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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 01-21-19, 07:50 PM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by fullergarrett View Post
i don't know why, but i saw something tonight and it immediately made me think about this thread. Excuse me if this has already been mentioned here...

For many people, bikes are their only mode of transportation. I'm not talking about people who choose to only bike, i'm talking about people who don't have a say in the matter. For instance, the homeless population - or other members of the population who can't afford a car. Especially in "rural" towns like the one i live in where there is no form of public transportation, having a bike may be the only way they can get around.

For a large number of those people, they can't just go to a local bike shop and pay out $1,000 on a bike. They're looking for something cheap and will do the trick. For many of them, walmart (or other department store) bikes - eh, bso's - fit the bill. They may find a walmart bike on the curbside or trash somewhere and "adopt" it.

I think it's very easy to forget about that population. I met a guy tonight who was using a diamondback mountain bike as his primary mode of transportation - rode it to a restaurant even though it's just around 32*f outside. At a former job i had, a guy rode his bike in the rain to my place of employment to inquire about a job.

Just because many people have ferrari's doesn't mean there are people out there relying on mitsubishi mirages, yugos, or ford pintos because that is all they can afford.
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Old 01-22-19, 01:04 AM
  #127  
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BSOs

Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
What would you think about a grand piano that cannot be correctly tuned, and which always sounds like the sustain pedal is pressed because the damper doesn't do anything?
As a piano technician I regularly hear the phrase "Piano shaped object" referring to a (usually) Chinese piano. Like bikes, cheaply made pianos can be made to play adequately by a good technician, but often the cost of properly adjusting and correcting manufacturing defects is sometimes near the cost of the instrument.

Remember, a bad bike gives one BETTER exercise (though it may be a bit frustrating and definitely not competitive with better bikes).

The biggest problem with "BSOs" is that they will be owned and used mostly by people who don't actually use them and in the end they will rust away, neglected.
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Old 01-22-19, 01:24 AM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by oldbear63 View Post
Remember, a bad bike gives one BETTER exercise
No it doesn't. If I'm on a better-performing bike, it's not any easier, I just perform better.

A bike which is less reliable gives one less reliable exercise.
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Old 01-22-19, 01:48 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
No it doesn't. If I'm on a better-performing bike, it's not any easier, I just perform better.

A bike which is less reliable gives one less reliable exercise.
No, you are just more frustrated! Its all part of keeping up with the pack. Your "bad bike" is miles better than a good bike of 100 years ago.

I love my "good bike", but what keeps me putting in miles on it is that it makes me competitive with the rest of my friends. (OK, and it doesn't hurt my back or knees).
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Old 01-22-19, 06:12 AM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by oldbear63 View Post
No, you are just more frustrated! Its all part of keeping up with the pack. Your "bad bike" is miles better than a good bike of 100 years ago.

I love my "good bike", but what keeps me putting in miles on it is that it makes me competitive with the rest of my friends. (OK, and it doesn't hurt my back or knees).

Whether it's a" better " workout depends what you are working out for. All things other than bike being equal, the good bike is likely to give you a more aerobic workout, meaning you can maintain the workout longer. You're probably going to need to apply more torque on the pedals on the bad bike to keep it moving, so it's better for leg muscle building, but probably worse for sustainable cardio.

There's an argument to be made for going back and forth between the two, but I would find that difficult to maintain psychologically.

Just in terms of performance, the riding characteristic of bikes with Claris or worse I find most frustrating is the really crappy shifting. I actually find riding a heavy bike kind of fun in a bizarre way, it really works my legs hard, and going up a hill on the good bike feels like flying in comparison. I just think if I regularly scheduled a day or so of riding on such a bike regularly, that day's riding would feel like a chore, and I never want my riding to turn into that. I'm a cyclist because it's fun, otherwise I would just stick to the gym.

I see people who have to ride because they have no car using the same Walmart bike for years,btw, so I'm really not a fan of the bso label.

Maybe a better thread might be people who have succeeded in getting decent department store bikes explaining what to look for. Might be a little more helpful than the usual "spend a bit more money than you have or look on Craigslist" advice that most people post here.
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Old 01-22-19, 08:20 AM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
A bike which is less reliable gives one less reliable exercise.
Exactly. Most of the BSOs from HelMart aren't meant to move more than a few miles to a few hundred miles. Some people get them because they are cheap and then discover that they are expensive to maintain.

