History of the Trikke – Who Invented the Trikke and Why?
Undoubtedly the newest rising star in the field of human powered vehicles, the Trikke scooter never fails to amaze anyone who watches its riders zoom gracefully along.
Pedestrians will even stop the Trikke riders in order to satisfy their curiosity. “What makes that thing run?” is the most frequent question.
And as soon as someone steps onto the Trikke and experiences its innovative three-point cambering vehicle (“3CV”) technology for him/herself, he is usually unable to stop commenting on the Trikke’s many benefits. “A revolutionary sports, fun and fitness machine…” “…absolutely addicting…” “…closest thing to skiing on pavement” and “…compact maintenance-free machine that fits into every aspect of one’s lifestyle” are among the common compliments bandied about as people applaud the innovation and fun of the Trikke scooters. But did you know that the Trikke was developed because of one man’s desire to experience the fun of ‘carving’ on a more stable and safer device? This is how the Trikke scooter painstakingly evolved into the fun and fitness machine it is now.
During the late 1980’s, Brazilian inventor Gildo Beleski tried to learn skateboarding or roller skating, but to his frustration, he kept falling and had a hard time keeping his balance.
As an engineering graduate from the Brazilian Institute of Technology, Beleski remained undaunted and instead used his technical background in designing and manufacturing suspension parts and power trains for compact vehicles to create a three-wheeled vehicle for riding downhill.
In 1988, he finished his first Trikke prototype that combines the stability of three wheels and brakes with a contemporary frame designed to enhance the Trikke rider’s ability to lean or camber. He called it Trikke (pronounced ‘trik), similar to a bike, only with three wheels. When he tested the Trikke, he discovered that it continued to move forward on flat ground beyond the bottom of the hill as long as he kept turning and leaning.
In 1990, Gildo marketed his first version of the Trikke scooter. However, much to his disappointment, the Trikke failed to find favor among his countrymen and he was forced to give up on the initial Trikke’s design after garnering only moderate sales in 1992.
When he went to the U.S. in the late 1990’s on a business trip, he realized that the place was ripe for the introduction of a new cambering device while watching many people trail the Miami beach paths with their human powered vehicles (HPV). So he resumed work on his design and opened Trikke Tech in Buellton, California in 2000. That same year, he filed the patents for his Trikke cambering system, getting two of them accepted in 2001.
Year 2000 proved to be a fruitful year for Beleski with a chance meeting of entrepreneur trend-setter John Simpson. Simpson became interested in the Trikke scooters when he saw Beleski riding his earlier version of the Trikke scooter as he was exiting his favorite sushi bar in Santa Monica. Simpson admitted that at first, he thought the Trikke looked ungainly and ridiculous but when he saw it move easily without any propellers, he chased down Beleski and his Trikke scooter. He became a great supporter of the Trikke after experiencing for himself the fun and fitness aspects. As a true entrepreneur, Simpson saw the Trikke’s potential and became an investor in Trikke Tech that same year. Beleski later asked him to become Trikke Tech’s president in 2002. And they successfully launched the scooter to the American public soon after.
Since its unveiling, the Trikke has rapidly gained popularity, gaining attention from the international media after it bagged Time Magazine’s “Coolest New Inventions of 2002” title.
Hollywood celebrity’s acceptance and support further bolstered its popularity as Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Jim Belushi, Jim Carey, and Ben Affleck were seen riding their Trikke scooters as part of their exercise regimen, as an inter-studio vehicle, and on screen.
From less than $1 million in annual sales in 2002, Trikke’s popularity was reflected by its booming sales of $10 million in 2003, and about $50 million in 2004. With a plethora of extremely talented executives recruited by John Simpson, Trikke Tech aims to establish a brand with numerous innovations that will become a mainstay among the recreational transport devices for many years to come. They also aim to establish the Trikke scooter as a serious platform for competition.
Presently, the Trikke scooter’s market has already expanded to include Canada, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, as well as nearly every major country in Europe. Trikke Tech continues to refine its product’s performance to meet the requirements of all age groups from all walks of life as seen by the version 2 introduced in the fall of 2003 and the appearance of more products in the ensuing years. The Trikke is now rapidly gaining fame and acceptance, and you’d be well-advised to check it out for yourself as one of the more innovative and exciting human powered vehicles that maintains an advantage in safety, stability and ease of use over other HPVs like skateboards, rollerblades and the like.