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How I Ended Up with an HP Velotechnik FS 26

How I Ended Up with an HP Velotechnik FS 26

Guest contributor Gordon Cohen recounts his journey to recumbent trikes and how he came to select the HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS 26.

My name is Gordon Cohen and I got into riding recumbent trikes a little less than a year ago. I am 50 years old, overweight but still getting back into shape slowly. Growing up, I rode DF bikes into my early 40’s down places like the Pinellas Trail. But after having played hard when I was younger my body was starting to breakdown, and I was starting to have issues riding the DF. I was starting to get lower back pains, shoulder soreness, and a numb hand. I got injured and needed some time to heal. By the time I had healed up enough we had moved to the East Coast of Florida, and I had not ridden in 2 years. I still had my bike and took it for a ride. My butt hurt, neck, shoulders, wrists, and I was just so uncomfortable. Back into the garage it went until we sold it at a garage sale.

In 2006 I fell off a roof and did damage to new parts as well as old parts of my body. There was more nerve damage done in my neck and right shoulder from this injury and a prior one. At this juncture being an independent contractor if I don’t work I don’t get paid. I lost use of my right arm for several months, gained 50lbs and went to 270lbs. My wife would write my reports for me.

In 2010 my wife bought me a new mountain bike. A Wal-Mart special that sat in the garage for a year. One day in 2011 I was trying to teach my son to ride a 2 wheeler and got on the bike as I felt it was time. That ride lasted 10 minutes and I had never been so uncomfortable in my life. Needless to say there were some private areas doing some complaining also. I gave the bike to a friend with the tags still on it.

In February 2012 I was visiting my brother in Springhill, Florida. My brother as an adult rode DF bikes well into his early 50’s and was an avid DF rider and racer. In 2009 he had a bad wreck while riding, ended in an ambulance and hospital having literally broken his butt. He swore he would never get on a DF again as this was the 3rd time he had been in a wreck.  Well, in 2009 he wanted to ride again but was not truly able to ride a DF due to back issues. He ended up purchasing a Catrike Expedition and modified it at purchase with Chris King hubs and Areo wheels to soothe his need for speed. I test drove this “trike” and could not stop smiling and wanting to just keep riding. I knew I had to get one…

After doing some not so careful research, being cheap, never doing a test ride and buying from a lazy dealer who talked me into a basic model.  I purchased a TerraTrike Tour 2 in March 2012. It came with 8 speeds and lots of problems as it was not inspected or set up properly from the start. The dealer said take it for a ride and see you later. To make a long story short, I customized it to 27 speeds with Shimano Bar ends, 26” rear tire, rack, Marathon Racers etc. This was done at 2 different shops as I kept taking it in for service/quality issues. Finally I got it to what I wanted when we discovered that the frame was bent. The dealers where I lived didn’t want to deal with it. I took it to Bicycle Outfitters in Seminole, Florida and dealt with Chris and Richard. I had this trike for 2 months and had only ridden it a few times because of all the problems. Bicycle Outfitters dealt with Terratrike and finally got them to agree to replace the frame, but I would have to pay for the swap of components. I agreed and then I was told that the new frame would take 4-6 weeks to get. That didn’t sit very well and when I was at Bicycle Outfitters I had a knee jerk reaction and saw a beautiful orange Catrike Expedition and bought it on the spot. I then asked them to sell the TerraTrike after it was fixed. I say knee jerk because with my shoulder and neck issues I should have researched better and looked at some suspended trikes. I will say this, no regrets purchasing the Expedition as it is a great trike and I still have it and ride it. We are a trike family now. My wife has an HP Gekko FX, my son William who is 9 has a Catrike Pocket and my son Zach who is 6 years old has a KMX K3.

I had had the Expedition for several months but where I live there are no trails, just roads and sidewalks which are not that smooth. I loved riding this trike but sometimes would take a little bit of a beating due to the stiffness of the frame. But it was fast and fun to ride and I always had a goofy grin on my face when I rode. I also like to ride at night especially when it is hot out. One night in November I was riding and for some reason my front rechargeable headlight died. I was going about 13-14 mph and hit a significant pothole/extruded manhole cover and jarred the heck out of my neck. As I stated in the long winded background above I have neck issues. I could not ride for almost 3 weeks. At this time I had also wanted to take the trike with me when I am on the road for work but did not want to leave it in the back of the truck as I work in some rough neighborhoods and do not want to tempt anyone or attract attention in these places.

I started looking for a folding trike. I found a used HP Gekko FX with 60 miles on it and bought it for my wife. She had a TerraTrike Path but was having issues with it since the day we bought it, and we liked to ride together at least 2 days during the week. After I bought her the Gekko I was going to put a chain tensioner on it so I could extend the boom and take it with me. AFTER I bought it the answer was no that I could not take it with me in case she wanted to ride it. So I started looking for a folding trike again and since I was looking I might as well look at something with rear suspension because of my neck issues. I started to test drive different trikes with suspension. I really liked the Catrike Road but it did not fold. I test drove an ICE Adventure RS and Sprint RS, then an HP Scorpion RS. I then test drove the ICE Adventure and Sprint FS, liking the full suspension even better. On the Sprint I did not like being so low to the ground and on the Adventure the seat would not go back past 41 degrees. I like being laid back more like on my Expedition. I then drove 250 miles to test an HP Scorpion FS and absolutely fell in love with it. It fit me like a glove and seemed to float over the surface of the roads and curbs.

