25 March 2011

When did department store become vintage?

A couple of days ago a friend of mine sent me some pictures of a bike he saw on his commute.

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There are so many classic (read: vintage) feature here...

  • Brightly colored plastic beads on the spokes.
  • The stamped tin(?) basket that looks substantial but can't really hold anything heavier than a sweatshirt.
  • The vinyl couch of a saddle. With springs!
  • Metal fenders, all class for sure.

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Note the clips to hold the cable housing to the frame tubes. And yes, that housing does run end-to-end for damn sure. Back then it was just another way to cheap out the product, now companies try to tell you it's to increase performance and keep out the gunk.

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Nothing could be more classic than the bandana wrapped around the handlebar or holding up the kickstand. And somehow purple seems an appropriate color.

Back when this bike was sold by Sears and Roebuck it was billed as affordable. And I guess the name was supposed to inspire 'freedom' and 'wind in your hair' and all that I-am-an-American-who-eats-freedom-fries-and-no-one-can-tell-me-what-to-do stuff. When I worked in bike shops about many years ago we called this kind of bike disposable. Invariably it would cost more to properly fix than it would to buy a new one. Hell, half the time fixing it was not even an option. Now I'm seeing them advertised for over two hundred dollars! Ouch.

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