Beginners and Dept Store Bikes- Mtbr.com
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 200 of 546
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    7,313

    Beginners and Dept Store Bikes

    (Thanks to JimC for the link)

    An excellent article at ConsumerReports.org titled "Cheap bikes are not bargains"



    ************************************************
    Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us sell plenty of bikes from brands such as Huffy, Mongoose, Roadmaster, and Schwinn for $100 to $200. They seem like good deals, so why would we advise you to spend $300 or more for a bike in the Ratings (available to subscribers)?

    Because you get what you pay for. Mass-market bikes have cheaper construction than higher-priced bikes and can weigh 7 or 8 pounds more. They come in only one size, so you're not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can't match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.

    In the long run, performance matters most, so we tried out two full-suspension bikes and one front-suspension model from the big-box stores, priced at $120 to $230. Shifting of the full-suspension bikes' 21 speeds wasn't nearly as smooth as on bike-shop models. Shock absorption and handling were fair to decent on pavement and on smooth dirt paths, but these so-called mountain bikes couldn't handle rough off-road terrain. On steep paved roads, the extra weight, poor gearing, and mushy suspensions made pedaling uphill very hard.

    The front-suspension model, also with 21 speeds, did much better on pavement and on fairly smooth dirt trails--but only after we adjusted the sloppy setup to make it roadworthy. Plus it comes in only one size, so fit will be hit or miss.

    Consider cheaper bikes from a department store only for the most casual adult use, and stick with a front-suspension model, which is likely to be better than a cheap full-suspension bike. You may want a mass-market bike for kids who will outgrow a bike quickly or toss it about.

    Still, if your budget allows, we'd recommend that you buy one of the $300 comfort bikes in the Ratings (available to subscribers). You'll get a lot more bike for the buck.
    ************************************************

  2. #2
    "El Whatever"
    Reputation: Warp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    18,886

    Totally Agreed....

    I had no much options when it got the moment to buy a bike by and for myself. So I had to stick to a Dept. Store bike which I enjoyed a lot and rode it and mantained it until it was stolen....

    But the sanest advice to a beginner should be to get a low price hardtail from a major brand at a LBS. Next step (IMHO) should be a low end Full Suspension from reputated brands (like Specialized, Giant, Trek and why not? Mongoose or Diamond Back).

    Next, the sky (and the wallet) is the limit. But I consider this described above as a logical progression and I would have have all the options you have now and would have liked to get this advice when I started.

    Happy Trails (from Mexico)!!
    Check my Site

  3. #3

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    3
    Totally agree. I bought my first mountain bike at a dept store. Was a pretty good bike after i readjusted everything. After riding it about a year components started going south.
    I finally reached the point where it was more frustrating than enjoyable to ride (always being concerned about breaking something). So i got farther in debt and bought a Cannondale f400.. Even though this is also a entry level bike, the differance is just amazing.. I find myself doing things on this bike that i would never attempt on my old bike,,, Granted, its probably all mental, but thats my story and im sticking to it!!!!!

  4. #4

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by rjauto
    After riding it about a year components started going south.
    i like ur expression..never heard that expression b4. i think that is true for most southern states/cities except Charlotte NC and southern florida.

  5. #5

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by openujs
    i like ur expression..never heard that expression b4. i think that is true for most southern states/cities except Charlotte NC and southern florida.

    LOL common term here in Texas....

  6. #6
    Derailleurless
    Reputation: Speedub.Nate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    9,122
    I've always considered Consumer Reports is a very trustworthy resource, but their reviews & articles at times leave something to be desired. I think sometimes they rely on their respected ratings matrix to make up for less-than thorough write-ups.

    A good site to supplement the CR link is "Bikes R Not Toys" at...

    <a href="http://www.bikesrnottoys.com"><font size="+1">www.Bikes<font color="red">RNot</font>Toys.com</font></a>

  7. #7

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    98
    Granted I am very new to the sport of true mountain biking and only started riding on trails a couple weeks ago. Though I have been hiking in the woods for more than a year so I am not new to them. But I have one statement, I own a toy r' Us Rhino and I love it. Yeah, its probably not a really good bike but it gets the job done. I could not afford anything else. It was $90 and I assembled it myself. It was my only choice. If I didnt get that I would not have gotten anything so I took it and it has been great. But wouldnt you rather have a department store bike than nothing at all? If I didnt get it I probably never would have gotten into mountain biking.

  8. #8
    not so super...
    Reputation: SSINGA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    11,463

    My $.02...

    Quote Originally Posted by bstguitarist
    Granted I am very new to the sport of true mountain biking and only started riding on trails a couple weeks ago. Though I have been hiking in the woods for more than a year so I am not new to them. But I have one statement, I own a toy r' Us Rhino and I love it. Yeah, its probably not a really good bike but it gets the job done. I could not afford anything else. It was $90 and I assembled it myself. It was my only choice. If I didnt get that I would not have gotten anything so I took it and it has been great. But wouldnt you rather have a department store bike than nothing at all? If I didnt get it I probably never would have gotten into mountain biking.
    Good point. IF a $90 bike is all you can swing then yes it is better than nothing. Also a good place to learn how to do your own wrenching. Just remember that a $90 bike is a desposable product not really meant for long term or hard core use. Case in point...While at the LBS checking out new "stuff" a few weeks ago a lady came in with her daughter and her 3 month old department store bike that was having shifting issues. The repair charge estimate was over $100 dollars (Bent derailleur and frame, new cables, true the wheels, full tune-up to add gease where it should be and remove it from others etc...) It would have been cheaper to buy from the LBS to begin with and get the 1-2 years of free service.

    Just like many other major purchases you have to consider the TCO - total cost of ownership.
    Nothing to see here.

  9. #9

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    5

    how bout it

    i have always gottin a lbs bike but i was at a dicks sporting goods store and i saw this mongoose and i didnt think it was a bad bike,tell me what you think its 330 bucks.i wanna be able to do little drops and some jumping.i think it had decent parts

    please tell me what you thin

    the link
    Last edited by macqso; 07-06-2004 at 09:43 PM. Reason: no link

  10. #10
    "El Whatever"
    Reputation: Warp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    18,886

    Looks more like a XC machine...

    You should swap some components to make jumping starting at the wheels and tires....
    Check my Site

  11. #11
    OldTeen
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    200
    A bike ill-suited to you & your riding habits is no bargain.
    After much shopping, I got a GREAT deal on my current hardtail MTB as a close-out on a 2003 model (I paid under half-price at a LBS). Close-outs can save $$$ IF you can find a brand name bike that fits you well.

    Another option for getting the best value is looking for a well-maintained used bike. Many LBS's have used bikes, web-sites with used bikes, or even low-tech BB's with used bikes for sale. Classified ads in the local paper are another source. I even found a wonderful road bike at a garage sale. Of course- check out any used bike carefully before buying. Know what fits you, and test ride thoroughly. Good books on bike repair (e.g. Zinn's) may help you focus on what major issues can arise with worn/abused bikes.

    Keep in mind that some 'brand-name' companies sell low-end bikes through department stores. Many of these bikes are NOT the same as those sold through reputable LBS's (or even higher-end sporting goods stores). Cheap parts that require constant adjustments, or (God forbid) a fork or frame that cracks under stress are no bargains at any price. I agree with Warp that for most the best choice is an entry-level HT from a major manufacturer. It's generally cheaper in the long run to find one from a good LBS, because you can get a decent fitting and some period of free adjustments.

  12. #12

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    11
    I picked up a $160 Schwinn @ walmart for my g/f.
    It is an aluminum frame, kinda light actually, well built, "cute" according to her
    anyway, For some riders, like g/f's...that $300 Gary Fisher or Trek are not that
    much better. They both have RST forks like the Walmart Schwinns, a bit better
    Shimano parts hopefully but c'mon...the big-store brands do serve a purpose
    and you can come out w/ a trail worthy bike if you stay away from those BS full suspension jokes.
    The build on these tings is the worst part. How many 115lb girlz you know
    snappin frames and thrashin parts? COnsumer reports is less than thourough.
    People treat these bikes like the plague sometimes...
    At least I have someone to dish my old parts off to now.

  13. #13

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    121
    flat out a dept store bike won't last more than a year, even if riding on roads. If you are at all heavy (over 180) and ride 4-5 times a week, spend at least 300 dollars. Its worth it in the long run. Best beginner bike out there in my opion would be a specialized hardrock (300ish). Heavier but strong too and the frames geometry is pretty nice (it resemebles my P2 fairly closely). My girlfriend has one and i've ridden it around alittle and it hops great and is forgiving on the trail (poor hill climber though). if you want more of X-C bike there are some low end fishers like the marlin that is fairly decent. I'd stay away from dept store bikes all togather (also you cannot usually get service like a bike shop).

    PS do not get a low end dual suspension waste of time and money (you havta spend 1000 plus for a decent one), and stay away from mongoose and schwinn (schwinn's older bmx's are alright though)

  14. #14

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    70
    My beef with department store bicycles:

    The stores normally pay the assemblers by the bike, not by the hour. So it's in their best interest to assemble more bikes quickly, than to take their time and make sure it's in proper working order. "Assembly" for most of these guys therefore means putting on pedals, putting on handlebars, and the front wheel... and run it out the door. Air the tires if the customer asks.

    The problem with that is that they don't check adjustments. They don't always make sure everything is running as it should. I bought a Huffy years ago because I was dirt-poor, and it would get me to work. Out the door, I had to adjust EVERYTHING. Brakes were too loose, shifting was inaccurate... So I bought a 6 inch adjustable wrench and a screwdriver at the same time, and fixed it on the way home.

    Old style shifters it didn't matter... pull the lever until it settles into the desired gear. But newer indexed shifters, you have to at least make minimal adjustment to make sure it's working properly.

    The seat may or may not be safe. That huffy had 1/8" of foam rubber over a metal plate. No kidding. I didn't figure it out for a while until after a long ride, and wondered why the hell my butt hurt so bad. And THEN I had to ride it home. It took 2 weeks to be able to sit properly again.

    And yet... someone stole that damned huffy. Go figure. But I have no doubt that seat exacted my revenge for me.

    I bought a Pacific a few years later, for the same reason... I was poor. It was a little bit better... the seat was ridable (I replaced it anyway with a real seat... some things you just develop pet peeves over) It had a "shock absorber" on the front. It was in fact a spring loaded tube, so when it bottomed out (which it often did) it hurt like hell.


    And an LBS will normally offer to make 1-month checkups. That first month can see some major changes after all the ferrules on cable housings settle in... brakes will be looser, shifting will be different... Some people refer to it as "cables stretching"... call it what you will. After break-in period, bikes will probably want a bit of touching up.

    It's true, dept store bikes have slowly been getting better. But the service given to them has not. And my guess is, it will not in the foreseeable future. A crappy bike that's been given some attention can be made to work fairly well. It'll still be a heavy clanking thing that isn't entirely safe for a serious rider, but it'll work *fairly* well. But lacking that attention, it won't even do that. It'll be a heavy, clanking, almost properly funcitoning piece of junk.

    For a similar price, you can usually get a good used bike from a bike shop, which will have had that proper attention given, and it'll be a name brand bike with components that will work a little bit better. It'll shift reliably, and it'll stop when you need it to, so you won't have to figure in that extra 20 feet to come to a complete stop. Maybe I'm snobby that way, but I really do think that brakes should stop you, and shifters should actually shift. Ironically enough, these bikes will only work their best after you take them to an LBS for a tune up... at which point you'll start to approach what you would have paid for the LBS bike in the first place.

  15. #15
    X-Ray Guy
    Reputation: Jawz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    363
    well k im in canada, and its not much different up here, but as the guy above said its starting to get better. I got my iron horse from SportChek....they have sole rights to iron horse in canada or ontario or something. There was one specific bike guy, u could tell cuz somebody ask him about a golf club and he just say i build and ride bikes, ask that guy. Sportchek also has "dirt shops" which carry higher end bikes and have full mechanic sites and all....i even got 1 year service with my bike havent really used it but its there if i get desperate. Overall i had a good intro experience goin from a major sports store....goin from liek a walmart i kno it be like "this bike comes in blue too" kinda deal. Things are gettin better slowly cuz this sport is growing larger and larger i think. but my next bike will for sure be from an LBS cuz ill be dropping like $1500-2000 in a few years on a nice hardtail.

  16. #16

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    98
    I find that eventhough my bike is frekin heavy (Dept. store) and that is really is that great of quality it gets me by. It better to have a bike than nop bike at all. As long as I keep it maintained its been working pretty good. I took the old 7-bracket bearings out and replaced them with free bearings and relubes all that and jsut keep it clean and all lubed up and everything on it tight. Dong this will hopefully make it last quite a bit longer.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,025
    Quote Originally Posted by openujs
    i like ur expression..never heard that expression b4. i think that is true for most southern states/cities except Charlotte NC and southern florida.
    A few of us in Canada use it too. But then it might be from reading the American 4x4 magazines
    2008 Trek Fuel EX 8
    Apsley, Ontario, Canada

  18. #18

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169
    I like others at one time purchased a Dept store bike and was so very sorry that I did. It became more time and work to keep everything functioning correctly than it was time to ride. I recently looked for a beginners bike for my wife and browsed through the dept store bikes and the more I looked the worse I felt for even considering putting her on one of those bikes. The components were mostly the lowest line of Shimano, Sram, and Suntour. Like the article above states there were very limited in size, and extremely heavy. So I bucked up my wallet and went shopping at real bike stores. After about a month of careful comparison I'm happy to say she is getting a Specialized Hardrock Sport, a very good beginners bike and I'm sure she would thank me if she test rode the dept store bikes before she tested the HardRock. SO I Would Recommend That You Stay Away From Dept Store Bikes.

  19. #19

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2
    How do you guys feel about a GT Avalanche 3.0? Its my first bike, paid about $220 at a sporting good store. Is it a good bike? I'm wanting to do some upgrades to it. What should i buy for it?

  20. #20

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by ks_medic
    How do you guys feel about a GT Avalanche 3.0? Its my first bike, paid about $220 at a sporting good store. Is it a good bike? I'm wanting to do some upgrades to it. What should i buy for it?
    I looked at the same bike for my wife. You got a pretty good deal on it. Around here it goes for $299. The things that I did not really like about it were as follows:
    (1)It has Suntour XCC-100 crank and riveted chainrings "cant change when one wears out"
    (2)Low grade rear Derailleur Shimano Acera " this is what Shimano lists as a casual riding and around town component.
    (3)A even lower grade front Derailleur Shimano TY-32 this will probably be the first to go.
    (4)Only has a 7 Speed rear cassette.
    The other components are ok not great, but ok. That frame is a beast though, all the reviews I read on that bike said the components were not so hot, the rear Derailleur skips in no time and needs adjustment, but the frame is indestructible, you can beat it hard.

    I think if its your first bike its not a bad choice it is comparable to all entry level bikes in that price range --> Under $300. Most have around the same types of components. I think it will serve you well until the components are hashed and by then you will be a better rider and can look for a higher end bike or a full new component set and other upgrades.
    Good Luck with that GT, my cousin has been riding them since around 1982 and wont ride anything else.

  21. #21

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2
    (1)It has Suntour XCC-100 crank and riveted chainrings "cant change when one wears out"
    So if this wears out then the bike is no good because you can't change it?

    This may sound like a stupid question but can you tell me what these parts do and where are they located?

  22. #22

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by ks_medic
    So if this wears out then the bike is no good because you can't change it?
    It's not that it's no good, it just gets expensive really fast. Cranks and rings wear out over time, especially on a mountian bike. The more you ride, the more likely you are to break teeth, bend rings, mangle cranks etc. It's just more cost effective to replace one ring, or a crankarm. On a system w. riveted rings, you generally can't separate the rings from the crank or the rings from each other. Parts like this also aren't necessarily designed to take the kind of long-term abuse and will necessitate mare frequent replacement. So you have two problems:

    1. Lower end parts wear faster and require more frequent replacement.
    2. Rivited rings can be more expensive to maintain/replace because you have to replace the whole assembly if one sub-component is broken.

    It's kind of like putting parts onto an older car. You need to keep an eye on the point of diminishing returns. It's real easy for the cost of maintenance to exceed the value of the bike if you're not careful.

  23. #23

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by ks_medic
    So if this wears out then the bike is no good because you can't change it?

    This may sound like a stupid question but can you tell me what these parts do and where are they located?

    I agree with all of what BRICK said. I think you have a good bike as a base, the frame is strong so you can just work on upgrading components each time something goes bad. If your crank or chainrings need replaced just upgrade to a better component. This in no way means you bought a crappy bike, that GT is a good entry level bike and it will love all the abuse you can throw at it, but because you had to scrimp on the initial investment then you must make up for it through time by purchasing upgrades in parts or constantly replace stock low end parts. I think if you were on a budget at the time of purchase then you made a logical and good choice. Keep this in mind though; if you are going to upgrade the drive train (front derailleur, rear derailleur, shifters, rear sprockets, or crank) that shimano likes to try to make you upgrade the entire thing all at once because some of their products will not work well with other ones. So before you upgrade make sure and research, which components will work together, it will save you money along the way.

  24. #24
    JmZ
    JmZ is offline
    Reformed Lurker
    Reputation: JmZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,029

    Something else to stress

    Helmets.

    I was riding at Fort Custer over the wekend and came across quite a few riders on the trails not wearing any helmets. Mostly department store bikes or just above it. Saw one group that was a family of six or eight - great to see 'em on bikes, and on the trails, but not one had a helmet. Spending $200 or so on the bike and then refusing to spend another $20 or $30 on your head isn't a bargain I'm willing to make.

    Some of the trails there are difficult and I'm not afrild to admit that I'll even get off the bike to walk sections of 'em, and it isn't always the things that you see that get ya. Who would play football without a helmet, who would play soccer without shin guards?

    JmZ
    (maybe I need the asbestos suit now?)


    Quote Originally Posted by gregg
    (Thanks to JimC for the link)

    An excellent article at ConsumerReports.org titled "Cheap bikes are not bargains"

    http://www.consumerreports.org/main/...=1087597178997

    ************************************************
    Wal-Mart and Toys �R� Us sell plenty of bikes from brands such as Huffy, Mongoose, Roadmaster, and Schwinn for $100 to $200. They seem like good deals, so why would we advise you to spend $300 or more for a bike in the Ratings (available to subscribers)?

    Because you get what you pay for. Mass-market bikes have cheaper construction than higher-priced bikes and can weigh 7 or 8 pounds more. They come in only one size, so you're not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can't match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.

    In the long run, performance matters most, so we tried out two full-suspension bikes and one front-suspension model from the big-box stores, priced at $120 to $230. Shifting of the full-suspension bikes' 21 speeds wasn't nearly as smooth as on bike-shop models. Shock absorption and handling were fair to decent on pavement and on smooth dirt paths, but these so-called mountain bikes couldn't handle rough off-road terrain. On steep paved roads, the extra weight, poor gearing, and mushy suspensions made pedaling uphill very hard.

    The front-suspension model, also with 21 speeds, did much better on pavement and on fairly smooth dirt trails--but only after we adjusted the sloppy setup to make it roadworthy. Plus it comes in only one size, so fit will be hit or miss.

    Consider cheaper bikes from a department store only for the most casual adult use, and stick with a front-suspension model, which is likely to be better than a cheap full-suspension bike. You may want a mass-market bike for kids who will outgrow a bike quickly or toss it about.

    Still, if your budget allows, we'd recommend that you buy one of the $300 comfort bikes in the Ratings (available to subscribers). You'll get a lot more bike for the buck.
    ************************************************
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  25. #25

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    Helmets.

    I was riding at Fort Custer over the wekend and came across quite a few riders on the trails not wearing any helmets. Mostly department store bikes or just above it. Saw one group that was a family of six or eight - great to see 'em on bikes, and on the trails, but not one had a helmet. Spending $200 or so on the bike and then refusing to spend another $20 or $30 on your head isn't a bargain I'm willing to make.

    Some of the trails there are difficult and I'm not afrild to admit that I'll even get off the bike to walk sections of 'em, and it isn't always the things that you see that get ya. Who would play football without a helmet, who would play soccer without shin guards?

    JmZ
    (maybe I need the asbestos suit now?)

    You bring up a great point about helmets.

    Its interesting that you mention helmets in the topic of Dept Store Bikes, something that I overlooked. Although I have never seen such a site as a family all riding with no helmets on any of the trails around here, I'm sure it happens quite often though. It reminds me of a certain recall for full suspension Mongoose Dept Store Bikes because the forks were breaking and sending riders over the bars, here is a link http://www.totalbike.com/news/get_news.php3?id=692,
    picture landing on your head with out a skid lid on "OUCH" sounds like a nice bloody laceration to me. Here is part of what the recall states "There have been 34 reports of forks on these bicycles breaking resulting in 31 riders, including children and teenagers, suffering serious head and bodily injuries, abrasions, bruises and chipped teeth." Now that would make me want to run out and buy one of those bikes".
    I actually had one of these that was given to me to repair, I had never heard of these forks so I looked them up on line, after viewing these recalls I ended up striping it and giving just the frame to a neighbor kid, I threw the forks in the trash. I did not want to be responsible for giving the bike to someone and then have them get hurt.
    Just one example of what can happen with a cheaper dept store bike and when you don't wear a helmet.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    308
    My very first mountain Bike was an "Eddie something or other" from Canadian Tire. Basically a Dept. Store bike. I rode it for all of three weeks before it totally crapped out on me. It was such a bad experience I did not get back on a bike for another ten years. When I got back on a bike, it was from a Local Bike Shop (Single Track Cycle) and the salesperson, Felix was great. He wouldn't sell me a bike that didn't fit me,and he fitted the bike to me very well. When a buddy of mine was interested in going the Dept. Store route I pulled him up short and aimed him at the LBSs around Calgary. I told him he would pay three, maybe four times more, but he would not have the same crappy experience I had. Now he is very happy with his Exile and he beats me up the frickin' hills...
    If you're ever in Calgary, here are the bike shops I like:
    Single Track Cycle
    The Bike Shop
    Calgary Cycle

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation: GuruAtma's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    3,744

    Dirtrag Undercover

    In the latest issue of Dirtrag, a couple of writers/riders go undercover to buy two bikes at dept. stores. They give a pretty good description of the problems and what you get for the money. Some of the problems they listed were downright scary.

