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The Trikke (// tr-EYE-k) is a chain-less, pedal-less, personal vehicle with a three-wheel frame. The rider stands on two foot platforms above the two rear wheels and steers the vehicle with handlebars attached to the lone front wheel. The patented cambering system is designed to provide a stable, three-point platform that lets the rider lean into turns while all three wheels remain in contact with the ground. There are several variations of the Trikke, from body-powered fitness machines, to battery-powered transportation and personal mobility vehicles. There are also Trikkes for children, as well as a version for snow-covered mountains called the Trikke Skki.
All Trikkes are designed and manufactured exclusively by Trikke Tech, Inc., based in Buellton, California.
A body-powered Trikke is propelled using a motion that moves the vehicle along a curved, S-shaped path (called “carving”). The rider moves the vehicle from side to side, turning the handlebars and leaning the front structure while moving one’s body weight toward the side one is turning into. The weight of the rider during a turn (or “carve”) is placed mainly on the foot at the outside of the turn. The inside foot will support very little weight and the rider will often lift the heel of this foot during the turn.
The resulting motion is similar to slalom skiing, a tic-tac move on a skateboard, or one’s leg movements during roller skating.
A Trikke can be propelled without the need to push off with one’s foot. There are many variations of Trikke-riding techniques as riders place different emphasis on the elements of the movement.
Using the carving motion, a body-powered Trikke can achieve speeds of nearly 30 km/h (19 mph), but more often, riders cruise around with average speeds in the 15 km/h (9.3 mph) range. A Trikke can be ridden uphill, albeit at a reduced speed.
Since 2009, Trikke Tech, Inc. has manufactured electric versions of the Trikke, which have been adopted by various law enforcement and security companies as an alternative to other personal electric vehicles. Additionally, many recreational riders now use electric Trikkes for personal transportation as well as hybrid fitness vehicles.
While similar three-wheel vehicles may have existed prior to the Trikke, the Trikke carving vehicle is the result of years of experimentation and development by Brazilian engineer Gildo Beleski. Starting in the late 1980s, Beleski began seeking different, more efficient ways for traveling downhill on early Trikke prototypes. That eventually lead to the revelation that his carving vehicles could also be used on flat surfaces and that they possessed the potential to provide a much more strenuous yet safe alternative to bikes, skateboards and other scooters.
Throughout the 1990s, Beleski continued to refine his design concepts, experimenting with geometric changes to the frame and wheels while adding features to improve body propulsion and the transfer of energy and movement from the rider to the road through the frame.
Simultaneously, the native Brazilian was working in the automotive industry and started his own business servicing high end cars. He also raced autos for fun and learned more about sheer performance and the importance of good handling.
By the late 90s, Beleski’s business brought him to the United States for several auto shows, and during one visit, a friend took him to Miami’s South Beach. There he was mesmerized by the sight of so many people enjoying recreation on wheels, be they in-line skates, skateboards or bicycles. Immediately he saw the potential for Trikkes.
After some soul searching, Beleski decided to dedicate his life to designing, developing and riding Trikkes as an entrepreneur in America. In 1999, he applied for a patent on an improved design for a three-wheel cambering vehicle with the US Patent Office. In 2000, he founded Trikke Tech, Inc., in Southern California, shipping 100 frames from Brazil and assembling Trikkes in his garage. Next, he took to the streets and begin demonstrating his Trikkes while talking to people and making friends.
Trikke three-wheel carving vehicles officially went on the market in 2002, and Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of that year.
Since then, over half a million body-powered Trikkes have been sold and Trikke riding groups have sprung up in the United States and many other countries.
Over the years, Trikke carving vehicles have been featured by numerous media outlets, including People magazine, Playboy, Men’s Health Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and the TV shows “Extra” and “The View.”
Additionally, many celebrities and public figures have been photographed riding Trikkes, including former President Jimmy Carter, NFL quarterback Cam Newton and actors Jennifer Aniston, Jim Belushi and Tori Spelling.