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  1. #1
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    Opinion on a bike from Costco...

    So I am an overweight college student on a college budget. I really can't afford to spend over $350 on a bike and my main goal is to just shred some weight. I'm 5'9" 225 pounds. I've been looking around online and I ran across a deal on Costco for a Schwinn Traveler Flat Bar Road Bike and here is the link ... Bike
    I've had a couple of my biker friends chime in and I decided to go to a couple local bike shops and ask around. But this deal just seems like it would be ideal for me price wise. The frame size states "Medium" and I've been fitted for a 52-53cm frame size so I'm not sure if I would fall into a Medium. If I could get any feedback regarding this bike as well as road bikes that would work for me in general, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks and nice to meet all of you!

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    I should probably add the terrain I'd be riding on. I attend UCSC so being that the campus was built on a mountain range, there are a lot of up and down hills. I've done a few rides through the campus on a 10 year old mountain bike and most of the hills I can climb without dying. its all paved roads with the occasional pot hole here and there.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TrumpetMurph's Avatar
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    Just my $0.02--- I'd look around online a little more, try to find something in an '06 or '07 frame with Tiagra components. They're going to last you longer and be a little smoother.

    Also, if you go to you LBS and tell them that you're on a firm budget, they'll give you some ideas of what to look for. And if they don't (if they're "bike snobs" and treat you like your $350 isn't worth their time), then find another LBS! The shop that is willing to help you work within your budget can win your business for the future, y'know?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Swimjim's Avatar
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    I think a medium size frame would probably work. Before going with the Schwinn, I'd scope out Craigs list and check out the local ST Vinnies/Goodwills. I've found some great rides there very inexpensive. I bought a Schwinn Tempo at a rummage sale for $15.00 in as new condition. The tires still had those little nub things on them. You may have to clean the bike up a bit and lube the cables and what not, but you can save a ton of money that way. It's just a matter of doing your homework. Sorry, you'll never escape that. Ha. Another part is being in the right place at the right time. Good luck in your search and college endeavors.

    Jim

  5. #5
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Check the local craigslist, check with the college and see what bikes they have that have been turned in because people left them behind, check with good will or whatever they are called in your area. I went to one good will that had one bike and one that had 20+ bikes, and then check your local pawn shops. Amazing what you can find there also.

    With that being said, you should also check your LBS' and see what they have available in used, or what they may know of for sale. Tell them your budget and see what they say. I know the TREK dealers I tried laughed, so I kept talking to different bike shops. Now I have a bike shop I will always deal with in my 70 mile area.
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  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandydaniel View Post
    I should probably add the terrain I'd be riding on. I attend UCSC so being that the campus was built on a mountain range, there are a lot of up and down hills. I've done a few rides through the campus on a 10 year old mountain bike and most of the hills I can climb without dying. its all paved roads with the occasional pot hole here and there.
    Do you own this MTB and does it fit you? If so, why are you getting a new one? you could ride to lose weight on that MTB.

    I second, or is it third, the suggestion you search craigslist and second hand shops if you are able to do so. The Costco bike is probably OK, but you are likely to find bikes with better quality components secondhand or on clearance.

  7. #7
    Disgruntled grad student beingtxstate's Avatar
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    +1 on Craigslist. Also, you should try finding a bike coop, they usually sell rebuilt good rides for under $100 that are well setup, fun, and reliable. More than can be said for a costco bike setup by someone who doesn't know what they are doing.

    Between a little Saturday garage sale strolling, craigslist, or coops, I see now reason why you can't find a great bike for cheap that you will be happier with in the long run. Good Luck!
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  8. #8
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    At 5'9" - a 52cm bike seems a bit small - You might want to check at another shop or two
    Keep the Rubber Side Down!


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  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.T.D. View Post
    At 5'9" - a 52cm bike seems a bit small - You might want to check at another shop or two
    Hmm, can't say I agree. I'm 6'1" and ride a 20 inch frame, which is about 52cm. But fit is a personal matter.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by beingtxstate View Post
    +1 on Craigslist. Also, you should try finding a bike coop
    +2 on coops. i'm on the board of ours--community cycles here in boulder--and it's a great way to find a decent bike at a great price, plus meet some people who love them some bikes.

    and santa cruz has their own co-op, run by some awesome kids.

    it's called the bike church, and they're actually hosting a meeting of bike coops and collectives and anarchist groups, and all kinds of folks this year.

    http://www.santacruzhub.org/bikechurch/bc_main.htm

  11. #11
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Why not tell us a bit about this mountain bike? What is it and is it yours? If it's not yours then would the owner be willing to part with it for a fair offer? Some minor tuning and select upgrades might make it a perfectly serviceable machine for considerably less than a new one.

    Bau

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    I've been scoping out Craigslist for a couple of weeks and nothing in my budget area seems to pop up when it comes to road bikes around my area. I actually don't own the MB, it is my friends so that option is gone. But I'll go ahead and check the local Goodwills. Also, on the bike church here in Santa Cruz... A couple of my friends purchased $60 rebuilt single gears and both of the bikes ended up completely falling apart within two months. I'm not sure if that was just a coincidence or if they don't take their work as seriously as they should. It really wouldn't be safe having your chain fly off while going down some of these hills on campus.

