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Old 03-04-07, 07:27 PM   #1
FlatTires
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Recommendations for a trike?

Hey guys, my new wife and I are looking for a trike for her. She has sciatica and bad knees (at only 22 ) and we feel this is the best option. We don't have a set budget but don't want to spend a huge amount of money on it- she did just buy me a brand new Felt F75. We checked out www.rebel-cycles.com and the TW-Bents trike looks great, except that it's only available in Canada and is out of our price range. Can anyone recommend something of a similar style for less? We'd happily purchase one used if we can find what we're looking for. If anyone has one that will work for sale, feel free to PM me.

As for size, she's 5'6" and 120lbs with average length legs I think. Under-seat steering is important, and we're thinking the tadpole design will be more suitable for her. She'll mainly be riding with me on quiet streets and some easy trails.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
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Old 03-04-07, 09:29 PM   #2
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Try first before purchasing.

You may be better off with an upright. The recumbent could push on sciatica the wrong way. It also may be much easier for her to get on and off an upright. My sciatica and bad knees are happier on an upright. Everyone is different you need to actually try it. It could be the opposite for you.

A mountain bike has low gears for bad knees and bigger softer tires for reducing bumps to the spine. A road bike is bumpier and will have higher gearing not so friendly for the knees. Also there are a lot more inexpensive mountain bikes around.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:54 PM   #3
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Ey, FlatTires... are you in Canada? If so, Rebel Cycles is the right place to go but if you're in the USA, then you be going to Actionbent (Redmond, WA). Either way, the Actionbent Tadpole trike is a nice machine but it sounds like budget is also a priority.

I know a little about Sciatica as I have a bad Sacro-iliac and wear a special belt when riding the trike. I probably don't need to but I do just in case. It all really depends on what is causing the sciatica on whether a trike will work for her. Having the higher bottom bracket on tadpoles is often harder on some parts of the back.

A better bet may be a Delta trike. Often, these have lower bottom-brackets and are easier to ride for people with 'mystery' back problems. The Sun long wheelbase Delta's sell for a decent price and used are even cheaper. Their bottom bracket is lower and the seat angle is often more comfortable. For the type of riding your looking at, it would probably be a better investment and a better fit.

Good luck on your quest.

I would definitely do some serious serching
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Old 03-04-07, 10:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys. We're in Olympia, WA and found the ActionBent website after making this post. We actually found out today that she can no longer ride her MTB; a three-mile ride left her unable to walk from the pain. As far as we know, it's a bulging disc pinching the sciatic nerve caused by overusing her back (because of the bad knees). We definitely plan to try at least one or two out, but they aren't very plentiful at our LBSs. The ActionBent tadpole trike looks nice but our preference would be used because of the price difference (we'll take what we can find that works though, as we want her to be able to do something and even walking as exercising is out for her right now).
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Old 03-04-07, 11:18 PM   #5
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I hate to say this, FlatTires but trikes are not going to make thing a lot better. This is probably something she will have to deal with. Trikes will impart a lot of road-shock straight to her back and could actually make things worse unless you pick out a very smooth trail. The only real activity that works well if she doesn't want to face the knife is aquadic. This will work well with both the knees and the disk. All the best to your friend. I've had my taste of such issues and it's bitter.
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Old 03-05-07, 12:23 AM   #6
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I appreciate your input, but without knowing her exact condition you can't fairly say what will or will not work. Aquatic work only aggravates her knees and asthma, so please don't be presumptuous and suggest that will work for her- you do not know her. In my first post I simply asked for a recommendation of a certain type of trike- it seems the entry-level models are $1200-$1400 new. We were hoping someone else may know of other, less-expensive options but if that's not the case, we'll look into what we've already found.
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Old 03-05-07, 01:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlatTires
I appreciate your input, but without knowing her exact condition you can't fairly say what will or will not work. Aquatic work only aggravates her knees and asthma, so please don't be presumptuous and suggest that will work for her- you do not know her. In my first post I simply asked for a recommendation of a certain type of trike- it seems the entry-level models are $1200-$1400 new. We were hoping someone else may know of other, less-expensive options but if that's not the case, we'll look into what we've already found.
just to rerail here...in reverse order...

Trikes, especially recumbent trikes, are in the upper price range to start with. Twelve hundred dollars IS "entry level" for new equipment.
translation; An ICE X2 delivered to your door from the U.K. = $14,600 U.S. dollars.

