MY TERRATRIKE 3.4 / TOUR
History Mirror Mount Headlight and
Computer Mount
Lights Ride Report  
I've been riding my Rans V-Rex short wheelbase recumbent for 8+ years. It's been really comfortable, reliable, and fun. It's been on 3 RAGRAI rides, including one where I went clear across the state.


My trusty Rans V-Rex - now sold to a
happy owner in Missouri

But, in my quest for a better bike to use as a commuter, I started looking at trikes. Reasoning? Some of the roads around here have a fairly sharp drop-off. If a bicyclist has a wheel slip off the pavement, particularly the front wheel, it's crash time. If a wheel of a trike slips off, no biggie. You might even be able to keep biking and get back up on the road. Worst case, you stop and put the trike back on the pavement. Either way, no crash. Also, mud, sand, gravel, wet leaves, and other debris can cause serious problems for a bicycle. On a trike, you might slip and slide a bit, but you just keep going with the stability of three wheels. So, given the extra safety factor, I thought a recumbent trike would be perfect for me.

I looked at a lot of brands, and I settled on the TerraTrike. The price point, adjustable seat and generally good reviews were encouraging. Plus, my local bike shop sells them, and they actually had one to rent for a day. So.....I rented it, and bombed up and down the local trail, looking for ruts, gravel, sand and all manner of obstacles that I would normally avoid on my bike. I just cruised right on through! Sweet!!! I put on about 60 miles, and I was sold. I knew I couldn't afford a new trike, so I started scouting the online classifieds. I contacted quite a few sellers, and after a couple weeks, I finally settled on a TerraTrike 3.4 about 5 years old, in excellent condition, and it included fenders, rack, computer, and several other extras, so it was set up like I wanted! There are still some things I'll be getting at the local shop.

The seller was great. He suggested shipping the trike COD, which worked out fine, and he packaged the trike extremely carefully, and used heavy double-walled corrugated cardboard boxes. Of course, the trike came almost completely disassembled, but it was a fun challenge to put it together. The seller took some detail pictures to help me along, and he also included the TerraTrike manual. I got it all put together, but I didn't want to mess with the brake and shifter adjustments, so I took it in to my local shop to do the final steps. Of course, I checked to make sure all the bolts and connections were tight.


My TerraTrike

I'll be adding some bags to make it better for commuting, some homemade panniers, and I knew I needed a mirror to keep track of what's behind me. To set up mirrors is a bit challenging on a trike, since there aren't handlebars in a typical sense. There are some folks online who have used handlebar extensions, or even PVC pipe clamped to the front cross tubes. I swung by the local shop for some ideas, and Bill had an idea to use a Mirrycle mirror and some leftover rear rack mounting hardware. I clamped the mount strap in a vise and hammered it a bit to give it a little curve along it's length to conform to the bar of the trike. I also sanded down the edges a little so they wouldn't be as sharp and cut through the tape. I then removed the existing handlebar tape, sat in the trike seat, and positioned the strap and the mirror head so that I could see behind me. I secured it in place with several layers of electrical tape, and then wrapped new bar tape over it all. It works great! I did add a stainless steel #8-32 x 1-1/4 socket head machine screw and nylock nut to replace the stock screw.


The original handlebar grip


The Mirrycle mirror head and the rack mount strap


The handlebar with tape removed, strap taped in position


The new mirror mounted with new handlebar tape.

The trike came with a Minoura mount and computer on the front, but I needed to add a headlight for light and safety when commuting. There wasn't enough room on the mount for the computer and a light, so I installed the Minoura mount I had stashed in my spares box, and then mounted the existing mount to that. So now I have a tandem accessory mount, everything clears the pedals and chain, and I have room for the headlight and computer. Maybe it's not elegant, but it does work. On the plus side, it does position the computer a little closer for easier reading and button-pushing.


My current headlight and computer setup

Oct. 28, 2008 - My first commute to work in cold weather. It was 30 degrees this morning. Wore my winter tights, poly shirt under a poly fleece top, poly balaclava to keep my face warm, and my long-fingered gloves. I was plenty warm, even though I got some funny looks from folks in their cars. Odd to be commuting to work on a trike with frost on the grass, I guess. I finally got my bags - a slip-on seat bag from TerraTrike, and an underseat bag by Utah Trikes - and I used them. Nice to have some storage on the bike.

Oh, and a word about my lights. I am using the DiNotte 200L lithium-ion set, and it is awesome!! The lights are small, the battery packs are small with high capacity, and they are BRIGHT!! I know that some folks online have complained about the O-ring mounts that they use, but I like them. For the tail light, I actually used half of a mini-pump frame mount, and it fits the light perfectly! I attached that to a bracket from my spares box, and it works great. I wasn't happy with the light being mounted so low, so I rigged up a piece of PVC connected to the seat brace and rack and mounted the tail light to that. It's now positioned about head high, and hopefully more visible to drivers. I'll post some pics soon.

August, 2009 - Love this trike! I rode across the new Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, and the greatest thing about riding a trike is that you can go as slow as you like, and even stop, and there is never a worry about losing your balance. Plus, kids love it! They never fail to say "Whoa, cool bike!" or something like that. It definitely attracts attention.

The trike is such a great way of traveling on the trails - riding on the Wabash Trace is like being in a human powered go-cart!

OK, so I've had a lot of folks ask about my light setup, so here are some details. Here are the overview shots:

As mentioned earlier, I'm using the DiNotte 200L light set. I have a couple Space Grip mounts on the front derailleur post for the lights and computer. I used two to raise the light up high enough to be useful, and to position the computer close enough that I can read it. For the front light, I used the stock DiNotte "O-ring" mount, and it works perfectly. Plenty secure, and easily adjustable. The battery packs come with a velcro strap that I used to attach it to the front boom. The battery pack has waterproof connectors to hook up to the light.

For the tail light, I cut a mini-pump frame mount in half, and it fits the light perfectly! I attached that to a light/reflector mount from my spares box, and it works great. The mount gives me horizontal and vertical adjustment, and it's very secure.

I wasn't happy with mounting the light down low, so I rigged up a piece of PVC connected to the seat brace and rack and mounted the tail light to that. I cut a notch in the bottom of the pipe, nested it on the bottom seat bar, and attached it with a U-bolt and a piece of strap that a slid through the pipe via two slots. At the top, I drolled holes and used another U-bolt to attach it to the front of the rack. It's now positioned about as high as my head when I sit in the seat, and hopefully more visible to drivers. Mine is designed so that the trike fits in the hatch of my Subaru wagon, but you could certainly make the mast taller if you like.

August 30, 2009 - check out my ride report!



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