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Old 08-11-09, 06:10 PM   #1
mushrooshi
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Getting a Craigslist Walmart crap bike for parts?

Hey guys, I'm planning on getting an entry level bike, probably a hybrid or a mountain bike, but my dad asked a question:

Since this bike will be spending 2 years initially me riding it from school to home, the bike can easily be vandalized. Tires can be slashed, the seat punctured and mangled, or even stolen off... he thinks I should get a crap 'disposable' walmart bike for $50 a piece, since I can get 7 bikes to be stolen for the price of a cheap entry level bike at $350. Then I got to thinking:

Lets say I get a $350 - $400 Trek or Giant or Specialized or some other bike... can I get some el-cheapo craigslist NEXT or Ozone or Huffy bike for parts? Lets say the nice bike has a pretty nice seat, should I just put some Huffy seat on there that is utterly disposable if someone steals/mangles it, or for rides to-and-from school, change the wheels out from a good set to the heavy crap toy bike?

Because I really don't want to spend $150 on replacing parts.
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Old 08-11-09, 06:16 PM   #2
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you're serious, aren't you?
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Old 08-11-09, 06:42 PM   #3
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get an older road bike off craigslist.

dont leave it out overnight.

lock it properly.

do basic anti theft stuff.

and crack the frame so no one will steal it.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:01 PM   #4
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Don't buy a new bike from WallyWorld. I don't know about your area, but in Tucson I can get a *mart bike for next to nothing used -- my commuter for the first few months at college was a Murray mountain bike that I spent $15 on total. (Five for the bike, ten for the tetanus shot.) Look around at garage sales and whatnot.

Once you get a bike, don't crack the frame. Paint it and add a ton of stickers and reflective tape, maybe. But don't damage it.

Other than that, use common sense -- get good locks and always lock to something immovable. My bikes have never been vandalized, but maybe I've just been lucky.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:08 PM   #5
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I'm not sure if I clarified it well, but let me reexplain:

I'm getting an actual bike at an LBS, and getting the crappy walmart bike on craigslist.

I'm worried the nice bike would be vandalized, so exchanging the nice parts for the crappy parts when commuting to school is my plan. It's either I'm going to switch out the crap and nice parts for school, or I'm going to use nice parts first and if they get broken, use the crap parts as backup. Not trusting my life to a set of crap brakes, but I'd rather temporarily ride on Huffy wheels than broken Trek stock wheels until I can replace them. I don't really want to spend much at all for backup parts.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:09 PM   #6
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If your bike is being vandalized at school, that is unacceptable. The school staff should do something about it. If they don't complain to the school board. Don't stop complaining until they do something about it.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:21 PM   #7
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My bike isn't being vandalized, it's more so the worry of it being vandalized.

Throughout the school year, I noticed there were two bikes, both generic x-mart bikes. Over the school year they got destroyed, with the seat being twisted or broken, the wheels tacoed, and the chains removed and stuff cracked. I'm not sure why; they could have been targetted, or they were left alone for weeks that they eventually got vandalized.

Also, technically, it's not my school, so it is harder for me to talk to the people there. The school district also has some failure of a policy, "Don't bring anything you don't want stolen/vandalized to school". I go to an engineering program at another school, but I catch the school bus at a nearby highschool, that drives me to a school 5 miles away. (By the way, I would probably never be allowed to bike directly to my school, my dad doesn't like the area it passes through and says it's too "Ghetto", and he feels me biking on highways is dangerous.) But it really doesn't seem like 5 miles, because for some reason, the ride is 20 minutes even when the bus on average must go at least 30MPH.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:34 PM   #8
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Maybe you should move!

I wouldn't ride a Pinarello to school or work and leave it out all day, but I'm not riding a piece of crap. I would rather ride a not so fancy used MB and buy a good lock!
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Old 08-11-09, 07:51 PM   #9
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Tell the bike shop to replace the quick release skewers on the seatpost and wheels with hex skewers and get a good U-lock and cable. You shouldn't have any problems.

Riding to school on a trek with huffy (or similar) wheels and seat defeats the purpose of getting a nice bike in the first place.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:15 PM   #10
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What makes a "nice bike" nice is all those bits you want to replace, so why bother? If you're willing to ride a bike with crappy components, just ride the entire crappy bike, and forget about getting a good one.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:22 PM   #11
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I wouldn't waste the money on the WM bike for components. They are usually cheap *** components and won't work as well, if at all. Go ahead and uglify your bike. From my general observation the bikes that get vandalized on college campuses are usually the ones that are left for a period of time. You will get the occasional ******* that will taco a wheel any chance he gets, but they are about par for the course, and if I catch one they won't have the ability to taco wheels for a looooooooong time.

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Old 08-11-09, 08:29 PM   #12
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You can get a bike off Craigslist that will not be a pain to ride, and will not be a particular vandal magnet. Keep heavy locks on the rack at the school, so you dont waste energy carrying them on the bike. Keep the nice bike for occasions when you dont have to leave it more than 5 mins.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:39 PM   #13
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I see.

Well, I think I'll just ride the good bike (when I get it), and when the situation arises that is vandalism, I'll find a way to deal with it. As long as I don't leave my bike there for a long time, I think I'll be fine. I don't have any enemies of some sort at the school I'll be riding to.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 08-11-09, 08:42 PM   #14
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What college and does it have a history of bike vandalism and theft? Some are MUCH worse than others.