No matter, a 5 figure trike may be just as worthless to you if it doesn't help your situation.

First thing to consider; can she squat down unassisted, and get back up?
Try this with different heights from 12" on up, using a footstool or phone books.
If this is difficult or not doable, then you can probably skip looking at most tadpole trikes.
They usually pretty low to the ground.

The other trike format; DELTA, is usually a higher seat with a low or lower stepover height to mount & dismount. They range from Worksman to Hase.

Next issue is use. Is she going to be riding to class/work, charity rides, competitions?
More use should equal more investment.
And any possibilty that getting a trike would be covered by insurance?

I wish you both the best of luck in your quest. I for one, hope that it does help the young lady continue to enjoy cycling, even if it is TRIcycling!

Cheers, Dr. D
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Old 03-05-07, 01:34 AM   #8
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I'm FlatTires' wife. We're not looking for advice on whether or not a trike is a good idea; he simply asked if anyone could recommend some entry-level options. As he stated in his last post, we discovered that $1200-$1400 IS entry-level... so we're already aware of that. If that's what we need to work with, fine. We'd like to find something used if possible, but other than Craigslist and the LBSs we don't know where to look. He also explained in his first post what the trike would be used for- mainly, riding with him on quiet roads and some easy trails- so no, we can't justify a huge investment for "competitions".

The only question we asked in this thread was if anyone could recommend something less expensive; we're not interested in people who think they know what's going on with my body to tell us what will or will not work. Please keep your comments to yourself if you aren't going to help. So far not one person on here has actually added something valuable.
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Old 03-05-07, 06:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by boosteddreams
I'm FlatThttp://www.bentrideronline.com/ires' wife. We're not looking for advice on whether or not a trike is a good idea; he simply asked if anyone could recommend some entry-level options. As he stated in his last post, we discovered that $1200-$1400 IS entry-level... so we're already aware of that. If that's what we need to work with, fine. We'd like to find something used if possible, but other than Craigslist and the LBSs we don't know where to look. He also explained in his first post what the trike would be used for- mainly, riding with him on quiet roads and some easy trails- so no, we can't justify a huge investment for "competitions".

The only question we asked in this thread was if anyone could recommend something less expensive; we're not interested in people who think they know what's going on with my body to tell us what will or will not work. Please keep your comments to yourself if you aren't going to help. So far not one person on here has actually added something valuable.
boosteddreams
I like your last post and I say good for you. You can try Bentrider or Brol as eveyone calls it. They have a forsale section and maybe you could find something there. http://www.bentrideronline.com/ Good Luck in your pursuit. I'll try and add some other links to this post that may help.
Catrike also has a forsale section http://p216.ezboard.com/bcatrike
You can also check Hostel Shoppe, they have a classified section http://www.hostelshoppe.com/

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Old 03-05-07, 07:58 AM   #10
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Which trike

Quote:
Originally Posted by boosteddreams
I'm FlatTires' wife. We're not looking for advice on whether or not a trike is a good idea; he simply asked if anyone could recommend some entry-level options. As he stated in his last post, we discovered that $1200-$1400 IS entry-level... so we're already aware of that. If that's what we need to work with, fine. We'd like to find something used if possible, but other than Craigslist and the LBSs we don't know where to look. He also explained in his first post what the trike would be used for- mainly, riding with him on quiet roads and some easy trails- so no, we can't justify a huge investment for "competitions".

The only question we asked in this thread was if anyone could recommend something less expensive; we're not interested in people who think they know what's going on with my body to tell us what will or will not work. Please keep your comments to yourself if you aren't going to help. So far not one person on here has actually added something valuable.
Nicely put! While I currently have a used Sun tadpole available, that is not my point. The trikes I normally sell are much more expensive and this owner will be moving up. I've little experience with the Sun trikes, but now that I have one in hand, it is clearly one that could word for you. The new Suns (tadpole) are $1150 to $1550 and used ones can be substantially less, $800 in this case for comparison. You might want to follow a similar plan as a buyer that I will use to help this customer with selling his trikes (Wizwheelz, too). We will advertise locally, Denver, with Craig's list. If that doesn't get a response, I will list the trikes on BROL classifieds. The next step would be eBay. I have bought and sold several personal bikes on eBay and it has worked well for me.

