Most notable difference - Dept Store Bike and name brand?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Badger South, Nov 22, 2003.

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  1. Badger South

    Badger South Guest

    Basic question.

    Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the
    best point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is
    immediately apparent?

    Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?

    (Trying to argue the case to a friend.)

    -B
     
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  2. Rocketman

    Rocketman Guest

    "Badger South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Basic question.
    >
    > Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the best
    > point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is immediately
    > apparent?
    >
    > Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?

    Nope. Even the cheapest dept. store bikes pedal and shift pretty well (if setup with care). If the
    dept. store bike is V-brake or disc brake equipped, braking power will be very good (again, if setup
    with care). There will be cheap parts on dept. store bikes, and - surprise! - those same cheap parts
    on entry-level "bike shop" brands like Trek, Marin, Diamondback, etc.

    Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose, Next, Kent, Motiv) will really cut
    corners on handlebar and stem, suspension forks, and wheels. Bars and stems are often Hi-Ten steel.
    The suspension forks are undamped coil sprung units with wimpy looking brake arches and cheap, heavy
    steel stanchions. Bike shop brands would never use these crappy forks, bars or stems on their bikes.

    Dept. store bike wheels are not high quality, and probably not very durable. Many rear wheels will
    have pressed-together steel hubs, thread-on 6- or 7-speed freewheels and cheap steel axles that will
    bend under stress. Will they roll fast? Sure. For road and light trail use, they'll work just fine.
    For heavy riders or any kind of abusive riding, look elsewhere.

    Department store bikes are notoriously heavy, because of all of the cheap steel components. If
    reliability is key, then go to a bike shop. If you're a cheapskate, and you don't care much about
    durability or reliability, then buy a 45 lb full-suspension mountain bike for $99 at a department
    store and live with its shortcomings. When things start breaking, don't say I didn't warn you.

    -Barry
     
  3. >Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the best
    >point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is immediately
    >apparent?

    Tech support.

    >Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?

    Yes, it's properly adjusted and has higher grade parts.

    >(Trying to argue the case to a friend.)

    They may not ride it anyway.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  4. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Badger South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Basic question.
    >
    > Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the best
    > point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is immediately
    > apparent?
    >
    > Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?
    >
    > (Trying to argue the case to a friend.)

    Depends on the level of "dept store bike"

    The more expensive ones (Schwinn, etc) are not much below the $300 offerings at the LBS.

    The sub$150 bikes are absolute junk though. Chromed rims are hazardous in the wet, but steel has to
    be chromed to ward off rust. Stamped steel brake arms can be pretty flexible. Too flexible to stop
    effectively.

    BUT..that difference is not readily apparent to the uninformed. Brand new, they may ride ok. Give it
    a few weeks, though, and once it gets wet the first time, and the real differences show. Cheap
    quality fasteners will form a layer of rust quickly (look at the bikes that have been displayed
    outside. Rust on many of the bolts, etc)

    The full susp bikes at the dept store are pretty much all crap. IIRC, Kmart sells something in the
    $80 range, sprung front and back. The springs are there for looks only.

    The next thing to compare is fit. Dept store bikes generally come in one size per model. If that's
    you, then fine. Most people aren't that exact size.

    Finally, assembly, and after sale assistance. Assembly at the dept store is iffy. Frequently
    (especially at the low end) you see bikes with no lube, parts installed badly wrong, things just
    'loose'. And you won't get a follow on adjustment at the dept store.

    Pete Ask him this...would a Yugo (assuming they were still sold) be a valid buy compared to a base
    model Chevy/Ford/Dodge?
     
  5. John Foltz

    John Foltz Guest

    Badger South wrote:

    > Basic question.
    >
    > Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the best
    > point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is immediately
    > apparent?
    >
    > Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?
    >
    > (Trying to argue the case to a friend.)
    >
    I used to have sections of tubing from a Huffy and an old road bike, that I'd show to people who
    asked about the differences. The 531 tubing was .035 thick. The Huffy was 1/8" thick. "They're both
    the same strength. The Huffy tubing weighs three times what the 531 does. The 531 is almost
    rustproof. Which would you rather have in your bike?", I'd ask. The light would come on.

