Terratrike Rover…

Terratrike Rover after the break…

Terratrike Rover…

I’ve never been much of a cyclist because, quite honestly, I’ve never really lived someplace that’s cycling-friendly. Sure, when you’re young, you fundamentally have two options: Walking and cycling. Skateboards and rollerblades don’t count because, honestly, you can’t get far with them unless you’re “That Good” or “That Desperate.” So, unless you wanted to take the time, you rode a bicycle.

Bicycles suck – You need balance, cars are zipping by you at what feels like Mach 50, hills are a pain in the @$$ to climb unless you’re one of those Tour de France wannabes… Then there’s the gloves and the helmet and the water bottle… Gosh forbid you actually get a flat… And, finally, of course, you’ve got to have the stamina to actually get there.

If you’re a male, though, then you’ve got to contend with one more problem with cycling – The bicycle seat, which always feels like it was made to violate the Geneva Conventions. Depending on which hysterical doctor you listen to, the bicycle seat makes you impotent by just staring at it or there’s not enough evidence yet to determine if the bicycle seat makes you impotent or simply maims your genitalia.

Factor all of these wonderful circumstances in and this is the reason why I leave the house with car keys rather then a bicycle helmet.

Of course, I hate cars because, quite frankly, these things are the erector sets of sadomasochists. There’s a bajillion screws, bolts, panels, tubes, wires… Wanna replace something that you can’t see by just popping open the hood? Then say good-bye to your afternoon (and early evening) as you have to remove eighteen parts to get to the one part that you have to replace… And hope against hope that those eighteen parts can come loose as easily as the day that it was installed in the factory. Odds are, it won’t. Enjoy being driven to work for the next three days until you finally break down, cry, and get a garage to do the work for you at a hefty fee.

Then, of course, there are the multitude of costs and fees associated with a car. Getting a driver’s license, getting the car registered, license plates, emissions testing, gasoline, oil… Driving a car costs as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day but at least cigarettes calm you down.

So, when I heard about the world of recumbent tricycles, I thought that my plight had been saved. I don’t have to deal with the nut-crushing wonder that is the bicycle seat; I don’t have to deal with the infinite complexity and cost of an automobile… Wow. A happy medium towards going places.

Then, of course, there’s the price.

Recumbent tricycles, for anyone who hasn’t bothered looking on the internet for more then a moment, are by no means cheap.

A decent bicycle at a cheapo price might set you back anywhere from $100 to $200 dollars. A decent recumbent tricycle at a cheapo price? Let’s start at $1,000 and work our way up. Yes, $1,000 is cheap in this world.

So, partaking in the world of recumbent tricycles has always been a bit of unhealthy window-shopping for me. The tricycle that I need to navigate the somewhat mountainous terrain (OK… Mountainous for me) that I live in has always been somewhat out of reach… Until now.

Terratrike (regarded as one of the main recumbent tricycle makers) recently brought forth the Rover, a $799 recumbent tricycle. Well, that’s not entirely true – $799 gives you the 3-gear “Grandma lives in the flattest part of  Florida” version while an extra $200 dollars gives you an 8-gear version which might help you survive slightly hillier terrain. $799 is absurdly cheap for a new recumbent tricycle, for those who know not much of the industry. Imagine a new car selling for… Oh, I don’t know… $8,000 dollars. New. On the lot. Ready to be driven away. The comparison isn’t seamless but it’s good enough to get you to where you need to go.

Anyway, I was a little put off that the 8-gear version was $999 but was close enough to within my financial reach where I had actually considered purchasing it… Until now.

The suckers are sold out until mid-June. Naturally. And since their “Introductory pricing” probably won’t last too much longer, I’m sure that it won’t be long until I see that the prices have been bumped up to $1199 or the such.

Oh well…

3 Responses to “Terratrike Rover…”

  1. Shawn L. Says:

    I suspect that the term “Introductory Pricing” may not necessarily mean that it will go up in the near future.

    One of their stated goals in designing the Rover was to make a much cheaper trike, with a target price of $500. Obviously, they didn’t get that cheap. But it’s that stated goal that leads me to believe that they will try to hold the price where it is for as long as they can.

    The fact that they are selling them as fast as they can make them is a good sign. Hopefully the economies of scale will help with that.

    Also, the design was meant to reduce shipping costs. When the manufactured parts are shipped they take up far less space than traditional trike frames, making shipping from the factory to Terratrike HQ, and to dealers is a far less costly prospect. So if/when fuel costs go up, the related increases in shipping the Rover will not be as great as it would be for other trike frames.

    (Note that these shipping savings are purely at the supplier / dealer level, if you buy direct from TerraTrike, they ship a fully assembled trike to you, so I’m merely talking in terms of overhead for TT and dealers)

    So I’d expect the price to hold for now, and maybe even go down if sales continue to be brisk, and make greater economies of scale possible.

  2. Lutonaut Says:

    Thank you for reading my blog.

    Having followed the product since it debuted, I agree with your post. For now, I’m still vying to purchase the product although my enthusiasm has admittedly dulled just a bit since I first wrote about it. I am hoping that their first production run situations (such as the stiff steering “out of the box”) are resolved in later runs when it is financially feasible (at least, for me) to purchase.

  3. Shawn L. Says:

    Having received my Rover two weeks ago, I can safely say that any “stiff steering” issues have been resolved.

    On the Terratrike forums I’ve read about this stiff steering problem, and it’s an easy fix anyway. (just loosen, then retighten two bolts on the handlebars without sitting in the seat, and it’s fixed)

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