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Old 03-29-08, 02:43 PM   #51
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I agree strongly with those who say that the LBS's should carry solid $200 bikes. They should have:

1) 5-6 speeds, only on the rear derailleur. No new cyclists use more than that.
2) Slicks for city riding.
3) Relatively relaxed geometry.
4) A front basket.
5) 3 options total:
5a) Color
5b) Seat type
5c) Handlebar type

I guarantee you that several manufacturers are perfectly capable of building a $200-220 bike to these specifications. It doesn't have to be particularly light, and it doesn't have to be made to stand a lot of gear-grinding.
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Old 03-29-08, 03:26 PM   #52
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Would you pay $49.99 to tune up a $199.99 bike after a year? I'd rather not put my shop's decal on a crap bike. Heck, I wouldn't even put operator's shop decal on a crap bike.
Well I am a jackass but that doesn't mean we do ****ty repairs or assemblies. We do some of the most complete preps on new bikes out of the box in the Toronto area.
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Old 03-29-08, 06:04 PM   #53
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I agree with the general premise that bike shops should offer a $150-$200 bike. And some do come close; a large shop near me had Giant Sedonas on sale for $200 at their spring expo - that type of bike is the perfect low-end-but-quality bike that many beginners need.

Another issue - at least where I live - is that bike shops no longer seem to have the extensive inventory of used bikes that they once had. Even ten years ago I remember going to a local bike shop here and being surprised that they seemed to have as many used bikes as new bikes. I recently returned to that particular store and discovered that they no longer carried any used bikes.

When I was a kid, my parents always bought me bike-store bikes...but they were always used bike-store bikes. I'm not sure how available used bikes are anymore - and if the absence of bikes is due to a business decision on the part of the LBS's or is the result of there simply being fewer used bikes around.
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Old 03-29-08, 07:00 PM   #54
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~snip~

When I was a kid, my parents always bought me bike-store bikes...but they were always used bike-store bikes. I'm not sure how available used bikes are anymore - and if the absence of bikes is due to a business decision on the part of the LBS's or is the result of there simply being fewer used bikes around.
I think a couple of things are coming into play...some stores don't want to take trade-ins or mess with selling used bikes. The other reason and I suspect one of the main ones is that the pool of decent used bikes has been diluted by the massive influx of low end disposable bikes onto the market by the mass retailers. My LBS sells used bikes, but will not take a Next or similar bike on trade, or if they do it will only be for $25 or so and will be tossed in the recycle bin. FWIW my LBS tunes up and offers a warranty and free 30 day checkup on their used bikes as well as the new ones they sell.

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Old 03-29-08, 07:24 PM   #55
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I got your point exactly. Your contention is that X-mart bikes are not OK for other people, because you don't find them OK for you and the other in-the-know Real Cyclists who understand quality bikes. Of course "quality bike" is to be defined by you, not those know nothings who shop for inexpensive bikes at Xmart.
Well, yeah you're right, but you're just pointing out the obvious. As a bike enthusiast who maintains a personal fleet of bikes spanning the spectra of bicycle technologies, including a number of x-mart bikes, and having built most of them from scratch then yes, I along with many other similarly experienced enthusiasts would say that I am qualified to formulate a well founded, informed, and reasonably accurate opinion as to the suitability of x-mart bikes for a particular application.

If someone who is totally clueless about bikes but is considering getting one for regulal utility use comes to me for an opinion on x-mart bikes, I'd advise them that they are crap and although the cheapest option, not their best choice, unless that's the limit of their budget. And even though you'd get your knickers in a knot if you heard me, I'd still be correct precisely because I don't find them OK for me. And yes "quality bike" is better defined by me rather than those "know nothings" (your words, not mine) who shop for inexpensive bikes at Xmart because they don't know a single thing about bikes beyond the price and the advertising blurb. The difference being that my definition of "quality bike" is founded on the prospective buyer's needs rather than a corporation's profit margin.



