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Walmart Mountain Bikes?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a mountain bike, but am stunned by the price of the Diamondback Response, Raleigh Mojave and Specialized Hardrock.

I was at Walmart and cast my eye on these bikes:

Mongoose Blackcomb-$279-Has both frt and rear suspension and disc brakes.

Schwinn Aluminum Comp-Just under $200?-Frt suspension, more conventional MTB brakes.

I'm 50, 220 lbs, in good shape, but don't plan to race or do Xtreme riding. I may take it upland hunting to get deep in rabbit, squirrel and pheasant habitat fast.

I'm more worried about hitting something and getting flipped.

BTW, the bike assembler at my Walmart claims to be a collector of vintage bikes. Has a Monarch and some 3 spd kickbacks. He says discbrakes have a magnet inside and malfunction in severe cold, as we just encountered in the central Iowa BRR ride. My vintage Schwinn Tempo racer did fine, though the -30 windchill made it creak and pop.

Brian
Des Moines
post #2 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

As a former manager of a LBS, you might not like my opinion but I'll throw it out there. I always discouraged any customers from buying a bicycle at any department store. I know you said that this guy is in charge of assembly but you're kidding yourself if you think that's all he does day in and day out. He's also throwing together lawnmowers and patio furniture. You might pay a bit more for a bike from a bicycle shop but that extra c note gets you quite a bit. You're getting a professional that works with bicycles (probably modern ones with the latest technology as well) every day. A good shop will have their builders go over all bearings (hubs, headset...not so much BB any more). We used to true all wheels for straightness as well as roundness (if that makes sense). They were trained to address issues such as bike fit. A good shop should give a warranty. Some shops only do a year but many are doing lifetime free adjustments (adjustments only, not repairs from neglect/abuse). Wal Mart probably won't do any of that.

I haven't worked at a shop in a bit. However...I checked my old shops site and I would find a reputable shop and check out some Raleighs or Scotts. You will be able to find something in that 250-350 range. You get what you pay for. The bike absolutely will need adjustments as it breaks in. Wal Mart probably wont do that. You save 100 by going to Wal Mart. But...when we used to get a department store bike that came in for repair...we'd inflate the price a bit b/c they are often times a real PITA to work on b/c you are fixing someone elses mistakes and that takes us time. A basic tune up can run about 45 bones. You get 2 of those and you already made up the difference in original price. A good shop will let you bring your bike as often as you'd like FOR FREE. Do what you think is best though.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by riverfever
As a former manager of a LBS, you might not like my opinion but I'll throw it out there. I always discouraged any customers from buying a bicycle at any department store. I know you said that this guy is in charge of assembly but you're kidding yourself if you think that's all he does day in and day out. He's also throwing together lawnmowers and patio furniture. You might pay a bit more for a bike from a bicycle shop but that extra c note gets you quite a bit. You're getting a professional that works with bicycles (probably modern ones with the latest technology as well) every day. A good shop will have their builders go over all bearings (hubs, headset...not so much BB any more). We used to true all wheels for straightness as well as roundness (if that makes sense). They were trained to address issues such as bike fit. A good shop should give a warranty. Some shops only do a year but many are doing lifetime free adjustments (adjustments only, not repairs from neglect/abuse). Wal Mart probably won't do any of that.

I haven't worked at a shop in a bit. However...I checked my old shops site and I would find a reputable shop and check out some Raleighs or Scotts. You will be able to find something in that 250-350 range. You get what you pay for. The bike absolutely will need adjustments as it breaks in. Wal Mart probably wont do that. You save 100 by going to Wal Mart. But...when we used to get a department store bike that came in for repair...we'd inflate the price a bit b/c they are often times a real PITA to work on b/c you are fixing someone elses mistakes and that takes us time. A basic tune up can run about 45 bones. You get 2 of those and you already made up the difference in original price. A good shop will let you bring your bike as often as you'd like FOR FREE. Do what you think is best though.
Thx for the input. I'm not too worried about service and fitting. I've been 10-speeding since 73 and pedalling 10 yrs prior. I also know how bikes are shipped and have asssembled at least one from the box.