    And about the frame size... I measured my inseam, converted it to cm, and then multiplied by .667. If there is a more accurate way then that, feel free to share! And thanks again for all of the information guys.

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    My outlook on where my dollars go. I try to support independent business. Costco won't be there if you need service. I go to small bike shops where they know my name. If you don't support smaller bike shops with service, they won't be there when you need them. And the kicker, shop around. Depending upon the bike of your dreams and within your budget; you'll find decent commuter bikes at small bike shops for not that much more.
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  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandydaniel View Post
    I've been scoping out Craigslist for a couple of weeks and nothing in my budget area seems to pop up when it comes to road bikes around my area. I actually don't own the MB, it is my friends so that option is gone. But I'll go ahead and check the local Goodwills. Also, on the bike church here in Santa Cruz... A couple of my friends purchased $60 rebuilt single gears and both of the bikes ended up completely falling apart within two months. I'm not sure if that was just a coincidence or if they don't take their work as seriously as they should. It really wouldn't be safe having your chain fly off while going down some of these hills on campus.

    And about the frame size... I measured my inseam, converted it to cm, and then multiplied by .667. If there is a more accurate way then that, feel free to share! And thanks again for all of the information guys.
    A road bike in that price range is going to be a tough find. You can get a new Trek MTB for as low as 259 bucks. Perhaps even less for a previous year's model. For getting around town and campus, the MTB will work.

  15. #15
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    So the mountain bike is out of the picture then, what is your budget? Is 350 the upper limit or a guideline? Are you willing to forsake manufactures support for the sake of saving some money? Are you afraid of doing some wrenching yourself?

    Check out this fellow from bikes direct. Once you assemble it take it to a bike shop for a tune up and presto, new flat bar road bike. If you want to go the mountain bike rout you could save a bit of cash, check out Windsor Cliff 4500 and the Dawes Haymaker 1000. These two bikes are budget oriented with surprisingly good specs.

    Bau

  16. #16
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    I would also consider putting high-pressure slick-tread tires on the mountain bike, and riding that until you kill it. I have my old mountain bike outfitted with 85 psi, 1.5 inch wide tires, which works great for training rides.

    I also agree with the others, that you may want to wait and get a road bike with Tiagra or better components if you can. They take more work, but yard sales are a great place to find a nice older bike. You can find great 5-10 year old road bikes around here well within that price range. With the hills you have around campus, I would also make sure that it has a 3 cogs on the front.

    Have fun out there!

  17. #17
    Senior Member lutz's Avatar
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    The first parts which are going to fail you on that schwinn are the wheels; looks like they are single wall rims (double-wall rims is what you shoudllook for).
    Better look for a used higher quality mountain bike (even 15 year old Univega Alpina's and Specialized Rock Hoppers will be better and lighter than the Schwinn) and get some slicks for it.
    Last edited by lutz; 03-19-08 at 02:10 PM.

  18. #18
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    Hmmm, you mention being an overweight rider. Depending on how much you weigh, Id bet the wheels on the Costco bike won't last long at all. I find it strange that the picture of the bike shows 32'sh count spokes on the bike. But the specs say 28 paired black spokes. Even the 32 on a lowend bike like this are tough to deal with. Really tough to true as the nipples strip easily on low end wheels.

    32c tires aren't too far from 1.5 slicks on an mtb. I'd say go with new tires on the mtb if you still got it.

  19. #19
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I was up at the UNT campus a while back. Lots of bikes everywhere, and none of them worth more than $50. I think there's a lesson to be learned there.

    One problem with cheap bikes is not the climbing but the brakes. They work fine when new, may or may not when 6 months old.

    One problem is keeping everything adjusted. Having bike-savvy friends will help there.

    225 lbs shouldn't be bad for a frame. But don't go hopping the wheels over curbs a lot. Should be fine for general riding-around.

    If you have time, energy, and knowledge, you can probably work a better deal on a used bike.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    The frame and bottom bracket on a costco bike should last for years and years. It is just how wobbly the single-wall rims will become; how often you have to dink around with the gears so that they don't jump, rub, or skip; how much more conciencious you will have to be about oiling the cables to keep them moving; AND the brakes. Lots of these things won't be an issue, if you are only going to commute on it. But if you are going to do 1-3 hour training rides 3-5 times per week, things will start breaking that are harder to fix than would be the case on a bike with slightly better components.

    I'd still go with decent road-like tires on the mountain bike for a good long while. I did not feel the need for a road bike, until I had been at it regularly for a little over a year.

  21. #21
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    Hmm... I understand where everyone is coming from in regards with me just picking up a much cheaper mountain bike and throwing thinner tires on it, but honestly for me, this hopefully wont turn into another expensive hobby. I really wanted to go out, grab a decent road bike, and be done with it. As long as I don't end up with a road bike that craps out on me in a matter of 1-2 years, I'm fine with it I guess. I've ridden my friends slightly oversized road bike on the same course as I did with the old mountain bike, and I have to say that even while being oversized, the road bike was much more comfortable.

