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The Ariel trike has been under development for several years, and the prototyping process has been very challenging as we sought the best balance between several alternative configurations. We have locked in the design and are now building 2012 model Ariels.
We are optimizing the Ariel design for speed with comfort, and because of the speed criterion have settled on the "light-build" rear end, which gives a 24 speed transmission without the compound gears of our more utilitarian trike models. We have used the light-build rear end on several prototypes, and it has proved that it can be part of a satisfyingly fast and efficient vehicle; a prototype Ariel with a rough fairing took 3rd place at the Portland, OR, Human Power speed challenge in 2009, outrunning even the body-socked two-wheelers in the Super Stock category. Our present version of the "light-build" rear end is even lighter than previous versions.
The Ariel has a moderately reclined seating position, with the bottom bracket (pedal crank spindle) 3 inches above the nominal seat height. This position is higher than our Traveler model sport touring recumbent bike which has the b.b. 2″ below the seat, and just below that of our Verano touring recumbent bicycle which has the b.b. 4″ above the seat base. The Ariel places the pedal position about 11″ higher than the Greenway trike relative to the seat. The Ariel seat will therefore usually be used with the seat back reclined at something like a 45 degree angle. This moderately reclined but non-extreme position is very comfortable for most persons, keeping the neck relaxed and upright and avoiding the need for a headrest. The moderately reclined Ariel ergonomic position is thus very appropriate for very long distance rides and tours.
Many tadpole trikes and high-racer bikes on the market have much more reclined position than the Ariel. High pedal position cycles, when first ridden for a few hours, may create a temporary tingling or numbness in the toes. This is due to the reduced ability of gravity to pull blood into the raised feet, and is a sensation shared by astronauts. In our experience 'astronaut toes' is not a big or permanent problem, and a small price to pay for the efficiency and comfort of the reclined position.
Frame: Chromoly steel
Finish: Powdercoat; polyester, UV-resistant, baked-on
Number of Gears: 24
Gearing: 18 to 120 gear-inches
Shifters: SRAM X.7
Derailleurs: SRAM 7.0
Crankset: Truvativ Blaze 22/32/44
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ Isis
Brake Levers: Avid FR5
Brakes: Avid Mechanical Disk, all wheel
Headset: Cane Creek Aheadset
Wheel rims: Alex DM-24
Wheel hubs: Shimano Deore
Weight: 45# estimated
Rider Weight Capacity, Nominal: 225#
Seat Height: 18″
Total Length: 86″
Total Width: 33″