Originally Posted by oldbear63 View Post
No, you are just more frustrated! Its all part of keeping up with the pack.
I doubt that any one buying a HelMart bike is ever going to be part of any "pack", much less try to keep up with one.

Originally Posted by oldbear63 View Post
Your "bad bike" is miles better than a good bike of 100 years ago.
Not necessarily. Bikes from the late 1800 to early 1900s were generally of good quality. They may not have had multi-gear drivetrains but they were items of fairly high status. On the other hand, a HelMart bike from 2000 is a much better quality bike then a HelMart bike from 2018. Neither is a great quality bike but the newer ones are being made with ever poorer materials.
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Old 01-22-19, 08:31 AM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by fullergarrett View Post
I don't know why, but I saw something tonight and it immediately made me think about this thread. Excuse me if this has already been mentioned here...

For many people, bikes are their only mode of transportation. I'm not talking about people who choose to only bike, I'm talking about people who don't have a say in the matter. For instance, the homeless population - or other members of the population who can't afford a car. Especially in "rural" towns like the one I live in where there is no form of public transportation, having a bike may be the only way they can get around.

For a large number of those people, they can't just go to a local bike shop and pay out $1,000 on a bike. They're looking for something cheap and will do the trick. For many of them, Walmart (or other department store) bikes - eh, BSO's - fit the bill. They may find a Walmart bike on the curbside or trash somewhere and "adopt" it.

I think it's very easy to forget about that population. I met a guy tonight who was using a Diamondback mountain bike as his primary mode of transportation - rode it to a restaurant even though it's just around 32*F outside. At a former job I had, a guy rode his bike in the rain to my place of employment to inquire about a job.

Just because many people have Ferrari's doesn't mean there are people out there relying on Mitsubishi Mirages, Yugos, or Ford Pintos because that is all they can afford.
This description doesn't fit the majority of people on this forum. You are talking about the outliers.

We are here because we are bicycle enthusiasts and the majority of us, I would guess 98% or better, have no problem spending $1000+ on a bike that gets ridden a few thousand miles per year. We are recreational cyclists and some of us are racers. And as such, we know that BSO's are pieces of garbage. Either from owning one at one time, or just being able to look at it and recognizing the cheap components. We know they aren't reliable.

The OPs Schwinn Discoverer is just that...A $288 BSO.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Discover-700c-Men-s-Hybrid-Bike/15939398?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1129&adid=22222222227017326984&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=56457 930489&wl4=pla-89148070809&wl5=9019169&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=112562632&wl11=online&wl12=15939398&wl13=&veh=se m&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9MfsxM2B4AIVGR6tBh38Eg7zEAQYASABEgKjcvD_BwE

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Old 01-22-19, 08:49 AM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
This description doesn't fit the majority of people on this forum. You are talking about the outliers.

We are here because we are bicycle enthusiasts and the majority of us, I would guess 98% or better, have no problem spending $1000+ on a bike that gets ridden a few thousand miles per year. We are recreational cyclists and some of us are racers. And as such, we know that BSO's are pieces of garbage. Either from owning one at one time, or just being able to look at it and recognizing the cheap components. We know they aren't reliable.

The OPs Schwinn Discoverer is just that...A $288 BSO.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-D...SABEgKjcvD_BwE

Gee, I would think the phrase "General Cycling" would indicate that this forum is not just aimed at the enthusiast with substantial disposable income. I would guess that your "98% or better" figure is wayyyyyyyyy off if we're including people who come here looking for advice, not just the regular posters.

I really think that if there are people who manage to find decent serviceable new $200-300 bikes, it would be a much more productive discussion than the endless blanket condemnation of cheap bikes as BSOs.
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Old 01-22-19, 10:22 AM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Gee, I would think the phrase "General Cycling" would indicate that this forum is not just aimed at the enthusiast with substantial disposable income. I would guess that your "98% or better" figure is wayyyyyyyyy off if we're including people who come here looking for advice, not just the regular posters.
Exclusivity is the trick though. The snobs, elitists and LBS employee/owner/affiliated bike club members who consistently bash Big Box Store bicycles and offer biased and hyperbolic failure stories about so-called BSO (i.e. bicycles without an LBS provenance) on BF threads, think only of people who share their own self-styled serious bicycling profile when discussing people who buy or ride bicycles and ignore all those less worthy people who don't share their enthusiasms and/or emphasis on maximizing sporty performance,often regardless of cost or the value received.

