Author Topic: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired  (Read 7084 times)

CanaDuh

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« on: September 15, 2016, 11:19:31 AM »
Hello -

In my own journey towards FI, I've moved to a sublet near my work that is walking distance from almost every day-to-day amenity, and since I work at a major local mall, I'm right beside a major public transit hub as well - I can get anywhere in the city via my own two feet or public transit. It takes me around twenty five minutes to a half an hour walking at full clip to get from my front door to the staff room at work to swipe on shift - not an arduous trek by any standard.

It's time for the next step, though - I need to get a bike. Therein lies the rub though. I've got cerebral palsy, which means some balance issues. My disability isn't extreme, so I don't require specifically specialised machinery like a hand-cycle or an upright support bike. Based on my own research, I have three options:


A) Buy a regular bike (with low crossbar, since swinging my leg over the taller cross bar just won't happen) and attach these Adult Fatwheels - this option is probably the most economical, allowing me to kijiji/craigslist whatever bike I can and just paying for the wheels. I'm not entirely sure how viable it is to attach the fatwheels and a bike trailer, though. I'm pretty sure the wheels would be attached where you'd commonly attach the trailer, though I'm open to being corrected.

B) Buy a standard upright tricycle - this option is likely in the same price range as the regular bike, though I would likely have much less selection, the used market (at least in my area) for these seems quite small. The price for a new one isn't remarkably high, though quality tricycles seem to be a niche market, which means settling for 'big box' quality, which isn't all that good. The other issue is that upright tricycles are pretty much designed to be ridden slowly on level ground. The whole point of getting a bike/trike is to get me moving faster and farther than my feet can go. That said, most of the uprights can easily be equipped with a basket. Not quite as adaptable as a trailer, but at least useful for grocery shopping.

C) Buy a recumbent tricycle - This option appeals to me immensely, due to a strong desire to dedicate my retirement years (be they early or otherwise) to long-term tricycle touring. It solves one of my major issues with the upright tricycle, there are many models and designs to choose from, and my disability is rendered moot - you don't need to balance when you're sitting down the whole time. The major (and it is major) sticking point is the price. Recumbent tricycles are a niche market - it's growing, but the most economical of them is still a four figure purchase. I could possibly find a cheaper used one if I were to ignore two of my major criteria (that it fold for easy storage and that it be suitable for use as a touring/commuting tool) but I don't wish to buy a cheaper trike only to need another one when I do decide to tour - given that the market is niche, reselling the first when I get the second is not a guarantee, especially because to lower the price enough for it to be comparable to a standard bike, it's probably well used before I get my hands on it, never mind when I've owned it a decade or so.

Bonus, I've done a lot of research on recumbent trikes, and settled on a model that fits all of my criteria for the 'right' one for me - and there's even one on sale used on a popular forum for them. The problem is, even this used model (though, it is quite new, with many after-market upgrades) would cost me north of $3k given the weakness of the CAD.

I've got pro/con lists for each option, but I sat through the entire year in indecision, because my location allowed me to get around without making one - however, it's a major goal of mine to get what I'd call a 'real' job soon, and that will almost inevitably mean not working in the mall. And so, here I am, asking for advice. Should I go for the economic option that will 'do for now', the 'slightly better than walking' option that'll at least get me peddling, or the 'can easily cost as much as a used car' option that satisfies future me, but makes present me baulk?

Logically, I know that my current plans mean that sooner or later, I'd be buying the recumbent trike - and perhaps I should just 'bite the bullet' - but spending 3k+ on a peddle powered vehicle seems excessive to someone that saves 50% of their meagre $1400 monthly take home when the touring plans are 20+ years away.

Regards,

TrMama

  • Guest
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 12:34:54 PM »
Step one is to actually test ride each of the options (or at least options 2 and 3). I don't have balance issues, but I have spent a lot of time biking and have bought several nice bikes. You can do all the research you want, but once you actually get on the bike, you will know when you've found "the one". Likewise, many bikes that look great online will be duds in person.

