This post is a continuation of a topic started by "caroline162" in July 2008 concerning the Mongoose Paver at Walmart for $119.
I hope we can keep the anti-Walmart comments to a minimum. They were adequately expressed in Caroinle's topic. I tend to agree, although I'm not religious about it. (All things in moderation.). Personally, I try to only buy loss leaders from Walmart (so they lose money). I viewed this purchase as an opportunity to waste Walmart's time if anything went wrong.
>>> The Bike
The Paver is a hybrid with a lightweight aluminum frame; 700x45 tires (close to mountain-bike width on a street-bike diameter?); a comfort-bike handlebars; seven speeds; rear rack; no shocks.
- Walmart page.
- Photos found on the internet. (Scroll halfway down. Some photos show replacement handlebars.).
- YouTube video.
Despite all the valid criticisms of retail bikes (Walmart, Target, et. al.), my Google searches found many experienced riders who said this was a decent bike... for Walmart. That's what got me interested in it, and led me to Caroline's topic. However, after reading all *300* posts, I discovered there was no conclusion. I posted my introduction and circumstances there.
>>> My Goals
As mentioned in my intro, I haven't ridden in 30-35 years. I wasn't prepared to spend a lot of money on a LBS bike. I've also been semi-retired for over a year. I have a lot of time on my hands. For me, wasting time is better than wasting money.
Considering the "Paver's" unique description of as a "decent bike... for Walmart," I thought I would give it a try. I could tear it apart and learn how to do my own maintenance without risking damage to an expensive bike. If I messed it up, I could return it to Walmart. If it went well, I could end up with a decent bike that I could sell for as much as I spent.
The Walmart Experience
I ordered the bike "site-to-store" thinking it would be shipped to the store with regular merchandise, reducing the risk of my local UPS mouth-breather damaging it.
However, when I went to the store to receive it, the box was beat to heck. Cardboard squares were taped over large sections of the box. Personell exhibited shame that the warehouse shipped something that was most certainly damaged.
Instead of inspecting it in the store, I took it home so I could examine it more closely.
The axle threads were dinged. Front rim bent (about a 1/2" wobble). Some scratches in the paint. Gouges in the front rim's finish.
I took it back to the store. All they could do is refund the money and tell me to order another online.
I went home to order another, but found they were "out of stock." I called 1-800-Walmart to see if anyone could tell me if they would get more. All they could do is offer me $40 off any other bike.
That caused me to think I may have received the very last Mongoose Paver. That would make me almost famous(!). And, I really wanted that bike. So, I went back to the store and asked the manager if she'd give me the $40 discount on the damaged bike.
I got the bike for $79.
The Bike Experience
Using tutorials from www.bicycletutor.com, I disassembled everything. Axels, bottom bracket, headset, brakes. Keep in mind that everything mentioned below is a result of factory assembly, not a Walmart employee.
- The bottom bracket had about 1/2 tsp. metal shavings in the grease. The bearings were running over metal shavings. It looked like they used a tool to size and tap the BB, and didn't blow it out.
- The front and rear axles were over tightened. They felt "crunchy" when I spun the wheels.
- The front rim had a spoke poking about 1/8" past the nipple (into the tube).
- I don't think they used actual grease. I think it was Cosmoline (a preservative for long-term storage and shipment of metal objects like guns). The stuff smelled putrid, rancid. Like dirty laundry.
Only the headset bearings had a petroleum smell (and greasy feel).
- Both inner tubes failed.
- The 45mm tires seem too wide for the 21mm rim. One tube exploded when the tire slipped off the rim. That was a common complaint when customer feedback was displayed on the Walmart page.).
- The other tube developed a leak in a seam after I aired it up 4-5 times (trying to get some experience with how easily the tire might slip off the rim). That was another common complaint.
- I spent the most time fixing the 1/2" wiggle in the front rim. I guess I had a bias toward one direction because I inadvertently "dished" the rim. I had to "un-dish" it.
- I spent about $80 on Bontrager H4 Plus (700x35) tires and Avenir thorn resistant tubes. (I didn't want to invest in new tubes and risk blowing them if the tires were too wide and would slip off.).
I literally have more money in the tires/tubes than I have in the bike. But, that's ok because I'd like to ride reliably with low risk of flats. I don't mind putting some money there.
If I had to do it over again, I might have purchased a KHS or Giant at a LBS for about $220-$270. But, for me, this was a good experience. Especially at $79.
- I learned a lot about doing my own maintenance which I would have been reluctant to do on a $500 bike.
- I've got a decent bike for $79. Better tubes and tires than would have come with a $220-$270 bike.
- I can determine my passion for riding, and comfort adjustments. I can donate the bike to the local co-op when I'm ready for an upgrade. (I may donate the 700x45 tires now.).
I thought this review could help others who may consider the Mongoose Paver. But, it appears that model is discontinued. (Strange coincidence that I got the last one?). But, hopefully it will be a useful review of big-box retail bikes generally.
It amazes me to think of all the people riding around on Cosmoline and metal shavings in their bottom bracket.
I wouldn't recommend others do what I did. If you're employed and your time has some value, a $220-$270 bike should be worth more than all the hassles I went through.