Shipping is a pain and somewhat expensive with packing and all, so local buying and selling is best. But, used trikes are still rare and the odds favor buying or selling at a distance. Do take a look at the upper level Sun products. They are a bit heavy, but well priced. Seek as well used Catrikes. Best of all, with any trike, if you buy used at a good price, you can get nearly all your money back when you decide to move on. And, if you like trikes and they work for you, you will want the good stuff.

For those without physical issues buying sight unseen will work fine--as I did with my first trike. If you have an issue it is always worth driving some distance if necessary to properly test trike brands you may be interested in.

Best of luck.

Chip
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Old 03-05-07, 08:41 AM   #11
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Hi FlatTires and boosteddreams, I suppose I should chime in since it's my store that was mentioned right off the bat. Yes, ActionBent sells the same trike as I do, and it would be less expensive for you to buy it from them, than from me. If you do end up with a TW-Bents trike, make sure you get the open cell foam seat pad, it's very soft and comfortable.

As for other trikes that are priced a bit less, there are a few that are worth the money. Sun and WizWheelz both makes trikes in that price range. You should also check eBay on a daily basis for trikes, you will see new and used ones go up for sale there very often. If you're not sure if a particular auction is a good deal, just ask about it here! We'd be happy to help you out. As mentioned earlier, the classifieds section on BROL is great, too.

One thing that you may want to consider is whether you need a trike at all. Two wheel recumbents offer just as much comfort, but often at a lower price (below $1000, easily). You can't just get on and go like with a trike, but the learning curve isn't too bad.

There's one last thing to consider when riding a recumbent. It's very easy to press your back into the seat and hammer the pedals - don't do this! It will kill your knees, which is exactly what you're trying to avoid! It is very, very important to learn how to spin; perhaps you've learned this already just from riding an upright bike. An adequately high cadence (say, 95 rpm) will put little stress on your knees, sparing them from injury.

I hope that helps!
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Old 03-05-07, 08:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boosteddreams
I'm FlatTires' wife. We're not looking for advice on whether or not a trike is a good idea; he simply asked if anyone could recommend some entry-level options. As he stated in his last post, we discovered that $1200-$1400 IS entry-level... so we're already aware of that. If that's what we need to work with, fine. We'd like to find something used if possible, but other than Craigslist and the LBSs we don't know where to look. He also explained in his first post what the trike would be used for- mainly, riding with him on quiet roads and some easy trails- so no, we can't justify a huge investment for "competitions".

The only question we asked in this thread was if anyone could recommend something less expensive; we're not interested in people who think they know what's going on with my body to tell us what will or will not work. Please keep your comments to yourself if you aren't going to help. So far not one person on here has actually added something valuable.
Sorry for the presumptions, Dreams and I didn't mean anything by it other than to say I've been in your shoes. All the power to ya.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:50 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the great advice. We'll be keeping an eye on the classifieds you suggested. We also found out today that the Seattle Bike Expo is this weekend and we should be able to try out several models. We'll be less leery of buying online, especially a used one, after trying a few to see how well they work for me.

Jeff-o: I thought about a two-wheeler, but I'm afraid that if I fall I'm going to hurt my knees and/or back (worse, that is), so to be on the safe side I'll go with the trike. And thanks for the warning about "mashing"- I'd seen that in several other threads and plan on learning how to spin so I can avoid that. I have cycling shoes with a recession for cleats so I think I'm set.

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Old 03-06-07, 10:26 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=cjs1948]Nicely put! While I currently have a used Sun tadpole available, that is not my point. The trikes I normally sell are much more expensive and this owner will be moving up. I've little experience with the Sun trikes, but now that I have one in hand, it is clearly one that could word for you. The new Suns (tadpole) are $1150 to $1550 and used ones can be substantially less, $800 in this case for comparison.



I was biting my tongue that no one was mentioning Sun! Thanks for the comment Chip. Nice to know someone other than I know they exist! ;-)

When Sun Tad was new in 2005, I bought the two model Sun Tads- the SX ($1195) and the CX ($1395.) The SX was purchased as a project base (velomobile fully enclosed fairing) and the CX wouldn't work for that; but it was a 2 for 1 purchase so I got it for parts (which I did not need after all, so I tried to sell it- and decided not to because it works so well as a loan trike).

