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  1. #1
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    If you want to ruin a perfect fall day and a family ride, don't forget to take at least one Department store bike for added frustration. My son just turned 6 and has finally gotten good enough on his bike to ride with us on our "famly rides.

    The wife pulled the trailer with my 3 yr old daughter and i rode alongside of my son to keep him out of harm's way. His judgement is still questionable in my opionion even though he has the riding thing down. (I never thought that would happen )

    My wife and I have trek's and my son has a Scwinn from Toys R US. I bought it two Summer's ago before I knew anything about bikes. (mistake) Well we headed off on our ride. About .75 miles into it he stops and says, "dad it won't go." Yep he is right, the rear brakes have locked up and there is no cable left to loosen them. Solution? I released the brake arms and let him ride that way. Well 1 block later i could see that his feet were hitting them on the back stroke. Solution? Pulled out multi-tool and removed brake arms.

    OK, by now you are all saying, "oh that is dumb and very dangerous, he could get hurt." Well maybe it was dumb but he is not all that used to riding and has a front brake still as well as the brake that locks up the rear wheel by pedaling backwards. I just kept telling him that when you have to stop, you can't use that brake, see squeeze it...it won't stop you. He would comply and kept saying, " i will use my other brakes dad."

    Ok, problem solved... right? Wrong, about 1 mile later, we roll over some railroad tracks and the chain falls off. I put it back on after some struggle and away we go. Well we make it about another .5 miles and it falls off again. This time it is stuck andx since i have no tools to remove rear wheel i send the wife for the car. Finally i get the chain free and back on the sprocket. We make it home before mom leaves in the car.

    I immediately get the wrench out and loosen one side of the rear wheel nut, the wheel suddenly jumps back into it's original position. I never knew it was out of position but somehow it was. I suspect it has never been quite in the right position because there has been some tire rub on the fender, and the rear tire is about worn out.

    Wow. What a deal. I already promised my son that he will have a better bike next year. Granted the trouble with this bike was likely due to poor assembly but man, what a great oppurtunity to ride with the family that was ruined. It was a perfect evening all except for the trusty Toys R Us Schwinn.

    Oh well at least i had a good ride at sunrise this morning. I rode 23 miles solo with some country and some city as always and saw everyting from a beautiful sunrise, to a severely TP'd house to a Fox that was in town in the park. Now that is unusual. He sort of stared at me like i was the one out of place. .

  2. #2
    Member BikeLady's Avatar
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    Wow. May I show this story to all the people who come into the LBS where I work and say, "Your kids' bikes are awfully expensive! I can get a Schwinn at Toys 'R Us for a lot less." ?

    I'm guessing that your son's bike was built by some stockboy who has no idea how to put a bike together. It's too bad really...your son couldn't enjoy the ride and now has a negative perception of biking. Please, please buy him a good bike for next season! With bikes, as with so many other things, you truly get what you pay for. In the case of the new "Schwinns" what you get is garbage. Think Huffy with a Schwinn name on it. We see these kinds of problems with department store bikes all the time.

    On the bright side, your son rides with you...

  3. #3
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    My similar experience only took one problem to end the day for my daughter. There we were, all ready to ride (with Koffee) and when we unload, my daughter's freewheel is toast. All pedal, no action. We found a 24" Diamondback mountain bike that fit her pretty well, I just put some city tread tires on it and she did 21 miles yesterday with no problem, average speed just under 10 mph on the W&OD trail. Not too bad I thought.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

  4. #4
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    My LBS murray hardtail with all original parts got me through several months of winter riding in the snow, including ramming into a lot of hidden potholes and getting into a lot of slippery accidents and it kept going strong being locked up outside through the winter 24/7 until it was stolen.
    I think the way its put together has a lot more to do with the durability than the components themselves. I've seen bikes at stores where the brakes didn't work, the cables were routed the wrong way, the handle bars were loose, the seat was BACKWARDS, etc.

