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Why do some people refer to some bicycles as BSO?

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Why do some people refer to some bicycles as BSO?

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Old 01-18-19, 10:40 AM
  #51  
Maelochs
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Those really, really bottom end bikes are almost better than the $200 full-suspension bikes. Ten-speed or 3x5 with thumb-shifters, bolt on wheels, one-piece cranks and stamped steel calipers; they're like AK-47s. They're loose and sloppy, and they never work well, but they're so simple, they always work, through the kinds of treatment/abuse that would break other, supposedly better bikes..
Having broken a bunch of the cheap bikes, but not a bunch of better ones, I'd have to not agree.
Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
It's when mfgrs try to add features on the cheap like disks and suspension, that you get truly crappy bikes.
Also exceedingly cheap and often plastic everything else, nowadays. All that stuff bends and breaks and fails.

If I were going ultra-cheap, it would have to be a single-speed cruiser ... which i have no use for.

Again, here and there, one can find a person who has a really bad bike that has lasted. For every story I hear about "I crossed America on a $99 Walmart bike," I have personally broken a BSO just commuting in a tough urban environment. So, you keep your bike and ride it and love it. That's great. Experience has shown me that if I had it, It would be broken.
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Old 01-18-19, 10:45 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
Well, I'm serious. Cheap violins = VSO?

I don't know if one violin is better than another as they all can sound horrible if a horrible "musician" is trying to play them.

To me any grand piano only sounds as good as its player provided the instrument is correctly voiced, tuned and regulated.

I do agree that some products marketed as "bicycles" leave much to be desired.
I'd put a good dividing line for a BSO as where the bike actively makes you want to not ride it. I had one once. The shifting sucked and wouldn't stay in adjustment. Brakes were passable but not entirely effective. The "full suspension" bobbed terribly under any sort of pedaling. We ended up giving it away and I have never missed it. I would and have recommend a 20-30 year old bike shop bike in fair shape over anything new from the various department stores. Honestly, considering that department store bikes may be the sole cycling impression of much of the US population, it's no wonder that there aren't more cyclists.
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Old 01-18-19, 10:52 AM
  #53  
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I suspect if you hand a new $500 unassembled Trek to a Walmart assembler...the Trek is going to ride like crap too.
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Old 01-18-19, 10:55 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
I think it's kind of mean. All bikes matter.
+1

Everybody has to start somewhere. Inexpensive bikes are the only way in for some folks.

How about REBSO for ridiculously expensive bike shaped object for something like a $15K Cervelo ...
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Old 01-18-19, 11:01 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Those really, really bottom end bikes are almost better than the $200 full-suspension bikes. Ten-speed or 3x5 with thumb-shifters, bolt on wheels, one-piece cranks and stamped steel calipers; they're like AK-47s. They're loose and sloppy, and they never work well, but they're so simple, they always work, through the kinds of treatment/abuse that would break other, supposedly better bikes.
It's when mfgrs try to add features on the cheap like disks and suspension, that you get truly crappy bikes.
I agree. If this bike had a suspension fork or any of that jazz, I'd likely have found someone who needed a bike and gave it to them. But since it's got a rigid frame and wide tires it makes a nice gravel bike. Certainly better to tear this bike up on our country roads than my hybrid.
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Old 01-18-19, 11:09 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
I'd put a good dividing line for a BSO as where the bike actively makes you want to not ride it. I had one once. The shifting sucked and wouldn't stay in adjustment. Brakes were passable but not entirely effective. The "full suspension" bobbed terribly under any sort of pedaling. We ended up giving it away and I have never missed it. .
I agree. The bike I had when I got serious about cycling was a Walmart mountain bike. Thing was quite a bit too small for me, but regardless it was about 40 pounds, the shifters wouldn't stay in place, the front wheel had a perpetual wobble I was never able to completely get rid of. I thought it was just me that everyone else rode so much faster than I did, when I was pushing as hard as I could to get going about 13 MPH. And forget about using the big chain ring, you just couldn't pedal unless you went down a really big hill. If I hadn't gotten a new bike I'd likely have given up on cycling, and I was happy to give that bike away.
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Old 01-18-19, 11:20 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I have personally broken a BSO just commuting in a tough urban environment. So, you keep your bike and ride it and love it. That's great. Experience has shown me that if I had it, It would be broken.
I have to wonder about the alleged superior durability/reliability for commuting in "tough urban environments" of the so-called better bicycles touted by BF enthusiasts.

The toughest environment most computer bicycles likely endure is long exposure to the weather while parked outdoors, or wear and tear while parking on crowded bicycle racks such as those found on college campuses, environments usually avoided by those with expensive bicycles.

Icy heavily salted streets are another tough environment for any bicycle and I doubt that bicycles with an LBS provenance fare much better than any other bicycle given the same amount of care.
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Old 01-18-19, 11:35 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I suspect if you hand a new $500 unassembled Trek to a Walmart assembler...the Trek is going to ride like crap too.
Or assembled by an employee of some LBS's who hasn't been given sufficient appreciation (beer, pastry or cash) by the customer to make him/her a member of the owner's preferred customer list.
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Old 01-18-19, 11:50 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Or assembled by an employee of some LBS's who hasn't been given sufficient appreciation (beer, pastry or cash) by the customer to make him/her a member of the owner's preferred customer list.