    Here's the article:
    http://www.dirtragmag.com/articles/a...egory=features
    功夫大师喜欢骑着他的自行车在山上。

  28. #28

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    31
    A very wise bike shop employee once said....."the best bike is the one you will ride"

    I agree with that. However I finally got a good beginer bike from a reputable shop that actually fits me! What a differacne! I can't blive I settled for all those other bikes. I can hardly wait to try out my off-road worthyness. Looking forward to getting some dirt on it and being able to upgrade to disk brakes if I want to. Not to mention the quality of the derailers....WOW! I have never had to do so little maintenance on a bike. (Aside from trueing a rim for my wife who took a good spill a couple weeks back)

    Its just a GT Avalanche 3.0 Hardtail but I fell in love with it the first time I rode it. Looking forward to building a custom FS!

    Can't believe I have been away from MBing for 8 years........what was I thinking?

  29. #29
    DaBomb Molotov rider
    Reputation: londonlad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    347
    Department store bikes - it depends on the kind of riding you do. My first mountain bike was a Cdn$200 department store bike. After two months of aggressive cross country riding, the axle was bent, the chain snapped, and the bike was beginning a slow death. My next investment was Cdn$500+ for a entry level cross country bike from Kona. I've never regretted spending the extra $$, because the bike was able to handle the kind of riding I was doing, things weren't breaking, and I didn't need to do any real repairs for several years. Plus the guys at the bike store did free adjustments - the guys at the department store knew less about adjusting gears and brakes than I did! My local bike shop has a sign on the door saying: "We do not fix department store bikes, due to their lack of quality." That says it all. I found out the hard way, and wished I'd saved my $200 and put it towards a better quality bike rather than waste it on a department store bike. If you're not serious about biking and don't do too much riding and are very easy on your bike, then maybe a department store bike is ok. But if you plan to do any kind of hard riding and buy a department store bike, in the long run you'll just need to buy a new/better quality bike anyway. Don't make the same mistake I did! Department store "mountain" bikes are made for roads, not mountains!

  30. #30

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    47

    whats wrong with...

    I must say, first off, that I have been mountain biking for a few months now on a 260$(US) bike. My 2002 Giant Boulder surely isn't a department store bike, I bought it through my LBS at the time. It has Altus componets with SUNTOUR cranks. The only things that I've ever replaced on that bike were: a) the grips, due to partial neglect in a way, I was stressing my left palm a little too much, complicated to explain, b) the rear tire, from skidding a lot. bad idea... and c) my cranks. I replaced my cranks due to the fact that after 4 years of them being flawless, I managed to slightly bend them enough to cause massive chain problems. Mostly the second gear was warped, but the third faced a little damage and the first was fine.

    Now, your thinking "what an idiot, saying how Suntours aren't bad, but he broke them."

    Well, I broke them by my abuse. A 3 foot drop, going less than 1mph, caused the cranks to smack the concrete and, since it was angled enough, it bent them. Its hard to explain though... but when I was at an angle where my back tire was still up on the high part, and my front tire was kinda close to the ground, my cranks were left WIDE open to be hurt, and hurt they were.

    On a more on-topic note; I knew someone who used to live near me who was so excited about this 350$ bike he got from target and his mom got one for 400$! Woo, im so excited to see an expensieve target bike. It was a mongoose. A horrible mongoose... and his mom had one too. After teaching him to ride a bike, he had to walk up the hill that was the only way out of the culdesac. Then two more hills to where we went a lot when scooters and such were huge. His bike was "nicer" than mine as he thought. Then his chain started rattling, hitting his derrailer, his brake cable stopped working, his front tube popped, his pedal-thingy bent, and his shocks... woah. I said I could fix it, but after meddling with it for an hour or so I told him it was a wreck. I did fix his brakes though by tightening it a lot. Then he rode his moms bike. For about a week, it was working fine. Then more problems arose. And instead of taking the heat from his mom, he stopped using it. Although I do admit forks are nice and all, but if youre going to spend 350$ on a bike, please, dear god; buy a nice bike. I dont mean a 2005 NRS2 (my bike I bought recently), but you could maybe buy a Giant IGUANA, or a Giant Boulder, Rincon, or their new Upland line. Im not sure how much the '05 iguana costs, but my dads getting one. Heck, im pretty sure its under 400$, and it has disc brakes, a good starter-level Judy fork... I don't feel like rattling out the details, but the point is that you CAN buy a high-quality GIANT bike (don't buy any other bike company... hahaha) for the same price. Check out this years Boulder... my LBS is selling a lot of them for 189$US, and they've been on sale forever practicaly. Oh, and I love my LBS becuase they carry a LOT of Giants... including the Boulders (nearly 7), Warps (DS1, DS2, DS3), some road bikes (2 freaky yellow ones), and many others.

    Look for a cheap hardtail... Giant's '05 site has a bunch... go to Recreational Mountain, then there all hardtails. May I recommend the Iguana for a little more money? Or an Upland SE for a cheaper crowd? This years Boulders sure look nice... next years just have relatively the same stuff, but new colors. Or if you dont like Giant because you don't like good bike companies (lol), then many other companys sell nice hardtails for an even nicer price! But don't expect to get a nice FS for under 500$. If youre willing, that nice AC frame is replacing the Giant Warps for their lower-end FS bikes. 450 buys you a Giant Warp/AC (I guess their renaming the line, in incorporation with the frame) with low-end componets. 100$US more gets you mostly the same stuff as the DS1, minus the fork and brakes. from 550$US we go to 850$US for the DS1/AC1? I personally prefer the AC frame over the '04's frame. It looks good AND it weighs a little less.

    If you dont want to read all that, then just read this. Buy a hardtail. You can get a nice hardtail for under 500$ most of the time if you know where to shop. But DON'T ever try to get a nice FS bike for that price. And department store bikes dont cut it.

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,624

    Mountain biking is expensive

    Cheap dept store "mountain" bikes are not safe to be ridden on proper mountain trails. I certainly wouldn't let my loved ones near them. Perhaps they are ok for someone who just wants to ride casually on their local footpaths. For those who argue that a $100 mountain bike is better than nothing, I have to disagree. If you only have $100 to spend and want to take up real mountain biking on proper trails, I'm afraid you're out of luck. At best you will end up with a broken bike, at worst broken limbs or worse. The hard fact is that SAFE mountain biking costs a reasonable amount of money. Better to spend your $100 on a nice tennis racquet!

  32. #32
    Freshly Fujified
    Reputation: Call_me_Clyde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    8,199
    I alomst posted in defense of discount store bikes until my experience this weekend. I was one of so many that figure, hey...what the heck, it's a kids bike, why spend all kinds of money on it? So, in September, I purchased a 20" Mongoose and a 24" Next for my 8 yr old son and 11 yr old daughter, respectively. The Mongoose was $100.00 and the Next, $80.00. They've ridden the bikes a total of two times so far, as I only have them every other weekend (another reason I justified in my mind not to buy more expensive bikes). My daughter noticed a "clicking sound" coming from the front rim, which I almost passed off as nothing. Well, I decided to do the right thing and take them to the LBS and have them tuned up.

    I negotiated a price of $100.00, tax included for the tune-ups. The Mongoose was in decent shape, and only needed minor adjustments. The Next needed major adjustments, and we found that the housing for the bearings on the front rim was defective. I took the bike back to WalMart where I purchased them and they wanted to swap the bike out. I insisted that they just swap the front rim, as I had just spent the money for the tech to tune it up. The "assembler" wasn't too happy with this approach, and I exchanged some heated words with the kid, but got my way. We shook hands after the swap out and all was well. This kid didn't want to do the rim swap because he was supposed to be off the clock. The swap took two minutes, people....two minutes. In the end, I got what I asked for, and I got what I deserved.

    I got what I asked for, in that WalMart swapped out the front wheel. I got what I deserved, because I went cheap on my kids bikes. I do think the bikes will serve their purpose, don't get me wrong. I ended up spending better part of $300.00 on two overall inferior products. I could have spent a total of $400.00 at my LBS, and probably would have been given lifetime tune ups. I certainly would have been given better customer service. Penny wise and dollar foolish.

    I should have spent the money on better bikes for the following reasons:

    1) They're my kids. I bought a good bike for myself because I wanted quality and a safe product. They deserve the same.

    2) The better bikes will last. Yes, the kids will outgrow them, but when they do, I have a viable trade in, or a bike I can give to another child who will enjoy the bike for the reasons I pointed out earlier-quality and safety.

    3) Peace of mind. If I had kept the first two points in mind, I wouldn't be feeling like the idiot I feel like right now.

    Bottom line, do the right thing. Spend the money to buy a quality product from an LBS you trust. The web site says it all, Bikes are not toys.

    Clyde
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  33. #33
    Vita brevis
    Reputation: rustus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    440

    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! re helmets

    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    Helmets.

    I was riding at Fort Custer over the wekend and came across quite a few riders on the trails not wearing any helmets. Mostly department store bikes or just above it. Saw one group that was a family of six or eight - great to see 'em on bikes, and on the trails, but not one had a helmet. Spending $200 or so on the bike and then refusing to spend another $20 or $30 on your head isn't a bargain I'm willing to make.

    Some of the trails there are difficult and I'm not afrild to admit that I'll even get off the bike to walk sections of 'em, and it isn't always the things that you see that get ya. Who would play football without a helmet, who would play soccer without shin guards?

    JmZ
    (maybe I need the asbestos suit now?)
    this is about helmets rather than dept. store bikes. i hate the looks of most helmets (an alien egg comes to mind) but wear one anyway (my gf insisted). while riding a favorite trail two weeks ago with a friend who has much more experience, he went over the bars, cracked his helmet, and broke two fingers. we had about a three or four mile hike out to a paved road. had he not been wearing a helmet we, and especially he, would have been in serious trouble. in our area cellphones do not work, there is no vehicle access to any part of this trail (including helicopter), and very few hikers or other bikers. it would have been hours before i could have gotten help, even though we made sure people knew where we were going (always a good idea). i now refuse to ride with anyone who is not wearing a helmet.

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bhutata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    364
    After taking my girlfriend out for a couple of bike rides this fall on some borrowed wheels, her first time back on a bike since she was 12, she told me that she'd asked her father for a bike for her birthday in October. (I'll be gentlemanly enough not to mention her age, but I'm in my 40s and I'm no cradle robber.)

    Talk about mixed feeling! I was thrilled that she wanted to get into biking with me, but I KNEW that her father would buy a bike from Walmart (he owns a full suspension Mongoose), but my budget wouldn't stretch to buy a decent new bike that quick and didn't know what I could do to help the situation. A few weeks before her birthday I walked into my favorite LBS and saw a used bike they'd just put on the floor that morning, a very clean, old-school Trek 830 Antelope, with speckled lime-green paint and Bio-Pace chainrings. It was even her size, and all for only $65. I took it home immediately and delivered it to her the next day as an early B-day present, complete with a new Giro helmet from the clearance table.

    She was thrilled, mission accomplished. I've even introduced her just a bit to my favorite MTB trail and she's more than game to pushing her boundaries to challenge herself to get into better shape and improve her skills.

    So what did her father buy for her birthday instead? A fat-ass, ultra-gel-padded, double-spring Bell saddle from Wally World. ARGHHHH! Before she even knew she was getting it I'd already explained why you don't want a seat that's too wide or with too much padding, but she decided to have me put it on for her to try out, at least in part to avoid offending her dad. That's OK, I just picked up a decent women's saddle from the MTBR classifieds and when the time is right, I'll put it on her bike. I'm already getting into upgraditis with her bike with a suspension seatpost and most recently, and in keeping with the spirit of her old-school bike, a Softride suspension stem.

    Hey, if a Huffy is all you got, ride it for what it's worth. But I gotta say, it feels great to have saved someone from that fate! And my girlfriend? She's a definite keeper!
    A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.

  35. #35
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    114
    But sometimes I think you need to own a Huffy (as in something that is made of a bunch of steel piping thrown together with 2 wheels that resembles a bicycle) to appreciate how smooth and confident it is to ride a proper bike. I always thought bikes are inexpensive commodities until I learned the hard way.

    I began when my old neighbor left me his mid-90's Huffy when he moved away and I rode that thing for about 6 months before the front wheel suddenly had metal fatigue and gave me an endo that almost broke my right wrist and barely avoided a car crash (it still hurts now at the gym after 4 months). Then I went and bought an used Intersport dept. store bike circa. 1986 for 50 bucks thinking anything would be better than Wally World's bike and after 3 weeks and a dozen chainsucks later, the right pedal disintegrated. Thinking maybe it was an aging problem, with only 200 bucks in the pocket at the time I went to Sport Chek (which is essentially Intersport in Canada) and bought this new one-size-fits-all "dual suspension" bike (I'm pretty sure it's made by the same China factory that makes Ironhorse due to similar cues with the decals) during late summer. As a result, I had to spend countless hours burning the midnite oil just to fix brake squeals that never seemed to go away, derailleurs that never seemed to shift properly, and retighten this "rear coilover" spring that seemed to go loose every week. The wheels also went untrued after the first week but I thought it was my weight back then (260lbs). I spend so much time adjusting the bike that my whole street probably thought I'm nuts biking back and forth on the sidewalk outside my house all the time. The free 1yr maintainence service didn't help either since the "technican" seemed even more clueless than I was so I eventually learned all my wrenching from reading a few books at the local Chapters bookstore.

    After 2 months, 20 pounds less and a numb butt later, I sold my "self-fixed" bike and got myself a Gary Fisher by laying down some heavy cash. The difference is like a Yugo and a Porsche. I'm now a convinced man!

  36. #36
    Occupation: Human
    Reputation: mtbnewguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    250

    Cool-blue Rhythm you are the engine

    4 years ago I bought a magna bike from Target, paid $80 for it, used it for about a month or so and dumped it in my dad's garage. 4 weeks ago I decided to give MTB another try, and while saving for a better bike I'm riding my old one. Anyways, yesterday my buddies and I where riding at a local trail, which has very steep hills. After a few yards of climbing I was out of my breath and one of the guys said: here, ride my bike for the climb and I'll ride yours (his bike is a salsa caballero full suspension... "the works") let me tell you: It made all the difference of the world for me. I was able to climb that hill whit ease. But at the same time, he was also able to reach the top riding my old, rusty and heavy bike. So i guess it's also a matter of ability/ strength.

  37. #37

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    73
    Quote Originally Posted by Warp2003
    I had no much options when it got the moment to buy a bike by and for myself. So I had to stick to a Dept. Store bike which I enjoyed a lot and rode it and mantained it until it was stolen....

    But the sanest advice to a beginner should be to get a low price hardtail from a major brand at a LBS. Next step (IMHO) should be a low end Full Suspension from reputated brands (like Specialized, Giant, Trek and why not? Mongoose or Diamond Back).

    Next, the sky (and the wallet) is the limit. But I consider this described above as a logical progression and I would have have all the options you have now and would have liked to get this advice when I started.

    Happy Trails (from Mexico)!!
    I have a trek 3700 now, and i was wishing to spend all of my money (im only 15) on a really good bike. I've gotten really into the sport and i think that i am not all that bad. My bike barely survives my rides, and i am not too eager to buy a cheap bike again...
    but of course i am no expert...any suggestions?

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jkish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    421

    Wal-mart Schwinn

    I havn't ridden in over 10 years and I wanted a bicycle just to get in shape (I weight 210 lbs). Years ago I rode a lot and only bought quality bikes (I've owned Specialized and Giant among others). I didn't want to spend much so I went to Wal-mart and ended up buying a Schwinn Sidewinder ($110.00). I was impressed with the fact that it wasn't completely made out of the cheepest stamped metal. My initial thought was that if something broke I would just upgrade as I went. I used to ride hard core old school style (I'm 40 now). I didn't expect to ride my new cheepo on the dirt much, but the old bug bit again. I forgot how much fun it was to ride and went crazy on my first outing and tore up the poor Schwinn. After only 9 miles the bottom bracket was loose. It wasn't assembled properly from the factory. I bought a crank puller to do the repair but the crank was pressed on so hard that the puller stripped out the removal threads on the crank. I had to saw the crank in half to remove it! While I was fighting with the crank I noticed my wheels didn't spin properly. After I removed the wheels, and upon further inspection, I discovered that I had bent both axles. I'm going to replace those parts and send it back into the ring for round 2 to see what happens next! Eventually I'll completely morph the Schwinn into a decent machine with quality components. I still don't think that I made a bad purchase. You get what you pay for. This bike mostly suffered from poor assembly. Before it was rideable I had to do a lot of adjusting to get it to shift smoothly and brake well. In addition, I don't think the axle would have bent under normal use or with a lighter rider. It wasn't designed to go off road. There is a sticker on the bike that says so. As for the loose crank, I could've taken it back and got a replacement. Wal-mart is excellent with returns. But then I couldn't shop for cranks then could I? If you get passed on the trail by an old guy riding a custom Schwinn, you'll know who it is.

  39. #39
    New project, TBA shortly
    Reputation: dante's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,024
    just a note, the cheapest bike you get in a bike shop will be light-years better than that bike. your main problems are going to be:

    wheels - those are 36H single-wall rims. they will hardly ever be perfectly true, and they make them 36H in order to give them a tad bit more strength. don't be fooled. they're weak as butter and if you rode around the city you'd still bend them, let alone on any type of trail. stay away from 36H rims (even in bike stores unless its a FR bike).

    7-speed freewheel. a freewheel screws into the hub, instead of sliding on like a cassette. it'd be almost impossible to find freewheel-style wheels, so if you replace your wheelset you'll have to find a 7-speed cassette. they're out there, or at least they used to be, but they're pretty scarce now (ebay maybe?). if you go to 8-speed (or 9) you'll need to replace at least your rear shifter, and possibly your chain and chainrings as well. note, 7 speed hubs and 8/9 speed hubs are different, so when you replace your wheels plan ahead...

    shifters, derailleurs, brakes should be fine, they might just need a little bit of attention to keep everything shifting smoothly.

    fork, handlebars, stem, seatpost, frame are all going to be stout components. which means that they should last a while but be pretty heavy... the steel frame probably adds 5-7 pounds or more. probably more...

    my advice would be to ride this until you can get $300-350 together and head to a real LBS. it will get you a much lighter/stiffer Aluminum frame, 8 speed cassette, rapid-fire shifters, stronger wheels, better crank/bb, hell, ours even comes with disc brakes at that price point.

    the MAIN thing though, is that you have fun riding. sometimes we get too caught up in arguing about which $100 derailleur is better (SRAM, of course), and forget about just going for a ride.

    PM me if you have any questions.

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jkish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    421

    Salvaged parts off the Schwinn

    I went to buy a crank for my broke Schwinn and the store owner at LBS sold me an old (like 1998) beatup K2 hardtail with 7005 Al frame, Rock Shox fork and Deore LX components for $60.00. The cables, saddle and pedals were fried and the paint was all chipped and scratched (no dents) but the components looked good. I stripped off all the components and the frame weighed only 3#'s! I took off the v-brakes seat cables and pedals from the Scwinn and totally cleaned and greased and adjusted my new chipped paint smooth running 1/2 the weight mtb bike. I have only $170.00 into my bike with spare parts to keep me running!
    Last edited by jkish; 12-12-2004 at 12:46 AM. Reason: typo

  41. #41
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182
    My experience with these cheap bikes was very short, and very painful. I was given one of these bikes as a gift, and it reminded how much I loved riding. But while standing on the cranks in a tall gear to clear a 4 lane intersection (I was afraid to try shifting the cheap derailler in this critical situation) the drive pin on the one piece crank broke off, and I did one very hard faceplant in the middle of the road. Fortunately I'd been foolish enough to buy a helmet that was worth more than the bike! When I looked at the broken part the "weld" on the pin was actually cast onto the bottom of the pin to look like a properly welded part. Ther are a lot of bike companies working very hard to bring decent bikes to the market at $300, and $5-600 will get a hardtail that shouldn't need any upgrades for a long time (my recommendation). IMHO anything less isn't a real bike. You can spend less, but you won't save any money.

  42. #42
    Wahoo!
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    162
    I also bought a cheap d.s. mountain bike just to get in shape. The more I rode, the more I wanted to ride. I started doing more techinical trails and steeper climbs. It was hell until a friend of mine let me ride his higher quality hardtail and WOW, what a difference. It didn't take me long to pick up a decent bike after that.

  43. #43

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    310

    Never get a dept store bike

    My girlfriend decided she wanted a mtn bike and said a dept store bike would be fine. I told her that I would buy her a bike and to stay away from dept store bikes. She went to our LBS and rode a few and decided on one that fit the best. So I bought her a Trek 4300. A couple of reasons I bought my gf a 4300 instead of a dept store bike. I know the 4300 is not a great bike by any means, but she is 115 lbs and not a hard rider and I will swap parts as the wear out. Its a good frame to start with.

    First of all, we went riding with a few friends on a relatively easy trail. Our friends have there old wal-mart bikes and could not begin to keep up with us. We swapped bikes with them and they were amazed at how their riding improved and are now in the market for some new bikes.

    Second, two other friends of ours have wal-mart bikes. They have now purchased 4 bikes this year (for some reason they dont learn and keep buying cheap bikes) because they have destroyed the other bikes. Bent wheels, brakes that dont work, shifters that dont work, the list goes on and on. I tried to talk them in to getting some entry level bikes from a LBS. Maybe after these tear up, they will buy a decent Trek, Specialized, or Giant.

