Invented a dozen years ago by Gildo Beleski, the three-wheeled Trikke (prounced trike), a cross between a scooter and a tricycle, was unveiled to the public in 2002 after the Brazilian inventor partnered with John Simpson, a former distributor of the highly popular Razor scooters.

But, while Beleski created the Trikke to give riders the sensation of skating downhill with control, Trikke’s backers have faced an uphill battle in turning it into a craze like those inspired by Hula Hoops, Pet Rocks and Razor scooters themselves.

“When things become a phenomenon, they happen very quickly. The Trikke’s already been out a few years and I think ‘phenomenon’ is too strong a word for it,” said one sporting goods industry executive.

Simpson said the biggest challenge is in raising awareness about the odd-looking Trikke, of which about 200,000 have been shipped to date by Trikke Tech and sell from $100 to $200.

“When you’re launching an innovation into this huge market, it takes a lot of explaining,” he said.

Indeed, Simpson said he was embarrassed for Beleski when he first saw him on the preposterous-looking cambering vehicle three years ago, but then changed his mind when he saw how easily it was maneuvered.

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