I am concerned about overall quality. I recall back in the seventies there was a helluva difference between a Huffy and Schwinn or Raleigh, but the Huffy was still serviceable. I even had a Raleigh frame break on me. The Huffy didn't.

That Mongoose has features of bikes 3 or 4x the price. The same with the Schwinn. The obvious concern is that I don't want the bike to collapse way out in the woods.

Of cse, as I get closer to buying, I'll likely check the used market. I've had two used bikes, my present Tempo and a Bridgestone RB1 or 2(couldn't tell) and they were both winners.

Brian
post #4 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Walmart Bikes suck. I bought a Fezzari Alta Peak and it's been the best investment ever.

As cool and flashy Walmart bikes are, they will end up breaking on you. I work at an LBS and when we see walmart bikes, we refuse service on them. Half the time the service it self is more than the worth of the bike.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1_fez_rider
Walmart Bikes suck. I bought a Fezzari Alta Peak and it's been the best investment ever.

As cool and flashy Walmart bikes are, they will end up breaking on you. I work at an LBS and when we see walmart bikes, we refuse service on them. Half the time the service it self is more than the worth of the bike.
Then what do you think of their best Schwinn? I've never seen Mongoose outside Wallyworld or ToysRus, but has Schwinn become a total basketcase too?
post #6 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Trust me on this, you'll bend the rear axle.

Unless you want to swap in a 5-speed freewheel from one of your ten-speeds and narrow the rear frame, BUY A BIKE WITH A FREEHUB.
post #7 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

When I first started on biking, I got a mongoose from walmart for $279 all steel, I tought I was driving a cadillac because of full suspension, then all shifters started to fail, rear derailur broke, once in a trail I wasn't able to shift anymore, I had to ride like 5 miles of steep hills in a single speed kind of bike.... then I went to a pro bike store and got a gary fisher hardtail for $350 all aluminum, rispectable components and you won't believe the difference... love it.... about breaking it...... I don't think a walmart bike will brake but ****ty components will...
Peace
post #8 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

I've had better luck than Jeep Floyd with cheap components, although you need to tweak them a lot. However, even very good bikes with 7-speed freewheels get bent or broken axles easily, and Campy put an extra bearing in there to alleviate the problem.
post #9 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Since you get what you pay for, its up to the buyer to decide what he needs. You have experience with bikes and know the kind of riding you want to do and know how much you want to spend. Are you willing to accept the shortcomings of a Walmart bike ? Heavier weight, a frame made in China, low end omponents, probably older cheaper design in areas like cranks, seat, pedals, wheels, bearings, headset, and brakes. It may take some carefull looking to decide which low end bike is a better choice than another. Can it be upgraded to better components if needed? Or is the design so limited that the good stuff won't work on it. I've ridden both Huffy (less than $100) and Santa Cruz (more than $1000) bikes on the same trail. They both made it there and back, but there was a big difference in the quality of the experience, due to the weight of the bike, how well it shifted, gearing, braking, handling, comfort and confidence the bike gave on the trail. To get the most enjoyment and performance a person needs be willing to spend more to get a bike that can handle the challenges that off road riding entails. Off road cycling has a range of skills and demands beyond those needed for road biking. It's more challenging and it's more fun. Thats what makes the sport exciting. You may end up enjoying it so much that you want to ride a lot more than you think you will now.
post #10 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ffs1942
Then what do you think of their best Schwinn? I've never seen Mongoose outside Wallyworld or ToysRus, but has Schwinn become a total basketcase too?
schwinn, mongoose, and gt are all under pacific cycle now (since -- get this -- 9/11/2001), and gt is the only one that i haven't seen doing what they call "dual-channel marketing" -- high-end bikes in lbs, low-end in the dept. stores. i work for the biggest of the dept. store bunch, doing bikes; the one guy was right -- we do build other things, too. but there are a select few of us out there who DO know what we're doing.

now, to the point -- wally's bikes are for the casual rider, and none of them are off-road ready, suspension forks and fat tires notwithstanding. some even say so on the bikes! they're all posers, not real bikes. the blackcomb does look good at first, but the overall package is scary-weak. Alum comp is what i would call a marginally upgrade-worthy frame -- parts are all boat anchor. there are no "sizes" there -- made for Joe Average American, 5'9", 150#. if you're handy, you can use the frame to build up about a $400-equivalent bike for about $400 in parts. no-win situation there.

if you really want to ride mtb, start with a Giant or Specialized hardtail w/ basic parts, and go up the food chain from there. (my last build ran almost $2K! before that, $1300)
post #11 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ffs1942
Thx for the input. I'm not too worried about service and fitting. I've been 10-speeding since 73 and pedalling 10 yrs prior. I also know how bikes are shipped and have asssembled at least one from the box.