The SX is an outstanding project base since it is pretty heavy (about 50#) and way overbraced. I upgraded mine (shifters, cables, deraillers, short cranks, skinny tires, fairings, fiberglass/kevlar body, hard shell - open foam seat, stereo, Be Seen flag, turn signals/light, lots of insulation) and it easily handled all that. The Sun was and still is ideal.

The CX remained almost stock- only a Schwinn DragSlik, front fenders, and a rack. It is also ideal for that loaner use.

Different horses for diffferent courses- I also have an upgrade power assist WizWheelz TerraTrike and a JM Recumbents folding trike; neither were useful for what you want the recommendation for. But in your use, I think the Sun Tad would be very useful.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:06 PM   #15
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I was biting my tongue that no one was mentioning Sun! Thanks for the comment Chip. Nice to know someone other than I know they exist! ;-)

When Sun Tad was new in 2005, I bought the two model Sun Tads- the SX ($1195) and the CX ($1395.) The SX was purchased as a project base (velomobile fully enclosed fairing) and the CX wouldn't work for that; but it was a 2 for 1 purchase so I got it for parts (which I did not need after all, so I tried to sell it- and decided not to because it works so well as a loan trike).

The SX is an outstanding project base since it is pretty heavy (about 50#) and way overbraced. I upgraded mine (shifters, cables, deraillers, short cranks, skinny tires, fairings, fiberglass/kevlar body, hard shell - open foam seat, stereo, Be Seen flag, turn signals/light, lots of insulation) and it easily handled all that. The Sun was and still is ideal.

The CX remained almost stock- only a Schwinn DragSlik, front fenders, and a rack. It is also ideal for that loaner use.

Different horses for diffferent courses- I also have an upgrade power assist WizWheelz TerraTrike and a JM Recumbents folding trike; neither were useful for what you want the recommendation for. But in your use, I think the Sun Tad would be very useful.
The Sun certainly sounds good price-wise. I'm going to try not to modify it though (I already do that to my cars). In response to an ad I posted on Craigslist, someone emailed me with a Sun EZ-Tadpole SX she's selling for $825. It comes with fenders and a rear rack and, assuming it's in good condition, sounds like a pretty decent deal to me. What do you guys think? Also, did they use different colors for different years? The lady selling this one didn't say how old it is but it's yellow.

For those of you who have ridden both steel-frame and aluminum-frame trikes, do you notice a huge difference? Ten to twelve pounds sounds like it would be pretty noticeable but there's also a $400 difference in the price.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:11 PM   #16
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Here is a review for the trike you're looking at:

http://www.bentrideronline.com/revie.../eztadpole.htm

Basically, you could drop it off a cliff and it'll probably survive, but it won't be fast. You can get a brand new one on eBay for $850, so $825 isn't a very good price for a used model.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:22 PM   #17
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Basically, you could drop it off a cliff and it'll probably survive, but it won't be fast. You can get a brand new one on eBay for $850, so $825 isn't a very good price for a used model.
The early Tads had front end problem, which might be why it doesn't go up in price. My SX did, and was re-welded (and yes- it is yellow!), but my red CX was a prototype- totally different one-of-a-kind. My TerraTrike was also doomed because it had steering problems- that is why I got it many years ago! CHEEP CHEEP !! ;-)

Starting with Trailmate ($300. last week on Craigslist, I do not have a list of new/used trikes but I think these are still around: recumbent.com., recumbents.com, national bicycle greenway classified- etc., and several others are available on-line. Good luck searching!

In 1999 I bought a S & B trike for $995. so they might still exist with a low price- they were too unsafe for me. A new Trailmate (Lowrider like the used one) is about $600-700 (I know nothing about these, but I saw one- upgrade the seat, add a few more gears; and you may have a nice "delta" trike!)

