Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
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I had a $100 mountain bike that I bought at Academy. There were several weak points. One was the wheels. I weigh about 280 or so. I took that bike offroad twice, once on a reasonably smooth dirt trail, once on a reasonably smooth pasture, going slow and no jumping or anything. Both times, I had to buy a new rear wheel when it was all done. So beware of wheel problems. (For what it's worth, the wheels didn't just collapse, but popped some spokes, got out of true, and started rubbing the brakes.)
Second weak point was the gearing/shifting system. It was forever needing to be adjusted, and most of the time that I was riding it, it couldn't be shifted in to every gear (usually, granny gear wasn't available). Part of that might have been me, not knowing how to adjust things properly. Oh, and when you put too much pressure on the pedals, the chain would skip a tooth or hop from gear to gear or something- never quite figured out what it was, but it means I needed to downshift, only downshifting also doesn't work well...not a good combo, in other words.
Third weak point was the brakes. I don't think I could skid either tire when it was new, and brakes did a steady downhill from there, getting scary there at the last. Definitely a situation to be avoided, especially if you live in a hilly area.
Anyway, good luck with whatever option you take, but don't expect too much from a cheap bike.