I posted this in the intro forum a few weeks ago, but I decided to make this my own lil blog. Keeping this updated (if i desire) would be the smarter choice.
So after doing some research into cycling, and reading about the different bikes and components I decided to buy a bike. Then I saw the prices. Damn. $600? $2000? $10,000 custom Trek?
I'm in college and nearly broke so I decided to buy the bargain dumpster of bikes.....an X-Mart bike. Not being the most discerning of bikers, I promptly went to my local Target and sat on a Schwinn Prelude. Now I already knew these Schwinns were made in China by small children, and I had also read several threads about x-mart bikes. I was convinced I could find some value from the $199 thing, so I whipped it out (credit card, mind you) and bought it.
Buying a $199 bike doesn't scare me from the mechanical perspective. I have worked on my car and motorcycle and am not shy about taking something apart and putting it back together. I am expecting to do maintenance on the bike.
Sure enough, I get home; the dreailleurs are off, the brakes are totally mis-aligned, the seat and bars need tweaking. 10 min later all seems well. I even take her for her first proper road ride on Austin's Veloway. 10 miles later my balls and thighs have had enough since I have no bike shorts....yet. FedEX man, where are you?!?!
The next day I see I have a flat front tire. Great, the $199 bike is striking back! No worries. I pop the tube and see there is a nice hole in it. I patch it, install it, fill it to 90 psi (tire says 100 but I dont trust it)......BANG! Pop the damn thing....again. This time from a different hole!
I do some critical investigatiuon and conclude it's a combination of an old, crappy tube and an old, crappy tire tape (I didnt even know wtf tire tape was...maybe popping my tire was a good thing!). The tire tape is super thin rubber that has stretched and deformed and even torn through where the holes in the rim are. I figure the tube is popping through those holes and bursting.
A quick trip to my lbs nets me new cloth tape and 2 new tubes. After installing the new stuff on the front, I install it and ride it to class. No problems so far. On a side note for those in Austin...Performance Cycles on W. Anderson is great...first time to a LBS but I think they'll be getting more of my business.
So what have we learned about buying an X-mart bike? Change the tire tape and tube pronto!!!
So now hopefully I have a bike that will run well enough to train on. Train for what, you ask? I'm not sure. I figure I'll ride the hell out of it and simply get in shape. Maybe if I become more comfortable on it I'll join a bike group or something like that. Then maybe race a triathlon or road event. Then I'll do the TdF and take all the jerseys in one stage......
If anyone has suggestions for a total n00b about cycling, please don't hesitate to drop off your $0.02 I could use some advice.