… the Top End Force 3 hand-cycle

Johnny has been riding this for more than a year now. The first trike to cost less than £2k, it’s lighter than his previous Quickie Shark and has a more efficient disk brake. The matt black colour is cool but it’s not exactly hi-viz. Mind you, neither is a black dog.

I was disappointed at the customer service from the manufacturer and dealer. I was charged full-price for the upright seat option and, once it arrived, had to swap it with the standard recliner (it’s outside my office right now. Anybody want it?). I specified Schwalbe Marathon tyres for the rear wheels and they arrived in the crate loose, along with the bare rims (and they are a pain to fit). The deraillieur gears and disk brake had not been touched and I had to lug the whole thing to my local bike shop.

IMG-20170725-WA0004Anyhoo the design is simple, which is a Good Thing, but the result is minimal real-estate for carrying drinks, tool-kit and coat. The drive-train is slick but needs regular tuning, and twin cables run in extremely tight bends from the (RH) hand-crank, so they don’t last. Roll on an affordable electric shift. You can’t change the chain-wheel while pedalling, but there is a way round that. If required, the footrest straps can secure your ankles and a lapstrap your hips. Finally, the parking rim-brake is way more efficient than the ridiculous and quickly-lost Velcro strip that came with the Shark.

Johnny uses the trike mainly to exercise his dog (registered name Ludo, Spawn of Satan) around the local lanes. In common with most dedicated hand-bikes the seat is close to the ground; if you are an old fart like Johnny, your aching shoulders will love anything sturdy that you can use as a staging-post, as you haul your sorry ass back up to the wheelchair. Living as we do in a hops heartland, where are all the beer crates?

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