Guaranteed that the less worthy people will never be asked to join the cycling clique who believe they alone "know" all about "real" bicycling.
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Old 01-22-19, 10:56 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Exclusivity is the trick though. The snobs, elitists and LBS employee/owner/affiliated bike club members who consistently bash Big Box Store bicycles and offer biased and hyperbolic failure stories about so-called BSO (i.e. bicycles without an LBS provenance) on BF threads, think only of people who share their own self-styled serious bicycling profile when discussing people who buy or ride bicycles and ignore all those less worthy people who don't share their enthusiasms and/or emphasis on maximizing sporty performance,often regardless of cost or the value received.

Guaranteed that the less worthy people will never be asked to join the cycling clique who believe they alone "know" all about "real" bicycling.
Seems to me that's about the 9000th time you've posted pretty much the exact same comment. You jumped on me a couple of times just for saying that I had bought a bike from WM that turned out to be a truly crappy bike, and I had to explain that in my opinion it is quite likely that some WM bikes are better than others, and some are indeed not worth buying.

So, rather than beating the same "snobby club" dead horse, how about you start a thread with an OP about how to get a decent new bike for under $300 in today's money? I'd do it myself, but my track record attempting that price point has been dreadful, and I don't think I have good advice to give in this area. To me, "they're all fine" would be as not credible as the assumption that all of them are bad buys, so I really think a "how to buy a decent big box store bike" thread that actually helped people sort the deals from the trash would be helpful, certainly better than the umpteenth "snob vs. slob" debate..
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Old 01-22-19, 11:23 AM
  #136  
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The term "BSO" does not itself denote snobbery. A really snotty person could call them "Most truly wonderful and magical bikes" with so much scorn and sarcasm that the words would burn one's ears. Snobbery is the attitude, not the words.

Anyone who thinks people who do not care much about bikes come here for "advice" .... people who don't care about bikes don't want advice. They just go to whatever store and buy whatever bike. They ride it however, usually not very demandingly, and assume that whatever happens is just what happens with bikes.

I have a friend who rides a $100 Walmart Mongoose and it suits him just fine.He never works it hard enough that anything breaks, and he could not care less about smooth, effortless shifting or whatever. He likes that he can shift to make it easier to go up hills. He often rides to bus stops, puts the bike on the bus rack, then rides to his destination after getting off. The bike does everything he wants it to do.

Had I been riding that bike back when I commuted daily I doubt it would have lasted several months. Bashing over curbs and bad pavement with a big load (plus full panniers) and just the accelerated wear of riding that bike quickly for several dozen miles a day in every kind of weather ... in my experience, eats up those bikes.

My friend, on the other hand, could get 20 years of service.

Tool for the job.

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Old 01-22-19, 11:25 AM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Seems to me that's about the 9000th time you've posted pretty much the exact same comment .... etc.
Excellent. Instead of attacking each other (though for some I realize this is their only real skill) why not actually discuss ... BSOs? Why not help people choose the best of the cheapest and avoid the worst?

As @livedarklions suggests, why not be Constructive, not Destructive?
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Old 01-22-19, 11:25 AM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Seems to me that's about the 9000th time you've posted pretty much the exact same comment. You jumped on me a couple of times just for saying that I had bought a bike from WM that turned out to be a truly crappy bike, and I had to explain that in my opinion it is quite likely that some WM bikes are better than others, and some are indeed not worth buying.

So, rather than beating the same "snobby club" dead horse, how about you start a thread with an OP about how to get a decent new bike for under $300 in today's money? I'd do it myself, but my track record attempting that price point has been dreadful, and I don't think I have good advice to give in this area. To me, "they're all fine" would be as not credible as the assumption that all of them are bad buys, so I really think a "how to buy a decent big box store bike" thread that actually helped people sort the deals from the trash would be helpful, certainly better than the umpteenth "snob vs. slob" debate..
A rather peculiar response to my post agreeing with your previous comment that "Gee, I would think the phrase "General Cycling" would indicate that this forum is not just aimed at the enthusiast with substantial disposable income. I would guess that your [pj71] "98% or better" figure is wayyyyyyyyy off if we're including people who come here looking for advice, not just the regular posters.
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Old 01-22-19, 11:53 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
So, rather than beating the same "snobby club" dead horse, how about you start a thread with an OP about how to get a decent new bike for under $300 in today's money? I'd do it myself, but my track record attempting that price point has been dreadful, and I don't think I have good advice to give in this area. To me, "they're all fine" would be as not credible as the assumption that all of them are bad buys, so I really think a "how to buy a decent big box store bike" thread that actually helped people sort the deals from the trash would be helpful, certainly better than the umpteenth "snob vs. slob" debate..
It's not a thread, but the YouTube channel "KevCentral" is just that. I have no real interest in ever purchasing the vast majority of the bikes he reviews, but I really enjoy the channel for some reason. The idea of finding a "decent" quality bike at an affordable price is very appealing. I just don't personally have the patience to undertake such an adventure myself.