A decent used bike, not attractive, might be the best way to go rather than even a low end new Trek. If it is a new frame with decent paint it can be a thief attractant, regardless of the parts on it. Walmart type bikes typically have poor components that barely work even when new and will ruin the pleasure of riding a decent frame bike.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:57 PM   #15
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Not a college, just a highschool. There are lots of bikes ridden, but there were these two bikes that seemed to be abandoned, and eventually they were pretty much destroyed by the end of the school year.

I'm still looking at used bikes too.

My dad says to put duct tape on the bike to uglify it . Seems better than applying non-removable fake rust paint.
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Old 08-11-09, 09:38 PM   #16
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To answer your question, if you put cheap parts on the good frame, the first thing they will see is the frame with the brand plastered all over it. They may not take time to check out the components because they can always put NEW ones on it.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:35 PM   #17
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My experience- the frame on the cheapo bike was fine, it was everything else that was the problem.

Generally, you don't want to swap out parts, and they quite likely won't be interchangeable anyway.

That crap walmart seat is likely to be miserably uncomfortable, too. If you don't have a $120 seat on your bike, I wouldn't worry too much about vandalism or theft of it.
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Old 08-11-09, 10:37 PM   #18
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Well, I think this sums it up, I won't get a cheap craigslist bike for backup parts then.

I have a Huffy I got in 7th grade 4 years ago, and the only swappable part would be the seat. Incase some random decides to steal a seat, I'd have one to use for a week or so.
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Old 08-11-09, 11:13 PM   #19
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Stickers and spray paint can turn a nice bike with good logos and such into a nice bike that's ugly ...

Don't paint the chain, chainring, cassette or rims (where the brakes rub), but beyond that, you can really uglify your bike and yet still have a bike that rides well -- but one that few people would want to mess with.

Just an idea. I wouldn't do it to a nice bike, but if you have an older bike you want to ride to school, you can make it even safer.

Oh, as for the seat, you can run a cable through it and lock it to the bike. It won't stop somebody with tools, but it'll slow somebody who just steals a seat because they can. And as suggested, replace the quick release with the ones that require special tools. And always use at least two locks, locking both wheels and the frame.
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Old 08-11-09, 11:40 PM   #20
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Whattya go to school in Harlem?
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Old 08-12-09, 12:44 AM   #21
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North East San Antonio... The middle-upperclass section of the city, but it doesn't matter where you go, highschool kids like to vandalize and other stupid things.

edit: Just let this thread die...
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Old 08-12-09, 04:16 AM   #22
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A good way to secure the seat: take a piece of bike chain in an innertube up through the seat rails and back down through the seat stays, then put the chain back together with a chain breaker. Not easy to get off with out some effort.

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Old 08-12-09, 06:17 AM   #23
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I just did a frame swap, taking parts from a ***-brand bike and putting them onto a bikeshop frame (a Rockhopper). Here are some things I learned along the way:

1) Cheap parts tend to be on the heavy side. But if you are only moving a few over, then that may not matter. But you will run into things that you don't normally see, such as steel stems(!).

2) Many low-end parts work just fine. In my case, the chain, the shifters, the brake levers, and even Shimano's Tourney rear-derailer seemed to all work ok.

3) You may find some parts that aren't really appropriate to a mountain-bike. For example, I ran into 48/38/28 chainrings. Those are fine on a hybrid, but not what you want on singletrack.

4) Some parts won't be compatible with other frames. Seat-tube differences may mean that the seatpost and front derailer do not transfer over. And I've seen some low-end rear deraillers that come without hangers, leaving no obvious way to mount them to frames that do come with hangers.

5) Some low-end parts do not work so well. I've not had much joy with low-end disc brakes, for example. Low-end wheels don't fill me with confidence either.

Bottom-line, you can transfer parts from a cheap bike to a good one, but not everything will go over easily or well. I really wouldn't recommend going down that path. What you might think about though, is buying a low-end bike from Target -- say a Schwinn -- and riding that back and forth to school. Make it a rigid bike. It'll cost less, and simpler is better at those lower price points.
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Old 08-13-09, 01:41 AM   #24
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Bottom-line, you can transfer parts from a cheap bike to a good one, but not everything will go over easily or well. I really wouldn't recommend going down that path. What you might think about though, is buying a low-end bike from Target -- say a Schwinn -- and riding that back and forth to school. Make it a rigid bike. It'll cost less, and simpler is better at those lower price points.
I'm hunting on craigslist for a good used one, and shopping around at LBSes, and a Target or other *mart bike is on the bottom of my list
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Old 08-13-09, 01:55 AM   #25
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Im doing the same on Craigslist. Amazing deals.

Here's my real advice to you.
Driving a car, you park in parking lots filled with strangers, a bike isn't much different. Easier to take, perhaps, vandalize, sure...but if its in a well populated area such as the front of a school, I highly doubt anyone will pop a tire on you, or attempt to steal it.
You could pop off the front tire, to prevent an easy get-a-way.
Or even and this might sound extreme, but hell, maybe not to you...
You could spray the bike, make it look like a piece of ****, after all aesthetics aren't really the purpose, people will see it's a piece, and keep walking. Kids don't vandalize things that aren't nice, no fun in that.
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