    Have your buddy test ride an entry level bike at a shop, then have him ride one at Wally World (tm).
    Oh yeah, they won't let it out of the store until it's sold; they don't want you to know it rides
    like a POS! Also point out that the dept store bike is only available in ONE SIZE and comes in a
    box. Setup, if he pays extra for it, does not include truing/tensioning the wheels, as it would in a
    bike shop's offering.

    If all else fails, refer him to Fabby.
    --

    John Foltz --- O _ Baron --- _O _ V-Rex 24 --- _\\/\-%)
    _________(_)`=()___________________(_)= (_)_____
     
  6. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    A few years ago while organizing a team for an annual charity ride I asked all my team members to
    please, double check their bikes. It had been a real PIA for me the year before when, in the middle
    of the ride, I had to teach two of my teammates how to change a flat and another how to raise his
    handlebars. All of my teammates reassured me that their bikes were in tiptop shape. One even seemed
    mildly offended and told me, "Hey, I'll be riding a brand new bike!". On the day of the ride that
    teammate did indeed show up with a brand new MTB from one of the "Mart" stores. His wheels were so
    far out of true the rear wheel was touching the brake pad through better than half of a complete
    rotation. I trued it for him as best I could and managed to improve it about 400% but I still would
    not be happy riding it myself. I also tightened his handlebar clamp (after re-centering the loose
    bar) for him and adjusted his rear derailleur. It was a 60 mile ride. He did finish but two full
    hours after everyone else because the bottom bracket threads were stripped and he had only had one
    usable gear. Even at that he said he had to stop every 500 yards or so to *kick* the crankset back
    into a facsimile of alignment. The following week he took the bike back to the retailer and asked
    for a warranty repair or replacement. They told him he must have abused the bike and blamed the
    bottom bracket thread failure on "overtightened spokes". He bought that line and brought the bike to
    me, demanding that *I* repair the bike for him since my wheel truing had obviously damaged the
    bottom bracket. It wasn't until I showed him the *plumber's putty* in the bottom shell- apparently
    the assembler thought putty was an acceptable method of thread repair- that he finally admitted to
    himself that he'd bought a piece of junk. He'd paid just over $100 for a bike that was essentially
    unridable after 40 or so miles. He could have purchased a decent rigid MTB from an LBS for another
    $100. *They* would have assembled and adjusted it properly and not put it out the door with
    plumber's putty in the b-b plus they would have warranteed it if it did break. Outside of
    occurrences like this (and all those differences that others have pointed out), I can't think of a
    single reason to pay the extra money for a good entry level bike.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  7. Mp

    Mp Guest

    On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    (snip)
    >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,

    Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available in
    bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.

    That's a very thorough explanation, though.
     
  8. Badger South

    Badger South Guest

    On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"Badger South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >>
    >> Basic question.
    >>
    >> Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the
    >> best point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is
    >> immediately apparent?
    >>
    >> Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?
    >
    >Nope. Even the cheapest dept. store bikes pedal and shift pretty well (if setup with care). If the
    >dept. store bike is V-brake or disc brake equipped, braking power will be very good (again, if
    >setup with care). There will be cheap parts on dept. store bikes, and - surprise! - those same
    >cheap parts on entry-level "bike shop" brands like Trek, Marin, Diamondback, etc.
    >
    >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose, Next, Kent, Motiv) will really cut
    >corners on handlebar and stem, suspension forks, and wheels. Bars and stems are often Hi-Ten
    >steel. The suspension forks are undamped coil sprung units with wimpy looking brake arches and
    >cheap, heavy steel stanchions. Bike shop brands would never use these crappy forks, bars or stems
    >on their bikes.
    >
    >Dept. store bike wheels are not high quality, and probably not very durable. Many rear wheels will
    >have pressed-together steel hubs, thread-on 6- or 7-speed freewheels and cheap steel axles that
    >will bend under stress. Will they roll fast? Sure. For road and light trail use, they'll work just
    >fine. For heavy riders or any kind of abusive riding, look elsewhere.
    >
    >Department store bikes are notoriously heavy, because of all of the cheap steel components. If
    >reliability is key, then go to a bike shop. If you're a cheapskate, and you don't care much about
    >durability or reliability, then buy a 45 lb full-suspension mountain bike for $99 at a department
    >store and live with its shortcomings. When things start breaking, don't say I didn't warn you.
    >
    >-Barry

