There’s a petition making the rounds asking bicycle manufacturers to, put simply, make better bikes. The goal? For bikes that fail quickly to stop being produced in favor of higher quality bicycles that can last a minimum of 500 hours.

Why? Because, they say, too many of the cheap bikes sold at big box stores are failing early, break when a shop mechanic tries to repair it, or simply can’t be repaired. Sometimes that’s because threads strip or parts break, or because they use non-standard parts that aren’t replaceable.

The result is too many scrap bikes hitting the dump, and too many people becoming discouraged about using bikes as an alternative to cars. You can submit the petition here as a Google Form.

Feature photo courtesy Watts from the pile of junk bikes behind his shop. Chances are your local shop has a similar collection, too. Stuff they’ve taken on trade or that people have dropped off and never picked up, possibly because they were told the bike couldn’t be fixed. Or that the repair cost more than the bike’s original price.

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Jason D West
Jason D West
14 days ago

Thats great and all but will it add cost? People who buy $80-100 bikes want cheap bikes. $200 is a lot for many.

Kris
Kris
13 days ago
Reply to  Jason D West

Maybe at first. In time, no. How can there be a fair used market when most bikes being sold don’t last? A used bike of good quality is better than most new at the box store.

Driven
Driven
13 days ago
Reply to  Jason D West

So a $100 bike that lasts 100 hours is cheaper than a $200 bike that lasts 500 hours? The point is saving money in the long term by producing and buying goods that don’t immediately break.

Angstrom
Angstrom
13 days ago
Reply to  Jason D West

From what I see, a more rust-resistant chain would be a huge step in keeping more bikes useful. In the real world people leave bikes outside.

rodegeek
rodegeek
13 days ago
Reply to  Angstrom

Chains aren’t the problem, as they are easily and cheaply replaceable. But I’ve seen dropouts so thin they won’t stay straight and brake calipers that bend easier than a table knife.

StreetsAreForPeople
StreetsAreForPeople
7 days ago
Reply to  Jason D West

it’s fraud. they may think they’re getting a bargain with a shiny new bicycle shaped object, but when parts break suddenly and they repair cost is 1/2 the cost of the “bicycle” or the part is welded on and can’t even be repaired, then they have WASTED that money.
Used bicycles exist, and quality ones too. They might be able to pay the same amount or less for a quality used bike.

Dolan
Dolan
13 days ago

A lot of this could be achieved by just going with simpler designs. For a given budget, you could make a way higher quality and more reliable rigid 1×8 bike than a 3×8 full suspension bike like the “Hyper” BSO in the photo above. Of course, you’d still have to convince someone who knows next to nothing about bikes why the rigid bike is the better choice in the long run… no easy task.

Ultimately, we live in a market economy that doesn’t exactly do much to factor in negative externalities like filling up landfills, so I don’t hold out too much hope of this changing.

Angstrom
Angstrom
13 days ago
Reply to  Dolan

Yeah, kids want stuff that looks like what the cool kids ride. So you get “full-suspension” bikes with wobbly pivots and undamped springs that are harder to ride and break faster than a rigid bike. But they look cool…..

Dan
Dan
13 days ago

Well, from my experience most of these bikes are actually repairable. You just need to be careful to not strip things, use high quality tools and take your time.
For non standard parts I’ve almost always had some way to either use one of the fools I had on hand or modify/build a tool to do the job.
The only problem I see, is that some times, for extensive repairs, the cost for labor and parts may exceed the bikes value. But then again, it’s up to the customer to decide whether they want to put that money into that kind of bike. And if you use new parts, they are almost always higher quality than stock and are going to last. For me, that’s one bike kept out of a landfill and one happy customer.

Stephen Mc Davitt
Stephen Mc Davitt
13 days ago
Reply to  Dan

I bought a trek 3500 alpha mountain bike in 2012 and now 10 years later it is still in near original condition and I have extensively modified this bike it has never let me down yet although it is made in China it was a good investment and in may 2015 I bought my second trek 3500 at the same bike shop bikeforce Morley although it has changed hands to selling giant bikes today I am proud to own two trek 3500 alpha mountain bikes and the are completely reliable and have never broken down up to this point in time

r0b0tat0ms
r0b0tat0ms
13 days ago

Better act fast…. the $500 big-box E-bikes are almost here.

Chas
Chas
13 days ago

Very few people consider the resale of a bike when making a purchase and will NOT spend extra for a quality bike. I worked in a shop and it’s near impossible to make a cheap bike function well. Tuning cheap bikes is a nightmare.

Bob
Bob
13 days ago

The people who will see this article and petition, don’t buy cheap bikes. Wrong audience.

