Reviewed by Adulttricyclereview.com
Greenspeed Magnum XL Review on May 12, 2022
founder, Ian Sims, started building recumbent trikes in Australia back
in 1990. I knew Ian personally and he was a quite innovative person.
Ian was the kind of person that if someone presented him an engineering
challenge he would say “I can do that and I think I can do it better”.
If there was an engineering problem, he was driven to find the best
solution for it. Ian was never about trying to grow Greenspeed into a
hundred-million dollar company he was just too busy having fun tinkering
in his work shop in Australia. Greenspeed Magnum XL
Ian came from a racing background. He was heavily involved in
side-car motorcycle racing, designing, and building. His designs were
some of the faster motorcycles on the track. Ian became involved in
human-powered bicycle racing when a local college asked him for help
with some trike designs for a competition. By helping the local college
kids make two radically different trike designs, the college team was
awarded 1st and 2nd place. Ian then started
getting a reputation with building trikes. He was later approached by
two people who wanted to do a perimeter tour around Australia. Ian
built them two trikes and they worked flawlessly for the entire journey.
His trike-building career continued after visiting the United States
in 2010. Ian then had a better idea of what people wanted and needed in
the US. Ian then spent the next two years developing the Magnum series
Frame: The frame on the Greenspeed Magnum XL
is made of aluminum that is TIG welded together in Tiachung, Taiwan. I
would have to say the welds are beautiful and of the highest quality in
the industry. The frame is constructed out of oversized, shaped, and
manipulated aluminum tubing. The first Magnum XL trikes were produced
with oversize round tubing but Ian further refined the trike frame by
changing the main frame tube to a rectangle for maximum strength. The
Greenspeed Magnum XL frame is probably the strongest trike frame on the
market with a maximum rider capacity of 450 Lbs.
Paint: Their paint jobs are very nice. The
paint is sprayed on evenly and consistently. It is more difficult to
get paint to stick to aluminum, but Greenspeeds frame manufacture has
got the process down and the paint jobs will last for a long time.
Drive Train: The shifting is superb on the
Magnum XL. Greenspeed chose a premium Shimano drivetrain with nine gears
to choose from in the rear and three chain rings in the front for a
total of 27 speeds. The Shimano front and rear derailleur performs
flawlessly mated to the Shimano Dur-Ace Bar End Shifters. Greenspeed
prefers Bar End Shifters and you will see them on all their trikes. Bar
end shifters are my shifter of choice as well.
Brakes: For the Greenspeed Magnum XL, they
chose the Sturmey Archer Drum brakes and Tektro brand brake levers. This
combination stops the trike more consistently than disc brakes because
the brake surface and brake pads never get wet. I have no issue with the
Sturmey Archer drum brakes. They are simple, reliable, and easy to
adjust and stop well. Greenspeed has quick release axles which make
removing the wheels a snap. The brake levers have a little button you
can press and it will lock the two front brakes on to help with getting
in and out of the trike. The Sturmey Archer brakes have about four
times as much brake material as a disc brake and will last far longer
than the pads on disc brakes.
Seat: Ian told me that he had a chiropractor
friend that helped him with the development of the seat shape. The seat
frame is made of aluminum and the seat fabric is a simple mesh. With
all the padded seat fabrics on the market, you would think the
Greenspeed has been left behind, but that is not the case. If you look
at all the positives, it is truly a wonderful seat. The Magnum XL seat
is much more breathable than some padded seats, which can hold in heat
and become less comfortable. The seat fabric is held to the seat frame
with a shock cord. It wraps around the sides of the seat frame and
provides a small bit of suspension. You would not think this is going to
make a noticeable difference in comfortability but it does.
While riding the trike, putting your hand on the side of the
seat frame can have you actually feel the movement of the seat fabric
around the seat frame when you hit a bump. I have seen trikes that have
lot of miles on them where the anodization is almost worn off the seat
frame from the movement of the seat fabric around the seat frame. Ian
also made the seat height adjustable. If you have difficulty getting in
and out of a trike, the Magnum XL seat height can be adjusted from 14
inches to 18 inches off the ground.
Handling: Many recumbent trikes have “direct”
(tiller type) steering, where, for cheapness, the handle bars are
clamped directly onto the kingpins without any intermediate linkage, and
the bars have to be moved in the opposite direction to which you are
going, with the weaker muscles of your arms. Whereas the GreenSpeed
“Crossover” steering was invented by GreenSpeed to provide control with
your bicep muscles, thus the steering is much easier and more intuitive
to use. Furthermore, unlike other types of “indirect” trike steering,
the GS Crossover steering provides superior Ackermann compensation, and a
smaller turning circle, due to the fact that the steering rods cross
over from one side to the other.
GreenSpeed, as well as other companies, have discovered
that the rolling resistance of bicycle tires does not increase until a
camber angle of 10 degrees is reached. To improve stability without
making the trike wider, to counteract tire distortion while cornering,
and to reduce rolling resistance in the turns, the Magnum XL front
wheels have 5 degrees of negative camber. Plus, on tight turns, the
steering geometry changes the camber of the inside wheel from negative
to positive, to reduce rolling resistance and tire scrub in the turns.
Also, swapping the tires from side to side ½ way through their life can
obtain more use than if they were ran vertically.
Unlike a bike, the front wheels of a trike are offset
some distance from the center line of the machine. Thus, applying one
front wheel brake will tend to steer the trike in that direction. To
compensate for this, the Magnum XL has Negative Scrub Radius steering
geometry, whereby the brake reaction steers the trike in the opposite
direction to which side the brake is being pulled. This happens so
subtly that all the rider notices is that the trike continues in a
straight line when only one front brake is used. However, both brakes
should be used for emergency breaking as this will double the braking
Ride: Someone, somewhere, sometime, wrote on
the internet that if you have Schwalbe Big Apple tires plus the shock
cord on the seat that it makes the trike ride almost like a suspension
trike. Well I can tell you, I have rode over fifty different models of
trikes over twenty years of triking and this is just not true. So do I
like the ride? I think this trike will be exceptional for a larger
rider, but a bit stiff if you are 110 lbs. Handling is fantastic and
the trike is easily adjustable for your personal preferred riding
In conclusion: Do I like the trike? I think
the Greenspeed Magnum XL is exceptional! Ian did everything right on
this trike. The handling is a 10 out of 10, people really like the
extra large seat and with a 450 lbs weight limit and drum brakes. This
trike is as perfect as it can get for a large person. I think this is
one of Ian’s greatest achievements and I am glad I had the opportunity
to get to know the man.
Pros: Light, strong, exceptional handling, comfortable seat and just the perfect design for a larger person.
Cons: There is nothing I do not like about this trike.