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Target/Kmart/Big W bike or an actual bike shop?

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Target/Kmart/Big W bike or an actual bike shop?

Old 12-15-19, 02:56 AM
  #1  
zappy007
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Target/Kmart/Big W bike or an actual bike shop?

Hey guys,

I have a quick question.This might sound like a stupid question so bear with me kk ._.' I've started to get into cycling but I'm not sure which bike to purchase from. I know that department store bike are extremely cheap but what actually makes them different from bike store such as Giant or George Bike shop? Is it the materials that is the used? or the quality (most likely quality) but what makes them better quality than the department store?? The bike I'm hoping for are bikes that can travel on grass and gravel and it's for endurance so I'm using it to ride long miles.

Any answers and recommendation on where to purchase the bike from? Department or Bike store?

Thanks guys
Appreciate a lot if you reply!

Zappy
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Old 12-15-19, 04:31 AM
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Department store bikes are of very low quality and poor assembly and never fit right. They are not designed to be ridden often or for riding long distances ....If you're looking for something cheap, it's better to purchase a used brand name bike then a new department store bike.
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Old 12-15-19, 04:42 AM
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Precision, materials and overall strength, assembly, fit ..............

Department store bicycles are designed to sell for what you see as "retail"- like the dollar menu at a fast food place.
There are no fundamental secrets in manufacturing, no way to cut enough corners or economies of scale.
Manufacturers buy known nameplate/brands and slap them on any number of virtually the same bicycle.
This includes many brands that were once bicycle store brands - Schwinn, Mongoose are the first to come to mind.

You will not see Giant, Trek or Specialized among many others in a discount or mass environment - ever!

The more "stuff" included, the lower the value of the materials to make it.

And then there is profit - they don't do it for free.

Lower quality steel is weaker and more flexy.
A "suspension fork" on a low end bike looks similar but may have a spring or spongy something inside - no real function and is heavy.
Wheels will not stay in true or round.
The dropouts and derailleur hanger are softer and will not stand up to the rigors or riding to long, especially when used extensively.

The BSO(bicycle shaped object) also comes in one size and perhaps a couple of colors.

Bicycle store brands are fit to the rider through multiple sizes and fine tunes through a variety of interchangeable parts.
Stems are a good example - from 80mm to 130mm long , a variety of rises, etc..

Branded bicycles, or those generally found in bicycle store or "shops" generally carry lifetime warranties on the frame.
They are more precise in their alignment, more durable and most of all -
are assembled by people who know what they are doing.

Department/mass merchant and other volume retailer stores use services that put bicycles together (untrained,somewhat mechanical people in many cases
that also assemble gas grills and lawnmowers) - as opposed to being assembled and properly tuned as most professional bicycle retailers do.

Services are paid per piece for assembly, so from box to floor can be pretty fast 10 or 15 minutes could be a standard they use.

A bicycle store will take whatever time is needed to address the same assembly, true the wheels , adjust headset, crank derailleurs and the like.
It can take 45 - 90 minutes(or more) to do it properly. The tools used, the knowledge base drawn upon, and motive behind the assembly are WAY different.
Bicycle mechanics generally take great pride in their work, and are judged on it.

There is also service after the sale from a profession bicycle retailer.

A used bicycle originally from a professional store will outperform a new BSO from a mass retail store - give both are tuned correctly.

Hope this basic list is what you were looking for. Do you homework, and go look closely at mass/discount bike and then go to a professional retailer
and check out a bicycle that looks the same. Spin the wheels and grab the brake levers on both..........................

Oh yes, ask the person selling bicycles in both instances your questions!
Tell them what you are going to use your bicycle for.
A professional bicycle retailer will direct you to an appropriate model, in your price range and one that physically fits you.

Please note that time is money and bicycle retail doesn't generate huge profits as some would have you believe.
If you are planning on buying "better quality" bike online(Canyon, etc), don't waste a retailers time.
And if you do buy online, pay the money to a professional mechanic and have it properly assembled.

rusty

Last edited by 100bikes; 12-15-19 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 12-15-19, 06:22 AM
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Riding long miles is good
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Old 12-15-19, 06:55 AM
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Old 12-15-19, 07:55 AM
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Big box store bike will cost more over time
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Old 12-15-19, 08:06 AM
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You cannot make a good bike at department store prices. They are made to be at a cheap price point. It is not a good idea to make a new bike that cheap. Always go to a bike shop.
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Old 12-15-19, 08:19 AM
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Big box store bikes always need adjustments by a person with bike repair experience in order to work properly and have any chance of longevity. Actually, bike shop bikes do also, but the shop mechanics do that before you get the bike. Same with most used bikes, unless you know how to evaluate bike condition.

