An aquaintance of mine, buys the absolute cheapest bikes he can find for commutes to the university and back. This got me thinking along the lines of "you know you have a beater bike when..." A couple examples.
You know you have a beater bike when:
The stem-mounted friction shifters break off the stem due to rust.
Indexed shifting? Nope. I have indexed *steering* due to bearing pitting.
The corking on the handlebars has long since rotted away, replaced by duct tape.
The frame of the bike is either some steel alloy... or was just shipped as rust pressed into a form of a tube.