Saturday, May 24, 2008

Giant CT 102 Urban Commuter Bicycle

Giant CT 102 Urban Commuter Bike
Bevin Chu
May 24, 2008

捷安特 CT 102 城市通勤車 / Giant CT 102 Urban Commuter Bike, 2008 Model

Technical Specifications :

My new bicycle. I just bought it today. A Plain Jane urban commuter bike. Nothing fancy, but solidly built by Giant, Taiwan's premier bicycle manufacturer. Carbon steel frame. 18 speed Shimano derailleurs. Shimano brakes.

This is not a high performance bike. High performance bikes don't come with full fenders, front brackets for mounting shopping baskets, rear luggage racks, and kick stands.

Price? Under $4000NT. About US$130.

When I was living in LA during the 1980s I had a Pinarello racing bike. Italian import. Double-butted aluminum frame. 10 speed Campagnolo derailleurs. Campagnolo brakes. Sew up tires. Total weight 22 lbs. I could hold it up with one finger on one hand.

Price? US$800 in 1980 dollars. Money well spent. No regrets. It was what I wanted. It was what I got.

But that was then, this is now.

Now all I want is a dependable urban commuter bike. Something to get me to the office for work. Something to get me to the supermarket for a bottle of orange juice. Something that can withstand the punishment dished out by the badly paved roads here on Taiwan.

I went online to get a feeling for what was available at what price. Given my modest requirements, I decided this particular make and model was the one to get.

Could I have afforded a fancier bike?

Of course. But I didn't want a fancier bike. I would be too nervous leaving a fancier bike out on the sidewalk. Anything fancier would be far too likely to get stolen. It simply wouldn't be worth the aggravation.

In fact, I considered getting an even cheaper bike for just that reason.

The "big box" discount stores on Taiwan, such as Carrefours, Geant, and RT Mart, sell no name bikes for under $2000NT. About US$65. I looked them over. Let me tell you, when you go from $4000NT to $2000NT, the quality takes a big hit.

An even more serious problem with these $2000NT no name, discount store bikes, is that the frames are too small. I'm 6'-2" (187cm), and these small framed bikes simply won't allow me to position myself on the seat properly.

So in the end I settled for an entry level name brand bike by Giant.

Some friends suggested a folding bike, something I could take indoors with me so it wouldn't be stolen.

But given the size of the potholes on Taiwan, I really feel more confident riding a bike with large diameter, standard sized wheels, rather than the tiny wheels found on folding bikes.

With the tiny wheels, one gets the queasy feeling the front wheel could drop into a pothole. The bike would then stop dead, and one would go flying over the handlebars.

Giant CT 102 for 2010
Same price, same specs, different paint job