    Just my $.02

  44. #44
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bhutata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    364
    It is possible to find a bike for well under $300 that is trail-worthy, but that means going the used route. I found my Trek 7000 for $150 and I recently bought my girlfriend's son a GT Outpost Trail for $50. Both of these came from local sellers on ebay, where it was possible to inspect the bike before bidding and I could avoid shipping charges. I also bought my girlfriend a gently used Trek 830 for $65 at a LBS.

    It's easy to search for local sellers on ebay. If you don't know how that trick works, just go to the Cycling section, click on "Advanced Search", then enter whatever you want to search for; I usually just enter a wildcard (*). Then scroll down and check the option that reads "Items within xx miles of ZIP code" and decide how far you want to go to pick up your bike. Always be sure to double-check that the seller is willing to allow local pickup of the bike. I haven't run into this problem, but I know some sellers are pretty anal about that.

    Yeah, the Trek 830 and the GT Outpost Trail are defnitely old-school and full rigid, but they're great beginner MTBs for folks on a tight budget, both in excellent condition, and worlds better than a dept store bike. I'm convinced that, considering how clean these two bikes are, they're even better than buying a bike from a LBS with cheap Shimano Acera/Alivio components and RST or Suntour forks, but just my 2 cents.
    A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.

  45. #45
    Wahoo!
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    162

    I finally came over from the dark side.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregg
    (Thanks to JimC for the link)

    An excellent article at ConsumerReports.org titled "Cheap bikes are not bargains"

    https://www.consumerreports.org/main...=1087597178997

    ************************************************
    Wal-Mart and Toys R Us sell plenty of bikes from brands such as Huffy, Mongoose, Roadmaster, and Schwinn for $100 to $200. They seem like good deals, so why would we advise you to spend $300 or more for a bike in the Ratings (available to subscribers)?

    Because you get what you pay for. Mass-market bikes have cheaper construction than higher-priced bikes and can weigh 7 or 8 pounds more. They come in only one size, so you're not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can't match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.

    In the long run, performance matters most, so we tried out two full-suspension bikes and one front-suspension model from the big-box stores, priced at $120 to $230. Shifting of the full-suspension bikes' 21 speeds wasn't nearly as smooth as on bike-shop models. Shock absorption and handling were fair to decent on pavement and on smooth dirt paths, but these so-called mountain bikes couldn't handle rough off-road terrain. On steep paved roads, the extra weight, poor gearing, and mushy suspensions made pedaling uphill very hard.

    The front-suspension model, also with 21 speeds, did much better on pavement and on fairly smooth dirt trails--but only after we adjusted the sloppy setup to make it roadworthy. Plus it comes in only one size, so fit will be hit or miss.

    Consider cheaper bikes from a department store only for the most casual adult use, and stick with a front-suspension model, which is likely to be better than a cheap full-suspension bike. You may want a mass-market bike for kids who will outgrow a bike quickly or toss it about.

    Still, if your budget allows, we'd recommend that you buy one of the $300 comfort bikes in the Ratings (available to subscribers). You'll get a lot more bike for the buck.
    ************************************************
    After some research and shopping around I picked up a Schwinn Mesa for my first real bike. Man, what a difference. I went right out and picked up another bike for my daughter, a Giant Boulder. Now we just have to wait until all the ice and snow goes away.
    I will not tiptoe through life to arrive safely at death.

  46. #46
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jkish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    421
    After destroying a dept. store Schwinn ($120) from misuse (lasted one day) and tearing up a good used K2 hardtail (lasted 2 weeks @ $135), I have learned a valuable lesson that I would like to share with you. Every bicycle, no matter what the price, has a specific use it was designed for.

    Dept. store bicycles are a very inexpensive ($200 or less) means of getting on two wheels but not much more. They are perfectly suited for children who are just learning to ride and will quickly outgrow their bike. The also work great for average weight riders to putter around town on. Most, if not all of them are not designed to go off-road, jump or do stunts with. There is usually a sticker on the bicycle that says so. Lighter riders can get away with more abuse on these bicycles than heavier riders. Also, Dept. store bicycles will need much more frequent maintenance/adjusting than one from a local bike store. If you want to hit the trails or aren't mechanically inclined, these bikes are not for you.

    On the other hand, your local bike shop has a wide variety of bicycles as well as experienced sales people to help select the best bicycle for your needs. (usually beyond your needs and mean$ ) Expect to pay more than $200 for a very basic trail-worthy bike. If you want to do more than ride the smoother trails prepare to spend some cash or you will be throwing your money away. Getting big air and flying through rough rocky trails takes some cash. The heavier you are even more so. Every second in the air can cost hundreds of dollars in machinery. I think its worth it!

    After spending over $250 bucks on the wrong bicycle(s) I have realized in order to get a bicycle that is light enough for rough, long trail rides, and that will reliably stand up to my 210lb weight dropping occasionally off 5+ feet is going to cost me approx. $1600 big ones.

    In short, dept. store bicyles are an inexpensive way to get into the wonderful world of cycling if used within their limitations.


    By the way, I'm getting a Kona Coiler
    https://www.konaworld.com/Prod/00000...er_Side-xl.jpg
    Last edited by jkish; 12-30-2004 at 12:39 AM. Reason: typo

  47. #47

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    13
    Just wanted to add. I purchased a Roadmaster MT Storm from my local Wal-Mart m3 years ago. The bike is still running very strong. I admit it has taken some maintenance to keep it looking and running good but nothing to hard. I ride this bike down a lot of trails in the forest and have had this bike all over the state on trails. The biggest problem I have had with this bike is others here and there with name brand LBS bikes cracking jokes and making fun of me for what I ride. As far as the tune ups. I do all my own work on all my bikes. One time in the last 3 years I was stumped so I took it to the local bike shop. The guy there wrenched on it for a good half hour, It was good as new when he was done. He didnt charge me a dime. I ride this bike because it is what I can afford and there is nothing wrong with it or that. I do however see a problem with a lot of the misleading statements in this thread. I am not sure what a lot of you would consider trail worthy but my Wal-mart bike has logged a whole lot of miles on trails all over the state so it seems pretty trail worthy to me. I will also agree with the weight of the bike. It would bike nice if it were a little lighter but I will put up with a heavier bike and save my $300-400-500- and take my son to d\Disney Land instead thank you

  48. #48

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169

    How Wrong You Are

    jasonw

    Well you obviously do not ride the type of trails or terrain that the rest of us do. As for your roadmaster, your lucky that you havent had to do more work to it and that you havent been killed by the darned thing. The last dept store bike I had (many moons ago) choppered the forks after three passes off a 3ft drop (junk). That could have caused a really bad head injury. Do you have to spend a fortune for a good bike (NO) I purchased my Cannondale F2000 Frame and fork for $100 - the component choice is what cost me more money. XTR, Mavic, and TruVativ Components are not the cheapest, but that?s my choice, I could have got all the other items for about $150. Would I have been happy(NO) it would have performed much like your roadmaster (very sluggish)and weighed a ton - as is my bike weighs in at 22lbs and I'm sure I can trim some more fat off of it, not bad for an XC bike. As for the $300-400-500 you saved to take your son to Disney Land (what a waste - dland is overrated) you could have purchased something that would have lasted a good 8-10 years for that amount besides just memories.


    When you enter this forum you have to remember that to most of us biking is one of if not the most important priority in our lives. Most people who post here live to ride - not to go to Disney Land. You must also consider how much most of us ride in a week, just commuting I put on around 50mi a week and that's just ball sweat compared to some of the other folks in the posts.

    It all comes down to you, are you an occasional trail rider, a weekend warrior, daily commuter, XC racer, downhill maniac, freeride kamikaze, or an urban thrasher. This and how much you love to ride will inevitably determine how much you want to contribute to purchasing a bike. You choose not to spend much and that's ok, but for me I choose to pay more, get more, and enjoy more.
    As for you and your lead sled bike, I hope it don't kill ya.
    Last edited by DirtDawg; 01-27-2005 at 08:38 AM.

  49. #49
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    If I understand your post

    . I do all my own work on all my bikes.

    > most beginners don't

    One time in the last 3 years I was stumped so I took it to the local bike shop. The guy there wrenched on it for a good half hour, It was good as new when he was done. He didnt charge me a dime. I

    > please advise where your free shop is? I'm going to "patronize" them immediately as I have no money.

    I ride this bike because it is what I can afford and there is nothing wrong with it or that. I do however see a problem with a lot of the misleading statements in this thread.

    > yeah, those guys at Consumers Reports are a real bunch of misleading folks

    I am not sure what a lot of you would consider trail worthy but my Wal-mart bike has logged a whole lot of miles on trails all over the state so it seems pretty trail worthy to me. I will also agree with the weight of the bike. It would bike nice if it were a little lighter but I will put up with a heavier bike and save my $300-400-500- and take my son to d\Disney Land instead thank you[/QUOTE]

    > you can afford Disneyland but not another $100 for a decent safe bike? Hmn.

    Jim

  50. #50
    L1MEY
    Reputation: mahgnillig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,487
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonw
    Just wanted to add. I purchased a Roadmaster MT Storm from my local Wal-Mart m3 years ago. The bike is still running very strong. I admit it has taken some maintenance to keep it looking and running good but nothing to hard. I ride this bike down a lot of trails in the forest and have had this bike all over the state on trails. The biggest problem I have had with this bike is others here and there with name brand LBS bikes cracking jokes and making fun of me for what I ride. As far as the tune ups. I do all my own work on all my bikes. One time in the last 3 years I was stumped so I took it to the local bike shop. The guy there wrenched on it for a good half hour, It was good as new when he was done. He didnt charge me a dime. I ride this bike because it is what I can afford and there is nothing wrong with it or that. I do however see a problem with a lot of the misleading statements in this thread. I am not sure what a lot of you would consider trail worthy but my Wal-mart bike has logged a whole lot of miles on trails all over the state so it seems pretty trail worthy to me. I will also agree with the weight of the bike. It would bike nice if it were a little lighter but I will put up with a heavier bike and save my $300-400-500- and take my son to d\Disney Land instead thank you
    When I moved in with my b/f (later my hubby), I found one of these in his garage. He had ridden it a grand total of twice, once back home from Walmart where he bought it, and again to the supermarket and back. It didn't fit him, the frame was way too small (he now rides a 21"), and it had sat in the garage for 2 years with flat tyres. I knew a little about how to look after bikes, having been riding low end mountain bikes for several years, and I took a look at it. The thing weighed a ton, and I couldn't get the gears to stop slipping no matter how I adjusted them. When I expressed an interest in getting another bike for myself, my hubby said he'd just use his old Roadmaster to see if he liked riding. I told him point blank that there was no way I'd ride offroad with him on that bike, and that I'd wait to get a bike until we could afford two. He now rides a Jamis Cross Country 2.0 and is loving riding so much that we're planning on what upgrades to get him to make his bike perform even better.

    If you really can't afford a proper bike from a LBS, and all you have is $100, please don't opt for a Walmart bike as a suitable replacement. For $100 I'm sure you could get a used bike that will do a lot better for you than anything at Walmart... all you have to do is be patient.

    - Jen.

  51. #51

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    13
    Hmmm were to start. Ok the reference to Disneyland was meant to mean I would rather spend time out with the family than out riding my bike. I am sure there are those of you that live to ride if you would rather ride than spend time with your family I am not trying to put words in your mouth then those are your own demons. The misleading statement was not directed to CR It was directed at posts defining these bikes as unsafe. I dont know maybe you ride a lot harder than I do and put your bikes through WAY more abuse than I do but I personally have only laid mine down once on account of my own stupidity. Never broke a frame, Never broke a fork, Never broke a rim, So far I have not broken or cracked anything and have no reason to question this bike. I guess it is possible I got one of the middle of the week bikes and there fir it was built better but highly unlikely. Who knows maybe one day I will snap a frame in half and start thinking like everyone ells here and possibly pay more for a bike but thats unlikely. I ride my bike 5-10 miles 2 days a week and have gone as far as 50 miles on my days off on USFS trails. Sure I have had mechanical malfunctions on the trail but who of us have not?

  52. #52

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonw
    Hmmm were to start. Ok the reference to Disneyland was meant to mean I would rather spend time out with the family than out riding my bike. I am sure there are those of you that ?live to ride? if you would rather ride than spend time with your family ?I am not trying to put words in your mouth? then those are your own demons.

    Well Demons they may be, but their my family and they all ride bikes. We ride together and apart. So you put no words in my mouth because I can enjoy my family and ride at the same time, hell my wife and youngest daughter can stay pretty close to me on some fast ass singletrack after riding for only a couple of years. My wife rides a GF WaHoo and my daughter rides a ProClass cromo hardtail. My thought is if your gona spend time with the family it should be doing something that you all like ( I must be lucky in that aspect).
    Sorry your sticking with the led sled.
    If I see you on the trail I will make sure and smile as I zip by light as a feather.

  53. #53

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    13
    I am happy to hear you have something to do with the family that you enjoy. I have several hobbies. Weight Lifting, Motor cycles, I am a Herpetologist and I Love that. None of these my family shares with me so any chance I get I do something odd with them. LOL “if you saw me on the trail” Your suppose to stay clear LOLJ can help that one. Another person on these very forums told me that a couple years ago. “If I see you out there I will stay way far away from you on that POS” I suppose if my biking was really a hobbies of mine I might want a better bike but to be honest I would have to say its last on my hobby list. I believe this has turned into a debate that can only be won when someone decides to let the other say the last word so that is what I am going to do. Please don’t let my views, thoughts or ideas affect how you will answer, reply to any other thread I may start. Its not important what we ride or what we think of it. The importance is that we do ride and help keep the sport alive in a since, trails opened and have fun doing it.

  54. #54

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonw
    I believe this has turned into a debate that can only be won when someone decides to let the other say the last word so that is what I am going to do. Please dont let my views, thoughts or ideas affect how you will answer, reply to any other thread I may start. Its not important what we ride or what we think of it. The importance is that we do ride and help keep the sport alive in a since, trails opened and have fun doing it.

    A debate? Yes - these forums are always a debate and many times it keeps the conversation flowing such as in this thread. Your views are your views and you should stand up for them, but if you want to back down then you have gained nothing. Any way, you do have one point correct - that being-> you ride what you have, this is the most important point of all the ramblings here. I do feel very sorry that you do not know the pleasure of riding a fine hand made bike. I guess when it comes to abusing ones own body - to each his own. I do admire that you still ride. Try to get the family involved with a ride around the neighborhood, hey its still riding. If I saw you on the trail I would pass by with the same greeting I would give you if you were riding a $2000 bike or a POS. So enjoy and don't get hurt on that led sled.(wear a helmet)

  55. #55

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    13
    LOL Helmet? Never leave home without it. A few years ago my father lost a friend "Fell down a flight of stairs" Anyway he was given 2 very nice road bikes. He in turn gave me one and my wife the other. On our first ride she took a spill in the road. Not going fast and not injured at all but it was just enough to keep her off a bike. As for my boy, He loves riding but at 2 years old has not got it yet. I love riding his ATV though so we go on ATV rides all over our land. Someday perhaps it will be time to take him on a nice bike ride should that be what he wants to do. I have tried to get the wife back on a bike but she wont hear of it at all.

  56. #56

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    9

    I Tried That

    I started on a cheap dept store bike. buddy of mine talked me into going on a local trail ride so I went out and bought a cheap dept store special. Fortuantly it didn't ruin my experience. I fell in love with the sport... beat the snot of out that bike.. I think it lasted a whole 2 months.. then I bought my buds used moab 3 hardtail.. I'm on my 4th bike now. Just got a new prophet last month. Not so the same story for my wife though. I asked here if she would like to try it with me. She refused to let me get her a decent bike.. $400-$500 entry level hardtail. so she got here a dept store special. No joy. She didn't really take to it too well... granted I think the bike a piece of junk.. (plastic break levers!). She recently hopped on my old NRS and really liked the ride.. Keeping my fingers crossed I am rebuilding the NRS for her. (I'm a little taller so I'm trying to fit it to her better). I hoping this might give her a better experience. * I agree with the statement it could really be about how you ride. If you cruise the easyier trials and enjoy the view then the dept store bikes may work for you. I... on the other hand.. do not cruise much at all.. I enjoy the the sheer speed and challenge of the ride. Fast and hard riding is what I enjoy.. and that demands a bike of higher standards to endure the pusnishment I will put it through.

  57. #57

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    689
    Like Department stores most lbs have layaway. If money is an issue use that to your advantage. Especially in the north where bike shops are happy to have any sort of income come in during the winter.

  58. #58
    mtbr member
    Reputation: psunuc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    222

    Good job! Decent bike, low price.

    I own both a Trek from a LBS and a Mongoose XR200 from wal-mart (for at college). Since I have been at college I have had no problems with the Mongoose at all. I have maintained it regularly and have been riding it a lot. I think that the people that have problems with these department store bikes have a problem because they treat them as though they are an LBS bike. Your best bet with a department store bike is to just take it to an LBS right away so that they can set up everything properly rather than ride a bike with loose parts which will cause premature wear. (I opted for an LBS tune-up before riding it).

    My Mongoose is perfect for light off-road trails and everyday riding through town and I couldn't be happier with the $160 price tag that came with it. If someone is looking to beat on a bike and go on the long, rough trails then obviously get a LBS bike like a Trek, Cannondale, Giant, etc. If someone is on a low budget and they dont mind maintaining it a little and sticking to the softer trails then the department store bike is a decent temporary substitute for a better LBS bike. After all, its all about riding and not about waiting.

  59. #59
    Yetilicious
    Guest
    Hehe the beginners corner makes me laugh sometimes... until i remember when i was a beginner. I thought my first ride, a $300 specialed hardrock, was the sweetest thing on earth. Now i ride a $4500 Yeti Asr-sl, with single components that cost more than my entire first bike. A $700 wheelset, $250 crankset, $150 dereilleur, $800 Rockshox SID world cup.... Its a crazy world

    i should go find that old hardrock, and take it for a ride

  60. #60

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    192

    An extremely important reasoning

    Here is something that has been touched on, but not stressed enough here. Your LBS (local bike shop) is going to do more for you than just sell you a bike. One: they usually have several varieties of bikes available for about the same price range as a department store. Two: they will size you up for the bike and adjust it properly to you. This is the most important aspect of buying a bike and being a new rider. You can buy a $2K bike, but if it's not adjusted to you or it does not fit your size and or weight, it will ride like a $40 bike. It is far more dangerous to a new rider or at least up to novice to ride a bike that is not adjusted correctly than just about anything else. There are so many styles and types of components out there that a person will pretty much need to try out all of them to find one that works if they do it on their own, however, a LBS can usually tell with some uncertainty what kind of equipment you're looking at getting. And trust me on this one, most shops are out to make customers, not high end sales. They know that if you buy one and are happy, you will be back. Whether it's for service or for a new bike. I'm all for riding and agree that's it's more important to get out and ride, but why buy a $150/noservice bike when you can get into something fairly nice with service for about $50 more. And three: if you are new, don't worry so much about components. I've seen too many people buy super high end components because of name and looks. They don't ride nearly well enough to justify that level of equipment. So it weighs a bit more, so what... it's not like most beginners are going to jump into XC racing in 6 mo's. The best advice is to start at a level where you can grow and replace with age. If you start off expensive, you're going to be replacing a lot of expensive stuff until you learn how to use it. Anymore, if you buy a good bike, the components on it will usually last a good year or two. This will give you time to figure out if you like that type/style or if you might want to look at something else. Also, on a personal note, not all XC or DHers prefer FS. A good many of the best riders love Hardtails. I have and love riding them both.

  61. #61
    Are you gonna eat that?
    Reputation: Kyoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    500
    Quote Originally Posted by Yetilicious
    Hehe the beginners corner makes me laugh sometimes... until i remember when i was a beginner. I thought my first ride, a $300 specialed hardrock, was the sweetest thing on earth. Now i ride a $4500 Yeti Asr-sl, with single components that cost more than my entire first bike. A $700 wheelset, $250 crankset, $150 dereilleur, $800 Rockshox SID world cup.... Its a crazy world

    i should go find that old hardrock, and take it for a ride
    Hey, I own a $300 Hardrock with a $450 wheelset (ok, so I got them on closeout) The components might be sucky but the frame has taken 2000+ miles of Clyde abuse in the last year with no troubles (yeah, ok so the first wheels bent within about 50 miles..) it's just getting to the point now where I have to think about switching in some new major components or just buying a new frame and fork and moving all the parts over, it's a daily rider so I'm tempted to leave it as is.

    I also own a $1500 KHS squishy ($1350+pedals, parts and tax) that's proving to be a worthwhile purchase as an entry level FS bike, but it's only 2 weeks old and I'm already shopping around for new bits (not because I have a need for them, but I'm into one of my spending splurges )

    A friend of mine bought a Dept. Store Schwinn, she's let it rust outside for the past few months though, so I've offered to go round and spanner on it for a bit for her, I'm hoping she went for a hard tail at least, but I'd like to do some riding with her (she's a spinning nut, I'm sure doing it outdoors is only a matter of time) and I don't want to see her get injured on a crap bike.

  62. #62

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    166

    New question here. Anybody know anything about Royce Union bikes?

    I just picked up a Royce Union "Gibraltar" used for $50.00. 18 speed with index shift Shimano derraileurs. It rides very well, but is completely unsuspended. Here in Indiana however, there aren't any really extreme trails to speak of. The other question I have is does anyone have any suggestions for a Mountain or offroad trike for my wife? She lost her inner ear on the right side from removal of a brain tumor and you can imagine what that did to her ability to ride a bike! I have rebuilt and restored a classic old Trike for her use, but she misses trail riding and this trike isn't suitable for anything but a paved trail or Wide flat dirt road at the most. Any help would be appreciated.

