The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

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Corneilius Jay
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The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 15th, 2012, 1:30 pm

I recently bought a six pack of standard bicycles and was appalled at the quality, specifically the centring of the backs.
One of the decks I noticed where all off centre to the point where they were basically a one way deck! And out of all six only two decks were (mainly) free of defects.

Is this normal or did I get a "bad batch"?

Regards,
Neil
Regards.
Neil.

Steven Keyl
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Steven Keyl » February 15th, 2012, 3:04 pm

Your results are pretty typical. Frankly, and I know I'm in the minority here, I like the "one-way bikes" because it allows for some effects you couldn't do without them.
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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 15th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Steven Keyl wrote:Your results are pretty typical.


That's a shame. I love the feel of Bikes, I reckon I'll have to go with Tally Ho's.
I've not noticed half of the discrepancies of Bicycle with Tally Ho decks which is strange seeing as they're made by the same company.

Regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Gordon Meyer
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Gordon Meyer » February 15th, 2012, 4:19 pm

It's a shame that the USPC "guarantee" (on the extra Joker) specifies that it only covers defects that make the cards unusable for normal game play. Otherwise, I'd sure love to return some of the crappy decks I've gotten. Whatever lawyer it was that wrote that text sure earned their pay.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Ken Becker » February 15th, 2012, 5:49 pm

Interesting. I had a deck with off-center backs. Returned the
Joker and Ace of Spades, and received two decks in return.
No hassle. Both new decks are fine; also great for faro shuffles.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 20th, 2012, 7:27 am

Of all the decks I own I think the most well made are the aristocrats banknotes, they also look the most sophisticated without looking "special" (which they're not)
Regards.

Neil.

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Chas Nigh
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Chas Nigh » February 20th, 2012, 1:09 pm

Aristocrats are probably the finest back ever developed.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Chas Nigh » February 20th, 2012, 3:44 pm

Recently purchased a block of Bikes at Costco. A little soft but the finish is pretty nice for fanning and manip. Also they all come with a colored Joker.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » February 23rd, 2012, 4:55 am

The market for unique deck designs have produced some very exotic results. At Magic Apple in Studio City there are perhaps 40 different back designs. Some have reversed the spot colors or changed them to silver/black, but almost all seem to have slightly different feel in the hand. Brent and Anthony (of Magic Apple) might the be the guys to ask about the quality of specific decks. I ordered a "block" from the Conjuring Arts Research Center (this forums illustrious benefactor) of the air cushioned Bicycle packs, they are great. I have a personal affection for the Bicycle "Steam Punk" deck (being an Orange County native). All of these decks are a little more expensive then the off the rack packs you find at Walgreens, but quality always comes at a price.

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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 23rd, 2012, 10:17 am

Mr Pendragon.
Firstly let me just say I'm a huge fan, I grew up watching you and your showmanship is a sight to behold.

I just think its a shame that an institution like the USPCC can't do better with the decks of cards that that every (Magician anyway) identifies as being there signature work.
I believe the steam punk deck is a theory 11 creation but still made by the USPCC, strange how they can keep the backs on that deck centred when they can't on the decks that actually make them a household name.

Kind regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Andres Reynoso » February 23rd, 2012, 11:56 am

Somebody have tried the Aladdin deck? Two years ago it was selled here in Mexico in a local department store (wal-mart subsidiary)for the equivalent of 2 dollars. half the price of bikes.

I have work well with Aladdin, but sincerly I'm not good in feel diferences between USPC editions. A fellow magician that trades a lot of playing cards types tryed some shuffles with them and told me are equal to bikes. Another magician told me this cards are made with extra plastic cover (or thicker, I'm not sure) because is an edition for distribution in Thailand and needs to support extra wet in the environment.

Anybody knows something about this deck?
Andres Reynoso

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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 23rd, 2012, 12:07 pm

Mr Reynoso.
Are these the cards you mean?

http://the1eyedjack.blogspot.com/2008/0 ... inish.html

I wouldn't mind trying these out myself.

Regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 23rd, 2012, 8:13 pm

Chas Nigh wrote:Aristocrats are probably the finest back ever developed.


I do agree they are nice and I also love the deep colours of the faces too, they really are as elegant as their name suggests.

Regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

Edward Pungot
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Edward Pungot » February 23rd, 2012, 9:42 pm

Not only that, but Aristocrats have matching jokers PLUS a blank card to boot. How sweet is that?

Aladdins appear to be popular in humid areas because of the finish. But they are still paper-board inside so eventually the warp will creep in and reek havoc.

