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Old 12-01-06, 06:52 AM   #1
someperson
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Speeds?

I would like to get into biking, but I need to lose some weight first (a few extra pounds) I wanted to start off small. So I am about to purchase a bike from Walmart.

My Question is what speed bike is the best?

I am looking at 2 bikes for their price. One is 15 speed and the other is 18 speed. Which is better? Both of them are Mountain Bikes by the way.

I am then planning on moving into freestyle/BMX stuff. I got inspired by this video clip:
http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=18648

Anyway, do I need a low speed bike for trick bikes? Thanks
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Old 12-01-06, 08:39 AM   #2
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You are engaging in a process that I call "Betting against yourself."

You're looking for a cheap bike so that, in case you decide you don't like riding it, you won't have lost too much money. The problem is that these cheap bikes aren't very much fun to ride so you're almost surely not going to like it.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:48 AM   #3
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The bike in that video has only one speed and is a fixed gear. You won't be able to do that on either of the bikes you are looking at.

Generally, more "speeds" means that you will have a wider range of gears to choose from to be efficient in the terrain that you are riding. As a note, the quality of bikes at Wal-Mart is usually not the highest. If you plan on doing serious trail riding or BMX-style jumps and tricks, you will likely break the poor thing relatively quickly.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:49 AM   #4
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I would suggest that you buy a quality used bike, rather than a very marginal quality new bike from WM. Would you rather have a new Yugo or a used Honda Acura? One is garbage from the day it was new, the other is much superior even when many years old.
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Old 12-01-06, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someperson
I would like to get into biking, but I need to lose some weight first (a few extra pounds)
Don't you have it backwards? You do the biking to lose weight.

Or do regular spin classes until you feel fit enough to actually ride on trails.
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Old 12-01-06, 11:35 AM   #6
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My suggestion is to go back to Square One: find out (maybe through a local bike club) which are the most reputable bike shops in your area, then start your bike-buying process there, not Walmart. You need to know what questions to ask in the first place so that you can get the appropriate answers, and a helpful bike shop will be infinitely better equipped and qualified to point you in the right direction than a big-box store.
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Old 12-01-06, 12:12 PM   #7
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WalMart not too bad, but ebay used better.

The WalMart bikes aren't too bad, but you can do a lot better with a used bike on Craigs List or Ebay.
A few cautions:
1)Don't spend more than about $100-$125 for a WalMart or Dept store bike.Don't buy the high end of low end bikes-stay low end.The reason is that you won't be able to sell a Wal Mart bike for more than about 40% of new price, and that price will constantly drop. Also a high end of low end bike isn't going to be a lot better than the low end low end.
2) The number of speeds-as long as there are at least 3-doesn't matter much.The thing that matters is that the top gear should be about 3/1 vs top gear( 44/14 24//32=4.2)
3) You can get more bike for the $$ on Ebay or Craigs list. For maybe $300-delivered(shipping is about $50-$75 for an entire bike) you can get a MTB that originally sold for $550-$600. Once you decide to sell this bike, it will stll be worth close to what you paid, and you will have had a much better bike .
Quote:
Originally Posted by someperson
I would like to get into biking, but I need to lose some weight first (a few extra pounds) I wanted to start off small. So I am about to purchase a bike from Walmart.
Ask for help here in getting an Ebay of Craigs list bike.
4)DON'T SPEND MORE THAN $150 AT WALMART!!
Here are a couple of real life examples of what you can get on Ebay.Ignore the funky bars and extended stems-adaptations for old gimp.
The bike Trek Y-50 Carbon Fiber -with the flashy paint originally actually sold for $2200 in the late 90's.The list was about $3000.If it was complete-with Shimano LX grade parts, it would sell for no more than $400 on Ebay-shipping maybe $60. It would weigh 24 lbs vs the WalMart 35 lbs. The ride would be much, much better-carbon fiber,it would be much more durable, and the components would be much, much more reliable.
The other bike-Giant NRS Air- Probably sold for $1800 new in 2002.The frame- rear suspension is much more modern that the simple Trek suspension, but frankly it isn't worlds better-just a little better.You can buy one of these-used-for $600 off ebay-same $60 shipping.It would weigh about 2-3 lbs more than the Trek with similar components-much less than the WalMart 35 lbs.
In short(ha,ha) if you go walmart,go cheap walmart!!They work ok, but they don't resell too well.
Luck,
Charlie
PS-These are strictly examples-you woukd want to start farther down the food chain in the $250-$300 range.Craigs list is best-you can see them, and no shipping charge.


My Question is what speed bike is the best?

I am looking at 2 bikes for their price. One is 15 speed and the other is 18 speed. Which is better? Both of them are Mountain Bikes by the way.

