Having been TerraTrike dealers since 1997, we’ve seen the evolution of design in TT’s products. The Gran Tourismo represents the closing of a circle, beginning with the concept of the original TerraTrike Tour, the original “TerraTrike” back when that term referred to a model, not the whole company. It goes through 2011 with the inception of the Rover, which reinvented the company and redefined the recumbent industry. Then in 2018 the Gran Tourismo arrived to pick up what the original “TerraTrike 1.0” was all about.
The GT is the shape of TerraTrike’s sport-touring concept. It is the platform for TerraTrike’s current EVO factory built electric-assisted trike (see below). It was recently evolved into the sportier, aluminum framed GTS.
Tour to Tourismo
This development was timely. TerraTrike cancelled production of the venerable Tour in 2017, which was a relief. The Tour was definitive for its time, but after 20 years of production it had become outclassed. The concept of a do-it-all sport touring trike, not over-geared, but set up for loads and climbing, with a low seat for stability and a basic, good quality derailer transmission was still relevant and wasn’t well-addressed. Lately TT has distinguished itself with understated yet brilliant casual cruiser trikes like the Rover and Rambler. They tried a few sportier ideas, though they didn’t completely hatch. But the Gran Tourismo pegs it with a characteristic certainty. As the name suggests, this trike emphasizes the touring, not the sports. It is a level-headed little trike aimed at practical use, at a practical price.
Most significant is the use of TerraTrike’s direct steering design. This is standard for TT’s nowadays, and it is a great improvement over the indirect steering on the original Tour. As people who set up these trikes we’re saying “right on.” A new advancement in TerraTrike’s seat appears on this model, with an extended seat base which makes a more upright seat position more workable. Unlike the Rambler and its derivatives, the Gran Tourismo uses a bent frame to drop the rider’s center of mass a bit to improve handling. But the seat is still easily accessible, and the Y-frame design pioneered on the Rambler helps get you more over the seat before sitting down. The rear of the frame is more triangulated for greater stiffness in cornering.
The 24″ rear wheel addresses a problem many had with the old Tour. The trike was configured to be a good speed trike, but the 20″ rear wheel limited its top speed. There was a kludge to retrofit a 26″ rear wheel, but using it affected both the steering geometry and shifting. Moving to a 24″ ups the gearing but keeps the trike compact and holds onto some lower gearing better than a 26″ wheel does. The more compact rear wheel also helps keep the rear of the trike stiff in cornering.
It Even Came in Pink for a While
They keep changing the colors on this trike. That gold shown above was pretty nice. The purple was pretty nice, but isn’t that always the way with purple? They did pink for a while, but nobody was man enough to buy them (with one notable exception). We’ve got black and mango yellow at the time of writing this, whenever that was. I recall an Aggie maroon, but so far no burnt orange. We’re just leaving the old pictures up because we’re too lazy to keep changing them. Give us a good old-fashioned phone call and we’ll tell you what we’ve got now. So far, the GT EVO has only come in metallic green.
Let’s talk about the EVO
The Electric Vehicle Option is TerraTrike’s handle for their factory-built electric trike. It is really just an GT with a specially made boom (the adjustable front frame piece that holds the crankset). It comes in its own color, unlike other GT’s. It carries a Bosch Performance Line electric assist motor. This is a more muscular motor than you get on TerraTrike’s “Boost” e-motor conversion kits, and of course you end up paying less getting the factory model than refitting a stock Gran Tourismo, or other TT model. The EVO comes with a nicer “console,” the interface screen that mounts on the handlebar. The EVO’s console will do that cell phone stuff and is smarter than your honor student. The TerraTrike Boost kit has an Active Line motor and a basic console, but you can install it on nearly any modern TerraTrike. Incidentally, the Bosch motor system is amazing, and a refreshing example of doing more with less.
As usual, you see mostly mountain bike parts with the exception of the crankset and front derailer, which are geared higher with road bike parts. The 2×9 derailer transmission system gives a good range with lower gearing readily available. Overall, the components are spec’ed for economy as sport-touring trikes go, but improvable where needed.
There are no cutting edge breakthroughs with this trike like you see coming out of ICE and AZUB. This is a case of striking the right balance in price and performance. This is a sensible analysis of the market by the people whose trikes make up most of the market.
Our price: $2499 for the Gran Tourismo x18, $4999 for the GT EVO
The Gran Tourismo is alluringly sophisticated with exhilarating performance resulting in the ultimate touring machine. With a nod to the original Tour, the GT is the culmination of over 20 years of continued innovation and customer feedback, resulting in the most comfortable and best handling TerraTrike to date.
The sporty yet elegant design is harmoniously coordinated conveying both aesthetics and dynamics. Engineered from the ground up to be efficient, beautiful and comfortable, it handles like a sports car but rides like a luxury sedan.
The most noticeable change is the Y-frame design which gives added strength while allowing for additional heel clearance and ease in getting in and out. The equally noticeable triangulated rear end adds pedaling efficiency, better aerodynamics, reduced pedal steer and lower center of gravity so that you “stick” to the road even at higher speeds. The chromoly steel frame is durable, more comfortable and provides a “passive suspension” with a smoother ride. New seat mounting adds rigidity to the trike increasing efficiency with every pedal stroke.
But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve included direct steering along with TerraTrike’s own “steering stack” that provides a responsive yet predictable steering experience. The GT also comes standard with a 24” rear wheel for higher top-end speeds, all while rolling more smoothly over bumps and retaining momentum. To top it off, the aluminum seat frame, handlebars and tie rod reduce weight without sacrificing strength.
The Gran Tourismo features an extended seat frame with an upgraded seat mesh. This is by far the most comfortable seat we’ve ever produced and will result in longer, more comfortable rides; featuring a breathable mesh and extra padding in “all the right places.” The extra seat frame length is contoured to give additional support and comfort. There is even a zippered pocket on the rear just large enough for a wallet, keys or cell phone. The front wheels use a rapid axle for easy removal for transportation; the seat, a single seat bolt for quick and easy seat removal; and a single hex key for both.
Best of all, the Gran Tourismo accepts all TerraTrike branded accessories, including the Storage Solutions lineup of bags and panniers, making this the perfect trike for that cross-country adventure, your daily commute or the leisurely ride to your favorite local destination.
Boring technical specs from TerraTrike follow, with our interesting comments
Who it fits, where it fits
what parts you’ll find installed on the Gran Tourismo x18 and the GT EVO