  5. #5
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    I've looked at several department store bikes. In terms of design and construction, they generally seem heavy, but serviceable. The problem is that they are usually very badly assembled. I'm surprised there have not been liability issues.

    Paul

  6. #6
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    "assembled" isn't the work I would use. "Put together" is more like it. Assembled means it's ready for use.

    But the dept. store bike is good for something: learning how to repair and maintian a bike.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  7. #7
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    One brake cable and some fine tuning later, and we finally got the ride in tonight. It was a do over of sorts. My son was bound and determined to go see the ducks at the park so we went out for a quickie tonight.

    The bike made the entire trip with no break downs.

  8. #8
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    There are those who recognize that quality indeed costs less
    and there are those who think that quality costs more, and trying to bring the two together never seems to work, I.E. the rise of junk shops like Wal-Mart and its clones

    The myths perpetrated by mass advertising and its clone, TV, demonstrate this admirably

    My day is made when I can go into a small biz and be readily met by someone knowedgeable about what is being sold, answers my questions with an intelligent response instead of a" UHHHHHHH I'm not sure let me get the manager"

    I've been in W-M three times and each time I got cheated, chiseled or otherwise misled by what I bought. But I also returned 3 times and got my money returned

    But I guess the low income folks who HAVE to shop there never equate their own personal costs per hour with what they are told they are saving.

    And also considering that W-M DEMANDS of its suppliers that each year they must reduce the cost to W-M of a minimum 5% over the previous years costs, leads one to imagine what the slump in quality really means

  9. #9
    Junior Member simarc's Avatar
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    I too went the Walmart road. In fact I had 3 bikes that were not properly "put together" & eventually broke down. The good thing was that I was able to return them without any questions.

    My problems ranged from:
    1. Uneven tire/rim.
    2. Rubbing breaks.
    3. Heavy weight bike.
    4. Gears not locking.
    5. Gears popping due to road bumps.

    I learned my lesson and went to the LBS and bought a Giant bike & couldn't be happier. Knowing that I get free tuneups and customer service is very important.

    With that said, I think the department store bike has its niche. It's great for little kids who will outgrow the darn thing in 2 or 3 years. It's tough spending a lot of $$$ on them when they outgrow it or leave it laying around where it can easily be stolen. My almost 11 year old is getting to the point where she is going to get more serious about riding. When that happens she'll get a good bike.

    mw

  10. #10
    Queen of France Indolent58's Avatar
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    The $180 20" Specialized Hardrock I bought for my older son is now on it's forth kid with no signs of stopping after being passed along to friends as it was outgrown. $180/4 = $45/per kid. Pretty cheap for such an expensive kid's bike

  11. #11
    Senior Member TechJD's Avatar
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    come on guys geee the bike went for 2 years with out any trouble or didnt any of you read it
    and any bike should be checked every year for adjustments, sounds like more of a case of poor matainance to me than assembling
    79 Schwinn Continental II
    Ride cause you enjoy it!

  12. #12
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechJD
    come on guys geee the bike went for 2 years with out any trouble or didnt any of you read it
    and any bike should be checked every year for adjustments, sounds like more of a case of poor matainance to me than assembling
    Have you ever worked on one? I've worked on over a hundred so far. They're straight up CRAP.

  13. #13
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    I see this as a matter of basic economics. Take the low price of the department store bike and factor in the profits in each step of the procurement, manufacturing, assembly, distribution and retail processes. How much can be left over for the assembly? Skilled mechanics don't work for minimum wage.

    I am with Indolent58 about the long term value proposition of better kids' bikes. They are not all that expensive, give much more enjoyment and seem to last forever. Our first kid had a 20" GT Dyno which has been passed on to our second. The third has a 16" Specialized Hotrock which I will give away to a needy child when he outgrows it and graduates to the Dyno.

