Now with Vision gone, I have to wonder who is next? My wife and I are looking at buying a RANS Screamer XXL and wonder if that is such a good idea. Not necessarily because of the bike (we really liked the fell when we test rode it), but more for the warranty. From what I gather, it seemed like Vision was doing fine before they closed up. As a newcomer, just wondering what si happening and should I be concerned.
RANS is a much larger company than Vision ever was, and their offerings more reasonably priced than Visions
ever were. Of course BikE was bigger than RANS FWIW.
RANS is a small branch of a larger company (aircraft kits) so has some stability from that point of view and began outsourcing frames to Taiwan a few yrs ago so no longer has the capital investment in US production facilities it once did. Most of the components on RANS
are fairly stock and available from other sources if the frame holds up, which is not a matter of concern with Rans. You fell when you rode the screamer? Steve
Rivendell Atlantis, Greenspeed GTO and Rotator Tiger
Well the thing to remember about most recumbents is that they use mostly standard bicycle parts... on the Rans I think basically the frame and the seat are the only proprietary parts. So unless you crack the frame or manage to truely screw up the seat you can almost always get the recumbent fixed.
Now that being said, you always take your chances when you buy a vehicle from a smallish company. While I don't know the specific details of the downfall of Vision, I suspect it probably had to do with several of their new products not doing as well they had hoped. Their semi-recumbent probably cost them a bundle to develop.
Rans has generally been pretty conservative in their product offerings. They don't often seem to be the first into a new niche, but when they do add a new bike it is usually a winner.. and this is true of their revisions of older models. So in general I think Rans is a much stronger company than Vision was in the last year.
As far as I know Rans is doing fine. I just purchased a 2004 Tailwind, which is my first 'bent. Both the dealer and Rans have been super in answering any questions I had. They did have a recent problem in obtaining some parts which delayed some of their shipments by a couple of weeks, but they did expedite my bike to the dealer I was working with. As far as I know they are on schedule now. Since I'm a newbie to 'bents I contacted several manufacturers regarding what would be a good direction to go. Of all of the companies contacted ONLY RANS AND CYCLE GENIUS REPLIED and answered my questions. I think that says a lot about their staff. By the way, I love the Tailwind. I haven't had this much fun since Schwinn introduced the Sting-Ray (guess that kinf of date me huh?).
First of all Vision's parent company was Advanced Transportation Products. I believe they also had a wheel chair company as well as the recumbent manufacturer. It was not Vision that went under but the parent company, which took the rest with them. So the same thing could happen to RANS.
Second there is some word about Burley possibly building the Vision line. Nothing concrete yet, but hopefully it will happen.
Finally Vision's are a heck of a deal for the money. I spent $1,100 on mine which I felt was a very fair price and comparative to the other brands my LBS had to offer. Also Vision's are one of the, if the most versatile recumbent on the market. They can be switched from short to long wheel base & from over to under seat steering & vice-versa. Even though they are no longer being built you can still find the parts to convert them if I'm not mistaken.