It's certainly possible to get lucky with one of these two "cheaper" options, but going with a real bike shop will be a sure thing. Besides all the initial adjustments, most even offer a free tune up at 6 months or so.

Especially since you want to ride long distances, (and want a bike that will be up for it) I'd suggest you stick with a real bike shop.
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Old 12-15-19, 08:44 AM
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I can relate. When I first started cycling back in May I started with a walmart bike. I bought each one in a box because I knew from online that they would not be lubed properly. The first bike lasted 354 miles. The rear hub fell apart. Walmart has a 90 day return policy so I swapped it for another bike. That one last 525 miles and the bottom bracket cracked. Again returned it because it was within 90 days. After that I was done with walmart bikes.
I did not take either bike to a bike shop to tune before riding. I used you tube to learn how to adjust the shifting and brakes. Each bike had its own set of glitches. One of them seemed like I had to make adjustments after every ride.

The takeaway, It got me into the sport, and having the ability to return the bikes after I abused them was a plus. Beyond that I would stay away. I feel like department store bikes are made to ride the first week you buy them, and then sit in the garage. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-15-19, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Big box store bike will cost more over time

Another way of saying it....you'll be buying that same bike again and again year after year....because it was badly built, and the cost of repair/maintenance exceeds the value of the entire bike.

I tried to talk a coworker into buying a decent bike...blew me off and got a "GMC" Amazon Special for $100 and PRIME SHIPPING!! Well, in the next 5 years he had to buy 5 more of the hunks of junk, because the wheels were crap from Day 1, the brakes were bad, he didn't know how to adjust cables, the bar tape went to pot....the bearings in the pedals fell out....
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Old 12-15-19, 10:07 AM
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Old 12-15-19, 10:38 AM
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What do you plan to do with it?

The more that you expect the bike to do for you the more strongly I'd recommend going to a real bike store. Having said that, there are no bad bikes, there is only "use other than intended."

Check out the kitchen entrance to any restaurant. You're likely to see department store bikes that get used daily with minimum maintenance, are less theft prone and, if they do get stolen, are less of a loss. In other words, that bike that many of us might scoff at, perfectly matches it's intended use. What's wrong with that?
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Old 12-15-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by zappy007 View Post
Hey guys,

I have a quick question.This might sound like a stupid question so bear with me The bike I'm hoping for are bikes that can travel on grass for endurance so I'm using it to ride long miles.
Any answers and recommendation on where to purchase the bike from? Department or Bike store?

Thanks guys
Appreciate a lot if you reply!

Zappy
I have a friend that rides his bike on grass all the time too. He keeps running into things but it keeps me motivated to stay well ahead of him! With regard to your question, I too am tempted by the Big Box offerings all the time, especially when you look closely and see SRAM, Shimano, and other components on the bike. Some of the frames used on these low end bikes are made by the same mfg that make Giant and others. But unless you want to learn first hand how to fix and tune a bike and spend lots of money buying parts to make it into something you could have found at the LBS or second hand, you'll be disappointed. Also, like a lot of people have said, "One size does not fit all."
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Old 12-15-19, 11:13 AM
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As they say, TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Department stores can't offer bikes at those prices and still make money if they're the same quality as a quality brand. They scrimp on frame materials, and they use only low-end components. "Shimano" parts are often toted as a positive thing, but they don't tell you that Shimano makes an entire range of products, from what the pros use to complete and utter crap. Guess which end of the line-up is on a department store bike that retails for less than an upper-end derailleur alone?

One more thing to think about: If your Wal-mart bike has a problem within their warranty period, they will replace it. They do that because even after giving you a free replacement and scrapping the original, they still make money. Yes, as cheap as the bikes are, you're still paying twice what it is really worth.
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Old 12-15-19, 12:26 PM
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I think you want something from a bike shop.

Some of the department store bikes are fine for certain uses, especially hybrid type bikes that do not have shocks and other snazzy looking features (all of which should be avoided on department store bikes).

But, by the time you pay a proper shop to have the bike checked over and adjusted, you could have just purchased an entry level bike from a shop. Loose bolts, poorly adjusted brakes and derailleurs, and wheels slightly out of true are all issues that can come up on a brand new department store bike.