Im looking to get a few 100% Plastic Bicycle Playing Cards for myself and a friend of mine. Personally, I have yet to give the plastic cards a feel, so Im curious as to potential for future use as I frequent the Philippine and Hawaiian Islands and the humidity just kills the life span of a traditional pasteboard cut deck, regardless of the finish.

The link below "showcases" the possibility of magical use, but again I have yet to give them a try to give my opinion of them.

http://newyorkmagicproject.com/products/newera.htm

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Bill Marquardt » February 24th, 2012, 2:12 am

Does anybody know WHY the USPCC decided to make the Bicycle mandolin backs their "magician's deck" and set aside the rider backs as the (sub)standard deck available in bulk at warehouse stores? This does not seem to make good business sense to me.

My Standard (rider back) Bicycle cards do indeed mostly have off center backs, some so bad I would not even use them for playing card games.

I prefer to use Phoenix decks for magic now.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Joe Pecore » February 24th, 2012, 6:53 am

billmarq wrote:Does anybody know WHY the USPCC decided to make the Bicycle mandolin backs their "magician's deck"...


From my understanding, the USPCC decided not to allow any more modifications to their standard 808 Rider Bicycle back design in fear of loosing their trademark. Thus, magicians designed the Mandolin back design, as a similar looking deck, but which could be altered for magical purposes.
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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 7:06 am

Edward Pungot wrote:Not only that, but Aristocrats have matching jokers PLUS a blank card to boot. How sweet is that?


Ye they're sweet. And the stock feels real good aswell nice and firm. Your making me want to go out and buy a brick of these bad boys.

:)
Regards.

Neil.

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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 7:19 am

Joe Pecore wrote:
billmarq wrote:Does anybody know WHY the USPCC decided to make the Bicycle mandolin backs their "magician's deck"...


From my understanding, the USPCC decided not to allow any more modifications to their standard 808 Rider Bicycle back design in fear of loosing their trademark. Thus, magicians designed the Mandolin back design, as a similar looking deck, but which could be altered for magical purposes.


You have also got the choice of the ellusionist masters edition bike deck which are actually made properly.

I still can't figure out why the USPCC can make such a bad job of their standard deck, I mean it's the most widely seen and used deck of cards in the world! You would think they would take better care of their reputation.

Perhaps it's just my magicians eye because I never noticed these discrepancies with the bike deck before. . .
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » February 24th, 2012, 7:25 am

CJ
Thank you for the compliment, although such talk always makes feel a little calcified.

Anthony at Magic Apple said yes, several magicians have complained about the quality of off the rack Bicycle cards. I asked him what are the most popular decks purchased. He told me, in no particular order, Monarchs, Aristocrats, Erdnase (which seems a sentimental favorite), pro quality Bicycles and several of the popular custom decks on the market. I miss the red Bicycle-Fan-Back, a personal favorite.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 7:50 am

Mr pendragon.
Jonathan Pendragon wrote:CJ
Thank you for the compliment, although such talk always makes feel a little calcified.


If by calcified you meant I made you feel old I am sorry, If it's any consolation I'm glad I've had you and performers like you to grow up watching.

Jonathan Pendragon wrote:Monarchs, Aristocrats, Erdnase (which seems a sentimental favorite), pro quality Bicycles


By pro quality bicycles what do you mean? Who manufactures them? Have they a specific brand name?
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Joe Pecore » February 24th, 2012, 7:57 am

The two pro quality Bicycle ones I know of are the Conjuring Arts Research Center http://conjuringarts.org/store/merchand ... ing-cards/ and Richard Turner's Gold Seal http://richardturner52.com/bicycle-cards/

I've been using the CARC ones for a few months and they are really nice.
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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 8:22 am

Mr pecore.
I've heard of the Richard Turner deck alright but haven't used it yet. I think I'll buy a deck and see what they are like.

Thanks for reminding me.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby PickaCard » February 24th, 2012, 9:47 am

I have no complaints about the Costco Bicycle cards. They end up costing me about $1 a deck and are fine enough for me to faro, one hand faro, and do about every other move my skills allow me. When I feel they are getting a little wear I don't think twice about cracking open a new pack at that price.

I have purchased almost all of the "over the counter" decks (Bee, Tally Ho, Aviator) and although the Bee and Tally Ho are a little stiffer, I can find no advantage to my card magic.

All this to say that it is beyond me why all of these new decks advocate being better and of "professional" quality. Why pay 4 to 6 times more for a deck? At $1 a deck I don't hold back from getting a card signed, performing a trick with a card fold (which essentially ruins the whole deck).

