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Old 12-25-12, 07:20 PM   #1
Iief
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Walmart bike considerations

Hi everyone;

I'm more of a casual rider than an enthusiast. I like hybrids for their comfort and gearing (that most low end cruisers don't seem to have).

I'm considering this Schwinn bike sold by Walmart:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...7#BVQAWidgetID

Are there any parts in particular that I should watch closely or consider replacing?

Thanks
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Old 12-25-12, 08:32 PM   #2
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I hope it doesn't weigh more than 2/3 the shipping weight!

Even though it has Shimano & SRAM parts, likely they are the lowest grade that aren't even available over the counter.
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Old 12-25-12, 08:35 PM   #3
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I was a budget biker for years and I finally had enough. I found that, for myself anyways, that buying a used higher quality bike (for less money) is a much better way to go. I just found my wife a Trek 820 in great shape for $80 and installed a rear rack and fenders and she could,nt be happier.
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Old 12-25-12, 09:10 PM   #4
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Just be aware that this bike is not really a Schwinn. You might already be aware of this but a few years back Schwinn was purchased by Pacific Cycle, a conglomerate manufacturer that specializes in department store bikes. This is a bike of similar quality to a Magna, Huffy or Roadmaster but branded as a Schwinn. The minute that you ride this bike out of the store it will have a used value of about $40 to $50. Right now $350 will get you a Trek 7.1 FX or a Trek 7100. Just my opinion, but the extra $100 is well worth it.
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Old 12-25-12, 09:14 PM   #5
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dont waste your money, they count on people buying these bikes, riding them a few times and them collecting dust until the warranty runs out. Comple and utter junk, and HEAVY junk. MY friend just bought a girls bike for his daughter for Christmas, from Wally World, the brakes dont even work. Keep in mind most of those bikes are also Chinese made, they also use really cheap tires and tubes, which will immedietly dry rot, I know someone who bought two "high end" wally world bikes, and within 6 months both bikes had tires so badlty dry rotted, they cant be ridden. Both bikes were ridden once and stored indoors out of direct sun

Last edited by lostforawhile; 12-25-12 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 12-25-12, 09:21 PM   #6
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Bso
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Old 12-25-12, 09:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azgreg View Post
I was a budget biker for years and I finally had enough. I found that, for myself anyways, that buying a used higher quality bike (for less money) is a much better way to go. I just found my wife a Trek 820 in great shape for $80 and installed a rear rack and fenders and she could,nt be happier.
+1. You will be happier with a used quality bike. You will be dumping a lot of money into a walmart bike just to keep it running, and it won't run very well or last very long.
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Old 12-25-12, 09:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Iief View Post
...Are there any parts in particular that I should watch closely or consider replacing?

Thanks
I think that bike would be fine if you are likely to maintain it and care for it. As long as you store it out of the weather and keep it lubed (like all bikes should be) it will serve you ok. BUT only OK. In saying that, don't expect the forks to last for long or be much chop. IMO you should go for a rigid fork with some "fatty" tyres to absorb the small bumps.

BUT used is a much better option.
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Old 12-26-12, 12:02 AM   #9
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OP, this forum generally has a massive bias against department store bikes. To some extent, this is warranted; there are plenty of department store bikes which were and are total garbage, with parts that can't stand up to major usage and will wear down or break. Add to that the generally terrible adjustment and assembly, and you have a recipe for heartbreak.

However, things are starting to change for the better. Department stores are starting to sell bikes with legit parts at good prices. To get a fun illustration of the whole bikeforums & department store dynamic, I suggest you browse this old epic thread by CigTech. Summary: cyclist with pro-level fitness and pro-level mechanical ability buys $150 bike, many on this forum laugh and tell him it will break, naysayers proven wrong as he rides the hell out of it in terms of both speed and longevity. He bought the bike for the frame and was intending to replace parts as they failed, but they never did, even after thousands of miles.

Having ridden and worked on them, I can tell you that many of the Schwinn department store bikes in the $200-300 range have the potential to be great bikes. There are also a few other knowledgeable users on this forum, like az2008, who love these types of Schwinns.

But these bikes only have the potential to be good. The parts quality is generally OK, but their assembly and adjustment is where the traps lie. The key to these bikes is all in the setup.


....


I haven't worked on the Solitaire specifically, but here are my specific concerns about it and the other Schwinns in its class:

- Spoke count on this particular model's wheels is only 24. That is low, and it makes the wheel weaker. If you are a heavy rider (200+ pounds), or intend to use it in any kind of rough situations (up/down curbs, over potholes, on rocky off-road trails, etc) then the rim may not hold up to abuse very well. I'm guessing, and this is only a guess, that if you are 150 or lower and only use it on fairly decent roads, it should be OK.