    Wow, thx for the many great replies!!

    I'll pass it on.

    -B
     
  9. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    Rocketman wrote:
    > ... Nope. Even the cheapest dept. store bikes pedal and shift pretty well (if setup with care). If
    > the dept. store bike is V-brake or disc brake equipped, braking power will be very good...

    Unless the bike has steel rims and it is wet/raining.

    Tom Sherman - Planet Earth
     
  10. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    John Foltz wrote:
    >
    > Badger South wrote:
    >
    > > Basic question.
    > >
    > > Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the
    > > best point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is
    > > immediately apparent?
    > >
    > > Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?
    > >
    > > (Trying to argue the case to a friend.)
    > >
    > I used to have sections of tubing from a Huffy and an old road bike, that I'd show to people who
    > asked about the differences. The 531 tubing was .035 thick. The Huffy was 1/8" thick. "They're
    > both the same strength. The Huffy tubing weighs three times what the 531 does. The 531 is almost
    > rustproof. Which would you rather have in your bike?", I'd ask. The light would come on.
    >
    > Have your buddy test ride an entry level bike at a shop, then have him ride one at Wally World
    > (tm). Oh yeah, they won't let it out of the store until it's sold; they don't want you to know it
    > rides like a POS! Also point out that the dept store bike is only available in ONE SIZE and comes
    > in a box. Setup, if he pays extra for it, does not include truing/tensioning the wheels, as it
    > would in a bike shop's offering.
    >
    > If all else fails, refer him to Fabby.

    Fabby would never ride something as outdated as a brazed and lugged Reynolds 531 frame.

    Tom Sherman - Planet Earth
     
  11. I would say that the best reason for going to a LBS is that someone will stand behind the product
    when something needs adjusting (i.e. derailer, cables, proper riding position......). Another good
    reason to buy from a LBS is the quality of an entry level bike will be better than the average
    department store bike.

    However thats not to say that *mart bikes don't have a place/purpose, they do have some decent bikes
    if you know what to look for. In my case I was not satisfied with the selection of entry level bikes
    for kids at the LBS so I opted to buy my 12 year old son a *mart Schwin bike. The Schwin is made
    with many of the same components of the entry level LBS bikes but at about
    1/2 the cost. So far the *mart Schwin has logged 600 miles and is still in good working order (no
    problems so far). I know that most of the department store bikes are complete junk using cheap
    metal parts (especially in the brakes) but that wasnt the case on the bike I bought. I guess it
    all comes down to knowing what to look for.

    "Badger South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Basic question.
    >
    > Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the best
    > point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is immediately
    > apparent?
    >
    > Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?
    >
    > (Trying to argue the case to a friend.)
    >
    > -B
     
  12. R.White

    R.White Guest

    MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > (snip)
    > >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,
    >
    > Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available in
    > bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.

    Too bad their reputation is ruined and no self respecting cyclist would be caught riding one.

    > That's a very thorough explanation, though.
     
  13. Badger South

    Badger South Guest

    On 24 Nov 2003 08:30:17 -0800, [email protected] (R.White) wrote:

    >MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >> (snip)
    >> >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,
    >>
    >> Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available in
    >> bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.
    >
    >Too bad their reputation is ruined and no self respecting cyclist would be caught riding one.
    >
    >> That's a very thorough explanation, though.

    Why is that? What ruined their rep? Supplying Dept Store bikes??

