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  1. #1
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    Friends with department store bikes.

    Yesterday I was lucky enough to have one of my friends tag along for some local 'downhill' track, problem was he told me his bike was great, but it's clearly a cheap $100 bike. I gave him a set of my old tyres and helped him tune it.

    today, he bought one of his friends/ my friend along, he also came on a bike pretty much indetical except this one was a cheap diamondback, I also helped him fix up his bike.

    problem is, theses guys are following me downhill on probably one of the bumpier tracks iv seen due to water damage on department store bikes. I even managed to flick my chain off running a black spire tensioner! They also lose there chains on just normal flat ground, but they were lucky enough not to lose it while going down hill.

    ovbiosuly there not hiting it as hard and fast as myself, but I wouldn't trust a department store bike down it.

    one of my friends thinks his bike is too notch, and nothing will go wrong and the other is probably going to buy my bike when he gets the cash and I upgrade.

    sinple thing is, I'm worried there going to hurt themself and none of them can get new bikes until Christmas and the fact that they have high hopes for there bikes.

    What should I do, should I ay something to them?

  2. #2
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    Friends with department store bikes.

    Yes you should. I've had family members that wanted to ride with me and I flat out told them no. When they asked why I told them that their bikes weren't designed for the type of riding I do and therefore not safe.

  3. #3
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    Re: Friends with department store bikes.

    Let them have fun its not what u ride its that u ride. Just cause u think they are cheap and can't handle it apperently so far they can. No need to be a bike snob about it, that above all else drives ppl away from the sport . As what i did, no way I was going to spend serious money on a bike till I was for sure I was serious. I rode a $200 Walmart bike all last season, held up great, I had fun. Now i have a $2k 29er hardtail that I love but still enjoyed the Walmart bike till i sold it to a friend.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshHat98 View Post
    problem is, theses guys are following me downhill on probably one of the bumpier tracks

    >snip<

    What should I do, should I ay something to them?
    First off, I'd ride behind them.

  5. #5
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    Don't some of those bikes have stickers that say "not for off-road use"? Look for that and point it out to them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    I rode a $200 Walmart bike all last season, held up great, I had fun. Now i have a $2k 29er hardtail that I love but still enjoyed the Walmart bike till i sold it to a friend.
    Who needs enemies with friends like these?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by down2ride View Post
    Yes you should. I've had family members that wanted to ride with me and I flat out told them no. When they asked why I told them that their bikes weren't designed for the type of riding I do and therefore not safe.
    +1 this. As much as you want to ride with your friends, you want to keep your friends (alive and healthy). There's plenty of pics floating around of people who have had massive equipment failures, show them the pics and tell them to wait til they have the proper bikes to ride (either buy, borrow, or rent).
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  8. #8
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    Re: Friends with department store bikes.

    The other day I watched five college age guys on department bikes bumbling down a local trail, it looked like a clusterf@ck if I ever saw one.

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  9. #9
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    We started riding with worse POS bikes back in the 80's and did crazy things.

    Bottom line, as long as they are having fun, who cares? They're not hurting you other than maybe you'll have to wait for them and maybe work on their bikes from time to time. That's the beauty of mountain biking, you don't have to have a $10K latest carbon bike to have fun. Just get out and enjoy the time, never know when it is all going to come to an end.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmats View Post
    We started riding with worse POS bikes back in the 80's and did crazy things.

    Bottom line, as long as they are having fun, who cares? They're not hurting you other than maybe you'll have to wait for them and maybe work on their bikes from time to time. That's the beauty of mountain biking, you don't have to have a $10K latest carbon bike to have fun. Just get out and enjoy the time, never know when it is all going to come to an end.
    Just watched Klunkerz the other day. Those guys were absolutely nuts!

  11. #11
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    Ride behind them and allow them to make their own discoveries and come to their own conclusions. BITD most MTBs started out as a POS and a pile of cast off parts, it didn't stop us from having a great time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshHat98 View Post
    Yesterday I was lucky enough to have one of my friends tag along for some local 'downhill' track, problem was he told me his bike was great, but it's clearly a cheap $100 bike. I gave him a set of my old tyres and helped him tune it.

    today, he bought one of his friends/ my friend along, he also came on a bike pretty much indetical except this one was a cheap diamondback, I also helped him fix up his bike.

    problem is, theses guys are following me downhill on probably one of the bumpier tracks iv seen due to water damage on department store bikes. I even managed to flick my chain off running a black spire tensioner! They also lose there chains on just normal flat ground, but they were lucky enough not to lose it while going down hill.

    ovbiosuly there not hiting it as hard and fast as myself, but I wouldn't trust a department store bike down it.

    one of my friends thinks his bike is too notch, and nothing will go wrong and the other is probably going to buy my bike when he gets the cash and I upgrade.

    sinple thing is, I'm worried there going to hurt themself and none of them can get new bikes until Christmas and the fact that they have high hopes for there bikes.

    What should I do, should I ay something to them?
    If they like their bikes, why would you crush them? They'll find out on their own. In the meantime, being a jerk could cost you not only them as riding partners but as friends.

