Author Topic: How you buy your bikes  (Read 1131 times)

fd3

How you buy your bikes
« on: July 14, 2020, 11:47:39 am »
I notice that a number of people on the forum have bikes that aren't readily available in the UK and/or made to measure (e.g. lightning or cruzbike).  With the cost of these bikes, how do you get the nerve/experience to buy one?
[/I could be wrong]

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 07:30:10 pm »
Some options I know ..........

They tend to hold their secondhand price, so buying that way for a trial isn't such a risk.

Some owners don't mind letting you have a try if you're very interested.
So going to something like a BHPC meet may give you that option.

Going to see Kevin at D-Tek for a practice session may let you try the bent you're interested in.

Luck ........ :D

Arellcat

  • Velonautte
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 07:33:32 pm »
I rode my Windcheetah and Speedmachine, and just about every kind of bike that came through Laid Back Bikes, for four years before I felt I understood enough of what I wanted my bike to do and to be like.  In 2007 I had decided a Lightning P-38 was 'my' bike, but I couldn't test ride any because I simply didn't know anyone in the UK who had one.  And while Edinburgh/Glasgow is the epicentre of recumbentry in Scotland it's not London/Ely.

My alternatives were the Burrows Ratcatcher 9 (tailbox! monoblade!) and the Challenge Seiran SL (featherweight! fast!), but neither could carry a camping load or go easily on a train.  I also didn't want a Streetmachine because I already had my SpM which despite being fast and very, very comfortable, was pretty heavy.

So I imagined really hard what a P-38 would be like to ride, based on its ergonomics and geometry, talked with Tim Brummer a bunch of times, and finally plunked down $2000 to buy a frameset and have it FedExed over.  Yes, it was a risk, but I built it up as my ultimate bike, and I have a ton of miles on it now.

I bought my RANS V2 second-hand, but equally ridden only virtually, went to NY to collect it, rode it to Toronto and then came home with it and did another load of miles on it.  I didn't lose much money when I sold it a couple of years later.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2020, 07:43:15 pm »
I buy mine from Charlotte, it seems.  She's more reliable than most recumbent dealers.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 08:02:08 pm »
Try a bunch at Little Thetford
Find a decent e-bay deal for something vaguely along those lines/characteristics I liked - ICE B2
Learn how to ride that
Flog it
Talk to Dave at Laid Back Bikes, buy a low-racer frameset, build it, ride it
In parallel with this lust after a Cruzbike
Take a trip to Houston and get a fast tourer frameset delivered to the office, bring it back as luggage
Build it, find I like it more than the other one, take it on tour across Scotland, decide I love it, flog the low-racer

I still have half an eye out for a Cruzbike Vendetta or a P38 as well though
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2020, 08:33:49 pm »
First of all as others have said ride some other recumbents first. Even if you only get one recumbent first, ride other ones where possible.

Work out if you actually like riding recumbents. Work out if the learning curve is getting shallower as you try different ones.  Do you balance a different recumbent pretty quickly or is it as hard as the first time you got on a recumbent?

Really work out what you like or don’t like about recumbents. What features or design decisions do you like / don’t like?  What’s the main criteria you want in your next recumbent, what are secondary criteria? What sub optimal aspects of your current recumbent do you want address? Do you want a second recumbent alongside your current one or do you want to replace it? This will determine how specialist the new one can be or whether you want it to be able to adapt to many roles.

Look for recumbents that may meet your criteria and score them against it.  Come up with a short list. See if you can find any local that you can test ride. If you can’t then are you willing to take a leap of faith on any of them?

This led me to the Lightning P-38. Like Arellcat I talked with Tim Brunner a while. After answering my questions and more pondering I placed an order for a frameset and built it up with components of my choice with drive train coming off old mtn bike.

