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September 2006 | Vol. V - No. 9
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A Great Ride for All Ages

Trikke Tech Markets Fun and Fitness in One Package


"It’s a new category, and it’s not as easy as you might think to bring something this new to market."John Simpson, Trikke Tech
When John Simpson headed out for sushi in 2000, he had no idea that a chance meeting would change the course of his life and make him president of one of today’s emerging hot companies — Trikke Tech Inc. The company produces a line of unique three-point cambering vehicles.

Skiing in Summer
“It’s a new category,” Simpson explained. “Our flagship products have wheels on them, and to make them go, you just basically carve turns. Because the product can lean into the direction you’re turning with all three wheels staying on the ground, it propels itself. A lot of people feel like it’s the closest thing to skiing on pavement.”

Simpson noted that they have versions for kids and adults, attracting riders “literally from the age of 4 to in their mid-80s and everybody in between. They’re using them for fun and fitness as well, because it’s no impact and it’s really, really fun.”

Trikke Tech’s founder and chairman, Gildo Beleski, began developing the product about 15 years ago in Brazil. He shelved the initial design after experiencing only moderate sales success with it. But, when he discovered the Miami beach culture during a business trip, he decided to take a different tack.

He Tried It ... and Liked It
In 2000, he moved manufacturing to Buellton, Calif., and opened Trikke Tech. He created a new cambering system and filed patents. When Simpson made his sushi run, he saw Beleski riding his earlier version of the Trikke 130 miles south of Buellton in Santa Monica.

“I bought one because I couldn’t believe how it worked,” Simpson said. “I thought it was great.”

At the time, Simpson distributed Razor scooters, so he introduced Beleski to the company in hopes that they would take on Trikke, but he said they never really got behind the product to market it.

Simpson became an investor in the company in 2000, and Beleski asked him to run it in 2002. His current title? “President … and janitor — whatever needs to be done.”

The Word Spreads
The company “kind of took off like a shot, because we got Time Magazine Invention of the Year and People Magazine with Jennifer Aniston holding one,” he told TDmonthly. “That’s really what the product needed to get off the ground.”

Since then, the company has been steadily putting its product out to the market, and Trikke is currently found in about 20 countries. So far, his biggest challenge has been picking a demographic for marketing.

“If we were a much bigger company, we could develop campaigns more specifically for different age groups,” he lamented.
   
Trikke’s current best-seller is its T-8 convertible with air tires. He’s also hopeful for their newest product, which really does ski:

“You have three skis on the surface of the snow, and when you lean the handlebar to the right, it turns right, and all three skis stay on the snow,” he said.

An electric version of the Trikke comes out at the end of the year.

“You can ride it as a human-powered vehicle, but I have a feeling that most people are just going to keep the throttle up,” he said. Just like Trikke itself.



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Brenda RuggieroWriter's Bio: Brenda Ruggiero is a freelance writer from western Maryland. Read more articles by this author

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