StreetsAreForPeople
StreetsAreForPeople
7 days ago
Reply to  Bob

many of the people seeing the petition know about bikes and bicycle repair, right audience to know what they are talking about AND they know people that they can share (social media exists) such articles with to encourage them to buy a used quality bike instead of the Hyper or Mongoose.

Tim
Tim
13 days ago

I like the internet but be careful what you wish for. I have worked as an engineer tasked with transitioning products over seas on a few projects. Its not that over seas manufacturers cant produce quality its the fact that they produce everything to exact specifications. Sounds weird right. If its written down no matter how crazy the tolerance is they will deliver it especially if its from Tiwan. Now if its not written down anything is fair game. We live in a world outsourcing but companies need to be carful about where they send their detailed drawings. NDAs do not do a thing when your training up the tribal knowledge of a community. They learn techniques and buy better equipment. Look at harbor freight and the Bauer products that are Dam near identical to the big name brands. The overseas manufacturers already sell direct on the web. Its frustrating wheb the cost benefit analysis come out and china always wins no matter what.

Dinger
Dinger
9 days ago
Reply to  Tim

^This^.

Asian manufacturers can anything you can design to the spec and quality you pay for.

Every piece of “cheap Chinese junk” you’ve ever experienced was approved by an American (or wherever you are..) product manager or buyer.

Ed Llorca
Ed Llorca
7 days ago
Reply to  Dinger

and that was his point…

rodegeek
rodegeek
13 days ago

Doubt the petition will make much difference but it’s worth a try. Big box stores could sell better (more expensive) bikes if they trained their staff to learn how to sell and to consistently engage with shoppers. Really their customer service is generally lame no matter what product category you shop for. But the business model is to have everything as self-serve as possible. Why anybody expects a bike to cost less than a softball bat and have any semblance of quality and durability is beyond me.

Jason
Jason
12 days ago

A petition, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. As long as they keep selling someone will make them.

Matt
Matt
12 days ago

As a mechanic I am amazed at the number of bikes that are more expensive to replace than repair, it’s as simple as that! It’s become like printers it’s cheaper to buy a new printer with ink than buy replacement ink. Just more landfill waste. I whole heartily believe lower income people should have access to bikes but these cheap bikes cost everyone in the end. We need to make everything last longer and end this disposable culture but first we need to lessen the wage gap and solve homelessness.

biker
11 days ago

There is actually an extremely easy way to guarantee quality. Force sellers to offer a 2-year warranty period, just the way it’s done in Europe. That way, no seller will sell a bike that won’t last as that would be fatal for their business..

Gideon.Bosch
Gideon.Bosch
11 days ago

It is not only the quality of the bikes that is a problem.Cycling has become ridiculous expensive .
We the cycleslist should boicot the industry. For xample .How is it possible for n moutain bike tyre to be more expensive.
In car tyres there are lots of tecnology and safety requirements that is build into the tyres and it is not the same bicycle tyres.WE ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF and it is nothing else than day light robbery

Dinger
Dinger
9 days ago
Reply to  Gideon.Bosch

You can’t be “ripped off” in a luxury/recreation market because the goods you’re buying aren’t essential. You don’t have to buy anything at all.

An MTB tire is more expensive than a car tire because the MTB tire is expected to be of an extremely high technical quality and is made in extremely low volumes (compared to a car tire). Ditto just about everything in enthusiast level cycling.

What has happened is that our desire and demand has caused almost unbelievable technological advancements in our “toys”. Our carbon frames and parts embarrass the aerospace industry.

For $1,500 you can buy an aluminum road bike that clowns a bike of the same price 30 years ago in every measurable way. Against inflation, that $1,500 in 1992 is almost $3k today.

Steve h
Steve h
11 days ago

It’s such a shame, I paid 150 dollars for my 12 year olds gently used Trek, I will be able to sell it on easily when he has out grown it. The bike he had before that was his older brothers Trek, that one got sold on, that’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying Walmart bikes.

Johnny
Johnny
10 days ago

Let’s ask the industry to stop being so wasteful when packaging new bikes while we’re at it. The amount of owner’s manuals and individually plastic bags per new bike box is absurd. I little part of me dies everytime I see a cable end with its own plastic bag…at this point I’m beyond resuscitation. Surly is a good example of minimal waste for the rest of the industry to follow.

Mark Jacobson
Mark Jacobson
9 days ago

In 2013 my Chinese made MTB was stolen. I bought a 2nd hand German MTB. Next month I will clock over 20k KMs, taking about 1100 hours. Ok I’m slow, but I’m 71 years old. Of course I’ve done repairs and replaced parts. But it’s still strong and has many KMs in it. I tell my friends “It’s German, It vill not break!” Mark. Brisbane, Australia.

StreetsAreForPeople
StreetsAreForPeople
7 days ago

Living wages, higher minimum wage can also be helpful in keeping people out of poverty and from making choices like this.
It’s expensive to be poor.