I love it, and it just getting better and better the more I ride it. I found it really easy to ride first time but it’s like being a jet fighter pilot now.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2020, 09:15:28 pm »
If we coincide at an audax sometime I might badger you for a fit test, P38 as a lightweight concept recumbent always looked good to me. Why did you decide on that vs your Fujin?
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2020, 09:33:38 pm »
What is the weight of a P38? It's always referred to as lightweight! I think if the seat was more like a streetmachine, and had uss, then I would have considered one. Also what about small front wheel and no suspension?

Mine was bought off this very forum, via thread conversation with a 3rd party, and I jumped in on the conversation. The Streetmachine / Azub 6 type machine always looks right to me, and I knew it would be comfy and we would get along. Instinct I guess. Had Avery quick go on a Bachetta  Corsa , with oss and didn't like it . The  SM GTE  feels much slower than my tourer, especially uphill, but I'm consistently 1-2 Kmh  faster over the same route , than I am on my df tourer. But still don't feel brave enough to go on a day ride with other folks on uprights, think I would slow them down too much, although I'm as quick as them on my tourer.

I realised the other day, that I shouldn't see it as a bicycle, but as a sophisticated touring machine.

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2020, 09:57:38 pm »
What is the weight of a P38? It's always referred to as lightweight! I think if the seat was more like a streetmachine, and had uss, then I would have considered one. Also what about small front wheel and no suspension?

Depends how you build it up. An Australian guy has his built up at 9.5kg with lightweight wheels etc.  Mine as built for audax , dynamo hub, 36 spoke wheels, mudguards, framefit pump, bags attached etc is 11.5 - 12kg which is pretty much the same weight as my audax road bike. But the main difference I think for climbing is that there’s very little flex when putting the power in going uphill. So most of it gets to the back wheel and drives you upward. After all most of the weight is the rider, not the bike.

As to suspension you don’t miss it.  The seat is laced and cantilevered. You aren’t sat over the rear wheel taking direct hits.  So it takes bumps and holes pretty well. For small (406 / 20”)  front wheel I have a 37mm tyre at 40 psi, which is perfect for carrying speed on our imperfect roads.

My PBs for some local hills are now on my P38 not my road bike.

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2020, 10:12:07 pm »
If we coincide at an audax sometime I might badger you for a fit test, P38 as a lightweight concept recumbent always looked good to me. Why did you decide on that vs your Fujin?

A Fuego not Fujin the latter is a different make / model.

I wanted a recumbent for this year’s Wild Atlantic Way Audax (WAWA) That event has about 26,000m of ascent. I knew the Fuego wouldn’t cut it for that amount of climbing.  So I needed a recumbent with a solid climbing reputation that also met my other criteria and preferences.

As it happens with the suspension of audax and delay of WAWA till 2021 , Covid 19 may have helped me.  I’ve got an extra year to get stronger / faster on the P-38 before tackling it again. Knowing how my road bike gave me Shermer’s on WAWA 16. I didn’t want to entertain that possibility again.
.

Arellcat

  • Velonautte
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 11:00:22 pm »
My P-38 (as featured on Lightning's website) is XL-everything, and I can't get it below 27 lbs in naked form, but it really does climb well.  When I was riding it fairly exclusively, I got very strong on it.  The tucked in riding position suits me well, although I find it hard to engage my hamstrings enough and my sartorius muscles get overworked, but that's also because I ride my Quest more these days, and the Quest has a more open torso-hip angle.

I didn't buy my Quest sight unseen or ride unridden either.  My aforementioned trip to Toronto was to hook up with my friends from Bentrider, but it was my birthday too, and A and I went to see Ray and Martin at Bluevelo and we spent the afternoon on the Waterfront Trail with their fibreglass Quest demonstrator.  Three years later I spent way too much money at Laid Back Bikes, having previously helped advise on the assembly of LB's first velomobile order, a Milan GT, and I knew that a Milan wouldn't fit me properly.  But again, it comes down to knowing what you want a recumbent bike or trike or velomobile to do: a Milan would have romped up hills and eaten a Quest for breakfast on rollers, but it would also have scraped itself over every speed bump and would crash over every pothole; and I also wanted to ride arms out in warm weather and to see round obstacles (Speedmachine experience, there).  So I ordered my Quest and waited six months for it to be built.  Andy Harrington ordered his not very long after, and ours are probably the most heavily used velomobiles in Scotland.

