Ultra cheap mass market bikes - MTB for $120 at Target with front and rear suspension. Seriously?


Well-Known Member
Nov 24, 2012
What kind of bike could you possibly get for $120 (US)? http://www.target.com/p/magna-men-s-excitor-26-terrain-bike-red-black/-/A-11125130#prodSlot=large_1_1&term=Magna+mens%27s+excitor+bike How can this be anything but 40 plus pounds of scrap metal of the near future? Read the customer reviews, pretty sad. Dupes gullible consumers into wasting money, and I am afraid to even think of the working conditions in the factory where these are made.
But they actually work well for people with low, very low, or virtually no budgets that live in cities and/or get around slowly on bikes. They're not designed to ride like mountain bikes. I saw a lot of those bikes around Tucson and on the UArizona campus. Students have limited budgets and face the threat of bike theft on the bike racks outside, so in that light it's not a bad investment at all. A lot of other people riding those bikes can't afford more and/or have fallen on bad times. Homeless also use them quite a bit. Likewise, loads of families buy them for their kids. There is a big market for those--it might be the biggest bike market in terms of volume in the US--and for many of their customers, they serve their purposes well.
Honestly, when I first saw it, I was almost tempted to pick one up on a whim to see what it could do. I guess in a disposable world this could be considered a disposable bike. I could see for the ultra low budget rider it would be better than nothing at all. I recall the days of campus bike thefts, I lost a pretty good one at Michigan State in the 1980's. Also, I wonder if cheap mass market undercuts sales of quality models from the LBS's? I guess my other comment is, I wonder if a bad riding experience on a very low end bike would be off-putting to potential cyclists? I dunno, just wondering.
If all you've ever ridden are cheap bikes, it's doubtful you would even know what a good ride was like. As for undercutting the LBS, I doubt it. These bikes are manufactured and marketed to a price point. The LBS doesn't seem to want to play that game, so they don't stock or sell the very low-end bikes. Maybe they could make more money if they did, but I doubt it, because they probably couldn't deal well with the warranty service, which could overwhelm them through returns or constant adjustments.
I encountered one of those on the road yesterday at an intersection. The gentleman was older, riding on the wrong side of the road, underdressed for the weather (-5f, -25 windchill) with no face protection and the bike looked way too small. I was waiting for the light to change. We shared a glance for a moment, the light changed and then he rode off doing a wheelie for a few hundred feet.

Apart from being an idiot for riding on the wrong side of the road, he seemed to be enjoying himself.
Around Boulder, a lot of these bikes get bought by the parents of new college freshmen, usually from the midwest, in August. By January most of them end up in dumpsters around campus. Then in the spring they're brought in for repairs by their new owners. We try to patch 'em up the best we can.

The thing is, the local Wal-Mart will give a full refund if you bring it back in 30 days, and throw it in the crusher.

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