Usually, the shop will give you other benefits like a free annual basic tuneup. The bike from a shop will also come in various sizes, allowing for a ride that is more comfortable than the one size fits most options at a department store. This is important if you intend on longer rides, rather than banging around a college campus or riding a mile each way to work.
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Old 12-15-19, 12:49 PM
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In my view, there's no hard and fast answer because there's a sliding scale of quality. As you go from the cheapest bikes, up into fairly expensive ones, there's a progression of slightly better materials, manufacturing quality, components, and so forth. Back in my day, you could see it in the number of aluminum parts on the bike, versus steel. Today, the name brands have their own progression of quality, so a brand name on a bike part means relatively little unless you research that brand. On the other hand, I suspect that a company like Shimano makes an effort to provide decent quality on their cheapest parts. I've never seen a Shimano part that was outright bad, and I have scratched my head over exactly what makes the more expensive ones nicer, other than aesthetics.

I've worked on a lot of bikes, including "department store" as we used to call them. Every bike needs to be adjusted into functional operation. Nicer bikes are easier to adjust, and hold their adjustment for longer, because things like screw threads and mating surfaces are formed more precisely. You can teach someone how to maintain wheel bearings on a nice bike, because it will feel a certain way when it's right, and any damage to the bearing surface is a sign of a bad bearing. On a cheap bike, it's always a judgment call when you're done, because there's no sweet spot between feeling loose and feeling crunchy. With experience you can make a pretty good guess as to what's good enough, and the rider will get plenty of service out of the bike, but it does take experience.

From what I've read, every bike needs wheel service, right out of the box, to make up for under-tensioned spokes resulting from the automatic wheel building machines. This has to be done by you, or by a shop.
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Old 12-15-19, 03:05 PM
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Quite apart from all the advice having been given so far. It is a free experience to visit a bike shop. Ask the salesperson to explain the difference between the lower price models they sell and the very expensive models. Be aware that not all salespeople are as good as others, so a visit to 3 shops is a good starting point. Finding out why some bike cost more than others is an invaluable buying tool.
About where you buy: If the store where you buy your bike does not have a repair shop, odds are that the bike you buy there will not be properly assembled no matter how much you pay for it. Less expensive bicycles are built to a price point, compromises are made for component quality. TANSTAAFL(there ain't no such thing as a free lunch). Money you save on an initial purchase can easily be spent after you bought that bike.
A quality bike can be resold years later for a good return. Cheap bikes end up in a dumpster