- The rim strip (thing that protects the inside of the innertube from the inside of the wheel) that they give you on these Schwinns is CRAP. It is some rubbery thing that will not hold up to high pressure inflation - the tube will expand into the spoke holes, rip, and you'll get a flat right away. I strongly recommend tossing the stock rim strip and getting some quality Velox rim tape immediately. Before you even do that, take some very fine sandpaper (or polishing stone, etc.) and soften up the rim's inner sharp bits, like the edges of the spoke holes and anything else, e.g. the seam where the rim gets joined.

I am serious, do this immediately, don't even attempt to inflate the tires. Because half the time the rim strip isn't even positioned correctly anyway (some of the spoke holes will be exposed and the innertube will rip), and even if they are, you're in for a flat-o-rama at any decent pressure unless you get some Velox or similar.

- Long-stem Schrader valve innertubes on these Schwinns can cause weird stuff to happen with the narrow rims they come with, including bizarre flats. Longstem Schraders can be hard to find replacements for, too. I recommend switching to Presta valve'd innertubes immediately, with appropriate rim adapters.

- Simple stuff: the seat post tends to be slammed in with no grease on the post, and it risks getting stuck over time. The pedals tend to be not properly tightened, and generally don't have grease on the threads. The stock brake adjustment can be an unridable disaster - brakes not centered, pads rubbing right on the tire, etc. The reflectors can be completely loose, or pointing up at the moon - they need to be pointing directly perpendicular to light sources to be anything other than useless. (Get good bike lights anyway.) Check the wheel centering in the dropouts.

- Advanced stuff that deserves attention: The derailers will need adjusting, and the bike won't shift right until that happens. The headset will need inspection. The wheels should be trued (straightened). The wheel hubs and bottom bracket will need to be adjusted for optimum riding. The Chinese grease that they use in the bearings seems to be poor quality. Nothing that can't be fixed, just warning you.


...


In summary, the bike would NEED proper setup to be enjoyable. A local bike shop may do this at some cost, but the best is a home mechanic with the tools and time who wants to do a good job.

Serious question, how do you plan on using the bike? Any trail riding, or completely on roads? Joyriding? Running errands? Prefer to go fast over cruiser-style comfort? How heavy are you? How often do you use the bike, and how far do you ride? How many miles per week? There are several other Schwinns in the class which are worthy of consideration. Do you have any experience with working on bikes? Please answer these, cuz I can help recommend stuff.

Heed the other posters' warnings: depending on considerations, you may be better off with a used version of a high-quality model bike, like a Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc. Or you can rock a Schwinn for cheap, if it has proper adjustment.

Don't forget to Goo Gone off the stickers! Any questions, just ask.
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Old 12-26-12, 12:23 AM   #10
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Bicycles sold at Walmart and other big box stores are sometimes called BSO or "bicycle shaped objects" because, while they look like bikes, they are not really intended to be ridden heavily. i can't speak to that particular bike, but most of the parts will likely be the lowest possible quality parts.

I would recommend looking on craigslist for a used bike. for $250 you can get a very nice quality used bike with new tires that has been recently serviced
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Old 12-26-12, 12:42 AM   #11
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Oh and another reason to pass on xmart bikes..... The person assembling them is probably the only employee in the store that knows how to use the adjustable wrench and has never assembled a bike. You would be better off purchasing online from http://bikesdirect.com and assembling it yourself or having a bike store assemble it for you. Bike stores don't stay in business unless they provide competent (or semi-competent) employees. No one cares that much about the bike assembly at xmart. This is the same reason I have an independent auto mechanic and don't take my car to the dealer.

You won't even find this bike listed on Schwinn's website. If you want reviews for this bike go to google.com and search for "site:bikeforums.net schwinn solitaire".

Would you be asking the same questions about a car? "I am going to purchase a brand new X car; are there any parts I should upgrade?". Like cars, purchasing a bike part by part will cost 2x the price of buying a fully assembled car.

xmart bikes are great for kids that are going to outgrow them in 1-2 years. If you want a bike that will provide thousands of miles without anything other than the usual "oil change", I recommend staying away from xmart bikes. If you want a bike to ride around the block once or twice a year, an xmart bike will work.

Sorry to be so down on xmart bikes, but I don't like to see people spend hard earned money on products that turn out to be junk.
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Old 12-26-12, 02:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Here We Go View Post
Serious question, how do you plan on using the bike? Any trail riding, or completely on roads? Joyriding? Running errands? Prefer to go fast over cruiser-style comfort? How heavy are you? How often do you use the bike, and how far do you ride? How many miles per week? There are several other Schwinns in the class which are worthy of consideration. Do you have any experience with working on bikes? Please answer these, cuz I can help recommend stuff.