As I was getting ready to order the HP Scorpion FS, I emailed the manufacturer a question. Gunar from HP emailed me back within 24 hours, answered my question and suggested I check out the HP Scorpion full suspension with a 26” rear wheel. Bad move on my part because I did and fell in love. Then I watched the Dream Rider video with this trike going down a bob sled track and my imagination took over from there. It was in December 2012 that I saw the video and started contacting dealers and asking for opinions on a forum. Well you know what they say about opinions and we won’t go there because there are the lovers of 26” rear wheeled trikes and there are the haters and everyone one has an opinion on what upgrades you get with it.

In December, I chose the upgrades I wanted and, since I was spending what I feel is a crazy amount of money, I wanted a custom color too. When I placed the order for the trike, I was told the earliest possible delivery date would be February 18 2013. From what I am told this was the first HP FS 26 with a custom color shipped to the States and it was mine.

I received the trike in February and have had a couple of months to ride it around and get used to it.

I took the trike for its first real ride 3 days after I took delivery for about 12-15 miles. While it was pretty windy it was not like it was the first night when I rode around the block in a 20 mph wind with the rear parking brake sticking.


Upgrades at time of Purchase: I chose the front and rear fenders, the pannier rack, the Dynamo Hub with the S&M front and rear lights. Tryker tires on the front and a Marathon Racer on the back. Rear parking brake, safety brake levers, BB7 brakes, Shimano 27 speeds Dura Ace with bar end shifters and derailleur. Front crank set is a Truvativ Touro 30-39-52.

Suspension: As I have never had suspension before I put it through its paces on all sorts of surfaces and can’t figure out how I lived without it. Up and over the curbs, on rough and dirt roads, it lived up to my expectations. As I have some bones that are not fond of many bumps this was great and at the end of my ride I felt less beat up. I have ridden trikes with rear suspension only and the fronts are a huge difference when going up the curbs and over the speed bumps. On my Expedition, I had put a Big Apple on the rear and it was an improvement but does not replace a shock. It is hard to put into words the comfort and quality of the suspension on this trike.

Turns: I am learning to lean when I make sharp turns as it is different than the Expedition since the HP has suspension. At first I had to get used to the steering, I don’t know that I found it to be better than direct but easier for me as I continued to ride. It is easy, smooth and the best way to describe it is driving a car with power steering while the Expedition was more like manual steering. Again, one is a sports car and one is a sedan.

Speed: This was my major concern in the beginning as my first short ride was in heavy winds and I felt I was working way too hard. And I was. I found the rear parking brake was too tight and adjusted it. This made a huge difference. I had to adjust the brakes a bit as they were hanging up a little.  I have ridden trikes with 20" and 26” rear wheels and I find the 26" is a better fit for me and seems to roll better. Again I am in Florida and we don’t have much in the way of hills. I think the 20” to 26" is a matter of preference per rider and where they ride.

For the most part I don’t worry about speed to much as long as I am not working too hard or long to get where I am going. The Expedition was an average speed of 12 to 12.5 mph on a normal day taking it easy. The HP is about 10 lbs heavier so I did not expect it to roll as fast as the Expedition and it doesn’t. I averaged 10-10.5 mph on the same course around the neighborhoods I usually ride. I truly believe because the ride was smoother and more comfortable I thought I was going much slower than I actually was.


If you like the Dynamo Hub for full time lighting, great, but it does lend some drag to this trike and is an additional $600.00 dollars.

hp-velotechnik-scorpion-fs-26-bottle-mountThe bottle holder was mounted by the dealer at the front and it will have to be moved as I am going to add a blinking front light there. I have the dynamo and it is great and bright. The only thing I noticed is if I am stopped for too long at a light it goes very dim, hence the use of a blinking light as where I live the drivers seem to be partially blind. I am also rigging small blinking lights to the flag as I do a lot of night riding.

Shifting/Gearing: I went with the Shimano 27 speed and bar ends. I am used to the SRAM 10 speed on the Expedition. I like the SRAM drivetrain better for the simple reason it is more comfortable for me when shifting and for the gear ranges between gears.

Rear Rack: Jury is out right now as I don’t do a lot of touring and would have liked to see a rack over the rear bumper. I am told by HP that this is not going to be an option due to the rear suspension and keeping the weight evenly distributed. The side pannier rack is very small and will not hold a lot of baggage. If your thought is to do some serious touring then you may want to purchase a trailer or do some customization for the rear racks. Utah Trikes has actually fabricated a rear rack that goes over the rear tire and bolts into the factory pannier rack for about $200. For now, I've purchased Ortleib Roller Plus panniers, and they fit perfect for what I need.

Seat and Position: I keep it at the most reclined setting as I seem to breathe easier and like the recline. The seat is the most comfortable I have sat in as I got the Ergo Mesh XL version. This sits up a little higher than the body link hard shell seat. Another reason I went with the Ergo Mesh is it is cooler as I live in Florida. This seat sits up at about 12” where the seat on my expedition is 10”.