I probably wouldn't opt for the training wheels add on. I've watched kids ride with training wheels and they have some serious flaws. Any kind of road unevenness can cause them to suddenly tip over. Ditto if you lean too much to one side. There's a very definite tipping point and once you hit it, it's impossible to correct before you hit the pavement. Presumably you have more self control and common sense than the average 5 year old, but this is the least safe of all your options.

Once you've test ridden a trike and a recumbant you'll be able to decide which you prefer. If you like the recumbant, I wouldn't worry too much about getting an old one that may need work. All moving bike parts wear out over time. As far as I know, all the moving parts on a recumbant are just regular bike parts, the only thing that makes it recumbant is the frame. So if you like an old one and will be able to afford to fix it up over time, that's a viable plan. Even if you bought new, there's no way you'll ride regularly for 20 years without having to replace most of the parts anyway.

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1571
  • Location: High COL
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 01:24:46 PM »
I agree that you need to try out all the options in person. Recumbents are pretty different from uprights, so it is important to actually try one before buying.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1466
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2016, 01:42:07 PM »
How narrow and crowded are the roads you will be riding on? If you are riding on a narrow and/or crowded road, I would be concerned for your safety with either of the tricycle options, assuming those tricycles are pretty wide. Yes cars are supposed to share the road with us bicyclists, but sometimes that doesn't successfully happen.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4725
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 01:42:57 PM »
Tadpole-style (i.e., two wheels in front) recumbent trikes are much cooler than adult tricycles. I know we mustachians aren't supposed to care about our image and whatnot, but c'mon -- an adult tricycle? Nobody wants to be seen on one of those!

More importantly, a tadpole-design trike is much better suited to higher speeds than a delta-design one is. Search Youtube for "reliant robin top gear" for a hilarious graphic depiction of why having one wheel at the front isn't a great idea.

So yeah, I'd definitely go with option C.

Also, I'd even consider buying it new (and this is coming from a guy whose "daily rider" bike is 25 years old and who brags about never spending more than $100 on any of the close-to-a-dozen bikes he's bought in the last decade). I don't yet own a recumbent, and it's almost entirely due to the fact that used ones are almost as expensive as new ones. Because of that crazy lack of depreciation, it might be worth it to buy new.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4725
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 01:54:46 PM »
How narrow and crowded are the roads you will be riding on? If you are riding on a narrow and/or crowded road, I would be concerned for your safety with either of the tricycle options, assuming those tricycles are pretty wide. Yes cars are supposed to share the road with us bicyclists, but sometimes that doesn't successfully happen.

I'd think exactly the opposite: when dealing with traffic, the wider and weirder the better. I would expect the regular bicycle with training wheels to be the least safe of the three options, because the width is not particularly obviously visible.

Which is better between the upright tricycle and a recumbent is harder to decide: the upright tricycle presents the most width and height when viewed from the back, but the recumbent is weirdest. If I'm honest, the upright tricycle probably wins that battle, but I'd still go for a recumbent with a couple of those spiral flags (the kind that spin in the wind) attached to it.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1466
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 04:47:47 PM »
How narrow and crowded are the roads you will be riding on? If you are riding on a narrow and/or crowded road, I would be concerned for your safety with either of the tricycle options, assuming those tricycles are pretty wide. Yes cars are supposed to share the road with us bicyclists, but sometimes that doesn't successfully happen.

I'd think exactly the opposite: when dealing with traffic, the wider and weirder the better. I would expect the regular bicycle with training wheels to be the least safe of the three options, because the width is not particularly obviously visible.

Valid point.

TrMama

  • Guest
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 04:56:30 PM »
How narrow and crowded are the roads you will be riding on? If you are riding on a narrow and/or crowded road, I would be concerned for your safety with either of the tricycle options, assuming those tricycles are pretty wide. Yes cars are supposed to share the road with us bicyclists, but sometimes that doesn't successfully happen.

I'd think exactly the opposite: when dealing with traffic, the wider and weirder the better. I would expect the regular bicycle with training wheels to be the least safe of the three options, because the width is not particularly obviously visible.

Valid point.

