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Old 06-29-03, 09:29 PM   #1
BikerDawg
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*Mart Bike?

I know they're cheap....and probably big P.O.S.'s, but I have a friend that REALLY wants a bike, and happens to be REALLY broke, too. I figure a POS is better than nothing, at this point. She wants it for in-town, very small mileage riding, anyway, so until she knows if she likes biking, would this be a horrible idea?

Also, she's about 5'5" (maybe a bit shorter) and I'm wondering what the difference would be between a boys' 24" and a mens' 26" frame? (Other than height, LOL ;

One of the Marts has a bike for $55 right now. That's the one she's considering.

Thoughts, protests, encouragement, and helpful hints are all welcome!

Thanks,
Michelle
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Old 06-29-03, 10:31 PM   #2
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Hi there...

I read alot of messages on this board when looking for my bike.

In you will see a barrage of negative reaction from people about buying department store bikes, etc.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Budget, if you only want to spend less than $100...then stick to your budget. A lot of people on this board probably ride bikes $1000 or more...

2. While the quality and service may not be the same as a "brand name" bike from a LBS, if she's riding 3 times / month, it's a BIG difference from a lot of the enthusiasts here that ride 6 days a week, 10+ miles each time. If it's very low usage, then most bikes will probably be OK. Don't jump off and cliffs with it...but riding down the paved street is alright...

3. Think about getting a used bike. Its a good compromise, you'll get quality bike that will last (in case she gets really into biking) and can stay within your budget.
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Old 06-29-03, 10:41 PM   #3
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Although never a fan of the X-mart bikes, I agree with mister_hl that if she isn't using it much and that is her budget, it will serve it's purpose. You probably already know this, but make sure that at that price, she doesn't get tempted by the suspension. All of the x-mart bikes I have seen would be just as good, and maybe better, with rigid frames.

If she wants to up her price a little bit, there is a steel framed schwinn that has been on the racks at the various 'marts for a couple of months for a little over $100. It is (although still far short of lbs bikes) quite a bit better than their other offerings in terms of components, brakes, and in my opinion, geometry.
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Old 06-29-03, 10:58 PM   #4
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My first automatic response is to tell her to "just say No!" to cheap bikes. However, with what you've described as her planned use, it's a cheap way to go. Just remind her that to use it until it breaks, then throw it away. Replacement parts and labor will cost more than a new bike. REALLY!

As mentioned, stay away from suspesion. On cheap bikes, it works poorly and makes the bike heavy.

L8R
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Old 06-29-03, 10:59 PM   #5
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I thought about suggesting a used bike to her, but I'm not sure either one of us know what we're looking for. (Been a while since I've ridden.) Maybe I'll suggest garage sales at the end of the week. Never know. I sold a decent bike for $25 once just because I needed the cash.

I will also suggest the Schwinn. Thanks!

Anybody near Dayton, Ohio know of a place to get used bikes?
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Old 06-29-03, 11:03 PM   #6
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Safety is one of my primary concerns. When I go to the local Sears store or mart store, I literally avoid the bicycle area because I don't want my blood pressure going up at the sight of brake pads riding on tires, or only finger-tight--

*mechBgon halts his rant right there

If you go with the mart bike, take it straight to a trustworthy local bike shop for a tune-up. You will reap the rewards in better functionality, longevity and safety, if the mechanic does a conscientious job of the tune-up.

edit: let me add that sizing is important too. You might want to give your LBS a chance, see if they have a good used bike in her size ready to go.
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Old 06-29-03, 11:10 PM   #7
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Hey Mech, everytime I walk into the "kids/bikes" section of a big-box store, I lock the front tire betwix my legs and give the bars a quick turn. about 4 out of 5 the bars turn with little effort! YIKES!

L8R
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Old 06-29-03, 11:33 PM   #8
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Since you're not going to ride much, and just need to get around town, go used. A lot of used bikes are still better than new 'mart stuff.
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Old 06-30-03, 12:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut
Hey Mech, everytime I walk into the "kids/bikes" section of a big-box store, I lock the front tire betwix my legs and give the bars a quick turn. about 4 out of 5 the bars turn with little effort! YIKES!