  13. #13
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    Some of the best riders i know are out there pushing limits, taking chances, and couldn't care less about their gear. Maybe because they use their energy to ride better instead of their money and gear to make it so.
    I always love it when a guy shows up on a beat up old clunker and puts everyone to shame.
    As a friend you should, if they're not aware, point out the obvious pit falls of riding a subpar bike, then let it go, and be there to help when/if things go wrong. BTW, things can and will go wrong no matter how good the gear.
    Round and round we go

  14. #14
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    idk...i think you need a decent bike.i had a crap bike once and a barely made it thru afternoon. this yr...i went out few times with a real nice moongoose i got used. huge difference and more confident ride...bike i got cost $800 like 7-8 yrs ago. nice cranks,shifters,80mm fork,great parts!... but foolish stickers "all" over frame except one...NJ DEVILS decal. hehe.

  15. #15
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    Friends with department store bikes.

    I have one rule riding with others, no helmet and I don't ride with you. Past that if you have concerns, you can express them nicely, but where they don't have the money to upgrade as here, there is not anything they can do past careful maintenance.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  16. #16
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    People get hurt on high end bikes all the time. Let 'em ride. If their bikes really can't handle the trails, they will break and your friends will figure it out if they are fixing stuff more than riding. Provided that they are adults, the decision is theirs and so are the consequences.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by down2ride View Post
    Yes you should. I've had family members that wanted to ride with me and I flat out told them no. When they asked why I told them that their bikes weren't designed for the type of riding I do and therefore not safe.
    That's a pretty classy way to go about it. You didn't tell them their bikes are crap . . . which, let's face it, no one wants to hear.

    Kudos to you for handling a delicate situation with finesse, and protecting their necks and their egos.

  18. #18
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    If someone is riding a bike I'm interested in, I'll ask them how they like it, etc., but I never offer advice unless asked. I'm sure there are cases where someone got seriously injured because of catastrophic mechanical failure but far more get hurt just because of the nature of the sport. It seems to me that even if a cheap bike fails, most likely a serious injury won't be the result. Besides, any bike can break. I believe everyone would be better off minding their own business and helping only when asked or if the person agrees to an offer of help/advice, but not before. I hear people offering advice on occasion and almost always it comes across as patronizing BS.

  19. #19
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    I was at target the other day and noticed one of their bikes had the fork backwards. So I'd say the bikes themselves aren't necessarily dangerous, but the way they are assembled at the store is questionable. A 300 dollar target bike is perfectly safe for a beginning rider riding light xc trails if properly assembled

  20. #20
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    If they're on the trails, riding, and having fun - they're doing it right. I don't care if they're on a $10 garage sale bike, or a $10k full carbon latest/greatest. That said - I did give a word of warning to the girl I saw on the trails on a dropped tube (womens townie) bike before she started down one of the local trails...

  21. #21
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    You don't have to tell them. I think they will figure it out.

    Several guys on dept. store bikes passed me and my family.
    I split from my family so that I could do the hard climb and descend to the parking lot, while they went straight to the lot. As I'm ripping through the descent, one section was a little more washed out than usual and I saw a kickstand laying in the middle of the trail.
    I caught up to the dept. store gang and asked if anyone had lost a kickstand. I got a sheepish "yup. that's his." but those guys were still having fun. We did way worse on my Mom's old cruiser.

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  22. #22
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    Re: Friends with department store bikes.

    As long as the brakes and fork are functional, they should be OK riding with you. Stick to some easier trails for a while and let them find out by observation how your bike is better.

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  23. #23
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    I think we can all remember back to when we started riding mountain bikes, MOST of us probably didnt start with anything worth more then a couple hundred bucks..

    my first mountain bike was a 2003?? Norco Pinnacle.. I didnt buy it at a department store, but got it from the local bike shop.. was it a super awesome bike? no.. but I still dreamed and thought that I could do jumps and technical terrain, so I would take it camping and go riding on trails.. scared myself a couple times but learned the basics and now I have a much better bike.. 2010 Norco Katmandu, again not the best bike out there but defiantly an improvement and I appreciate it a whole lot more then if I had started on some super awesome mountain bike.. gotta learn the basics and ride a hunk of junk to appreciate the new tech and materials.

    I'd say leave your buddys alone, let them figure it out.. they will appreciate a better bike when they get to that stage. I do have a friend who thinks his stuff is the best when its clearly not, but I find if I ride fast, I cant hear him.
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  24. #24
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    While I'm inclined to make them aware of the inherent safty hazards that your friends may encounter, I'd leave it up to the local trail safety crews to notify them of what may happen to them. A good talking to by those in the know can go a long way in preventing undue harm. Other than that, provided they are adults, they can do as they please and have their own brand of fun!
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  25. #25
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    I don't have friends that ride Walgooses.
    I resolve to constantly assert my honest opinion on anything and everything - whether it is requested or not.
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  26. #26
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    Never dis a guy's bike. That said, it sounds like you are starting up a posse. Develop an awareness for a bike in good trim. Shoot for good brake pads and smooth working cables, appropriate tires and inflation, and consistent lubrication. Try not to do anything too stupid. You will all learn how to do this.
    I don't rattle.