Ditto. Plus width isn't relevant as long at you don't try to ride on the very edge of the road. Cars will always give you the room you need if you take the lane as necessary and always, always leave yourself enough room on the right. This is only about riding style and has nothing to do with bike width. I use these techniques when I'm riding my super skinny road bike AND when I'm riding my ancient mountain bike and hauling a trailer full of groceries (which is probably the same width as a recumbant).

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1571
  • Location: High COL
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 06:39:36 PM »
Recumbent bikes are lower and thus much harder to see by car drivers. I am a ride leader/assistant volunteer person for an adaptive sports cycling program. We have many people on recumbent (in all forms) and hand cycles. The sight line is much shorter for those riders and they are below the vision line for cars. Three wheel bikes, of all types, are wider than a regular upright bike.

The recumbents make me extremely nervous in traffic. The riders use those orange flags on the bikes. There can be issues w/ tipping if you have balance problems, particularly on sharp corners. The turning radius is somewhat wider. I can't comment on the recumbent with two front wheels as we don't use those. Many people have difficulty with recumbents because you have to use muscles to elevate your legs. Clip in shoes help w/ this.

No training wheels - we don't use them and as PP noted, they don't work. Why modify an upright bike to basically be a trike when you can just purchase a trike?

Lastly - why do you need a bike at this point in time? If you have to spend $3000 maybe it isn't the right time

Eucalyptus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 370
  • Location: South Australia
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 10:24:08 PM »
Hi CanaDuh

I'm a very experienced Recumbent Trike cycle tourist, having ridden many long distance rides in Australia, and a big trip overseas (from Adelaide, South Australia, to Sweden, via Africa...).

It sounds like a recumbent trike might be for you. Recumbent trike manufacturers often build up trikes for people with various physical disabilities...in fact from what I hear they are often their biggest customers!

Recumbent trikes are insanely comfortable, particularly if you have upper body issues.

They are slower overall than upright diamond frame bicycles. But that doesn't really bother most people. You will be MUCH faster downhill, a little slower on the flats, and much slower uphill.

There's a bit of a muscular learning curve vs upright bikes. The action uses more posterior chain (your hamstrings, glutes) than an upright. Romanian deadlifts are about the best strength exercise to train for that, apart from recumbent riding itself. Ease into it-don't go out and do 100km on your first day on the trike even if you can do way more than that on an upright (I know this from experience!). But it doesn't take long.

Same with handling. At first going down a hill at even 25kph is freaky, 40-50kph downright pants changing territory. But you get used to that fairly quickly. I hit 80kph+ on downhill stretches countless times. Once I went well over 90kph coming down the side of Mt Kenya... I can't tell you the exact number because my cycle computer couldn't keep up past the high 80s, but I felt it go at least a 5kph faster past that. Immense fun!

In terms of folding. There are various models on the market that do this. However I've yet to see one that folds like say a Brompton or Bike Friday Tikit does. The folding takes a couple of minutes or so (eg remove a bolt, etc). Its not the kind of folding you'd want to do a couple of times a day for commuting. But for travelling its fine, eg, folding to get on a plane. You want to be able to do that so you have less issues with airlines.

In terms of "touring". We used Greenspeed folding GT3 frames. I put over 30,000km on mine before I sold it off in Sweden. It will keep going. These are not specifically "touring" frames from Greenspeed, they build far more heavy duty trikes. But. I think for most people they are overkill. They are much heavier and far more expensive and not worth it unless you are deliberately aiming to do months of touring on terrible African dirt roads-which no one I've heard of has done yet. A much better approach is to work on reducing the weight of all your touring gear.

I would get a recumbent with 20inc (406 erto) wheels if possible. We had 16 inch (349), and while these are fine, they are slightly rarer (touring you need to be self suffiecient as you'll never find 406 in most bike shops even in western countries, but you can always use DHL), but more important you get much better ground clearance. Not an issue on good roads. Slight issue going off the road onto the kerb (but you learn to be careful). An issue if you hit unsealed roads. Also, 406 will roll much better, even on bitumen (unless its absolutely perfect tarmac).

