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  1. #1
    --Raleigh--
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    Opinion/ Experiences needed

    Hey guys, I was wasting time today and decided to check out walmart and target bikes (i know lol) but anyway they had some decent looking schwinn hbrid bikes in both stores for around $250. The really suprising thing is they didn't weigh a ton like I expected them too. Has anyone had one of these? Im looking for a everyday type of commuter that I wouldn't cry about if it got stolen. My other option is buy a fixer upper or older roadbike from craigslist, which would be fun but take some time and money. What do you guys think? I know the problem with these dept store bike is poor assembly and components but I think I'd just go ahead and make it a singlespeed to skip the headaches of a bad drivetrain and shed a few more pounds. Btw I'm starting to find that commuting is becoming just as fun as mountain biking and I never thought I'd say that but this section of the forum got me wondering and I eventually tried it out.
    2011 Raleigh Talus 29 sport Commuter Mode
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  2. #2
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    I have a Schwinn Avenue that I bought before buying my current bike. In some of the other forums most everybody will tell you that anything that comes from Walmart, or Target, Kmart, or Sears, etc. are nothing but junk, and you'd get more from your money giving it to drug addicts and such. I will say this; the full suspension bikes are crap, since while the they are made to LOOK like a real performance bike, but the geometry is generally wrong and the shocks and hardware aren't up to snuff, and the frames aren't built well enough to handle real off road riding. The hard tails, and road bikes, and cruisers I think do have some merit. The a fore mentioned Schwinn has given me a lot of good fun riding miles, but I had to put some money into it. I have had to completely upgraded the drive train, since they come with the lowest level of components out there. Keep in mind that they also make those bikes as a one size fits all deal as well. I still keep mine as a back up, but when I eventually buy another bike that one will go to charity (Goodwill). Figure with the cost of the bike $250 + a new drive train (crank, b.b., chain, front and rear derailleur, cassette = $175) + a seat post long enough to get proper ride height for me $50 + a comfortable saddle $65 = $290 not including grips, stem, pedals, etc., so that bike when all said and done I have just over $600 in that bike and while it's not horrible, it isn't all that great. For a bit less I could have gotten better from Nashbar, BikesDirect, Airborne, or several others just as good or better with money left over.
    No some of the bikes aren't bad (if you avoid anything with suspension), and if you need a beater for commuting or riding in a high crime area, or just real short on cash and want to ride paved paths, they aren't bad. For any thing more serious than smooth gravel roads, or major road riding though they aren't really cost effective since to get them up to snuff you'll spend as much or more in parts, time, and labor.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  3. #3
    --Raleigh--
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    So i just found a few cheap options that are more than likely way better than the dept store offerings narrowed it down to
    Nekkid 4 Road Bike - Single-Speed
    or
    http://www.*****sportinggoods.com/pr...18012.12458051 I have reward points and a gift card
    or
    Sette Whipp Flat Bar Fixie Bike | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com really liking this one
    edit: scratch that sette frame size is too small
    2011 Raleigh Talus 29 sport Commuter Mode
    2001 K2 Zed V Mountain Duty
    1994 GT Outpost Steel, Rigid Awesomeness

  4. #4
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    Personally, the Nashbar bike would be the one I would choose. [Good] steel frame/fork, flip-flop hub, and a more reasonable gearing for commuting/puttering around (though still a bit high for my likes). Importantly, it has mounting options for fenders

  5. #5
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    I don't know anything about those particular bikes, you may be fine getting across town on one of those, at least for some time. I would agree that for that price, the simpler bike the better. It looked like they tried to add cheapo suspension forks on the Schwinns, I think rigid would be the way to go. If you can round up another $50, maybe something like this: Men's Sport Cruiser 7 Bike: Comfort Bikes at L.L.Bean

    Just based on windowshopping, it certainly seems like it can be tough to find that sweet deal on craigslist. It seems that people with 30 year old bikes in bad shape figure they are worth about 3x what they paid back then, and the newer ones are only sellling for $50 off what they paid last year, despite the beating they may have taken. You can occasionally get lucky with something that was decent quality, really never ridden, and in the way, in which case, pounce. Other options are a bike swap or bike coop, if available. The swaps are pretty popular here, they are usually organized by a local bike shop. The plus is there are a bunch of different bikes, though the hectic bargain hunting aspect can get annoying.

    Other considerations are how far you're going, how hefty you are, the climate (bad weather is tougher on parts), and the terrain. Also your job; if you break down, does that mean you're fired or that a co-worker comes and picks you up, with no consequences?

    oh, I see a couple more options are now posted^^. I didn't look at those.