  63. #63

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    75

    quick

    note here. My first bike was a $150 "Dual suspension" Huffy from Walmart. I never weighed it, but I'd say 30-35 lbs of, what seems like a cast iron frame, wheels and handlebars. I rode it for two years without ever, once, adjusting the derailleurs, lubing the chain, tightening a single nut, bolt, etc. it's been through dirt, potholes, thrown on the ground, you name it. It never broke, squeaked, cracked, Nothing. I gave it to my friend after getting an Ibex, and he rides it still.
    My second, and current bike is an Ibex Alpine 450 for which I paid roughtly $400 with shipping. The difference I felt that came with a well-tuned bike, which was probably 5-7lbs lighter, had a better fork, brakes, etc was almost immeasurable. The ride, generally speaking is [b]awesome[/b[
    Now: I constantly lube it, clean the drivetrain, tighten all the nuts and bolts, watch for other necessary adjustments, and treat it like a house pet. In less than a year, I've had noises in my read hub, bottom bracket, headset, and who knows where else, while this bike hasn't taken half the abuse my old Huffy did.
    This is not a rant about Ibex, because overall, their customer service is extremely quick, polite, and generally comes with great advice. The bike, for the money, I still feel is absolutely Kickass and I love owning and riding it.
    I wrote all this because of 2 points I wanna make.
    1. Just because you buy a bike in a Dept store, it doesn't mean you won't enjoy riding it, or it will break or won't give you a good deal of great service.
    2. To appreciate an LBS-type bike, even an entry level, I think you just Have to ride something that comes off a Walmart Shelf, weighs 35 lbs and has a price tag of < $150

    ..okay.. maybe that wasn't so quick..
    Last edited by kirrill; 05-27-2005 at 08:07 AM.

  64. #64

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by kirrill
    note here. My first bike was a $150 "Dual suspension" Huffy from Walmart. I never weighed it, but I'd say 30-35 lbs of, what seems like a cast iron frame, wheels and handlebars. I rode it for two years without ever, once, adjusting the derailleurs, lubing the chain, tightening a single nut, bolt, etc. it's been through dirt, potholes, thrown on the ground, you name it. It never broke, squeaked, cracked, Nothing. I gave it to my friend after getting an Ibex, and he rides it still.
    My first "mountain bike" was a Mongoose from Walmart. Same deal. Rode the heck out of it for three years. Didn't shift well. But I only used three gears on the trail. Finally blew out the bearings in the rear axle. I think it actually did me good pumping that beast uphill over tree roots. I knew it was cheap, but I wanted to try biking before sinking money into it. This Spring, the wife let me shell out $500 for an IronHorse Warrior Disc. Now I'm riding up the same hills without leaving the seat.

    Money makes a difference. But a cheap bike is like freeweights. Good for training. Once you become experienced and passionate, it's time to shell out the dough for a decent bike.
    Last edited by Keldog; 06-05-2005 at 11:00 AM.

  65. #65

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    198
    I bought a bike (rigid) called Black River or something like that from Sears in about 1995 to ride the trails with my kids. Two years ago, my doctor said I had to start taking blood pressure medicine or lose some weight. I decided to start riding again, and in about two months trashed the old Black River on some very mild trail riding. Seems like I was breaking something every time I rode (I am sure the 260 lbs had something to do with it). I found a Trek 8500 with disk brakes on Ebay and bought it. That bike has held up great with only one boken spoke and ther regular maintenance in the last two years. I just upgraded again to a Liquid 10. I know a lot of people don't like them, but I love it. Bought it from a college student who needed the money more than the bike. Had already upgraded the rear derailler to XTR and changed the front fork to a Z1. It is a GREAT bike for me. I still ride the mild to intermediate trails, but the addition of a rear suspension is great. Now 40 years old and still 240 lbs, but don't need the blood pressure medicine. I think the key is to get the best thing you can afford at the time, and ride the wheels off it. Upgrade when you can. There is always something lighter, faster, sweeter.....

  66. #66
    MTBR Mafia
    Reputation: cdub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,553
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonw
    I do however see a problem with a lot of the misleading statements in this thread. I am not sure what a lot of you would consider trail worthy but my Wal-mart bike has logged a whole lot of miles on trails all over the state so it seems pretty trail worthy to me. I will also agree with the weight of the bike. It would bike nice if it were a little lighter but I will put up with a heavier bike and save my $300-400-500- and take my son to d\Disney Land instead thank you
    Just because its trail worthy to you does not mean its a good bike. i weigh 140 and i guarentee if i took that on an everage ride i would bust something. it comes down to how far you want your riding to progress. i have ridden a wal-mart bike cause my friend has one and can say i would be such a worse rider if i rode that. now i don't have a lot of money, but i saved for years to buy my bike and i couldn't be happier. i mean not going out to dinner and just raioning money the best i could to get this bike. for serious mtn bikers these bikes simply wont do. but for the "recreational" rider, like i assume you are. they are just fine
    All Mountain was so 2005

  67. #67
    lover not a fighter
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    198

    one sitting in my garage right now...

    no, it's not mine. My wife's cousin bought a Wal-Mart Mongoose last year... it is a dual suspension job and it is absolute crap.

    Weighs a ton and is fitted with garbage components... plastic chain ring guard...shite brakes... Acera derailleur

    I tried helping him out by giving him a Bontrager saddle to replace the gel saddle his came with... well, I come to find out that the saddle and top portion of the saddle clamp are one piece! He has to get a new seat post (27.2) in order to use the new saddle! Oh yeah, and the seat post that came with it is only about 6" long...

    we went out last weekend and his rear wheel went out of true to the point that the bike had to be pushed.

    Funniest thing about it is,it is by far the heaviest bike I have EVER encounetered, yet on the top tube emblazoned in bold graphics it reads: LIGHTWEIGHT ALUMINUM FRAME

    I know that these bikes fill a need... but if you plan on riding with any frequency and would actually like to ENJOY the ride, get a decent used bike on eBay

  68. #68
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    77
    I just spent the last 30 minutes reading all the posts on this thread and I think it is a great discussion with a lot of very valid points. My story is this....
    My first experience with a mountain bike was back in 1986 (I was 11) when my Dad tried to convince me that these new "mountain bikes" were cool and what I should have to putz around town on. I wanted no part of it and instead got a Torker 2 freestyle bike that I quickly grew bored of.
    The next summer I saved up my lawnmowing money and bought a brand new Diamond Back entry level mountain bike. At that time it probably cost almost what it would now - around $250. I rode the heck out of that bike - and sold it to a friend a couple years later. I then bought a used Diamond Back Topanga and this was a great bike too - but was just a little too big for me. On both of these bikes I upgraded components as they broke or wore out and put hundreds or thousands of miles on them cruising the trails around town and to get from A to B. Unfortunately, once I got my driver's license the bike did not get too many miles put on it.

    A few years later I went off to college and used my bike as my primary mode of transportation. My trusty Diamond Back served the purpose well - but I got caught up in reading too many issues of Mountain Bike Action and seeing all the trick new MTB's on campus! During my 2nd year I traded in the Diamond Back for a shiny new Schwinn High Sierra SS. At that time this was a $600 bike on year end closeout for around $450. It had a really crappy front shock and full STX components. Almost immediately I traded in the crappy shock for a slightly used Manitou 3 fork (now a vintage part I guess?). I started riding a lot and even went on a couple trips out to CO to Vail, Aspen, Snowmass, Winter Park, etc. As a starving college kid I didn't have much money to spend on a bike but I managed to slowly upgrade every component of my Schwinn to with the latest XT widgets. As it sits now it has XT everything (rear derailer, cranks, shifter/brake pods, v-brakes) and a Manitou FSti fork. One time I added it all up and I figure I have put more than $1600 into this bike! It may not be the latest and greatest but it has high quality components, weighs around 26 pounds (not bad for a heavy cromo frame) and rides very sweet. Given what I have seen in the bike shops there really doesn't seem to be much difference between this bike and what I could by now - with the exception of the disk brakes that are available now.

    Since I started riding mountian bikes I have had several friends get started in the hobby too. All of them seem to have the same idea -they will get a cheap department store bike because it is cheap and they will come riding with me. All have learned quickly! In college my roommate had some no-name bike from Montgomery Wards and on our first ride he got so upset at the skipping chain that he vowed to never ride a cheap bike again. He went and bought a Giant Iquana and later upgraded that to a Baracuda aluminum frame with a nice air/oil front shock. My girlfriends both went through the same thing - riding cheap bikes because "why would I spend money on a bike when it will ride exactly the same!" and one ended up with a Schwinn Moab and the other a Gary Fisher Aquila.

    Meanwhile, my best friend has been telling me he wants a bike for the past 12 years! He has lived in CO at a resort and been around bikes for a long time - but for some reason he never made it a priority and never took the plunge to buy a bike. From time to time he would ask me about the "full suspension bike" at Target or Walmart from brands like Pacific, Jeep or Magna. Always I told him that he would be better off finding a used hardtail from a pawn shop, garage sale, etc because it will ride 100x nicer. For some reason he thought that a bike that has suspension must be better than one without- regardless of the quality of the bike! This spring after having him tell me about the latest and greatest sweet full suspension bike from Walmart that said Schwinn on it (and weighed 40+ pounds!) I put together a bike for him out of parts that I found at a local "junk day". The bike is a high quality cromo frame with my old STX rapid fire shifter and brakes and old school LX cranks, hubs, derailers, etc. He loves riding this bike! It fits him well (it is a 20" frame and he is 6-1) and rides beatifully. He now calls me almost daily to go on a bike ride!

    I know this is long- but it amazes me the deals or freebies that you can find if you look for bikes. I built my friends bike out of free parts from a Specialized Hard Rock and another bike that people were throwing in the garbage! I also picked up a really nice - but old - Diamond Back Ascent EX from a pawn shop recently for $15! I tuned it up, replaced the tires and cables and this bike rides better and is more durable than anything you will ever find at Walmart or Target! Lastly, I bought my friend's wife a $3 Giant Rincon at a garage sale and all it needs is a tuneup (which I do for nothing) and a seat and she will be set! I have seen sweet deals at local bike shops, in the paper, online and at garage sales. In my opinion anyone will be better off with a higher quality used bike shop type bike than anything you could get at a big box store. You may not have the latest bling full suspension disk brake rig - but you will have a qualiy, durable and long lasting bike with a little $$ left in your wallet!

    Good luck and happy trails! Thanks for listening.

  69. #69
    Me hates pinchflat
    Reputation: 545cu4ch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    2,415
    I recently bought a giant rincon and ive seen in the reviews that the fork is not very good. Can someone recommend me a good fork under $100 to upgrade the current one? (suntour xc60) sorry if its out of the subject
    Last edited by 545cu4ch; 08-11-2005 at 05:43 PM.

  70. #70

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    770
    God, i need to show my old man these threads. He doesnt understand y i spend thousands of dollars on my bikes. He keeps telling a cheapo dept. store bike would do teh job or a low-end LBS bike. I ride my bikes hard and demand alot from them and my dad just doesnt understand. I keep telling him to come out on the trails with me with his 10 year old huffy and see how he likes it. I believe most people buy a dept. store bike because they don't understand what makes a good bike, which is understandable. Butthey realize it after they go and ride for some time. I work at a shop and we get dept bikes all the time and the main difference is the assembly quality. A good assembly job makes a world of difference. Most common problems i see is mis routed cables, lack of shifting adjustment, mis-aligned brake pads and poorly adjusted brakes, loose bolts, un-trued wheels, and the backwards front wheel. Hmm, so that seems like pretty much the whole bike. If yur demanding any sort of performance on a mtb trail, then dont get a dept bike.

  71. #71
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,243
    Quote Originally Posted by kirrill
    I wrote all this because of 2 points I wanna make.
    1. Just because you buy a bike in a Dept store, it doesn't mean you won't enjoy riding it, or it will break or won't give you a good deal of great service.
    2. To appreciate an LBS-type bike, even an entry level, I think you just Have to ride something that comes off a Walmart Shelf, weighs 35 lbs and has a price tag of < $150
    To quote someone we all know......"it's NOT about the bike."

  72. #72

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    50
    Quote Originally Posted by alexw.
    I have a trek 3700 now, and i was wishing to spend all of my money (im only 15) on a really good bike. I've gotten really into the sport and i think that i am not all that bad. My bike barely survives my rides, and i am not too eager to buy a cheap bike again...
    but of course i am no expert...any suggestions?
    Hey man i'm 15 too and recently i got sponsored so right now ride a Giant NRS 3 and i came off a kona but i started riding on a crappy Dick's mongoose thing. Now that i look back on its kinda funny

  73. #73

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    153
    easily the best part of a LBS is the service. my favriot LBS is cyclepath, a boutiqe bike shop in portland, OR. they have amazing service. they built up two three thousand dollar bikes for me, because the first one didn't fit. when i was unsure about the bike, they let me keep it over the weekend as long as i didn't take it on muddy trails. or break anything. i am now the proud owner of a 2005 titus moto-light with a roxk shox reba team and full XT and LX components.

  74. #74
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    685
    Quite possibly the best thing about buying even the cheapest bike at the LBS is that most give you free tune-ups for a year. My friend recently needed someone at walmart(crap bike) to merely adjust the brakes, but the store worker went off on trying to convince him that his bike was a piece of crap, and that he should buy another one of walmart's bikes. It was very ironic.

  75. #75

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    39

    Avoiding used department store bikes

    I went out searching for a used bike today - didn't find more than one or two for sale, and both appeared to be used department store bikes (one of which cost almost as much as a new department store bike!). After hearing how easy it is to break these, it seems like they would be an even worse deal used than new.

    Since I'm not all that familiar with bike makes and models, are there any obvious tip-offs to help tell which sort of bike I'm looking at? I came across one giveaway that I'm dealing with an inferior bike by trying to put my weight on the handlebars and compress the front fork. One Mongoose that I triead at K-mart for giggles had serious issues with sticktion, hanging halfway through its stroke, breaking loose, then going on further. A bike I saw today in a pawn shop had a front fork sprung so softly that I could almost bottom it out simply by pushing on the handlebars.

    Any other tip-offs that even a complete newbie like me would be able to spot if looking at a used bike?

  76. #76
    Formerly DMR For Life
    Reputation: Full Mountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    989
    to me i look at the quality of the components...most dept. store bikes (at least Canadian Tires...I work for a contractor that assembles them) tend to have components that look like plastic, components that are not available other than on a new bike and aren't even at the LX level and have little or no markings on them

    Brake arms on vee's tend to be plastic on the lower end stuff, with metal arms on the higher end stuff, brake lever bodies and blades are plastic

    That said some of the higher end stuff has half way decient components on it, but the are essentially mass assembled, so there is little if any tuning done to the bikes before they are sent to the floor to be sold...i've had to send back a bike twice because the mechanic couldn't adjust them properly...so i finally did it myself

    DMR

  77. #77

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    166

    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Best advice I can give you!

    OK, I currently have a dept store bike, and to get it rideable in any serious way, I've had to dump time and money into it. I bought it used, and since have had to replace the bottom bracket, the brakes, the wheels..........I think you see where I'm going with this. Basically, the best advice I can give you is to go to your LBS and get an entry level Mountain Bike or road bike, however your bent may run in that direction. You will spend less money in the long run and get a bike that suits and fits you better as to your needs. Give you an example, www.hodsonsbay.com is the URL of the LBS here where I live. They currently have some Giant's at a pretty good price as well as Trek and Specialized. I strongly suggest you investigate either your local bike shop(LBS) or drop by the link to Hodson's Bay I posted here. That is the best advice I can give you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Slanter
    I went out searching for a used bike today - didn't find more than one or two for sale, and both appeared to be used department store bikes (one of which cost almost as much as a new department store bike!). After hearing how easy it is to break these, it seems like they would be an even worse deal used than new.

    Since I'm not all that familiar with bike makes and models, are there any obvious tip-offs to help tell which sort of bike I'm looking at? I came across one giveaway that I'm dealing with an inferior bike by trying to put my weight on the handlebars and compress the front fork. One Mongoose that I triead at K-mart for giggles had serious issues with sticktion, hanging halfway through its stroke, breaking loose, then going on further. A bike I saw today in a pawn shop had a front fork sprung so softly that I could almost bottom it out simply by pushing on the handlebars.

    Any other tip-offs that even a complete newbie like me would be able to spot if looking at a used bike?

  78. #78
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ANdRewLIu6294's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    601
    for me, i am never going to chance it with a dept. store bike again, i wrecked 5 before the age of 12, and when i was 12, i chanced it one more time, got a 24" Mongoose, it was steel and heavy as hell, but it was the most decent dept store bike i've ridde. sure, i shredded the rear derailleur going off a curb, but it was plastic, so i cant blame it. but nothing else broke, and im thankful for that. now, at 13, i own an upgraded Specialized Hardrock, and it was like night and day from the Mongoose to the Spec.

    my friend had the 26" Mongoose, same version, larger frame for 26", and it ran fine, it stood up to him bombing down all the trails near us, until he ran into a hidden pipe in the grass bombing down this beginner downhill course at around 20mph, tacoed his wheel, and endoed and got a scrape on his face. yeah, a stronger rim wouldnt have tacoed, but it wouldnt stop him from endoing.

    then, later, after i fixed his wheel, i was letting him ride my bike, and i was riding his, there was a switchback without a berm, and his tires lost grip, and i bailed. the bike flew off the cliff at the edge of the switchback, we both watched it fall, and when it landed, the frame was fine, the fork had a dent in it, and the rear derailleur literally EXPLODED, the plastic was in like 50 peices scattered around the bike.

    needless to say, he's gonna get a bike from our LBS.

  79. #79
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182

    things to look for

    There are several things to look for,or to avoid bikes that don't have these features
    1- look for a threadless headset, where the stem clamps on the outside of the fork tube,instead of sliding down inside. This should be a minimum for offroad use, and eliminates most of the junk bikes right away.
    2- Any reasonably strong fork will have a cast lower section, not straight tubes pinched down at the end, and the upper end will not look like it was welded up from conduit.
    3- next learn to spot the difference in wheels, avoid chrome plated sheet metal wheels,look for double wall alloy wheels the rim will be thicker (not wider),even better if there are metal grommets where the spokes come out of the rim.
    4-Look for a brand name 3 piece crankset (usually Shimano or Truvativ) one piece cranks with drive pins spot welded on can break and cause a serious crash.

    Any bike with these 4 features will be pretty good to start with, and something worth having used. If you go to a Bike Shop and look at the lower priced bikes and work your way up the price range you'll start to see the differences. At the highest end of the price range you start to pay for extreme strength,or extreme light weight, often for some form of serious competition. If you become a little familiar with high end parts you might find a real deal on a used bike some day.

  80. #80
    mtbr member
    Reputation: drunkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,898
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhorn33
    I just spent the last 30 minutes reading all the posts on this thread and I think it is a great discussion with a lot of very valid points. My story is this....
    My first experience with a mountain bike was back in 1986 (I was 11) when my Dad tried to convince me that these new "mountain bikes" were cool and what I should have to putz around town on. I wanted no part of it and instead got a Torker 2 freestyle bike that I quickly grew bored of.
    The next summer I saved up my lawnmowing money and bought a brand new Diamond Back entry level mountain bike. At that time it probably cost almost what it would now - around $250. I rode the heck out of that bike - and sold it to a friend a couple years later. I then bought a used Diamond Back Topanga and this was a great bike too - but was just a little too big for me. On both of these bikes I upgraded components as they broke or wore out and put hundreds or thousands of miles on them cruising the trails around town and to get from A to B. Unfortunately, once I got my driver's license the bike did not get too many miles put on it.

    A few years later I went off to college and used my bike as my primary mode of transportation. My trusty Diamond Back served the purpose well - but I got caught up in reading too many issues of Mountain Bike Action and seeing all the trick new MTB's on campus! During my 2nd year I traded in the Diamond Back for a shiny new Schwinn High Sierra SS. At that time this was a $600 bike on year end closeout for around $450. It had a really crappy front shock and full STX components. Almost immediately I traded in the crappy shock for a slightly used Manitou 3 fork (now a vintage part I guess?). I started riding a lot and even went on a couple trips out to CO to Vail, Aspen, Snowmass, Winter Park, etc. As a starving college kid I didn't have much money to spend on a bike but I managed to slowly upgrade every component of my Schwinn to with the latest XT widgets. As it sits now it has XT everything (rear derailer, cranks, shifter/brake pods, v-brakes) and a Manitou FSti fork. One time I added it all up and I figure I have put more than $1600 into this bike! It may not be the latest and greatest but it has high quality components, weighs around 26 pounds (not bad for a heavy cromo frame) and rides very sweet. Given what I have seen in the bike shops there really doesn't seem to be much difference between this bike and what I could by now - with the exception of the disk brakes that are available now.

    Since I started riding mountian bikes I have had several friends get started in the hobby too. All of them seem to have the same idea -they will get a cheap department store bike because it is cheap and they will come riding with me. All have learned quickly! In college my roommate had some no-name bike from Montgomery Wards and on our first ride he got so upset at the skipping chain that he vowed to never ride a cheap bike again. He went and bought a Giant Iquana and later upgraded that to a Baracuda aluminum frame with a nice air/oil front shock. My girlfriends both went through the same thing - riding cheap bikes because "why would I spend money on a bike when it will ride exactly the same!" and one ended up with a Schwinn Moab and the other a Gary Fisher Aquila.

    Meanwhile, my best friend has been telling me he wants a bike for the past 12 years! He has lived in CO at a resort and been around bikes for a long time - but for some reason he never made it a priority and never took the plunge to buy a bike. From time to time he would ask me about the "full suspension bike" at Target or Walmart from brands like Pacific, Jeep or Magna. Always I told him that he would be better off finding a used hardtail from a pawn shop, garage sale, etc because it will ride 100x nicer. For some reason he thought that a bike that has suspension must be better than one without- regardless of the quality of the bike! This spring after having him tell me about the latest and greatest sweet full suspension bike from Walmart that said Schwinn on it (and weighed 40+ pounds!) I put together a bike for him out of parts that I found at a local "junk day". The bike is a high quality cromo frame with my old STX rapid fire shifter and brakes and old school LX cranks, hubs, derailers, etc. He loves riding this bike! It fits him well (it is a 20" frame and he is 6-1) and rides beatifully. He now calls me almost daily to go on a bike ride!