When you get it geared up, don't stress about not having a trike with a top gear above about 85-90 gear inches. You are not racing. On hills, with 85 gear inches you'll spin out around 45kph, but usually with the trike you'll keep accelerating anyway and there's little point in being able to add extra power beyond that! If you were to be pedalling going downhill say past 60kph you would just start to induce steering issues, and, touring you'd save yourself like 5 seconds. Much better to have lower gearing and closer gaps between gears.

We didn't but I would recommend a trike that can be fitted with front mudgaurds, unless you do a lot of desert riding.

The main advantage you might consider of a Delta trike rather than a tadpole, is deltas can be easier for some people to get in and out of. Whether that's worth it will depend on your disability.

If you want your trike to last a really long time, and, not have to stress as much about drivetrain maintenance, I would recommend considering a Rohloff rear hub, or better, a Pinion front hub. The pinion has closer gear ratios. Not many manufacturers do Pinion yet but it woudn't be hard to get this as its just a different bottom bracket on the boom. This has the big benefit of removing rear derailleurs from the equation, which is the most vulnerable part of the trike by far. It will also reduce chain wear and tear and dirt accumulation as the chain will run higher off the ground and (literally) hit the ground less often. Pinion wasn't available when we toured to Sweden in 2010-2011. If it was that would have saved us lots of headaches and maintenance time. And though we used economical parts, because we shipped parts on our route, we would have easily come out in front on cost. If I was to buy another recumbent trike it would definitely have a Pinion drivetrain.

The biggest pain with a recumbent for touring, is stealth camping. Depending on your style of touring this may/may not be an issue for you. If you are the kind of person who hotels regularly and camps in paid campsites its not really a problem. But if you stealth camp a lot (pretty common outside of North America or Europe to have to) then recumbent trikes can be a little painful. Why? Well, when you want to stealth camp, you are looking for a spot off the side of the road to camp in that is secluded so that people don't see you go in and don't know you are camping in there overnight. With a diamond frame touring bike, you can spot it, stop for a "rest" on the side of the road, and then when no one is looking (ie break in traffic, no african villagers watching) you can just quickly walk the bike, panniers still attached into your spot. No need to take the panniers off, carry the bike (it will roll through), do a second or third trip back to the road to get all your gear in there. On a trike its impossible to roll or ride it unless it happens to be through a perfect grassy field (out of about 10 months of touring, I reckon I've ridden it into a stealth camp about ten times, all in nice European forests eg in Germany). So you have to stop on side of road, disconnect panniers and gear, and do two-three runs carrying each bit into the spot. Your recumbent trike will probably weigh at least 16kg empty (some can be found or built up lighter, but not by much, and they won't be anywhere near suitable for touring if they are much lighter than about 15kg). With the way that weight is on it (when you are not on it) its very heavy at the back. Pretty awkward load to carry further than a couple of metres. Add in getting over ditches, around vegetation, boggy ground, maybe a stock fence. Not an insurmountable problem, but something to think about. And, actually if you are at all an outgoing person, its not hard to ask people to camp on their properties if you are having trouble, thus allowing you to just use their driveways, etc. Or often they will offer. Recumbent trikes in most places generate a huge amount of positive interest :-)

On Safety: I've been adamantly told/asked/insinuated countless times that recumbents and recumbent trikes are a safety issue on the road with other drivers. This is not the case. I'll deal with some of these points now.
1. Too wide. No. Measure across the width of a recumbent trike. Now measure across the maximum width of a mountain bike with flat handlebars. Include our elbows sticking out in various positions. Basically the same. Width is not an issue. People just percieve it as wider, probably becuase of the two wheels side by side thing.
2. Too low. This is also a fallacy. Yes, a trike is lower than an upright bike. But drivers always see you just fine. Why? Because you aren't stuck in teh bushes on a road! You aren't surrounded within inches by other cars. You are sitting there, on the road, with space around you. The only time they struggle to see you is in traffic jam traffic, when cars are at tailgate, and basically stopped. If you were to be just in between two cars (one frnt, one back), the car behind can totally see you, and they are the only one that matters. Perfectly safe. If you start trying to weave between traffic that is stationary, sure drivers can't see you below their doors, but its pretty easy to not do that!
3. The strangeness of a recumbent trike catches peoples eyes on the road. The "percieved width" (point 1) makes people give you a really wide berth. In every country I've triked in (22), included in some screwed up places for road traffic, I've never had a problem. Even in Nairobi people are patient and go around you nicely! Literally, everywhere, people normally pass you like you like you are a truck. That is, they want until oncoming traffic is clear, and then they go right into the next lane!
4. Mirrors and vision. On a recumbent trike your head is in the perfect position to always be looking around. There is no neck discomfort from looking up. As a result you make far better decisions on the road. Mirrors are very easy to install and use on recumbent trikes. You have a really good idea of what is going on behind you too.
5. As a result I actually think that recumbent trikes, ridden correctly, are far safer in most places than upright bikes! Upright bikes have open disdain against them in some countries (try Melbourne Aus, argggh), or they are so common that drivers only see them in their subconscious (bad) and don't drive around them in safe manner.

