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Mechanics start petition calling for end of ‘built-to-fail’ bikes

The drive to stop the creation of wasteful and potentially dangerous machines

Photo by: Getty Images

A group of bicycle mechanics has started a petition calling on the industry to stop the production of so-called “built-to-fail” bikes. These are the low-quality, inexpensive bikes that fall apart quickly, if they ever worked properly, and are difficult if not impossible to repair.

The petition lists several reasons why these bikes, which often fail within 100 riding hours, are harmful to the industry as a whole. They add to landfills, are bad for the environment and “erode public confidence in the usefulness and joy of bicycles, and waste the money of the mostly poor and working-class people who buy them.”

There’s a few things wrong here…. Photo: Getty Images.

Mac Liman, a bike mechanic with more than a decade of experience, led the petition. The types of issues she continues to see on sub-$500 bikes aren’t just annoying, they’re potentially dangerous. They run from incorrectly assembled parts that could fail to frames that leak, rust and eventually fall apart.

“We are tired of telling distraught customers and riders that their bikes are made too poorly to fix, and we are tired of seeing these bikes filling up our waste streams,” the petition reads, closing “Frankly, you should be ashamed of selling bikes that last some 90 riding hours.”

crap bikes built-to-fil
Bikes shouldn’t be designed to go directly from the showroom floor to landfills. Photo: Getty

The petition’s demands are relatively basic. A minimum durability standard of at least 500 riding hours and a design that is serviceable and adjustable with the ability to replace components. That seems so basic that it is frustrating to hear so many bikes aren’t even meeting that minimal standard.

You can read and sign the petition.