The Penninger Trike in Review

Too much FUN. A grown man should not feel compelled to smile so almost uncontrollably so much. Nor should the very act of turning on to a different street be so very much looked forward to. No not at all. If you feel guilty having this kind of fun, you don't belong on the machine responsible for all this, an adult trike (see "Why Trike").

Nor are they worthy of your interest if you still feel like riding a bike in comfort should be an outlawed activity. But if trike riding sounds interesting to you; when you finally decide that the joyous experience of three-wheeled performance is something you are worthy of, the Penninger trike may likely have your name on it.

But what sets the Penninger apart from the rest? Why the big deal? Well, besides the fact that the Penninger is far more utilitarian than most (it will do the most work for you) while still offering performance and also making it fun, there are many other reasons to consider this machine!

When shopping for a trike, it is always good to know the bike's off road manners before you get too excited about any of the machines you are considering. And it is here that the Penninger comes away a big winner. For starters it fits in a doorway. It rolls right through. No need to to tilt it on its side or work any other gymnastics to get the bike in and out of your front door, the post office, the bank or any of the other places of business that welcome a bike.

And when you get there, it stands on its rear haunches. Even if you don't go inside, parking your bike in this way, gives it an added element of security. This is so because lowering the bike back to the ground, though easy, is a high attention getting activity that will discourage most prospective thieves. Your bike is also far more visible from the inside of most stores or even from far away distances even if it does stay outside.

And all of this can take place on a much smaller footprint than most all of the adult bikes (bent or upright) on the marketplace today. When you have a bike that only needs 31 in x 33 in. of real estate, you can park it in a much smaller area. For me, this gives me a lot more breathing room in my one bedroom flat.

It also means that a lot more bike shops will be willing to place the three wheel option before their customers because their space is not so compromised like it is with most recumbents and trkes.

When your bike stands on its rear and the wheels still move freely like they do on the Penninger, a workstand suddenly also becomes the result! Here you can make everything from small or large adjustments to your brakes or gears, even true your wheels or overhaul a bottom bracket or headset, all with the bike parked stable and secure on its rear end.

Earlier we had intimated that the Penninger is a workhorse. How about a trike that will carry a 150 pound payload over its rear axle? Here there is no limit to what the bike can do. The Penninger people have even talked about offering a rack system to their growing list of options so that you can carry long and big loads such as surfboards, lumber, even other bikes over the top of their trike! And until they do, there's no reason why you can't rig up something, however temporary or permanent, to accomplish this task.

And the Penninger can withstand punishment. No sweat. Besides looking forward to turns as is always going to be the case with trikes, I also look forward to curbs. While I slow down to go up them, I charge down them with some measure of gusto. And the bike just doesn't miss a beat. The Phil Wood built hubs and wheels make this a no doubt Can Do!!

If none of this tickles your fancy, how about the capacity to run two bikes as one? That's right a tandem (if you don't know why recumbent tandems are such a big deal, see "Why Recumbent Tandem"). With the Penninger you can address the quandary of your wanting to go for a ride with a slower or faster rider. In order to level this playing field with the Penninger all you have to do is remove the front wheel of your companion's trike, mount it to special bracket, and presto voila you've got a stoker.

They are even working on a tandem mount that will let a two wheel recumbent or upright serve as your bike's stoker. Once this happens, the result will be a tandem for the $198 cost of the mount they are engineering. This feature will also give their trike the capacity to tow another bike in for repairs and the like. Soon the Penninger will also become the the World's first Tow Trike! They just also completed a BOB trailer hitch and are finishing up a quick release system that will let you split the bike in half for shipping. A performance package with upgrades for the speed minded is also on the near horizon!

With regard to the quality of the build, the Penninger Trike, a personal affection of Charles Penninger, is the product of a very successful and highly regarded million dollar business that makes machines that make machines. And it doesn't take a highly skilled eye to see that all of the welds and other fittings on this machine are impeccably crafted. Everyone who sees this trike is wowed. And the closer they get the more this sensation is aroused!

As for the ride, I'm having the time of my life on the Penninger and even as I write this I can't wait to get it out my door and go play. And as I play as hard as I want, I know my Penninger is going to play right along with me!!

Penninger at Play

For more info about the Penninger:

Martin Krieg
Bent Since '83
79 & '86 TransAm Vet
"Awake Again" Author

Note:The Penninger I reviewed was a Traveler. While the Explorer model is far better suited for touring, the Traveler is their zip around town sports car version. And much better suited to the Car Free lifestyle that I enjoy!


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