For the third part of the “Trikke Test Drive” series, I will review Trikke’s top-of-the-line electric model, the Tribred Pon-E 48V.
Now I have to admit, when I first heard that Trikke made electric vehicles, my knee-jerk reaction was, “That’s cheating! That’s not exercise!” Although a quieter voice inside me kept whispering, “They look so cool. I’d love to try one.” Keep in mind this reaction is coming from a resident of rural Pennsylvania, where a car is your lifeline to civilization. There is no public transportation here, nor are there wide shoulders or sidewalks on which to ride bicycles or Trikkes.
I recently travelled to a 3-day conference near Washington D.C. with Beth and Preston from Trikke Virginia. In this unfamiliar urban landscape, I quickly learned what the Trikke electrics were designed for. We parked several blocks from the convention center, and rode the Pon-e’s the rest of the way there. This was much quicker than walking, and avoided many of the headaches that come with driving a car through crowded city streets. They were also handy vehicles to zip out to lunch and back, to get a better variety of food at cheaper prices than the convention center had to offer. With the addition of an optional cargo net, the Pon-e becomes a capable grocery-getter. At the end of the day, folding up all three and fitting them into the back of their SUV was a breeze, and much easier than could have been done with standard bicycles.
Did I also mention how much fun the Pon-e 48V is? A simple twist of the throttle is enough to send you zipping along at up to 16 mph. Its lithium-ion battery can deliver up to 24 miles of this blissful enjoyment. You ride in a natural standing position, and the vehicle is well-balanced, stable and maneuverable. I was even impressed with how slow it can go. A gentle twist of the throttle can maintain a walking pace alongside a pedestrian you are having a conversation with.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was learning that the Pon-e could still offer the benefits of a great workout. Although the 48V model weighs in at 46 pounds, twice the weight of my T78 fitness model, I still found it easy to propel in manual mode by carving back and forth. If anything, the extra weight of it could lead to a better workout in less time. You can definitely feel its weight when carving manually, but if you are skilled at riding the fitness models, there is no doubt you will be able to make it go.
For those who have never ridden a Trikke before, learning to ride in a straight line under battery power is quite easy, as is learning to lean it to turn. Perhaps the most interesting method of propulsion is the true hybrid method, where you still carve back and forth but give it light throttle to allow the electric to assist you. This can increase your speeds on flat surfaces, and help you up hills that would otherwise be beyond your ability. Riding in hybrid mode can extend the range of the battery as well.
What makes this vehicle so great is that your riding style can adapt to whatever conditions you face. It is a guaranteed head-turner, and you may find yourself making new friends along the way. The better-known Segway can’t hold a candle to the Trikke Tribred Pon-E. The Trikke is much more portable, easier to maintain, and can be operated in manual mode should the battery run out of charge. It’s also much easier on the wallet; you can buy three Pon-E 48V’s for the cost of one Segway.
Although I live and work in a rural environment, the Trikke Tribred Pon-E 48V is so practical and so much fun, that it almost makes me wish I lived and worked in a city where I could fully take advantage of one. I have no doubt that we will see more of this eco-friendly transportation in our cities and suburbs soon.
Thanks go out to my friends at Trikke Virginia for the opportunity to ride this fine Pon-e. Please contact them or myself if you are interested in learning more about the Trikke line of carving vehicles.