    I know this is long- but it amazes me the deals or freebies that you can find if you look for bikes. I built my friends bike out of free parts from a Specialized Hard Rock and another bike that people were throwing in the garbage! I also picked up a really nice - but old - Diamond Back Ascent EX from a pawn shop recently for $15! I tuned it up, replaced the tires and cables and this bike rides better and is more durable than anything you will ever find at Walmart or Target! Lastly, I bought my friend's wife a $3 Giant Rincon at a garage sale and all it needs is a tuneup (which I do for nothing) and a seat and she will be set! I have seen sweet deals at local bike shops, in the paper, online and at garage sales. In my opinion anyone will be better off with a higher quality used bike shop type bike than anything you could get at a big box store. You may not have the latest bling full suspension disk brake rig - but you will have a qualiy, durable and long lasting bike with a little $$ left in your wallet!

    Good luck and happy trails! Thanks for listening.
    good stories.

    the only huffy i've suffered was a 10 speed way back when. too young to even really ride it. then there was a raleigh bmx which was solid, heavy but solid. raleigh used to be a good company like schwinn. my elementary school days were spent dreaming of my older brother's friend's powerlite... ohhhhh

    the cost of a new low end high quality bike is relatively small as has been repeatedly said. but buying used, scoring a great bike at the same price as a new dept store tank is just the best. obviously, it should be an appropriately sized frame, wear items such as bearings and drivetrain should be looked over and repaired... but in the end, you get a bike that light years ahead of dept store garbage. no matter if you're looking for a first bike or your 10th, used is the way to go. there's always some sunday rider with more money than sense. just takes patience... and a bit of serendipity. resale value alone on a used bike is going to be much more stable than on new. used bikes wont break your heart if stolen. used bikes can clean up and look sharp with some time and effort. hell, get it custom painted, you paid a fraction of the cost for it. spend the extra cash on top end components. whatever. used is the way to go.

    yes, it can be hit and miss, yes, it's more work, yes, you have to be savvy. but well worth it.

  81. #81
    Life is Good
    Reputation: Judd97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    1,494
    I've grown up with and outgrown four different department store bikes. The first two were from ages 5-10 and then the second two were from about 10-16. I first started trailriding with my third bike which, coincidentally, was also my first bike with gears (no suspension though). Then I foudn out that bikes had "shocks" and I wanted so badly to get a bike with suspension. So, my family takes me to Kmart and has me pick out the bike of my dreams. I picked out some Huffy with a big green Y Frame and front suspension. I rode that bike home and marvelled at how the suspension worked. This is when I started to really realize that I loved mountain biking. At the time I had no idea that a second tier of bikehood (LBS bikes) even existed. I rode that huffy on all the trails I knew of and it always seemed to hold up ok, of course, i was a tiny kid at 130-140 lbs.

    One day I remember riding it to the LBS (Gattos in Tarentum, for all of you W. PA mtbers), and looking at the suspension forks they had for sale. I really wanted to upgrade to a Rockshox Jett XC ($250!!!) so I started saving my money. Somewhere afterwards, they told me that I wouldn't be able to upgrade to a RS fork because my Huffy wouldn't accept it due to the non-standard manufacturing. This is where I decided to make the jump to that second tier.

    My LBS taught me all there was to know about real bikes and the more I learned the more I realized the differences. I settled on a 2001 Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc priced at $1020. I saved my money up and had it by the summer of my sophomore year in high school. The difference was amazing. I'll never forget htose first rides on my real bike.

    Now I ride a 2002 Specialized Enduro which I absolutely adore. I've since put alot of time, money and blood into this hobby, and while I would NEVER ever go back to riding a Huffy bike (I hate to even rent them when I'm on vacation or something, but a ride is a ride), I will always be grateful that Huffy makes their bikes by nonstandard perimeters or I'd have never found this exciting world of LBS bikes. So.... thanks.... Huffy.

  82. #82

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    3

    Schwinn SX-2000 from Target

    Maybe I'm too late here, but I'm looking at 40, probably carrying an extra 30 pounds so I figured I'd hit the trails on a new bike. I was in Target & came upon this
    http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000A8RF32
    It looked well built, had decent components. I remember back to the mid 80's when Schwinn's were sold only at LBS. I thought it was odd that here was a Schwinn in Target. I bought the bike, took it home & did some adjustments. It's not bad, I'm having some fun. Any input from anyone as to how this compares to other Dept Store Bikes? Also, I bought a Bell helmet while I was there ($25) What gives here? Should I upgrade that as I get a little more daring? Thanks for any input!

  83. #83

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    166
    Muck
    Quote Originally Posted by MuckSavage
    Maybe I'm too late here, but I'm looking at 40, probably carrying an extra 30 pounds so I figured I'd hit the trails on a new bike. I was in Target & came upon this
    http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000A8RF32
    It looked well built, had decent components. I remember back to the mid 80's when Schwinn's were sold only at LBS. I thought it was odd that here was a Schwinn in Target. I bought the bike, took it home & did some adjustments. It's not bad, I'm having some fun. Any input from anyone as to how this compares to other Dept Store Bikes? Also, I bought a Bell helmet while I was there ($25) What gives here? Should I upgrade that as I get a little more daring? Thanks for any input!
    Savage, at least you're riding! You have the Schwinn, so ride the tar out of it! As to the helmet? I'd upgrade that! Go to your LBS and get a decent one! Your head is to important to your quality of life to skimp on a helmet!When you wear out the schwinn, get a better bike! The Schwinn isn't a bad bike, but when you get on a better one you'll understand the difference! Lighter, strong and fast! Basically, choose any two of the three choices here, CHEAP, STRONG, LIGHT! Best word I can give ya! Rather than spending $$ upgrading that Schwinn, though, save the upgrade $$ towards a Banshee, or Specialized or something like that! Meantime, get out and RIDE!

  84. #84

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    166

    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by MuckSavage
    Maybe I'm too late here, but I'm looking at 40, probably carrying an extra 30 pounds so I figured I'd hit the trails on a new bike. I was in Target & came upon this
    http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000A8RF32
    It looked well built, had decent components. I remember back to the mid 80's when Schwinn's were sold only at LBS. I thought it was odd that here was a Schwinn in Target. I bought the bike, took it home & did some adjustments. It's not bad, I'm having some fun. Any input from anyone as to how this compares to other Dept Store Bikes? Also, I bought a Bell helmet while I was there ($25) What gives here? Should I upgrade that as I get a little more daring? Thanks for any input!
    By the way! You ain't too late! Follow some of my posts over in Clydesdales or visit my blogs! I'm 46 and have dropped 325 pounds in the last year and went from a wheelchair to a mountainbike!

  85. #85
    mtbr member
    Reputation: SS-Rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,585
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    I've always considered Consumer Reports is a very trustworthy resource, but their reviews & articles at times leave something to be desired. I think sometimes they rely on their respected ratings matrix to make up for less-than thorough write-ups.

    A good site to supplement the CR link is "Bikes R Not Toys" at...

    <a href="http://www.bikesrnottoys.com"><font size="+1">www.Bikes<font color="red">RNot</font>Toys.com</font></a>
    they suck they didn a article on SUV rollorver's & didn't tell anyone thay added 400 pound's of test EQ in the passagner seat!!!

  86. #86
    You got any chocolate?
    Reputation: tg3895's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    245
    Quote Originally Posted by stormcrowe
    By the way! You ain't too late! Follow some of my posts over in Clydesdales or visit my blogs! I'm 46 and have dropped 325 pounds in the last year and went from a wheelchair to a mountainbike!
    That's incredible!! Keep up the great work!

  87. #87

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    500
    I have a schwinn S60DSX that I bought from Target for $250. I bought it because I love to mountainbike, but I can't afford to buy a good bike, (atleast not all at once) . I decided to buy this bike, and upgrade it because it's all aluminum, it is the perfect size for me acording to size charts, and it is very comfortable. it had fron, and rear disc mounts . looks cool etc..

    I have so far put Avid disc brakes on it, and I just picked up sram x.9 shifters, and derailleur, and avid speed dial brake levers. and shimano XT front, and rear disc hubs with Sun Rhyno Lite Rims
    .. next I will buy the cranks.. race face evolve XCs and sram cassette...

    after that I plan on upgrading the suspension.. cane creek cloud 9 rear shock, then fox vanila front fork...

    I never stripped down the frame to weigh it but I am sure it is on the heavy side.. which is fine because I ride to stay in shape, as well as have fun.... I also figured if once I get all the parts if I am not happy with the frame all I will need is a frame, and probably rear shock...

    Is this a bad idea??? (puts on fire proof suit)

  88. #88

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    11
    with all that money you have spent you could have bought a real bike....

  89. #89

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    500
    Quote Originally Posted by nuberider
    with all that money you have spent you could have bought a real bike....

    $650???? I am not sure how good of a bike I could buy with that...



    I have looked at plenty of bikes that cost over $2500 and some come with shimano LX deore parts, crappy forks, and or rear shocks.. a lot of parts that I hear bad things about... once I have all the stuff I want I will have spent under $2000

    this way I can ride while I buy the exact parts I want.. right now the bike weighs 36.8lbs..
    the parts that are real heavy are the rear shock, with the 850lb spring, and the front forks, .. once I put on the race face cranks, the casette, rear wheel, new forks, and shocks it will probably be well under 30 lbs... I trimmed 1.5lbs just from changing the front wheel, and hub...

  90. #90
    Ride long, ride hard.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    55

    Check out my link...

    My brother bought a big box mart bike and I bought a Cannondale. There was a huge difference between the two bikes and mine was 10x better, and I paid 2x as much as his bike. In the end, when he was done upgrading his bike, he spent 2x the amount of money as I did, and my bike still kicked his bike's a$$. Check out the link below, it is pretty good. and so is this one: http://www.jibjab.com/JokeBox/JokeBo...px?movieid=122

  91. #91

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    500
    Quote Originally Posted by PittsburghRider
    My brother bought a big box mart bike and I bought a Cannondale. There was a huge difference between the two bikes and mine was 10x better, and I paid 2x as much as his bike. In the end, when he was done upgrading his bike, he spent 2x the amount of money as I did, and my bike still kicked his bike's a$$. Check out the link below, it is pretty good. and so is this one: http://www.jibjab.com/JokeBox/JokeBo...px?movieid=122

    Which Cannondale do you have, and how much did it cost? which bike did your bro get? what upgrades did he get?

    Also you say your bike kicks his bikes ass.... What is is better at?

    I am not doubting you, I am just curious as to what is so much better...

  92. #92
    Ride long, ride hard.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    55

    Bikes

    My Cannondale was a custom built bike that the shop made and I picked it up for $699 on sale when they were selling it for $749. It has Shimano LX parts and is a very light bike made for XC riding. My brother bought a Schwinn model for $600ish and it weighed at least five more pounds than my bike. The first thing he replaced was the front shock, then the brakes, the seat, the grips, tires, and eventually the frame with a Specialized Rockhopper Pro (eBay has great deals for parts). Hope this helps.

  93. #93

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    500
    Quote Originally Posted by PittsburghRider
    My Cannondale was a custom built bike that the shop made and I picked it up for $699 on sale when they were selling it for $749. It has Shimano LX parts and is a very light bike made for XC riding. My brother bought a Schwinn model for $600ish and it weighed at least five more pounds than my bike. The first thing he replaced was the front shock, then the brakes, the seat, the grips, tires, and eventually the frame with a Specialized Rockhopper Pro (eBay has great deals for parts). Hope this helps.

    Thanks....

    I hear about all these great deals on eBay but I can never find them..... I must be missing something.. I always look at the buy now price... maybe I should be bidding on things....

  94. #94

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    98
    abt $650 would be something liek the Giant Iguana, Marzochi fork, HT disk brakes, etc great bike. Their out there just gotta find em.

  95. #95
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    3
    Picked up a Mongoose Exile recently at Sports Authority. I have always had Mongooses (or is that Mongeese) and I have never had a complaint. I have always purchase my bikes from an LBS, but with things being so expensive here on Long Island, even the LBS was priced out of my spending range, (or at least, that is what the wife says) I was able to at least steer her away from buying that $75 Magna at WallyMart.

    Any thoughts on the Exile (incline)? It's a FS Bike, and it weighs in at about 29 lbs. It has SRAM 3.0 drivetrain, and a few other goodies. It's a nice bike, and Sports Authority was pretty knowledgable when it came to bikes. I will be trading up as soon as funds become available, but I don't plan on doing any serious trail riding as of yet, since I have been out of it for well over 10 years. You know what they say, it's like riding a bike...

  96. #96
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    enjoy the ride...

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkPhoenixTSi

    Any thoughts on the Exile (incline)? It's a FS Bike, and it weighs in at about 29 lbs. It has SRAM 3.0 drive train, and a few other goodies. It's a nice bike, and Sports Authority was pretty knowledgeable when it came to bikes. I will be trading up as soon as funds become available, but I don't plan on doing any serious trail riding as of yet, since I have been out of it for well over 10 years. You know what they say, it's like riding a bike...
    It's the lowest cost FS bike you could possibly buy; it's not designed to go off road, or path. The fork/shock cannot be adjusted.

    Simply put, if you do want to ride trails, the least cost for a decent FS performer is $1000 or more.

    Ride it and have fun, but remember, you get what you pay for and yours is 20% of the cost of a good starter FS ride that can handle trails.

    I would refer you back to the very first part of this post when C-R tested Mongoose, amongst others.

    Jim

  97. #97

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    75

    Good versus Evil

    I no longer ride this bike because i have a much better bike now and didn't know any better when I bought it. But here is the situation. I bought the low end Trek Y-26 full-suspension bike, my brother bought it's evil twin from Wal-mart the Mongoose xr-100 or something also a low end full-suspension bike. Mine was like 400 his was 160. these bikes looked identical or damn close but his bike weighed 15 to 18 pounds more. The rear shock on his bike had to be so tight just to keep him from bottoming out that the whole assembly broke within three days of very non-aggressive smooth trail riding. although, my Y-26 sucked as well but at least not when it came to components breaking. my bike rode and felt ten times better than his.Handling was superior. everything was. Ya get what you pay for. I saved my money like a good boy,kept the Y-26 for a beater, and bought myself a moderate priced decent xc bike. Fisher Tassajara disc. Not only did I get a much better quality frame, I got even better components on this bike than the Y-26. My riding skills improved over-night from this purchase as did my ego while I was on the trail,therefore making it easier for me to learn and learn and learn...which it what I'm still doing today.If you go RVing....and you will ride a bike three times a year on smooth trails while vacationing..then get you a Wal-banger for $160 but if you want to ride alot without risk of injury from part failure, poor quality... become a better rider and have fun doing it because your bike feels good and works good go to your LBS and let them hook you up with something that will fit you and make you happy in the long run.

  98. #98

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24

    Listen!

    A little while ago I bought a pacific bike for about $100 at a department store. It worked fine on the road I put on at least 125+ miles. then after a while the components started to go to hell, so I bought a trek for $300 at an LBS. I ride trails with it, road too. plus I got a year of free tune ups when I bought it. The point is, if you want a bike to ride on the road that will last no more than a year (with many tune-ups) go ahead and get a department store bike. If you have any interest in any kind of off road bike or one that will last, go to your LBS.

  99. #99
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    656
    A couple years ago, i got an MGX Mongoose. It looked awesome at the time because it's FS, and i thought it was the best bike ever. I rode it around A LOT, but only rode, never offroad, never hopped curbs or anything. It was fine mechanically, but heavy. I got tired of riding it later however, since it wouldn't shift at all, and doing wheelies and bunny hops was impossible.
    Then, I got my Hardrock last year. I know it's not the best bike in the world, but it sure felt like it compared to the Mongoose. However, the brakes squeak, the derailleur got smashed, the disc brakes don't stop very hard, and the cranks were replaced recently, and the BB has started to clunk and click again. I think the Marzocchi shock has blown out. It sags a lot. It seems that something or other is always breaking, and the costs are starting to add up quickly. However, I love this thing more than ever, especially since i've ridden many miles on it, jumped curbs, ledges, learned to bunny hop, wheelie, and it's gone through way more stuff than the MGX ever will.
    Bottom line: Get a bike through your LBS. Even with all the stuff that's gone wrong on the HR, i love it and wouldn't give it up for anything (except a P2. Hehe).

  100. #100
    mtbr member
    Reputation: laotsu42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    374
    i heard from one of the reps that department store bikes are approved by toy saftey standards and lbs bikes are approved buy department of transportation standards ...
    ______
    "thirty spokes converge upon a wheel but it is the hole in the center that enables it to be used"

  101. #101

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1
    I just bought a "Novara Float". It has a "Manitou Trace Comp" fork and "Manitou Metal R" rear suspension. I went to the Manitou web site to check on these componets and found that Manitou doesn't even list them. Evidently they are so low on the food chain that they don't rate space on the web site. I haven't tried to look up the other componets on the bike. I paid $900, and thought I was getting a good bike. Should I take it back, and start over?
    Last edited by [email protected]; 06-03-2006 at 10:18 AM.

  102. #102

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    500
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    I just bought a "Novara Float". It has a "Manitou Trace Comp" fork and "Manitou Metal R" rear suspension. I went to the Manitou web site to check on these componets and found that Manitou doesn't even list them. Evidently they are so low on the food chain that they don't rate space on the web site. I haven't tried to look up the other componets on the bike. I paid $900, and thought I was getting a good bike. Should I take it back, and start over?

    This should help you... They are the same as the manitou Axel fork made with aluminum lower casting instead of magnesium.

    read post # 2

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=194546

  103. #103
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    let me add a bit

    the Novara, as I understand it, it a fairly good bike. The price is kept down a bit by using OEM parts. The fork, as Massmang says, is probably OEM, that is, built to the specifications of the store (REI?); it may not be the same as aftermarket forks.

    from the net....

    O-E-M
    (pronounced as separate letters) Short for original equipment manufacturer, which is a misleading term for a company that has a special relationship with computer producers. OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company's product under their own name and branding. While an OEM is similar to a VAR (value-added reseller), it refers specifically to the act of a company rebranding a product to its own name and offering its own warranty, support and licensing of the product. The term is really a misnomer because OEMs are not the original manufacturers; they are the customizers.

  104. #104

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    6
    The dept store bikes are great if you just want to say "I have a bike". The reality is the person that buys such a bike is really trying to spend very little money on something they may only ride a few times in a few years. I do not mean to imply all dept bikes are bad, but the difference between a $200 new bike and a good $200 used bike is like night and day. My first bike was a huffy, built to take what a kid can dish out and thats alot. My second bike was a KHS Montana, a $300 MTB that was ok. My next bike was a rockhopper comp for around $550 new, a much better trail bike that really out climb the khs.
    So I have been off the bike for about 14 years and decided to get back into it for my health. I oiled up my rockhopper hardtail with ridged forks and realized at 51 I really would like some shocks. So I bought a Gary Fisher 2002 Wahoo with front shocks for $160. Ya the rockhopper was nice in its day but the wahoo kicks a##. A great used bike for little money!
    So moral to the story is some folks just have to have new thinking its better than a way much better used bike for what they would spend on that new dept store junk.
    Ok, send some flames.

  105. #105
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    83
    I guess I'm fortunate that I'm 33 and while I've probably owned 10 bikes in my life, I have never suffered with a dept store bike of my own, but I've maintained them for other people. My ex wife has a $69 FS Walmart Kent bike which I just did a little bit of work to and it runs fine. I will admit that I'm the type that as soon as the bike gets home, I go through everything making sure everything are properly tightened (and that includes making sure some aren't overtightened) and everything is reasonably adjusted.

    If you are unsure about Walmarts ability to assemble bikes, next time you are there, have a look them. Without even pulling any levers, just look at the front brakes. Are they at all centered? Lift the bike up by the bars and spin the front wheel. Do three of the same models spin as freely as the others? I'd say there's about a 2% chance that who ever built it, built it with ANY quality in mind.

    On the other hand, in the last couple months, I've 4 different used bikes (a Giant, a Nishiki and two Specializeds) for less than $75 each to resell. I don't need to tell you if I'd recommend a brand new $69 Kent or a slightly used but perfect condition Giant Iguana for $75.

  106. #106
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    5
    Hello,

    Does "dept store bikes" refer to brands of bikes or to the way the bikes are put together?

    I've heard schwinn can be found at the *marts but our LBS is an exlusive Schwinn dealer.

    Thanks

  107. #107
    Freshly Fujified
    Reputation: Call_me_Clyde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    8,199

    Tricky question

    Quote Originally Posted by terahz
    Hello,

    Does "dept store bikes" refer to brands of bikes or to the way the bikes are put together?

    I've heard schwinn can be found at the *marts but our LBS is an exlusive Schwinn dealer.

    Thanks
    It denotes bikes that are sold to the *marts of the world. In this instance, the answer is tricky, as Schwinn has a department store line, and an LBS line. Mongoose and a few other manufacturers do the same. My guess would be that if the LBS is selling a Schwinn, it's the better line of Schwinn bikes, not the department store line.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  108. #108

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    500
    Quote Originally Posted by cratz2
    On the other hand, in the last couple months, I've 4 different used bikes (a Giant, a Nishiki and two Specializeds) for less than $75 each to resell. I don't need to tell you if I'd recommend a brand new $69 Kent or a slightly used but perfect condition Giant Iguana for $75.
    WHere the hell do people find all these deals?????

    I never see bikes that cheap..

  109. #109

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    6
    I am going to be selling my Gary Fisher 2002 Wahoo for 180. When looking for a bike check out the reviews here. But remember that many of the reviews are from gonzo riders that do things with bikes that most of us normal riders would never attempt. So sometimes the review can be negative because the bike could not take three foot vertical drops with out blowing out the shocks. I bought the GF Wahoo 2002 because it did have great reviews. Only selling it because I bought another full suspension bike and do no longer need the fisher.