Heed the other posters' warnings: depending on considerations, you may be better off with a used version of a high-quality model bike, like a Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc. Or you can rock a Schwinn for cheap, if it has proper adjustment.

Don't forget to Goo Gone off the stickers! Any questions, just ask.
Thanks for the guidance!

To answer your questions, I plan to ride only on the roads, mainly for exercise purposes. I'm 6'3" 180 lbs and prefer comfort over speed. I have a single speed folding bike and I just don't enjoy riding it anymore--the seat height I need for full leg extension forces me to bend forward, the handlebars are too narrow and below where I'd like, etc. Nowadays I think back fondly of when I had a cruiser bike that I LOVED to ride around town because of its comfortable, upright riding stance. I want that again, and if I can find a slightly faster bike that'll allow me to take a trip to the store to pick up a few small objects then its a bonus. But the comfort/enjoyment of riding is what I'm really after.

I would say I ride about 30 minutes per day / about 4 miles per day. I don't have any experience working on bikes and try to avoid that type of work wherever I can (I'm not the "hands on" type at all).
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Old 12-26-12, 02:26 AM   #13
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Buy a 60 dollar bike instead. When it breaks, throw it off some bridge or in some dumpster somewhere or wherever you happen to be at the moment of breakdown. Then buy another one. A tune-up costs about that much anyway so there you go. Or even better just return it within 90 days and just keep doing that. And if you so happen to trash the bike within 90 days just return it they probably wouldn’t even know. Just make sure whatever bike you pick doesn’t have brakes from hell.
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Old 12-26-12, 03:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Here We Go View Post
To get a fun illustration of the whole bikeforums & department store dynamic, I suggest you browse this old epic thread by CigTech. Summary: cyclist with pro-level fitness and pro-level mechanical ability buys $150 bike, many on this forum laugh and tell him it will break, naysayers proven wrong as he rides the hell out of it in terms of both speed and longevity. He bought the bike for the frame and was intending to replace parts as they failed, but they never did, even after thousands of miles.
I breifly scanned the thread and you make it sound like he had no problems at all, but the bike required work after purchase to make it properly roadworthy, including immediately replacing the brakes and adjusting them to actually work. CigTech also complains about the derailleurs going out of adjustment after 50 miles, no matter how many times he adjusts them.

I don't doubt the Denali frame is decent, same could be true about this Schwinn. But the components are way low grade and will require much more upkeep than a newbie should be expected to handle
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Old 12-26-12, 04:06 AM   #15
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I made.the mistake if buying a low grade bike... once. EVERY part bar a seatpost ended up being replaced to build my franken fuji. The part quality in bikes like that is terrible. Shimano doesn't even list the front derailler model on its website.
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Old 12-26-12, 06:49 AM   #16
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forget the tube liner, replace the tire AND tube,plus the liner. All the tires on these chinese bikes seem to be made out of some material that starts immedietly disetigrating
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Old 12-26-12, 07:20 AM   #17
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The last bike I bought from Walmart I rode only a few times. I spent mover $200 and it was ill fitting. Not smooth and kind of clunky. So it sat mostly unused in the garage. When I returned to biking I went to my LBS and found a year old left over Jamis Coda. It retails for $540. I talked them down to $350 got a decent fitting. Best decision I ever made. In my mind $300 - $500 was a lot to invest in something I wasn't sure I would like long term. But it looked good and was so much nicer than the box store brand. I really enjoyed riding this time. I've since put about 2000 miles on that bike and now even commute to work a couple of days a week. In my opinion you would be better off spending just a little more at an LBS or get a better brand from Craigs list.
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Old 12-26-12, 07:26 AM   #18
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Once one gets into the new price range of $200 or more, he's getting really close to the used price of very decent used bikes. Thing is, it takes a lot more knowledge and leg work to etch out that deal. So we;re back to the original question:

"Are there any parts in particular that I should watch closely or consider replacing?" Short answer: "No"

Longer answer: "To meet price points that Walmart and other low end vendors demand, certain corners have to be cut and we must realize we are dealing with mixed standards at best and obsolete standards at worse. You can replace some parts easily (consumables like chain, tubes, tires) but things like the rear cogs (almost always a 7 speed freewheel) you're SOL."

