Grand cycles 

Often, things are just not what they seem. In the past, product brand names and labels served as handy, or at least logical, guides to the items they represented. Today, those kind souls in the marketing and advertising industries, with their cross promotion, mass marketing and cultural infiltration, haven’t exactly made shopping less confusing. Take the $995 BMW bicycle, for example. It looks like a pretty nice bike, but its best feature is its label – prominently embossed on the metal frame. All in all, after buying the $40,000 BMW car and the $10,000 BMW motorcycle, maybe paying a grand for the BMW bike doesn’t seem so outrageous.

Tom A’Hearn pays attention here every other week. E-mail comments to

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