Bike Talk

I noticed something while sorting bikes at my shop yesterday. Really nice bikes usually have about two words on the frame. Those two words are the manufacturer (e.g. Trek, GT, Bianchi) and the model (7100, Corsa, Volpe). Occasionally there will be one or two more, usually calling attention to a specific run or year  or something along those lines. For example:

2015 Bianchi Volpe Disc

That’s the 2015 Bianchi Volpe. It says Bianchi (okay, twice, but Bianchi is known for plastering its name on every part of a bike it possibly can). It says Volpe (once). It’s clean, attractive. classy and probably runs beautifully. Since it retails around $1500.00 it had damned well better.

This, by contrast, is a Mongoose Maneuver:


Just counting from this angle, there are at least five different words/sets of words on the frame. “Mongoose” “Maneuver” “Aluminum” “24 speed” and something unintelligible on the chainstay probably referring to some basic component of the drivetrain or brake system, like “cantilever brakes” or “revo drive”, whatever the hell that is. The shock is plastered with more words. So…the maxim that came to mind upon finding that bike after bike kept proving my analysis correct…

The value of the bike is inversely proportional to the number of different words on the frame. Bianchi can be plastered six different times on the frame but it’ll be “Bianchi” every time, denoting an exceptionally exquisite machine. Modern Mongooses -and I say “modern” because Mongoose used to make some pretty sweet bikes- are heavy, clunky pieces of shoddily-welded metal that people buy for ludicrously inflated prices at Wal-Mart. Spend $1500 on a Bianchi and you’ll take care of it, hang onto it, and ride it for the rest of your life. Spend $209.99 on a Mongoose at Wal-Mart and well, you might get a summer out of it. Maybe a full year. But you’ll hate every minute in the saddle.


I'm a writer living in Northern Colorado. I also help run the front of the house for the Fort Collins Bike Co-op. I have two cool roommates and a snorey cat. I love my life.

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2 comments on “Bike Talk
  1. It’s an interesting theory, but take into account all the small “urban” bike manufacturers who only print the brand on the frame, or sometimes even less (just a logo or something). And there are also unbranded frames you can buy straight from the manufacturers in China.

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