Last edited by alcjphil; 12-15-19 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 12-15-19, 11:52 PM
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There are decent, acceptable bicycles that will ride well and last a long time that are being sold today at Walmart, Target and other places like Kmart, Academy, Dicks, and on the web for less than $200.
The coaster brake, one piece crank, single speed with steel frame and spring saddle seat and fenders with an old-style traditional northroads/beach cruiser handle bar is
an extremely good value at Wallyworld. Often these are sometimes near the $100 price point on sale and sometimes are seen at $88 about three times per year.
Now, having said that they are decent, durable bicycles.......WHAT are those bicycles negative points, well, the really crummy things are the Horrible Handlebars which will rust or look horrible painted black, and the rise, width and slight curve of those bars is generally not all that comfortable or pleasing to the eye. Very simple solution is to go on Ebay and purchase a clean Used set of SCHWINN made "northRoad" style chrome handlebars FROM any 1965 to 1979 SCHWINN Breeze, Racer, Collegiate, Suburban, Speedster, or any other applicable SCHWINN model from that era. (IF YOU NEED HELP DETERMINING THOSE MODELS, GO SEARCH AND LOOK AT THE SCHWINN CATALOG for every year model from the early sixties to 1980.................just start by picking any year from 1961 to 1980 and GOOGLE that Schwinn catalog and you should see a Waterford link that will have all those catalogs for you to scroll through. I'm not going to make this a technical post with the various minor differences among the different NorthRoad bars, as there are some slight differences, for example some have approx 3 inch rise, and some are about 3 1/2 and some are about 4 1/8 inch rise................width typically is between 22 inches and 23 1/4 inches wide on these, although you can find earlier examples on other older Schwinn bikes that get wider and you also can find a few later ones that are closer to 20 inches wide. I RECOMMEND THESE ANCIENT USED SCHWINN HANDLEBARS BECAUSE THE SHAPE(form) IS EXCELLENT AND COMFORTABLE, and 21 3/4 to 23 1/2 inches WIDE will GIVE THE RIDER GREAT CONTROL AND HANDLING. THE CHROME PLATING ON THOSE ANCIENT SCHWINN BARS IS PERHAPS THE MOST DURABLE THAT HAS EVER BEEN ON ANY HANDLEBAR EVER. THOSE ANCIENT SCHWINN STEEL CHROMED HANDLE BARS WILL FIT EVERY STANDARD 25.4mm CLAMP AND THEY ARE SOLID AND DO NOT FLEX LIKE A SPAGHETTI NOODLE. They will not rust like the low quality steel bars that are seen on low priced Wally world and Target bikes and the low quality steel bars seen on upscale beach cruisers from bike shops.
Now, the other items that are low quality on the Coaster Brake bikes that I mention that Wallyworld and Tar-Jay have in stock, are THE PEDALS.
The Pedals are absolute trash as they are made of cheap plastic. Yes, these pedals are light and functional but they are just too cheap. YOU CAN BUY DECENT NEW PEDALS by searching Ebay or Amazon and search "Krate Pedals", These will be brand new Chinese Reproductions of the old German made BOW pedals seen on some Schwinn Stingray Krate models of the sixties and early seventies and the Schwinn Suburban models of the seventies, and a lot of other bicycles. Those repro NEW pedals are really good and you can find them for about $16 a pair with FREE SHIPPING from several very large USA mega sellers on Ebay.
The fenders and chainguards on those NEW Chinese Wallyworld and Tar-Jay bikes do the job okay but they are of very thin stamped steel and are not as rugged as the older parts on bikes of the seventies and earlier. The fenders on these NEW Chinese bikes will begin to rust immediately if they are Chrome as the chrome quality is poor compared to anything made before 1980, but crappy chrome and easily dented fenders, will not impair the operational quality of these bikes. It will just contribute to a crappy appearance in a very short time if exposed to rain. These Wallyworld and Tar-Jay bicycles have pretty good wheels and the welds and frame design is very very good. The paint quality is good, although you have limited color choices and some of the nice colors come with oddly painted wheels where the colors don't compliment each other, and another bike in a drab color is available with nice non painted wheels.....................perhaps they do that by design, to make the least expensive bicycles less appealing to the eye, in order to get the buyer to a more doo-dad equipped model..................just like the dog-dish hubcaps on some cars sixty years ago and the dull colored bicycles without Tanks and rear racks of sixty years ago.
The point is that Wal-Mart and Target have some good bicycles. They tend to be the basic bicycles, but they are durable and represent good value for the dollar spent.
Target and Wal-Mart, both have a few , derailleur equipped MULTI-SPEED bicycles which are EXCELLENT.
Now, you will not find something LIGHT and SUPER-FAST, but you will get a Quality Bicycle that is capable of several thousands of miles of riding without anything more than Tires, Tubes, and Brake Pads being replaced during that time, IF THE ASSEMBLY OF SAID BICYCLE IS DONE PROPERLY WHEN REMOVED FROM THE CARTON(box).
Now, it is true that many times, you will encounter Bicycles in Target/Wal-mart/Academy/K-mart/Kohls/Dicks and everybody like that, which have been poorly assembled.
Bicycle assembly and adjustment IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, and even the 7 speeds, and 21 speed models sold in those stores are not terribly complicated.
