The Taiwan Bicycle
Manufacturing Industry Review

Cheap Bikes and the Logic Behind Neglect

Glenn Reeves

I came across this posted question recently about the difference between police bikes and other bikes. One of the comments was dismissive of supermarket bought bikes. I think, though, that these types of bikes do a pretty good job for what is asked of them.

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This is the view in a local Carrefour store, one popular source for this type of bicycle. This is usually the best they look since once they leave here 99 out of 100 will likely never see any degree of maintenance whatsoever. No oil on the chain. No wipe-down of road grime after a couple of rainy days. No wipe-down of grime ever!

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After a few years of neglect, chains are rusty and noise levels high when being ridden. But they just keep going. If there is a problem then one of the many tiny workshops dotted about the city will have just the right bolt should you need it.

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This one rolled out of the store not so long ago. It is headed for a life of neglect. One aspect of note here is that the paint job has not been deliberately disfigured. Local utility cycling lore has it that it’s a good idea to take a can of spray paint to a new bike and make it look crappy. Thieves, who are ever watchful and on the lookout for attractive targets, will tend to pass over bikes that have been altered in this way.

Of course that is one good reason not to ever maintain your bike! What’s the point if it is likely to be stolen.

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Anyhow,  it will be around for many years to come. Perhaps it will look like this one, which probably had the grime wiped off and then a coat of paint to give it a new lease on life.

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This, rather plain, fixie’s owner has the right idea. It’s trendy and fashionable without attracting too much attention. Still, it did stand out in amongst the others. Don’t press your luck!

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If you are looking for a true workhorse that has been around for years, they are still available at a bargain price. There’s probably no danger of these being lost to opportunistic thieves. So if it’s cargo you need to get around, these are just the ticket.

Inside the shop, tucked away in the dark at the back was an ancient classic bike from the Japanese era. It was beautifully cared for and all the right parts had a lovely sheen of oil over them. Unfortunately I did not have the flash camera with me, so no shot of this. You would be careful about leaving that particular model within the reach of temptation.

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