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The Walmart, Ozark Trails Graveler $248 Competition Thread

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The Walmart, Ozark Trails Graveler $248 Competition Thread

Old 06-06-24, 07:50 PM
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The Walmart, Ozark Trails Graveler $248 Competition Thread


So, not that I'm connected to anything current and topical in the bicycle business circles, but somehow, somewhere, and someone brought this bicycle to my attention. I think anything that gets people out riding bicycles is a positive for the circle of exercising bicycling. But, as I inch closer to retirement or death, or both, I have been thinking about tinkering around with vintage bicycle restorations in my golden fade. So, I think you might be able to patch together a cool vintage bicycle, with an eye to riding gravel, for a similar price point. So, the challenge is to list your vintage gravel rides, with a price tag under the Oz Trails of 248 American clams. Or better yet, something you sold for 248 skins, and fed your family (or addicition... whatever). Whatcha got to show me?
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Old 06-06-24, 08:42 PM
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I'll nominate my Performance Parabola. I bought it around 10 years ago for $70. I don't have any gravel near my house besides my driveway, so I can't attest to it's suitability, but it seems to have been built with all the right features for a gravel bike. They were way ahead of the current gravel craze.


1992 Performance Parabola


Lots of clearance. These are 28 mm tires, but there is room to go much larger.


1992 Performance Bicycle catalog
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Old 06-07-24, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere
I'll nominate my Performance Parabola. I bought it around 10 years ago for $70. I don't have any gravel near my house besides my driveway, so I can't attest to it's suitability, but it seems to have been built with all the right features for a gravel bike. They were way ahead of the current gravel craze.

...1992 Performance Parabola

...Lots of clearance. These are 28 mm tires, but there is room to go much larger...
Coincidentally, I posted to Paceline Forum just yesterday about this bike.

I stated that it was "very much a gravel bike", and that it was also very much a "garden variety hybrid, aka a 1990's mtb having 700c wheels", this in the context of it's frame geometry. These will also take pretty big tires.

I included my Pedersen in the discussion, despite it's geometry being perhaps way off, since I've used it for all sorts of riding and racing venues that a gravel bike might entertain.

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Old 06-07-24, 11:09 AM
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that Walmart bike amazes me.
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Old 06-07-24, 08:46 PM
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I'll tell you right now you're gonna get a bunch of liars. You can't approach this level of modern tech for $250 in a vintage bike. I got an 80s Schwinn Voyageur frameset for $50, but to add STI shifting, tubeless wheels, tubeless tires, and all the little bits to make it work cost waaaaay more than $250. But, I'll admit that my Schwinn is a million times better than that walmart bike. I can't believe there is only one set of bottle bosses, and a.. freewheel? Ugh, gross.

Edit: My point, it sure seems like a great way for the masses to get into the gravel game, but it's not an off the shelf replacement for a real gravel bike.
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Old 06-08-24, 06:22 PM
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This was built in late 2014.
Univega Via Activa early 90s hybrid with 3x7 drivetrain bought for $50.
SunTourbarcons used for $20.
Gary OS Sweep bar for $50.
Brake levers $15.
Stem $15.
Tape $10.
Saddle $40.
Cables and housing $10.
Pedals used $20

So that's just over $230.
After the initial build I bought some 40mm Clement GSO tires that cost $60 total, which pushed it to $290.



This was my first gravel bike and I built it for cheap to see if I even liked ridi g gravel roads. The bike was way too small for me, but it did fine and let me figure out what I wanted next.
At $230, I would take it over the Walmart bike every time, even though the frame was too small. But that's 2014 prices, so who knows what a similar parts build would cost now. Probably $275.
The 3x7 friction shifting was easy and reliable, brakes worked, etc.



I'm not sure why that Walmart bike would be a price target to meet. And I was only able to watch about 40 seconds of that video before the guy's voice made my eye twitch. Wow that is a voice for print if ever there was one.
I've read reviews of the Walmart bike- it's a typical offering that looks like it's better than it actually is, and fools some into thinking it's a good deal as a result.

ETA- oh good lord, I tried to watch more and made it another 45 seconds. I'm that time he declared he doesn't usually like drop bars, but these are the expensive looking type where the bar 'swings out' at 'the lowers'. He then says he doesn't know what to call that part of the bar, but there is the 'upper, the lower, and the horn'.
Oof. Why would anyone take a review from this guy seriously?