  14. #14
    Senior Member TechJD's Avatar
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    are you sayin that bikes dont need mataince every year ?
    and not eveyone can afford the out the door price of a LBS bike
    I cant but that dont mean that my bike dont need checked over every year at the least
    and they might not be the same quality that you might sell but that dont mean they are total junk either
    it's lasted 3 years
    but you have to look at everything today we live in a "Throw Away Society"
    if the TV breaks get a new one, radio breaks get a new one
    most thing are are disigned that way on perpous cause companys cant make big $$$ if their product last forever like the older items, like 60 and 70 bikes
    they want the sales, and sales dont come if the old ones dont wear out or break

    and Raiyn you will be one of the first one to tell people to come get their bike checked out atleast once a year
    79 Schwinn Continental II
    Ride cause you enjoy it!

  15. #15
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    I'd never buy a kid's bike new-- plenty of them for less than 20 bucks at the local Goodwill. Of course all these used bikes are broken and you'll have to fix them, but you'd be fixing the new Wallyworld clunker you paid 50 or 100 bucks more for in a week anyway.

    Kids trash bikes, so buy used and get used to fixing them.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    I'd never buy a kid's bike new-- plenty of them for less than 20 bucks at the local Goodwill. Of course all these used bikes are broken and you'll have to fix them, but you'd be fixing the new Wallyworld clunker you paid 50 or 100 bucks more for in a week anyway.

    Kids trash bikes, so buy used and get used to fixing them.
    Re-sale shops sometimes have some really good bikes. However, a brand new kid's bike can also be a good value. I gave my eight year old god-son a Giant BMX bike. It listed for around $300, and was on sale for $200. Built with 4130 steel. Wheels with massive aluminum rims and 48 spokes. Built like a tank, it weighs about 30 pounds, due its "beefed up" bearings, wheels, tires, and cranks.

    My god-son's favorite activity on his BMX bike seems to be "demolition derby". He rides it fast up a ramp at a local school that sends him flying off a two foot high drop. He enjoys finding sidewalks with lots of breaks, bumps, and canyons and riding at high speeds over them.

    And, after every distructive thing he has done, the bike is in perfect condition. The wheels are still perfectly true. After he gets two or three years of brutal use out of this bike, it will get passed on to another boy for another two or three years of hard use.

    I have assembled some "Wal-Mart" type kids bikes. I bought several for kids in my neighborhood whose families could not afford bikes. They held up okay for a summer of cruising around the block...then their problems made repairing them more trouble than they were worth. My god-son's "Eviel Knievel" approach to bike riding would have destroyed a Wal-Mart bikes in two days.

    A $200 children's bike is safer than a $40 children's bike from day one. And, because it will last six or eight years (or more), instead of just one, it is cheaper in the long run. And, much cheaper than the trip to the ER that may occur with brake failure or wheel failure.

  17. #17
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    argh..newbie here, well middle aged guy back to being Newly addicted to bikes. I just bought a Mongoose
    full suspention aluminum mountain bike ( DXR) from Walmart. Bad move?? I thought Mongoose was a
    "ok" bike for low money, orrrrrrrrr...is it just another "Huffy" ??? ...

  18. #18
    Work hard, Play hard forum*rider's Avatar
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    If it's all you have/can afford then atleast take it to a bike store and get it tuned up to make sure there aren't too many mechanical probelms with it.

    Or if you CAN afford a better bike I would say return it, go to the lbs and get a better(higher quality) bike. For the amount of money spend on the mongoose you can probably get an entry to mid level hardtail that will be lighter, better component spec and most importantly, be assembled correctly.

  19. #19
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechJD
    are you sayin that bikes dont need mataince every year ?
    and not eveyone can afford the out the door price of a LBS bike
    I cant but that dont mean that my bike dont need checked over every year at the least
    and they might not be the same quality that you might sell but that dont mean they are total junk either
    it's lasted 3 years
    but you have to look at everything today we live in a "Throw Away Society"
    if the TV breaks get a new one, radio breaks get a new one
    most thing are are disigned that way on perpous cause companys cant make big $$$ if their product last forever like the older items, like 60 and 70 bikes
    they want the sales, and sales dont come if the old ones dont wear out or break

    and Raiyn you will be one of the first one to tell people to come get their bike checked out atleast once a year
    It's also cheaper to buy a new one.
    I can get a new DVD player for $50. You can bet the cost to fix one is right around there too.