It strikes me that magicians have found a market worth exploiting. There are now so many "professional decks" with a premium price, I cannot keep up or tell why one is better than another. Also, I heard that the Phoenix decks are larger sized than Bicycle poker sized cards. What's up with that? I would think that a card which is an easier size to palm convincingly would be more attractive than larger ones.

Anyways, this is my rant...

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Anthony Vinson » February 24th, 2012, 11:00 am

Interesting how we have have our favorite and preferred brands. Reminds me of those long-ago days when I was a smoker. The rack behind the counter at the convenient store was filled with choices, each tied to a specific branding campaign. Are you macho, meek, mentholated or mysterious...?

I like the feel of some of the premium decks, but cannot bring myself to pay the premium prices. Just like the times I have been fortunate enough to fly first class, I enjoy the experience, but the difference in quality doesn't justify the difference in price.

Bicycle Rider Backs do seem to have quality issues. Personally I like the feel, function and durability of the Bicycle Guardians, but since they look like "magic cards" I rarely use them for performing. Depending on the day, you can get them on Amazon for less than the price of Rider Backs, and in many cases free shipping is available, at least in the U.S. In general I stick with Tally-Hos - So far they've proven to be consistently dependable and fairly durable, and they don't appear to be anything other than what they are.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Andres Reynoso » February 24th, 2012, 12:27 pm

@Cornelius Jay: Yes, these are the Aladdin I mentioned. I have only used the "airflow finish" not the "smooth"

@Edward Pungot: Effectively these cards are glued paperwith a cover :)

I think are good cards (and cheaper in this case) I like them and standard bikes... And I don't like very much the new multicolor joker
Andres Reynoso

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Bill Marquardt » February 24th, 2012, 12:51 pm

@PickaCard - there is available a so-named "parlor size" deck of Phoenix cards that is larger than poker size, but the regular Phoenix decks are exactly the same size as any other poker size deck. You were misinformed.

As far as which brand of cards is better for manipulation, I would agree with those who say it does not really matter in the end, as long as one practices awhile with the deck he chooses. I would challenge anyone to take a blindfolded test to pick out his favorite brand from among several of the more popular ones mentioned here and elsewhere. What I mean is that if one of us were challenged to pick out our own deck simply by feel, without being able to see the cards (blindfolded in the dark) I would bet we would be wrong at least as often as we are right.

I prefer the Phoenix cards because they feel "right" out of the box, are centered well, have a couple of usable secrets, and are moderately priced. I can DL and faro equally as well with the crappily centered Bicycle Standards.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 2:40 pm

I agree mostly with the concensus that the stock and finish is basically the same for most cards but i haven't got an issue with that at all. Of course we have our psychological favourite brand as Anthony Vinson has pointed out but in the end it doesn't really matter anyway because you should be able to perform magic regardless of the state of the stock or the finish of the deck.

The issue I take is with the lack of quality control when it comes to the standard bike deck, namely the printing of said deck. It's probably not going to be noticed by laymen that the deck backs are off centre but I notice and in my opinion that's not good enough.
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby PickaCard » February 24th, 2012, 2:46 pm

If Bike decks were all printed perfectly, there would be someone selling you a Bicycle one way deck for $20+.

Since no one but you will notice that the cards are off center anyways, why care? Costco... $1.00 a deck.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 3:55 pm

PickaCard wrote:If Bike decks were all printed perfectly, there would be someone selling you a Bicycle one way deck for $20+.

Since no one but you will notice that the cards are off center anyways, why care? Costco... $1.00 a deck.


I do care. I care about every aspect of the art of magic including the quality of the props used. It's a matter of pride for me to want to perfect my Art.
I like the standard bike deck, I just wish the company who manufacture it took as much pride in their work that I aspire to.
Concerning the one way bike deck phenomenon I guess it's cool that you can inadvertently get a one way deck, I personally like to choose whether I'm buying a one way deck or not or even better make my own.

Regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Simone M » February 24th, 2012, 5:25 pm

Corneilius Jay wrote:I like the standard bike deck, I just wish the company who manufacture it took as much pride in their work that I aspire to.


Neil, the point is that Bicycle are not produced exclusively for magicians. The big money they make comes from the general audience. USPCC is also a big company, so expecting them to "care" is like expecting McDonald's to use first quality meat.

