Who Might Buy a Di Blasi Folding Tricycle?

April 22nd, 2022

What an excellent question! But first, as of April 2022, I must suggest that no one buy a Di Blasi R34 — the electrified R32 — unless they are prepared to make the modifications described in the post Raffi is Back! in which I describe how I managed to ditch the horrible Di Blasi battery mount. (Buyers of the non-motorized R32 have nothing to fear from the horrid mount, so they can proceed as below.)

Here’s my take:

  1. Someone with slight mobility or balance issues who also wants or needs to store the trike compactly.
  2. Someone, as above, who lives in an apartment and wants to be able to move the trike in an elevator — which is completely feasible with the Di Blasi, but not likely possible with any other trike.
  3. Someone who is able to pull, but not necessarily lift, a 22 kg/48 lb pound trike. Pulling my Di Blasi on its skateboard wheels is easy, but does require some maneuvering.
  4. Someone who has reasonable mobility, but a caregiver, companion, friend or relative who is capable of lifting and/or moving a 22 kg/48 lb trike, if the rider cannot.
  5. Someone who needs a trike, but does not want to acquire a truck and/or trailer to transport one. It might be a stretch to say that a Di Blasi trike could be taken on a subway, but it certainly can fit into either the back (or possibly front, in a pinch) seat of most sedans, and into any fairly reasonably-sized car trunk. No other trike can accommodate this particular requirement.
  6. In the USA, someone who is able to take on the risk of sourcing repairs and parts on one’s own. (You might be able to get parts — I was able to, for the only item I’ve needed so far, but it’s a gamble.)
  7. Someone who is willing to take on the financial risk of buying an expensive trike sight unseen. I made the assumption that warranty coverage would be difficult for me to obtain, and, in my view, that’s a good place to start from.

*Di Blasi now has a USA “store”, but it’s not encouraging that there doesn’t seem to be an actual physical address in the USA for it, so the website offers no real idea of where a Di Blasi may have to go for warranty coverage. Not to mention that shipping a 22 kg (48 lb) trike isn’t small potatoes.

*European tricyclists may have different, and better, options for repair and warranty fulfillment, particularly if they are able to buy directly from a retail stockist.

Mitigating the risk:

  1. I found a local-ish bike shop which claimed they could re-built my Di Blasi battery if it fails and I can’t get one from Di Blasi.
  2. Anyone who has access to clever agricultural mechanics, or, perhaps equally clever and willing bike builders, might find Di Blasi repair in the USA feasible. I haven’t had to test this theory yet, and hope I don’t have to.
  3. The truly cautious might check around and see if replacing the motor on an R34 locally is feasible, should matters come to that. This is not an issue for the non-motorized R32, of course.

You probably won’t want to buy a Di Blasi folding trike if:

  1. You have a fairly severe disability, or significant balance issues.
  2. You hope to take excessively long excursions on it, unless you have access to well-paved, fairly flat paths.
  3. The weight is too much for you to handle, either when riding (the electric version will make all the difference in this case), or when moving it around when folded or not.
  4. Your expectation is that you will be able to do everything on a trike that you are able to do on a bicycle.

I have intermittent balance problems and loved the first trike I owned. However, I rather unrealistically expected to be able to regularly ride for 20 miles (32 km) or more on it. When I bicycle, that’s a very easy ride for me. This was not the case when riding my trike.

On my final ride on my previous tricycle, I rode 50 miles (80 km) in one go. That was thrilling — and a disaster. (It also took five hours; trikes are slow, necessarily.) We survived, but I lost a fender — retrieved and later replaced — in the process, and various other items, notably the chain, vibrated off during the course of that final ride.

The trike was perfectly fine for frequent, short, genteel, rides, and would have done well with regular checks — as with any cycle — after every half dozen or so short rides. Fifty miles at a clip just wasn’t a reasonable expectation — and I imagine it wouldn’t be for the Di Blasi, either.

(I was able to ride that first trike home after that epic ride, but realized that rescue by motor vehicle would have been very difficult if it had been required — which is how I’ve ended up with a Di Blasi, which we can fit into our existing vehicles in case rescue is required.)

So I’d add that it’s probably reasonable to expect that the Di Blasi, like most trikes, will stand up under light, reasonable, use, but I’d caution against making any assumptions, especially by cyclists who are used to two wheels, that a trike will do what a bicycle will. A trike will serve different needs, and possibly quite well — but the difference is real.



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