That's never been my experience, and I've bought from several LBS. No question some techs are better than others, but I've never run into that level of corruption and/or incompetence.
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Old 01-18-19, 12:00 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
That's never been my experience, and I've bought from several LBS. No question some techs are better than others, but I've never run into that level of corruption and/or incompetence.
See the thread on buying beer for LBS personnel on this sub-forum, especially post 118. Do you buy beer/beverages for your lbs/mechanic/store?
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Old 01-18-19, 12:02 PM
  #61  
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If my sole criteria was weather while left for days on a bike rack, then I'm going for simple, and cheap.

I don't leave my commuter on bike racks, though. It is in my garage at home, and when i'm at work, I park it under the back stairwell.
I have a 12-mile commute, that i put down in ~45 minutes. I'm not super-fast but i try to maintain good speed. 'Urban' riding where you may have street-sidewalk transitions, bad pavement, occasionally obstacles and other mixed surfaces,is more akin to trail riding than ' road' riding or touring.
I tend to consider my commuting style 'moderately aggressive' and prefer a lighter more nimble bike that can handle curb-hopping and fast transitions between surfaces.
Doing this day-in-day out is definitely hard on the bike. I use a retired XC racer as my commuter (Cannondale F-1000/Shimano XT) The only weak link has been flats, because I chose to go with a fast tire rather than a flat-resistant one.

I've had a number of co-workers who started riding to work, and then stopped, because something on the bike broke. Mostly 'recreational' MTBs and hybrids.
I ride farther, faster and more often, and my bike doesn't break down.


Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I have to wonder about the alleged superior durability/reliability for commuting in "tough urban environments" of the so-called better bicycles touted by BF enthusiasts.

The toughest environment most computer bicycles likely endure is long exposure to the weather while parked outdoors, or wear and tear while parking on crowded bicycle racks such as those found on college campuses, environments usually avoided by those with expensive bicycles.

Icy heavily salted streets are another tough environment for any bicycle and I doubt that bicycles with an LBS provenance fare much better than any other bicycle given the same amount of care.
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Old 01-18-19, 12:09 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
See the thread on buying beer for LBS personnel on this sub-forum, especially post 118. Do you buy beer/beverages for your lbs/mechanic/store?

So you went from that post to it's common for untipped people to do a crappy job at the LBS?

You might hurt something stretching that far.
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Old 01-18-19, 12:40 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
So you went from that post to it's common for untipped people to do a crappy job at the LBS?

You might hurt something stretching that far.
I would expect inferior service likely be given to customers who don't belong to the "mechanics appreciation club" from any store with an owner/management holding the attitudes expressed in that post. In fact I suspect the owner would encourage it in order to preserve the special status given to his preferred customers and friends.
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Old 01-18-19, 12:44 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I would expect inferior service likely be given to customers who don't belong to the "mechanics appreciation club" from any store with an owner/management holding the attitudes expressed in that post. In fact I suspect the owner would encourage it in order to preserve the special status given to his preferred customers and friends.
Damn, bro,

Did a bike mechanic steal your girlfriend?
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Old 01-18-19, 12:51 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I would expect inferior service likely be given to customers who don't belong to the "mechanics appreciation club" from any store with an owner/management holding the attitudes expressed in that post. In fact I suspect the owner would encourage it in order to preserve the special status given to his preferred customers and friends.
All I can say is that my experience is completely counter to your expectations. And like I said, that's one post.

Some bike shops are better than others, just like some department store bikes are better than others.
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Old 01-18-19, 02:46 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
All I can say is that my experience is completely counter to your expectations. And like I said, that's one post.
True, that was one post; followed by responses from several posters who agreed with the owner's attitude that only cheapskates and ungrateful clods don't provide treats and tips to LBS employees and/or are not desirous of being pals/bros with the mechanics.
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Old 01-18-19, 02:58 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I have to wonder about the alleged superior durability/reliability for commuting in "tough urban environments" of the so-called better bicycles touted by BF enthusiasts.
I think that my commuter bike is relatively bombproof compared to most of the more expensive bikes, and likely to be considered a BSO by some. I don't use the term though. To me a bike is a tool, selected for attributes appropriate for a given purpose, and it's still just a bike regardless of the purpose.
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Old 01-18-19, 03:03 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
True, that was one post; followed by responses from several posters who agreed with the owner's attitude that only cheapskates and ungrateful clods don't provide treats and tips to LBS employees and/or are not desirous of being pals/bros with the mechanics.
Did you have to make any special modifications to your bike to support the weight of the massive chip on your shoulder?
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Old 01-18-19, 03:23 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
True, that was one post; followed by responses from several posters who agreed with the owner's attitude that only cheapskates and ungrateful clods don't provide treats and tips to LBS employees and/or are not desirous of being pals/bros with the mechanics.

