$50 Walmart bike vs more expensive stuff

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by JDOUtlook, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. JDOUtlook

    JDOUtlook New Member

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    I'm looking for a cheap bike strictly for exercise use. Walmart has a very cheap $50 bike which I'm looking at:

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/allReviews.do?product_id=1977659

    The price can't be beat so I'm tempted to get one. For my purposes do you think I should go for it or should I spend more for a better bike?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Night_owl

    Night_owl New Member

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    The general answer you'll get on this forum is to spend more money on a better bike.

    My answer is that I'd rather get an entry-level, or good second-hand bike from a bike shop which will give a good warranty & good after-sales service.
    New bikes need adjustments every now and then, and bike shops will usually do it on the spot and usually for free.

    But that's just my opinion. It's your money, not mine.
    I'm just happy to see anyone on a bike enjoying themselves, regardless of which bike they ride.

    Happy riding
     
  3. JoakimT

    JoakimT New Member

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    If you buy that bike:
    • You will most certainly not appreciate cycling on that bike, so you will not use it and therefore keep it in a garage and it will last for decades (aside from rust).
    • If you actually, against the odds, like cycling even on that bike, you will find yourself buying a new one within a year or so since that one will brake down. No mentally nippy person would ever buy that bike 2-3 years used (or ever?), even if it did work, so you would have to thow it away and make some junkyardowner happy.
    • Buying that bike is just cheap. If you buy a nice bike and take care of it, it will last for decades. Even if you calculate with cost of capital, a decent bike you buy for $1000 only cost you some $15-20 a month including decent tires, chains and so on seen over the bikes lifespan. Even if you don´t want to ride that bike for 20-30 years, someone else probably will, and will be willing to pay for it. Financially, and environmentally, sane. Probably safer and definitively more fun.
     
  4. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    And why support a company that has a business plan of wiping out every small business in a 20 mile radius and hiring back the staff at wages that aren't liveable. Go to a bike shop. Just my .02.
     
  5. JoakimT

    JoakimT New Member

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    You amish?
     
  6. Leo3

    Leo3 New Member

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    Look in the local bike shops for a used comfort or hybrid bike, many folks buy these, get bit by the cycling bug, and upgrade after a time. With a quality used bike you will get brakes that actually work, gears that shift, and much better components thoughout. Lots of good used bikes in shops around here for $150 - $200.
     
  7. JoakimT

    JoakimT New Member

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    Yup, great advice. Also look at private ads if you know what you are looking for (it seems you don´t though).
     
  8. fujibike

    fujibike New Member

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    You get what you pay for. This bike could possibly suit your needs depending on what your needs are. If you buy it preassembled ask if you can ride it around the back lot a bit (they probably won't let you do that). If they do, check the shifting and the brakes - more than likely mal adjusted. Ask if they'll adjust it appropriately - they probably won't. If you still buy it plan on spending another $50+ at the local shop to tune it properly or you take a crash course in doing so and do it yourself. The store assembly on these items can be horrifying. I've seen front forks backwards, brakes that don't contact rims, out of true wheels and so on.
     
  9. fleshbroiler

    fleshbroiler New Member

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    Driving around yesterday I must have spotted 3 or 4 older looking bikes propped against mailboxes with "Free" signs on them. I would try putting one of those into service before I'd buy anything from WalMart. If you're tight on cash, go look for garage sales, cruise some neighborhoods or even check the LBS and I'll bet you'll find something better than the garbage they're pushing out from the department store.
     
  10. Retro Grouch

    Retro Grouch New Member

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    So what kind of other products do you normally buy?

    There's features and there's quality. If you're the kind of person who always buys the cheapest they can find of everything, you'll probably find that Roadmaster bike fits your lifestyle.

    My personal mantra is: "Never buy entry level anything."
     
  11. JDOUtlook

    JDOUtlook New Member

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    Haha, I am a pretty cheap guy :p My frugalness has served me well over the years though so I don't think it's a bad thing.

    So other than the brakes potentially failing it doesn't sound like there will be THAT MUCH difference between this bike and a $200 bike. I figure if it does break down, and I'm sure it will at some point, I can just leave it on the side of the road, jog the rest of the way home, and buy a new bike for less than the cumulative maintenance costs of an expensive bike. China economics ;)
     
  12. Farmguy

    Farmguy New Member

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    Welcome to the "throw away" mentality we live in, buy one for $200-250 and ride for a few years instead of leaving crap along the roads or filling up landfills.

    Just my .02 worth
     
  13. JoakimT

    JoakimT New Member

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    Word.
     
