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  1. #1
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    Cheap Family Cruiser bikes - Used or Walmart?

    I just picked up an iBert and will likely get a bike trailer too if my wife and I have a second child. Instead of taking the time to hook up everything to my AIR 9 RDO, I'm looking to two cheap bikes (~$100) for my wife and I just for family outings.

    Based on previous experience, there seems to be a lot of junk on Craigslist and it's a bit of a pain looking through, contacting people, driving to the location. I'm not a huge fan of Walmart, but I did buy two Walmart type beach cruiser bikes when I lived at the beach for 6 months. My wife's bike held up fine, and mine held up surprisingly well considering the abuse I put it through -- the back hub need to be repaired and the wheels were weak for jumping off curbs and stuff.

    Ideally I'd like to get a cruiser, I'd just need to make sure the iBert is compatible and the brakes are strong enough.

    Any recommendations?

  2. #2
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    I don't know, man...
    You have an Air RDO, you know what a good bike is. You know what a 100 dollar bike is like.
    My wife took it upon herself to buy a beach cruiser. Went to the trendy LBS, paid like 350 for an Electra. Bike's nice enough, but it's single speed, coaster brake and HEAVY.
    Guess what? It's in the basement collecting dust.
    In my opinion, make sure whatever you get is something you're going to want to ride.
    I like turtles

  3. #3
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    box store bikes are cheap because of low quality materials and the amazing quality control and assembly. If you can repack bearings, true a wheel, and align brakes, you can get a lot of use out of a box store bike. I would still suggest getting used if I could, just because you can get more bang for the buck. I've had decent luck finding good used bikes at pawn shops and salvation army/charitable thrift stores. they usually needed some cleaning and adjustments, but end of day, good bike for the money.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I don't know, man...
    You have an Air RDO, you know what a good bike is. You know what a 100 dollar bike is like.
    My wife took it upon herself to buy a beach cruiser. Went to the trendy LBS, paid like 350 for an Electra. Bike's nice enough, but it's single speed, coaster brake and HEAVY.
    Guess what? It's in the basement collecting dust.
    In my opinion, make sure whatever you get is something you're going to want to ride.
    I'll have fun on any bike that works. Someone gave me a POS old mountain bike that was two sizes two small for me once. I cruised around with it all over town and had a blast. I also had a blast taking my beach cruiser on the beach, riding it through the water etc.

    But I get your point. If it's heavy, not reliable, has a cheap coaster brake it won't be as much fun (even if I'm just going out on quick outings with my daughter in the iBert).

    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    box store bikes are cheap because of low quality materials and the amazing quality control and assembly. If you can repack bearings, true a wheel, and align brakes, you can get a lot of use out of a box store bike. I would still suggest getting used if I could, just because you can get more bang for the buck. I've had decent luck finding good used bikes at pawn shops and salvation army/charitable thrift stores. they usually needed some cleaning and adjustments, but end of day, good bike for the money.
    I just searched Craigslist and found a couple that looked decent for ~$100. Something like an old basic Specialized mountain bike would probably be better than a new beach cruiser. I live around a bunch of universities so it's a good time to look.

  5. #5
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    great time to look. college towns before graduation, buy bikes cheap. After graduation, drive around on trash day.

    My first mountain bike was box store one I found abandoned. 24" wheels (rear was taco'd) with a super cheap coil foil. I removed the coil, stuffed it full of washers and a rubber bushing. stomped on the rim to try and staighten it. Worked great. and I was 6'5". treated it like a BMX bike with gears.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    My wife took it upon herself to buy a beach cruiser. Went to the trendy LBS, paid like 350 for an Electra. Bike's nice enough, but it's single speed, coaster brake and HEAVY.
    Guess what? It's in the basement collecting dust.
    In my opinion, make sure whatever you get is something you're going to want to ride.
    On a counterpoint, my wife has a Huffy Mambo beach cruiser...It's heavy, has a cheap coaster brake, is single speed but she rides it all the time (Around town on the semi-flat)because she likes how it looks... Aesthetics are more important to her than function (Kinda like womens shoes )



    I've tried her on much lighter, geared, properly braked mountain and hybrid bikes, but she won't have a bar of it because they don't look pretty...I'm now starting a basic geared offroad build for her (So she can ride when we go camping without getting her pride and joy dirty) and guess what...It's being built on a steel Huffy frame I picked up for $50 (For the whole bike, but the frame is all that's staying) because she won't ride anything she doesn't like the look of...

  7. #7
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    If you still want a cruiser check out Bikesdirect. Plenty to choose from at good prices.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmf032 View Post
    If you still want a cruiser check out Bikesdirect. Plenty to choose from at good prices.
    Seems like Walmart has better deals than Bikesdirect with cheap bikes. The economies of scale and cheaper shipping options really help drive Walmart's prices down compared to other companies like BD.

    Actually I may go with Target instead and get a hybrid bike for my wife -
    Schwinn Women's Mifflin 28" Hybrid Bike- Gold : Target
    Schwinn Womens Gateway 28"/700c Hybrid Bike- Cream : Target

    IMO, Target > Walmart

  9. #9
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    After a ton of searching, we decided on a bike -http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1183623_-1___000000 She likes the look, it has a big comfortable saddle, gears, not crazy heavy (32lbs).

    We bought the Schwinn Women's Gateway linked above. Took it home, weighed it (36.5 lbs) and my wife noticed a couple scratches and a ding on the fender. She tried it out and thought it seemed "klunky" so we wound up returning (it also had some scratches and dings that I didn't notice in the store).

    I was hitting up the classifieds but nothing promising. A lot of bikes for $75 - $200 but that probably well ~35# and would require money to fix them up.

    I also hit up thrift stores. A lot of the private thrift stores / pawn shops wanted crazy money for crap -- like $65 for old rusty Walmart type bikes. I almost bought an old vintage type bike for $10 but someone picked it up just before me. Thrift store hunting was a waste of time, but I did run into some characters.

    I was then thinking we'd go with a $100 La Joya Walmart special (I had the men's version once) until I went to one of my LBSs and they were selling a Raleigh city cruiser for $300 (with free basic maintenance). I figured spending the extra money would be worth.

    My other LBSs were selling bikes that started in the 400's (more than we were looking to spend) but I went to Performance and found the Americano.

    My wife tried both the geared version and SS version. Right when she got on she said "wow, this feels so much smoother than the Target bike". The 3 gears on the internal hub have a good amount of variance. I may look to add a bigger cog is she wants to get up hills easier because I doubt she'll use third gear.

    I'm glad I swung into the store and waited until Labor Day weekend -- as I probably checked the Performance site early but disregarded it because it was listed at a much higher price.

  10. #10
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    If you want to save yourself from the amount of research that goes into buying a good bike, you can have a look at the list below.

    Firmstrong Urban Beach Cruiser Bike
    SixThreeZero In The Barrel Beach Cruiser Bike
    Schwinn Sanctuary Cruiser
    Firmstrong Urban Lady Beach Cruiser Bicycle
    SixThreeZero Womenís Beach Cruiser Bicycle
    Huffy Cruiser Deluxe Bike
    Last edited by solidbike; 05-30-2015 at 10:29 PM.

  11. #11
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    ^ I found that Firmstrong yesterday and it's at the top of my list. I'd like to try it out before buying it though so I'm going to see if any local Dick's Sporting Goods have them in stock.

    Edit: seems like Dick's doesn't have Firmstrong in stock so I'll probably buy a men's version of the Americano at Performance Bike instead.

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