In fact, they are extremely simple for any competant, intelligent person with mechanical skills, who has owned, ridden and maintained his/her bicycle.
Yes, it is true that, you might encounter missing parts, or the wrong parts, or dented, dinged, bent items when you OPEN the BICYCLE CARTON(box).
You will still get the replacement part or the needed missing part for free by contacting the manufacturer's 800 number. You can also return and exchange it
at the store if you bought it from the store, assuming that they have another one in stock, or get a refund, etc.
The GMC Denali bikes are very good. The Gateway and Wayfarer bicycles are very good. Those are just a few of the derailleur equipped bicycles that are good.
Sure, they are in the 30 to 36 pound range, but that isn't gonna matter one damn bit for those that aren't looking to average 17mph speed or compete in Triathlons.
I have a friend that won the Clemson Triathlon in July 2019 in Clemson SC, USA, in her age division, riding a GMC Denali 21 speed. Yes, she's a heck of swimmer and great runner, and a good rider too. It is basically a stock, circa 2012 model GMC Denali that she bought new in 2012. There are slight minor tweaks and upgrades but she is running the factory wheels. Yeah, part of the thing is that she knows that she can jump aboard another bike and be slightly faster and have a quicker time, but part of the appeal for her is beating others while riding the GMC which she likes, even though she does have other much more upscale bikes.
Bicycles are bicycles. This BS about bicycle shaped objects (BSO) is just nonsense that those that want to distance their lower end bike shop offerings from the offerings of the mass marketers/big box stores. Sure, you get expert assembly and attention to detail from your LOCAL BIKE SHOP, but you do not necessarily get a better bicycle for the type of cycling that you wish to do. You definitely will get a better bicycle for speed and fast road riding at your local bicycle shop, because just like buying clothes off the rack or purchasing bespoke and having your suits custom tailored......................IF YOU FIT GREAT INTO CERTAIN OFF THE RACK CLOTHING, and/or Can GET THE LOCAL SEAMSTRESS/Dry Cleaner TO ADJUST/TAILOR THE SLEEVES, CHEST, HEM for a reasonable price, YOU WILL LOOK FINE, almost as if you went totally custom bespoke. *****IT CAN BE THE SAME WAY WITH BICYCLES IF YOUR NEEDS ARE FAIRLY BASIC, YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP******
YOU MAY WISH TO BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP AND THAT IS CERTAINLY OKAY, BUT JUST LIKE PERHAPS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A KIA/HYUNDAI and a MERCEDES-BENZ, you may be perfectly happy with the excellent reliability and low cost of the Kia or Hyundai VERSUS the super-nice,
upscale luxurious Mercedes-Benz which is not low cost and requires expensive service work more often than the more reliable, more economical Kia / Hyundai.
What you have be extremely careful of is buying an inexpensive POS like in the case of automobiles might be something with a Detroit nameplate, or an Italian nameplate.
You at least have Consumer Reports that you can refer to in the case of NEW cars.
There is much BS in what many would have you believe about the differences in general bikes from Local Bike Shops and the bicycles from Target/wal-mart and the web.
The more specific and purpose built bicycles for racing and speed for fast road riding, obviously will be dominated by the Local Bike Shops. You will get advice on what to select and custom tailoring to fit your need for maximum speed. But if you really could care less about going as fast as you can ride, and if you don't give a hoot, one way or another what the lettering (badge) is on your bicycle, then YOU CAN FIND A PERFECTLY ADEQUATE BICYCLE AT WAL-MART or TARGET.
I'm not saying that you should avoid shopping and buying from Local Bike Shops.
I'm simply saying that Wal-mart and Target bicycles are in most cases, adequate, decent and durable, if cared for, that are not the terrible BSO that the annointed would have you believe. Why even use the term "Bicycle Shaped Objects" (BSO)??? It is much like the ol' stereotypical stuffy Rolls-Royce dealership salesperson telling you that your 1999 Nissan Altima is not a proper motorcar and can you please remove such rubbish from the grounds immediately!
A bicycle has two wheels and is powered by a human turning the pedals. Bicycles are sold in big box discount stores as well as "proper Bike shops"!
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Old 12-16-19, 04:24 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Department store bikes are of very low quality and poor assembly and never fit right. They are not designed to be ridden often or for riding long distances ....If you're looking for something cheap, it's better to purchase a used brand name bike then a new department store bike.
Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Big box store bike will cost more over time
Originally Posted by Gconan View Post
You cannot make a good bike at department store prices. They are made to be at a cheap price point. It is not a good idea to make a new bike that cheap. Always go to a bike shop.
Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Another way of saying it....you'll be buying that same bike again and again year after year....because it was badly built, and the cost of repair/maintenance exceeds the value of the entire bike.

