HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs: comfortable, stable, easy to ride…and fast.

HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs: comfortable, stable, easy to ride…and fast.

Scorpion fs 26 from HP Velotechnik

Review from Interbike, 2009 of the HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 20.

The fully-suspended Scorpion fs rides like a dream. Amazingly, it also folds at no compromise to ride quality. When I made an appointment to test ride it at Interbike 2009, I expected it to be fun, fast, and generally very good, but the actual experience far exceeded anything I could have anticipated.

It reminded me of the first — second, third, fourth and 100th — time I drove a BMW car; I expected something special, but had no idea a car could be so responsive, smooth and capable. The Scorpion fs is the same. If you require exceptional quality, you will like this trike.

“Responsive” is the word for the Scorpion fs: fast acceleration, fast braking, smooth as silk, hugs the road, grips the turns at very high speed (and without lifting a wheel) and can brake quickly without raising the rear wheel. And all that means three crucial things: it handles properly in high performance situations; it’s safer; and you can ride up, down and sideways on fairly steep hills without flipping over (exactly like you want, but can rarely get).

Mind you, having said that, a strong and skilled rider — or a very incompetent rider — can lift a wheel during a very sharp high speed turn IF he/she tries very, very, very hard, and intentionally does everything wrong and has enough upper body weight to offset what the engineering is designed to prevent. However, this took such extraordinary effort that it was ridiculous and I can’t recommend you try it. Simply, this is a stable bike due to advanced engineering. There’s not much you can do to mess it up. The bike also runs true: it holds a straight line without steering input and I could take my hands off the handle bars without the bike veering one way or the other. (Note: Hands-free cycling is unsafe on all bikes.)*

Robert on an HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 20. Do you think he liked the high-speed handling?

Like other HP Velotechnik machines, the Scorpion fs is an extraordinary vehicle. Being designed for riding where stability is critical (mountain and high speed riding especially), the center of gravity is low. However, the frame is sufficiently far off the ground that you have decent ground clearance. Average sized riders will find their eye level below that of a car driver but, in the tradition of HPV’s designs, the rider has a relatively upright posture, as seen in the photo. So, you’ll have excellent line of sight which provides both better safety as well as better sight-seeing.

For riders who expect to ride frequently in and among car traffic, the regular Scorpion or Scorpion fx may be better options, both of which are excellent trikes and position the rider with a higher head-level. However, if full suspension and performance are important to you — rough roads, off-road, high speeds, or you simply like the smoothness of a suspended ride — this is a bike you’ll love.

NB: These notes are NOT recommendations for inexperienced riders to attempt high-performance riding on this or any other bicycle. Likewise, I do not recommend hands-free riding on ANY bicycle. The test described here is merely useful for a professional to see whether a trike runs true and should only be done at slow speeds on a level surface.