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My Bicycle Shaped Object Experiment


Salty Biker
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This may be useful to some, while others would think it's pointless.

 

I decided to do a bit of an experiment. I decided to buy a bicycle shaped object (BSO), which to those of you who don't know, is what serious cyclists call a bicycle that originates from a big box store/department store, such as Game, Makro, etc. These BSO's are generally regarded as low quality, badly assembled, disposable, and some even go as far as calling them death traps, which isn't completely wrong. They are the cheapest of the cheap and are indeed made of lower quality parts and are definitely often poorly assembled by shop staff. Common things are loose nuts and screws, poorly adjusted gears and sometimes even forks put on backwards. Why would I buy this then? I'm certainly not trying to get everyone to rush to Game and buy a bike. You are most definitely better off going to a proper bike shop and getting a decent entry level bike there if you are looking for something lower cost, or look for something secondhand.

 

I must mention that I have a 2011 model BMC full sus mountain bike that has carried me for thousands of kms on dirt, as well as a somewhat respectable road bike, so I'm not pretending that these cheapy bikes are better than something from a bike shop. My point of this experiment was to see how much fun could I have on this bike and how far it'll go with regular maintenance before a major repair is needed. I understand the limitations of this bike. I won't be launching it off cliffs or shredding trails with it. I'll be riding around the suburb with it, going to the shops, beachfront, etc. I will use it in a casual manner

 

Off I went to Game and bought a Raleigh Eclipse with 26 inch tyres for R1500. It came semi-assembled in a big box with basic instructions on how to assemble, which I only read after assembling the bike (standard procedure). It has no suspension, has a steel frame, plastic cranks with steel threads for the plastic pedals, V-brakes, 21 speeds controlled by derailleurs and shifters of some unfamiliar brand and weighs 13.7kg. Pretty damn cheaply made. The welds on the frame look fine though

 

After assembling it, adjusting the gears and brakes, tightening all screws and nuts, I stood back and couldn't help but think that it was a pretty good looking bike, I'll give it that. I looked at what would probably break first and thought the flimsy plastic pedals would be the first to go. The next day would be the first ride, which had to be between 6 and 9am (thanks lockdown level 4)

 

I'll document my mileage as time goes on, repairs and costs thereof

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KM 1:

 

I was right. The first thing to break was a pedal. The threads of the pedal somehow jumped themselves in the crank and ended up stripping the threads on the pedal. Only after cycling 1km. It happened when I was stomping on the pedals to get up a hill. I suppose I shouldn't really do that to a bike in this class. I'm 1.85m tall and weigh in the region of 97kg, so maybe a bit too much pressure on the pedal. The threads in the crank looked OK though, only slightly damaged. Had to walk home. At least it was only 1km away

 

I went to Game later in the day and got replacement pedals of somewhat better quality. They cost R100. Let's see how long they last

 

Total cost of ownership so far: R1600

 

I've attached a pic of the stripped pedal threads

post-151893-0-28108200-1589466332_thumb.jpg

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KM 12:

 

This morning I went for a 10km ride with the BSO. Nothing happened besides a brake lever that got a bit loose. Tightened it up when it happened. I realised the frame is a bit small for me, but so be it. The seat is at its max safe height setting and I don't want to go higher than that. My legs are just a bit too long

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Well, my cheap Raleighs lasted me a couple of years, without any major maintenance. 

 

They took me to school and back, to sport, some fun rides with friends, did small jumps and did some off road as well.  The off road did not always go that well, it was the time before tubeless.  Perma tubes just did not ride well.  That green slime went everywhere, except in the tubes.

 

My last Raleigh was drop 3 stories to see what will happen with it. :ph34r:

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Well, my cheap Raleighs lasted me a couple of years, without any major maintenance.

 

They took me to school and back, to sport, some fun rides with friends, did small jumps and did some off road as well. The off road did not always go that well, it was the time before tubeless. Perma tubes just did not ride well. That green slime went everywhere, except in the tubes.

 

My last Raleigh was drop 3 stories to see what will happen with it. :ph34r:

Same except for dropping it from a building, damn wish I though of that

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Very interesting. Did you get the largest size they have?

The sizes came in "kids size" and "adult size", but I thought about getting the 29er version, which would've been bigger and more suited to my dimensions, but it was also more expensive. I was happy getting the 26er

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The sizes came in "kids size" and "adult size", but I thought about getting the 29er version, which would've been bigger and more suited to my dimensions, but it was also more expensive. I was happy getting the 26er

Ja, lots more tech on those 29ers.... :thumbup:

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KM 29:

 

Had to replace the brake pads already. They wore out veeeery fast! There's a short but steep hill that I have to go down to get back to where I live. I can hit over 70 km/h on it without even really trying when using my proper bikes. I don't feel like going that fast on this BSO, so I'm on the brakes for the entire stretch of the downhill, hence their quick death

 

Brake pads replaced with better pads at R70 a set, so R140 in total

 

Total cost of ownership thus far: R1740

 

Quite enjoy riding the bike. It reminds me of simpler times and is fairly comfortable, even though it's a bit small for me. I enjoy riding to the shops or just casually with it. Time will tell how much I'll enjoy it though

 

On a side note, I saw a 26er bike made by Raleigh but branded as a "McDonald's" bike in Game today for R900. I found it quite ironic but actually pretty cool in its own way. It was painted yellow and black, 21 speeds and no suspension, pretty much the same spec as my BSO. If I had seen it when I bought my BSO I might have gone with the McDonald's bike rather, just for laughs

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KM 29:

 

Had to replace the brake pads already. They wore out veeeery fast! There's a short but steep hill that I have to go down to get back to where I live. I can hit over 70 km/h on it without even really trying when using my proper bikes. I don't feel like going that fast on this BSO, so I'm on the brakes for the entire stretch of the downhill, hence their quick death

 

Brake pads replaced with better pads at R70 a set, so R140 in total

 

Total cost of ownership thus far: R1740

 

Quite enjoy riding the bike. It reminds me of simpler times and is fairly comfortable, even though it's a bit small for me. I enjoy riding to the shops or just casually with it. Time will tell how much I'll enjoy it though

 

On a side note, I saw a 26er bike made by Raleigh but branded as a "McDonald's" bike in Game today for R900. I found it quite ironic but actually pretty cool in its own way. It was painted yellow and black, 21 speeds and no suspension, pretty much the same spec as my BSO. If I had seen it when I bought my BSO I might have gone with the McDonald's bike rather, just for laughs

I’ve seen a number of those macdonalds bikes in our area. Mostly commuters using them.
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