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  1. #1
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    Someone in NYC is importing Flying Pigeon (Chinese) bikes

    http://www.flyingpigeonnyc.com/

    I've never ridden one of these myself, but I've heard them described as heavy but built like a tank. I doubt they're up to the standards of a Batavus, but at $400 apiece, this might be a less expensive way to get a fairly weather-proof commuter/errand bike/beater/what-have-you.


    Anyone tried out Flying Pigeon bikes?

  2. #2
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookishboy View Post
    http://www.flyingpigeonnyc.com/

    I've never ridden one of these myself, but I've heard them described as heavy but built like a tank. I doubt they're up to the standards of a Batavus, but at $400 apiece, this might be a less expensive way to get a fairly weather-proof commuter/errand bike/beater/what-have-you.


    Anyone tried out Flying Pigeon bikes?

    No I have not. But my old tank, Phillips Ladies Three Speed bike, built in 1968 is still going strong and appears to be similar in design. I do have to give it up since I can't use it here in gangland. Any bike will be stolen, old or new, Flying Pigeon or Phillips.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I have ridden a Flying Pigeon! I was in Beijing about 10 years ago, there was a bike rental stand just down the street from my hotel. For a very small fee I rented a FP for several days and rode all around Beijing. It was a great adventure, pedaling shoulder to shoulder among hundreds of thousands of other riders along the streets of that vast city. It was a critical mass of massive proportions that goes on all day, every day. The FP had brakes activated by metal rods connected from the levers instead of brake cables. Beijing was pretty flat so didn't need heavy duty braking action, also never got rolling much above 12 mph or so. It was a heavy bike, but it had an incredible leather sprung saddle that was quite comfy.

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    Kamek ralph12's Avatar
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    I wonder how much a Flying Pigeon costs in China. $400 is a lot of money to spend for a bike like that.

  5. #5
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Well, a billion Chinese can't be wrong.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  6. #6
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    There's an interesting article in Bicycling Magazine about the Flying Pigeon and China's bike culture being replaced by car culture.

    For most of the Communist era, the price of a Flying Pigeon was 150 yuan, about two months' salary, with a waiting list that stretched into years. There's a well-known story that a farmer once offered to trade his entire crop to speed up delivery of his Pigeon.

    Today, the PA-02 fetches about 240 yuan, the equivalent of $30. The Tianjin factory produces about 800,000 bikes yearly, which sounds like a lot until you compare the figure with the 10,000 bikes built each day during the 1970s and 1980s when the plant, then in downtown Tianjin, employed 15,000 workers and labored 24 hours a day.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    I used to see a lot of the double bar ones in Mexico and Cuba. $400 sounds like a lot of coin to me.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    There's an interesting article in Bicycling Magazine about the Flying Pigeon and China's bike culture being replaced by car culture.
    Great article, thanks for sharing. The author's comments about pedaling a FP around Beijing sounded a lot like the experience I mentioned previously. I'd never pay $400 for one though, it's really not practical to have a 28" wheel bike here in the US, it would be pretty hard to get replacement tires, tubes, rims, etc. Plus like I mentioned earlier, the brakes on the FP don't have much stopping power and pedaling a 50 lb one speed around gets tough when you toss in few little hills. Neverless, the FP is an icon, and every cycling fan should pedal one if the chance comes along just so you can say you've ridden the most popular human powered machine in history.

  9. #9
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Hunt up my "English Roadster Replica" thread in the Classic & Vintage, several comments about them there.

    Basically, the Flying Pigeon (also spelled Flying Pidgin for some reason) is a take of on old Raleigh bikes. There seem to be a dozen or so Indian manufacturers of these as well. At $400, they're probably way overpriced compared to the cost of one in China or India. Last time I checked, Yellow Jersey had their Indian model on sale at $299.

    They did have the Flying Pigeon on Ebay, not sure how prices ran there, but check it out.

  10. #10
    Flying Pigeon (NYC) VictoriaFP's Avatar
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    Thank you for noticing our Flying Pigeons!

