Purchasing items directly from European stores and companies is routine for me, even basic things like inner tubes. Everything is of excellent quality and arrives quickly, sometimes even faster than Amazon’s free non-Prime shipping. China, however, is a mixed bag.
I have ordered a few low-cost items from China via eBay and delivery can vary from 10 days to 2 months. Product quality varies, too. Fortunately, I have always received a full refund or replacement when quality has fallen short. All things considered, however, it was with a little trepidation that I contemplated spending over $2,000 buying a trike directly from China.
TrikExplor sells their trikes via Alibaba and Aliexpress (and TrikExplor USA now has a website that accepts orders). Aliexpress is consumer-friendly – there’s no fee for paying with a credit card if orders are not shipped on time they are automatically canceled and refunded.
After reading TrikExplor customer reviews on Aliexpress and Alibaba and following multiple email exchanges with Lisa at TrikExplor, I decided to purchase an M320. My emails with Lisa taught me that I would need to be patient. First, there is a 12 hour time difference between Michigan and China. Next day responses are the norm. Second, I never learned to speak or write Mandarin, and while Lisa’s English is good, sometimes clarification is required.
Patience in mind, I set up an Aliexpress account, placed my order, and paid. Aliexpress reported they were unable to process my payment. I called my credit card issuer, who contacted Verified by Visa, who contacted Aliexpress and in a few minutes I was told to try again. Presto, trike ordered October 11, 2019.
Since I wanted a red and white trike production would take 30 days, with delivery by Fedex adding another 5-7 days.
Delivery by FedEx was one thing that encouraged me to make the purchase. They clear items through customs electronically before they even reach our shores, and if there is an exception, you do not need to engage a separate broker.
FedEx picked up my M320 from TrikExplor on Monday, took it to Beijing, flew it to Michigan with brief stops in Korea, Alaska and Indiana, and their driver kindly offered to put the big box in my garage instead of on my doorstep. This took 4 days. On Friday, November 29 I began the process of unwrapping.
Unwrapping the trike took over an hour because TrikExplor did a fantastic job of packing it. The heavy-duty cardboard box was stapled and strapped, then wrapped in an outer cover of plastic. Inside, the folded trike frame is wrapped separately from the wheels, seats, and accessories, with copious amounts of plastic, foam, and tape used throughout. It would take a direct hit from a forklift to cause any damage, and there was none. Azub and Steintrikes could learn from TrikExplor.
Next, it’s time to turn an array of pieces into a trike. Not just an original equipment trike, but a trike outfitted per my standards and preferences. Stay tuned for Part III for first impressions and modifications.
Triking since 1997.