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Old 07-17-03, 02:38 PM   #1
Kayle
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What bikes do they ride in China?

Hello, all. I'm kinda new to this forum...

Anyways, I stumbled apon an a really long thread with the subject heading "What is wrong with Wal Mart bikes?" and in this thread, Inoplanetyanin stated that some people around the world didn't even have enough money to buy cheap bikes from WalMart that most people regard as crap.

So then I wondered, what kind of bikes do they ride in China? There's over a billion people there, most of them who ride. And the country's almost third world, too. So how do they get their bikes?

Do Huffy or Roadmaster make cheap bikes there?

Do they hand down their bikes from generation to generation?

Do they build their own bikes?

Do LBS's there make bikes themselves?

Do they have people that make bikes as a trade?

Do they spend most of their life's savings on nice, imported bikes like Trek?

Anyone know or have any ideas? Are there any big-name Chinese bicycle manufacturers in China?

Please note that I'm not talking about the big cities like Shanghai or Hong Kong.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 07-17-03, 02:50 PM   #2
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I don't know, but googling "bicycles in china" led to a number of interesting hits. Fascinating topic.

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Old 07-17-03, 03:00 PM   #3
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The Chinese still make those old 1 and 3-speed English-style roadsters (the ones with stirrup brakes), as well as all those department-store bikes we get here.
There was a story in the New York Times a few months back about the state of cycling in China. It seems that those old, heavy roadsters are losing popularity, while the cheap bikes are gaining. At the same time, the cities are becoming less cycling-friendly, and where most people cherished bikes in days gone by, most young adults move up to a motor scooter fairly qickly, leaving the bicycle as strictly a short-distance conveyance. There was mention of a train station where hundreds of people ride their bikes, park them, then abandone them. The stationmaster lamented that these newer bikes just weren't made to last.
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Old 07-17-03, 03:05 PM   #4
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My knowledge of the bike market in China came from watching the movie Bicycle Bejing (spelling). I did NOT see one Roadmaster, Huffy's, Magna or Pacific in the entire movie. The bikes appeared to be single speed cruisers that were step through. Some of the bikes had lights but almost all had fenders. Many of the bikes had a rack or a basket in the front. It looked to me that many of these bikes were passed on from generation to generation.

Very rarely would you find anyone riding a good bycycle with gears. A good bycycle by their standards would be an Pacific with fenders. I imagine a bike of this quality would cost a small fortune or about a months pay.

Overall. The Chinese bikes are just as good as any Huffy or Pacific you'll find in Toys R US. Seriously. The quality of toy store bikes is not much better and you're basically getting a beach cruiser even though it's sold with 27 speeds.

From a commuter stand point, you're worse off buying a Huffy since it doesn't come with fenders, rear rack or Dynamo lighting like the Chinese junkers have.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 07-17-03 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 07-17-03, 03:22 PM   #5
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so there are no road cyclists or MTBers in china? what a shame! someone should go there and help them... I think Hong Kong would be a good starting point
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Old 07-17-03, 03:38 PM   #6
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deliriou5 your comment is extremely patronising. Of course the chinese have road-bikes and MTBs, its just the general population ride roadsters.
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Old 07-17-03, 04:10 PM   #7
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Where's MIKE, who travels to China on a regular basis, when you need his input?
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Old 07-17-03, 04:14 PM   #8
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I think we're referring to the general population, not as much the exceptions who go out and get the higher end, more expensive road and mountain bikes.

I haven't been to China (yet)- not to the mainland, but I have been to Hong Kong (after British gave it back). I've also been to Vietnam, where it seems like it's all bikes and motorcycles, rickshaws and motor scooters.

I can't recall seeing a lot of high end bikes- I did see the occasional cyclist in full riding gear on some spiffy looking bikes, but generally, the bikes I saw were those roadsters that Dave was talking about. I think some of the youngsters and teens had some higher quality no-name mountain bikes they were doing some curb hopping and stuff with, but again, not a lot of Lemonds or Schwinn, or Treks or bikes of this kind of caliber.

When I get to China, I'll post and let people know.
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Old 07-17-03, 07:20 PM   #9
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When I was working in Afghanistan, we had three Chinese bikes as part of our transportation fleet. Unfortunately, we expats were not allowed to ride them, but I did take one for a spin in Pakistan. These babies are heavy and a little difficult to ride. However, I did have this idea to buy one (about $35.00 USD) and ride in down the Karakoram highway, now that would have been a bike trip! I did take the trip up the Karakoram highway, but on a bus and I kept looking down at the Indus River thinking, now that would be a great white water kayak trip! And I am certain I would be dead if I attempted either trip.
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Old 07-17-03, 10:04 PM   #10
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>>>>I did have this idea to buy one (about $35.00 USD) and ride in down the Karakoram highway, now that would have been a bike trip!<<<<<

