I am often asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?” Well, it may surprise you to know that they mostly come from our customers, in other words, from you!
Because people know we are always innovating and are always interested in new ideas, we get asked to look at all kinds of problems. Almost all Tomcat innovations begin this way and that’s certainly true of our latest innovation – a reverse drive, (or reverse gear if you like) – for a multi-geared tricycle such as the Silver Bullet and Silver Arrow.
Of course, we have always been able to do this with a single-speed drive, and many of our trikes in the “Fizz” family are built this way. But single-speed drives are usually used with children’s trikes or for those with severe learning or physical disabilities and are not therefore suitable for more fit and able adults who want a multi-geared solution.
These days, over 50% of our trikes are multi-geared performance trikes – many with an electric assist – and used by adults with little more than mild balance or mobility issues. So more often than not, we are being asked for trikes that can cycle in reverse, and quite understandably so.

Why is “reverse drive” becoming more sought after? 
Our customers don’t just want their trikes for leisure or therapy these days. We have seen an increase in people wanting a trike to replace the car where inner-city congestion or congestion charging is an issue, or where they are averse to using public transport because of Covid infection concerns. People also use our trikes for shopping and other everyday tasks, whilst benefiting from the healthy exercise and friendship that comes from social cycling.
Inevitably, when used for such diverse purposes, there are times when not having a reverse drive is very inconvenient for some users, but for those with mobility issues, a reverse drive might be essential – at home, for example when access to their house or garage is along a path, hallway, or alleyway.

Why is a reverse drive not a standard feature on all trikes?
You might wonder why such an obviously useful feature is not generally available. The answer is that it is quite a technical challenge to adapt a hub drive, or derailleur (cassette) drive, to pedal in reverse because both these standard and universal systems require a freewheel to function normally. A freewheel is a feature that allows a bike or trike to coast downhill without the rider pedaling. Anyone that rides a bike will know that if you backpedal a bike or trike that has a freewheel, nothing happens to the trike or bike itself. Only forward pedaling causes the trike to move.

The Solution!
What was needed therefore was an adaption to a hub or derailleur drive that allows the drive to do everything as normal, but when you want it to reverse, it responds to backpedaling. I won’t go into the technical complexity of how it works; however, suffice to say that our solution works equally well with either manual drives or electrically assisted drives. The reverse drive mechanism itself is purely mechanical and importantly, reverses with the same pedaling effort regardless of the gear the trike stops in!
What our customers think about our “Reverse Drive”.

Our very first order for this new technology came from our distributor in Germany who has delivered several trikes with this feature. Here’s what they had to say about it…

We have already been able to deliver the first trikes with the new reverse gear. I would like to give a big shout-out to the entire Tomcat team. This innovation is absolutely fantastic. We are very happy to have found a partner in Tomcat who has the same high standards for their products as we do 😊
Thank you so much.

Mechanical Reverse versus Electrical Reverse.
We believe our mechanical system is a great improvement over the only other viable option which is a reversible electric motor. A mechanical reverse is instantaneous and inch-perfect controllable and that is a comforting thought when you are reversing close to other vehicles for example. By comparison, an electric motor drive is very imprecise and not directly connected to your pedal action so accidents are more likely to happen.

The Tomcat Reverse Drive is a great addition to our innovation stable that will be a very helpful feature for many of our customers and an absolute necessity for some.
Our latest innovation truly is going backwards.