Elise Bennett compares three-wheelers and says there’s no comparison.
[Read in a deep, gravelly movie-announcer voice] In a wooooorld where three-wheeled “scooters” collide, the Trikke and Scissor Motion Scooter (SMS) fight it out in a head-to-head street battle. Only one can emerge victorious. Which. Will. It. Be?
Cut to a blonde-haired ragamuffin selling newspapers on a street corner. He cries, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Trikke kicks SMS butt!” Pan shot to a Trikke and an SMS in dueling position on a dusty, spaghetti-western street. Women and children scatter in panic. The scooters draw their six-guns, and two shots ring out. The camera zooms in on both scooters. In slow-motion, the SMS crumples dramatically to the ground. It tried valiantly, but it never really stood a chance against the Trikke… Aaaaaaand scene!
Okay, so I met a woman in the park who had an SMS (a three-wheeled device that looks surprisingly like a Trikke but is propelled by scissor-like leg motion. The front wheel is used only for steering, and the 6” polyurethane back wheels swivel.), and we tried out each other’s vehicles. There were no six-guns or fleeing children, but the end result was the same: in my opinion, there was absolutely no contest between the Trikke and an SMS.
“The SMS does have two neat advantages that the Trikke does not offer…”
First and foremost, Trikke’s construction is clearly superior. The Trikke is well-made and feels solid and stable as soon as you step on the foot platforms. The SMS is exceptionally light, and there is so much “give” in the leg/steering column joints – not to mention the instability of stepping onto platforms supported largely by swiveling wheels – that I immediately stepped off and reassessed whether it was safe to be on the thing in the first place! Never one to shrink from a new experience, I soldiered on for the TrikkeWorld Magazine cause.
The SMS’s steering column is not adjustable. Perhaps it was just that particular model, but the handlebars were so low that it was difficult to steer the vehicle and look up to see the road ahead. In fairness, though, the owner (who is at least a foot shorter than yours truly) still had to bend to steer, but did not seem to have the same challenge.
To propel the SMS, one moves one’s legs in a scissor-like (abduction and adduction) motion. After traveling about 50 yards, my thigh muscles – which are in pretty good shape from regular Trikke riding – were on fire. While the systematic use of the SMS is sure to produce movie-star-quality gams and a “feel the burn” sensation that would impress even the toughest personal trainer, I’m not at all sure how most folks are going to be able to use the scooter for more than a few minutes at a time and still manage to walk for the next couple of days. Furthermore, the SMS offers only a lower-body (75% thighs) workout; not one upper body muscle seems to receive even the slightest benefit, not even isotonically.
The SMS does have two neat advantages that the Trikke does not offer: there is virtually no learning curve, and riders can propel the SMS using more than one method (a la scissors, skating, skateboarding, or like a kick scooter). However, these niceties don’t even come close to matching the health benefits, quality engineering, or the convenience and comfort provided by adjusting the Trikke’s handlebar height and position (forward/backward rotation) for each rider’s needs.
The SMS was fun to try, and it may be the perfect workout for some, but paper always beats rock, scissors always beat paper, and the carve definitely beats scissors!