    I am also going to try and bike everywhere I can instead of walking around on campus, so that means there will be quite a few long stretches of stairs in order to access class rooms and what not. And I don't know about the better mountain bikes, but my arm felt like it was going to fall off after carrying up the MTB up and down a couple flights of stairs while I was test riding it.

    I'm not sure why, but I've just had my mind set on getting a road bike and haven't been able to open my mind up to buy a MTB at this time.

    If replacing tires isn't expensive, opting for the $219.99 Costco Schwinn seems to be the best idea for me as of now. I'll snoop around some LBS this weekend and report back. One last question, it is possible to get curved handle bars swapped onto the Costco Schwinn correct?

    And thank you guys so much for the fast responses, and incredible amounts of information. Probably one of the best forums I have ever been on in regards of people willing to help instead of telling a first time poster to just search.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandydaniel View Post
    So I am an overweight college student on a college budget. I really can't afford to spend over $350 on a bike and my main goal is to just shred some weight. I'm 5'9" 225 pounds. I've been looking around online and I ran across a deal on Costco for a Schwinn Traveler Flat Bar Road Bike and here is the link ... Bike
    I've had a couple of my biker friends chime in and I decided to go to a couple local bike shops and ask around. But this deal just seems like it would be ideal for me price wise. The frame size states "Medium" and I've been fitted for a 52-53cm frame size so I'm not sure if I would fall into a Medium. If I could get any feedback regarding this bike as well as road bikes that would work for me in general, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks and nice to meet all of you!
    Most of the bikes you find at Costco are what are called X-mart bikes, often they are either assembled by yourself, using instructions written poorly in Cantonese, then translated to English by someone who has had one lesson in Mandarin and read the first page of a book once on English..... Or it's assembled by an untrained gorilla at the store.. It's generally okay, if you take it to an LBS and have them assemble it, then again, the labour charges are likely to be the difference between your Costco special and their lower end bikes.

    Costco bikes tend to be one size (medium) fits all, so their idea of medium and a bike companies idea of medium can be very different, I have a catalog from Opus, which uses S-M-L sizing and they say their medium is ~53cm, but that doesn't mean that the Schwinn toy bicycle company or Costco are using the same measurement.

    If you have your fitting measurements, then take a tape measure that is marked in cm, and do some measurements on the Costco bike to see how it measures up.

    Like others I would say, look at experienced bikes on CL or fleabay, if searching, then only look at those within an acceptable traveling distance, your best to go pick it up, do a test ride, then pay for it at pick up time.

  23. #23
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    If you're near Sacramento, you might contact BigBossman and see if he has anything to flip available.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  24. #24
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandydaniel View Post
    Hmm... I understand where everyone is coming from in regards with me just picking up a much cheaper mountain bike and throwing thinner tires on it, but honestly for me, this hopefully wont turn into another expensive hobby. I really wanted to go out, grab a decent road bike, and be done with it. As long as I don't end up with a road bike that craps out on me in a matter of 1-2 years, I'm fine with it I guess. I've ridden my friends slightly oversized road bike on the same course as I did with the old mountain bike, and I have to say that even while being oversized, the road bike was much more comfortable.

    I am also going to try and bike everywhere I can instead of walking around on campus, so that means there will be quite a few long stretches of stairs in order to access class rooms and what not. And I don't know about the better mountain bikes, but my arm felt like it was going to fall off after carrying up the MTB up and down a couple flights of stairs while I was test riding it.
    I hate to tell you this but at 225 you'll be lucky to get a year out of that bike. Having managed a bike shop, I know firsthand that the Wal-Mart/Costco/Target bikes are basically disposable. They inevitably fail and, when they do, the repair bill is often 50% of the bike's original worth. I could see you easily sinking $100 into building and repairing a rear wheel for that bike which will then still ride and shift like a $200 bike.

    If you've got $350 to spend, you'd be better off spending it at bikesdirect.com. Yeah you have to order it, but they give you free shipping and there is no sales tax outside of TX.

    Right at $350 they have a nice no-frills, single speed road bike with a nice steel frame that would make a great clyde commuter. (I've been looking at possibly buying this one myself):



    $50 more gets you a Sora-equipped bike (Sora is way better than Altus crap). They're both aluminum frames, but much nicer than the Schwinn.





    No bike is going to be bullet proof, especially with a 220 lb. rider, but the difference is that you won't be putting your money into a bike that can potentially serve you for years and years. Even if you eventually graduate--literally and figuratively--to a new, fancy road bike, the Motobecane would still make an excellent commuter/beater/rain bike.

    Sorry if I burst your bubble but that is my honest opinion.

  25. #25
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    You did not burst any bubbles here. I've been looking at the Motobecane Mirage on Bikedirect as well. Do the bikes from Bikesdirect come pre-assembled? Would it be necessary to bring it to a LBS and have them tune it up? The bike is already $399.99 so if having to get it tuned after that i.e. spending another ~$100 this would make it impossible for me to afford. The single speed seems really interesting but I'm a bit hesitant due to the fact that there are some decent hills on campus.

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