Trikke designer recalls the genesis of Trikke

Gildo Beleski, designer of Trikke carving vehicles, on how he created the Trikke.

man rides Trikkes
Gildo Beleski is pictured with some his earliest iterations of Trikke carving vehicles.

Back in late 80s in Brazil, I tried skateboards and roller skates. The carving motion was like magic. Playing with gravity gave me a wonderful feeling like no other. But … I realized: at any moment, I could lose balance or have a hard time trying to stop. And the falls and crashes… I didn’t like that part. Having ridden bicycles my entire life, I knew I couldn’t carve while seated with a frame between my legs. Also, the seat itself was always a pain in the butt. And the repetitive cranking on the pedals, and that chain… OMG.

I thought about creating something simple for balance and stopping at will—a skateboard with handlebars and brakes like a bicycle. I wanted the freedom of using my legs and transferring my weight as one does with roller skating.

I imagined my creation having three wheels to guarantee balance, but with an articulated frame to allow leaning, or carving, while keeping all three wheels on the ground at any given time. A machine you actively ride with your body functioning as part of the frame, like a cyborg. Next I dreamed of decks like skateboard, not pedals like a bike or boots like a ski. A vehicle to safely skate downhill.

“What a discovery! The Trikke body-powered machine was born.”

The first prototype rode impressively well and was stable and easy to control, but the skateboard wheels proved very limiting without good pavement. It wasn’t long before I swapped those small wheels with larger air tires.

After many downhill rides using gravity power, I ventured on flat terrain, scooting, pushing off and adding carving and handlebar movements while coasting, like you sometimes do with a bicycle.

What a discovery! The Trikke body-powered machine was born. I was able to keep the forward momentum without ever touching the ground. I quickly experimented with geometry changes to the frame and wheels, added features to improve body propulsion and the transfer of energy and movement from the rider to the road through the frame.

At the same time, I had to learn how to ride my new creation. I worked on my technique and tried to improve my efficiency with every ride. I love sports and endurance, and this played a key role in the Trikke’s development. I took countless rides, built many prototypes, but amazingly, I had few falls or crashes.

After two years, my friends and I were climbing hills and going on 30-mile rides. The prototypes didn’t have good components. Missing were better wheels, tires, bearings, brakes—basically better components and a lighter frame. Clearly, there was still a lot of room to improve ergonomics and efficiency.

Then times changed and I had to focus on my job and making money. I was working in the automotive industry and started my own business servicing high end cars. I also raced cars for fun, and learned more about sheer performance and the importance of good handling.

My business brought me to the United States for several auto shows, and during one opportunity, a friend took me to Miami’s South Beach. I was mesmerized, seeing so many people riding in-line skates, skateboards and bicycles. Recreation on wheels! I immediately saw the potential for Trikke.

This all happened during a tipping point in my life, and after some soul searching, I decided to do what I love and what will make me the happiest: designing, developing and riding Trikkes as an entrepreneur in America.

In 1999, I applied for a patent on an improved design for a three-wheel cambering vehicle with the US Patent Office. In 2000, I founded Trikke Tech, Inc., in Southern California, shipped here 100 frames from Brazil and assembled them in my garage (with better components that purchased through bicycle parts distributors in the USA). These models were already a huge step forward in performance. I went to the streets and begin demonstrating my Trikkes, talking to people and making friends.

The rest is history.

This article has 20 Comments

  1. And it is one of the best products I’ve purchased. I had the original polyurethane wheels (Trikke 8 and Trikke 6 for my daughter). I now have two carve diems (Trikke 8 air) and ride whenever I can. Thank you Gildo – it is a beautiful piece of engineering (and fun)

  2. I first started with the 8, graduated to the 12 Roadster and rode whenever I could. I’ve been riding my 12 for the last 10 years! I love this machine! I initially dropped 50lbs and continue to ride. Thank you for creating this amazing machine! Nothing can compare to this work out! I get compliments of how cool it is whenever I ride with the Baltimore Bike Party. It had truly changed my life for the better! Thank you again!

  3. Great memories. Half of my life dedicated to Trikke.
    I love riding it, can’t get enough. I always feel the same thrill of the first rides.
    I am sure I will be trikking on my 90’s

    1. WOW think all of us feel the same here ! I feel the same thrill of the first rides everytime I ride !
      I had biked and rollerbladed for years, but those went after my love of trikking ! I haven’t had a bike or rollerblades for years ! When I travel I always have a trikke ! Thank you my friend !

  4. My Husband and I love both our manual as well as our electric Trikkes. We try and ride our electric Trikkes daily when the weather is warm. We have an absolute ball and them and we have met so many of our neighbors on our rides. We take them camping and where ever we travel via car. It is always fun seeing peoples reactions and talking to them about the Trikkes. We laughingly tell people that we are like the comic Rose is a Rose. We are in our 60’s and feel like little kids again whenever we ride!

