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A Craptastic Bike with Useless Ornamentation and a Silver Lining

by Ted Johnson

Do you notice anything interesting about this bike? Look hard.

Cheap Bike with Fake Suspension

So it wasn’t all that hard, was it?

I came across this image over the weekend, but it was a version with the useless rear suspension circled. I suspect that the front suspension is ornamental as well. I went looking for the original image, and for a Website where one could purchase this piece of junk — fully expecting that Website to be Walmart.

I eventually found a Brazilian site selling this bike. But in my search, I found many Web sites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc. ridiculing this bike. Notably, yourbikehatesyou, the Facebook page and a blog written by a bike mechanic with a disdain for the ignoramuses he must suffer in order to earn his living.

And, I admit, my initial instincts were to pile on the ridicule. Which is what I did. I imagined a cynical marketing executive on the phone to his Chinese manufacturer:

Our research indicates that 9% of consumers don’t really need suspension, they just want a cheap bike that looks like it has suspension.

But out of some reflective corner of my ridiculing mind, I suddenly saw a bright side to this.

Think about all of those classic bikes that had pretend gas tanks on the top tube – as well as new cruiser bikes fishing for a retro look.

That’s right, Honey, I’m tanked! | Photo: Schwinn Cruisers

Think about those old Mattel toys with the “V-rroom” engine:

I had a Mattel X-15 trike integrated with one of those noisemakers, by the way.

This is me:

Ted with Mattel X-15 trike

And I only became more adorable with age.

But I digress.

Think of these crimes against pedaling:

Toy Motorcycle

Look Mom! No muscles! Photo: ScooterX

Or my personal pet peeve: overpriced, electric-powered, ride-on toys for kids that appeal to the status consciousness of the parents more than the developmental needs of the kids.

Licensed BMW Z4 WHITE LIMITED EDITION Ride on Toy Battery Operated Car for Kids

Who’s Daddy’s little insecure snob? Who? That’s right! | Photo Amazon.com

What they all have in common is that they carry the message, When you grow up, you’ll never have to use your legs again!

Rather than cultivating aspirations for a motorized adulthood, the craptastic bike with the fake rear suspension bike cultivates aspirations for a life of healthy pedaling. It says, When you grow up, you’ll get a better bike — maybe one with real suspension.

Here it is again:

Cheap bike with Fake Suspension Circled

And I, for one, call this progress.

 
Burley nomad 229

15 Responses to “A Craptastic Bike with Useless Ornamentation and a Silver Lining”

  1. James Webster says:

    I had a V-rrom! It drove the neighbor bonkers I thought I would never see one again

  2. MikeW says:

    I’m with you on the fake motorized cars. The kids can barely walk and someone gives them one of these things (I suspect a lot of grandparents are at fault). No wind in their hair, playing cards in their spokes, or group rides for these kids (we went on fake bomber missions – go figure). I know I had more fun as a kid than they do.

  3. listenermark says:

    Was that X-15 photo hand colored or manipulated? Your orange skin contrasts nicely with the blue paint of the Mattel.

  4. BluesCat says:

    Hmmmmmm. With your history of riding recumbent trikes, Ted, I’m surprised you’re not promoting ‘bents MORE around here!

    (he, he, he, he, he) ;)

  5. BluesCat says:

    Ted – Ya mean like the SideWinder ProCruiser?

    (guffaw) :D

    SideWinder ProCruiser

  6. Charlie Eck says:

    Sure that wasn’t Ektachrome or some other? Kodachrome usually ages pretty good!

  7. BluesCat says:

    Ted – I betcha it’d fit right on that black seat support. Even has the same angle as the boom/seat tube of yer tricycle!

    (giggle) :)

    If ya want I’ll consult to ya and contact Sidewinder and we can get ya all set up!

  8. Papa Tom says:

    I enjoyed this article very much. Yes, those cars (the ones that are, like, 1/5 scale, carry four passengers, and take up half the garage) irk me, too. My son, (the “docta”)bought one for my grandson when he was barely three. The kid drove it all over the neighborhood and, when he arrived at the playground, parked it next to all the other giant-sized Jeeps, BMW’s, and Barbie Malibu cars at the otherwise empty bike rack. Meanwhile, he’s six now and has not learned to ride a bicycle.

    In the 60′s, we had fake motors, fake windshields (Schwinn Orange Crate), and all sorts of other gadgets that made cycling feel more like driving a car, but in the end, we were still cycling.

  9. Nice take on this, keeps all us who are quick to critique in suspense. No pun intended (except that it was definitely intended.)
    Be interested to hear your take on folding bikes. A lot of people are quick to judge them as toy bikes, but here in NYC where there are small apt’s it get’s a lot of people out of their cars and out into the fresh air. And like you said, it’s good to start creating a cultural of healthy living, albeit in mysterious guise – jack

  10. Joel says:

    If I lived in a city, Jack, I would consider a folding bicycle because I could carry it into a safe place at work or in my apartment.

    The loss of riding “efficiency” would be offset by the utility of riding over walking.

    I do not think folding bicycle are “toys.”

  11. Definitely not toys. Some like the strida seem a little wonky.

    But there’s also some beautiful high end folders out that blow me away, found a video of my favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6Nsf6-_aAs

    - jack

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