I tried to talk a coworker into buying a decent bike...blew me off and got a "GMC" Amazon Special for $100 and PRIME SHIPPING!! Well, in the next 5 years he had to buy 5 more of the hunks of junk, because the wheels were crap from Day 1, the brakes were bad, he didn't know how to adjust cables, the bar tape went to pot....the bearings in the pedals fell out....
160 mile ride last Thursday during the Cold Full Moon. Began ride at 5:15pm Wednesday on my 2002 bought at Target $100.00 Magna 7 speed shock fork/spring seat post riding 26 miles then switched to my 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL.

100 mile ride yesterday begun at 3:30AM on my 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL and rode 36 miles then 64 miles on my 2002 Magna with front basket since I went food and wine shopping. BTW -- the Magna weighs 38 pounds with 60psi - 26 x 1 3/8 tires and has over 10,000 miles since purchased with minimal maintenance.

Some times you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. 5:30am and heading out to WM for some 0.0 Heineken. Great sipping from a thermos when riding.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 12-16-19 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 12-16-19, 06:39 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
There are decent, acceptable bicycles that will ride well and last a long time that are being sold today at Walmart, Target and other places like Kmart, Academy, Dicks, and on the web for less than $200.
The coaster brake, one piece crank, single speed with steel frame and spring saddle seat and fenders with an old-style traditional northroads/beach cruiser handle bar is
an extremely good value at Wallyworld. Often these are sometimes near the $100 price point on sale and sometimes are seen at $88 about three times per year.
Now, having said that they are decent, durable bicycles.......WHAT are those bicycles negative points, well, the really crummy things are the Horrible Handlebars which will rust or look horrible painted black, and the rise, width and slight curve of those bars is generally not all that comfortable or pleasing to the eye. Very simple solution is to go on Ebay and purchase a clean Used set of SCHWINN made "northRoad" style chrome handlebars FROM any 1965 to 1979 SCHWINN Breeze, Racer, Collegiate, Suburban, Speedster, or any other applicable SCHWINN model from that era. (IF YOU NEED HELP DETERMINING THOSE MODELS, GO SEARCH AND LOOK AT THE SCHWINN CATALOG for every year model from the early sixties to 1980.................just start by picking any year from 1961 to 1980 and GOOGLE that Schwinn catalog and you should see a Waterford link that will have all those catalogs for you to scroll through. I'm not going to make this a technical post with the various minor differences among the different NorthRoad bars, as there are some slight differences, for example some have approx 3 inch rise, and some are about 3 1/2 and some are about 4 1/8 inch rise................width typically is between 22 inches and 23 1/4 inches wide on these, although you can find earlier examples on other older Schwinn bikes that get wider and you also can find a few later ones that are closer to 20 inches wide. I RECOMMEND THESE ANCIENT USED SCHWINN HANDLEBARS BECAUSE THE SHAPE(form) IS EXCELLENT AND COMFORTABLE, and 21 3/4 to 23 1/2 inches WIDE will GIVE THE RIDER GREAT CONTROL AND HANDLING. THE CHROME PLATING ON THOSE ANCIENT SCHWINN BARS IS PERHAPS THE MOST DURABLE THAT HAS EVER BEEN ON ANY HANDLEBAR EVER. THOSE ANCIENT SCHWINN STEEL CHROMED HANDLE BARS WILL FIT EVERY STANDARD 25.4mm CLAMP AND THEY ARE SOLID AND DO NOT FLEX LIKE A SPAGHETTI NOODLE. They will not rust like the low quality steel bars that are seen on low priced Wally world and Target bikes and the low quality steel bars seen on upscale beach cruisers from bike shops.
Now, the other items that are low quality on the Coaster Brake bikes that I mention that Wallyworld and Tar-Jay have in stock, are THE PEDALS.
The Pedals are absolute trash as they are made of cheap plastic. Yes, these pedals are light and functional but they are just too cheap. YOU CAN BUY DECENT NEW PEDALS by searching Ebay or Amazon and search "Krate Pedals", These will be brand new Chinese Reproductions of the old German made BOW pedals seen on some Schwinn Stingray Krate models of the sixties and early seventies and the Schwinn Suburban models of the seventies, and a lot of other bicycles. Those repro NEW pedals are really good and you can find them for about $16 a pair with FREE SHIPPING from several very large USA mega sellers on Ebay.
The fenders and chainguards on those NEW Chinese Wallyworld and Tar-Jay bikes do the job okay but they are of very thin stamped steel and are not as rugged as the older parts on bikes of the seventies and earlier. The fenders on these NEW Chinese bikes will begin to rust immediately if they are Chrome as the chrome quality is poor compared to anything made before 1980, but crappy chrome and easily dented fenders, will not impair the operational quality of these bikes. It will just contribute to a crappy appearance in a very short time if exposed to rain. These Wallyworld and Tar-Jay bicycles have pretty good wheels and the welds and frame design is very very good. The paint quality is good, although you have limited color choices and some of the nice colors come with oddly painted wheels where the colors don't compliment each other, and another bike in a drab color is available with nice non painted wheels.....................perhaps they do that by design, to make the least expensive bicycles less appealing to the eye, in order to get the buyer to a more doo-dad equipped model..................just like the dog-dish hubcaps on some cars sixty years ago and the dull colored bicycles without Tanks and rear racks of sixty years ago.
