Author Topic: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?  (Read 7904 times)

liquidbanana

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Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« on: September 08, 2012, 11:00:09 PM »
http://www.wildfiremotors.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=3960&category_id=26&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=75

It's a motorcycle, but like...with a car built around it. I have a five year old, so it would work better than trying to bike everywhere with him (like to drop him off at karate class or go to the grocery store). We just moved to a town built on the side of a mountain with super curvy, narrow roads with cliffs instead of shoulders...so like...I don't know if I will ever be comfortable biking around here with a kid in tow.

Anyway, this would be cheap to drive...I think...but I don't know. Any opinions, oh wise mustachians?



Tradies wife

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 11:35:54 PM »
Here are my thoughts.

I've seen these things on a UK TV show called "Top Gear". They bagged the Cr*p out of them, and showed how unstable they were. I looked on horrified and thought "What were they thinking, those things go around even a small corner and they roll."

Another thought. $7995 could probably get you and your son a happy (and more stable) 4 wheel car, and you would probably have change. Try one suggested my US MMM people. But over here in Australia that money could buy you a;

2001 model Ford Lazer (I loved, loved my car.... but someone crashed into me, and it was a right off. But very sturdy, great fuel economy. My kids were 4 and 2 at the time, and in car restraints. They were safe and didn't have a scratch. I was hurt for weeks (muscular only thank heavens), and both cars were written off. Unfortunately I took the opportunity to update and spent a bit more on a later model Mazda. Anyway, these are also badged as Mazda 3's. I couldn't praise this car more. Big boot, ran on a oily rag.... handy.

Small Toyota's, are also excellent! Why not check them out. They have a great track record of being reliable safe cars, and fuel efficient over here.

That is all my thoughts on the matter. Hopefully a few more people will chime in to help you with advice.

Flynlow

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 05:47:53 AM »
I would say bad purchase.  First, it's new, AND its an unknown brand.  I worked in the automotive industry for several years, and have never heard of Snyder.  Usually this means the depreciation will be horrific (50% or more in the first year or two), reliability is a question mark, and support for maintenance or repair is spotty at best.  If you're a car person, that's no big deal, I drove an old Datsun hatchback in college and the ONLY way to get parts for it was either used off ebay or a single supplier in Minnesota that had a limited supply of New Old Stock (NOS) parts.  But if you rely on the car to get you and a child around safely and reliably, it can be a major inconvience waiting a week or more for parts or someone to help you.  Another question is safety, I expect this is an exceedingly low-value car, sold in countries like China or India usually, and imported to the US as a "motorcycle", rather than a car.  This means it is usually NOT tested by the NHSTA, DOT, IIHS for crashworthiness.  And as a motorcycle, it has none.  Trust me.

For it's $8K purchase price, you could easily purchase a secondhand Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Mazda 3, or other equivalent sedan or hatchback.  I believe a number of Scions are in the price range these days as well.  All of these should be reliable, comfortable, and have great dealer network support (as well as private shops if you prefer to avoid dealer repair rates). 

Do you have much motorcycle experience?  You will probably need a motorcycle endorsement on your license and motorcycle insurance to operate one of these, and the driving dynamics are VERY different than a car.  As was mentioned in the previous post, there is a great Top Gear (one of my favorite shows!) clip on the instability of 3 wheelers with a single front wheel, search "Top Gear Reliant Robin".  You want the episode where they drive it, not turn it into a space shuttle, though that is an excellent episode as well.  While the show is meant to be humorous, it does raise valid points. 

I would strongly, strongly recommend against buying one of these.  I don't think it offers any advantage over a used car in good condition. 

Posthumane

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 09:04:37 AM »
Thirded - do not buy this car. Apart from the fact that it is an unstalbe delta-configured three wheeler, it doesn't offer any advantages over a small 4 cyl hatchback such as a civic, yaris, etc. For that price you can get a used car with probably not more that 100k miles, which would have lots of life left in it, plenty of mechanical/parts support, and decent resale value.