  110. #110
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    83
    Quote Originally Posted by massmang
    WHere the hell do people find all these deals?????

    I never see bikes that cheap..
    eBay, baby! Though I know how to maintain and adjust bikes (I know NOTHING about suspensions thouh), I am lucky enough to have a local guy that was a professional bike tech and I've bought two bikes from him via eBay. The Giant was in absolute PERFECT condition and a Nishiki that needed new tires. $75 each and zero problems.

    Also xxxx.craigslist.org. Very nice deals out there if you are patient. Of course, right now is the time to sell, not to buy. At least in this part of the country.

    My firstroad bike was a second hand semi custom jobbie back in about 1987. I got it through an add in the paper for, I think, $60. We took it to a shop to be tuned and had new tires put on and that bike served me very well until 1991 and I put a LOT of hours on that thing. Again, not to knock the dept store bikes, but for about the same money as the cheapest dept store, I got a very nice bike that lasted 4 years and was still just about perfect when I sold it... for a profit.

    That is my point, I guess. Sure you can get a dept store bike for under $100. Or you can get an entry level LBS bike for $300-$350. But with any patience at all, you should be able to get a 2 or 3 year old LBS bike for around $100... and maybe one that isn't exactly entry level.

  111. #111
    In dog years, I'm dead.
    Reputation: burtronix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,073
    Quote Originally Posted by bstguitarist
    But wouldnt you rather have a department store bike than nothing at all? If I didnt get it I probably never would have gotten into mountain biking.
    Another option you could check is getting a used bike. There are bound to be people in your area who started out with a $300 bike & are upgrading from there. They might be selling in the $100 range. You could check your local papers & eBay.

    Burt

  112. #112
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    83
    eBay and local papers have long worked for me... Another option might be craigslist.org It's:

    yourcity.craigslist.org

    Indianapolis.craigslist.org or Atlanta.craigslist.org for example. I have better luck selling there than buying though. Seems like a lot of craigslist users aren't familiar with eBay.

  113. #113
    new specialized enduro :)
    Reputation: Australia's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    64
    Despite what some purists will say, when buying your first bike you cannot go wrong with Giant, Specialized and Trek, simply put: none of their products are bad.

  114. #114
    A little south of sanity
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    116
    Here's my take on the deal. alot of people here bash the " Department store bikes" and thats fine, I am sure alot of Ferrari owners bash Honda civics. Reality is not everyone can afford to buy the high end bikes as we all know. I bought a Mongoose Blackcomb from walmart. It was $280 if I remember right. I wa slooking at bikes at the LBS and walmart and reality is I am leaving in January for bootcamp, but I wanted a bike to ride to get in shape and have some fun exploring the sport of mountain biking, but being that I'm leaving in 6 months I wanted a bike that was good but I could be okay with getting rid of. I have test rode a few specialized bikes and 1 trek bike at the LBS and I know there is a deffinate diffrence in thoose and my mongoose and now that I know I thuroghly enjoy the sport I will be investing in a top notch bike once I am stationed. I've heard soo many of theese stories on the board about how shitty the Department store bike is that it scared me into taking my bike into my LBS for a check up and I talked with the guy for a while about the bike. He basicaly told me that for a department store bike, the bike I have has decent components on it, he was suprised, he did a once over to ensure it was put together right and everything was snug, adjusted the disc brakes for me and charged me very little. his main gripe was the weight of the bike. and at 36 lbs it is a heffer for an aluminum framed bike. I will say that I am enjoying learning about the bikes components and adjustments and such. the bike is serving its purpose of teaching me the fundementals of the sport and servicing the bikes and what compinents do what. if the bike does break I'll be okay with that, the whole idea is that this is a learning process for me. you dont need a Ferrari to enjoy driving, and you dont need a high end bike to enjoy the sport of mountain biking. but once you get into it you would deffinatly want to upgrade the equipment. thats my humble oppinion.

  115. #115
    I wear two thongs
    Reputation: Eric Hoefer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,675
    I just bought a bike at a Dept store, except it was EMS and it was an Ironhorse and it cost alot more than $100-$200
    Hiking is just walking where its okay to pee... Sometimes old people go hiking by accident. -Demetri Martin-

  116. #116
    Have Cake and beat it 2
    Reputation: AusMTB Orienteer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    291
    I started life many moons ago on a dept store bike. thing was a clunker but still ridable for the short distances I rode it. I took up the fine sport of bike courier for a while (fun with cops chasing you) saved and bought a gary fisher hookooekoo, this was in 91. I rode the hell out of it, then rode it occasionally when I had the time. it was starting to show its age so I bought a low end mtb.
    ohhh what a pain, it was aluminium and a brick. the bearings in the bb lasted 3 weeks. took them to the lbs and he informed me that they weren't just broken, they had been smashed, he had never seen anything like it b4. still rode it, saved and bought a full suss but the lbs was s**t and sold me a dh bike for street and some trail riding. you can imagine how much fun that was. then I discovered the sport of MTB orienteering and saved my pennies found a good LBS who sold me a fisher hookooekoo 06 which was mad until some one stole it two months ago. I bought a specialized fsr xc pro but have discovered that it is a little fragile for my riding style. went to the store i bough the fisher from. he listened to my story, had a discussion with his manager and offered me a cake 2 dlx for 3550, down for 4k and on a 10 percent deposit on lay by (australian dollars) based on knowing my riding needs already and being a former customer he could do me a good deal. upshot I am know paying of said steed and am more than happy as the lbs also offers a free class on bike maintenance to show some tricks of the trade for looking after said machine. they were so good infact that i went back and bought my g/f a better bike (treck 4300) which impressed her after riding learsport (aussie brand of low end bike) said sale reps comment of the learsport, better of using it as a boat anchor than a bike.
    this sort of service just wouldn't happen in a department store. LBS offer more than a department store than just the product itself. they offer advice and expert knowledge which is free to use, support and usually a good knowledge of the best areas to ride in the local area for all levels (and here in sydney most run training group rides two mornings a week for all levels riding around streets and trails for fitness and to meet other riders.)

  117. #117

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1

    Roadmaster Bike

    Hello,

    I bought myself a roadmaster bike 5 years ago and as you can see the picture it looked like it was bought just yesturday. But it wasn't I bought it 5 years ago and it's still looking great. I bought it for $60.00 and still going strong. I only had to take it back to Wal-Mart just one time since I had it and it was this past month it was there. Yes, I bought it at Wal-Mart believe it or not. They had to fix the gears but surprisingly they gave me new breaks, break lines, new gears, new shifter, plus put air in my tires. My dad told them how old it was but yet the guy fix the bike up for free, yes free. I guess they thought my dad was lying of how old it was and they thought it was only 1 year old so that made them even more think that it was under warrenty. There is very little rust on that bike and the chain is not even rusted (the trick is use vegetable oil on the chain).

    In fact even today when I bring out my bike to wash it and wax it and even ride it my neighbors are always asking me if my bike is for sale and I tell them no and it will never be on sale.

    but now today I am thinking about changing tires since I haven't change them ever.

    But in the next five years i am thinking about buying a bike then because my roadmaster bike might be rusting from the inside out and I can risk riding it w/o knowing when it will break.

  118. #118

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    166
    Quote Originally Posted by volunteerfirefighter
    Hello,

    I bought myself a roadmaster bike 5 years ago and as you can see the picture it looked like it was bought just yesturday. But it wasn't I bought it 5 years ago and it's still looking great. I bought it for $60.00 and still going strong. I only had to take it back to Wal-Mart just one time since I had it and it was this past month it was there. Yes, I bought it at Wal-Mart believe it or not. They had to fix the gears but surprisingly they gave me new breaks, break lines, new gears, new shifter, plus put air in my tires. My dad told them how old it was but yet the guy fix the bike up for free, yes free. I guess they thought my dad was lying of how old it was and they thought it was only 1 year old so that made them even more think that it was under warrenty. There is very little rust on that bike and the chain is not even rusted (the trick is use vegetable oil on the chain).

    In fact even today when I bring out my bike to wash it and wax it and even ride it my neighbors are always asking me if my bike is for sale and I tell them no and it will never be on sale.

    but now today I am thinking about changing tires since I haven't change them ever.

    But in the next five years i am thinking about buying a bike then because my roadmaster bike might be rusting from the inside out and I can risk riding it w/o knowing when it will break.
    Actually, the guys that are really down om the X-Mart bikes are the ones that do some fairly hard riding! The conditions they ride under are probably going to trash something like a Roadmaster or Huffy or Royce Union. Truth be told, I use a Royce Union MTB (Hardtail and rigid fork) as a commuter, and it's done very well for me. I've ridden it in Cross Country events and singletracked in the Hoosier Natl Forest with it, and it's held up very well! I bought it used and it's about 10 years old. I've done fully loaded touring with it, unsupprted carrying 30 pounds of gear in front and rear panniers, and have actually been quite surprised with how well it's stood up to me! I started riding again last year and at the time weighed 450 pounds (I'm now at 232, by the way!) and on the one year anniversary of my bariatric surgery, I did the unsyupported tour on it. While it was only a weekender, the ride was a load test for a planned tour as well as a learning experience in planning an unsupported ride. I wouldn't sweat it if you are still riding an X-Mart bike, if you enjoy riding it and it serves your purpose, it's all good! When you can upgrade to a nicer bike, then yeah, go for it! Until then, enjoy the riding and don't sweat what others think!

  119. #119
    When in doubt, go faster
    Reputation: =ChrisB='s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,122
    You know, these Dept Store bikes realy anoy me. My neibour/best friend has a Next. and I swear, after EVERY ride I have to fix SOMETHING. And all my Gary Fisher Wahoo needs is MAYBE a slightly adjusted derailur after every, oh, i dont know........... 25 miles of moderate freeriding. Once, her fork actualy CAME OFF, wheelset and all. turned out that the allen screw had SNAPPED.

    Anyways, I'm looking for a new rig for her as we speak.

  120. #120

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    18
    Well I just bought my first mountain bike 3 weeks ago and I guess you can say its a "dept store" bike. I bought a DiamondBack Outlook.

    Anyways...I've gone out riding a lot over the past 3 weeks....gone on some rough terrain and a few small lil hops and bumps here and there...

    Last night I flipped my bike over to install a computer....I spun my tires and noticed that both look like they don't spin right. I'm not sure if its the inner tube or maybe the rim is bent? funny thing is both kinda look just a little whack when i spin...

    any thoughts on what it could be?

    Could it be the "dept bike" syndrome?

  121. #121
    mtbr member
    Reputation: AlliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,386
    low cost wheels don't stay true long. you can put a screwdriver close to the brake surface of the rim and see how far it varies. Should be less than 2mm, ideally 1mm or less. good luck
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  122. #122

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    166
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingflys
    Well I just bought my first mountain bike 3 weeks ago and I guess you can say its a "dept store" bike. I bought a DiamondBack Outlook.

    Anyways...I've gone out riding a lot over the past 3 weeks....gone on some rough terrain and a few small lil hops and bumps here and there...

    Last night I flipped my bike over to install a computer....I spun my tires and noticed that both look like they don't spin right. I'm not sure if its the inner tube or maybe the rim is bent? funny thing is both kinda look just a little whack when i spin...

    any thoughts on what it could be?

    Could it be the "dept bike" syndrome?
    Take it to the bike shop and get the wheels trued. Factory wheels are often slightly out of round, especially with a dept store bike. With a factory build, you often have slight irregularities and the wheel that get taken care of for example, if you buy from the LBS before you ever even see the bike.

  123. #123
    The Mud Stud
    Reputation: Dirt Bringer's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,428
    www.forgebikes.com
    Now everybody can afford a good mountain bike, if they want too.
    sawback 5xx

  124. #124
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fromthecoast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    113
    I bought a Mongoose and very shortly thereafter went and bought a Gary Fisher Tassajara. The difference was amazing. Even though the Tass is not top o' the line it is full of good mid grade components. Luckily I sold the Mongoose to a friend so I didn't lose out too much on the dept store bike. I love my Tass and there is no way I could ride anything less again.

  125. #125

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    18
    Gotta echo the suggestions for craigslist. I got a nice Gary Fisher Aquila that I will probably need to upgrade next year but three times the bike than what I would spend at a department store.

  126. #126
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fromthecoast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    113
    To further elaborate on my point, I ran into some guys today at the local trail who just started riding. Guess what they were on? Both were riding Mongoose bikes. One was a hardtail and the other was a FS with a front disk brake. They said that they both got their bikes from WalMart because they were only comfortable dropping around $200 or less until they were sure this is something that they would do for a while. They said that if they were to continue riding they would be looking for something in the $600 range. This is one way people get into new sports. I did the exact same thing. They did admit to having some problems with the bike due to poor assembly but they had done the adjustments themselves. Not everyone can afford to drop 2k on a bike if they aren't sure they will stay with the sport. Most people who do stay with the sport will want to upgrade to a name brand bike and will likely do so.

    Speaking of deals, I ran into a group of people at my local trail about a year and a half ago. One kid (16-18) was riding the trek full suspension time trial mountain bike with the carbon frame. I'm not sure but I think that bike was at least 3 grand. He picked it up from a local pawn shop for $200, because the guy who ran the place thought it was made of plastic. I would have loved to have known about that because I would have one sweet @ss ride right now.

  127. #127
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by dukeblaster
    flat out a dept store bike won't last more than a year, even if riding on roads. If you are at all heavy (over 180) and ride 4-5 times a week, spend at least 300 dollars. Its worth it in the long run. Best beginner bike out there in my opion would be a specialized hardrock (300ish). Heavier but strong too and the frames geometry is pretty nice (it resemebles my P2 fairly closely). My girlfriend has one and i've ridden it around alittle and it hops great and is forgiving on the trail (poor hill climber though). if you want more of X-C bike there are some low end fishers like the marlin that is fairly decent. I'd stay away from dept store bikes all togather (also you cannot usually get service like a bike shop).

    PS do not get a low end dual suspension waste of time and money (you havta spend 1000 plus for a decent one), and stay away from mongoose and schwinn (schwinn's older bmx's are alright though)

    I definitely second the hardrock suggestion. After I went to live at college in atlanta, there weren't many trails around and I found that my $2K Klein was very ill-suited for anything concrete (as is any XC bike). So I stole my mom's hardrock and have been using it up until this week when I am getting my new one together. The hardrock is pretty damn strong, the wheels are strong (bit heavy but can't have everything), everything has lasted fine other than a crank that keeps loosening (my fault, should have checked the bolt before it got loose and partially rounded the square crank) and a BB that's going bad (happens with expensive bikes too). With a few minor upgrades the hardrock would be a very capable bike.

  128. #128
    A little south of sanity
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    116
    I guess I can add to this. I bought a Mongoose Blackcomb from Wal Mart, for $280. I immediatly took it to my LBS after reading some of theese posts to have them check it out and tune it up. I've rode the bike alot, and not all on pavement, though I've ridden my share around town. I have had a shifting problem, wich was solved by 6 buck for SIS cable housing and an adjustment. I've upgraded the rear shock, to a Rock Shox rear shock for $100 bucks ( and yes I got a great deal on that I think). I've also upgraded front and rear derailurs since it came with Atlus derailurs. I( changed front and rear derailurs to Deore and maybe spent 100 bucks there installed and all. other than that I've done small stuff, new stem, grips and stuff. Reality is I could not toutch a Full suspension bike with disc brakes for the price I've paid. another thing is that in January I'm leaving for the Navy, so now that i know I love to Mountain Bike I'll be able to buy a high end bike when I'm stationed. I think that alot of people here tend to be to hard on thoose of us who've purchased an ecconomy bicycle, might not be a Ferrari, but a Honda still gets us out to ride.

  129. #129

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    18
    thanks guys for the tips....I'm currently saving up for my first "real bike"

    Santa Cruz Heckler

  130. #130

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    94
    Quote Originally Posted by fromthecoast
    One kid (16-18) was riding the trek full suspension time trial mountain bike with the carbon frame. I'm not sure but I think that bike was at least 3 grand. He picked it up from a local pawn shop for $200, because the guy who ran the place thought it was made of plastic.
    More likely, the guy who ran the place knew it was stolen, since the guy who brought it in was willing to take less than $200 for it (pawn shops sell bikes for more than what they paid for them). The shop owner was probably glad to get it the hell out of there before the police came and took it.

  131. #131

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    6
    ok. i figured this. i should start saving up some money, make sure i get a bike that is a bit more updated and durable bike.
    there is a shop near here, and they sell good k2 and redline bikes. would those be good bikes? i've figured i would be doing a mix of xc and down hill mountain biking.

  132. #132

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    341

    yard sales, craigslist, pawn shops

    There are pleny of places to shop for a good quality bike (that could even be the right size) other than department stores.

    I bought my Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo at a pawn shop. Sure I had to look around for few weeks, but these sell on ebay for twice the price I paid, and the bike is in great shape.

    Few years ago there was a clearance at a closing KMART. I bought a cheapo Huffy for $29 since my nice Diamondback was stolen and I didn't feel like spending that sort of $$$ again. Yet the Huffy was junk. Last month (5 years later) I sold the Huffy on craigslist for $25, then found a Bianchi Ocelot from the same place for $20!

    I missed this one (because the bike was too bike for me) but my neighbor had a yard sale about two months ago. One of my other neighbors put a GT MTB in the yard, blue/yellow with the triple triangle design. Asking $80, would take $50, finally got down to $25... but no, I didn't buy it (but I should have). Deals are out there.

    I had to sift through the junk at some pawn shops and other places, but patience paid off!

  133. #133

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1
    Back in May of this year, I decided I was going to try my hand at Mountain Biking...I had spent many years hiking and camping and figured mountain biking would be just as fun. And it is. But I had no bike.

    In comes the 'dreaded' department store bike I bought for $79. I worked great with only minor adjustments and my fitness level really increased. I took it on paved trails for the first couple weeks then I graduated to where I was riding my local (a moderate 7.5 mile loop) a couple times a week. Then I started travelling all over the state in search of better MTB trails.

    Now, if I had never purchased that "crap" bike, I wouldn't have found what has become one of my favorite activities.

    I'm currently looking for a new bike, now that I am much more educated about what MY needs are and what kind of bike fits. I went to 4 local bike shops and was treated like I was an outsider. They all talked down to me, like I was an idiot. Granted, I'm not the most knowledgable about bikes, but it was insulting the way I was treated. Since I was on a budget of $350, I wasn't considered a priority. They kept trying to get my to up my budget and sell me things I knew that I didn't need or want.

    If I wanted to be treated like that I'd go hang out at a car dealership.

    I went into an REI, and was approached by a courteous guy the same age as me (23) and asked if I needed any help, I told him what I was looking for and what my budget was and he found me a bike on clearance and offered to have it tuned up before I purchased it. It had what I needed for what I wanted to pay.

    The so-called 'service' of the hallowed LBS must only apply when you wave $1,000 in their face.

    I sometimes get the same feeling here, that I encountered at the LBS's that I visited...You aren't worth anything unless you have an expensive bike. I have just as much fun on my 'crappy' bikes that I'm sure most of you have on yours.

  134. #134
    Enthusiast
    Reputation: JonathanGennick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    5,359
    deleted
    Last edited by JonathanGennick; 10-15-2006 at 05:11 PM.

  135. #135
    Enthusiast
    Reputation: JonathanGennick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    5,359
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBlatt
    I'm currently looking for a new bike, now that I am much more educated about what MY needs are and what kind of bike fits. I went to 4 local bike shops and was treated like I was an outsider.
    I've run into this, perhaps in not so bad a way as you, but I've encountered the same sort of thing, and not just w/bikes. I cross-country ski, and I like to bike. But I don't "look" the part of either sport. The problem I most frequently encounter is that store owners (and their salespeople) pigeonhole me when I walk in the door, and don't take me seriously. It's almost as if they decide beforehand sometimes what sort of bike I need, or what sort of skis I need. I've learned the hard way that I have to be a bit forceful in going after what I want.

    What slays me about all this is that the stores leave money on the table. They don't need to upsell me on things in the sense that they convince me to buy what I don't want. But if they only had taken more time to educate me, to talk to me about their products and how they work, they'd surely have sold me more than they have over the years.

    You wouldn't believe some of the explanations I get about bikes at different price points. Once I asked about the differences between Hardrocks, Rockhoppers, and Stumpjumper hardtails. "It's better", or "It's lighter", was about all the explanation I got, and I had to really press for that much. If all a salesperson can say about a $500-$800 price difference is "it's better and lighter", well, that salesperson better do some more homework. Why is something better? How much lighter is it? Why, exactly, is one derailer better than the other? What's so great about the Stumpjumper hardtail frame versus the Hardrock frame? Give me some qualitative details and hard facts to work with.

    When I demoed a bike the other week, the salesperson pointed out that the front fork had ajustable travel. He even showed me which knob to turn. So then I asked the logical question: when would I want the travel to be high and when would I want it low? In short, why does that feature exist? You know the answer I got back? It was along the lines of "some people like it high and others like it low." Oh, right. Like that's helpful. I'm looking at a $3000 bike, with probably a $500+ fork, and that's the best explanation they can give me?

    I don't mean to rant too much. I actually get very good service from my LBS when I go in for something specific, like a repair or an adjustment or to order a specific part. and I really like that they are bikes-only, that even this late in the year I can still drop by and there's a mechanic who can adjust or fix something on the spot. All the other bike shops around here have put their bikes away and gotten out their skis and such. But if the people at the LBS that I like so much would just spend a little more time talking to me about how and where I ride, or about how I *aspire* to ride, and if they would do more to educate me about what they sell, we'd probably both be happier. I'd have bikes more appropriate for my riding, and they'd probably make more money.

    It's a relationship thing, partly. Before I can spend $2000-$4000 on a bike, I need to feel a sense of rapport, of trust. And I need them to be able to articulate clearly the advantages of such an expensive bike over and above a lesser model. "It's better" just doesn't cut it. I'm getting there, but it's not been easy.
    Last edited by JonathanGennick; 10-15-2006 at 05:15 PM.