Is there somthing dangerous about traveling by bicycle on the Karakoram highway? Is the surface too rough or the drivers too careless?
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Old 07-17-03, 10:26 PM   #11
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If you had the right bike (not a Chinese one) and if you like to dodge traffic, it can be done and it is an amazing, mind-bending place! I believe there is even a guidebook out on this hwy, and it is/was cycled as part of a back exit from China. I was in the region (Afgahnistan/Pakistan) for 9 months and I was very ill at that point and not prepared for any cycling trip. I would love to hear from anyone who has cycled this region, as it is truly amazing. It is too bad that this region is no longer a safe place for western folk.
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Old 07-18-03, 06:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Portent
deliriou5 your comment is extremely patronising. Of course the chinese have road-bikes and MTBs, its just the general population ride roadsters.
you know, I didn't mean to be... it's really ignorance...

I have NEVER seen China-born Chinese on MTBs or road bikes....

And I myself am a Korean American and I know for a fact that cycling is pretty uncommon even among asian AMERICANS.

If you could direct me to a site on recreational/racing cycling in China, that would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-18-03, 04:10 PM   #13
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When I was in Kenya and Tanzania last year I saw a lot of those old black single speed Roadster type bikes (like what we used to have in Ireland when I was growing up). I found out that most of them are made in China. They cost about $30 which as you can imagine is a big sum of money for the average Kenyan. A teacher's salary is around $50-$70 per month. They must be pretty durable bikes because the roads are mostly bumpy dirt roads and a lot of the bikes look like they've been around for a while. Also there I saw a lot of bike mechanics shacks all over the place. In fact I ended up going to one of these guys myself. I rented out a mountain bike (an old cheap piece of junk) and when I was out on my ride the pedal fell off so one of these local bike mechanics fixed it up for me for something like 5 cents.
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Old 07-18-03, 05:35 PM   #14
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I don't know about Chinese races, but I do know what I observed when I was in these countries. The vast majority of cyclists were on clunky, heavy bikes, but I did see some cyclists in lycra and spandex, racing along the countryside roads, especially in Hong Kong. Hong Kong had some great hills on one of the island, and I saw quite a few cyclists racing up and down the hills.
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Old 03-07-04, 08:23 PM   #15
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How the heck did I miss this interesting thread?

I go to China frequently and I bicycle nearly every time I go there.

In China, there are still a lot of the old 28" wheelbase single speed machines that are copies of the original Raleighs that went to China around the 1920's. Rod brakes, reliable, simple. These are the bikes that we saw for so many years when we saw video clips of Chinese droves pedaling in a long dragon line of commuters.

However, things are changing fast. The old single speed is rapidly becoming passe' and has an old image associated with it. The farmers still like them because they can be easily and affordably repaired just about anywhere.

Mountain bikes are becoming popular. When businessmen ride them in their western suits, they are jokingly referred to as "pandas" because their white shirt sleeves stick out beyond the dark suit-coats and the white streak of shirt shows from under the back of their jackets.

Road bikes are not at all common. Of course, road bikes are not that common in the USA anymore, for that matter. In China, however, road bikes are even more uncommon than in the USA. First of all, when most of the rest of the world was going through 10-speed fever in the 1970's China was just wrapping up a decade of oppressive Cultural Revolution. No time for fashion of fancy in those days. So, you don't find any old road bikes around.

Second, life is hard on bikes (and people) in China. I doubt that a lightweight machine could hold up very long in rugged China.

I have mentioned before, but I will say it again. China was clearly the world's most fantastic country for bicycle riding. Until recently, bicycles outnumbered motor vehicles on the road. Bicycles were KING and they took the right of way over automobiles. As automobile use became more common, the roads were divided by physical barriers to separate motor vehicles from bicycles.

Unfortunately, those days are VERY RAPIDLY evaporating. Today, the bicyclist on the roads of most major cities is subject to the grinding dangers faced by riders in most other busy metro areas. The only difference is that there are still more bicyclist in China than in other countries, so there is a slight comfort in knowing one is not alone on two wheels.

Mike
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Old 03-08-04, 04:49 PM   #16
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Hey, thanks for the reply, Mike. I was (and still am) interested in the "bike culture" in China and other similar countries, especially in unindustrialized areas. It is here that the true practical use of rugged, durable bicycles come out. My parents are from China also, so that might have a lot to do with it.

I have seen pictures in China where wide, dirt streets are just filled with bicycles. By filled, I mean the whole street is almost entirely fully occupied by bicycles, with not a single car visible in the area. I don't know when these pictures were taken exactly, but it looked like the mid-90's, judging from the quality of the photos and the dress and outfitting of the people and bicycles.