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2020, 02:23:48 am »
My buying history is .............

Tried riding my upwrong after my accident but never felt safe on it.
I've no idea what I was looking for but found ICE's webpage.
Gave them a ring "can I try one" ??
Drove to Falmouth two days later.
After 30 seconds on one in the car park I was hooked ...... :D
Once at home, I was soon at work tweaking/modding it.
Lower gears and hardshell seat main mods.
Two years later I went back for a new model armed with all the knowledge on exactly what I wanted.
The new one was 2.5x the base price ..........  :o
A Schlumpf HSD, Rohloff and Son hub made up a lot of the extra price.
Took me another couple of years of tweaking the gears to get to it's final configuration.

Luck ...........  ;D


 

LMT

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2020, 08:52:50 am »
I set out what I want from a recumbent, what bikes meet this, will it fit (x-seam) and whilst anecdotal what other riders have said.


Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2020, 09:50:49 am »
I went to D-Tek for my first test ride and took Kevin’s advice (Trice Q)
Three years ad 40,000km later I knew what I wanted more specifically and ordered an ICE Sprint direct from ICE with several additional items (Alfine 11 gears, SON dynohub)

I got into Velomobiles through meeting Jedrik and others on LEL and having breakfast with them afterwards, looking at their Quests. It was clear to me that I would not be able to get out of a Quest because of my arm disability, so I started investigating what Velomobiles would be possible for me. The Versatile seemed the best option and when one came up for sale in Rotterdam I went to have a look (easy ferry journey). Vince otp accompanied me.
After riding Penelope the Versatile for a few years I wanted something lighter and faster. A friend with a Milan SL let me try it out and it seemed I could, very inelegantly, get out. So I went to try Milans at Räderwerk and discovered the GT was definitely the right thing for me. I very luckily managed to get a second hand one in excellent condition, which I am still riding.
I was beguiled by the new Quattrovelo velomobile and ordered one. After the year wait for delivery Humphrey arrived home but within two weeks I realised I had made a mistake, the Quattrovelo did not suit me. I rode 1000km in it, then my partner test rode it for 9000k, then we sold it for 400 Euro less than we had bought it for. The market for Velomobiles is such that the price just keeps high, so it is low risk.
I bought another Versatile for bad weather but wasn’t really using it enough so I sold it a few weeks ago to a guy from Denmark for the price I paid plus the cost of the extra stuff I did. He had never even seen a velomobile before but rented a van and drove down to buy Bertie. I think Bertie will be something  he upgrades from in a year or so, but at least he will learn what is important to him in Velomobiles. You really don’t know until you have one.

I still have my 9 year old ICE Sprint which has done 46000km. My Milan has done 30,000km. Both were great purchases, but both the second of their bike type which I had purchased.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


fd3

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2020, 10:36:08 am »
You really don’t know until you have one.
I think that and the theoretical/anecdotal evidence is the concern for me.   My SPM was second hand and an excellent deal, but I know from that bike that I can't make a real decision from a test ride (though I'm sure that sampling at D-Tek or LBBikes would help).  I guess if I had as much experience with different LBs as Arellcat it would be one thing, but I admire Dave's nerve in buying a Cruzbike unridden.  (I like the look of the Stelvio, but >2k for a frameset that I'm not sure I'd love - that's too brave for me).
[/I could be wrong]

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2020, 11:14:17 am »
You really don’t know until you have one.
I think that and the theoretical/anecdotal evidence is the concern for me.   My SPM was second hand and an excellent deal, but I know from that bike that I can't make a real decision from a test ride (though I'm sure that sampling at D-Tek or LBBikes would help).  I guess if I had as much experience with different LBs as Arellcat it would be one thing, but I admire Dave's nerve in buying a Cruzbike unridden.  (I like the look of the Stelvio, but >2k for a frameset that I'm not sure I'd love - that's too brave for me).

