Friday, December 7, 2012

Target bikes

Eleven years ago I bought a car seat at Target for my soon-to-emerge daughter. I'm pretty sure that was the last time I was at Target. I was just at Target a couple days ago because that daughter emerged and after 10 years of living decided that Target is where she wanted to go on her birthday to purchase Barbie products.  I'm pretty sure I'll be ok with not going back for another eleven years. And I'm pretty sure I don't want to get into the details around my general take on Target and Barbie here.

Anyway. Check out the bikes that have popped up at Target. I must be an optimist, because this all gives me hope.

 First off, we have the Target fixed gear, called... wait for it... "Fix-d"

There's a lot to dislike about this bike, but there's stuff to like too. White bikes are cool. Always. It's been empirically proven. That's not an opinion; it's a fact. So there's that. Unfortunately, lime green is always an awful choice in every single case. That's also a fact.

Chubby tires are a good thing. It's hard to dis those. And there's still room for fenders there.

That front brake is as awful as it looks. No need to click for big: it's a stamped single pivot side pull steel piece of shit. The back brake looks the same.

This bike ships with a flip-flop hub and it's out the door in fixed mode. Looks like about a 46x20-- it's a pretty big cog back there.. Not too bad a gear.  And look: a chain guard. But -- it doesn't have toe straps. I'm wondering how this got by the lawyers. They're shipping a fixed gear to Joe Public's kid with  platform pedals. That could get ugly on Christmas morning when Little Joe, living at the top of a big hill, hops on his new bike and attempts to coast down.

But it's white, so that goes a long way and probably will keep the lawsuits reasonable.

This is a "Schwinn." I dig it. And you know what, I think old Ignaz would dig it too, cause this single speed, coaster-braked, 559 fatty with steel everything will out live us all. And that's what Ignaz was all about. Aside from the f'ugly unicrown fork, this bike works nicely. For $130 out the door, I'd be down for that... if I needed a campus bike. And the silly paint scheme is cool in a dorky way that I find appealing.

Note the cardboard placard in the spokes: "26 inch good for height 5' 2" and above." guess what the 700c bikes say? "28 inch good for height 5' 2" and above."

And the 29'er mountain bikes? "29 inch good for height 5' 2" and above."

It's the Target fit kit.

But this bike takes the prize. It nearly works perfectly. The paint job -- who can argue with that? No one, that's who. It's just too damn awesome. What I wouldn't do to get my mitts on those fenders. I wouldn't kill anyone, but I might rough someone up a bit...

Anyway: one piece crank, chain guard, double kickstand, bitchin (and I mean that) basket with ribbon, v-brakes against powdered red rims.


There are three things that sink this bike. Well four, cause it's too expensive): 1) the powder rims should be machined on the side walls so it would actually stop; 2) it's got a cheesy 3-speed internal hub - just go single and drop the price by $100 (it's $400) -- plus you could make it coaster brake and take another $40 or so off; 3) that damn lime green again. It just doesn't work.

Otherwise, what's not to like. Even those forks. God that paint/decal job is so rad. And the swoopy curvey step-through frame is just such a lovely shape to me.


Anonymous said...

Single-speed, coaster-brake, Schwinn--now that's a bike.


EvilElf said...

I gotta say, I really like that paint job too. I think an all paisley bike would be pretty cool. Sorry, even better than white.

amidnightrider said...

I just got a single speed and put a lime green tire on it. I think it works. It's HERE

Barb Chamberlain said...

For the record, some of us really, really like lime green. :D

Noah Sutherland said...

Walmart has been selling a fixie for a bit, too. I actually saw one locked up outside the downtown library a while back. They're black with red and yellow trim I think. Not bad for $100, but scary they're selling them to the general public like this.

adventure! said...

Is the three speed hub cheesy because it's low quality? Or is it cheesy because you don't like three speed hubs?

John Speare said...

Sorry to offend the lime green lovers.

Noah: I just saw an xmass flyer from Fred Meyer with another fixie in it. That's weird.

Adventure!! -- i've got a bit of a hang up on internal geared hubs. I've owned at least 1/2 dozen different types (two 2's, 2 threes, a five, a seven, two 8's) and all but the old Sachs Duomatic drove me batty in their adjusting fussiness and the tire changing scenario. Three speeds specifically in this config have one sort of useful gear, and two huge gears, when really you want one biggish gear, a cruiser, and a climber.

So all that is why i think it is cheesy, plus the fact that it pushes the price up more.

-- but maybe people will see that hub on there and think it makes the bike a more viable transportation option... so it's the nudge they need to buy it? I don't know.

Oh yeah, and buddy Alex has let me borrow his Rohloff bikes a few times. That's a bitchin IGH.

adventure! said...

John, I'll agree with you on the PITA factor an IGH adds to wheel changes, but we'll have to "agree to disagree" on our opinions of internally-geared hubs overall, as I'm definitely a big proponent of them.

With a three-speed you're never going to get exactly the range you want (this is why derailleur systems and their ability to be customized became popular.) A Sturmey-Archer AW hub has a gear range of 75%-100%-133% so that's what you have to work with. I find that optimized with a big enough rear cog (like a 22T) in the rear gives me a good range for around-town riding, and I can tackle a 6% or more grade ok. If I was living in a hillier city (like Spokane) where I'd be tackling big hills on a more regular basis, yeah, a three speed wouldn't be optimal.

I do agree with you that the three speed may appeal to the more casual Target shopper as a more viable option than the single-speed Schwinn. If anything, the IGH will probably work better and be easier to maintain than the Derailleur-Shaped-Objects installed on department store bikes.

Noah Sutherland said...

I was just at Target last night and they have the Fix'd on clearance for $60. Might make it worthwhile to swap out some parts. I seriously contemplated snatching it.