L8R
Doesn't that make you mad! :irritated Why should they be able to get awa--

*mechBgon shuts up again
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Old 06-30-03, 12:36 AM   #10
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As for used bikes.. check local paper.. Pawn Shops.. Thrift stores.. your LBS.. I know I have founda few nice bikes at thrift shops for aroudn $20-30.. Most needed new tires, but other then that some where almost in mint condition can't hurt to look.
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Old 06-30-03, 02:25 AM   #11
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A quality used bike is definitely the way to go. And the price is usually negotiable.
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Old 06-30-03, 05:34 AM   #12
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First bike I ever bought was 2nd (more like 22nd) hand. 3 speed Raleigh, built like a tank, weighed a ton, utterly indestructable. Cost buttons. Definitely used is the way to go.
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Old 06-30-03, 07:21 AM   #13
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I see a lot of these bikes on the trail. Buying a WalMart bike might be a good way to get her hooked on cycling. I had a Next brand comfort bike. The only reason that I returned it was because I wanted a multi- geared crankset. I know that these bikes are considered to be low quality, but if they were half as bad as they are made out to be, the store would not be able to sell one.

I do a lot of listening when looking through the bike section of these stores. I learned this weekend while at Toysrus, they will service and repair their bikes free for one year, if you pay $10 to get the bike that you purchase from them assembled by them. I don't know their definition of "service", but I would think that it would include anything that the bike needs in the way of adjustments, at least.

I noticed that much of my LBS guy's business is from discount store bikes needing repairs of one type or another. He says around 20 percent is from discount store brands.

Lets face it, if you are riding a $1500 or better bike, you are probably making a lot more money than someone who is worried about spending about $100 on a bike, and just hoping to afford it. Take the woman to a bike shop and let here see what she can get into for around $200, which is where they start at my LBS, I don't know about others. She may make a decision to wait just a little longer and save money for it, or go ahead and get a discount store bike. At least she will know more about what is available before she makes the purchase, unlike myself, who learns everything after the fact. Best -
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Old 06-30-03, 09:09 AM   #14
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Bikerdawg
I ride fairly high tech bikes but work on them all. The X-MART bikes when properly assembled and properly tuned function quite well, The only real problem with them is the weight, they are quite heavy and hard for some to load on the rack for transport. Keep in mind that they are not and never will be an efficient bike, they do work and ride ok for short rides, as I said in the beginning, assembly and tuning is a big issue and probably the reason the bikes have such a bad reputation in the first place. I tell non cycling friends that want to buy one and just won't spend the money on a better bike to get one in the box and bring it to me, I assemble them and tune them and most of them get ridden for a year then tag sale them. or trade up to a better bike. Keep in mind they are ok for around town or on the bike path, the drive trains are not precision and the don't shift as smoothly as a more expensive bike but they do work. Every year just to make a statement, I stop at Walmart on the way to a local century, purchase a bike for 99.99 right off the floor, bring it to the start of the ride, pay my fee, take the bike out of my truck and tune it, then I ride the century listening to all the techies razz me, hang around at the end for a while and shoot hte breeze then just before I go home I give the bike to the first kid I see that wants the bike. My point, when tuned these bikes are ridable, they are what they are and as long as you keep that in mind you can be a winner.

Last edited by mrfix; 06-30-03 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 06-30-03, 09:53 AM   #15
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I purchased a Pacific bike from Toys R US for commuting 40 blocks each day and to my surprise, it has performed well over the past two months. The girl mountain bike no longer shifts gears so I treat it like a cruiser and keep it on a low gear.

I would avoid getting the $60.00 dollar bikes since the brakes are plastic and you don't want to take chances with the most important safty feature of a bicycle. Spend the extra $30 - $50 dollars and get the Schwinn.

People don't like the dual suspension thinking it will break but in my experience this operates fine. To my surprise, it's actually better than a suspension seat post if all your doing is riding city streets. I WOULD NOT take my Pacific toy bike for a technical ride even though it has dual suspension.

As I've said before, there is a place for these toy store bikes as commuters since the crooks leave them alone. Everyone knows the parts are worthless and the frame is heavy. It's now been two months that my toy bike remains on the city streets of Manhattan 24/7 and it still works. I'm always surprised to see it there every day. Thank god for toy bikes.