Back to the topic at hand...
The problem is really the total lack of roadworthyness standards for the bicycle class of road vehichle. You see, there aren't any! Think of it like this, cars, busses, trucks, motorcycles, caravans, trailers, etc. are all in different classes of road vehichles and all have their minimum safety and performance standards which need to be adhered to before they can be sold to the public. If there were no standards for cars the very bottom of the market (the x-mart brand car) would be very cheap as it would compete primarily on price but just imagine how dangerous, unreliable, polluting, etc. it would be! (would you recommend it as a first car to a teenager?). If the bicycle is to be really treated as a valid class of road vehichle then maybe there should be some minimum performance and safety standards beyond that of sporting goods or toys. Of course, the bicycle would first have to be taken seriously as a mode of transport, and we know where we are currently on that score.
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Old 03-29-08, 07:26 PM   #56
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As far as used bikes are concerned in your LBS, think about this. If they take in a trade in and re-sell it, they are on the hook for any liability. The manufacturer won't back them up. They would have check it over thoroughly, and give it a full service. If they did that and added the cost to the trade-in price, how much could they sell it for?
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Old 03-29-08, 08:00 PM   #57
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As far as used bikes are concerned in your LBS, think about this. If they take in a trade in and re-sell it, they are on the hook for any liability. The manufacturer won't back them up. They would have check it over thoroughly, and give it a full service. If they did that and added the cost to the trade-in price, how much could they sell it for?
Excellent prices at my LBS. I have purchased a couple of used bikes from them. The last was a 2003 Staiger 27 speed, fully loaded (fenders, racks, generator hub, etc) German trekking bike. The bike sold new for over $700, I paid around $175 It came fully tuned and ready to ride, it also came with a free 30 day tuneup and a 6 month limited warranty. If it was a used bike that they sold new it typically comes with a one year limited warranty. Just recently I looked at an early 2001 steel hardtail Trek MTB, IIRC it sold for around $125, tune up, a new tire on the back and again the limited warranty. They are a pretty high volume dealer and I suspect that they figure on eating at least some of the cost of the used bike warranties in the name of good customer service. But a if the bike is a decent quality to begin with there shouldn't be any major warranty issues.

Edit: I forgot about the Raleigh Companion Tandem we bought and haven't picked up yet. Paid $400 for that one it came with a new rear wheel. Don't recall what they sold for new but probably around $800.

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Old 03-29-08, 08:35 PM   #58
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I know that members of my family gave up on bicycling due to poor fit, uncomfortable seats, and excessive pedaling effort of the big box bikes that they purchased, only to be reinvigorated into bicycling again by riding on a better quality/fitting bicycle for just a few hundred dollars more.
What happened? Did your family get sick of bicycling like zillions of others by doing contortions on the "quality" bikes sold by the LBS' of the 70's with the rock hard seats, brutal ride high pressure tires and lack-of-comfortable position handlebars?
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Old 03-29-08, 08:59 PM   #59
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What happened? Did your family get sick of bicycling like zillions of others by doing contortions on the "quality" bikes sold by the LBS' of the 70's with the rock hard seats, brutal ride high pressure tires and lack-of-comfortable position handlebars?
Ready, Fire, Aim!

Reread the message you commented on...
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Old 03-29-08, 09:19 PM   #60
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Are you going to suggest that discount store bikes are made to the same quality level as low end name brand bikes?
No, he's not going to reply to any point you made and instead make an ad hominem attack, (probably by implying you are an elitist.)
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Old 03-29-08, 09:25 PM   #61
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Well, yeah you're right, but you're just pointing out the obvious. As a bike enthusiast who maintains a personal fleet of bikes spanning the spectra of bicycle technologies, including a number of x-mart bikes, and having built most of them from scratch then yes, I along with many other similarly experienced enthusiasts would say that I am qualified to formulate a well founded, informed, and reasonably accurate opinion as to the suitability of x-mart bikes for a particular application.

