Things you can get for $48

Compared to lots of things I write here this post is pretty much about nothing, which is to say it's not a race report. This weekend the Root 66 schedule is open, thank god, so I actually have a chance to do some training/resting my knee. Unfortunately these things seem to the exact opposite, and since Linnea and I are heading to Mt. Snow I guess my knee won't catch a break. We're going to preride the obscenely hard course that experts do 5 laps of at Nationals in July. It's going to be like a 3 hour race, which is good.

Also, you may recall I tore my derailler apart last weeekend, and since I don't believe in expensive equipment I got a $49 dollar replacement SRAM X-7. I was feeling pretty good about the dollar-to-derailleur ratio on that purchase until I found out one of my coworkers bought a $48 bike from Walmart.

Did you even realize that bikes could be bought, brand new, for $48? I didn't. You can get an entire "Roadmaster Mt Fury" for the price of two entry fees, or a derailleur, or some tires. You could get 8 of these bikes, or one Reba Race fork -- but only if you search the entire internet for the cheapest Reba available.

So I went over to his place last night to help him put it together. Honestly, I was hoping it would be crappier. I guess it just goes to show that Walmart can deliver an impressively mediocre product by squeezing the life out of its suppliers. The only truly terrible thing on the bike was the brakes, which are side-pull brakes that are incredibly flimsy. I guess that's not a big deal because no one riding a bike like this is going to get up to a speed where braking is actually required, but still, they were impressively maladjusted out of the box. If I hadn't been there I think he would've ended up with zero front brake because of how much cable slack it started with.

Also, the seat post is comically short, and since it's made of the cheapest metal available the limit mark is about 6 inches up its 14-inch length. There's no way to get the post to the riding height for the average male, but the great thing is that since most non-cyclists are used to low seat heights when I put it up to the max, which is still 3-4 inches lower than I would ride, he thought it was too high. Alright, tell your knees I'm sorry.

So there's no way this bike will last more than a few years, because why would you spend more than $48 to maintain it when you could just buy a new one? Seriously, what will a bike shop do for less than $48? Isn't that the price of the standard "tune-up" most shops do, that makes your brakes work and your shifting passable?

Score one for the disposable lifestyle.

Anyway, the best implication of having a $48 bike I can think of is that, if he borrowed my lock, a thief would get a better value by cutting the bike in half and stealing the lock. Yes, my lock was $55, because I like riding my cross bike around town, and need a serious theft-prevention device since I mostly lock my bike bikes that are worth about 10% of its value. I know I am an idiot for doing this, and I'm playing with fire, and some day I will have a sad, whiny post here about how my bike got stolen. Oh well.

One other thing I forgot from earlier in the week, Thom P had a ridiculous 6th place in SemiPro last weekend on a singlespeed, and a race report worth reading. Apparently he also tried the "no-warmup" technique, but since he has legitimate base fitness when he got out of the "contemplating-DNF stage" of the race he actually rode at SemiPro speed and passed a bunch of hosers.


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