  14. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    If you really are frugal, don't buy this bicycle because you will be wasting your money. There are two very important differnces between this bike and a $200+ bike. The Wal-Mart bike that you have your eye on is extremely HEAVY for a bike. Look at all of the high tensile steel that they have used. You will expend more energy riding three miles on it than you would riding 10 miles on a decent entry level bicycle. Most people will not continue an activity where they expend so much energy for such a small accomplishment. You may be the exception but I seriously doubt it. If you just want exercise, buy a stationary bike. At least it is designed to sit in the garage.

    Also, Wal-Mart's and any department store's "one size fits all" mentality cannot be applied to bicycles. The number one reason potentially serious cyclists stop riding is because they are uncomfortable on thier bicycles because of a poor fit. Unless you happen to have the right body size for the Wal-Mart bike, you probably will not use it for very long because it will be too uncomfortable.

    Go to your LBS and buy a decent used bike that fits your body size. If you like bicycling, then upgrade all that you want. If you don't like bicycling, then you have a bike that you will be able to sell instead of tossing it in a landfill.
     
  15. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    A $50 W-mart bike? That's about a $1 per pound isn't it? :D

    At least that what I thought when I picked up my nephew's W-mart bike. When I visited him a few years ago we tried to take him out for a ride, but he had all kinds of problems during the short ride. That summer my brother-in-law visited a LBS and asked if they had anything used. They had two older Gary Fisher mt. bikes that were trade ins and I believe he bought both of them for less than $200. Both were in excellent shape and I'd say that both bikes together might weigh the same as the W-mart bike. :)
    There should be plenty of good used bikes that may be as cheap, but much more reliable than one those wallie world bikes.
     
  16. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    The wheels will be weaker than even a mildly more expensive bike. You will need to take it easy and learn to straighten them. They are just a single strip of steel with the ends curled over for the bead of the tire. However, I have found such primitive wheels could carry my 200 lb if I was gentle and straightened them occasionally.

    The tires will cause heavy drag on pavement for a number of reasons.

    The bearings in the crank, steering, and wheels will not be sealed and will wear out very fast unless you take the thing down and repack it after a few rainy (gritty water splashing around) rides, or once a season otherwise. The bearings are likely to need adjustment on a bike like that right out of the box. If they are too tight or too loose, the bike will wear out quickly. This is why you see bikes with fork or wheels which wobble around loose on the bike even when they're not turning. The bearings crapped out due to misadjustment or grit.

    The brakes and derailleurs are likely to require adjustment right out of the box. (The big box, perhaps?)

    Last, I saw a bottom end mtb with a crack through the crank passing through the hole drilled for the pedal. Losing a pedal mid-climb could cause severe injury.

    If you learn about maintenace and do a little reassembly on the thing as required, you may get by. You must also accept that such a heavy bike will accelerate and climb slow. You must also learn to treat the thing gingerly until you are ready for the last ride. Then there's the fit issue, but you can always go to the store and try one.

    I have been quite happy with a bike which cost just a bit more, the Next Monterey Bay 3-speed from Wal-mart. The wheels stay straight and the 3-speed, maintenance free, enclosed shifting hub is Shimano.
     
  17. mastronaut

    mastronaut New Member

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    You can save on a lock as well because no thief will even steal one! If You find something that lasts longer than 6 months at WallyWorld the manager of that store gets fired. :p
     
  18. strader

    strader New Member

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    I see bikes like this all the time at the bike rack where I work. One guy rides a steel Huffy mountain bike that must be at least 15 years old. The paint is cracked and there is rust in spots. The brakes, deraileurs, and everything else on the bike looks to be original and still functional. He rides it year round, after the full carbon race bikes have been stored away for the winter. One thing I find funny is the bike has a "Made in USA, Lifetime Warrantee" sticker. High end bike manfacturers insist they need to manufacture $2k+ frames in China these days.
    I've seen several other bikes from places like Target, Walmart, etc. Guys get to work on them day in, day out.
    I remember a thread, I think on Usenet, where a guy bought a walmart bike for commuting, and then did a cost analysis of what it cost him to keep the bike going versus cost of commuting by car. I wish I could find the thread, but I think he ended up breaking even in about 3 months and the bike turned out to be pretty reliable. The important part is to keep bearings greased, bolts torqued down, and the deraileurs and brakes adjusted.
     
  19. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I used to assemble (and occasionally sell) these when I worked at Wal~Mart. I concur that these bikes can be made to work, for a while. My main reservation is that if you're taller than 5'4" you're going to have difficulty rationalizing taking the bike over walking.

    I recommend scavenging around the classifieds and church rummage sales.
     
  20. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Lots of advice here....most of it saying to avoid this bike and look for something better.

    Are you listening?
     
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