We have been getting a lot of requests for trikes lately, so I thought it would be a good idea to walk through our journey trying to produce a trike that the company could be proud of and our customers would love…..spoiler alert, we are not there yet!
In 2020 when we started rolling Cruiser Bikes off the line and getting them into the hands of anxious riders we also developed one of our companies core principals - paying great attention to every comment on social media, every query from our email, and every call to our 800 number.
Along with the most popular questions “what’s the weight (60lbs with the battery 51 without for our 26” bike)”, “how soon can I get one (then, months, now 2 days ship”, and “what makes your bike better (we offer a great bike with the right components and support it before and after the sale,)” we also got a continuous stream of questions about a three wheeled product – a “trike.”
We had just spent hundreds of hours developing the Cruiser Bikes and thousands of miles of testing…that’s right, thousands, and our customers wanted a new product we didn’t know how to make. We are, however, simple businesspeople. We make what people want. When we get a lot of requests or we see an un-filled need (a GREAT bike with GREAT features that’s simple to buy and own with GREAT support – the Cruiser Bike) we do it.
It's not hard, it’s listening to your customer and trying your very best to do what they want in a way that pleases them and gets them to tell their friends about it.
The only problem, trikes are hard.
We ordered a three wheeler opting to get one that was complete to see how we liked it and what we could improve. Like the Cruiser Bike we expected to try a few different things and then make it WAY BETTER and have a great product to sell that was supported in the U.S.A.
It turned out to be a lot harder.
Our initial trike had 26” wheels (per our spec, same as the Cruiser Bike), while fun to ride, it seemed a little “tippy”. If you got going on it and tried to turn, you’d have an issue where one wheel came off the ground. It also seemed on the initial ride the rider would lean and steer like the bike, but instead of a nice smooth turn, the trike would put the weight on two out of the three wheels and veer to the side of feel VERY unstable. At lower speeds this was a little better, but each new rider we put on the trike seemed to have the same issue.
We chalked it up to buying what was available instead of waiting patiently for the best product for our customer.
We ordered two more factory ready trikes to try. Each one different in some way, but experiencing the same issues with each ride. We picked the one with the slightly wider wheel base in back and I rode it 200 miles. That’s right, 200 miles. We had an avid trike rider who was a local try it….and he LOVED it.
But there was no way around the fact that initially it felt unstable. I had a few local customers really interested and asked if they would help us out by trying our BEST trike and giving us feedback.
Invariably, they felt un-stable and actually veered to one side when riding. Every single time, every rider, would sit on our trike and ride it like a bike, leaning to one side or the other. Somehow we had to figure out how to train riders to turn their “bike brains off,” sit on the seat and steer without leaning.
I liked the trike, it was fun to ride an provided a great way to haul some cargo. Also, you didn’t have to get off and on at a stop sign. Just stay seated, and wait…. EASY!
We knew that the customers wanted a solution. We knew that we could get MANY more people the great Cruiser Bike experience with a trike.
So we kept trying.
We ordered yet another trike – Failed.
We ordered a front wheel trike, two wheels in the front, one in the back – worse than the original!
We chopped the seat down to almost ground level trying to move the center of gravity down. Didn’t work.
We added a differential to the back axle (this was a huge chore) – no fundamental change.
We tried wheels that articulated - NO CHANGE.
We were at the end. We could not produce a product we could confidently send to 99% of those requesting it and have them LOVE the product.
We decided to take a break.
We focused on the Cruiser Bike and making sure we reached those who wanted it.
We rode the trike, used the trike, almost came to blows as partners over the trike.
We still could not make a trike we thought could be adopted easily by our audience.
Here’s where we are. We will not make a product that scares people initially and ask them to “drive it 5 miles, you will get used to it.”
The shipping cost is too much.
We are looking for solutions. Let us know if you have ideas or want to try one of the trikes we already have. We’d love your feedback.
We’d love a group of folks committed enough to make the 5 mile challenge and see if we really are right and that after 5 miles you will LOVE it.
If you REALLY want a trike and have some ideas for us, or are willing to be part of a pilot order, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at email@example.com
Let us know, we are still looking for a solution, but will NOT make one we don’t have a clear path to delighting customers with.