    Quote Originally Posted by bookishboy View Post
    http://www.flyingpigeonnyc.com/

    I've never ridden one of these myself, but I've heard them described as heavy but built like a tank. I doubt they're up to the standards of a Batavus, but at $400 apiece, this might be a less expensive way to get a fairly weather-proof commuter/errand bike/beater/what-have-you.


    Anyone tried out Flying Pigeon bikes?
    We appreciate the attention and love our bikes for riding around the city in style and comfort.
    Concerning our price of $350, I am afraid that it is expensive for us to buy; transport; import; pay duties and taxes; assemble; store; market and deliver in this City of ours. We may actually have to raise our price to survive. We hope all our clients are happy with their purchases.
    Cheers,
    Victoria Alfred-Smythe
    http://flyingpigeonNYC.blogspot.com
    Last edited by VictoriaFP; 01-01-08 at 08:47 AM. Reason: update

  11. #11
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookishboy View Post
    http://www.flyingpigeonnyc.com/

    I've never ridden one of these myself, but I've heard them described as heavy but built like a tank. I doubt they're up to the standards of a Batavus, but at $400 apiece, this might be a less expensive way to get a fairly weather-proof commuter/errand bike/beater/what-have-you.


    Anyone tried out Flying Pigeon bikes?
    I own several of these old style Flying Pigeons IN CHINA. I use them for commuting and even touring.

    They are neat nostalgia design bicycles and I love mine. HOWEVER, there is absolutely no way they are worth $400. NO way. They look like the original Raleigh that they are modeled after, but the materials and workmanship are not at all comparable. In China, these bicycles literally melt in the rain from rust and are expected to be replaced every few years. I put maybe 1,000 miles on my favorite Pigeon and had to replace the pedals already because the bearings shredded.

    Even the leather saddles which are promising are made of some kind of either chip fiber material or maybe thick pig-skin or something which I have not been able to identify, but they are nowhere close to the Brooks type saddles on the old English machines. I mean, when you are buying a bicycle for $30 in China and you are getting a springer saddle, you think, "not bad", and if it wears out in two years, you can buy another one for $3.00 or so. But when you are paying "$350 to $1,200" as advertised for the NYC imported Pigeons, I think you will be disappointed. Most of these saddles that you see in China are all swaybacked or torn because the leather is not of any reasonable quality. I always cover mine with a plastic cover and try to take care of it, but it is sure not of a quality that can be expected to last.

    I thought about importing them about ten years ago, but the shipping cost made it prohibative. I could have sold them for $120 each and made a profit, but I doubted I could sell them at $120. Plus, the rod brakes put them outside the USA safety requirements. The standard Chinese issued reflectors are no better than red-colored cola bottles, so if you buy one, check the reflectors and consider replacing them. Whoever is selling these in the USA with rod-brakes is asking for a lawsuit that will turn whatever profits they make into a lawsuit bloodbath.

    For $400 you can get a much better bicycle at your LBS here in the USA. The Flying Pigeon is made from cheap gas-pipe steel, modest quality bearings, and generally poor to modest quality components all-round. In China, they sell for between $30 to $60.00 depending on features and where you buy them. The one thing I like about my Flying Pigeon is the paint - beautiful rich laquer and gorgeous detailed gold lettering and trim. Of course, you don't ride the paint, so consider the rest of my comments before purchasing one of these machines.
    Last edited by mike; 01-01-08 at 09:11 PM.
    Mike

  12. #12
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Well, a billion Chinese can't be wrong.
    Do/did the Chinese have a choice though?

    Everything I've heard about them makes them seem like a novelty bike - something not even up to the standards of a big-box Schwinn, for half the price, or less.

    I'm glad to see people on bikes, but $400 for a pigeon and $11-1500 for imported dutch bikes seems wrong.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    I remember reading about these being sold in Berkley, CA about 15-20 years ago, for something like the current price. Then the draw was "show your leftest credentials and solidarity with the masses" or something like that. They didn't last long, as they were way overpriced for what you get.