I will definitely go to China in the near future, so I'll keep my eyes open. Hey, if I can find a bike for under $50 there, I'll buy it and ride it around! It'll be great not to worry about heavy traffic. I've been to Hong Kong many times and to Xiamen, and the traffic situation is about the same as in the major cities here in the United States, except with fewer cyclists and more cars.
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Old 03-08-04, 05:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayle
I will definitely go to China in the near future, so I'll keep my eyes open. Hey, if I can find a bike for under $50 there, I'll buy it and ride it around! It'll be great not to worry about heavy traffic. I've been to Hong Kong many times and to Xiamen, and the traffic situation is about the same as in the major cities here in the United States, except with fewer cyclists and more cars.
You know what's so sad folks. I know a guy here in Manhattan who is importing those heavy single speed "Roadsters" from India brand new and is selling them on the streets of New York City for $200.00!!!! Guess what? This guy is taking lots of orders and making some serious cash!! There is a NEED for a cheap inexpensive 3 speed roadster that can be purchased for less than $100.00 dollars but it is nowhere to be found. You heard that correctly. There is a demand for some company to make an inexpensive Roadster but the ones being sold by Breezer or Trek cost $500 - $1,000 dollars! There is no way you can leave that kind of bike on the streets which is why people buy Magnas that are horrible to ride on the street.
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Old 03-08-04, 11:04 PM   #18
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Soon after seeing a picture in National Geographic, of a Chinese man transporting a live hog by bike, I started going to the St. Paul farmers market, to buy 20 lb squash and pecks of apples. I'm sure that my expensive bike, which swayed from the weight on the back rack wasn't much better at moving cargo than the Chinese machine that nudged me towards bike dependence.
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Old 03-09-04, 12:15 AM   #19
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The Flying Pigeon can be had for $250-300.

http://www.momovelo.com/feige.html
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Old 03-09-04, 03:06 AM   #20
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My Chinese folder . Make:- Wu Yang
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Old 03-09-04, 09:57 AM   #21
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I've been to China and most of the bikes I saw were the basic transportation commuter bike type. No decals or names or so, there are "bike vendors" on the corner of sidewalks that will sell or fix bikes on the spot. I did see some big bike stores in rural China that had "GIANT" on them and in Hong Kong, you can typically find more newer modern bikes, I've seen an Intense M1 frame there in 2001 and a guy with a Gary Fischer jersey on a road bike there. But generally, Hong Kong is more modernized anyway, but in the rural China, Huangshan, Xian, Guangzhoa, most of the bikes I saw were basic commuters, thick gauged steel with welded racks or those popular trikes to carry stuff.

Lantau island is popular (if not only) place to do some mountain biking or camping in Hong Kong, unless you go further in on the mainland.

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Old 03-09-04, 12:40 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
You know what's so sad folks. I know a guy here in Manhattan who is importing those heavy single speed "Roadsters" from India brand new and is selling them on the streets of New York City for $200.00!!!! Guess what? This guy is taking lots of orders and making some serious cash!! There is a NEED for a cheap inexpensive 3 speed roadster that can be purchased for less than $100.00 dollars but it is nowhere to be found. You heard that correctly. There is a demand for some company to make an inexpensive Roadster but the ones being sold by Breezer or Trek cost $500 - $1,000 dollars! There is no way you can leave that kind of bike on the streets which is why people buy Magnas that are horrible to ride on the street.
$200 is a reasonable price for a good quality roadster. Not all Chinese roadsters are created equal, but some of them are exquisite. I bought one in Beijing that is well made, and beautifully painted in baked enamel hunter green with golden detailing. It is very regal in appearance and a joy to ride. This bike is was considered the Cadillac of the Chinese bicycles and is of better quality than the X-Mart imports we see in the states. I rode it for several multi-day tours including a round-trip ride from Beijing to the Great Wall at Badaling. I might have paid about $65.00 for it retail in China.

I did investigate the possibility of importing and selling these gorgeous machines. I could buy them for about $35.00 each wholesale. On top of that, you have transportation, insurance, import duties, and other expenses. When it is all said and done, a price of $200.00 would be a very reasonable and fair price.

I have never seen the Indian made bicycles that are mentioned by Dahon. I would be interested to know about the level of quality.
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Old 03-09-04, 07:52 PM   #23
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I did investigate the possibility of importing and selling these gorgeous machines.
More junk from China. Thats the last thing we need.
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Old 03-10-04, 01:21 AM   #24
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More junk from China. Thats the last thing we need.
Yeah I absolutely agree. Let's ditch everything from china along with every country in south america, asia, europe, africa, and those "other" 2 large countries on the north american plate.
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Old 03-11-04, 06:02 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
>>>>I did have this idea to buy one (about $35.00 USD) and ride in down the Karakoram highway, now that would have been a bike trip!<<<<<

Is there somthing dangerous about traveling by bicycle on the Karakoram highway? Is the surface too rough or the drivers too careless?
No it's the not-so-friendly people with guns.






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