Friday, March 27, 2015

Catrike 700 Sweet Spot

In my post from February 15th "New Setup on Red" I was trying to soften the ride without scarifying to much speed. The changes felt sluggish and made me want to be back on "Black" for long rides. It tired me out faster. Well "Red" is back to it's original setup as an all around beast of burden.

Through trail and error I've discovered the sweet spot. A balance between speed, handling and comfort.

I tried a new rear wheelset on "Black" with  a lower pressure and larger Schwalbe Kojak 35/622 combined with a DT Swiss rim and hub and left everything else untouched. The Ultremo 23/406s still grace the front. What I ended up with is a fast and comfortable ride without any compromise in handling. Acceleration is still very good and loss of speed is barely noticeable. Downhills are still just as fast. If not for the lower pitch of the new rear hub when coasting I could easily forget that "Black" sports a more robust rear wheelset.

Combining the existing Ultremo 23/406s on the front with the new wheelset on the rear is the ticket to maintaining a fast nimble ride with a little cush over the rough spots. The outboard front wheels take the rough road with more of a rocking motion that doesn't translate the bumps to the rider with as much force as the rear wheel. I can keep the skinny and hard Ultremos on the front. When the rear wheel hits a bump all the force that the tire doesn't absorb goes right to the rider. So far all my rides with  the new setup have been with full tire pressure. On truly nasty roads I can play with the pressure to soften the ride up even more.

I'm really happy with this combination of wheels. Of course I could buy a trike with suspension but I'm not ready to slow down that much yet. Here's the new rear wheelset:

The 35/622 Schwalbe Kojak is paired with a DT Swiss XR 331, 32 spoke Rim and a DT Swiss 350 rear Hub. The wheelset with a 11/36 cassette weighs in at 1850 grams (4.05 lbs). 

 The new more robust wheelset also gives me more peace of mind on rough roads and longer rides.

The original wheelset with a 11/36 cassette weighs in at 1590 grams (3.5 lbs) and will be used on short fast rides (a short ride for me is generally around 20 miles) on roads that I know are in good condition.

Bottom line...I'm spoiled. I have two Catrike 700s and now I have two unique wheelsets for "Black" that can easily be traded out depending on my riding mood. Above all my Catrike 700 "Black"is still a kick in the ass to ride regardless of which wheelset is used.


  1. Yeah, yooz gots some schweet rides, amigo. I've got Kojaks on my Lightning Phantom, which is now my regular commuter, and I like them a lot. Sounds like a good compromise on the "fast" 700. I was impressed at how easily you stayed ahead of me at the reading ride back at Dana's. My Expedition is a dog in comparison. And I'm looking at dogging it even more when we go for an off-road set up of a 29'er in back and 24's up front, 2+ inches on all three! It'll be fun on the dirt, however.

    Ride on.

    1. I'm looking forward to checking out your ride journal when you go off road.

  2. What hubs/model are you using on the front wheels?

    1. Hey Joe, They're Chris King front hubs. Here's my blog post from 2014 on the Chris King hubs. You'll have to copy and paste in your browser.