Thursday, February 01, 2007


“Men's mountain bike for sale. It's a used Magna Pulse with an aluminum frame. Only 8 of the 21 gears work, but if you know more about bikes than I do, you could probably make the rest work.”
—posting on Anchorage craigslist

Hmm. Do ya think someone who knows how to get those shifters and derailleurs working is going to be the kind of person who would buy a Magna bicycle?

I saw this ad a few days ago, shortly before I walked through Costco and saw a shelf full of Schwinns—which was depressing enough for anyone who remembers when Schwinn made bikes that were actually worth buying.

Anyway, it all got me thinking about all the times I've seen people happily standing in line to buy POS bikes at Costco or The Big Blue Hell, and then watched them walk out to the parking lot and load those recycling projects into nice cars.

I don't mean to be a bike snob. I know that the very cheapest bikes are all some people can afford. One of the best bike articles I read last year was Dan Koeppel's piece in Bicycling magazine about migrant workers and other people who live on the economic fringe in L.A., and depend on their department-store bikes to get to work. I know that such people don’t have the option of going to a bike shop and dropping $300 or $400.

I respect that such cheap bikes fill a need for some folks. But I’m not talkin’ about those people. I’m talkin’ about people who wouldn’t drive a Hyundai or live without cable TV, but who buy disposable bikes.

That’s just weird. I don’t understand those people.


Luke said...

"I don't mean to be a bike snob."

Um, well...yeah, Tim, you DO mean to be a bike snob. You ARE a bike snob. That's the whole raison d'etre for this blog, isn't it?

Oh, I'm SO glad that the World Wide Web will allow me to stay in regular contact like this...

Tim said...

No, seriously. I don't mean to be a bike snob. It just happens naturally.

Jeff said...

Tim, you are full of it. Magnas with 1 inch travel triple crown forks rule!

I feel bad that migrant workers can only afford 40 lb "full suspension" monstrosities...the kind with the pogo stick rear end, and the forks mentioned above.

Lots of rich folks around here with the same crappy bikes though. The bikes mostly just sit in the garage, or are eternally strapped to the back of their RV's...

Tim said...

Good point, Jeff. People who are just going to park them in the garage should buy Magnas.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine sold a car to a guy who noticed her mountain bike leaning against the wall while he was in her apartment giving her the check. He told her he should probably find some time to ride, because he had a $2,000 Stumpjumper that he never used.

That made me sick.