The point is that Wal-Mart and Target have some good bicycles. They tend to be the basic bicycles, but they are durable and represent good value for the dollar spent.
Target and Wal-Mart, both have a few , derailleur equipped MULTI-SPEED bicycles which are EXCELLENT.
Now, you will not find something LIGHT and SUPER-FAST, but you will get a Quality Bicycle that is capable of several thousands of miles of riding without anything more than Tires, Tubes, and Brake Pads being replaced during that time, IF THE ASSEMBLY OF SAID BICYCLE IS DONE PROPERLY WHEN REMOVED FROM THE CARTON(box).
Now, it is true that many times, you will encounter Bicycles in Target/Wal-mart/Academy/K-mart/Kohls/Dicks and everybody like that, which have been poorly assembled.
Bicycle assembly and adjustment IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, and even the 7 speeds, and 21 speed models sold in those stores are not terribly complicated.
In fact, they are extremely simple for any competant, intelligent person with mechanical skills, who has owned, ridden and maintained his/her bicycle.
Yes, it is true that, you might encounter missing parts, or the wrong parts, or dented, dinged, bent items when you OPEN the BICYCLE CARTON(box).
You will still get the replacement part or the needed missing part for free by contacting the manufacturer's 800 number. You can also return and exchange it
at the store if you bought it from the store, assuming that they have another one in stock, or get a refund, etc.
The GMC Denali bikes are very good. The Gateway and Wayfarer bicycles are very good. Those are just a few of the derailleur equipped bicycles that are good.
Sure, they are in the 30 to 36 pound range, but that isn't gonna matter one damn bit for those that aren't looking to average 17mph speed or compete in Triathlons.
I have a friend that won the Clemson Triathlon in July 2019 in Clemson SC, USA, in her age division, riding a GMC Denali 21 speed. Yes, she's a heck of swimmer and great runner, and a good rider too. It is basically a stock, circa 2012 model GMC Denali that she bought new in 2012. There are slight minor tweaks and upgrades but she is running the factory wheels. Yeah, part of the thing is that she knows that she can jump aboard another bike and be slightly faster and have a quicker time, but part of the appeal for her is beating others while riding the GMC which she likes, even though she does have other much more upscale bikes.
Bicycles are bicycles. This BS about bicycle shaped objects (BSO) is just nonsense that those that want to distance their lower end bike shop offerings from the offerings of the mass marketers/big box stores. Sure, you get expert assembly and attention to detail from your LOCAL BIKE SHOP, but you do not necessarily get a better bicycle for the type of cycling that you wish to do. You definitely will get a better bicycle for speed and fast road riding at your local bicycle shop, because just like buying clothes off the rack or purchasing bespoke and having your suits custom tailored......................IF YOU FIT GREAT INTO CERTAIN OFF THE RACK CLOTHING, and/or Can GET THE LOCAL SEAMSTRESS/Dry Cleaner TO ADJUST/TAILOR THE SLEEVES, CHEST, HEM for a reasonable price, YOU WILL LOOK FINE, almost as if you went totally custom bespoke. *****IT CAN BE THE SAME WAY WITH BICYCLES IF YOUR NEEDS ARE FAIRLY BASIC, YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP******
YOU MAY WISH TO BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP AND THAT IS CERTAINLY OKAY, BUT JUST LIKE PERHAPS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A KIA/HYUNDAI and a MERCEDES-BENZ, you may be perfectly happy with the excellent reliability and low cost of the Kia or Hyundai VERSUS the super-nice,
upscale luxurious Mercedes-Benz which is not low cost and requires expensive service work more often than the more reliable, more economical Kia / Hyundai.
What you have be extremely careful of is buying an inexpensive POS like in the case of automobiles might be something with a Detroit nameplate, or an Italian nameplate.
You at least have Consumer Reports that you can refer to in the case of NEW cars.
There is much BS in what many would have you believe about the differences in general bikes from Local Bike Shops and the bicycles from Target/wal-mart and the web.
The more specific and purpose built bicycles for racing and speed for fast road riding, obviously will be dominated by the Local Bike Shops. You will get advice on what to select and custom tailoring to fit your need for maximum speed. But if you really could care less about going as fast as you can ride, and if you don't give a hoot, one way or another what the lettering (badge) is on your bicycle, then YOU CAN FIND A PERFECTLY ADEQUATE BICYCLE AT WAL-MART or TARGET.
I'm not saying that you should avoid shopping and buying from Local Bike Shops.
I'm simply saying that Wal-mart and Target bicycles are in most cases, adequate, decent and durable, if cared for, that are not the terrible BSO that the annointed would have you believe. Why even use the term "Bicycle Shaped Objects" (BSO)??? It is much like the ol' stereotypical stuffy Rolls-Royce dealership salesperson telling you that your 1999 Nissan Altima is not a proper motorcar and can you please remove such rubbish from the grounds immediately!
A bicycle has two wheels and is powered by a human turning the pedals. Bicycles are sold in big box discount stores as well as "proper Bike shops"!
I disagree with about twelve inches of this.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:34 AM
  #21  
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I thought I wrote too much ... well, i do, but .... wow ......

