What are people's experiences with adapted bikes and how would you rate them?
As a volunteer for BikeAbility Wales I get the chance to work on and ride a variety of cycles; recumbents, trikes, hand-cycles , wheel chair bikes and so on. Personally, I find the quality of the bikes appalling where the lowest of the low end groupset parts are used on bikes in excess of 3k. These bikes are also delivered with numerous tolerance issues. In one instance, a "repeatable'" manufacturer responded to our issue of a wheelchair bike pulling to one side under braking and told us to basically oil the rotor. PURPOSELY contaminating the pads is ludicrous.
We've had it all. Warped frames, ridiculously dished wheels, obsolete parts and I could go on. A lot of these bikes are imports and we have no viable means of getting warranty support. The one thing that goes for these bikes is the thought behind them. People enjoy riding them and anything that gets someone active and allows them to participate in the sport is an achievement in my eyes.
This got me thinking, why are there no British engineering firms making adapted cycles? The demand is definitely 100% there. Hopefully I'll be starting a mech engineering course in September and the perfect outcome would be to understand more of the design process and what it would take to design, fabricate and build these types of bike to the standards of our conventional mountain bike and road bikes. It genuinely baffles me when these bikes are priced so highly. Simple box section aluminium tubing with pathetic welds gives an excuse of a frame and I'm there thinking "Where's my hope hubs and Chris King headsets in amongst all this cheap ****"
Would it be worthwhile setting a long term goal to open up a business producing these bikes?
I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences. At the end of the day, It's all about getting people out riding!