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  1. #26
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    So, which companies use it? Just so we can be guaranteed that the big-box store or LBS marketing cheap bikes offer better-than-handbuilt wheels?

    In the context of what we are talking about, these bikes use machine-built wheels which have loose spokes.
    But that was not what you posted. And either way, your comment does not make sense:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    It's like machine-built wheels... anything mass-produced by machine won't be consistent in quality.

  2. #27
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    If my comment does not make sense to you, why did you post without seeking clarification?

    Personally, I think it's obvious. But here's the clarification for you:

    In the context of this thread, which relates to cheap, mass-produced mechanical items, the quality of assembly cannot be consistent because of the loose tolerances in the components used to achieve the end product. Those looser tolerances are due to the need for speed in assembly, the machinery used for that assembly, and the skill of the machine operators.

    It's why handbuilt items are more expensive -- not just because of the labour, but the additional precision involved in the components that go together to make the whole.

    Much does depend on quality control measures along the assembly line and the expense of the machinery involved (as you point out in relation to an expensive wheel-building machine) as well as the maintenance of that machinery and the skill of the operators.

    In the context of a bicycle, the final arbiter on quality control is the person who assembles the components in the box at the store. And as has been demonstrated in this thread, and others, this quality control often falls short, usually because of economic reality.

    Now... can you kindly answer my questions.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  3. #28
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    I've got a lot of doubt about suspension generally. Even the people who have supposedly good front shockers seem to be fiddling about with the little problems with seals and things way too much, even when they aren't subjecting them to extreme use.

    Make that just a cheap spring inside a tube with friction for damping and poor tolerances, and it's just not worth the proverbial pinch of S@#^t!
    The best revenge is to live well.

  4. #29
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    Sorry to chime in here so late, but I got 2c to add....

    I recently assembled some kids bikes for my neighbours (4 bikes in total). They were all cheapo ones (Toys R Us, Big W, etc). All made in China, all came in a box, blah, blah...

    Well, they all had one thing in common - they all had overtight bearings. Every bearing. And the bearings had very little grease (almost non-existant in some cases).

    The quality of the components, however, was not too bad. Mass produced does not necessarily mean lower quality (when it comes to machining hubs and the like).

    At the end of the day, though, overall quality is directly proportional to price. And it is probably at it's worst in kids bikes as no one would spend over $100 on a kids bike because they don't get looked after in most cases.

    And finally, FWIW, if your friends ever complain about the local bike shop charging $50 to assemble a boxed Chinese bike, you can tell them from me there's a lot more involved than just bolting on the bars - and you can tell them they're probably not getting a bad deal.......

  5. #30
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    You'll find that those bikes have a little sticker on them that states: 'Not For Off-Road Use"
    Most bike shops won't repair or work on them.
    The bearings in the wheels are usually too tight, parts are cheap and not reliable.
    Basically they are a throw away bike - you ride it, you break it, you throw it away.
    Last edited by cobba; 05-11-08 at 03:40 AM.

  6. #31
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    Hmmm I wouldnt touch a Kmart bike mainly cos i'm the "knob" that works in a bike shop having to build/ rebuild after the Kmart dink didnt put it together right in the first place and try to repair the damned things....it's hard to justify a 100 buck repair bill when it's more than the bike is worth....it's a throw away society we live in.
    Kmart and other supermarkets have bikes that look the part in every way...down to the disc brakes...dual suspension and so on.... and to the not so knowledgable they look like a million bucks so they buy one.
    My pet hate would be the use of BUZZ words like Shimano down the rear stays and stuff like that gives me the willies to think a persons decision to buy a bike is based on the fact theres "Shimano" or "Ram Air" emblazened on the thing.
    I can understand if someone just cannot afford to buy at the LBS but after buying 3 or 4 throw away bikes they may as well have bought a decent one for the money they threw away....and would most likely still have the origional purchase if u get what i mean.

    The over tightening thing gets me riled...every new bike that comes into our shop gets a good check over and the cones loosened or tightened as needed.

  7. #32
    Member UCI_illegal's Avatar
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    I'd stay away from those bikes at all costs. If you're serious about cycling, get one in the $500-1000 range, and you'll never look back. Superb value for money when you spend a bit more!
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  8. #33
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    At our co-op we don't even bother to work on these bikes and will strip them for any use-able parts (of which there are few) and the rear triangles from the better ones are suitable to doing diy xtracycle conversions.

    The reconditioned bikes we sell are easily ten times better and the people who ride them are very happy folks.

  9. #34
    Newbie wombat_dj's Avatar
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    My first post and two cents worth. I bought an $80 Big W bike (was getting crook wrists, decided I needed front suspension)

    The bearings collapsed within 2 months. Took the old Repco from the shed (I was given it for my 13th) and took it to the LBS (assuming that means local bike shop) and it's been good as gold ever since. The Big W bike has been cannibalised for parts for my brother's Fusin - it's got a motor. I know it's cheating, but he doesn't care.
    Be nice to the newbie!

