7 Apr 2011

A Newton Raleigh tadpole trike.


As more images were provided, by the eBay seller, I have now given this interesting trike its own chapter.

Raleigh 3 Wheel Adult Tricycle - eBay (item 270727750697 end time Apr-08-11 15:24:37 PDT)

 Blue Adult Raleigh Tricycle

This auction is for an adults blue Raleigh 'Newton' tricycle.
The item is being sold as used although it has never been used. It is being sold as my dad bought it to use but had a stroke so couldn't.
It comes with a bell and a comfortable gel saddle. The trike has a pair of disk brakes on the front 2 wheels and calipers on the rear wheel.
The front steering collumn works like a normal bike and the 2 wheels turn inwards and outwards from the frame as the steering collumn and bike frame are one and not independant from each other.
Feel free to ask any questions or arrange a viewing, just message me.
Happy bidding!

One of the truly rare opportunities on eBay. A Newton trike conversion! Though it looks as if it is brazed onto the Raleigh frame mentioned by the seller. (there is no sign of the signature head clamps)  It sports the earlier Sturmey hub brakes. Not the later disks as claimed. 24" wheels. I wonder how many Newton fans will miss the auction for want of a correct auction title?

I'd be very tempted myself if I was UK based. (personal pick-up only unfortunately) I could probably get a LBS to pack it properly but the organisational hassle (and likely expense) is well beyond my stress tolerance levels.

I'd love to have a go on a lightweight tadpole. (2-wheels forward trike) This is only the second Newton auction since I've been following trikes on eBay. (I missed it myself so thanks for the heads up PJ) :-)

If the auction winner ever discovers this blog and would like to share some images I'd be most grateful. Any other Newton owners are very welcome to get in touch too, of course. It's a great shame there weren't more images on the auction web page.

Newton images online are even rarer than the trikes themselves! Which is very unfortunate because it looks like a very well thought out machine. I just love the look of them. Somebody really needs to do a decent YouTube video of one actually moving around. Even if it's only to satisfy my curiosity.

I've resized the only auction image. If there were more pictures I'd have given it the full treatment!

Well, somebody must have made an offer the seller could not refuse. Auction ended with the trike withdrawn from sale. Perhaps it will come back properly described. Perhaps not.

Dé jà vu!  Now re-listed with two more images:  

Raleigh 'Newton' Adult Blue Tricycle on eBay (end time 07-Apr-11 19:52:40 BST)

 The bike was a custom one off from a bike specialist in Wales that my dad ordered. It is effectively a converted normal 2 wheeler Raleigh bike with the front end cut off and turned into a 3 wheeler.

*The new pictures illustrate this.

 Q:  You say it has 24 inch wheels. Is this the diameter or the circumference? Is it just the front wheels or is it also the back? Usually the back wheel with a SA hub would be a diameter of 26". Thank you 05-Apr-11
A:  All 3 wheels are 24" in diameter, not circumference. Cheers
Q:  Hello again, sorry I should have also asked you to measure the 'standover' height. This is simply the height from the ground to the top tube or crossbar? I am very interested in bidding on this - but obviously no point if the frame is too large or too small for me. Many thanks Martin 02-Apr-11
A:  Hi Martin, Frame size: 21" (53cm) Width of front axle: 25" (63.5cm) Width of front axle including wheels: 31" (79cm) Ground to top of crossbar: 30" (76cm) Hope that helps. Any more questions just feel free to message me again :) Thanks Chris

Some more images have been added. After sitting on £180 the trike was finally "sniped" at £257.09 a second from the very end. I thought it would go higher but as it is not a racing model it did very well.

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.



  1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of a tadpole?

  2. Hi Gunnar. My guesses would be as follows: Unconfirmed due to total lack of riding experience on a tadpole.

    Greater resistance to tipping on corners.
    No need for fancy drive systems, diffs or double free-wheels.
    Standard bicycle gears and rear wheels fit.
    You can see the front wheels so the rider can avoid obstacles more easily.
    Not possible to burn yourself on the rear tyres while cornering acrobatically.

    Front brakes need to be carefully balanced.
    Lingering doubts about rear tyre grip in poor conditions.
    Heavy to bump up over an obstruction while on foot.
    Possible steering problems over rough surfaces and particularly potholes.
    Can't lift the front wheels over obstructions while on the move.
    Load carrying at the front may affect handling.
    Rarity makes them more expensive and spares harder to obtain.
    Very small secondhand market.
    Only one maker limits the potential for evolution in materials, front wheels and components.
    Unpopular compared with deltas for racing and TT.

  3. Hi
    I may be years late with this comment but a high tadpole is the most unstable thing imaginable,draw a line from contact point of back and front wheel and see how close the saddle is to this line.if it moves outside the line the trike falls over.I speak as the builder and owner of a similar trike,great fun but unstable as hell.
    Yours x maher

  4. Hi Xavier

    I'm really sorry I missed your interesting comment.

    Owners of tadpoles have told me they are much more stable than deltas. I was sent a video of one tadpole owner riding effortlessly around his lawn with one front wheel completely off the ground. It is also possible to ride with one wheel off the ground on a delta, of course, with practice.

    The claimed difference of a tadpole, over a delta, is that hard braking throws the delta rider's weight forward and outside the ground contact triangle. While the tadpole provides the wider, forward track to resist hard braking during cornering.

    Most historical tadpoles have been built with upright, steering kingpins. Which causes erratic steering when the wheels hit bumps. That may be the reason for the lack of tadpoles in comparison with the vast number of deltas built and used over time. I have only [briefly] ridden one very heavy tadpole. So cannot really comment on stability from personal experience.