Well... as much as I love my Mach 1, it is a HEAVY HEAVY wheel. Yes, I know, it has wheels, but really! You have to lift it in and out of the car, and heaven forbid it should be raining/snowing/sleeting/going upstairs to Nina's place, you're gonna have to carry into wherever it is you're going.
So I bought a new wheel. It is a Fidelis from Heavenly Handspinning. It's a single treadle made from the wheel of a bicycle! Now, I've heard both bad and good things about the Heavenly Handspinning wheel, but the weight and price sold me. After all, it couldn't be any worse than the Hitchhiker. ^_^;;
The Good: It is light, fast, and cheap. The bobbins are DIRT CHEAP. I got 3 of them for $25 and it also comes with 3. It's very easy to assemble and the packaging it was shipped in kept it very safe. It's also cute and it's better looking than the PVC wheels out there. You can also customize it by staining it however you prefer.
The Bad: It's not like any other wheel I've ever spun on before and it takes a bit of getting used to. The bobbin spins and the flier stays still. Now you're probably thinking "Well... how different can that be?". Very. It takes a bit of experimentation to figure out how to spin on it. I found that I do long draw very well on it.
The bobbins are kinda.... cheap. Both to the touch and sight. They look like a fine plywood and are a bit rough.
The noise... Well, generally, it's fairly quiet. However, if the bobbin gets too close to the orifice, it does make a click, click, click noise slightly louder than keyboard strokes (at least my keyboard!). It's still a much quieter wheel than the Hitchhiker's direct drive.
Is it worth it? I think it is. Some people find that you need to push hard on the treadle to get it to spin. I don't find that to be true. I use very little tension and it sucks up the fiber fairly quickly with not much effort on the treadling. And it takes less concentration and effort in the treadling than the Hitchhiker. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it as a first wheel, but if you're on a tight budget, it's a fairly decent wheel. I'd love to try out a double treadle one. XD
My friends are talking about getting me those little doodads that you used to stick on your bicycle spokes when you were 7. You know... they make a cute clink clink clink as your bicycle wheel turns. Does anyone remember those? I think they should get me a reflector. Hmm.. maybe a bike chain. I could chain up my wheel when I go to the ladies room. Oh the humor possibilities! XD