    While I'm sympathetic to what it must cost to set up a business in New York City and make it a viable concern, I still boggle at the thought of something that sells in China new for $30-50.00 suddenly costs $400.00 over here.

    Guess this is the exception to the rule that anything made in China is cheap and sold at WalMart.
    Syke

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  14. #14
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    I remember reading about these being sold in Berkley, CA about 15-20 years ago, for something like the current price. Then the draw was "show your leftest credentials and solidarity with the masses" or something like that. They didn't last long, as they were way overpriced for what you get.

    While I'm sympathetic to what it must cost to set up a business in New York City and make it a viable concern, I still boggle at the thought of something that sells in China new for $30-50.00 suddenly costs $400.00 over here.

    Guess this is the exception to the rule that anything made in China is cheap and sold at WalMart.
    Probably has to do with the numbers being produced vs number being imported. Small lot importing is EXPENSIVE. Walmart buys everything a factory produces and then ships and entire freighter full, vs bringing over one or two small freight containers of bicycles. BTW I have some left over gas pipe and welder...all you need is the wheels and rod brakes

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  15. #15
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Probably has to do with the numbers being produced vs number being imported. Small lot importing is EXPENSIVE. Walmart buys everything a factory produces and then ships and entire freighter full, vs bringing over one or two small freight containers of bicycles. BTW I have some left over gas pipe and welder...all you need is the wheels and rod brakes

    Aaron
    You got a good point there, something I hadn't originally considered. Assuming it's correct (and I do), that probably means we'll never see those bikes sold over here for something commensurate of their real value.

    Thanks, but I'm quite happy with my Raleigh Sports - it does the job decently well, and brings back a lot of memories of 35 years ago when I lived in the city (Erie, PA) and did 99% of all my transportation on a bicycle. Just the same, having my GT Passage 21-speed hybrid really shows how the technology has improved - it gets the majority of the lunch hour duties.

    Of course, I wouldn't mind owning a real DL-1. Never got around to owning one of those back when I worked for the Raleigh dealer.
    Syke

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  16. #16
    Senior Member crotch_rocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookishboy View Post
    http://www.flyingpigeonnyc.com/

    I've never ridden one of these myself, but I've heard them described as heavy but built like a tank. I doubt they're up to the standards of a Batavus, but at $400 apiece, this might be a less expensive way to get a fairly weather-proof commuter/errand bike/beater/what-have-you.


    Anyone tried out Flying Pigeon bikes?
    Yes.

    In South America. They're all over the Altiplano. And they cost at most 300 bolivianos down there, which is $40. You can get one in any of the bike shops in La Paz, near Plaza San Francisco, or better yet, up in El Alto. But then you'd have to go to Bolivia to get em.

    Pluses, they're cheap, they ride like a tank, you can beat em like a tank, and spare parts are plentiful. Well they're cheap down here.

    Minuses, they're expensive as hell here in the States, they ride like a tank, and I have no idea how good the quality is up here. Cause down there, the campesinos ride the hell out of em, and yes, they're low quality, but they still ride em.
    Last edited by crotch_rocket; 01-24-08 at 12:39 PM. Reason: additions
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    I feel lucky. "Micargi" got a container of these a year ago by accident. They sold them off on the internet as vintage beach cruisers. I bought mine for $99.00. It isn't a Flying Pigeon but is a Five Rams. Flying Pegeon, Forever, Five Rams where the state run factories in China. I love mine. I live in Sacramento, CA so everything is fairly flat. Don't have any problems getting around on my Chinese import. I don't think it would make a good beach cruiser with the thin 28" tires. I have not had problems with getting parts. Plenty of roadster parts on the internet.