  20. #20
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    I still feel that the wm bike if set up would be fine for a beginner.someone who doesn't know if they would like to do this for sure or not.I would have sure hated to spend $400. on a bike to not like to ride and just let it set.mine sets enouph now that I don't like it.but I will glad to graduate up to a better bike.looking at a giant boulder myself.I will get around and ride one soon.I am dying to tryit.

  21. #21
    Castle Hill,NSW.Australia Dark Arrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markproject
    argh..newbie here, well middle aged guy back to being Newly addicted to bikes. I just bought a Mongoose
    full suspention aluminum mountain bike ( DXR) from Walmart. Bad move?? I thought Mongoose was a
    "ok" bike for low money, orrrrrrrrr...is it just another "Huffy" ??? ...
    LOL Mongoose PRO is decent enough but the Mongoose from the Marts is iffy at best. Take good care of it and learn to adjust EVERYTHING because whoever slapped it together is not a mechanic. It'll work for you but I'd suggest getting something better if your really ADDICTED. You can spend just a few buxs more at a LBS and get a used ride that is 10 times what you have. I do a lot of "moonlight" repair on all the kids in the neighborhood's bikes. I have yet to see one of the wheels on the Mart bikes last for more than several months of use without being seriously out of true.


    Good Luck

  22. #22
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Reading stuff like this, only strengthens my feelings of the department stores getting sued for stuff like this. I would love to see them get sued.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Inoplanetyanin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    If you want to ruin a perfect fall day
    Ranger, with all my respect for you and your family, I can't stop myself from saying straight what I think.

    The story you have presented here, seems to me, tells us more about your mechanics skills, than of a "quality" of a bicycle.

    People in other countries ride (and REPAIR) bikes FAR WORSE that the one you are describing, and MANAGE to ride it for years...

    I have just recently seen this in the Netherlands.

    Also, remembering my dad... he would sometimes have to tune the rear axle of my bike (the similar one you are describing, where pedals have to be turned backwards) and let me ride it to see if it worked, or how well adjusted it was, but it all WORKED and worked fine for years, and I am talking about ancient cheap russian bicycles.

    The point is, CHECK THE CONDITION OF YOUR SON'S bicycle before leaving for a ride. Check the chain tension, check the brake adjustment etc etc. Are you saying these bikes are so bad that they can't go several miles without causing problems your son's bike did???

    Seems to me it is rather the problem of adjustment, which has nothing to do with the "quality" of the bike itself.

    Respectfully,

    Mikhail.

    ____

    P.S. Again, everything stated above is strictly my opinion and I did not mean to offend the author or anyone else. Just being straight-forward.
    Last edited by Inoplanetyanin; 10-29-04 at 01:47 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Lots of minimum wage jobs out there . . . sure it's cheaper!!! Cheaper and better are not the same.
    Go to your local bike shop instead!

  25. #25
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    QUESTON: I have a "comfort bike" with 26" x 1.95 Hutchinson Acrobat tires.. Not knobby., rec.pressure 29 lbs, max 79 I think. Now I have been riding it alot, I'd like to have it be more for cruising but also on more diverse surfaces than just street. Suggestions? I'm thinking putting some mountain tires on it, since they would displace water better for riding on wet pavement, *using max pressure*, and full fenders, might make for more days of riding and option of taking off the fenders, lowering the handlebars flat, and I have a 'mountain bike "sort of" for my use anyway.......Any comments or help?
    BTW its a great bike, Iron Horse Shade Deluxe. ..if you want to see it .. http://www.ironhorsebikes.com/products/comfort/

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