Should I buy a cheap recumbent or should I buy a frame a build a new df bike?
Yes, it's impossible to answer so feel free to talk about esoteric stuff (or just have fun, fun works, a few laughs would do me good).
No, I can't go try out recumbents because here in Adelaide, they aren't common. Hell, they don't even rate 'rare'. I've only ever seen two on the road and in the shops? Fuggedaboudit. In fact, I read the recumbent forums here and see how you can try this and choose that - it's so unlike my experience that it feels like a Terry Pratchett novel. I can claim to have been within 200m of a recumbent ... once, and it was going the other way and there were three lanes of heavy traffic between us.
I'm not entirely happy with my current df bike because although I think I've finally got it working, the modifications required are a tad extreme (got caught by the modern 'too small a frame' syndrome didn't I).
I can't buy a second hand df frame and swap my components over because my current bike has a DeoreLX rear hub which is 135mm wide, not the standard road 130mm wide. I'm happy to swap the groupset over but will be looking at wheels as well as the frame.
I suffer from numb hands and having finally achieved pain free riding with a set up that was so extreme it added handling problems to the mix, I've gone back to a set up that still puts a lot of pressure on my hands, still gives me numb hands and fingers, but only after the first hour (bars are just above the seat). I'm thinking a recumbent will address this ... but at what cost elsewhere - sure, your back is supported by the seat but do you wind up with other problems as a result?
Did I mention the dislocated collarbone from 15 years ago that possibly is adding to my hand woes?
So, I can live with what I've got ... which works ... sort of, but which looks stupid and I'm obviously not completely happy with it or I wouldn't be looking elsewhere or ...
I've always wanted to try a recumbent, but can't 'try before I buy' because there aren't any and even without postage, they are expensive here.
I have found a 'cheap' supplier of recumbents here but it's 'buy and hope you like it' because he's a small businessman importing on order from Taiwan.
For the price of the 'cheap' (and it is 'cheap' and 'bottom end'), I can buy a second hand frame, swipe my groupset (and Brooks and Noodle bars) from my current ride, then buy a set of new wheels, and have a df bike that fits and is probably the best ride I'll get in a df bike ... and probably still suffer the hand problems.
If you're confused by my dilemma, join the club. Oh for someone nearby who could lend me his bent for an afternoon and say - 'give it a go'. But I can't know without spending the money and if I do, do I buy the bottom feeder bent with the V brakes and crappy components or spend more than I want to and buy the 'better' bent with the disc brakes and better components but which comes with wheels that have a low spoke count and will probably need upgrading before they collapse (20 front and 26 rear - I weight 105kg for heaven's sake, I think that's about 220lb and our roads are not billiard tables).
I think my Dad's right. I should just sell all my bikes and keep the old fixie.