So if they can sell a pack for $1, cutting on quality control, printing and machinery costs, wharehouses and little details that only magicians care about, they'll do it, cause their average customer doesn't care. Standard Bikes are cards meant to be used for "casual" playing. We either accept this or just buy different cards (and there are more types than we honestly need).

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 24th, 2012, 5:55 pm

Simone M wrote:"USPCC is also a big company, so expecting them to "care" is like expecting McDonald's to use first quality meat"

"(and there are more types than we honestly need)."


You are of course right on both counts.
Apart from the off centre backs effectively marking a deck the problem is purely aesthetic. I mean that in the end it's just a matter of keeping the crappy made decks for practice and using your best decks for performing. However it's probably better (in my humble opinion) for performing to by a nice deck in the first place and perhaps pay a bit more for it.

It really comes down to "you get what you pay for."

Regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Smurf » February 24th, 2012, 10:59 pm

[size:11pt]For what it's worth, according to Christian of Card-Shark.de fame, the problem with off-centered cards from USPCC is not the printing, its the cutter or punch. The cards are always printed as they should be and the front and back of the cards are aligned with each other. However, when the uncut sheet makes it to the next stage, the cutter/punch doesn't always do its job correctly.[/size]

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Corneilius Jay
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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 26th, 2012, 6:04 am

Smurf.
Whether it be the printing or the cutting, that is no excuse for shoddy workmanship.
I'll probably only buy a brick of standard bikes now if I want some decks to practice with other than that it's aristocrat banknotes for me.

Regards.
Neil.
Regards.

Neil.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby DrDanny » February 26th, 2012, 2:56 pm

I've recently "discovered" Stud poker cards at Walgreens. For about the same price, I find them significantly better quality than average Bikes. Of course, YMMV.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby IrishMagicNews » February 28th, 2012, 7:02 pm

I had a gross of Stud at one stage and loved them. Will Houston swears by e'm

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Q. Kumber » February 28th, 2012, 8:54 pm

IrishMagicNews wrote:I had a gross of Stud at one stage and loved them. Will Houston swears by e'm

Brendan


Would that be the cards or the spray?

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby CraigOusterling » March 1st, 2012, 8:18 pm

Studs feel more flexible than bicycle to me. I love the blue back color. Seems more vivid.

The only time spectators noticed cards were not printed perfectly was when I pointed it out in order to do an awesome Luke Dancy trick. Otherwise they don't notice the difference. Maybe I have polite specs, or maybe they notice and don't care. Either way warehouse bikes are cheap and I haven't had a problem with them not being perfectly awesome.

p.s. the people I perform for don't notice my sponge balls aren't always round or identical either.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby BarryAllen » August 8th, 2012, 6:15 am

Must admit that I was pretty excited when the USPCC re-released Aristocrat Banknote backs last year.

However, I was pretty peeved when I realised that the red back had become a shade of maroon, and that the red pips are a lot darker - as with casino decks. The problem is that in badly lit environments (such as night clubs) the red ink isn't that distinguishable from the black. Still, at least that hopefully prevents magicians boring people with mind-numbingly boring, multi-phase Oil & Water routines! ;)

The quality of Bicycle Rider Decks has been discussed in depth on other forums. However, since the re-design of the card case, this side of the pond anyway has seen a marked improvement in the printing (or cutting). In contrast, an older deck I opened a few weeks back suffered from the aforementioned problems; one margin was about 2mm wide.

Now the crux of the issue is this. Fine, if they are intended for normal card play BUT didn't the USPCC used to sell these decks as 'Seconds'? I certainly used to buy them in bulk from Keith Bennett in England for about a third of the price of a normal deck. I believe that Keith told me that they were the initial runs of decks as the cutters were being aligned at the start of a shift. If that's the case (and it certainly seems logical) then why are the USPCC distributing these now as having (supposedly) passed quality control?

Just for the record, my favourite back design is Tally-Ho fan - but all Tally Ho's are certainly getting harder to source via suppliers within the UK.

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Ray Eden » August 8th, 2012, 6:32 am

I met Richard Turner over the weekend, and he explained to me that the problem with the USPC is that the new, upgraded, modern printing machines are not as good as the old fashioned system they were running. He said the new machine causes problems with card layering and the printing of the cards.

I did pick up three of his decks from him. I should have gotten more.

Ray Eden

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Re: The quality of the bicycle standard deck.

Postby Bill Marquardt » August 8th, 2012, 10:07 am

I just opened a few packs of standard Bicycles bought from a warehouse store awhile ago. The edges are horribly rough. It is no wonder to me now why so many magicians are recommending "buffing" the decks.

I will stick with Phoenix decks.


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