  136. #136

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    5
    I'd been lurking on here for a while, thinking about starting mountain biking. Despite the stories, I bought a Dept store bike (Columbia Trailhead POS) from Dick's for $160 last week. Right now it's at Dick's getting repaired. Apparently the front derailer wasn't adjusted right. The thing stopped going into the tallest front gear (3rd?) after a hard, failed bunny hop attempt. I only got to ride it twice. To all the other newbies, be patient and go to a LBS. This crap sucks, and it's my own fault...
    -- B

  137. #137
    In dog years, I'm dead.
    Reputation: burtronix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,073
    Quote Originally Posted by branson
    I'd been lurking on here for a while, thinking about starting mountain biking. Despite the stories, I bought a Dept store bike (Columbia Trailhead POS) from Dick's for $160 last week. Right now it's at Dick's getting repaired. Apparently the front derailer wasn't adjusted right. The thing stopped going into the tallest front gear (3rd?) after a hard, failed bunny hop attempt. I only got to ride it twice. To all the other newbies, be patient and go to a LBS. This crap sucks, and it's my own fault...
    -- B
    Now wait a minute, branson. If you do just a little research on the front end, you will see that for a few more shekels you can get a pretty decent bike at Dicks. For $300 I got an Iron Horse hardtail. It has RockShox J1 fork & disk brakes. The same bike at an LBS would have cost about $600. Dicks also has some decent Diamond Back models (see the equipment reviews elsewhere in MTBR). So to all the newbies, go to an LBS if you want somebody to tell you what to buy, or do some research yourself & save some $$$. I'd like to support my LBS, but not at twice the price for too little variety & too much attitude.

  138. #138

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    5
    Well burtronix, I just got one of the crappy bikes then. I crashed it this morning trying to do a stoppie (wheelie on front wheel. my friends and i always called them stoppies growing up). Nice endo. Now the rear derailleur wont shift from 1-4. I essentially have a 9 speed bike. So I guess basically do your HW before you buy and dont be impulsive...

  139. #139
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    213
    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    Helmets.

    I was riding at Fort Custer over the wekend and came across quite a few riders on the trails not wearing any helmets. Mostly department store bikes or just above it. Saw one group that was a family of six or eight - great to see 'em on bikes, and on the trails, but not one had a helmet. Spending $200 or so on the bike and then refusing to spend another $20 or $30 on your head isn't a bargain I'm willing to make.

    I'm in the minority on this (and for the record, I commute daily WITH a helmet), but I think the whole helmet peer-pressure thing is way overblown.

    When most/many of us were growing up noone wore a helmet. I rode for about 20 years before the safety police started trying to make me wear helmets. In all those years, I never had a head injury and never knew anyone that did.

    Parents who have never had a bike helmet on their head are putting their kids in them. Most would argue that they're smart, but it just seems paranoid and hypocritical to me.

  140. #140
    Enthusiast
    Reputation: JonathanGennick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    5,359
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    Parents who have never had a bike helmet on their head are putting their kids in them. Most would argue that they're smart, but it just seems paranoid and hypocritical to me.
    Jeff is right. Parents can't afford to be hypocritical. Kids seem to be born with built-in hypocrisy detectors. That's what got me started wearing a helmet. I wanted my kids to wear them, and I knew they wouldn't buy into the helmet thing unless I also wore one. At first I felt silly riding around town with a helmet on my head, but that feeling passed after a few weeks. Now it's just a habit.

  141. #141

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9
    My experiences are short on Mountain Bikes. New to the sport and I picked up a Haro ICS 5.0 in a swap. Love the bike. I have seen Gary Fishers as low as $275 in our LBS and I too think you should spend the extra money to have a better bike plus the LBS to back you up in many different ways. You may also look at E-Bay. I have a friend that picked up a $1000 plus MB for around $300. As far a Wally world bikes, I say stay away if at all possible. Sometimes I know it may be the only way you can afford one. But the long haul you will be in the shop for repairs that will end up being the same as a bike purchased at your LBS. An $80 repair bill for a $80 bike makes NO sense at all. Have fun , be safe and happy trails.

  142. #142
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182

    Been there done that.

    I remember the good old days when there were no bicycle helmets. I'm lucky I can remember walking home after a car ran me off the road into some deep sand and I crashed
    head first onto a curb, and had to walk a 1/2 mile home while my brain was swelling up inside my skull. I don't know how long I was unconscious in the hospital. I also didn't know my parents or my dog's name when I regained consciousness. This lasted several days. Fortunately I recovered. More recently I was given a Dept. store bike and I did a face plant in the middle of a busy intersection when the one piece crank broke. Thanks to my bike helmet I didn't even break my glasses. No hypocrisy here. If you don't want to wear a helmet that's fine with me. I've tried it both ways and I know which one I prefer.

  143. #143
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hanshananigan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    633
    If you buy a dept store bike, try to get one that does not have suspension. In general, their forks and coils scare me.

    I bought an alum 21sp Huffy MTB (no suspension) from K-Mart which I used as a commuter, but then rode a few times on trails when I was getting my start in XC. I eventually got a decent HT from an LBS and wow- what a difference! I kept the Huffy as a commuter bike for years, and it was solid after fixing some problems at the onset (stuff was loose from the crappy build).
    Hi!
    Location: Richmond, VA
    Style: Mid-Atlantic roots, rocks, & poison ivy

  144. #144

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    4
    Hm... as my first post to mtbr, I'll tell a little story.

    After my 2nd year in college, I transferred to a different university (one with a LOT of bikers). I rode my first mtb until it died... so right before moving to the new school, I went to the LBS and bought myself a '99 Hardrock Comp for $250 (LBS was making room for the '00 models). I'd only be biking to class with it. It wasn't a fancy bike, but I knew it would be reliable.

    I lived in a dorm with all the other transfer students and made a lot of new friends... and I think my entry level mtb kind of helped! Everyone kept saying "nice bike, man". Eventually, my neighbor asked if he could borrow it to go down to the grocery store. Being the nice neighbor, I let him... but I thought it was odd because I knew he had a bike. Long story made short, it got to the point where 6-7 people would regularly borrow my bike even though they ALL had their own bikes (yes, they were all dept. store bikes). I was thinking it was getting a bit ridiculous so I asked all of them... you guys all have bikes... why the hell do you keep borrowing mine?! And all their answers were more or less the same:

    - because it doesn't FEEL cheap like mine!
    - because it's not falling apart!
    - because it takes a lot less work to go fast!
    - because EVERYTHING ON IT WORKS!

    My bike really did become the town bike everyone rode. And then some asshat stole the saddle and seat post the last quarter I was there. Years later, I revived the bike with a few really minor upgrades. Still rides great and I hit the trails with it every weekend (full rigid front and rear and all!). One of these days, I'll treat myself to one of them nice bikes that has... you know, suspension on it.

  145. #145

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    17
    I kinda regret that I did not start with a department store bike when I started riding.

    I went for a medium priced bike as my first bike, and learnt a lot about riding xc on that bike. However, as the skills and confidence developed, I decided to change to a better bike which meant that I had to sell my first bike to get the 2nd better bike.

    If I had started with a department store bike, I would have had more cash left over to spend on the better bike...

  146. #146
    mtbr member
    Reputation: txjohng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    739

    WAL MART BIKES ARE OK if ...

    1) That is all you can afford, I guess it is better than no bike
    2) To ride around college campus

    I'm not sure about your college, but at my old colleges I'd see many bikes damaged or parts stolen while locked up. Now, I actually never seen it in action, but have see a frame locked up, or a front wheel, or a seat post missing ...

    so yeah, If I were to ride around campus, I would buy an el cheapo bike ...

  147. #147
    When in doubt, go faster
    Reputation: =ChrisB='s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,122
    Or a trials bike cause they look so wierd that noone would want to steal one.

  148. #148
    EastBaySteez
    Reputation: Freerydejunky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    4,726
    Idk x-mart bikes they are getting better I think are they great hell no. But for some one getting into mtbing and they are in their teens and dont want to drop 400+ then its an alternative....
    Gamut
    Team Evil
    Formerly: motormonkeyr6

  149. #149

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    36
    Well now SOME X mart bikes are better than others .
    Here is a quick summary. I wanted to ride again but I wasn't sure.
    I only had maybe $80.00 to spend so I saw a nice looking Roadmaster MTB at Wally Mart (Now referred too as THE BUICK )
    It served its purpose as a "do I really want to ride again?" bike and mostly a "whatever" bike..AS In I ride it to the park and ride and if the chain is clipped and the bikes stolen "whatever" I only paid $50.00 for it... no tears would be shed.

    Well it got me hooked and I needed a lighter bike with better components.. But still didnt want to spend $$$ cuz well you know I still wasn't sure. The trails I rode were getting old and it was summer and so I was spending more time on a Wave Runner than my bike.
    Since I grew up with Schwinns I found used a Schwinn Ranger 2.6 on Craigs list. WAAYY lighter than my old Roadmaster and OH MY.. Shimano gears and a real rock shox RST fork. Ok so it was a used Target bike. But it only took one roadtrip to realize it wasn't EVEN in the same city as the "BUICK". It was well built and well the components are still to this day precise and flawless. So at least Schwinn is a good buy even at the X marts.

    Honestly if theres a weak link other than the old style neck in that Schwinn I cant find it .. I just spent the weekend crossing a river bed after we took the wrong trail. It involved river crossing (on the bike of course ) and basically chucking the bike over and over on what was an endless field of boulders to get to the right trail on the other side. The Chro-Mo frame ate it up. The alloty wheels are still true, no cracks on the frame.
    Oh it's been a year now and I still have the BUICK. Nobody will steal it no matter where I leave it All though somebody did steal the seat and post...

  150. #150
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,857
    Lol, my friend owns the Schwinn Ranger. He bought it for 140 + tax..33 pounds now compared to my 15 year old 26 pound steel rigid that i bought for 160 that has deore xt/lx... =D

    Theres no problem with using a dept store bike for simple stuff, but it simply doesn't hold value.

    He probably can only sell his for $80 bucks if hes lucky. Mine can probably appreciate or at least hold the same value.

  151. #151

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    5
    I bought an older model Mongoose Pro Alta tonight.



    The people at dicks let me ride it around in the lot for a while, and I checked everything from the weaksauce disc brakes to the shady shimano quick-shift.

    It had just been assembled. I literally caught the guy bringing it out to the floor.

    Everything works fine, and I bashed the hell out of it on some 10 foot / 70 degree drops, hit all kinds of curbs.

    The frame is extremely big, which works out, me being about 200 lbs.

    Best part is I didn't pay but $250 for it (marked down from $500), and got the warranty where I can run over it with my truck, and they buy me a new one for the next 3 years. Anything breaks, they fix it, no question. And 4 free tune-up cards.

    So for under $300 I have a bike that I can literally bash until the wheels fall off, and decide if mountain biking is for me. And I have 3 years to decide.

    I know there are better bikes out there. This isn't my only hobby.

    I race nitro cars, shoot everything from airsoft to real handguns, rifles, shotguns... Wrench on my combustion powered forms of transportation, and race them. Build computers, like the one I'm using right now. Compete in gaming matches / leagues from counter-strike on PC to gears of war on XBOX 360. Oh yeah, skate on my own boards too.

    Until I'm positive that MTB is going to be a big part of my life, I'm not going to a bike shop and shelling out tons of money for a hobby that might not last a week. Ask my 70+ mph nitro car the last time it ran.

  152. #152
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Justin06GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    161
    Hmmm well here is my story
    back in 99 I was a senior in HS going to college. I never knew anything about MTB and saw my FS Concord at Target, it was the top of the line Target bike for 200$ has some Shimano brakes and derailers on it. The bike has lasted all thou college and a few trails around the front range. This bike can't go up hills on the road as well as the GT i-Drive but oddly enough the Concord shifts better then the GT, and when I bought the GT the rear derailer (sram x.7 9 spd) didn't go into the highest gear and after i got the bike shop to fix it it still has issues with gear switching when going uphill where as the Concord gets the gear.

    I have rode both to work for 6 months (3 months on each) straight (3-4 days a week) on each, but more with the Concord because it got colder when I bought the GT.

    I also was bad with maintaining the Concord, but I am getting better
    another thing is that with the cocord I'm not as worried about parking it outside at work or letting a friend borrow it to let him go to work.
    Also, the Concord has a coil rear which can handle more rough stuff then the GT (example: I took both bikes on the same trail and there was a creek bed that was dry and about a good 4 foot drop/dip and the GT blew out the rear shock (on it's first ride on a trail) where as the coil took it well)

    I will give the GT credit as it being 10+ lbs lighter (aluminum vs steel) and MUCH better braking (hyd disc vs rim), much better at climbing (12-34 9 spd rear and 44-32-22 front vs 13-28 7 spd and 48-38-28 front)
    No one ever got ahead by following the status quo
    06' GT i-Drive 5 4.0
    99' Concord ProFever
    Myspace

  153. #153
    it burns when i pee
    Reputation: PSYCLONE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    71
    About 8 years ago, I got a killer deal on a Royce Union Performance 800 from Sports Authority. Deathly afraid of road bikes, so that become my urban ride. I rode that thing pretty rough and it's still kicking. Nice flat black frame too, and minimal Royce Union decals. I got my money's worth.
    Look down at me and you'll see a fool. Look up at me and you'll see your god. Look straight at me and you'll see yourself.

  154. #154
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Justin06GT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    161
    Also, since big name brand name bikes have entry level bikes, if the big names want a good rep when you get serious about biking I would think that you would want a good quaility bike that is cheap to build a rep on, or maybe that is just old school thinking
    No one ever got ahead by following the status quo
    06' GT i-Drive 5 4.0
    99' Concord ProFever
    Myspace

  155. #155
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    182
    I posted ''Ironhorse Warrior Comp $350'' in bargains. Somebody else posted 25% off coupon, and somebody went and haggled a little, and got the bike for $175 at Sports authority. That's a killer entry level HT for entry level price.

  156. #156
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,857
    I just went off a 1 foot drop with my dads Mongoose Iboc which retails for $150 in stores, and now the rear rim is untrue side to side...

  157. #157

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    29
    I'm a bike builder on the weekends and I know when I build bikes for the LBS that I work in, I make sure everything is tuned and dialed in. Last thing I need is someone test riding one of the bikes I built and them not being able to stop or not being able to turn because the handle bars were loose.

    I started off with a Gary Fisher Tarpon from an LBS. It cost me about $200 at the time. But by the time I realized that I was hooked on mountain biking, I had spent way too much in upgrades. So eventually I started searching for a better bike.

    But I don't know if you would consider Fezzari Bicycles a department store brand, but they do offer their bikes online, and I even saw them at Costco one time. I liked the bike so much that I got myself an Alta Peak. It cost me about $1100 and I felt good about my purchase. I was looking around for a good XC bike for a while but everything that I saw was pretty expensive. I mean some of the bikes in the same range as the Alta Peak were at least $1400. So I figured I might as well go with them, even if I didn't like the bike I could still return in within 30 days.

    But so far the bike hasn't disappointed me at all. I love it.

    So to make my story shorter, I say get a cheapo bike to start off with. Then if you think that you're going to be riding for a long time, I say make the investment towards a nice bike. I say investment because I know that if I had gone with a better bike than my Gary Fisher Tarpon, then I wouldn't have spent so much in upgrades.

    Hope that helps.

  158. #158

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    4
    I could not agree more, my and my buddy todd (tjfox87) are filming a video and we are gonna put a segment in with us jumping off a cliff (not huge) with a bike, and as much as i hate my jamis (old bike) i cant bear to kill it like that, we were gonna buy one of those "extreme off road bikes" that looks like it can't even make it on the road to do it with, if anyone has any clips or ideas for our movie, drop us a message and we'll consider it greatly

  159. #159

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    55
    I made the mistake of getting a dept store bike for my first bike. My doctor bills from my rims taco'N cost more than buying a decent first bike. Do yourself a favor, don't buy dept store.

  160. #160

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2

    Every now and then

    I have to say, I find that my Walmart Bought, Mongoose Blackcomb is a decent bike.
    I bought it for $80 bucks after some schmoe returned it because it was too big for them.
    Thank god for Walmart employees. otherwise it probably would have been alot more costly.

    Anyway,
    After a season of riding, I found the bike to be quite enjoyable. The folks at Dirt world also seemed to like it. They reccomended a tune up, and thats what I did.
    It is a bit on the heavy side, but hey, so am I, so whos to judge

    Of course I am not a pro rider by any means, and when I get a bit more in to some more serious stuff, ill definately upgrade. but at least I have something to practice on that I dont feel a great loss if I happen to fall down a mountain and smash it up. ( If I survive that is)

  161. #161

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    43

    Mongoose Was My First

    My first mountain bike was a Mongoose and yes it was from Wal-Mart. I never had one problem with that bike. I road it for a few months before it was stolen from my unlocked garage (whoops). The shifting, braking and other adjustments were choppy from the start, but I adjusted them all myself and it was a great ride afterwards. My main problem was a lack of needed braking power on real trails (they were not disc brakes) and the overall weight of the bike. It was at least 10 lbs too heavy, or so it felt. The gears were great once adjusted propertly. It was a full suspension, though...which doesn't seem to agree with me.

    I actually had two mountain bikes (I got the two Mongoose bikes from my parents as a gift). The one I actually rode was great. The other was so badly adjusted (or not adjusted at all or even manufactured right) that I never rode it more than 50 feet because I didnt' trust it with my life.

    I'm now glad my Mongoose bikes were stolen, because now I have a hard-tail Haro V4.

  162. #162
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    258
    Hi all, first post here because I'm a newbie to mountain biking. This was the first thread I read when I came to this site and I took the advice seriously. As a pretty big guy (6-2 270) and a newb, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on my first bike. I wanted to get on the trails and learn what I like/dislike so I can build my way to the "perfect" ride. I did alot of research at local bike shops. The best deal was a Specialized Hard Tail which ran about $500. I took note of all of the hardware on this bike while I was looking at it. I then went to my local Dick's Sporting Goods. There I found an Iron Horse 1.3. This bike had EXACTLY the same hardware as the $500 Specialized, but it was only $349 (actually, the Warrior has a RockShox Dart 1 fork whereas the specialized had something that seemed inferior). I bought this bike and love riding it on the flat trails we have here in Florida. As someone who can do their own work on a bike, I couldn't see dishing out the extra $150 to have some guy fit the bike and tighten the screws on it.

    Basically I just wanted to say not all department store bikes are bad. Do some research and you can make a wise choice.

  163. #163

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    3

    re-built 'Goose

    First off,I support my LBS. Go ahead, ask the kid at the dept. store what a bottom bracket is . I've been riding mtb since 94'. Kona's and Specialized.
    Well married two kids, and a aging body, I was looking for a full susp. for cheap. A friend was getting rid of his son's Dept. store Mongoose. I stripped it down, transfered components from the Kona. Come to find out, he paid $500 for the 'goose. Good frame but crappy components.
    I went to the LBS to grab the stuff I needed.
    So now I have a dept. "goose loaded with XTR, Fox, Ritchie and Kona
    Why buy a dept bike when you are going to throw away most of the parts. Check out your local yard sales for killer deals.
    And support your local bike shop

  164. #164
    mtbr member
    Reputation: adrianhabicht's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    5
    I am all for supporting your LBS......I have 3 kids two truck payments, a wife and am buying a house. Soooo this past weekend we went looking around for a pari of mountain bikes for my wife and I. We took our time and asked a ton of questions, compared this to that and $ to $$$$. Came out with an Iron Horse quantum/Warrior Comp Hardtail and a Diamondback Outlook in pink of course in hardtail form as well. All in all we spent about $600, and I could not be happier.....for now. The Iron horse seemed to come well equiped for what it is with Marzocchi MZ Comp front shock, sram shifters/front/rear derailer and hayes mech discs. The wife is not as hard on things and has similar components aside from the disc brakes and has a "Zoom" front shock? Anyhow I was just happy that I could get her into the sport with me so I will take what I can get at the moment....and when she/we feel like we are ready for that $1200 ride I am sure we will step up.
    Love the sport and the people involved, take care,


    Adrian and Family

  165. #165

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    22

    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! bought a mongoose

    i wanted to get into mountain biking and didn't have the money right away, but i wanted to see if i liked riding. so i went and spent about 80 bucks at a department store on a mongoose hardtail. from the start it was a nightmare, which is what i figured. the first time i rode the bike out of my garage the front tube popped within about 15 feet. so i patched it and rode the rest of the day, the next morning the tire was flat. So i had the dept store replace the tube. a few days later, the back tube popped. so they fixed it. the handlebars kept coming lose and slipping around on the trails. the brakes constantly had to be adjusted before each ride. the frame started bending, the back wheel bent terribly after about 50 miles of riding. and once i rode over a small stick which flipped up between a few back spokes and got lodged in my rear derailure which bent a lot of crap, so i had to replace the part.

    that was all in about 4 weeks and 50 miles total. so then i got mad at the bike and retired it before getting a lbs bike. it was worth the experience of understanding why the better bikes are worth the money and i got a quick course on fixing small things.

  166. #166

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    290
    As a kid from a low income family I always had a department store bike. It was a Dunlop 26" Mens bike, a couple got stolen and were replaced. I remember my last one, used to ride it up the tracks & trails through the local hills & mountains, it was fully rigid as they are and around 18kg but I guess at least it made me fit! Eventually things started skipping (rear cassette) and then the bearings wore through the hubs from years of use. It was funny when my husband serviced the hubs at one stage, overpacked it with car grease and I thought that it was worse than it had been to begin with!
    My first real bike was a Specialized Hardrock Comp back in 2001, wow the power of the brakes compared to the Dunlop is my very first memory and just how light / crisp it felt to ride. A world of difference compared to having something heavy & poor fitting.

