Do you remember the fixie storm of the early Twenty-first Century? The first global bike craze of the internet era? When it was raging, at it’s height, I had a crazy dream. If the idea that riding a minimal bike is cool, could cross-over with the tendency of poor, ignorant people to buy the cheapest bike – or the cheapest thing that looks like a bike – available, then something revolutionary might happen?
The problem with BSO’s is not that you can’t make a serviceable bike to retail for £69.99. It’s that if the bike has to look the same as one that must cost much more, the budget gets spread too thinly, cheap icing on an inedible cake. If the bike has two wheels, air tyres, brakes, pedals, cranks, chain and single sprocket or freewheel then maybe, if you economise by making tens of thousands, they might be OK. When I saw this bike in 2010……the bTwin Vitamin, made for Decathalon, I just had to buy one; a new bike for seventy quid.
It was rideable, the headset races didn’t fit the frame too well so you couldn’t eliminate all play, if you pumped the tyres up to a practical pressure they started to lift off the rim, but the brake levers and brakes were made of metal and I rode it from Surrey Quays to West Hackney via the West End without any real trouble. If I’d kept the bike I could’ve glued the races in with two-part epoxy and maybe fitted some part-worn hand-me-down tyres, but I sold it on, my curiosity satisfied.
Earlier this year I checked with the Decathlon and found the ‘Vitamin’ is no more…
Our answer to your question :
Dear Mr Field,
Thanks for your message. Unfortunately we no longer stock the Vitamin Bike, and at present there are no plans to restock.
There is no direct replacement, but I would say that our best priced bike is the RR 5.0, which is 99.99. It is a leisure mountain bike, but many people still use it for using in town. It is certainly a good bike for the price.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
Paul, from your SURREY QUAYS store
…deleted presumably because it didn’t sell. At least the suggested alternative has rigid forks but if you’re going to offer a bike for under £100 why not spend all the meager budget on essential components?
From what I know of Decathlon I presume this bike scrapes into the category ‘budget bike’? It’s not a BSO, but I can’t imagine it’s very nice to ride or will last long enough to be good value.
The fixed gear boom, it’s successor the ‘cycle-chic’ craze and their bizarre hybrid offspring ‘tweed’, all encourage alternatives to the ubiquity of the derailer. Hub gears, single-free, single-fixed are offered as options by many manufacturers today in a way they weren’t five years ago but the potential, revolutionary moment has, alas, coasted on by.