  10. #35
    Decrepit Member Abacus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garden_lark View Post
    ****ters. money better spent on something second hand. have you felt the weight of those things?!! go trading post or ebay
    Yeh, these two 1990's mtbs went for a bit more than $99, but both would have been way better value than a Kmart bike. I was a bit tempted by the green 820 just for the frame, but didn't feel like bidding that high:

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Trek-Mountain-Bike_W0QQitemZ260334181969QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_Sport_Cycling_Bikes?hash=item260334181969&_trksid=p3 286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A13|39%3A1|240%3A1318

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Trek-870-with-grips_W0QQitemZ260334490538QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_Sport_Cycling_Bikes?hash=item260334490538&_trksid=p 3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A13|39%3A1|240%3A1318

    They certainly don't look as shiny and flashy as the pretty $99 Kmart bikes, but guess which ones will still be rolling in a year's time.
    Last edited by Abacus; 01-04-09 at 05:52 AM.

  11. #36
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    There is no such thing as a good, cheap, bike.

  12. #37
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    Donít do it. I got one just to use to ride to the train station ( about 5Kís each way) so that I could lock it up, leave it and not be bothered if someone wanted to vandalize it . No one ever did. However, it was never ridden hard and only on roads and pavements and started for fall apart almost immediately. Gave it away after 9 months as it would have cost more to fix than to buy another one.
    Got a solid single speed in the end with one front break and nothing worth stealing off it. Worked fine.
    Advise is to buy a good secondhand one in the mid range like a Trek , Giant or specialized for $ 200- 300. If serviced regularly they will last for ages. I have abused my Giant for four years and never a problem other than normal wear and tear.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I've trained people (adults and kids) who have had these department store bikes, and it's usually been a case of finding out if they like the idea of cycling without spending wads of cash on something new they won't get their money back on anyway if they find cycling is not for them.
    While I agree with your more sympathetic tone, my fear is that people buy cheap+poorly made/assembled heavy bikes that are no fun to ride as a way of trying out cycling, and are put off by the inadequacies of the machine.

  14. #39
    Senior Member Johnny Nemo's Avatar
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    Death comes cheap in a discount store.

  15. #40
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    i got one of them $150 Dunlop mountain bikes from big W. did everything like the instructions said. there was no grease-anywere. at all. no oil. the bars came loose from their one bolt headstem after three days. the wheels were never even aligned, and when i checked all the other stores, the model bikes didnt have trued wheels either. the brakes had little tightening pins to centre the brakes. i turned one in and out a few times after truing the wheel to get it centred, and the whole plastic unit, cheap as a plastic cup, came off.

    then i looked at my 1988 Europa road bike and laughed.

    but on the plus side, a Sydney train station bike locker costs $200/year. the bike cost $150..

  16. #41
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    ^ yeah, a lot of these bikes are ok for people who don't mind their brakes rubbing, their wheels wobbling, their headsets shuddering, handle bars coming loose, etc, etc,

  17. #42
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    Dooooooooooont doooooo it

  18. #43
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    What, we still have Aussies lurking around here?

  19. #44
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Hopefully, no one will chase you away.

  20. #45
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    Yeah, there are obviously many more Aussies on here now, so I'm suprised The Aussie Thread hasn't been revived with a whole new cast

  21. #46
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie View Post
    Yeah, there are obviously many more Aussies on here now, so I'm suprised The Aussie Thread hasn't been revived with a whole new cast
    There are other places for that...

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    i got one of them $150 Dunlop mountain bikes from big W.
    I bought a Dunlop bike from a bike auction for riding around the suburb and leaving anywhere at days at a time. And you know what? Bloody good bike - straight wheels, not that heavy, gears are low-tech Shimano but shift perfectly, brakes are fine. What more do I want for $50?

  23. #48
    Newbie lioness4412's Avatar
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    Ok, newbie for the forums here, I bought a $150 Kmart bike and within a few months the bearings make noise and after 2 years the handlebars come loose. I have abused this bike, up and down gutters, off road, on road, whatever.
    Am now wondering if I need to be saving for a good bike?
    Just riding around picking stuff up off the road, on my way to the next cache

  24. #49
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lioness4412 View Post
    Ok, newbie for the forums here, I bought a $150 Kmart bike and within a few months the bearings make noise and after 2 years the handlebars come loose. I have abused this bike, up and down gutters, off road, on road, whatever.
    Am now wondering if I need to be saving for a good bike?
    Welcome to the forums. I've ridden expensive bikes and cheap bikes. Cheap bikes can be OK AFTER you pull them apart and completely rebuild them. I've done this many times but its not an economic proposition to do it commercially. An entry level Giant MTN bike is reasonable at around $400.

    Anthony

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