So my wife and I decided that we needed to buy new mountain bikes — after all we were living in the country where they all are assembled — whether they are Giant, Marin, Trek, Cannondale…..it appears that they are all (with some small exceptions) are made in China. So we drove with our minivan to a bike shop in Shunyi (Beijing) and started going through the options. We had been biking since the early 1990s — our first bikes were Giant Iguana (mine was green and my wife’s blue). The Giant Iguana was a very strong, maneuverable, and nice to ride on bikes…. Actually I think they may have started the history of Giant in the US — I mean the Iguana may have been one of the first models to be sold in the US market…
At any rate, we had been using those (older) bikes for a long time and had them with us in Beijing – to use for the occasional errand — not that there is a good place to bike inside the city 🙂
So we decide to buy new bikes — and sure enough the bike shop in Shunyi in Jinshun Lu had Giant bikes too. After some deliberation (not too long) we settled on two Giant ATX750s – bright red bikes (and a small Giant bike for our daughter). The sales guys in the store did the assembly of the bikes and soon after that we loaded them in the minivan and headed home.
The next part will actually amuse you — believe it or not it took me a couple of years (tells you how much we rode the bikes) to notice that my bike actually was assembled wrong. I just purchased my new serious mountain bike — and one of the reasons was that the Giant ATX750 never felt the right size for me. Then I suddenly figured it out — the clerks in the store in Shunyi had assembled the front fork of the bike incorrectly – it was mounted backwards. As a result the overall bike wheel base was about 3 inches shorter, the front wheel was closer than normal to the frame and the peddles… all sort of issues.
I disassembled the front and reinstalled the fork — something that took me all in all 15 minutes. But it made a big difference. Then I thought about it — how come the Chinese guys in the store did such a poor job assembling the bikes? After all these were no low cost items — the bikes were about $500 each…! Quite a bit of pocket change for Beijing … But at the end of the day I told myself — “Don’t be surprised — this is just another example of how things are done here”. We have seen examples of such “high quality” work in many instances in many occupations – whether is fixing the wiring of the house, fixing a leaking roof on an additional room / veranda in the house, or as it turns out assembling a mountain bike. Many of the Chinese employees just do not care — they do half baked (I do not want to write a harsher word) job and just move on….
The other possibility is that the shop employs assistants that have actually never ridden a mountain bike, do not have the experience of assembly and are just cheap to employ….(that being their main asset).
So enough of that — the moral of the story is ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK ANY WORK THAT YOU HAVE DONE ON YOUR ITEMS (HOUSE, CAR, BIKE, CLOTHES….) AND DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY 🙂 as you will most certainly have problems.
Side note: I have had issues with tailored clothes too — once I had to return a new two piece suit to the tailor 3 times until it was done properly….Oh, well, the nature of the society an the economy in China!
Happy Travels and Happy Experiences – Enjoy!