Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Catrike 700 / 20 vs Catrike Expedition

Let's get to the bottom line first...choosing a Catrike 700 or Catrike Expedition is a matter of personal choice. Both the 700 and the Expedition  are solid trikes, built to handle tough riding and backed up by Catrike costumer service. The  700 and the Expedition are both stable at speed and share the same handling characteristics. 

Catrike 700 / 20  (new for 2013,  700 with 20" front wheels)

The 700 is an awesome trike, it looks fast and is fast. It's a ride best suited for getting an adrenalin fix. The 700 should be kept light and geared for speed on the flats and downhill runs. Grinding up long roads with extreme  grades takes some effort, but then there is the sweet downhill. Exceeding 40mph on a downhill is par for 700. The fun comes trying to find a road that is long, steep, reasonably straight and has good pavement so the 700 can show it's stuff going over 50mph. I do suggest when exceeding 50mph that you are acquainted with the road so there are no surprises and wear a helmet! On the flats I generally pass more DF (diamond frame) riders then pass me. In recent memory I don't recall ever being passed on a downhill. Even the young, fit and properly attired lads with advertising plastered over their lyra bodies fade away in my rear view mirror. Riding a 700 is a prescription for an old fart like me to feel the thrill of an endorphin induced high.
That endorphin high comes at a price. The 700, when set up for speed, is a hard ride that given the conditions of some our streets it can shake your fillings out. On long rides the seat being laid back at 25 degrees may be uncomfortable for some folks on long rides. I don't consider it a touring trike. The 23C tires (if you want speed) are going to get flats. The skinny 23C's trade puncture protection for performance. Of course some of these setbacks can be mitigated with different tire selection and putting a rack on (which I did at one time) to carry more stuff. 

Catrike Expedition

Ahh my faithful and trusted ride. The Expedition is a versatile ride. It can be setup to ride fast or loaded down to tour the world in comfort laid back in it's 37 degree reclined seat. Keeping the the Expedition light and adding high performance tires would bring the Expedition close to matching the the performance of the 700. I prefer to ride in comfort when not screaming down a hill on the 700. I've loaded my Expedition up with Marathon Plus tires all around, heavy duty rack, rack bag and panniers, extra tools and other goodies that give me confidence that I can survive the apocalypse with nothing but my Catrike Expedition. 
Another benefit, for me personally, I'm inclined to enjoy the world around me more as I meander with Betzi in tow and on a solo ride. The 700 makes me feel like I have to ride hard and fast whereas the Expedition is telling me to take it easy and smell the roses. Trike, body and mind are about 20% slower when riding the Expedition compared to the 700. Also the Expedition is geared for climbing and not speed. But even on this beast I still pass my share of DFers and that's a fun blog post for another time.


  1. Nice comparison/contrast, Mark. Other trikers should find this useful. I'd love to try a 700 sometime. I'm hoping our next Velo purchase is a tandem, however. But that's a ways in the future.

  2. Mark
    Enjoyed your comparison. I agree 99%.

    Google catrike 700 speed mods and kmx trike mods for a peek at where I have landed.

    Central Indiana has regular Trike rides all year if anyone is close. Contact Victory Bikes, Kokomo, IN for details. BTW Victory is a killer trike shop ...

  3. Tested out an Expedition and was quite amused by the clearance in the rear triangle.
    Even though it's unsuspended, the thought that I could put mountain bike tires on it with no problem seems like a seller to me.
    I'm also a younger guy and prefer bikes that look a little freakier like the Expedition.

    All my friends ride fixed or cruisers, and then I roll up on my V-Rex to the party!!

  4. What tire are you running on the Expedition when you're not pulling a trailer or have a heavy load? In other words, "setup to ride fast".

    1. I ended up with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 20x1.35 (35/406) on front and Marathon Plus 26x1.35 (35/559) on the back. I found it to be a good all around tire even when towing. If I'm looking for a little extra speed I'll pump them up to 100psi (range is 65 to 100psi).

  5. So far, I am convinced of utility of the expedition. I want to go on a long tour. I feel like even if I could do 30 all day I would still be a roadblock, so, I do not care if I am only going 5-10 mph. I want to get up hills as easy as possible and relax on the flats, no wearing my knees and heart out. Any other brands who brag about EASY PEDALING which is my main concern?

    1. For the lowest gearing possible and easy hill pedaling go with a trike that has a 20" rear wheel. My main objection to the 20" rear wheel is the derailleur cage is close the ground.

    2. Enjoyed your comparison.
      I had owned a catrike trail which I bought new in Dec. 13' but didn't receive it untill Jan.14'. It was my very first trike; I liked it at first, but then once I owned it for a while, some things stood out that I didn't care for; rear derailleur cage skimming just above the ground, and the seat not far enough back for me to be comfortable (even though it's seat did adjust). I went on two tours with it, but I have always had my eye on the expedition. I finially pulled the trigger this year 2016 and sold my catrike trail and bought a brand new customized (for my liking) Catrike Expedition (flourescent yellow). I too am a proponet for Marathon plus tires 1.35 on all 3 wheels; fast enough and No Flats! It rides so much better than my trail did and is faster and much more comfortable. I did some upgrades as well...Complete new triple crank with 50,36,24 chain rings up front and stock gears in back but will be soon putting a 1up 42 tooth cog behind my stock cog set up; which will make my lowest G.I. a 14.8.

    3. Catrike makes a great ride. That being said I may be looking at a suspended ICE Sprint for my next ride. After moving up to the Central Coast I'm discovering that some of the roads are a bit rough. The new Catrike fully suspended Dumont looks heavy and seems to be better suited for more casual riding. A properly equipped suspended ICE Sprint should provide the level of performance I like while smoothing out the rough roads. I'll still keep my 700 for when I ride well maintained roads.