this morning i bought a new bike: a 26" frame dual suspension Roadmaster Power-X from a certain large and infamous retail store. i noticed that one of the brakes was tight to the point of rubbing against the wheel, and the other brake was so loose as to barely contact the wheel. luckily, i know how to use basic hand-tools, and i solved the problem in about 15-20 minutes. after this adjustment, i rode it around campus for about 20-30 minutes; i have found that it behaves in a fashion which effectively imitates a fully-functioning bicycle. having never ridden a bike with shock-absorbers, i must say that they are a nice feature. the rear shock is indeed damped, in opposition to another poster's ill-informed speculation. i bought a decent bicycle for about $79.
ok, now on to my advice-seeking:
a.) what other kinds of pre-ride maintenance/inspection should i perform on this machine, if any?
b.) after completing all necessary inspections, how long do i have to live before my cheap bike leads to my heirs collecting insurance?
c.) am i missing out on some kind of kind of mystical bonding experience by buying a low-priced bike? Say, for instance, i would have bought a high-end Trek or Fuji; would i have been privy to some kind of awe-inspiring fraternal bond that other true cyclists share?