While this car is a cross between a bike and a car in a sense, it actually gives you the worst of both worlds. It is powered by a 600cc 2 cyl which will likely need a complete overhaul in far less than 100k miles, a top speed of 55mph, and 60mpg at 50mph can be matched by any small 4 cyl car. This doesn't have the maneuverability or small profile of a motorcycle, nor does it have the active/passive safety features of modern cars. 

James

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 10:21:17 AM »
Everything I would say has been covered, I'll just throw my vote in as a bad purchase.

I would love a tiny electric or gas vehicle with two front wheels and one in back, but not this.

Jamesqf

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2012, 01:01:57 PM »
I've seen these things on a UK TV show called "Top Gear". They bagged the Cr*p out of them, and showed how unstable they were. I looked on horrified and thought "What were they thinking, those things go around even a small corner and they roll."

This is not a valid criticism, as "Top Gear" is notorious for a) not approving of anything but a few conventional high-performance cars; and b) lying/faking scenes to trash anything they don't like - see for instance the incident where they faked a Tesla's running out of battery charge.

As for the instability questions, a) tadpole (two wheels in front) is much different than delta (two wheels in rear); and b) if it's so bloody unstable, why do almost all aircraft, from airliners to high-performance fighter jets to the space shuttle, use tricycle landing gear?

I agree that it's probably not suited to the OP.  New stuff is for early adopters with money & time to spare.

Flynlow

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2012, 01:17:25 PM »

This is not a valid criticism, as "Top Gear" is notorious for a) not approving of anything but a few conventional high-performance cars; and b) lying/faking scenes to trash anything they don't like - see for instance the incident where they faked a Tesla's running out of battery charge.

As for the instability questions, a) tadpole (two wheels in front) is much different than delta (two wheels in rear); and b) if it's so bloody unstable, why do almost all aircraft, from airliners to high-performance fighter jets to the space shuttle, use tricycle landing gear?

I agree that it's probably not suited to the OP.  New stuff is for early adopters with money & time to spare.

Top Gear is an entertainment show first, and informational second.  That doesn't mean they don't make good points.  The Tesla debacle was them trying to illustrate a downside of pure electric cars: limited range.  That's a valid concern whether their test vehicle ran out of juice or not.  They also hate American cars on principle, and think Americans are all fat, lazy, cheese lovers.  It's an entertainment show, taking everything they say as gospel is as silly as taking all TV as gospel.

You're correct on the second point, a three-wheeler with two wheels in the front (Can-Am, Morgan, etc.) is very stable.  That's not the vehicle being discussed here. 

And to your last point, nonsense.  Aircraft use it because they taxi at minimal speed, and their time on the ground is spent moving slowly on a perfectly flat surface.  All of their high speed movement for take off and landing is done in a straight line.  An aircraft trying to take a corner quickly would be subject to all the instability we've already discussed. 

Posthumane

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Re: Would this vehicle be a good or bad purchase?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2012, 03:54:07 PM »
I agree that it's probably not suited to the OP.  New stuff is for early adopters with money & time to spare.
A delta configured three wheeled car is hardly a new concept. It is not suitable because it is a poor design for a road vehicle meant to take corners with any sort of speed. You mentioned yourself that a Tadpole configuration is superior since it is less likely to tip over. There is a reason that delta configured cars are generally not made, although they have been tried numerous times and have proven their lack of stability for road use.

Although Flynlow already responded to your last point about aircraft with the fact that they taxi at low speeds and don't really corner quickly, I'll expand on that by adding that aircraft have fairly different stability requirements than cars. An aircraft must flare to land, and generally should touch down on its "main" wheels, those being the pair that support most of the weight of the aircraft. The additional wheel (nose wheel in tricycle gear and tailwheel in conventional gear) is generally much smaller and weaker, and not meant to support landing loads. If you have the main wheels in front of the CofG you end up having a transient condition with the tail in the air, main wheels on the ground, and CofG trying to come around in front of them. Having the main wheels behind the CofG helps lateral stability when there is no or little grip on the steering wheel at a cost of reduced roll stability, which is not an issue in an aircraft since they have separate roll control. In a car the lateral stability issue is taken care of by putting the CofG roughly equidistant between the front and rear wheels, which is not feasible in an aircraft.

Anyway, sorry for getting off topic.