Actually, there are 15 posts after that one, and most of them respond negatively to it. I don't think he's typical at all of the business.

I gave a guy at an LBS an apple this summer, but that's because we had a nice conversation when I bought a tube and I had just been to a farm. I did not feel it was obligatory, or for that matter, a tip. I just liked the guy and had a good apple to give away.

I doubt seriously they treated people without apples badly that day.
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Old 01-18-19, 03:40 PM
  #70  
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Well, think about this. You buy some tools online. They're shipped directly from China, the pictures look great, and they're super cheap. 1/5th the price of other tools.

You get them, they're packaged well, they look good. You take the drill bits out and try to drill some holes. Works fine at first... but after a few holes they dull and no matter how much you sharpen them, they never go back to their original state. Eventually one of them warps and another snaps. The screwdriver bits too snap and warp. The pliers rust after 3 months and become difficult to use. Etc. etc. This is how BSOs perform.

If all you ever do is drill a hole in your drywall every couple of years, yeah, a chinesium drill bit will work for you. If you drill holes every day in wood, metal, and other materials, you'll be splurging on the tools that can handle that sort of job.
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Old 01-18-19, 03:52 PM
  #71  
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FSP (financially strapped people) either buy a SmB (Supermarket Bicycle) or if capable, piece together something they happen to find.

It was a real sense of achievement to save up & buy my first new SmB bicycle. The snow I shoveled, lawns I mowed, small engines I fixed & whatever else all helped pay for that SmB. I treated that two wheeled object as if it were a custom built drop bar roadie... even though it was just a cheap Huffy.
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Old 01-18-19, 04:51 PM
  #72  
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In my view, today's bikes are made in a manner akin to the Ford Model T, which as Deming described it, was shipped from the factory with minimal testing. Each Model T had to be adjusted and often repaired by the dealer before it could be sold. Up through the 80s, cars had to be reworked at the end of the production line, and still suffered from numerous defects upon delivery. This was business as usual. Modern quality practices took a couple of decades to arrive in Japan, followed by the US and finally Europe.

Today's bikes are maybe a few decades behind cars in terms of quality. A bike can be expected to have some defects upon delivery, often enough to justify attention from the dealer or customer, such as checking for lubrication, adjusting bearings, and tensioning the spokes. Once those issues are taken care of, and with an appropriate level of routine maintenance, a cheap "department store" bike can in fact provide reliable service. This was equally true in the 1980s, when I worked on a lot of those bikes for friends.

Okay, so are cheap bikes really worse? Over the years I've noticed that while a cheap bike can be maintained, it requires more frequent attention, and the adjustments are more tricky due to poor fit and finish of components. But the issues are rarely insurmountable. I can put virtually any bike into a condition that will give you at least a couple more years of service.

Do I like those bikes? No. Things like lighter components, higher quality wheels, and tires, make a noticeable difference for me. Since I enjoy messing with older bikes and parts, the fit and finish of nicer parts is important to me, within reason. I like the aesthetics of a nicer bike.

There's a widespread attitude that a cheap bike will deteriorate into a wreck in a few weeks, which I don't believe. What I do believe is that your experience with cycling will be vastly improved if you are reasonably mechanically inclined and pay attention to detail when you maintain your bike. I don't think the bike technology itself is ready for the expectation of a bike being maintenance free.
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Old 01-18-19, 05:41 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Damn, bro,

Did a bike mechanic steal your girlfriend?
Originally Posted by balut bandit View Post
Did you have to make any special modifications to your bike to support the weight of the massive chip on your shoulder?
Some bicycle mechanics must really believe they are something special for doing their paid job, and expect praise and tribute from an adoring LBS clientele, eh? And some resort to hominem arguments to defend their worthiness for extra handouts from the customers.
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Old 01-18-19, 07:19 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Some bicycle mechanics must really believe they are something special for doing their paid job, and expect praise and tribute from an adoring LBS clientele, eh? And some resort to hominem arguments to defend their worthiness for extra handouts from the customers.
You're confused again Chippy.

I'm not a bicycle mechanic - just another normal guy who commented on your very odd posts wherein you incessantly whine about people who you perceive to be more privileged than you are.

So did you have to modify your bike or not?
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Old 01-18-19, 09:08 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
The difference being....A Honda Civic is a perfectly serviceable vehicle that will last a very long service life if maintained, and presuming it fits the users needs.

A $100 (PRIME!) GMC Denali "road bike" off Amazon...will last 6-months to a year before the all bearings are junk, the wheels are blowing spokes because of never being stress relieved, etc...just from casual funsies bike path riding once a week or two a mile. Much the same WalMart cheapo bikes will fail in the same way--presuming it was even assembled properly to start with.

I have a coworker on his 6th El Cheapo BSO off Amazon in 6 years. Because it is cheaper to buy them and throw them away than fix them. All he does is ride a mile or so to work and back.
My Roadtech did not break spokes or bend a wheel, nothing on it broke until I wrecked it. And I rode it hard. I only serviced it to replace parts that had not even wore out. Not all the bikes are that bad, but they could be better, or at least be built like it's 2006.
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