I am then planning on moving into freestyle/BMX stuff. I got inspired by this video clip:
http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=18648

Anyway, do I need a low speed bike for trick bikes? Thanks
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Old 12-01-06, 02:26 PM   #8
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You can have plenty of fun with either of those Walmart bikes, but you will need to spend a bit of money on tools so you get it adjusted properly before you ride it - spoke wrench, cone wrenches, freewheel remover and set of hex wrenches. Dont try jumps or riding down steps with a Walmart bike. If you are overweight a 21 speed will have a much stronger hub to the rear wheel.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
You can have plenty of fun with either of those Walmart bikes, but you will need to spend a bit of money on tools so you get it adjusted properly before you ride it....
I disagree. You will NEVER get it adjusted properly, no matter how much you spend on tools.

Retro Grouch has it exactly right. Buying cheap to see if you like it is likely to make you not like it.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:20 PM   #10
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Don't do it. I agree with what everyone has said about avoiding Walmart bikes- do some research and find a used bike that won't end up in the dumpster after a few months.
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Old 12-01-06, 10:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someperson
I would like to get into biking, but I need to lose some weight first (a few extra pounds) I wanted to start off small. So I am about to purchase a bike from Walmart.

My Question is what speed bike is the best?

I am looking at 2 bikes for their price. One is 15 speed and the other is 18 speed. Which is better? Both of them are Mountain Bikes by the way.

I am then planning on moving into freestyle/BMX stuff. I got inspired by this video clip:
http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=18648

Anyway, do I need a low speed bike for trick bikes? Thanks
stick with video games
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Old 12-01-06, 10:44 PM   #12
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I was just at Target tonight and I saw a father and son purchasing a bike for what I assume was another member of the family. I was cringing just hearing the conversation. I thought about saying something but I thought they were only interested in price. I could not tell if the person the bike was for was really interested in cycling either. If I had the impression the recipient was a biker, I would have found a way to give them food for thought.

If your mom or dad ever told you to buy quality and buy it once whether with respect to cars, tools or whatever, you can apply that same lesson to bikes.
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Old 12-02-06, 03:02 AM   #13
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I have to disagree a bit with the prevailing sentiment here. Naturally, cheap bikes are never as gratifying as a well built bicycle, but.... they all roll. A $100 chinese bike from Walmart is all many people want or need. If the lower price and convenience will help you get into cycling, I say go for it. When and if you get frustrated with the limitations of the bike, then upgrade.

I have a friend who loves her $100 Huffy. It's all she needs and she rides it every day. I try to convince her to get a "real" bike, but what for? She's happy. She uses about 2 of the 18 speeds on the bike. If it breaks, it's easily replaced. And she certainly doesn't need to worry about having it stolen. The important thing is that she is riding instead of sitting around and she loves it!

To answer the original question... The difference between a 15 and 18 speed is practically nil. Both will have a 28 tooth large rear sprocket which is fine for hills and headwinds. Get a frame size that fits. The rest is insignificant.

There are surely many who will disagree with me, but take it for what it's worth, one guy's opinion.

Roll with what you can get. The important thing is to get out and RIDE!
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Old 12-02-06, 03:18 AM   #14
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There are surely many who will disagree with me, but take it for what it's worth, one guy's opinion
I agree. But I also bet they would love a non flashy bike that would work even better. Slicks, flatbar, all commuter bike.

Or maybe that's just the snob in me talking.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:42 PM   #15
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I have tuned up a number of these WM/Target bikes, and they really do suck. Working on these bikes (i.e getting everything adjusted properly) makes me want to cry. As someone said, no amount of love can possibly make these things function well. If you intend on actually doing some riding, get a bike with halfway decent components that can be adjusted properly. But on the other hand, why not just spring for a BMX bike? Those things are fun and well nigh indestructible.
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Old 12-02-06, 03:36 PM   #16
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Used. I spent $100 on my '99 Sorrento at a bike shop, and the owner tuned it up and made it shift, brake, ride, and handle like new. It just looks used.

I spent $80 on my '98 Outlook, and it was never used. Guy got it for xmas in 1998, took it around the cul-de-sac, then hung it upside down in his garage until a month ago, when I bought it, in mint, unscathed condition from him. It was a craigslist find, and was bike-shop-built, requiring no adjustments by me at all. It was precisely adjusted, and needed nothing but 12 PSI added to the tires and the seat dropped an inch and a half.

I've put hundreds of miles on the sorrento, and about 90 on the Outlook. They both act perfectly new.

