rover model was TerraTrike's entry trike. Refined for over 10 years with sales of over 15,000 Rovers, it offered a great affordable platform also good for future upgrades. Factory options of internal and external gearing were simple. The Rover is rock solid with it's square frame construction. We selected the Shimano Nexus 8 speed internal rear hub. Extremely reliable with little to no maintenance, it allows shifting while stopped or not peddling. For 2020 the Maverick model has replaced the Rover being at the same price range. The Maverick has a tubular frame shared with the Rambler, it is a few pounds lighter and has changes on the seat mounting. We selected the Rover in that the tandem Rover continues to be offered and the Rover Tandem Kit. With the kit, using one Rover you could make a Tandem.

The Sun bicycle recumbent baskets went to our TerraTrike Rover i8s with some modified mounting brackets. Single mirrors remain on the EZ Sports while the Rovers have dual mirrors. The trikes became our primary choice as we pleasure ride around the neighborhood, parks, and bike paths.
Here's my rover with the Sun recumbent basket mounted. I made mounting supports going from the seat hinge bolts to wire clamps to the basket. The basket legs mounted nice to the Rover frame. An additional bottle cage was mounted to the basket side. I also installed a set of Schwalbe "Big Apple" 20 x 2.10 balloon tires.

The dual mirrors are supported by clamp mounts and a Dashboard 150 speedometer / computer on left handlebar. I also constructed a front accessory mount used for a headlight mounted under the front frame bottle cage mount. A small toolkit bag and pump are behind the seat.

Two Rovers fit in our 6.5' F-150 pickup bed with the tailgate up. A treat for transportation.

Our Comparisons And Likes

We like them both. For a touring ride, the Sun Seeker EZ Sports are faster due to the gearing and bike design. The 26" rear wheels take the bumps better than 20" tires on the Rovers. For a workout, the trikes are the winner. With a much lower 8 gear range and three wheels takes more energy to ride 12 mph. What few times I've been at 15 mph or more, I noticed no instability on the Rover.



The TerraTrike Rovers are our favorite for comfort and relaxed leisure cycling. With no concerns about balance and great handling, they are just FUN to ride. The "industrial" look of the square main frame grows on you. I like the quality, easy to customize and upgrade and the simplicity of this refined platform.