Budget Bikes: What's Your View?
Budget Options page. People want nice bikes, but, understandably, they also want to save money - and my vintage bicycle recommendation is not for everyone. What about a simple, basic new bike that is classic and comfortable, at a reasonable price? After all, it seems that more and more manufacturers are starting to offer exactly that.
[screen capture of video via tankww2]
The latest that has been brought to my attention in that regard, is this promotional video from Bikes Direct - an online seller of extremely inexpensive mass-produced bicycles. The video shows cyclists riding colourful mixtes along a path lined with palm trees. The caption reads: "single and 3speed Windsor retro city bikes, style which was popular in the 50s, 60s and early 70s". These are not on the Bikes Direct website yet, but I imagine they soon will be - most likely priced in the $300s. What do you think - Do they look good to you and would you consider ordering?
I am always torn when asked for my own opinion: While I want to be objective, I simply don't like most of the lower-priced bikes that are out there at the moment. I have tried 80% or so of the bicycles on my Budget Options list, and so far very few of them have made me feel that they are worth the price. It's one thing to spend a couple hundred dollars on a bike and not care, but a price tag in the range of $500-600 is a lot of money to me - too much money to spend on something that I believe is shoddily made, will likely require upgrades, will not feel entirely comfortable even with those upgrades, and may fall apart on me within a year. In the long run, I believe that such a bicycle may cost more than an "expensive" bike. And I am especially surprised to hear of people choosing the lower-end bikes, and then buying Brooks saddles, leather grips, fancy lighting and expensive pannier systems to go with them. By the time they are done upgrading, the cost of the bike can reach a price point at which they could have gotten a higher-end bicycle - with many of those upgrades already included, not to mention with a better frame and higher quality components.
Beyond that, I am not really sure what to say when asked for suggestions. I believe that a well-made, comfortable bicycle can be mass-produced at a reasonable price in the Far East. But I don't think it's happening yet. What has your experience been and what are your views on "budget bikes"?