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Old 03-06-07, 06:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by countersTrike
The early Tads had front end problem, which might be why it doesn't go up in price. My SX did, and was re-welded (and yes- it is yellow!), but my red CX was a prototype- totally different one-of-a-kind. My TerraTrike was also doomed because it had steering problems- that is why I got it many years ago! CHEEP CHEEP !! ;-)
countersTrike

Hmm, we were wondering why the lady selling her SX had said it was rewelded. Thanks for the info. Other than that, I haven't heard of any issues or particular models to stay away from. I think we'll be staying away from the earliest Sun Tadpoles. Are there any other ones to watch out for? Thanks again for all the help!
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Old 03-06-07, 07:33 PM   #19
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I agree with privious posters in looking into the Sun tadpole. They tend to be a little bit heavier, but they are of good quality, and with the added plus of having a higher seat height than most of the other trikes, so getting on and off is easier, especially if knee problems are also an issue.
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Old 03-07-07, 03:54 PM   #20
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After contacting a certain US distributor of TW Bents trikes expressing my interest in the Tadpole Trike, it's apparent they're not interested in making a sale. They said I could test ride between 10am and 2pm Monday through Friday... when I explained that I had a new job starting this week that would be 8-5 M-F and asked if I could see one on a weekend, this is the response I received:

"well because it is xxxxx's house he does like his privacy and time with his family on the weekends. Far too many times we have people "string us along" and end up waiting hours and hours on weekends when we go out of our way to accomodate people.....

If it's one, specific cycle your interested in I can transport one cycle to my house for you to ride....as long as that is not one of the trikes. I will not drive my van, use fuel ect for this....

Let me know if one cycle could work for you and we could meet on a Saturday morning before noon."

So they're not willing to put out a small amount of effort to make a sale??? Heck, I was going to drive more than two hours roundtrip just to look at the darn thing! I guess this is the problem with Internet companies- they want to conduct their business part-time when it's convenient for them and to heck with the customers who have jobs. Has anyone else run into this?? I'm not here to bash on people, but I think it's very poor customer service- he'd bring a bike but not a TRIKE (which is what I said I wanted in each email) because that would require using gas in his van?!

Looks like I'll end up with the Sun my LBS carries if I can't find one used- at least they're willing to let me try it first.

/rant
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Old 03-07-07, 05:14 PM   #21
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Heck, I was going to drive more than two hours roundtrip just to look at the darn thing! I guess this is the problem with Internet companies- they want to conduct their business part-time when it's convenient for them and to heck with the customers who have jobs. Has anyone else run into this?? I'm not here to bash on people, but I think it's very poor customer service- he'd bring a bike but not a TRIKE (which is what I said I wanted in each email) because that would require using gas in his van?!

Looks like I'll end up with the Sun my LBS carries if I can't find one used- at least they're willing to let me try it first.

/rant
I started with a terribly long and low delta trike in the late 1970s- no one even knew what a recumbent was! "oh, a sofa, OH! I know - a chaise lounge! On wheels??? A trike? Whatcha been smoking?". In a small way, I think I know what you mean!

I wish you luck; it sounds like your LBS will work with you- and that is a value right there! I went the 'used' route in the '90s (shows my age a bit!) If the Sun will not work for you, CNC Recumbents in San Francisco, CA carries WizWheels and Catrikes (used to have Sunday test rides) and they "*bent* over backwards" for me in 2003! :-)

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Old 03-07-07, 09:05 PM   #22
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Looks like Randy or Steve made a wise choice
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Old 03-08-07, 07:25 AM   #23
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*Sigh*

I swear, those guys are their own worst enemies. They say something boneheaded and it ends up on the internet, further damaging their somewhat flaky reputation. While it's true that sometimes we as dealers get strung along by "window shoppers" it's still no excuse to refuse such a simple request.

boosted, I've sent you a PM...
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Old 03-08-07, 05:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o
*Sigh*

I swear, those guys are their own worst enemies. They say something boneheaded and it ends up on the internet, further damaging their somewhat flaky reputation. While it's true that sometimes we as dealers get strung along by "window shoppers" it's still no excuse to refuse such a simple request.

boosted, I've sent you a PM...
I couldn't agree more, and basically told them as much. (Which resulted in another less-than-kind email). It did explain why I've heard negative things from several people though. Regardless, there are plenty of options especially with the bike expo coming up in a couple days.

Thanks for the info- that's definitely something I'll keep in mind, either in the next couple of months if I don't find something suitable or down the road if things continue to get worse. I appreciate your help, and it's nice to see a dealer taking the time to help people whether it results in a sale for them or not.

And thanks for the suggestions, countersTrike- I'll keep them in mind too.
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Old 03-12-07, 07:36 PM   #25
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I'm coming to the thread a bit at the end, and I hope that this isn't redundent but a couple more classified bike ads are at www.hostelshoppe.com and www.recumbents.com.
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