Working at a university, we might have a couple of thousand bikes on campus at any time. I've been seeing some odd off-brand numbers lately, mostly of Asian manufacture. There are a couple of aluminum-framed folding commuter jobs, copies of standard designs from Europe. They appear to be of decent quality.
Also a number of cheap, flashy-looking roadsters. These tend to have wild paint jobs and anodized-in-color rims, frequently matching the frame paint. Low-end Shimano components, bolt-on wheels, that sort of thing.
Saw one yesterday that sported a "GMC" brand. A fairly nice-looking roadster, till you got close. Semi-aero rims, aero brake levers, and gripshifters! Yes, they had somehow gotten a pair of Shimano twist-shifters onto the top section of a standard drop bar. Unusual. Frame was all aluminum, but most likely a poor alloy, the dropouts looked to be about 1/4" thick.
No doubt the rapidly-expanding industrial power of China will continue to look for products to sell, and they have a huge bike industry.
Hehe- looked it up...available at walmart:http://i.walmart.com/i/p/00/01/67/51...06_500X500.jpg
I think its about as good as your typical x-mart "mountain" bike.
yeah, wally world caught on with the whole TDF hoopla, and decided to start selling roadies again.
I can imagine how bad it will piss off a bike shop to have to replace those twist shifters....maybe the drops are flush-bolted on to a flat bar? I am kinda interested in hearing what someone has to say about these though, or showing soe close-up photos of it's various parts, so we can critique the hell out of it.
I recently saw bikes just like this at my local Target department store. It shocked me that a store like this was selling road bikes. The quality was very low and it should be an adventure to replace parts on these nice-looking but poor quality beasts.
The drop-bars are made in three pieces. The flat part of the bar is kind of flanged, and the shifters fit on the flat part, then the drops are shoved into the ends of the flat bar. I think they may have an allen-head set-screw that holds the drop ends into the flat bar, but I don't know for sure. The guy I was talking to who had put the demo model together seemed to indicate that the drops simply shoved into the flat bar.
I know I wouldn't trust to be down in the drops if I knew the drops were a shoved-in, bolted-on afterthought. I'd vastly prefer my handlebars to be one continuous piece of tubing, thanks.