  5. G – I have had 16+ years of fun on Trikkes. in 2001, I saw one at the Santa Monica Beach, and had no idea what it was, but wanted to have one. I found it online (T8), and ordered it! Once I learned to ride it, I acquired a “family” of trikkes – 2 x T8, and 2 x T12 – I bought 2 of the first 200 T12’s! Great exercise, and fun to ride. Thank you Gildo!

  6. Have a T8 air. Best exercise ever! I’m 55 and have the time of my life! Thank you for an incredible machine.

  7. My wife and I have owned a pair of T78’s . . . a pair of T8 Sports and I also have a (2011) Metallic Grtaphite T12 (that I am currently trying to sell). That said, I have no interest whatsoever in the electric models. To me, it is NOTHING like a trikke . . . it’s just a motorized scooter which, in my humble opinion, completely defeats the purpose of owning a trikke.

    1. I’d be interested in purchasing your T12. What is your asking price?
      Can you ship it; I’m in Florida.

  8. Thank you Gildo for this amazing invention of yours. I can never have enough of riding this thing. This machine have help me enjoy my cardio work out without any dread. Been riding my T8 Air for more then 6 years now hope to have many more years of fun on this 3 wheels.

  9. I am so happy to read this article! Lol. I saw the title and thought there was a “recall”
    I was thinking…really? These are amazing! How is this possible but my kids all have one I must look immediately!!
    I am so happy this is not the case.
    We all love your products, everything you do for your community. Thank you! Please keep inspiring

  10. Hey G…I talked to you on the phone once about my new (at the time) Trikke Pon-e battery not realizing I was actually talking to the inventor!! A pure pleasure and you straightened out the problem!! I started my 3W adventures on the aluminum one with poly wheels after seeing your first tv ads here. Love at first sight. We bought a couple more…the air filled tires and beefier frames made us feel invincible.
    Then, due to our hilly terrain, we splurged and got 2 Pon-es for our overflowing stables. Now the Grandkids ride them when they visit from across the country. That way, they can leave theirs home:) We all ride together. Thank you ❤️

  11. Gildo, I thought the same thing as Sharon. Recall? I bought a T-8 after a biking accident (that left me with five broken bones and some surgery) and thoroughly enjoy it. You can actually see where you are going without looking up. Road bikes are good for cardio, but they are fanny, man’s primary equipment, and neck torture devices. You mentioned Miami Beach. I live in N FL and have always tried to figure out how to make a Trikke to ride on the beach. Could it maybe be done with a variation of the tires on a fat bike? Also, I found two chrome (maybe knock-offs) T-5s at a garage sale and took them, along with a few bikes, to a boys home in St. Augustine. They were mesmerized, what a hit! You have made a lot of people happy. Thank you.

  12. My wife and I currently have 3 Trikkes, but have been somewhat deficient in the regular use of them. I need to get back on the T12 on a regular basis; this article was a great reminder to air up the tires and hit the streets again! Thanx;

  13. G…If anyone knows what Trikke has meant to me it’s you. Other than my family it has been the most important thing in my life for the past 15 years. When I finally had no choice than to give up endurance running and bicycling I was lost. Kickbiking became my focus for a while, but that was becoming as painful as running. I was scheduled for knee replacement surgery on both knees when a fellow Kickbiking friend Sue introduced me to Trikke. I was not interested at first, but when I realized that there was little to no impact on my knees I was hooked…I’ve never looked back. THANKS BRO!

  14. Hi Gildo. Im a rare Trikke Driver in Switzerland. I have the T12 Roadster and must say, this bike is absolutly powerful. We have many Mountains but with the T12 and a little bit technick is it not so a problem to climb the hills. I hope you can show for commercial in Switzerland to bring more people on the Trikkes to drive and for fun. Greetings from Switzerland

  15. Thank you for creating such a nice and innovative products!
    Yes, I feel the same when I am riding Trikke, the minute I rode on it, bicycle was already a past concept to me.

  16. I have 2 T67’s that my daughter and I have been riding for years. Recently I purchased a used T8 from a neighbor whose girlfriend owned it, but never rode it. Turns out she had it put together incorrectly – handlebars not adjusted properly, brakes not adjusted properly, and was trying to ride it with the tires pumped up to only 55! I made the adjustments and am loving it! I am disappointed however in the loss of choice in BPVs on the website. A T7 and a T10 are the only choices. How sad. I hope this isn’t the death knell for the BPVs. I agree with another commenter who said the electric models just aren’t the same thing.

  17. Hi. My husband and I bought a Trekke when you first launched then. We never had much luck in riding this beautiful piece of equipment and as it turns out from reading some of your material it may be the fault of the tires. We tried many times to teach ourselves to ride, through your videos and other sources. Never had any luck. So we had it stored for all these years. Now we are clearing out our home and came across this beautiful trekke and have decided to let it go. I hope we’ll find the right taker.

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