Are you actually looking for N+1 ? if so what is it you are looking for it to do that SPM did not/ could not do ?

fd3

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2020, 11:30:26 am »
I'm in the very early stages - in that I am now happy riding a recumbent and would like to try something that isn't as heavy as the SPM.  I'm also 6'+ so reckon I could try something with dual 622 or 584 and get my suspension from there.  I'm mostly going to keep an eye on the second hand market and maybe take a train to Ely/Edinburgh (in a couple year's time) when C19 isn't an issue (by that time I might even be able to afford a "new" bike, as long as prices stop increasing faster than I can save).
[/I could be wrong]

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2020, 01:06:24 pm »
I bought the CB in the knowledge that they are like hen's teeth over here and hence keep their value. I also bought it in dollars and brought back from the States as luggage, so no postal or import fees.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

fd3

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2020, 02:52:22 pm »
and I suspect at the time the dollar was not equivalent to the pound.
[/I could be wrong]

Arellcat

  • Velonautte
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2020, 03:19:36 pm »
In 2007 the USD to GBP exchange rate was almost 2:1, and I'm not sure I'd have bought my Lightning otherwise.  I bought my Quest under similar, albeit less favourable, conditions.

Tigerrr

  • That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
  • Not really a Tiger.
    • Humanist Celebrant.
Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2020, 08:22:20 am »
Well worth joining BHPC to meet other recumbentists and explore technical possibilities. Stuff comes up for sale there.
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
http://humanist.org.uk/michaellaird

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2020, 09:32:53 am »
With 'bent bikes it's hard to be sure with only a brief test ride. The fit is so important: boom length, seat angle, handlebar positions etc. I've spent ages adjusting and tweaking after purchase. Hence I think there's always a risk of incompatibility unless you rent one for a week or two and go touring first. I bought a new Grasshopper and new Metabikes and they didn't work out for me. I traded the Grasshopper in for a trike with Dtek. I sold the Metabikes frame and kept the components after trying out various configurations.

At the moment there are big differentials between new and used 'bent bike prices. Used is much better value. I think all manufacturers now realise they are competing with the used market rather than with each other.

I bought my RANS Stratus XP as a frameset. The custom charges for bike parts are less than for complete bikes, and the shipping is probably less too. Nonethelesss customs and VAT charges are compounded. And bringing it back in a suitcase as luggage and not declaring it is smuggling. It would be nice if import charges were lowered for bikes, fingers crossed for new trade deals post-Brexit. I might take a look at a RANS Phoenix frameset then.


Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2020, 09:33:47 pm »
I don't buy them, I get given them! It's just a question of never saying no and making the best of what you have.

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2020, 09:43:23 pm »
My P-38 (as featured on Lightning's website) is XL-everything, and I can't get it below 27 lbs in naked form, but it really does climb well.  When I was riding it fairly exclusively, I got very strong on it.

I rode mine exclusively from when I built it till lockdown.  Agree, I have got a lot stronger on it in the 7 months I’ve been riding it.  My averages over 200km are now comparable with my road bike audax averages back from 2012. (My fastest road bike audax average speeds date to 2012) That was one of the main criteria from my recumbent other than the comfort etc. Haven’t had chance to see how I fare beyond 200km yet, but will be riding 250km when audax reopens on 1st August. So can see how my average speeds and legs are holding up as distances climb.

Re: How you buy your bikes
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2020, 11:33:22 am »
Being of a certain age(!) and having come through the club scene of the 1960's and 70's I build my bikes up from framesets. That way I get the spec I want. Plus it occupies the winter months.  :)