This kind of like buying a new Mazda
Haima Family over a used Honda Civic (or Corolla, which I think the more damaged the body becomes the more they refuse to die).
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Old 12-26-12, 08:05 AM   #19
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That bike has a low end suspension fork - So its a no no no.
Those things weight a tone and provide very little suspension. Besides suspension on a hybrid is not really needed. It will just slow you down big time.
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Old 12-26-12, 08:48 AM   #20
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A word of advice -- i used to work for Walmart and in my store the bikes were built by untrained and self taught associates. They built the bike, made sure the brakes worked [maybe] and out to the sales floor it went. If you decide on a department store bike first thing i would do is go through it and tighten every bolt, nut and check the shifting and brakes, also they are not lubed, chain etc. - or take it to a bike shop for a complete check over.
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Old 12-26-12, 09:32 AM   #21
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but things like the rear cogs (almost always a 7 speed freewheel) you're SOL."
pretty sure you can still get 7speed freewheels
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Old 12-26-12, 10:54 AM   #22
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pretty sure you can still get 7speed freewheels
I KNOW you can still get them.

Problem is, some of these low end bikes have an oddball, cheap Chinese FW that you can't easily find a removal tool that fits. IF you can't remove the old one, a new doesn't do that much good.
IF you have to use "extreme means" to remove it, the bike should be avoided.
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Old 12-26-12, 10:56 AM   #23
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You can. Amazon lists them. (Found while checking for a replacement hyperglide cassette for my 1992 Crossroads.)

Edit: and another poster beat me to the reply with a better reply than mine.
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Old 12-26-12, 11:16 AM   #24
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lets see, I have to fix this kids bike he got, I know the brakes dont work, as there is no tension in the cable, even when the brake lever is pulled, so brakes, the chain is bone dry, fork bolt was loose, handle bars were loose, seat is tightened down crooked, and the seat post bolt is rounded off, and the tires are flat and dry rotted, this is a brand new kids bike off the shelf at wally world
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Old 12-26-12, 12:09 PM   #25
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Even though it has Shimano & SRAM parts, likely they are the lowest grade that aren't even available over the counter.
That's where you will run into problems. If you have to replace anything, you won't be able to get parts. For instance, if your cassette (the gears on the rear wheel) break, you may end up having to buy a whole new rear wheel instead of just replacing the gears.... that kind of stuff.

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I was a budget biker for years and I finally had enough. I found that, for myself anyways, that buying a used higher quality bike (for less money) is a much better way to go. I just found my wife a Trek 820 in great shape for $80 and installed a rear rack and fenders and she could,nt be happier.
I agree with you but.... this bike is at a good price point to get Iief onto a bike. As long as he doesn't expect it to last 20 years, he can look at it as a learning experience, much the same as it was for you. If someone isn't riding a bike hard or isn't very heavy, a Wal-Mart Schwinn may last several years. Or maybe just a season. By then, Iief will have a better idea of whether to stick with biking, and what he wants out of a bike.

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Just be aware that this bike is not really a Schwinn. You might already be aware of this but a few years back Schwinn was purchased by Pacific Cycle, a conglomerate manufacturer that specializes in department store bikes. This is a bike of similar quality to a Magna, Huffy or Roadmaster but branded as a Schwinn. The minute that you ride this bike out of the store it will have a used value of about $40 to $50. Right now $350 will get you a Trek 7.1 FX or a Trek 7100. Just my opinion, but the extra $100 is well worth it.
It is "really a Schwinn." Yes, the Schwinn company no longer exists in Chicago; it is just a brand in a portfolio of other brands controlled by Dorel, a Canadian company that also owns Cannondale. There are two levels of Schwinn bikes: The kind you get at Wal-Mart- low-end entry level stuff; and Schwinn Signature which are better bikes available at bicycle shops. So while it really is a Schwinn, bear in mind it is at or near the bottom of the Schwinn line. A friend recently bought a Wal-Mart Schwinn, and there were a lot of parts that were plastic where a quality bike would have metal (in the derailleur mechanism, for instance). So instead of machine screws in a metal body to adjust the gears, it had self-tapping screws in plastic.... not very durable.

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Bso
This is why they are called BSOs, or Bicycle-Shaped Objects. They look like a bike, and kind of work like a bike, but they're price has been reduced by purposely removing quality, durable parts and materials, and replacing them with stuff that makes it work "good enough" to sell the bike and not much more.

If you go into it knowing this, you won't be disappointed. One friend has two Wal-Mart bikes- a Schwinn cruiser and a Thruster single speed. He's not a big, heavy guy, but he does ride pretty hard, and so far the bikes have held up well. He's had the Schwinn for a few years and it's still working okay. I don't think he's had the Thruster a year yet, but I think that's been okay too.

If you're going to ride it hard and you weigh much over, say, 200 lb., then you may wear the bike out quick. If you're on the lighter side and don't expect to be racing it around, and you view it as a taste of cycling and a learning experience, it might be a good bike to get. As others have said, though, you could spend a little more and get something at a much better quality level at a bike shop.
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