  27. #27
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    Friends with department store bikes.

    U can just unfriend them...j/k.

    I would not take them to gnarly trail. let them have fun, take them to melow tame trail. and also let them try your bike, so that they know what a big difference. explain about basic safety and mechanical. Motivate them, not discourage.

    Last week, I took my newbie neighbor to tame trail, he was having a blast. his stamina was poor, bike was ok, from costco. then I let him use mine, he said, wow,i want this kind of bike. I told him, if he has to walk, then walk it, no shame, safety first. He took my advise, and walked on some easy DH section, for him, that section was too scary. during a climb, i kept motivate him, we stopped alot, but in the end we finished the ride, and he had a lot of fun. He said, if I wasnt with him, most likely he'd turn around and go back home.

  28. #28
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    Consider the curious case of Manual Beastly

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  29. #29
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    I get the impression that no matter what your friends bikes are like they are not in a position to replace them so maybe if you just lead them on some easier trails, it will work out. I wouldn't say much at this point. After a while they may notice the difference in bikes or they may just adapt and continue to have fun.

    One of the absolutely best mountain bike rides my wife and I ever had was in Jamaica, W.I. on some god awful rentals that had brakes that could at best, slow you down and tires that hadn't seen a tread in years. In the end, it was about the rider and the ride, not the equipment, and our guides were pretty amazed that we kept up with everything they dished out to us.

  30. #30
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    Why don't you just take them on easier fire-road type trails? I would encourage them to ride as much as possible, even on their crappy bikes, but not on dangerous downhills beyond their skill level and equipment level.

  31. #31
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    One of my best friends rides a dept store hardtail. I usually ride with him on double track just to get out but recently he's been riding single track and small bridge's and such. He knows the bike isnt the best but its all he can afford now. He use's a helmet and checks his bike every ride and thats all he can do now. He's still out having fun and the bike hasnt let him down yet.
    I like to fart when I'm in front of you on a climb

  32. #32
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    I have a nice huffy bike I've been thinking about getting out of the garage.. needs some work on it since it's about 10 years old.. but it would be cheaper than buying a new one, AND its a FS

  33. #33
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    Oh yeah, Klunkerz. I just watched that the other week as well. Talk about tinkering to build stuff to have fun. Guess that's what we (myself and a lot of my co-workers) do. Guess that's the "good 'ol days" when we used to make all kinds of toys.

  34. #34
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    Nothing wrong with taking a dept store bike pretty much anywhere IMO... "When I were a lad"... you gotta start somewhere, and you learn from (sometimes bitter) experience... Seems the OP did some good at least by helping set up their bikes better...
    It's all Here. Now.

  35. #35
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    At a Very popular trail the other day, 2 guys show up with department bikes, no helmets and a backpack that had the most booming sound system lol. There was snickers including myself(just about the music). They asked us where they should ride. This being a very technical area, the guy that knew the area best told them a good way to go with hitting the crazy rocky stuff. There was lots to be said about the bikes they had but it appeared that they had fun when we saw them later that day. bikes still in tact. Thankfully for them they didn't crack open their heads.
    Bottom line is, helmets aside, They had fun on cheap bikes. They might even buy better ones some day.
    We didn't say " take that crap off the trails" or anything like that. They were politely told the best way for them to go, with out us having to form a search part to find them later.

    Bottom line for me is they are having fun.

  36. #36
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    This happens in road cycling too. I use to see new cyclists show up with department store bikes show up for club rides quite often. My experience riding with a club is to welcome everyone and let them discover. If they have fun they'll be back and maybe eventually upgrade their bikes
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  37. #37
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    Can't add much to the responses except, at least they
    are riding and having FUN!!!!
    And in the end, regardless of what the ride is, fun is all
    that matters.
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  38. #38
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    My buddy used to ride a department store bike on some pretty abusive trails. Every time we went out a different part broke or went out of alignment. By the end of the summer he was packing a full tool kit on each ride.

  39. #39
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    yup, doesn't matter what they have, just as long as they do it safely and don't ride beyond their capability. everyone starts somewhere... weighting 95lbs. in the late '90s in my mid- late teens(15-18) i broke a Univega DS600( Google it,) on a downhill run the bike wasn't made to do. broke the rear shock, broke the welds and pushed the shock mounting plates into the main frame. But! I didn't know I liked downhill till I did it and I had to do it on something!.. Busted my ass working 7 days a week scrubbing dishes, pots and pans to earn my 1st "better" equipped Mt.bike ( schwinn 4banger). Doing the math, I single handily scrubbed over 4500 plates and mowed a lawn or 12 to earn the $2,400 price tag. And it was worth it!... anyhow, my advice along with some of the others of just keep on riding, is to teach them to work on their own equipment because someday you might not be there to save their azzes
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  40. #40
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    i was def the friend with the dept store full suspension bike once. I had no sense of what i real mountain bike was and tagged along with a buddy about ten years ago. If you told me i should really spend 1-2k on a good used bike i prob would have said you're nuts.

    If they are ballsy kids, i would at least make sure they dont do anything too serious on those bikes but otherwise id say let them go and hope they get addicted to the sport.

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