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Old 12-16-19, 07:39 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by zappy007 View Post
Any answers and recommendation on where to purchase the bike from? Department or Bike store?
Zappy
Let's boil things down to the practical. @zappy007 - you don't know anything about bicycles. That's a given at this point.

If you walk into a big box chain store and buy a bike, it will be from another person who knows absolutely nothing about bicycles. So, there's a transaction where the sum total of your knowledge cannot fill a thimble. Sound like a good plan to you?

Walk into a bike shop, and at least one of you (the seller) will know something about the bicycle models that are available, their correct sizing, and how to set you up to begin successfully. That person will know what questions to ask you to match the bike to your particular needs. So, what is that input worth to you?

Also, you did not give your budget for the bike purchase. That's an important data point. Without it, the bike shop cannot narrow down your alternatives.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:40 AM
  #23  
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Somewhere in Iowa, a cat-troll seethes.

I'm under the impression that if you do buy from a big box store, you will generally do better at Dick's than Walmart, but may pay a small amount more. Do others see it this way? Might be helpful to OP.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:52 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Let's boil things down to the practical. @zappy007 - you don't know anything about bicycles. That's a given at this point.

If you walk into a big box chain store and buy a bike, it will be from another person who knows absolutely nothing about bicycles. So, there's a transaction where the sum total of your knowledge cannot fill a thimble. Sound like a good plan to you?

Walk into a bike shop, and at least one of you (the seller) will know something about the bicycle models that are available, their correct sizing, and how to set you up to begin successfully. That person will know what questions to ask you to match the bike to your particular needs. So, what is that input worth to you?

Also, you did not give your budget for the bike purchase. That's an important data point. Without it, the bike shop cannot narrow down your alternatives.
Information asymmetry doesn't always work to the advantage of the buyer. If OP has a friend who knows something about bikes and can get that friend to accompany OP to at least one LBS, that could help a lot. Not all LBS salespeople are as scrupulous and knowledgeable as you're implying.

It might also help if OP could narrow down which type of bike he/she is looking for. Sounds like a choice between mountain/hybrid/gravel, and those really do have very different price ranges.
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Old 12-16-19, 08:35 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by zappy007 View Post
Hey guys,

I have a quick question.This might sound like a stupid question so bear with me kk ._.' I've started to get into cycling but I'm not sure which bike to purchase from. I know that department store bike are extremely cheap but what actually makes them different from bike store such as Giant or George Bike shop? Is it the materials that is the used? or the quality (most likely quality) but what makes them better quality than the department store?? The bike I'm hoping for are bikes that can travel on grass and gravel and it's for endurance so I'm using it to ride long miles.

Any answers and recommendation on where to purchase the bike from? Department or Bike store?

Thanks guys
Appreciate a lot if you reply!

Zappy
One thing that no one has addressed is the actual quality of the metal used in the HelMart bikes. For bearings and other bits that use steel, it resembles steel a bit like sand resembles glass. I have seen lots of these bikes that have bearings in the hubs and bottom brackets that have been ground down to hemispheres. I've seen crank spindles that have been twisted in shapes that look more like a twisted basket fence finial than a spindle. I've had fixed cups that pull apart rather then come out because the metal is so weak. I've seen steel crank arms that wallow out the square taper and are ruined.

A bottom bracket that pulls apart in a frame can ruin the frame and then the bike is useless scrape...well, more useless scrape. Wheel bearings that wear down to hemispheres require the replacement of the wheel. If you are able to get the bottom bracket out of the frame, the bottom bracket is ruined and needs replacing. Replacing parts on a $100 bike is going to cost far more than the $100. At some point, you'll have a $300 to $500 "$100 bike" so just avoid the problem and get a good bike to begin with. It will cost less in the long run.
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