Comfort and ability accessories
Press room - Recumbent & Tandem Rider issue #55 2016
HP Velotechnik in the news: the following text is an excerpt from the magazine Recumbent & Tandem Rider issue #55 2016.
We recommend to order the complete magazine from the publishing house to read the whole story.
HP Velotechnik Scorpion
Updated, upgraded, outstanding.
By Charles Coyne
HP Velotechnik's big news for this fall is the introduction of their redesigned
Scorpion recumbent trike. HP has produced the original Scorpion with 20" wheels since
its initial introduction back in 2005, and it has been one of their bread-and-butter
machines ever since. Iterations, or evolutions, introduced over the years have included the
Scorpion fx - a foldable touring trike with 20" wheels;
the Scorpion fs - a foldable
touring trike with front suspension in addition to the rear No-Squat suspension, also fitted
with 20" wheels; the Scorpion fs 26 with full suspension and a 26" rear wheel; the Eurobike
Award-winning Scorpion fs 26 Enduro for off-road romping; the electric-assist
S-Pedelec Scorpion fs 26, as well as the "higher, wider, more comfortable"
Scorpion Plus 20 and the
Scorpion Plus 26.
So, what's different between the original Scorpion and the newest version? The
most obvious change is its profile due to the switch from a 20" rear wheel to the increasingly popular 26" rear wheel combo.
Whether it's fade, fiction, or fate, the trend in trikes does seem to be leaning towards the
larger rear wheel sizes, and HP Velotechnik now looks to be becoming even more
invested in the concept.
The stiff, strong backbone of the Scorpion's frame remains the same, along
with the swept-forward cross-member. Some reengineering of HP's original
NoSquat suspension system
was required with the introduction of 26" rear wheel. To better
manage the additional side torsional forces caused by the taller wheel (taller wheel =
longer lever), HP incorporated a newer rear triangle assembly.
This newer No-Squat system had previously been incorporated into other
versions of the Scorpion over the years, including the Scorpion fx, fs 26, fs 26 Enduro,
the fs 26 S-Pedelec. the Plus 20 and the Plus 26. The difference between the original
No-Squat rear triangle and the newer version can be seen by comparing the photo of the
orange-colored Scorpion from our test in 2006 with the similar photo taken of the new trike.
The wider 'wing flange' spreads the forces over a wider area, minimizing any chance
of the frame flexing under strong side loads. Loaded touring trikes can apply very strong
side loads on the rear wheel assemblies, it will be interesting to see if any recumbent trike
manufacturers gravitate toward adapting a sider drop out, such as the 160mm dropouts
used by some upright tandem manufacturers such as Santana Tandems.
As can also be seen in the comparison photos, the shock location and pivot points
have been changed from the originals setup's more vertical mounting position to
the current installation's more horizontal position. HP Velotechnik now uses a pre-load
adjustable DV-22 coil-over shock from DNM Suspension Technology. A few turns of
the adjusting collar is all it takes to tune the preload to the individual rider's desire.
The key to HP Velotechnik's NoSquat suspension is the pivot point of the rear
triangle. The pivot point geometry between chain run and the suspension remains the
same, so the Scorpion still delivers strong, squat-less acceleration. lmportantly, it also
still delivers the kind of rough road taming that we have come to expect over many years of
experience aboard HP's bikes and trikes.
Once on the road, it didn't take very long to feel right at hope again on the new
Scorpion. To begin with, the Scorpion accelerated satisfyingly briskly, belying its
all-up weight of 39.5 lbs. With its "scorpion-shaped" frame doing an excellent job of
weight distribution, coupled with a low center of gravity and nimble steering, the
Scorpion feels like a much lighter rig. lts nimbleness does not translate to twitchyness
at higher speeds as might be suspected. Attribute that to the bike's weil-designed
indirect under-seat steering.
Our review trike was fitted with Schwalbe's Kojak tires. They were as sticky
in the corners as well-chewed bubble gum, and cause an absolute minimum of rolling
resistance, allowing the Scorpion to roll easily and quickly. Kojaks are the go-to choice for
many fans of fast riding recumbent bikes and trikes, so are a very good inclusion with the
Seating choices get very personal with trike buyers, HP provides a choice of either
the BodyLink seat as on our review bike, or their more traditional ErgoMesh seat.
Some folks have a bit of hesitance when it comes to thinking about seats such as HP's
BodyLink, concerned about how comfortable the seat may be, or how well they'll stay
in the seat in hard cornering. Everyone's results may vary, but tbe BodyLink seat is
much more adjustable than the ErgoMesh, and may actually be more comfortable
in the long run, due to its wide range of adjustments. In terms of recumbent trikes,
the all-new HP Velotechnik Scorpion is lean, low, sleek and fast. In terms of recumbent
riders, your test rider for this report - not so much. The question was whether the
BodyLink seat would be as comfy as the more traditional ErgoMesh unit. While 1
did not spend a lot of time adjusting the BodyLink to my final desire, there is no
doubt that a very comfortable ride can be obtained, and it may end up being more
comfortable in the long run.
Adding to that comfort is the superior ride delivered by the rear suspension. The
impact of bumps and thumps can be felt mostly through the feet on the pedals and
hands on the under-seat steering's handlebars. However, the back and butt are very
effectively made immune to any rough-road-inflicted jolts or hammering, greatly adding to
the level of confidence allowed by the rider.
Staying in control of a quickly moving trike such as the new Scorpion requires a
good set of brakes, and HP elected to equip our test rig with Shimano Deore XT hydraulic
disc brakes with matched Shimano Deore XT levers and 160mm Avid rotors. Such
a selection provides a sure, safe stopping system, so easily applied that one's little
finger is all that's needed to apply enough pressure to apply the brakes. Modulation is
superb and the feel of control and power is beautiful with no indications of pull to one
side or the other under severe braking effort.
Another important aspect is the drive train, and HP has again spec'ed some stellar
components with SRAM ST 500 bar end shifters coupled to a generic three-speed front
derailleur and a very nice SRAM GX 10-Speed rear derailleur. The use of a
generic front derailleur is likely a cost-saving move, but with its workings sitting out right
in front of the rider, it's easy to keep an eye on things to insure that all is well with each
shift. The rear SRAM derailleur worked flawlessly, delivering crisp, precise shifts
every time, up and down the scale. The 11-36 cog ratio provided a good range of gearing in
conjunction with the three-speed chainring in front.
The new Scorpion certainly takes off where the old one left off. As HP's baseline
in the Scorpion lineup, it is likely to turn out lo have another long lifetime in HP
Velotechniks' lineup, and sets the bar a bit higher trikes in the $4000.00 price range; you
get a well-equipped trike that benefits from very sophisticated engineering for that kind of
money, and that's always a good thing.