Like many growing kids, I too had this dream of becoming a superstar. I remember often being caught day dreaming of crowd going crazy on the very sight of me, my name resonating in the air, pretty female fans dying to talk to me, my friends envying me and some more. However, an even bigger dream that I always harboured was to test various cars and bikes and let the world know what I feel about them. No prizes for guessing which of these two dreams turned into a reality. What makes the deal even better is that I get paid for testing all these vehicles.
Note that I used the word ‘vehicles’ instead of ‘cars & bikes’. While it is true that most of the vehicles I test are either two or four wheelers, I also get to test vehicles which are a bit…er…different. Recently, I decided testing a personal mobility vehicle that might change the way people look at electrically powered means of transport. With thoughts of spending a day on a very uncommon and boring vehicle, I reached the centre of Pune city. Uncommon the vehicle surely was but boring? Not in my most pessimistic dreams. What followed were a few hours of fun. Being surrounded by crowd became the order of the day no time. At least half of all road users asked us about what I was riding and why? I could see the envy in their eyes when I told them that it is my job to test such products. Soon I exhausted myself and I had to instruct my friend with the cam to provide whatever details the junta needed. Suddenly, I found myself living both of my dreams. Together! Curious? Read on.
This test here involved me, a dear friend who played the photographer, Trikke Pon-e 36 DX and some hours of stardom. We regret not being able to shoot with the helmet on due to its unavailability at the test site. We strongly advice to wear a bicycle helmet while riding such EVs.
One thing is for sure, there is nothing like a Trikke out there on the roads. This harmless little vehicle can give a Lamborghini Aventador a run for its money when it comes to grabbing eyeballs. Structurally, the Trikke has some bits in common with the neighbourhood kid’s ‘scooter’. Yes, the one from the Koi Mil Gaya fame. This Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV) comes with a variety of color options and sports a stylish front fairing that conceals the connecting rod of the handlebar. The plastic bodywork extends all the way to the rear wheels and comes with some graphics stickered onto it. Some of the stickers shout ‘Trikked’ and that is a neat touch. The Handlebar and brake levers are your BSA bicycles affair and could have looked aesthetically better for more of that coolness. The anchors on the rear wheels are some serious, albeit, small looking petal disc brakes and further elevate the oomph factor.
This was the first time I was going to ride such a vehicle and I was pretty unsure if I will be able to ride it the way it should. However, it takes some 20 minutes to get the hang of the Trikke. You need to rest your feet on the two pods above each rear wheel and the rubberized surface ensures that you do not slip off the surface. The handlebar is adjustable for height and this will help many who are below or above the average height. The Trikke comes with a battery indicator positioned beside the accelerator and the vehicle can be operated only when you slot in a key and turn it to ON position. The plastics feel to be of good quality and some minor falls should not hurt the pocket. The paint quality is good and the vehicle feels like it will last for at least half of your lifetime. We would have given the Trikke a full score if not for the cheap looking brake levers that also feel cheap to hold.
Electric powered vehicles in India are always criticised for their performance or should I say, the lack of it? Without beating around the bush, I would like to add that the Trikke is just fine in a moderately crowded city street. The manufacturer claims a top whack of 25 kmph and same was verified by the speedo on the Pulsar 220 support vehicle that was riding with us. An electric motor on the front wheel simply means that all the torque comes into play the moment the motor starts spinning above zero RPM. The Trikke comes with a button that is used to switch between the two riding modes and the low power mode means that the battery lasts longer at the expense of some punch, and the top whack is reduced to 18 kmph. The 250 W motor is surely no equivalent of an IC engine but feels adequate for the job here. While these speeds appear laughable on paper, we managed to remain in flow with the traffic at M.G Road, Pune. Having said this, I would like to add that while I used to mess around with auto rickshaws and geared scooters on my 21 speed mountain bike, I will certainly not use the Trikke in a sprint against any conventional vehicle.
Yes and how! The simple construction of the Trikke provides a stable 3-point platform that leans into the turn with the rider. The best way to corner on a Trikke is to engage the entire body weight towards the direction in which one needs to go. As for the ride quality, small wheels and no shock absorbers ensure that you won’t want to pick a fight with those potholes out there. Coming to the braking and the aspect that I loved the most about this vehicle, I will advise the dear reader to not let the simple looking brake levers fool him. Those petal discs on the rear wheels surely mean business. The front wheel makes to do without a brake owing to the motor mounted on to it. I won’t be exaggerating to say that the brakes led us painting the road with tire marks and enjoying to our fullest. The need for having a brake mounted on to the front wheel was never felt and this handling and braking combo surely impressed us. I so wish that our PMV could stick its tongue out at those craters.
By now our readers must have become sure that we had quite some fun testing the Trikke Pon-e 36 DX. The question that arises is- Will I buy it? And with a heavy heart I say that I won’t but wish I could. To explain things, I would like to tell that my daily run is of about 60 kms and a battery range of about 30 kms coupled with no provision of a seat simply means that this vehicle will be impractical for many. However, on a weekend and when you might want to play the utterly cool superstar, the Trikke makes a lot of sense. It can also help you with a quick run to the supermart or to the nearby college/office (Off the record- girls will be willing to go on a coffee date for that 1 pic with this vehicle). And you can simply laugh at those petrol pumps and rising fuel prices. All this, however, comes at a price. INR 110000 to be precise. Now, if you are still reading and not busy collecting your jaw from the floor, allow me to explain that this is courtesy the high import duties that come into play owing to the Trikke being a CBU import from the US of A.
The Trikke, has also been advertised by its manufacturer as a fantastic fitness euipment in its muscle powered version. Yes, the Trikke can also be ordered without an electric motor and be powered using legs, if you feel yours are strong enough for the duty. The company has compiled certain health related statistics to promote the heath related benefits of this three wheeled machine.
All in all, we quite like the trikke. It’s fun, its eco friendly and it most certainly delivers what it promises. However, it’s not meant to serve as a utility machine. It’s a lifestyle machine, and meant only for those who have deep pockets, and a lot of cash to spare.
The entire Trikke range can be checked out at:- www.trikkeindia.com