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  1. #1
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    Got a new bike and some questions.

    I just bought the first bike of my adult life. The last bike I had was stolen when I was 13 and I have done little bike riding since. Before that I did quite a bit of long distance street ridding with my father.

    The bike I picked up is the Schwinn Skyliner 26" 21 speed "comfort" bike. Now for my questions. I paid 64 new for it, was that a good price? What the heck is a "comfort" bike built for? I'd like to take it on some paths near my house and not have to carry it home. Is there anything positive or negative I should know about this particular bike?

    Thanks for your time I hope you can help.

  2. #2
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    I'm no expert. My annual mileage is measure in the 100's of miles, not thousands like many others here. Getting in more -- Lately (until the serious cold arrived) I'd almost given up driving, at least for sub 10-mile distances. Welcome and enjoy.

    (1). 64 bucks is amazingly little. 64 bucks? Walmart website prices it for $150.
    (2). You can't expect much for $64 or $150. My sense from reading here is the components aren't great, adequate maybe if you're not demanding; but the final assembly (done in the store) is often very poor, even dangerously bad.

    One strong and serious commuter, 'CigTech', reviewed a 'GMC Denali', another bike in the same price class. He ended up basically having to reassemble it due to poor in-store assembly, but once he did, it held up pretty well for the 2000-odd miles that he kept up the postings. He recommended (and others have too) that either you go over it yourself, or take such a bike to your Local Bike Shop (LBS) and have them go over it.

    This bike has a front suspension. Given the price, it may not hold up well. If in your riding you find you need a front suspension, this bike may not hold up well. (Others have said about the same thing-- if you must spend so little on a bike, don't get one with a suspension.) If you don't need a front suspension, forego the weight and energy dissipation penalty and get a bike without it.

    For less than $100 and a little patience, you can get a pretty good used bike through Craigslist or eBay. I've been disappointed in ebay though -- often undisclosed problems, so beware. With Craigslist you get to turn around after inspecting in person -- no 'negative feedback' to worry about. At the price you shouldn't want to have one shipped, should be able to inspect locally

    -Rich
    Last edited by duffer1960; 02-12-07 at 03:08 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info duffer, I'll check out craig's list.

  4. #4
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    Be advised that these forums are frequented by cycling enthusiasts, much like myself. My saddle cost more than $64 and I ride cheap bikes. I am stating this to show that most here will spend a lot more on a bike than $64.

    So is there anything wrong with yours? Not really, it will be more cheaply made, much heavier and less fun to ride. But still it beats the heck out of no bike at all. Most of this bike madness starts at your local bike shop. It isn't until you ride a really nice LBS bike that you realize all that cycling has to offer.

    If you are truly interested, go visit a local shop and get exposed to the culture. You might get hooked and/or a better bike. Or you might hang yours in the garage to rot like 90 % of most American bike purhasers do.

  5. #5
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    You are not going to have a difficult time getting $64 worth of fun out of your new bike. I went with my nephew to a pizza place that has video games, a bowling alley, a go-kart track...$64 lasted just one afternoon.

    Wal-Mart/K-Mart bikes are designed for short rides around the neighborhood in good weather, on dry roads. An industry source estimated that the typical Wal-Mart bike is thrown away after just four hundred or five hundred miles of use, and the factory designs the brakes, wheel bearings, and crank bearings accordingly.

    Yet, owners generally find these bikes useful. Suppose you take a two mile ride every Saturday during the six warmest months of the year. That is a total of about fifty miles per year. Given that these bikes are designed to last at least 500 miles, that sort of owner could enjoy the bike for ten years. That is about six dollars per year, far less than the cost of going to the movies.

    When do you need a "better" bike? When you are going to be riding ten or twenty miles per day. When you need a bike that is SURE to get you somewhere on time, such as when you are riding to a job. When you are riding in rain, sleet, or snow, and need brakes that work well under those conditions. When you are going to be riding "off-road", and need a bike that won't break when you go off a two foot high embankment.

    Be warned though, a $64 bike is not cheap to maintain. When a wheel fails, or the brakes need to be replaced, bike shops do not stock the $10 wheels and $5 brake calipers used on such bikes. Owners of Wal-Mart bikes are often shocked to find out that a good wheel at a bike shop starts at $50 (and up, up, up) and that a pair of good brake calipers cost more than they paid for their bike.

    As a result of the high cost of replacing cheap parts on Wal-Mart bikes with good quality parts, many Wal-Mart bike owners find it cheaper in the long run to buy a $300 or $400 mountain bike or hybrid bike at a good bike shop. Such bikes are more durable, and "per mile", costs a cyclist who rides a thousand miles per year much less than a Wal-mart bike.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    Be advised that these forums are frequented by cycling enthusiasts, much like myself. My saddle cost more than $64 and I ride cheap bikes. I am stating this to show that most here will spend a lot more on a bike than $64.

    So is there anything wrong with yours? Not really, it will be more cheaply made, much heavier and less fun to ride. But still it beats the heck out of no bike at all. Most of this bike madness starts at your local bike shop. It isn't until you ride a really nice LBS bike that you realize all that cycling has to offer.

