Please Buy This $700 Team Saturn Race Bike So I Don't Have To

Yes, that's Saturn the car. No, GM didn't build it.

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Photo: Craigslist

Every few years, America decides that it will compete with the rest of the world in soccer, and we all watch with some understanding as we get clobbered in the World Cup. Every few years, America decides it will compete with the rest of the world in cycling, and we all watch with some understanding as we get clobbered in the Tour de France. Every few years, America decides it will compete with the rest of the world in producing fuel-efficient compact cars, and we watch with some understanding as we go right on back to just making trucks and SUVs. Here, I present an intersection of two of these three cyclical inevitables: an orange bicycle.

Let me also say that a lot of “modern” bikes go obsolete. A carbon frame from 20 years ago might not only be sketchier than a new steel one, but heavier, too. Some buyers will turn away a disc brake bike from even a few years ago for not having through-axles. So where does that leave this incredible orange GT in Los Angeles for just $700?

Well, though this is a (relatively) modern race bike, it’s somewhat future-proof. It’s a cyclocross bike, so not having discs isn’t completely obsolete. Plenty of people still race CX with cantilever brakes. It’s the same story with the steel frame. The general spec of the bike as it sits isn’t all that different from a cyclocross bike of 30 years ago, five years ago, or probably five years in the future.

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But this is not a story about hunting for a deal on a race bike. This is about the sponsorship.

Image for article titled Please Buy This $700 Team Saturn Race Bike So I Don't Have To
Photo: Craigslist
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Image for article titled Please Buy This $700 Team Saturn Race Bike So I Don't Have To
Photo: Craigslist

You see, this is a Team Saturn bike. Not Saturne the house brand for Specialized. Saturn the car. The plastic fantastic. The pride of Reagan-era, Roger and Me General Motors.

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As it turns out, Saturn the car company was a big-time sponsor of American bike racing. That I knew nothing about this until yesterday (when my buddy Luke texted me this listing) gives perhaps some context to Saturn cancelling its big-time sponsorship of bike racing in 2003. Saturn won everything there was to win, and called it quits, as the New York Times reported at the time:

While Lance Armstrong of the United States Postal Service team has dominated international cycling by winning the last five Tours de France, the Saturn team has quietly dominated the sport at home. Today, after its most successful racing year ever, the Saturn Corporation will announce that it is ending its 12-year sponsorship of its men’s and women’s teams.

[...]

The Saturn teams are essentially domestic. This year, the Saturn men have won the United States pro championship (Mark McCormack); the Tour of Georgia, the longest stage race in the United States (Chris Horner); and last Sunday’s T-Mobile International in San Francisco (Horner, with McCormack second). McCormack was the Pro Cycling Tour’s season point leader, with Horner second.

The Saturn women’s team, like the men’s, ranks first in the nation. One of its riders, Lynn Bessette of Canada, is the national leader.

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Again, Saturn won it all, didn’t make a dent in the national consciousness, and decided it had better things to do with its marketing budget.

Did it?

Whatever! Who cares. Saturn died not long after its bike sponsorship, so we are left with this two-wheeled machine as something of an orphan. Here are the specs of the particular bike, from its for-sale ad:

1998 GT Team Saturn Cyclocross frame custom built for the race team, in CO, USA

Reynolds 853 main triangle with 725 stays

52cm seat tube
54cm top tube

The rear dropouts are Henry James Custom Series vertical road dropouts.

The bottom bracket is stamped SAT 98055 (Team Saturn 1998).

1" head tube, 27.2 seat tube, no additional braze ons.

Selling the complete bike as photos. All the parts are older and whoever buys this will probably upgrade everything.

I bought this in 2009 but it was too small so I gave it to my dad. He rarely rode it and now it’s up for sale. Not sure if a collector would want this or just someone who likes boutique vintage steel

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I am someone who likes boutique vintage steel, particularly when there is a fierce feeling of 2000s nostalgia baked into every atom of its triple-triangle frame. I need this bike in the same way as I need to buy another yellow Hummer H2 CD player clock radio like I had on my nightstand through high school.

Please buy this bike, race this bike, cherish this bike, so that I am not compelled to put in a Bike Flights order from LA.