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Vegascruiser seems to like his box bike.
    I think Junior is probably right by splitting the BSOs into two groups. I`ve worked on box store mountain bikes for neighbors and while volunteering at a bike co-op, and would never want to "saddle myself" with one. Like he says- the suspension is just a way to add serious weight and make them look attractive to people who think they`re getting something deluxe. The shifters and derailers are cheapos that actually can be coaxed into working after replacing the badly routed (suspension related) total crap cables and unlined housing, but the brakes have inevitably been hopeless- incredible flex in the calipers as well as the levers, and wheels challenging to get true enough for good braking. Some now have disk brakes, but I`ve never dealt with those, and am highly suspicious of the ones on bikes of that nature. If you went with a box store hybrid (no supsnesion), you`d cut the weight drastically and eliminate the crazy loops and bends in the cable routing. But you`d still need to invest a lot of time and a little more money (or not, depending on your expectations), so I don`t see the point when there are other options.

    The generic bikes from N-bar/Performance, etc are probably a much better deal. And if you`re thinking about SS, they already come that way, so no need to buy the original drive train and pitch it in the trash.

    I love buying and refurbishing 80s/early 90s rigid mtbs- usually find them for ~$80 and put in that much again for cables, chain, tires, and brake pads. That`s an even better deal if you want to learn about them- strip the whole bike, scrub all the grime and ancient waxy grease from the components, repack and adjust the bearings, set up the drivetrain and brakes, tension and true teh wheels. It takes several hours to do (probably two or three whole days for your first, gradually less as you get the hang of it), which may either be time wasted or an enjoyable way to spend your weekend. Depends on whether or not you like doing that stuff.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Just based on windowshopping, it certainly seems like it can be tough to find that sweet deal on craigslist. It seems that people with 30 year old bikes in bad shape figure they are worth about 3x what they paid back then, and the newer ones are only sellling for $50 off what they paid last year, despite the beating they may have taken.

    Other options are a bike swap or bike coop, if available. The swaps are pretty popular here, they are usually organized by a local bike shop. The plus is there are a bunch of different bikes, though the hectic bargain hunting aspect can get annoying.
    Craigslist does take patience (or a bit of just plain luck), you have to have at least a decent idea of what you`re looking at (or get lucky with a blind purchase) and pricing/availability seems to vary a lot by region. After sorting out 90% of the positngs because they aren`t the general type of bike you`re looking for or the size is way off, you can eliminate most of the remaining bikes because the price is either crazy or just "not-good-enough". Since I like window shopping, I check several times a week even if I`m not actively looking to buy a bike. In any given month there are usually a handul that I would go for if I were really trying to find myself another bike, and once in a while I catch one of those super buys before somebody else snags it up. The more total listings, the more good stuff will inevitably show up (and more people in competition), so if you don`t live withing striking distance of a good sized city, I can see it would be really tough.

    Forgot about bike co-ops and bike swaps. The co-op near me puts all bikes up for sale and eventually goes through and does the same thing that I do, then raises teh price accordingly, so you can either look at the dingy stash or look at the refurbished ones for a little more money. Never been to a bike swap, but it sounds like a good idea too.
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 04-16-2013 at 08:15 PM.
    Recalculating....

  7. #7
    --Raleigh--
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    Yea rodar I think I'll just wait around to try and find something really cheap on C-list even though that nashbar bike is really appealing. I think it'll be a fun experience to strip down a older bike and fix it up. Where else do you look for your bikes besides craigslist?
    2011 Raleigh Talus 29 sport Commuter Mode
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  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by iMongoose View Post
    I think it'll be a fun experience to strip down a older bike and fix it up. Where else do you look for your bikes besides craigslist?
    IMO, that`s the BEST reason to go with CL over something like a nicely priced Nashbike, as long as you have time to look and time to work on it.

    Craigslist is the only way I fly. People who have even more time and patience than I do hound garage sales, flea markets, and thrift shops and those guys seem to get the most amazing deals of all. Ebay always has a lot going on, often for fair prices, and a lot of vintage bike fans, collectors, etc seem to buy a lot that way, but I`m "eBanned", so not n option for me.
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
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    rodar, this ebanning begs for a story.

    I did the ebay thing once. Bought a cheap aluminum mtb frame on there with all the paint and graphics stripped off. I built it up as a relatively lightweight SS MTB with a combination of freebies, used parts, and a couple new items. I rode it for a few years, then made $100 profit on the sale. Good deal, IMO.

    My sister has a 90's vintage mtb with pretty good quality parts that I've claimed. It doesn't suit her riding well, so the deal is I get it if I help her get something that's more suitable. When I'm more financially stable, I will do so and I'll give her vintage mtb the strip down overhaul treatment. It's a real looker in polished aluminum and matching blue ano bits all over the place. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the original RockShox fork on it, but I'll address that when I get there.