If someone who is totally clueless about bikes but is considering getting one for regulal utility use comes to me for an opinion on x-mart bikes, I'd advise them that they are crap and although the cheapest option, not their best choice, unless that's the limit of their budget. And even though you'd get your knickers in a knot if you heard me, I'd still be correct precisely because I don't find them OK for me. And yes "quality bike" is better defined by me rather than those "know nothings" (your words, not mine) who shop for inexpensive bikes at Xmart because they don't know a single thing about bikes beyond the price and the advertising blurb. The difference being that my definition of "quality bike" is founded on the prospective buyer's needs rather than a corporation's profit margin.


This is the entire issue in a nutshell. +1
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Old 03-29-08, 09:49 PM   #62
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Does anyone walk into those stores and not know the quality is reduced, just like the price when compared to competing products sold through higher priced venues?

So the problem isn't the ___-mart stores, or the LBS's. Its the ignorance the buying public. Pretty much any person is capable of doing their own research on the internet now also, or getting their kids to do it. If $400 is a high price to spend for a young family, spend 5 min less playing on the internet and reinvest that time researching on the internet.

At some point in time people have to start becoming responsible for their own actions, and that includes being responsible for not falling victim to shady marketing. Ignorance i accept as an excuse for something that happens spur of the moment, a high ticket item purchase doesn't fall into that category.
No, but by the same token, I suspect they believe it is good enough and that bike shops sell the SAME thing for a lot more money. I think that is where the problem is. There is Good, Good Enough and Not Good Enough. I think people may not be clear on the meanings as it applies to bikes.
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Old 03-30-08, 05:24 AM   #63
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hmm.. I wondered about the second hand bike sale at lbs too, almost none do it anymore here in westoz, I was talking about this to one gentleman involved in the retail bike industry and he said "the pawnbroker chains like cash converters had lobbied the government to introduce a secondhand dealers license and it applied to anyone selling second hands goods. He told me that the license cost a many thousands of dollars, so most bike shops (making less profit from second hand bikes) had just dropped that side of there business".

As our government is very un original in there thinking I wonder if you have had a similar law introduced?
I think cash converters may not be Australian.
I have not qualified this comment so i can only assume he has an idea of what he is talking about
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Old 03-30-08, 07:02 AM   #64
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hmm.. I wondered about the second hand bike sale at lbs too, almost none do it anymore here in westoz, I was talking about this to one gentleman involved in the retail bike industry and he said "the pawnbroker chains like cash converters had lobbied the government to introduce a secondhand dealers license and it applied to anyone selling second hands goods. He told me that the license cost a many thousands of dollars, so most bike shops (making less profit from second hand bikes) had just dropped that side of there business".

As our government is very un original in there thinking I wonder if you have had a similar law introduced?
I think cash converters may not be Australian.
I have not qualified this comment so i can only assume he has an idea of what he is talking about
If that is what is occurring...in the US it would most likely be at a local level and could be an issue, for some. We own a small retail store (Bridal) and we have to pay extra on our annual business license to sell cosmetics and jewelry (costume) it is a very small amount in our area, but governments love to get into your pocket however they see fit.

I am sure if I wanted to sell bicycles out of the back of the bridal shop, we would have to pay an additional fee...

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Old 03-30-08, 07:22 AM   #65
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No, but by the same token, I suspect they believe it is good enough and that bike shops sell the SAME thing for a lot more money. I think that is where the problem is. There is Good, Good Enough and Not Good Enough. I think people may not be clear on the meanings as it applies to bikes.
Agreed. And that you and your similar thinking pals believe that applying Your standard for "Good Enough/Not Good Enough" bicycles is the gold standard for everyone else, no matter what their intended use of the bicycle. All bikes "Not Good Enough" for Your use/needs are "crap," and anyone not sharing that standard is a know-nothing gullible fool ripe for being bamboozled by the XMarts.
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Old 03-30-08, 07:39 AM   #66
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Agreed. And that you and your similar thinking pals believe that applying Your standard for "Good Enough/Not Good Enough" bicycles is the gold standard for everyone else, no matter what their intended use of the bicycle. All bikes "Not Good Enough" for Your use/needs are "crap," and anyone not sharing that standard is a know-nothing gullible fool ripe for being bamboozled by the XMarts.
TOTAL B/S...

