Here is the bike that I rode around Chengdu for a couple of weeks. It was a relatively new "Forever" bike, one of the larger brands of traditional chinese bikes. Much to my dismay, I only saw one Flying Pigeon bike in Chengdu, I guess they are really regional bike specialists. I did see quite a few pheonix bikes and one other brand starting with a Y which I can't recall.
You can still get new traditional bikes in China, they were hard to find as most bike shops sold crappy Walmart type bikes almost exclusively now, but bigger department stores and some bike shops had them. They seemed to have 26" wheels rather than the 28" size. Although, if you look at Forever's Web site it looks like they offer a wealth of traditional styles still, of the new bikes, I really only saw the 26" type like mine.
It is nice to see that they offer a postman's bike. THe post men in chengdu I saw had beautiful green bikes with gold lettering and the really cool panneirs seen here: I tried in vain to find some, although I found some cool army surplus shoulder bags, reflective vests and other neat things, no postal bags, or cool green bikes.
Anyhow, the new bikes while looking beautiful, were a bit crapperific compared to the older ones. The cranks, still cottered, looked thinner and more rough finished, almost like they were just cast instead of forged. The pedals looked cheaper, which prooved itself in how many times I had to replace mine in a couple of weeks. The stems wimpier, the headsets chintzier, etc. Still nice looking bikes, but perhaps they will not last a million years like their predecessors.
My bike had a terminally loose headset, either from crappy headset cups, or soft head tube or both, I think this was a common affliction among all chinese bikes, but it still was dissapointing.
I did add the basket, the rear integral lock and a bell. I think all that plus the three pedals cost me less than $20 US, pedals were about 5 yuan, maybe 60 cents or so.
Sam, who blogs at Shenzen Ren has a nice photo of a new bike loaded with all the bells and whistles from another manufacurer in Shenzen: click for the source post at Shenzen Ren.
Whoo, OK long rambling post today. Should have 2 more ove the weekend and then Done done done and may take a break from daily blogging for a bit to finish a big project.