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Old 01-22-19, 11:59 AM
  #140  
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With regards to the previous comment that department store bikes of 20 years ago are superior to what is offered today, I would generally agree with this, but I would take it back another decade.
30 years ago, department store bikes were typically no frills, bare bones machines that worked quite well, and with a bit of routine maintenance, would serve their owners well for many years.
To draw from another previously mentioned analogy, they were the model T of bicycles. No more or less than what one needed.
Where it all went off the rails is when they tried to offer cheap, poorly engineered copies of high end machines with suspension, indexed shifting, and all the bells and whistles.
The bikes I had 30 years ago came from a big box store. They had steel frames, horizontal dropouts, friction shifting, and worked very well. I would probably still have them if they had not been stolen.
Bikes like that could still be made very inexpensively today, and would serve their users well,but they would be a hard sell, because they just ain't cool.
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Old 01-22-19, 12:03 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I really think that if there are people who manage to find decent serviceable new $200-300 bikes...
"decent" and "new $200-300 bikes" are not words that go together in a sentence.

True story.

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Old 01-22-19, 12:54 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
A rather peculiar response to my post agreeing with your previous comment that "Gee, I would think the phrase "General Cycling" would indicate that this forum is not just aimed at the enthusiast with substantial disposable income. I would guess that your [pj71] "98% or better" figure is wayyyyyyyyy off if we're including people who come here looking for advice, not just the regular posters.

It's not peculiar at all. I just thought you'd seize the opportunity to show "the snobs" they're wrong. Having been called names by you in the past, I was hoping against hope that maybe the record might stop skipping.
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Old 01-22-19, 02:15 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Here's the other not-too-subtle point, if you make the bike nice enough to ride for pleasure, it might be pretty likely to go out a door with someone. If it's not big and clunky, people will just assume you rode in with it to work when you leave at the end of the shift.
Good point, but if the thief wanted to keep it (or sell it) they might have to repaint it. These factory fleet bikes seen to be ordered a lot with distinctive paint jobs in company colors. They'll all also certainly have a company asset number more or less permanently attached.

I've seen comments suggesting that it's pretty easy to get a used one for free if you don't mind it being a little rough around the edges. And if some big industry is closing down, they might just leave all of them behind, maybe auctioned off in whole lots at scrap rate. They might be abandoned to the scrap pile for even minor repairs, too. I'm sure the fleet price per unit on a large order will be a fraction of the retail figures posted on the site, so it could easily become cheaper to buy a replacement than to pay the labor cost of, say, replacing the headset bearings.
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Old 01-22-19, 02:27 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
With regards to the previous comment that department store bikes of 20 years ago are superior to what is offered today, I would generally agree with this, but ...
I sort of agree, and disagree ... KecCentral has exposed some decent frames in the big box outlets. Seems these MFG's know how to make a good bike, just not at the price point they sell for.

But taking a Carbon Hyper X frame and building it out might prove very worthwhile. Frame alone is 2.2 lbs. All the fittings and accessories are not worth much. I could see myself doing that

Every time I strip a Trek or a Specialized and start to refit it with quality components, I realize that the backbone is good. It's just the junk they hang on it that makes it heavy (RST Spring Forks at 2700 gms) and non-responsive (cheap running gear). Replace all that and they are light and lively like their upscale top tier brethren. Same holds for the BB Store brands (in some cases)
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Old 01-22-19, 02:37 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
"decent" and "new $200-300 bikes" are not words that go together in a sentence.

True story.
Not decent but they are serviceable...depending on where you buy them. There was a Fuji mentioned above that is in that price range. It's a good serviceable bike that is likely to be dependable for a number of years. $100 HelMart specials will never live up to those. Spending just a little more money at a shop where the guy putting together the bikes isn't going to be putting together lawnmowers tomorrow goes a long way to having a bike that will last.
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Old 01-23-19, 08:52 AM
  #146  
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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’m with you in general, but I really don’t know if ”always work” and ”stamped metal calipers” can be used in the same sentence without something horrible happening to the fabric of reality....

