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Questions About Purchasing a 'bent Trike Online

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Questions About Purchasing a 'bent Trike Online

Old 01-19-23, 04:18 PM
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Questions About Purchasing a 'bent Trike Online

I think that most of us would agree that we have a lot of choices when purchasing "the right" recumbent trike. It seems that the most choices and options are available from online dealers rather than local brick and mortar. (At least that's the case for me, My nearest trike shop, although excellent for service, is 40 miles away and has only a limited number of trikes to test-ride.) So that raises a number of questions in my mind regarding the online purchasing experience.

1. How do you make an informed choice, if you don't have anywhere nearby to test-ride a good number of different makes and models? (not to mention options such as e-assist or internal hub vs derailleur, etc)?

2. If you are lucky enough to test-ride a good number of makes/models/configurations and find "the right" trike for you, what makes you decide between purchasing from online vs brick and mortar? Is online generally less expensive?

3. If you do purchase online, and then need service (warranty or otherwise) will the local bike/trike shop still provide that service even though they don't sell your particular trike?

When you buy a car, you just need to go to various dealers for a test drive. Pretty straightforward, but not so much with the purchase of a trike!

So, for those who have purchased online, I'd really appreciate hearing how you settled on your purchasing decision.

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Old 01-19-23, 06:05 PM
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I bought online having never ridden a trike. not ideal but no shops i could get to for test rides and at the time no one nearby with used trikes like i wanted (or thought I wanted). I read reviews, watched videos, went on forums, and then just eventually did it. i figured if i was
wrong I could resell and recoup some of the cost anyway and learn something. Actually turned out okay, I put it together and i like it fine. might have gone for something more expensive had i been able to test ride but wanted to limit my liability. had the e-assist installed after by a local person. No shops near me want to work on trikes (that i can get to without a car) so i use Velofix, a mobile service if I can't fix it myself.
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Old 01-19-23, 06:31 PM
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There are several things you need to think about before you test drive a trike. What sort of riding do you intend to do? Go really fast? Low slung high speed trikes have seats that are reclined way back, and are also very close to the ground. They may be more difficult to sit down on, or get back up to a standing position, than one with a higher seat, which may also be adjusted to a more upright sitting position. The major brands have models for "racing", casual riding, and something in between. Off pavement you'll probably want suspension, and for the test ride you'll want to compare a trike with to one without. Try one with direct steering and one with indirect steering.

I drove three hours to a dealer who carried several brands and had 15-20 trikes on the floor. It was definitely worth it, although I didn't know what I was looking at. The shop owner asked me what two wheeled bike of mine was my favorite. I told him (he also happened to be a dealer for that brand) and he pointed to one of the trikes and said, "That one is the trike version of your bike." He was right, as I came to find out, and after test riding it and one or two others, I bought that trike and took it home.

I recommend buying from a bike shop, just for the service.
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Old 01-20-23, 09:53 AM
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Just going 40 miles for a test ride is worth the time and effort. At least you will have some idea of what kind of trike to order even if you do not use that shop. There were, and are, no recumbent shops closer than about 300 miles (Phoenix or SoCal). I relied on reviews from the now defunct Recumbent Cyclist News to choose a trike shipped directly from the factory back in 2003. It worked out quite well except for one factor not mentioned in the article - durability. It wasn't a budget model trike and within 16 months I was in the market for a more durable trike because of the perceived defects. I just couldn't trust it to not break down on the road and it did several times in 16 months. I replaced it with a used Greenspeed GTO that cost just a few hundred dollars more than the first trike. I got 9 years and 29K miles on it with few repairs. I knew when I got on it that it would not leave me stranded miles from home. I did not have any way of test riding either trike before buying them but by the time I got the second trike I knew what I wanted. My third trike is a 2013 Catrike 700. I test rode a friends Catrike Expedition so had some idea of what I was getting into. I've never broken down on it in the past decade. I love riding a low seating trike though I never think of racing. None of the brands I would ever consider for a replacement sell budget models. Buying used if you can find one will save you a lot. I found the GS GTO listed in the for sale section of Bentrideronline. Probably the best deal I ever got on a bike/trike.
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