Next time do us all a favor and bring an original thought.
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Old 03-30-08, 08:14 AM   #67
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Excellent prices at my LBS. I have purchased a couple of used bikes from them. The last was a 2003 Staiger 27 speed, fully loaded (fenders, racks, generator hub, etc) German trekking bike. The bike sold new for over $700, I paid around $175 It came fully tuned and ready to ride, it also came with a free 30 day tuneup and a 6 month limited warranty. If it was a used bike that they sold new it typically comes with a one year limited warranty. Just recently I looked at an early 2001 steel hardtail Trek MTB, IIRC it sold for around $125, tune up, a new tire on the back and again the limited warranty. They are a pretty high volume dealer and I suspect that they figure on eating at least some of the cost of the used bike warranties in the name of good customer service. But a if the bike is a decent quality to begin with there shouldn't be any major warranty issues.

Edit: I forgot about the Raleigh Companion Tandem we bought and haven't picked up yet. Paid $400 for that one it came with a new rear wheel. Don't recall what they sold for new but probably around $800.

Aaron
Woah! Good prices! Where is that? Nothing like that here.
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Old 03-30-08, 08:26 AM   #68
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Woah! Good prices! Where is that? Nothing like that here.
Hawley's Bicycle World in Fayetteville, NC They have been around for over 40 years. Family owned and great people to deal with.

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Old 03-30-08, 09:34 AM   #69
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What happened? Did your family get sick of bicycling like zillions of others by doing contortions on the "quality" bikes sold by the LBS' of the 70's with the rock hard seats, brutal ride high pressure tires and lack-of-comfortable position handlebars?
ILTB, fortunately the younger members of my family were spared the rigors of some earlier bikes, but even though the big box bikes were more comfortable and easier to ride than the '75 Varsity in my fleet of bikes, but they still left them sore and with their tongues hanging out after a few miles. For a couple hundred or so dollars more in initial cost plus a few mods for a better quality/fitting, easier pedaling bike from the LBS, now the weather seems to be the one factor stopping my family members from riding.

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Old 03-30-08, 11:02 AM   #70
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I would encourage any/all of you that has identified a market opportunity that isn't being filled by the thousands of individuals, CO-OP's and corporations currently serving the markets to get some skin in the game, open your own business (whatever that business model looks like) and solve whatever problem you think exists.

That is the beauty of free market capitalism. Take a good idea, that people are willing to pay for, and improve society as well as your own life.

With the stock markets down and the housing markets in a slump, I would think that there would be a great deal of venture capital looking for a good place to generate a return. If you know how to do that with a line of $200.00 bicycles that are just as good as products costing over twice as much, the world will be your oyster.

Of course, if the gist of your plan boils down to telling the people already in the business that they need more Loss-Leaders because, um, that's what you want; you will be perpetually frustrated by the normal operations of free markets.

I personally am amazed at the broad choices and sheer affordability and value bicycling offers. But then, I've spent the past 30 years in the manufacturing of various products, and I have a general idea of what it costs to get even simple products made.

Also in my personal experience, I have been in and out of bicycling for a variety of reasons. Price has never been the critical factor; not really. Price sensitivity is simply an expression of level of interest or committment. When I haven't been interested in cycling, $200.00 is too much, when I have been interested, several month's pay is laughably cheap.

In the transitions back and forth I have sold very nice bikes for dirt cheap, and have ridden some crap coming back in on the other side. At no point do I recall ever being interested in a "high quality entry level bike". I may have purchased the best bike money could buy (at Xmart) on a given day, or the cheapest bike the LBS carried that had everything I wanted at the time on another day, but I wouldn't touch the bike many of you have described with a 10 foot pole.