  18. #18
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    These things sound maybe a little crappy, but I'd like to ride one anyway, just out of curioisty; does anyone here know of their availability in the seattle area? BTW, $400 for a bike doesn't sound that bad to me; decent new bikes around here cost a lot more than that. Even a good used one could go for more than $400.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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    Bragi- Take a look at this guy's e-bay store. I haven't done any business with him but I did book-mark his store out of curiosity. PG.
    http://stores.ebay.com/Cinqgs-Cycles

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    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolishGuy View Post
    Bragi- Take a look at this guy's e-bay store. I haven't done any business with him but I did book-mark his store out of curiosity. PG.
    http://stores.ebay.com/Cinqgs-Cycles
    Thank you- his prices are a lot better than $400. I'd still like to ride one without buying it right away, though. I remember getting kind of interested in Dutch bikes about a year ago and then, after I actually test-rode one, being a little underwhelmed (good frame and comfy ride, but really heavy, not geared for Seattle's hills, and far too expensive for what you get). The FP might have such iffy brakes that it would be utterly useless here, and I'm not sure a single gear would be all that useful, either. But still, it looks nice from a distance, and might be fun, kind of like owning a Trabant.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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    Pheonix, Forever, Flying Pigeon, Five Rams and other factories are all gearing over for new style bicycles, motor scooters, electric bikes etc. Soon these roadsters will be a thing of the past. Modern Chinese don't want to be seen on these relics of the past. With more and more cars and newer types of transportation comming on line in China the production of these bicycles is slowing to a crawl. These are good bicycles. No they are not Raleighs but like the classic Raleigh they will be a thing of the past soon enough. I think they are a couple of notches above the India version having owned both. I kept the Chinese Five Rams bike and sold the Indian model. I like the cold war nostalgia "Peoples Bicycle" style. It does get looks when you ride it. My two cents.

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    Flying pigeon nyc sells shoddy bikes

    I did try this bike. I bought one for $400. After being delivered it promptly started falling apart. First the generator stopped and ripped into my tire, then my bike seat starting falling down. However, when i was riding down the brooklyn bridge and my brakes fell off completely- that was the clincher. I took it to bike shops- they said it was a junk bike- the metal is not rust proof, the components are bad and not worth fixing etc etc. Also none of these places even had parts for this thing. I tried to return the bike- Ian at Flying pigeon said no returns ( wonder why ). I finally just gave the bike to a used bike shop- and I had to actually convince them to take it for free.

    Buyers beware.

    If you like the style buy a used Raleigh DL1- same price- much higher quality. Or try the Batavus Bato. Also many vintage shops will build you a black bike with fenders- the result would have better brakes- better pedals etc. (the seat on the pigeons is plastic- yikes )

  23. #23
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    I agree that $400 for that bike is way too much, and would rather go for a pake 6 speed if i wanted to buy a bike like that at this time.

    http://www.pakebikes.com/nunubatmobile.html

    American bicycle companies need to make bikes like this that are cheap and available to the masses. I am glad to see pake making this bike. They have some of these at one of the LBS around here, and it looked like a sturdy bike, with fenders and a bell, it is ready to go. If i remember correctly, it is around $300.

  24. #24
    Senior Member halfro's Avatar
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    They had those bikes when I was in the Peace Corps (Tonga). I looked at them and moved on rather quickly to a standard beach cruiser. The beach cruiser was a better choice, but the Pigeon had a lot of extras (generator and stand). The build quality was bad. And it was heavy. They were $100 Pa'anga... about $50.

  25. #25
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    I agree that $400 for that bike is way too much, and would rather go for a pake 6 speed if i wanted to buy a bike like that at this time.

    http://www.pakebikes.com/nunubatmobile.html

    American bicycle companies need to make bikes like this that are cheap and available to the masses. I am glad to see pake making this bike. They have some of these at one of the LBS around here, and it looked like a sturdy bike, with fenders and a bell, it is ready to go. If i remember correctly, it is around $300.
    I don't think they can do it, for a variety of reasons. Remember Huffy? Couldn't compete with bottom price bikes and went from Union to nonunion labor, then Mexico and off to China in a period of less than 5 years. Also from what I have observed Americans as a general rule could care less where their products come from, just want cheap prices regardless of the cost.

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 08-25-08 at 03:36 PM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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