    Anyway, that bike was a garage sale find with a Park work stand (that I have) and a box of parts for about $125. I doubt I'll run across something like that at a garage sale ever again.

  10. #10
    weirdo
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    Short version of the eBanned story:
    I used eBay for a few years, bought three or four items, and never listed anything for sale through them. One day in about `06 or `07 I tried to log on and found that my account was frozen and there were about a dozen complaints against me. All the complaints were in German, so I can only assume that they were from people whom "I" had defrauded somehow. Tried very briefly to contact eBay and straighten things out, didn`t get anywhere, and resinged my self to living without it. Bummer because it really does look like a good way to source hard-to-find specialty or vintage stuff for any hobby, and I know that a lot of tiny garage based companies with good ideas and limited resources use it as the main way of distributing their products.
    Recalculating....

  11. #11
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    Back to iMongoose's question, my first bike as a "grown-up" was a department store schwinn.



    I commuted on it through 2 canadian winters, and it ended up with well over 10,000km on it, and maybe more than 10,000miles.

    My only major quality issue was the wheels. In the photo you can see the funky spoke pattern, which made truing very annoying, and the rear wheel broke a lot of driveside spokes (although that only happened when the temperature was below -20C/-5F)

    As someone else said, simplicity is good - in both suspension, and wheelbuilds.

    Other than that the headset indexed pretty early, and in the first winter I wore out the drivetrain (which was entirely my fault, since I did 0 maintenance and didn't know chains needed to be replaced.) The bike got a hand-me-down rockshox fork and disk brake for awhile, and it was a singlespeed for awhile too.

    I bought the bike because it was cheap. My wife wanted to get bikes, and I really didn't because I didn't think we'd use them (oops). We went to an LBS first, and they didn't have anything under $700. So we went to a box store and got both bikes for $500.

    But.

    There really are plenty of entry-level specialized/giant/trek/norco for ~$350, and buying from an LBS they'll be reasonably well set-up, you'll probably get at least one free tune-up, and probably a deal on accessories. When we bought our department store bikes they wouldn't even put air in the tires.

    If I was looking for a cheap bike again I'd probably try to get a last-year's entry-level bike from an LBS. (which was basically how I got my 2nd grown-up bike. And my 5th(?) bike was a rebuild of an 80's scrapheap find like Rodar was saying)

  12. #12
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    I should also point out that, I've noticed over the last 2 years or so, the bikes at Wal-mart in particular have been getting MUCH better in terms of quality and functionality (at least the hard tails/non-suspension bikes). Part of that is people getting a little smarter about bikes in general because of the instant info the 'Net provides, and I think people also remember when you used to be able to get a decent bike at places like Sears, Montgomery Wards, J.C. Penny's and the like. Almost makes me pine for when you could get a Free Spirit 10 speed for close to nothing, built like a tank, almost bulletproof, and could find them everywhere so parts were 95% universally available.

    There are some bikes from the X-mart stores that are a good deal for basic riding, that will do the trick to figure out if pedaling is your 'thang', or to help figure out if a different style of riding will suit you (ie; a beach cruiser vs. fixie vs. track style). The thing that makes the difference IMO is knowing how much those bikes can handle and realizing that they aren't meant for any other use than the very basic use of that style of bike (or not even that for the fs bikes). As long as you recognize the flaws and limitations of these bikes there's no reason not to buy one for your purpose, just don't expect Moots performance from a Jeep/GMC bike.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  13. #13
    jrm
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    Some of the best deals on bikes can be in pawn shops.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Some of the best deals on bikes can be in pawn shops.
    I've been thinking this man I have alot of pawn shops near me im going to check out later this week. Im guessing half of them have decent bikes that they think are junk lol
    2011 Raleigh Talus 29 sport Commuter Mode
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by junior1210 View Post
    As long as you recognize the flaws and limitations of these bikes there's no reason not to buy one for your purpose, just don't expect Moots performance from a Jeep/GMC bike.
    Yea man I saw the 100 dollar "fixie" singlespeed at target, I mean the only thing I could see going wrong is the wheels maybe. And for cruising 30 min down the street I find it hard to believe they will fail. Also the lime green tires would have to go asap
    2011 Raleigh Talus 29 sport Commuter Mode
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    1994 GT Outpost Steel, Rigid Awesomeness

  16. #16
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    If you're going to buy a single speed or (especially) a fixie, plan on spending the scratch on toe clips or clipless pedals. Falling off the pedals on a fixie is, hands down, one of the more frightening things I've experienced, especially since it happens most often on steep downhills.

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