I recently bought a "good car" for a new 16 year old driver in my household based on my greater knowledge of cars, the world, and 16 year olds. And while both the driver and her Mother have warmed up to the little car and think it was a pretty smart purchase (now) neither one of them would have selected it either because of the options included (e.g. standard transmission) or the price (let's just say something a little higher than the run of the mill used up automatic transmission beater).

It's a simple derivation on the Golden Rule. If it ain't your Gold, you don't get to make the Rules.
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Old 03-30-08, 11:37 AM   #71
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Ha! I looked at that picture. Then it dawned upon me that the guy was standing in front of Bikeways, Raleigh.


3rd "eccentric" cyclist in my/our area.
"Eccentric" eh... I donno... one really has to ask who is more eccentric... the gent riding a comfortable bike in street clothes... probably just doing his daily errands.



Or the typical "racing cyclist" clad in all sorts of specialized gear, including shoes one cannot even easily walk in... and riding a bike that cannot even take a simple fall without an inspection, and which certainly has no "trunk" for carrying even the smallest items obtained on errands.

I think these guys probably qualify more for the title ECCENTRIC...

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Old 03-30-08, 02:37 PM   #72
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Well I am a jackass but that doesn't mean we do ****ty repairs or assemblies. We do some of the most complete preps on new bikes out of the box in the Toronto area.
You missed my point. That was a compliment in a David Letterman sense. Say I had a crap bike, but I respect you enough not to put your decal on it.
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Old 03-30-08, 05:23 PM   #73
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"Eccentric" eh... I donno... one really has to ask who is more eccentric... the gent riding a comfortable bike in street clothes... probably just doing his daily errands.



Or the typical "racing cyclist" clad in all sorts of specialized gear, including shoes one cannot even easily walk in... and riding a bike that cannot even take a simple fall without an inspection, and which certainly has no "trunk" for carrying even the smallest items obtained on errands.

I think these guys probably qualify more for the title ECCENTRIC...


Mr. Lee(That is the guy in the first picture) IS eccentric. More eccentric than someone that races road bikes(Nice potshots there, you must have never watched a crit and seen a multi bike pileup where everyone hops on their bikes and takes off again or seen a messenger bag)

Anyway, Mr Lees bike is completley covered in handsewn black vinyl(As pictured, it now has a leopard motif). It has four speakers, also vinyl covered, mounted on tubing running from a car stereo mounted to the handlebars and powered by a car battery in one of the saddle bags. That is eccentric. You would also not catch him on an Xmart bike. AND, he rides more than 90% of the people on this forum.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:24 AM   #74
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I would encourage any/all of you that has identified a market opportunity that isn't being filled by the thousands of individuals, CO-OP's and corporations currently serving the markets to get some skin in the game, open your own business (whatever that business model looks like) and solve whatever problem you think exists.
Heh, the problem is that the opportunity would require some very low-key tweaking of what's already out there. My LBS already sells $200-250 Giant cruisers with multiple speeds and $170-220 Giant mountain bikes with the same state of being. All they need to do is reconfigure their sales floor, throw slicks on the MTBs, and start advertising their "commuter specials," and they'll be all set.

That's not precisely something I'm going to enter the market for.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:50 PM   #75
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I would encourage any/all of you that has identified a market opportunity that isn't being filled by the thousands of individuals, CO-OP's and corporations currently serving the markets to get some skin in the game, open your own business (whatever that business model looks like) and solve whatever problem you think exists.
Excellent post. I bounced around the idea with a friend in the bike industry who has a keen eye for design, logos, etc. Between the two of us, we probably have enough money to get a web-based operation off the ground. Could we come up with something cool and functional on the cheap? Is there an unfilled market? Paint and simple graphics are basically free, right?

It drives me nuts to consider how nice that $200 fully suspended tank could be if the money was spent on tubing and quality components for a fully rigid bike but I was forced to concede that, even allowing that their might be some pent up demand for a simple, decent $200 bicycle, it was probably just a good way to flush a lot of money down the toilet. IF I uncovered some terribly unfufilled need, there are a dozen manufacturers who could exploit it more easily than I.

Not worth the risk.
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