Pressespiegel – Bentrider Online 2016-09-16
HP Velotechnik in the news: the following text is an excerpt from the ‘BentRider Online blog of September 16, 2016. We recommend to visit their web-site for further information.
Gekko fx 26
By Bryan J. Ball [Managing Editor]
HP Velotechnik’s line of Scorpion suspension trikes get a lion’s share of the German company’s press. Next in line as far as press coverage goes, is probably their excellent line of Pedelec e-assist trikes. People often seem to forget that HP Velotechnik pioneered the quick-fold market in 2010 with the Gekko fx. As the trike market is in love with 26″ drivewheels right now, the Germans added that as an option in 2015.
The Gekko fx 26 is a trike that I’ve been eager to try for a long time. I’ve always loved HP Velotechnik’s handling and quality. As of late, I’ve also become quite enamored with the standing quick-fold format that HP Velotechnik pioneered. I’m also a pretty big fan of large drivewheels so the fx 26 seemed like a perfect combination.
The Gekko fx 26 uses the same beefy 7005 T6 aluminum frame as its 20″ drivewheel sibling. The seat and riding position are also nearly identical. That means a 13.75″ seat height that is adjustable between 39 and 47 degrees and a 15-19″ bottom bracket height. The handlebars are fully adjustable for width and angle.
This is HP Velotechnik’s least expensive trike, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. The Gekko fx 26 has the same outstanding attention to detail that you’ll find on all of their trikes. The welds and powdercoat are all top notch, the seat mesh is very nice and custom parts like the chain tubes and idlers are all very well done.
The riding position is comfortable and should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s ridden an HP Velotechnik in the past, but it’s a bit sportier than their other offerings but still comfortable. The only downside I saw was that the seat was a bit narrower at the top than some other mesh seat trikes. It wasn’t a problem for me at 5′ 11″ and 195 lbs but larger riders may notice it. I still prefer the wider, cushier seats on HP Velotechnik’s other trikes (and those of ICE and Catrike), but the Gekko was plenty good enough.
The overall ride of the Gekko fx 26 is also a bit sportier than their other offerings. The oversized aluminum frame is great for power transfer (more on that later), but it does transfer more of the bumps than its nearest competitor, the Catrike 5.5.9. If I had to compare the overall ride quality to another trike, I’d say that it was pretty close to that of the Catrike Expedition. Stiff but not to the level of being objectionable. You just have to keep an eye out for the really big bumps.
That stiffer frame does yield benefits when it comes to performance, though. I expected the Gekko fx 26 to be fairly quick, but it exceeded my expectations. It weighs nearly 40 lbs which sounds heavy but is actually a bit lighter than the 5.5.9. There is also very little to no power loss when sprinting or accelerating. I found the HP Velotechnik to be about half a mile an hour in average speed faster than the 5.5.9 I currently have on hand. Again, I’d put the performance level pretty much on par with the Catrike Expedition or an unsuspended ICE Sprint 26.
I really liked the handling of the Gekko fs 26. The steering is light and stable and there is little to no brake steer or pedal steer. It’s a bit quicker and sportier than other HP Velotechnik trikes but that really suits the trike’s overall personality. High-speed corners are a blast on this trike.
Storing the Gekko is a breeze. The fold is very fast and the seat stays on. Like the 5.5.9, it takes a few tries to get used to doing it without letting any part of the trike touch the ground, but once you get it, it’s very intuitive. I was able to do it in around 15 seconds.
This trike isn’t meant to fold in a super small package, it’s designed to fold very quickly to store in the corner of a room or a garage or to put in the back of a hatchback or wagon. If you want something that folds smaller, HP Velotechnik offers trikes with a more complicated fold.
HP Velotechnik offers a wide variety of component specifications for the Gekko fx 26. My test trike was the basic 24-speed version. It came with SRAM X4 derailleurs and shifters, a Truvativ crankset and Avid BB-5 disc brakes. The wheels use HP Velotechnik’s own custom hubs and rims and came shod with Schwalbe Tryker front tires and a Schwalbe Marathon Racer in the rear.
Even though the parts were fairly low-end, everything worked well. Once set up properly, Avid BB-5’s are great stoppers. The drivetrain shifted very well and had an adequate gear range. Despite the fairly extensive use of chaintubes, everything also ran very quietly.
Other options available include a rear rack, a very sturdy fender set, a SON Dynamo lighting system, numerous accessibility aids and the HP Velotechnik’s excellent Pedelec system.
You don’t often think of European trikes as being a value buy but, if you go light on the options list, the Gekko fx 26 is actually a shockingly good bargain. My base-model test trike retailed at $2390. That’s a full $760 less expensive than the 5.5.9. Getting this kind of German quality and the entire HP Velotechnik experience for under $2500 is a day I thought I’d never see.
I will grant you that the 5.5.9 does come with a bit more bling, much nicer base components and more color choices than the Gekko. Some people will also prefer the smoother ride and seating position of the Catrike. However, with its sporty character and low price, the Gekko fx 26 is very hard to overlook.
HP Velotechnik Gekko fx 26
HIGHS – Great performance, Good handling, Outstanding bang-for-the-buck
LOWS – Ride can occasionally be a bit rough, Seat back may be narrow for some
MSRP – Starting at $2390