    -B
     
  14. Rocketman

    Rocketman Guest

    "Badger South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On 24 Nov 2003 08:30:17 -0800, [email protected] (R.White) wrote:
    >
    > >MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > >> On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> (snip)
    > >> >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,
    > >>
    > >> Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available
    > >> in bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.
    > >
    > >Too bad their reputation is ruined and no self respecting cyclist would be caught riding one.
    > >
    > >> That's a very thorough explanation, though.
    >
    > Why is that? What ruined their rep? Supplying Dept Store bikes??

    Bingo! Same thing is happening to Schwinn right now. Schwinn collectors and aficionados are *not*
    happy about it. Truth be told, I think the Pacific-built Schwinns (as found in department stores
    currently) are not too shabby, and priced very competitively. For an extra $50 or so, you get a lot
    of bike. They're competing directly with local bike shops, with virtually identical features at 1/2
    the price. Yeah, I'm sure local bike shops are feeling the heat. That's the part that really sucks.
    But our local Schwinn dealer is going great guns. They switched over to Giant and Cannondale
    dealerships, and they sell the heck outta those bikes. As I've said before, all ships rise with the
    tide. In many ways, the ultra-cheapo dept. store bikes drive bike shop sales. When your dept store
    bike breaks, or you get crappy service from Wally Mart, you're naturally going to go elsewhere,
    probably a bike shop, for your next purchase.

    -B
     
  15. Mp

    Mp Guest

    On 24 Nov 2003 08:30:17 -0800, [email protected] (R.White) wrote:

    >MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >> (snip)
    >> >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,
    >>
    >> Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available in
    >> bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.
    >
    >Too bad their reputation is ruined and no self respecting cyclist would be caught riding one.
    >

    Actually, if you are truly self-respecting, you don't worry too much about what other
    people think. :)

    My reliable number two bike is a well maintained ( and considerably modified) Mongoose hybrid from
    1990. Granted, that was before the Walgoose days, but Mongoose still has similar models.

    You just won't find them at Wal-Mart.
     
  16. Badger South

    Badger South Guest

    On Mon, 24 Nov 2003 20:24:19 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >"Badger South" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >> On 24 Nov 2003 08:30:17 -0800, [email protected] (R.White) wrote:
    >>
    >> >MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> >> On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> >>
    >> >> (snip)
    >> >> >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,
    >> >>
    >> >> Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available
    >> >> in bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.
    >> >
    >> >Too bad their reputation is ruined and no self respecting cyclist would be caught riding one.
    >> >
    >> >> That's a very thorough explanation, though.
    >>
    >> Why is that? What ruined their rep? Supplying Dept Store bikes??
    >
    >Bingo! Same thing is happening to Schwinn right now. Schwinn collectors and aficionados are *not*
    >happy about it. Truth be told, I think the

    Well my misconception which lead to my getting a 'Dept Store Bike', was that all LBS bikes cost
    500-1000 bucks and up, and I hate to spend money on myself.

    Yeah, dumb, I admit.

    Now I know an entry-level Trek is only $300 bucks or so, and you get a lot of 'service' and fit with
    that. I should have done more research, and gone right to a LBS instead.

    -B
     
  17. tacomee

    tacomee New Member

    Joined:
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    Well my misconception which lead to my getting a 'Dept Store Bike', was that all LBS bikes cost
    500-1000 bucks and up, and I hate to spend money on myself.

    Yeah, dumb, I admit.

    Now I know an entry-level Trek is only $300 bucks or so, and you get a lot of 'service' and fit with
    that. I should have done more research, and gone right to a LBS instead.