Sure, they can be made to go through the motions. And they have more stopping power than wishful thinking. And perhaps they can be used as training tools for people about to manouver fully laden oil tankers.
But to call their level of performance for ”work” is really stretching it considerably.

Or maybe there are models less incredibly sucky than the ones I’ve encountered.
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Old 01-23-19, 06:58 PM
  #147  
Ironfish653
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post

I’m with you in general, but I really don’t know if ”always work” and ”stamped metal calipers” can be used in the same sentence without something horrible happening to the fabric of reality....

Or maybe there are models less incredibly sucky than the ones I’ve encountered.
Nah, they are pretty sucky. It's just the bar for 'adequate' performance on a bike like that is pretty low. Fortunately the demands placed on your typical $100 BSO are also pretty low.

If all you've ridden are $100 department store specials, you just don't know how much better a quality bike works.

It's when manufacturers dress up cheap bikes in flashy graphics and badly-cost-engineered 'features' that produces truly bad bikes. Passing these off as 'performance' bikes is what causes buyers to expect more of them than they can deliver.
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Old 01-23-19, 11:12 PM
  #148  
Maelochs
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post

I’m with you in general, but I really don’t know if ”always work” and ”stamped metal calipers” can be used in the same sentence without something horrible happening to the fabric of reality....

Sure, they can be made to go through the motions. And they have more stopping power than wishful thinking. And perhaps they can be used as training tools for people about to manouver fully laden oil tankers.
But to call their level of performance for ”work” is really stretching it considerably.

Or maybe there are models less incredibly sucky than the ones I’ve encountered.
Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Nah, they are pretty sucky. It's just the bar for 'adequate' performance on a bike like that is pretty low. Fortunately the demands placed on your typical $100 BSO are also pretty low.

If all you've ridden are $100 department store specials, you just don't know how much better a quality bike works.

It's when manufacturers dress up cheap bikes in flashy graphics and badly-cost-engineered 'features' that produces truly bad bikes. Passing these off as 'performance' bikes is what causes buyers to expect more of them than they can deliver.
Again, tools for jobs.

Most people who ride BSOs don't Care about "performance." The bike rolls, they pedal, they get where they wanted or needed to be. Perfect. As @IRON fish notes, it is what they are used to.

Put me in a race car and I will stall 20 times before I get rolling. Then I will never get going fast enough to get the aero to work, so the tires won't heat up, so there will be no grip, so i will be spinning everywhere. The brakes won't get hot, so I won't be able to stop. is it "better"? Not for me---or anybody around me.

I doubt anyone over the age of 12 expects "performance" from a cheezy plastic-parts F/S Wal-beast, and for kids under 12, "performance" means jumping off the bike while it is still rolling and letting it crash.

Put the BSO folks on a sporty bike, first thing is, "Seat hurts my butt." Next will be, "Seat's too high." That will be followed by "Can we flip the bars up?"

Tools for tasks. When I can turn a screw with a butter knife i don't need a pneumatic drill with a screwdriver attachment and a gas-powered compressor.

I read a story once about a guy selling his Lamborghini because he was tired of taking it to the store to get milk. Yeah, they look cool, and have tremendous potential ... but unless you do frequent track days you probably never leave first gear. He is probably driving a Ford Fiesta or something and spending his cash on a sailboat or something. Or maybe he is the guy ruining the market buying those $15K bling-bikes.
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Old 01-24-19, 12:19 AM
  #149  
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Originally Posted by JonBailey View Post
Bike-Shaped Objects?

After all, I would not expect a bicycle to be shaped like a vampire bat.

Should a grand piano be referred to as a PSO, piano-shaped object?

Now it's true that most new "automobiles" these days are WSBSO. Worn-soap-bar-shaped objects as they have no distinction or individual style as cars made in the 1950's did.

Due to the modern trend of obesity, many "people" these days are HSC, hippopotamus-shaped creatures.
People being snobs.
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Old 01-24-19, 06:48 AM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Put up the BSO folks on a sporty bike, first thing is, "Seat hurts my butt." Next will be, "Seat's too high." That will be followed by "Can we flip the bars up?"
True for some "BSO folks", but not all.
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