To contrast, before that, I bought a bike from Wal-Mart. The rear wheel wasn't centered in the chainstay, the front brakes were totally out of whack, and I spent the better part of an hour just fixing crap that was messed up before I could even ride it. The rear wheel bearing started to get loose after 20 miles. The bottom bracket got squeaky after the first week, and within 250 miles, the rear hub completely disintegrated, the wheel went "crack!" and fell, bent over to one side, rubbing against the bike frame, totally unable to be ridden. I spent $70 on the bike before accessories.

The only good thing about the wal-mart bike is it got me hooked on bicycle commuting. If I had saved that $70, cut to the chase, and picked up my Sorrento for $100 right off the bat, I would have been a lot better off. $70 is enough to pick up a huge camelbak, a good laptop-carrying Swiss Army(tm) backpack for my commute to work, or any number of other accessories that I wish I had.

Save yourself the hassle. A bike shop used bike will outlast most wal-mart bikes, and you'll probably get a free or cheap tune-up or two out of the shop, especially if you make yourself a regular customer and get most of your accessories through the same place.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
You are engaging in a process that I call "Betting against yourself."

You're looking for a cheap bike so that, in case you decide you don't like riding it, you won't have lost too much money. The problem is that these cheap bikes aren't very much fun to ride so you're almost surely not going to like it.
+1 except I call it "Setting yourself up to fail."

Listen to the Grouch; life's too short to ride crappy bikes.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humble_biker
stick with video games
So much for being humble...
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Old 12-03-06, 11:04 PM   #19
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Someperson-buy a used WalMart bike-$25-$50.

Someperson,
On Craigslist you can usually find lots of barely used WalMart grade bikes for about 35% of new price-$25-$50. Granted they are not the nice machines that most folks here ride, but they will be adequate to ride and get in shape. Make sure the brakes work-really stop you-and the cables aren't craped up and rusty.Make sure it shifts,and doesn't need new tires or tubes(no cracked sidewalls-holds air).You don't want to be dumping $25 into a $25 bike.You can find one that looks all but new.

Cheapo bikes are ok for your purpose. A quality used bike would be better-much better- but there is a lot to be said for inexpensive.
If you go walmart-go used walmart(by walmart I mean inexpensive chinese bike).
If you get into biking,sell it and get a good used bike.
Luck,
Charlie
PS-Some sporting goods store type bikes are pretty decent.My son's bike-a Diamondback something-came with Shimano-Acera I think- components a decent enough suspension fork, nice enough paint and a relatively light aluminum frame.It was about $300-kinda pricy-but it is a nice dept store type bike..Everything works and stays in adjustment.It did have the usual joytech wheels-they were alright, but the other components are better.
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Old 12-04-06, 06:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebeisis
Someperson,
On Craigslist you can usually find lots of barely used WalMart grade bikes for about 35% of new price-$25-$50. Granted they are not the nice machines that most folks here ride, but they will be adequate to ride and get in shape. Make sure the brakes work-really stop you-and the cables aren't craped up and rusty.Make sure it shifts,and doesn't need new tires or tubes(no cracked sidewalls-holds air).
The point is a Wal-Mart type bike is not going to do these things well even if brand new.

Quote:
PS-Some sporting goods store type bikes are pretty decent.My son's bike-a Diamondback something-came with Shimano-Acera I think- components a decent enough suspension fork, nice enough paint and a relatively light aluminum frame.It was about $300-kinda pricy-but it is a nice dept store type bike..Everything works and stays in adjustment.It did have the usual joytech wheels-they were alright, but the other components are better.
At $300 you are nicely into the cost range of Bike Shop bikes which are much more likely to be put together and adjusted properly than the same price bike from Dick's or Sports Authority.
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Old 12-04-06, 07:38 AM   #21
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Have you noticed that the OP hasn't replied, and that he/she never asked whether to buy Walmart or something else...
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Old 12-04-06, 09:22 AM   #22
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The OP has asked the very same question on three different forums.

Troll or spam.

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Old 12-04-06, 09:57 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matimeo
Don't do it. I agree with what everyone has said about avoiding Walmart bikes- do some research and find a used bike that won't end up in the dumpster after a few months.
+1

dollar for dollar, almost everyone on bike forums will tell you a used bike is better that a walmart bike
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Old 12-04-06, 05:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Hill
The OP has asked the very same question on three different forums.

Troll or spam.

East Hill
Or a dumbf*ck.
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Old 12-05-06, 04:43 PM   #25
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If you want my advice, Buy a good quality Hybrid. This type will give you the oportunity for both good riding on trails and for the road. I got a Gary Fisher Zebrano S last year. Put a lot of miles on it before upgrading this year to a road bike ( I decided road bike was the direction I wanted to go). I just sold my old bike for 70% of my original purchase price. Good deal or what?
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