    **********************************************
    Yeah, it's not like any bike shop won't be more than happy to hook a person up with a nice $300 hybrid--one that fits the rider, can be professionally serviced, will last a week-end rider only-God-knows how long. It's really a great deal if a person will ride the darn bike once a week
     
  18. Phil

    Phil Guest

    > Basic question.
    >
    > Sure there's better fit, better durability over the long run, better braking, but what is the best
    > point(s) to argue for spending that 300-500 bucks to get a good entry level that is immediately
    > apparent?
    >
    > Is the shifting noticeably better, pedalling noticeably better?
    >
    > (Trying to argue the case to a friend.)
    >
    > -B

    My wife and a friend both had department store bikes, actually $150+ ones (spendy for dept store),
    and they were both junk. My wife had a 24" wheeled full-suspension Mongoose that must have weighed
    35-40 pounds. The rear shifters were imposible to adjust so all gears were available, and the front
    shifters, when adjusted correctly, required very high effort and still did not work well or
    consistantly. The brakes were very soft due to flex and did not stop well at all. Between the crappy
    suspension and frame flex, it felt like it was made out of rubber. The handlebars could be moved
    even when tightened completely. I'm sure if I would have (could have) rode it I would have trashed
    it within 10 miles, it was just that bad. She had bought it before she met me. She now rides a
    decent Diamondback, and understands why it cost so much more. She didn't really like biking with her
    Mongoose, now she goes out 2-3 times a week.

    My friend had an aluminum Pacific mountain bike. It was actually fairly light for a Target bike. But
    it only lasted about 3 months, at which time he returned it after the handlebars would not stay put
    and exchanged for another one. That one lasted another 3 months, which had various problems and
    warrented another return, but this time he just got his money back. But by then the summer was over,
    so basically he rode a bike all summer at no cost. Not a bad deal, considering the fall-apart nature
    of his bikes never caused serious injury (but it could have). The warranty on Target bikes is (was?)
    90 days, and the returns were no-hassle.

    The handlebar problem seems to be common on department store bikes, and is caused by weak handlebars
    and a junk stem. I have also seen this problem with seats. In my opinion department store bikes are
    not only junk, but downright dangerous as well. If you putt along a bike path at 5 mph, they may
    suit you fine. But if you buy one expecting to actually use it as a mountain bike (as most kids do),
    you are asking for trouble. You get what you pay for.

    I ride a "real" Schwinn and was very dissapointed when they got bought by Pacific. It is rather
    embarassing to be riding a bike that looks very similar to the ones I see at Target. But I still
    love it, it's been good to me.
     
  19. R.White

    R.White Guest

    MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 24 Nov 2003 08:30:17 -0800, [email protected] (R.White) wrote:
    >
    > >MP <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >news:<[email protected]>...
    > >> On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:37:56 GMT, "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> (snip)
    > >> >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose,
    > >>
    > >> Just want to point out that Mongoose still makes some better quality bikes that are available
    > >> in bike shops, a cut above the Walgoose variety.
    > >
    > >Too bad their reputation is ruined and no self respecting cyclist would be caught riding one.
    > >
    >
    > Actually, if you are truly self-respecting, you don't worry too much about what other people
    > think. :)

    I was wrenching at a LBS when the MonWalgoose debacle happened. We (they) were a Mongoose dealer.
    Not a good time. Mongoose had been the bread and butter for us (them). Thank goodness they became a
    Giant dealer.

    >
    > My reliable number two bike is a well maintained ( and considerably modified) Mongoose hybrid from
    > 1990. Granted, that was before the Walgoose days, but Mongoose still has similar models.
    >
    > You just won't find them at Wal-Mart.

    Or sadly, at many bike shops.
     
  20. Vbadjuju

    Vbadjuju Guest

    "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Department store bikes (especially brands like Huffy, Mongoose, Next, Kent, Motiv) will really cut
    >corners on handlebar and stem, suspension forks, and wheels. Bars and stems are often Hi-Ten
    >steel. The suspension forks are undamped coil sprung units with wimpy looking brake arches and
    >cheap, heavy steel stanchions. Bike shop brands would never use these crappy forks, bars or stems
    >on their bikes.

    ...and a cheap chain and cassette that has to be replaced every year if you ride it much at all. You
    can run into the same thing with entry level the bike shop models, but at least you have an option
    to buy better ones from the start.
     
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