    I think it's good to come from a department store bike and appreciate having something better, and I'd have one any day rather than having no bike at all.

    Ha ha at least they're cheap to replace when stolen!

  167. #167

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave In Florida
    Hi all, first post here because I'm a newbie to mountain biking. This was the first thread I read when I came to this site and I took the advice seriously. As a pretty big guy (6-2 270) and a newb, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on my first bike. I wanted to get on the trails and learn what I like/dislike so I can build my way to the "perfect" ride. I did alot of research at local bike shops. The best deal was a Specialized Hard Tail which ran about $500. I took note of all of the hardware on this bike while I was looking at it. I then went to my local Dick's Sporting Goods. There I found an Iron Horse 1.3. This bike had EXACTLY the same hardware as the $500 Specialized, but it was only $349 (actually, the Warrior has a RockShox Dart 1 fork whereas the specialized had something that seemed inferior). I bought this bike and love riding it on the flat trails we have here in Florida. As someone who can do their own work on a bike, I couldn't see dishing out the extra $150 to have some guy fit the bike and tighten the screws on it.

    Basically I just wanted to say not all department store bikes are bad. Do some research and you can make a wise choice.
    Looks like I am following in your steps. The wife wanted a bike but is looking for trail riding only, I have a GT that is about 12 years old give or take, so I said what the hell. Saw the 1.3 and to me looked pretty good, now my bike "back in the day" was my first mountain bike and was about $500 I think. I might stay with trail riding with wife of maybe get more into it, but with all of my other hobbies, $300 on a bike that is almost the same as a $500 bike is not too bad, looking for an update on the 1.3 but probably going to pick on up tonight. Looking to get out on the trails, and loose a few lbs, and have fun with the wife, this is will be her first bike since a kid, again she picked up a DB Sorrento. Seems to be a great site with lots of info. Might even be a little more hard core than I will ever need but you can never have too much info!

  168. #168

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    181
    My first bike was a shiny black-with-green-splatter-paint Huffy 18 speed 26" mtb.

    Total kitted out weight, not including water: 46 pounds

    I cranked that sucker up and down hills ALL SUMMER LONG, year after year. Had monster legs as a result.

    It disappeared one night at college I hope whoever took it truly needed it for a ride, or at least had some fun with it.

  169. #169

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1
    Thanks for all of you for the helpful posts.

    I bought my Giant Boulder SE for $250 in a LBS. Loved it and grinning when my neighbor's Department Store bike stopped working after one fell.

  170. #170

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1

    First time mountian bike owner

    Hi all,
    I purchased a beginners bike, Iron Horse Warrior 1.3 from Dick's and I think the front suspension is a little too soft. Is there a way to adjust it to become stiffer? Is it that I've been riding a Puch 10 speed for the last 20 years and just need to adjust?

  171. #171
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    258
    I own the same bike and love it. On the left side of the front fork you'll see a black knob. This knob adjusts the pre-load on the spring in the fork. I'm 275 and it doesn't feel too soft for me (with it all the way tightened).

  172. #172

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    178
    IMO I don't think I would put Dicks in the "department store" catogory w/ wal-mart and say target. The Dicks around me acually assemble there bikes on site. They have knowledgable sales reps selling there bikes and know what and how to size a bike. I just bought my Iron Horse maverick trail se on clearance w/ coupons and savings from my dicks card i spent 309 after tax. Has the marzzochi mz comp, hayes mech disc brakes, and everything that adrianhabicht ironhorse has. I love it. I think it's 300% better than any mongoose from walmart and will hold up 100x longer also. The sales associate teched it out making sure all adjustments were to the way I liked them. I'd consider dicks a kind of LBS even though it's not a true LBS.

  173. #173
    mtbr member
    Reputation: hanshananigan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    633
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin06GT
    ...but oddly enough the Concord shifts better then the GT,
    Yeah, that was my experience with cheap bikes I've used as commuters. I had a Huffy bought in 1999 at Kmart and rode it thru 2005 to school and around. the SRAM grip shifters were set-it-and-forget-it.

    I think the moral of the story is if you want a commuter or fireroad bike, a Kmart/Walmart bike will do fine (if it survives the first week breakin period). If you want to go off-road or jump off of stuff, at least buy from Dicks or whatever, if you don't go to an LBS.
    Hi!
    Location: Richmond, VA
    Style: Mid-Atlantic roots, rocks, & poison ivy

  174. #174
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    830
    I bought a Wal-Mart bike ($80) to start off with. I didn't want to drop serious coin on something I wouldn't enjoy. As it turns out, I really enjoy cycling (yes, even on the cheap ba$tard bike). The bike isn't "great" by any means, but it does function... for now. I do usually end up truing the rear wheel every other week though.

  175. #175

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    22
    i ended up spending i think $25 for my LBS to put a better rear wheel on and i have ridden trails 3-4 times with it and no problems yet, haven't had to adjust the brakes or anything.

  176. #176

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    10

    Department store bikes have a purpose.

    When I was dating the lady who is now my wife, I was mountain biking at the time and she wanted to try it out. I went to a sporting goods store and pick out a bike that was around $200. I tuned it myself and made sure it had all the necessary parts and accessories. After a couple of months of light trail riding I saw how serious she was about biking and our relationship. I took her to a LBS and got her a GF wahoo. She immediately notice the difference and since then we have shared many bike rides together. NOW! If I had bought her a nice bike in the begining and she hated biking or we broke up, I would be pissed. Instead I have her and the bike. I am buying a new one because I beat the hell out of mine and it is 14 years old. Hers is still in good shape. A good tune up and a bike seat for the baby and we'll be hitting the trails again.

    I would not put Sports Autority or Dick's sporting goods in the same category as Wal-Mart and Target. They have some good low end bikes there for starting off. Like a previous posting said. It is a good way to learn about tuning, fixing and upgrading bikes before you take the big step and drop a grand or more on a better mt.bike. Just my opinion. Happy trails. Wear a helmet as a previous posting mentioned. It could mean the difference between biking or a nurse feeding you and wiping the drool off your chin for the rest of your life.

  177. #177

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    23
    I bought a mongoose d40r from walmart a few years ago. I freaked out when i saw it i'm 32 now but when i was younger mongoose was a great name. Its a FS bike. I really getting into riding now and will be getting my 07 Rockhopper disc in about a week. I hit some sponsored trails at a park near my house. Some of the trails I hit are so called expert. I make it through. I'm getting really excited about nailing them with my new bike. I know the mongoose is crap....something for the wife to ride now!

  178. #178

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    8
    All good points everyone has made i love my 06 quantum 3 my wife bought for me at SPORTS AUTHORITY 19.5 frame and components they are the less expensive but great brands, work for now, I think by doing your research you will find that some of the bikes sports authority carries are really good beginner bikes like mine for instance price tag 499 wife got it for 299 and i contacted a IRON HORSE rep and he explained that my bike was basicaly a S.M.U. (special make up) but that its a IRON HORSE MAVERICK 3.0 but runs the (quantum 3) name for sports authority so do your reserch and have fun!!

  179. #179

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    178
    newbie I'm riding an Iron Horse mavrick trail se from dicks sporting goods. It's defenatly not a walmart bike. I had it over at the local trek store cause they had a bontager sport crank on sale and I couldn't refuse so I had it there and the guys said for the price I couldn't go wrong w/ getting that bike.

  180. #180
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    You got lucky

    given all the [email protected] "bikes" they do sell there. Jim

    Brand

    Columbia (4)
    Honda Bikes (2)
    Huffy (9)
    Jeep (6)
    Kawasaki (1)
    Mongoose (12)
    Quasar Bikes (1)
    Schwinn (7)
    Smith & Wesson (1)

  181. #181
    GAME ON!
    Reputation: saturnine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    4,965
    columbia bikes are made by iron horse. they have a decent higher priced ($500-$600) bike that is a warrior fs frame with okay components.

    http://www.columbia.com/Product.aspx...at=72030&top=7

  182. #182
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    Not at

    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    Columbia bikes are made by iron horse. they have a decent higher priced ($500-$600) bike that is a warrior FS frame with Kay components.

    http://www.columbia.com/Product.aspx...at=72030&top=7
    Dick's - they don't carry the better ones. This thread is to keep unsuspecting buyers out of Dept stores. No newbie will know the facts you just posted, so although it's great for those like you in the know, it helps no new buyer at all.

    Jim
    Last edited by JimC.; 06-24-2007 at 03:26 PM.

  183. #183

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    178
    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    given all the [email protected] "bikes" they do sell there. Jim

    Brand

    Columbia (4)
    Honda Bikes (2)
    Huffy (9)
    Jeep (6)
    Kawasaki (1)
    Mongoose (12)
    Quasar Bikes (1)
    Schwinn (7)
    Smith & Wesson (1)
    I've been in about 6 dicks stores in the state of ohio and not one has any of those on your list. Don't go online and see what they have. Acually what they carry in store is mostly iron horse and DB and not one of those are online.

  184. #184
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    not worth

    debating:

    but
    1) it's not my list, it's Dicks.

    2) there are more states than Ohio and so there are many victims out there that will wander into Dick's and similar and buy what they think is a good bike.

    3) this is a beginner's forum, and as I said to the other poster, if you know what you're doing you're OK, but a rank newbie doesn't know one bike from another, so this (original) thread is to help those folks out, not debate small anomalies in stock carried by various and sundry Dept Stores.

    this isn't directed at you, as I said, it's to help those out that don't know a 38lb Costco tank from a ~ $500 or so, great 1st bike.

    Jim
    Last edited by JimC.; 06-25-2007 at 11:14 AM.

  185. #185

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    8
    TO ALL NEWBIE'S!!!!!!
    Dont just go out and buy a bike whether from DICKS or wherever, do yourself a favor do some research!!!!!!!!!! RESEARCH thats what i did and i love my IH from SORTS AUTHORITY OK! JIM dont be so negative if you find a bike you like and rides well go for it,you know!
    Last edited by NEWBIE1982; 06-25-2007 at 11:25 AM.

  186. #186
    GAME ON!
    Reputation: saturnine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    4,965
    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    Dick's - they don't carry the better ones. This thread is to keep unsuspecting buyers out of Dept stores. No newbie will know the facts you just posted, so although it's great for those like you in the know, it helps no new buyer at all.

    Jim
    i am a newbie. all i did was research.

  187. #187

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    35
    I've got an old old old (almost as old as me) Trek 820 single trac w/ orig. fork and wheels. I want to up grade to disc brakes is this possible or will i have to go get way to many new parts to make it worth it. I been considering going to a full suspension bike in the future but I also have a family of Ethopians to feed first.

  188. #188

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    51
    I bought my IH Warrior from Dick's and my bike has had a few issues...but thats my fault for not test riding before i bought it...

  189. #189

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    35
    ;i got an idea, how about a good LBS department store bike toss like the old guitar shops youst to do!

  190. #190

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    7
    I started off buying a shwinn sidewinder ($130ish) at walmart. Rode it for a week and it sucked. Returned it and went to my LBS and bought a specialized hardrock sport ($380ish). The hardrock sport is sooooo much better and I'm having more fun biking.

    This is my first bike in 15+ years.

  191. #191

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6
    i got a bike from a local departmental store and was deceived by the salesman. aleoca was said to be made in italy. i later learnt that aleoca bikes are made in china. i was extremely inexperienced and got 2 fs for my dad and i to cycle around the neighbour.

    after having had the bikes rusting in the balcony since 2000, i picked up cycling once again to keep fit, hitting the roads more often than the trails. but i gotta admit, hundreds and hundreds of hours were spent cleaning the frame and components, polishing the steel parts and of cos maintaining the low quality components. i had to fork out $$ for avid v-brakes in place of the ineffective old cantilever bikes as well as a new cassette and gear shifters...and these updates cost more than the bike itself already.

    moral of the story? get good bikes, if you're cash strapped, get a complete bike with a good frame and slowly change the components when you have the cash. and it helps to have deep pockets.

  192. #192

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23

    Good job! W00T! 1st post, baby!

    I thought this would would be a great place for me to make my first post since I found you guys while looking to upgrade my bike--already! ty ty!

    Great thread (and forum)! Didn't need to read it, but it really did dismiss any doubts about laying down some relatively serious cash for a decent quality bike! It further strengthened what I already knew from listening to knowledgeable riders/self-wrenchers. (side note: It made me very sad to read about people who had very little money to spend on a bike even though they too like to ride and want to be accepted into the fray as a real MTB'r )

    Like most of you, I grew-up riding bikes....and it was a simpler time! Since turning 21, you'd mostly see me perched on a bar stool for any kind of "posterior-mounted recreation", however, I have always been in good shape. Anyway, about 2 months ago, some of my co-workers have started to do some basic trail riding and I got really sick of hearing their great stories of death-defying maneuvers and absolutely HUGE air, so I got in the market for a new ride. Now I've already heard the funny stories, from these guys, about this one cat we work with who had a lead sled Huffy that was way less than trail-worthy and I didn't want to be the next joke-of-the-trail! Luckily, I was schooled early by the co-worker who has been in the game for awhile enough to know the differences laid out by this very thread. He asked me if I would like to spend $200 every other year or $1000 to cover the next 7-10. I countered with the notion that I may not dig it and end up having a nice expensive place to hang my dirty laundry. He then regarded to safety and spoke in my terms which went something like, "Would you buy a nice looking folding knife with a crappy locking mechanism?". No. He then pointed me in some great directions, like a nice mom & pop LBS from which I bought my new ride. I spent $900 on a brand-new $1200 bike (since it was an E-Bay deal) and, comparative to discussion, it works like a Swiss-made watch!

    Since then, I've upgraded to an XTR crankset and now looking for better brakes. Money is the one thing that seems to separate a lot of the folks posting here, so my point of view is slightly biased towards the thicker wallet types. However, YOU DO SEEM TO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

    When I was a kid, my folks could only afford Huffy and the like. If I wanted a better brand, it had to be second hand (this is where my sympathy for the poor comes from). It wasn't until I was a teenager that I could afford a good ride myself, so until then I had to hang with (BMX dayz) Haro's, GT's, & Dyno's with my puny 2mm Huffy cranks. But when I did get a good bike, my legs were coiled springs and my friends thought I was a freak on the pedals. Little did they know I lusted after their machines for years--dreaming of the day I could by a "nice" bike. Now I'm the one who gets to say, "Would you like to ride it?" Life is like that sometimes. I've been on both sides of the fence and I know the difference between driving a Neon and Cadillac, so to speak.

    Point being, if you have the cash to spend - do it! If you don't, save up the money to at least the $400 price point and you really won't go wrong*. In terms of fit, finish, style, and above all, performance, there is nothing quite like the feeling you'll get hitting the trails on something with more than two wheels, grips, and a seat. Trust this noob!

    Cya'round,
    pWN

    p.s. Our "joke-of-the-trail" Huffy guy recently upgraded to a $400 Diamondback bought from our LBS and says it's world's apart from his former ride and feels much more confident being on it. If that doesn't say it all then I don't know what will as this guy is tighter than a ducks butt when it comes to money. The components are a bit sketchy for the snob in me but the frame is robust enough to expand upon; not gonna break and I feel like I won't be carrying him back to the car when his welds turn to dust, like we all thought his old bike would end up doing!

    *Only buy from a LBS and always always wear a helmet no matter how uncool you might think you look. If I hadn't worn a helmet last ride, I would be looking very uncool with a big dent in my brain! Been to the hospital twice this month cause I'm two parts stupid, one part crazy, eight parts too old, and missing most of the talent parts all together.

  193. #193
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    60

    First post for me as well

    I'm new to this forum as well. Hey guys!

    I've been mountain biking on trails for about 6 months now. I used to have a 1996 18 speed RAND (if you've ever heard of it) that I never took on the trails before. In march, I bought a Walmart Mongoose XR250 for $200. I bought it because it had front disc brakes, can you believe that? I took it on the trails for the first time in March and could you believe it, I hit a tree root while bombing downhill and my rear derailleur bent inward and twisted into the rear wheel causing it to bend. The stock rear derailleur was a cheap Shimano Tourney. I upgraded to a better but still cheap Shimano Sora. I've been using the bike stock except for the derailleur now with no other problems. The tires are double walled, the coil is 1100lbs and the disc brake is a cheap promax but it works great. It is obviously a heavy bike weighing in at 40lbs. I assume most of you guys weigh less than 170lbs from what I've read and would have problems using this bike going uphill. I weigh 215lbs but don't really have problems going uphill unless I've been riding 2+ hours.

    I just recently bought a 2005 K2 Lithium 4.0 frame that I will be building over the winter so come next year, I'll be ready. In my opinion, the only reason I'm upgrading is for the weight savings. The stock weight for a K2 4.0 is 29lbs. I could probably get it to around 27 though.

  194. #194

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1
    To be honest, I've owned big-box store bicycles all my life and, if you don't plan on doing any extreme off-roading with them, you'll be fine. My latest bike is a Triax made by Dynacraft purchased from Target for around 150.00, and I've been more than pleased with the bike thus far. After quite a few trail rides, and a couple 50 mile trips here and there, it's been a very comfortable and reliable dual-suspension machine for the price-tag. True, it's no 2000.00 Cannondale, but it does exactly what I need it to do (Ride trails and pavement comfortably and reliably) and the only issue which has arisen thus far has been a bent rim resulting from a collision with an SUV not too long ago. In the future, I plan on replacing the derailleur with something a bit more durable, and perhaps adding some new components here and there but otherwise maintaining a stock setup.

  195. #195
    mtbr member
    Reputation: trekbuddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    304
    A cheap Dept store bike is what got me back into riding again. At least until the cheapo shifters broke in a spill. I will say that my modified Trek 3700 has been a great bike. Some of the 3700 components are pretty cheap but are still better than what gets put on a Wal-mart "Next". Not to mention once you have a solid bike to build on, upgrade parts are pretty cheap on E-bay.

    Hi by the way! I am new to the Forums area. I have been using MTBR for advice since I got the Trek but just now started looking at the Forums area.

  196. #196

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1

    Hope Motobecane for Beginner?

    Hi! Right now I've got a roaring headache and probably the most bewildered look on my face from exhaustive research online on bikes in general for my boyfriend's upcoming birthday. I don't know anything about bikes a week ago! I was looking at Dept Store ones, lured as I was by the prices, but now that I've read through this thread... Lol consider me properly fearful. (Thanks, btw, for everybody's insightful hints. This is an eye-opening experience for me!) Anyway, I'm really considering this one: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ne_300HT07.htm

    but I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Sigh, who knew bikes were so complicated? Apparently you can get a great frame, but bad components and it never seems like a win-win deal, huh? And I still have no idea what a fork is.

  197. #197
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,369

    You need to

    post this over in "what bike to buy"..it'll get lost in this thread.

    Jim

  198. #198
    Weekend Warrior
    Reputation: daleksic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,078
    I used to ride as a young guy a lot. I grew up in a big city that had lots of biketrails everywhere. We even went to school (15km away) on the bike, and then took it up to mountain on weekends for scary fast downhills. So i basically biked most of my live on a fairly expesive bike until I moved to Florida (1995) where things stopped. In 1999 i bought a NEXT bike at Wallyworld (Walmart) and I rode maybe 20 miles with it (over 4 years) and thought well i must have really lost it as I can't even ride for more than 2 miles anymore. And there it was hanging in my garage until recently.

    Through this forum I got in touch (by incident) with a few people and took it out riding on a trail (yes the Wallyworld bike), and after just a couple of hours I cracked the frame, broke of the seat and bent the rims to a point where I had to disconnect the brakes (without crashing it!). I went to my LBS and picked up a 08 Rockhopper from Specialized; 3 weeks later I logged over 80 miles, mostly offroad.

    What a difference, I can't even describe it. I made a mistake in 99 to buy a cheap heavy bike that was poorly built and assempled. I learned from my mistake and rather than buying a cheap bike for my 6 year-old son (who learned how to ride on a cheap bike) I bought a used Specialized Hardrock bike for $60 at the LBS and absolutely he loves it. My wife's next, she doesn't go riding with us because she has the same bike I broke; but her birthday is comming up and I'm trying to figure out what bike to get her. I will definetly get a bike from my LBS. PM me any recommendations on a bike for women as I don't know what you girls out there like. I'm torn between a Mountain and a Comfort Mountain bike.

    When it all comes down to, I'd rather buy a beat up, scratched, old, nasty professional bike for $100 (and then spend maybe another $50 in upgrades/parts/repairs) than spend even $20 on a bike at Wallyworld.

    That's just my $0.02

  199. #199
    mtbr member
    Reputation: spazzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,570
    i bought an iron horse maverick 1.3 from dicks a few months ago, it was a steal, the rock shox dart fork and hayes mx4 disk brakes made the bike cheaper then buying the parts seperate and throwing them on my gary fisher, ive had some problems so far but nothing i cant tweak with my tools, if you know what youre buying, a department store bike isnt THAT bad, considering my IH has the same components as my gary fisher it was more the adjusting i had to do that was a pain, but shes up and running great now!

  200. #200

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1
    Department Store vs Bike Shop purchases:

    I just started riding a mountain bike 8 weeks ago, it was my son's Huffy Tundra. I rode it for two weeks and then had to put it up for fear of trashing it. I rode mainly on pavement and a few converted rail bed trails (13 km long with crusher dust surface). The rims brake surfaces were badly scored by the metalic brake pads, the rims themselves (front and back) had a pronounced wobble and the drive train started to act up. The saddle was an ass cracker after 5 kms.
    I talked with a buddy at work who does single track racing and he recommended spending minimum of 500 dollars to get something that would be decent. I ended up buying a 2007 Norco Bushpilot and was astounded at the differences. After riding it for 6 weeks and logging over 570 km's, the rims were still true, mechanical disc brakes havent scored, drivetrain works like it did when I first got it. The only pm I do is clean and lube the drive train weekly. It actually weighs 10 lbs less than the Tundra and is a bigger bike.
    It goes to show, you get what you pay for!

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Members who have read this thread: 1

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.