Best of luck :-)

Adam

CanaDuh

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 01:46:30 AM »
Hello -

This blew up a bit more than I'd expected! Allow me the pleasure of replying:

@TrMama and @MsPeacock -

I do intend to get my feet (and posterior) onto a couple of the options before I actually purchase one. An issue I face is that the market in Edmonton for these items is very small - the closest dealer that is registered to stock/service even a couple models of recumbent trike is forty five minutes away on a highway, for example. And they don't have much selection. That said, there is a town about an hour and a half away that is home to one of the largest recumbent tricycle dealers on this side of Canada, and I'm planning a weekend trip in the spring that'll get me the 'trike time' I need to make a decision.

Thanks for your input (MsPeacock) from the PoV of a ride leader for the disabled. I already seriously doubted the usefulness of those fatwheels, and their stability. As far as the recumbent trike (and it would be a trike, the recumbent bike doesn't solve my balance issues vs a traditional upright, I need that third wheel) goes, they're stable as all get out. I'm a little scared - as anyone would be - of being sub-bumper level, but I'm more scared of never getting wheels and using that fear as justification. If I -get- the trike, the right one at least, I know it'll be life-altering. Regarding the price tag, it's the nature of the beast. There -are- cheaper options even within the recumbent trike world, but many of them don't suit my long term goals, and I'd rather pay 3k now than get something at half the rate, only to need an 'upgrade' to get what I wanted in the first place.

As for why I need a bike/trike right now - I'm tired of being restricted by my mobility issues. I have cerebral palsy, and walk with a forearm crutch and it puts limits on how far, and how fast I can go places. I do my best, but those wheels, whichever they end up being, will let me do better.

@Miss Piggy -

Hard to say, but the goal - ultimately, anyway - is to tour north america on a trike, so.. all of them? For now, I'd be on city roads in Edmonton, and there's a growing bike culture here. At the very least, there are quite a few 'shared pathways' meant for both bikes and pedestrians in my neighbourhood and near the farmer's market I like to frequent. The simple fact of the matter is, I'll never be on a speedy bike - the recumbent trike is my 'fastest' option - so however I get out there, I'm gonna have to hope not to get run over - just like every other cyclist.

@Jack -

The adult trike only even comes onto the list because of economical concerns - I can get one without even tapping my savings if I accept the loss of one month's contribution. I don't like them, they're slow and bulky, and I don't feel they'd let me go much farther than my feet - but the fact remains that it would let me go a -little- farther, and a -little- faster, and so it had to be considered. Same as the training wheels (ahem, fatwheels..) - they're not an ideal option, but they -exist- and thus were worth some level of consideration. It's no secret that I'm biased towards the recumbent tricycle, but I came here for advice. Perhaps someone with experience with the training wheels or an upright trike had something to say that'd enlighten me past my bias, and I'd be remiss not to consider it.

Regarding visibility, I've heard much the same - the uniqueness of the recumbent trike works to protect riders on the road.

@Eucalyptus -

Woah, thanks! A ton of useful information here.

