I've read through the threads, and know that even tying to upgrade this bike is probably useless, but hopefully there's SOMETHING that can be done. I'm willing to accept a certain amount of throwing good money after bad given the situation.
My 3 kids pooled their money for father's day and bought me a "15 speed" Wal-mart bike so that we can start riding as a family.
Unfortunately, as is to be expected, the shifting is less than optimal, and both brakes work hardly at all.
What I want to do is put some money ($100 or so probably) into this bike so that I can ride it safely with them for the next couple of months. Then, next year, when they'll be ready for new bikes, I can upgrade with them to something that's more reasonable.
So, what I'm looking for are recommendations for specific component upgrades that will get me through 3-4 months with the. Specifically, I was thinking new brakes, slicker tires (instead of the knobbies that are on there), and, maybe some help with the gears/derailleur. I know that a lot of the parts on the bike may not be standard sizes, but, hopefully, I can at least get it to the point that I can comfortably shift at least the back gears and stop when needed.