Folding: Works great but is still a pretty big package with the larger rear wheel. It does not fold as compact as the ICE Trikes or the Greenspeeds.

I have only been riding trikes for about 12 months now, but since day one I have had this goofy grin on my face when I am out riding. This has been the only form of exercise other than lifting weights a couple times a week due to other injuries I have had in the past.

Future Upgrades

Upgrading drivetrain to the SRAM Red or possibly Force as I am still working it out with the dealer. Utah Trikes made a custom rear rack for one of their customers and I like the rack. I am going to upgrade the tires to either Ultremo ZX in front with a Durano in the rear or Duranos all the way around. Arizona Flag with an LED lit mast and flag.

Overall Impression At This Time

Best investments in my health and fun I have ever made. This trike is like riding on glass with the full suspension system. Rough roads, chipseal etc just seem not to matter and at the end of a long ride I don’t feel beat up. This is not to say I am getting rid of my Expedition because I am not. That is a great trike for the smooth trails and roads and when I am just looking for speed. I have the best of both worlds as I have a sports car and a luxury sedan.

This is an expensive investment so I suggest you be sure when ordering if you really need the some of the upgrades. Drivetrain will depend on your needs and demographics. I had to go with bar end shifters as I have nerve damage to my right hand from a dog bite and twist shifters were too hard for me. As for the Dynamo Hub with lighting I don’t think I would order this again due to cost and the bit of drag on the front wheel. If your desire is to have a full time lighting system then this is it with one caveat. Neither the front nor rear lights are blinking which is something I like during the day. I got the rear parking brake and I don’t think it was necessary for me as I also have the locking brake levers. Where I live fenders are a must and the HP front fenders were designed for this trike and they look awesome.

Most importantly when you first pick your trike up from your dealer, TAKE YOUR TIME looking it over and test riding it. Make sure you have all your questions answered, and if there is one little thing you don’t like address it at that time.

Hopefully I did not bore anybody with this long winded article and would love to hear from other HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS riders regarding their observations, suggestions for bling etc.

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Source: http://www.recumbentjournal.com/reviews/tricycles/item/611-how-i-ended-up-with-an-hp-velotechnik-fs-26.html

Steintrikes Explorer

By BRYAN J. BALL Managing Editor My first experience with Steintrikes came in 2004 when I reviewed the Viper. That trike, like most of the Serbian company’s designs at the time, was designed to be simple and inexpensive. It worked well enough, but wasn’t particularly memorable. For a few years, I almost forgot that the [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8392

Biking Coast to Coast with Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers

by Larry Varney Co-Editor Think of this as a stream of consciousness, or of movement, article. I have meant to write more about it sooner, but many of the campgrounds have not had WiFi. And, it’s been difficult to sift through my pictures to choose the ones to share with you. That said, I will [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8323

Utah Trikes Shows New Wheel Extensions and Chain Tensioner for Catrikes

In case any of you missed it, the new 2013 Catrike’s all have improved rear wheel drop outs. That means that Utah Trikes’ wheel extensions no longer worked… until now.  This new custom 2013 Villager features the new 26″ wheel kit. It also has one of the company’s new chain tensioners that simplify adjusting the [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8376

Catrike and Purple Sky Team Up

From Catrike Press Release… Over the last few years Dan and Rachelle Peters (Purple Sky Flags) have been making some beautiful flags and it was a true labor of love. Last year, through a series of events which included the loss of their manufacturer for the main flag material, they decided to call it quits. [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8367

Ventisit Seat Pads for Mesh Seats

By BRYAN J. BALL Managing Editor Ventisit seat pads are hardly a secret in the recumbent world anymore. They come as OEM options on several of the world’s most desirable recumbent brands. What may be a bit more of a secret is how many options and applications there really are available from this Dutch brand. [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8361

Weekly News Brief – March 26, 2013

We used to call this the Monday Morning Musette, but that name wasn’t working. First of all, Monday is a bad day as far as getting press releases and what not goes. Also, locking it down to one particular day was a pain in the butt. Lastly… I was tired of explaining what a Musette [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8356

LTE Tripod Leaning Trike

By BRYAN J. BALL Managing Editor The functional and mass-production ready lean-steer trike is the recumbent world’s version of cold fusion or a cure for cancer. The perceived greatness of a lean-steer trike is that you get the stability of a trike with the feel of a bike in the corners. Some designs should also [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8344

Schwalbe Tryker Tires

By BRYAN J. BALL Managing Editor Where would us forlorn recumbent riders be without Schwalbe? Over the years they’ve produced dozens of their best tire designs in several different sizes that us oft-ignored souls required. For years, we were mostly stuck with tires that were originally designed for BMX and Freestyle bikes. If you had [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8336

Our Biggest Giveaway EVER!

Some of you may have noticed that we have a new logo. We’ll be slowly changing that on all of our merch over the next several months. This caused us to take a look at our inventory and realize that we have a butt ton of flags laying around! They are mostly of the green [...]

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Source: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=8316

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