The model that has my eye right now (and, being honest, my heart) is the HP Velotechnik Gekko - it's designed for touring, but folds very small. It feels like it'd be the perfect trike for me, though I still need to get on one and see. Azub also offers a terrific folding trike well suited to touring, and there are a couple other offerings out there too - though, I confess, I'll be driven to tears if I sit on the Gekko and don't hear a choir sing.

As far as  the Rohloff rear hub goes, I'd looked at that quite hard, but I'm not sure I could justify the cost on top of the already expensive vehicle. The limiting gear ranges would probably vex me, and being unable to do any maintenance if it -did- need it while I was touring somewhere remote would probably lead to angry screaming at the sky. I can get on and off the ground with little issue, though with even less grace - so a delta doesn't appeal to me. As for stealth camping, it's another reason I want a trike designed to fold efficiently. The Gekko would easily rest beside/behind even a small tent - and if they've seen my tent, the trike isn't going to give me away, hah.

Thanks for your input on trike safety - though the reassurance is almost constant from 'bent riders all over the internet, hearing it one more time will never hurt.

Regards,

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2455
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 07:11:24 AM »
My wife has a folding recumbent trike made in Germany.  She has put over 7,000 miles on it and it is still in great shape (actually has never been serviced except new 20" tires).  The bike was around $4500 though...ouch.

She loves riding it though and commuted to work with it (15 miles each way) occasionally before we retired.  Traffic was not a problem but I did make her a 1 watt strobe LED flag for evening and early morning riding.

Emg03063

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 02:22:07 PM »
Recumbent trikes are awesome, but buying something you won't fully utilize for 15 years or so isn't mustachian.  Buy the bike you need for now (option A).  Sell when it's time to upgrade.

CanaDuh

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2016, 11:02:03 AM »
Recumbent trikes are awesome, but buying something you won't fully utilize for 15 years or so isn't mustachian.  Buy the bike you need for now (option A).  Sell when it's time to upgrade.

Hello, Emg03063 -

The key here would be on the emphasis 'fully' - it's true that I don't intend to tour for many years, as I'd prefer to do so once at or very close to my FI, but using the trike daily to commute to/from work or the grocery store or otherwise around the city is totally viable. With maintenance and care, a trike purchased now will still be carrying me around in two decades, so the time horizon isn't really an issue - in fact, buying in sooner would probably make the high initial cost easier to swallow.

Regards,

FLBiker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1663
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Canada
    • Chop Wood Carry FIRE
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2016, 12:16:48 PM »
Personally, I'd try out some options and buy something relatively cheap to start out with, then upgrade if you need to once you know your needs / wants a bit better.  I've been a bike commuter for 10 years or so, and I've done a few month long tours in pretty mountainous areas, and I've always used an entry level aluminum mountain bike (not big box, but like the cheapest from a bike shop - ~$250-300).  I might get a nicer bike one day, but my current one (8 year old Gary Fisher Mako) is still going strong.  I guess my point is just don't feel like you need to make your "forever" bike purchase right out of the gate.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4725
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Bicycle vs Tricycle vs Recumbent Trike - Advice Desired
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2016, 01:33:13 PM »
Recumbent trikes are awesome, but buying something you won't fully utilize for 15 years or so isn't mustachian.  Buy the bike you need for now (option A).  Sell when it's time to upgrade.

Hello, Emg03063 -

The key here would be on the emphasis 'fully' - it's true that I don't intend to tour for many years, as I'd prefer to do so once at or very close to my FI, but using the trike daily to commute to/from work or the grocery store or otherwise around the city is totally viable. With maintenance and care, a trike purchased now will still be carrying me around in two decades, so the time horizon isn't really an issue - in fact, buying in sooner would probably make the high initial cost easier to swallow.

Regards,

His point is that unless buying the bike will decrease your transportation costs now (i.e., cause you to spend less -- or zero -- money on public transit), it's smarter to forego buying a bike of any kind right now and instead invest the money you would spend. Then you can buy the thing 15 years in the future, when you actually need it.

For example, let's assume that a recumbent trike costs $3000 and that a reasonable payback period is 7 years (at the most). Neglecting interest, the bike needs to reduce your transit costs by about $36/month to be worth it.