    If you are truly interested, go visit a local shop and get exposed to the culture. You might get hooked and/or a better bike. Or you might hang yours in the garage to rot like 90 % of most American bike purhasers do.

    +1 I'd make sure the bike is tuned up correctly and road-ready and then ride it as often as weather permits. Portis and ABH are right; the bike isn't that nice and won't be as fun to ride but that's the advice of people that have been riding for a long time. Since you are just getting back onto a bike, it'll be a new adventure. Only later, as you start riding longer and harder, will the shortcomings of your bike be apparent. But hey, it was only $64.

    Ride it to your Local Bike Shop (LBS) and check out the other bikes. Talk with the people there about bikes; what sort of riding you'd like to do and what sort of shape you are in now. Test ride lots of bikes, it's fun and it's free. Feel free to ask lots of questions here.

    I rode an old Murray from Wal-mart for a few years. It was heavy and didn't always shift so well but I didn't know any better. Then I got to ride a friend's new Cannondale. Wow!! Lighter, faster, crisp-shifting. I felt like I could beat Lemond riding that thing. I saved up and bought a better bike.


    A "comfort" bike usually means you are sitting upright and can put your feet on the ground while sitting. The pedals are thus a bit forward of the rider. This is a comfortable but less efficient riding position. Great for people with bad backs or who just want to see the scenery and aren't interested in dropping the group and blasting around the mountains at 25mph.

    Comfort bikes usually have a front suspension which is mostly worthless since many can't be adjusted and are set too soft. Hybrids also have these front suspensions but the rider is sitting more above the pedals and has to dismount to touch the ground.

    It should be acceptable for riding the local bike paths around town.
    Last edited by bbattle; 02-14-07 at 12:00 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Be warned though, a $64 bike is not cheap to maintain. When a wheel fails, or the brakes need to be replaced, bike shops do not stock the $10 wheels and $5 brake calipers used on such bikes. Owners of Wal-Mart bikes are often shocked to find out that a good wheel at a bike shop starts at $50 (and up, up, up) and that a pair of good brake calipers cost more than they paid for their bike.
    I know of several places where folks fix & sell used inexpensive bikes out of their garages as a semi-hobby, and one place that's an actual junky-old-used-bike business w/ a separate building that no-one sleeps in at night. Maybe if you ever need a repair you could visit someplace like these & they'd fix you up with a used part for little money. Kind of like 'Joe's Garage' vs 'Lexus Dealer'. More than likely, though, if you're only an occasional rider, and if the spokes and wheel bearings and headset and bottom bracket bearings are properly tensioned and lubed to start with, you won't need any major repairs.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    For $64 you really can't get stung.
    I'd use to "reacquaint" yourself with cycling. It might give you the impetus to do some research (like you seem to be doing at this forum) to find out what's good, bad, great, adequate etc.
    I hadn't rode a bike for 40 years, until a couple years ago I picked up an 86 Specialized Rockhopper for $50. Turns out it was a GREAT buy. I could have paid $50 for a well used Wal Mart bike that retailed for $50 and not know the difference at that time.

    Do a few minor things like adjust the seat to the proper height (basically so your heels JUST reach the pedals straight legged)
    You might be able to adjust the bars a lttle differently.

    Chances are it has the cheap knobby tires, with very high rolling resistance on pavement. I've picked up some Bell 26X1.75 "Bike Path" tires for under $10 that roll MUCH easier. Look at your Kroger type stores for them. (Fred Meyer where I live) Similar to the link below-
    http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/pr...ductId=2192670

  9. #9
    Member sswartzl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakboiee
    What the heck is a "comfort" bike built for?
    A "Comfort" bike is basically a mountain-style bike (heavy frame, wide tires, flat handlebars, etc.) designed for a very upright riding position, usually with a well-padded saddle and often a suspension under the saddle. It's good for pretty much any type of basic recreational riding, but not really good for real long distances. I commute daily on a comfort bike, and I like it because I don't need to wear padded shorts to stay comfortable on the saddle and it works on paved roads, unpaved roads, and trails, all of which I encounter on my commute.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sswartzl
    A "Comfort" bike is basically a mountain-style bike (heavy frame, wide tires, flat handlebars, etc.) designed for a very upright riding position, usually with a well-padded saddle and often a suspension under the saddle. It's good for pretty much any type of basic recreational riding, but not really good for real long distances. I commute daily on a comfort bike, and I like it because I don't need to wear padded shorts to stay comfortable on the saddle and it works on paved roads, unpaved roads, and trails, all of which I encounter on my commute.
    "Padded" shorts are actually cycling shorts with a chamois. THe purpose of the chamois is to prevent chafing and keep the nether regions dry and free from damage. It is a misconception that padded cycling shorts are for comfort. It isn't the softness of the pad, that provides comfort. It is the fact that your skin won't be damaged, which ultimately is more comfortable than if it were. ANd of course the chamois also eliminates hem lines that other garments have.

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