I am concerned about overall quality. I recall back in the seventies there was a helluva difference between a Huffy and Schwinn or Raleigh, but the Huffy was still serviceable. I even had a Raleigh frame break on me. The Huffy didn't.

That Mongoose has features of bikes 3 or 4x the price. The same with the Schwinn. The obvious concern is that I don't want the bike to collapse way out in the woods.

Of cse, as I get closer to buying, I'll likely check the used market. I've had two used bikes, my present Tempo and a Bridgestone RB1 or 2(couldn't tell) and they were both winners.

Brian
Just go in with your eyes open...Mongoose, Schwinn are now owned by the same company, not the same bikes they used to be:

http://www.pacific-cycle.com/

...which is a subsidiary of Dorel, best known for baby car seats:

http://www.dorel.com/product.htm

As a poster already mentioned, all suspension bikes are not equal...shocks rarely work well, forks break under stress, drive trains are always cheap on dept store bikes, and as they are designed for "one size fits most", they rarely fit well.

I bought a cheap dept store bike to use as my winterbeater this year and the cog set imploded after 5 days

I agree with the other poster...best to buy at an LBS...you'll get a better fit, better build, and better service (although my winterbeater came with a lifetime frame and 1 year component warranty)
LL
LL
LL
post #12 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JM01
I bought a cheap dept store bike to use as my winterbeater this year and the cog set imploded after 5 days
The only worthwhile cheap winterbeaters are coaster brake cruisers. My Royce Union (absorbed by Huffy) Spindrift is going strong since the spring of '05, having seen daily use for a while, and now winter use. You do have to get a bigger sprocket for the back, though. Full fenders and chainguard come in handy as does weatherproof braking.

I think anyone contemplating a department store bike with a derailleur needs to go to Sheldonbrown.com and read his and Jobst Brandt's comments on freewheel type rear axles. When they say they're prone to bending, they aint kidding.

To the OP: You may not want full suspension as the cheap systems tend to bob and rob you of some pedal power. It's like pedaling your way out of a wet paper bag, not good for crossing a lot of ground.
post #13 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by garage sale GT
The only worthwhile cheap winterbeaters are coaster brake cruisers. My Royce Union (absorbed by Huffy) Spindrift is going strong since the spring of '05, having seen daily use for a while, and now winter use. You do have to get a bigger sprocket for the back, though. Full fenders and chainguard come in handy as does weatherproof braking.
Here's how she looks after the fix...a neighbour threw an old rear wheel in the garbage with a 7 spd cogset and I made it fit...works great with that friction shifter...good thing I threw it behind our garage when he did this

I usually use a hybrid for commuting but need a disposble MTB in the snow and salt...the V-brakes work well. I usually get 1-2 years out of these beaters, its only about 50km/day, but last year my free wheel seized and I had a fixie for a day...peddles beat the heck out of my ankles on the descents
LL
post #14 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by garage sale GT
I've had better luck than Jeep Floyd with cheap components, although you need to tweak them a lot. However, even very good bikes with 7-speed freewheels get bent or broken axles easily, and Campy put an extra bearing in there to alleviate the problem.
Hmmmm...funny you should mention this...I just replaced a broken rear axle on my Marin hard tail last week
post #15 of 22

Re: Walmart Mountain Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JM01
Hmmmm...funny you should mention this...I just replaced a broken rear axle on my Marin hard tail last week
Well, I'm not saying the new type doesn't ever bend or break. As I write there is a freehub style axle in front of me from my Raleigh trail bike which has a bit of a bend after a few years of use. The cone showed uneven wear but was not pitted.

In my experience the old style axle will bend so badly that the bearings will destroy the cone, even if ridden only on the street.
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