What's it like to order a recumbent trike, but not just any recumbent trike, a HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS 26 pedelec over the internet, untested and unseen??? Find out below!
First of all, I definitely don't want to recommend to anyone the idea of buying a recumbent trike without trying one (or hopefully more than one) right off the internet or over the phone. It's entirely different from riding a bicycle, from the ergonomics, to the simple things like turning and even getting on and off of one. I myself tried the "top" model from several brands and surprisingly settled on the one that I was originally most interested in, only from internet research, the HP Velotechnick Scorpion FS 26 pedelec. Something about it just felt like it fit me better than any other.
Unfortunately for me, there is a limited selection of recumbent trikes in MA. The nearest HP Velotechnik dealer was over 100 miles away, and actually wasn't even in business anymore, making the next one almost 150 miles away. While on a business trip, I was able to swing by a dealer in another state and try a few the models out. I fell in love but unfortunately they only had a non-electric one.
I contacted HP Velotechnik at this point and they said to just order it from one of two dealers online in the Midwest. I ended up buying mine from Hostel Shoppe. They fortunately had one in stock, but not quite what I wanted in terms of configuration. I was able to communicate over phone and email exactly all the changes I wanted and was sent quotes on all my options. Unfortunately for me, some of the parts I wanted were out of stuck and getting stuff from Germany takes weeks! Well nearly a month and a half after ordering a truck showed up in my driveway and dropped off a nearly 8 ft long pallet with a giant box on it.
The recumbent trike was pretty much 100% intact except I needed to install the Terracycle WINTR fairing onto the already-assembled hardware. This was just 4 hand-tightened knurled screws. Didn't even need a tool! Great. Some places will ship the recumbent trike to you folded up and you need to put it all back together but in my case, I didn't need to. It was ready to roll, if not for the typical winter weather in Boston.
Fast forward another weekend and somehow it's mid January and 60s in Boston. GREAT!
I didn't exactly have a route planned out but I knew I wanted to stay close to home in case anything went wrong. Things can always go wrong. Completely new recumbent trike, new shoes, new pants, all unfamiliar. It's not until you get some miles until you can really start figuring out how to adjust the trike to fit. For me, the boom arm needed to be adjusted, I was over-extending my foot. Good thing I have a quick release to adjust the boom! Highly recommended. After that, I adjusted the seat angle so that I could be a bit more upright. I also took this opportunity to adjust the headrest. Another highly recommend accessory. It doesn't interfere with my helmet and makes it so comfortable to just lay back. Then I adjusted the fairing so that it could come up higher, be less far forward, and curve over my feet. Adjusting the fairing is tricky, because it has a formed shape, with two mounting points. After a few miles, my feet were killing me. The shoes I bought were a little bit snug and I'm guessing it was maybe too snug. Definitely returning those and getting new ones. After I got home, I quickly realized how glad I was that I got front and rear fenders. Even on slightly wet roads, no rain, lots of yucky stuff got all over the frame. My setup was mainly using quick release levers which was awesome. I made all my adjustments in a parking lot at the halfway point. The only thing I needed an allen wrench for was the fairing hardware.
When I got home, I felt well-rested. Only my feet hurt! My butt didn't hurt like it usually does from an upright bike. While on the ride, I got really nervous when I was riding along and saw some big dips for rainwater grates/sewer covers but I ended up feeling like I just floated over them. I really didn't feel much of any bumps. The suspension is awesome!
Looking forward to putting on some more miles.
Photos to follow of the delivery, and of the recumbent trike!