Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's In A Name?

Yes, I'm still out here. Insomniacs rejoice!

To re-fire my creative juices, I'm wracking my brain to come up with a list of the best and worst bike brand/model names of all time. Here's what I have so far on my "best" list: 

GIANT IGUANA: Okay, so Giant cheats by using an adjective as its brand name, thus making any noun that follows it into de facto hilarity. But in my book, the Giant Iguana towers above them all. I never worked for a Giant dealership, but even in non-Giant shops, much goof-ball-itude ensued whenever someone brought a Giant Iguana in for repair. Running in circles, flailing arms, faux badly dubbed Godzilla movie dialogue, etc. 

GIANT BUTTE: Yes, I'm that immature. But c'mon... the adjective Giant and a word that's one letter away from butt? That's comedy gold. I think Giant saw the error of their ways after this one, shifting to a model naming scheme that relied on gibberish letters and numbers (although there is some mild South Park pseudo-comedy in attempting to phonetically pronounce the Giant FCR -- try it and see!) A tip, though: If you happen to find one of these at a used bike sale that would be good for your significant other, do NOT text the following to that person with your iPhone: "I saw a Giant Butte and thought of you!" Auto-correct will have you sleeping on the couch every time. 

IBIS HAKKALUGI: See a trend here? Put a childish joke in your name and I'm all over it. A green cyclocross bike named after a phlegmatic onomatopoeia? I am all up in that. Extra credit to Ibis for mocking overblown tubing names with its "Moron" tubing, featuring "more on the ends." Well played, gentlemen. Well played. 

GARY FISHER HOO KOO E KOO: Regular readers know that I have issues with Gary Fisher. But man, there's just something fun about yelling "HOO KOO E KOO!" at the top of your lungs. Don't believe me? Try to do it without smiling. And then go apologize to your neighbors. Fisher tried to re-bottle the lightning with the Wahoo, but it just wasn't the same.

So what's on my lame list? Pretty much any brand that cops out with meaningless numbers or letters (an exception is granted for the Peugeot PX10, though). Ooh, a Trek 830? Yawn. Yes, there's a Cannondale MT800 in my garage, but at least the black-on-black decals hide its exceedingly lame factory-applied moniker. Also on the lame list: Any model named after a race won by the dude whose name is the brand -- I'm lookin' at you, brand-turned-pariah Greg Lemond. Call the bike Alpe d'Huez if you want, but it still ain't gonna get my lard arse over a hill any bigger than a freeway overpass. And finally, while I like a good (okay, stupid) joke, don't try too hard to be cute (cough, RIVENDELL, snort, SURLY!)

I'm going to think of more at 3 a.m. (because that's how my brain works), but I'll leave it to you for now. Nominees? Greatest hits? Greatest misses? Bring it.


Steve Fuller said...

Karate Monkey is just so ridiculous that it brings a grin to my face. That and it's really a ninja in the bike world, it can hide about anywhere and do about anything.

Anonymous said...

wait, you love hock-a-loogie, but don't like the Surly corny names? Is it just because Surly picked their names after you had finished adolescence?

Personally... I don't think much about the names, but I still have a soft spot for the iconic model names from the Raleigh line-up of the 70's and before. The model names had been around for years and were always classy. The same could be said for the Schwinn Paramount. The LBS has a '72 chromed Paramount on display (NOS), and it really is symbolic of that era.

hey, glad to see that you weren't buried by the big snowstorm and subsequently eaten by mangy coyotes (leaving only a titanium remnant)!

Steve in Peoria

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Steve F -- You've convinced me. I'll give Surly a pass. After all, they did come up with the extra-fat Endomorph tire and corresponding Large Marge rim -- referencing one of the finest bike-themed movies of all time.

Steve K -- Thanks for shining a light on my grumpy geezerhood. Yes, I like the adolescent humor from my own adolescence, but these kids today need to get off my yard! :-) I'm with you on the classics... International, Professional, Paramount. I wish today's Raleigh and Schwinn wouldn't dilute those names by slapping them on bikes that have nothing to do with the originals, though. I noticed that Raleigh did make a pretty slick looking lugged International this year, so that's something.