Bottom line: If you have high expectations on these toy store bikes, you're better off saving for a better cycle. These bikes are nothing more than beach cruisers and if you expect more, you're going to be dissapointed.
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Old 06-30-03, 11:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by mrfix
Bikerdawg
I ride fairly high tech bikes but work on them all. The X-MART bikes when properly assembled and properly tuned function quite well, The only real problem with them is the weight, they are quite heavy and hard for some to load on the rack for transport. Keep in mind that they are not and never will be an efficient bike, they do work and ride ok for short rides, as I said in the beginning, assembly and tuning is a big issue and probably the reason the bikes have such a bad reputation in the first place. I tell non cycling friends that want to buy one and just won't spend the money on a better bike to get one in the box and bring it to me, I assemble them and tune them and most of them get ridden for a year then tag sale them. or trade up to a better bike. Keep in mind they are ok for around town or on the bike path, the drive tranes are not precision and the don't shift as smoothly as a more expansive bike but they do work. Every year just to make a statement, I stop at Walmart on the way to a local century, purchase a bike for 99.99 right off the floor, bring it to the start of the ride, pay my fee, take the bike out of my truck and tune it, then I ride the century listening to all the techies razz me, hang around at the end for a while and shoot hte breeze then just before I go home I give the bike to the first kid I see that wants the bike. My point, when tuned these bikes are ridable, they are what they are and as long as you keep that in mind you can be a winner.
I love your answer and your actual support. Not everyone out there can buy a $1500 bike. Not everyone needs one. But if they wait to get the 'right' bike they may never ride. This is the same with photography (another hobby.) What I have found in the last 35 years is to listen. Do they talk about the cameras (technical) or do they show me the pictures? I have seen lousy pictures come from $5000 cameras and I have seen classics come from a $50 (or less) camera. Its what you do with equipment. Take your bike and ride it and your camera (whatever it is) and shoot photos.
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Old 06-30-03, 06:46 PM   #17
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Walmart is selling Schwinn's now. They are the same as they used to be, but they arent that bad, still.

I still agree on used though. You could pick up a real nice used Trek or Specialized for under $100.00. You could overhaul it at your own leisure, while you are using it.
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Old 06-30-03, 10:05 PM   #18
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Thanks for the advice/thought everyone! We went to a LBS tonight to look at a used bike they had...no thanks!!

Guess it's garage sales later this week!
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Old 07-02-03, 04:14 AM   #19
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It's nice to hear some members agree with x-mart bikes as this doesn't happen often. I've said this before and I agree that used LBS bikes and new LBS bikes are the way to go. I am currently saving for a Felt F65 that I hope to have around Spring next year. Sure a $1000.00 might not be a lot to some of you, but it all depends on your financial situation. Although I'm not a huge fan of the POS I have, it has served me very well until I can afford what I want. I have a Roadmaster that I have changed out the wheels, tires, brakes, seat post and saddle. I have had this bike for about 6 months now with no problems. I ride about 30 miles a day, roughly 4 days a week on the local rail-trail. Rain here in Georgia recently has slowed this down. I ordered most of my parts from Nashbar and a few from my LBS and have done all of the maintenance myself, minus truing the new wheels. Sure, with the price added from buying these parts I could have bought a better bike. I would have had to save for it longer and my interest might have went elsewhere. I really wasn't big into getting the bike to begin with but once I rode I was addicted. I look at it this way, when I get my new bike I will have a loaner if a friend wants to tag along. It just may get someone else into riding.
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Old 07-02-03, 06:14 AM   #20
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I'm with everyone else. First choice would be used, but let's face it, any bike is better than no bike.

It'll either get you into it or put you off.
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Old 07-02-03, 09:40 AM   #21
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Okay, we are going to look at "used" bike at garage sales tomorrow.

Any suggestions for two novices' on what to look for?

Thanks,

Michelle
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Old 07-02-03, 09:57 AM   #22
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I think I'll start a new thread since the Mart bike has pretty much been nixed. Thanks to all that gave opinions and advice!!

Michelle
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