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Old 06-09-24, 07:15 AM
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The geometry charts show a bigger than expected BB drop, 79mm, 70-71 degree head angle. The 30# weight is up there, knock off 1.5# for the kickstand removal? Crankset is probably an anchor.
unclear if freewheel or freehub.
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Old 06-09-24, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr

I'm not sure why that Walmart bike would be a price target to meet. And I was only able to watch about 40 seconds of that video before the guy's voice made my eye twitch. Wow that is a voice for print if ever there was one.
(quote shortened to save mindspace..). When I worked at a bicycle shop in college, the question of "... how is this bike any better than the ones at Walmart..." very often came up. So, for some people, who are looking to get into gravel riding, it could be a price point.

Yeah, the guys voice is an acquired taste. I listen to a grouping of these videos, and, I think, none of them was done by someone within the circle of bicycle video posters that I'm familiar with. I'm sure someone with more bicycle review experience, and bicycle knowledge in general, would have more insights. I just don't know of any video like that... yet.
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Old 06-09-24, 08:24 AM
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I've never been 100% clear on what makes a "gravel bike". Ability to handle wide tires for certain, but beyond that, what?

I have at least 10 vintage bikes that would hold up to a ride on terrain comparable to what I observed during the UCI Gravel World Championship. Unless there's some criteria beyond tire width which matters, not many road frames built prior to 1980 would be excluded, and most cross or rigid MTBs from the 80s and 90s could pass muster. The price point seems to be the criteria most likely to cause exclusion. A few of mine would fail based on that - especially when considering tires.
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Old 06-09-24, 10:03 AM
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I saw a review of this bike on Berm Peak Express a couple of months ago and it was generally a positive review. He messed around with it and put a suspension fork and different group set on it which blew up the initial investment but the takeaway - decent bike as-is for light trail riding.
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Old 06-09-24, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
I've never been 100% clear on what makes a "gravel bike". Ability to handle wide tires for certain, but beyond that, what?

I have at least 10 vintage bikes that would hold up to a ride on terrain comparable to what I observed during the UCI Gravel World Championship. Unless there's some criteria beyond tire width which matters, not many road frames built prior to 1980 would be excluded, and most cross or rigid MTBs from the 80s and 90s could pass muster. The price point seems to be the criteria most likely to cause exclusion. A few of mine would fail based on that - especially when considering tires.
On my gravel bike I currently have 45mm tires that measure to 44mm even on wide rims.
My old tires were 43mm that measured 44mm.
So clearly that is a width I like for where I ride.

How many bikes made prior to 1980 will fit a 44mm tire on a 700c wheel?
Many people use 38mm for their gravel riding and that is either plenty for them or they accept the limitation and make do.
I am aware of pre-80s frames that can fit a 38mm tire.

So perhaps like many things in this sport and hobby, it's largely a matter of what you value/prioritize for your abilities and type of riding.
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Old 06-09-24, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames
I saw a review of this bike on Berm Peak Express a couple of months ago and it was generally a positive review. He messed around with it and put a suspension fork and different group set on it which blew up the initial investment but the takeaway - decent bike as-is for light trail riding.
I saw a video by them reviewing a Walmart mtb, but not a Walmart graveler. Maybe I missed it (or can't find it).
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Old 06-09-24, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
On my gravel bike I currently have 45mm tires that measure to 44mm even on wide rims.
My old tires were 43mm that measured 44mm.
So clearly that is a width I like for where I ride.

How many bikes made prior to 1980 will fit a 44mm tire on a 700c wheel?
Many people use 38mm for their gravel riding and that is either plenty for them or they accept the limitation and make do.
I am aware of pre-80s frames that can fit a 38mm tire.

So perhaps like many things in this sport and hobby, it's largely a matter of what you value/prioritize for your abilities and type of riding.
I have a very good idea on the width of tires I'd need to use on the surface (for example, I rode the C&O on 38s). What I was asking is : What else (if anything) makes a bicycle a "gravel bike"?
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Old 06-09-24, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle
I saw a video by them reviewing a Walmart mtb, but not a Walmart graveler. Maybe I missed it (or can't find it).
Probably my poor memory, sun was in my eyes, dog ate my homework, etc. There is an Ozark Trail MTB for $300 so maybe that was it?
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Old 06-09-24, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
What else (if anything) makes a bicycle a "gravel bike"?
That's a good and fair question. When I was a kid, back in the 70's, I rode my knockoff stingray bicycle on the gravel roads around my home. Did that make it the first gravel bike? Should I be in the history books, or better yet, an entry on Wikipedia?
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Old 06-09-24, 02:27 PM
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So is this a $248 Gravel Gklunker Gchallenge?

Recently sold this for 250 but had I known and had I 2 bucks change…

I have a $20 PA-10 that will make a fantastic Gravel Bike. What are the rules?
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Old 06-09-24, 04:18 PM
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It would not be hard to build a drop bar MTB or vintage hybrid at that price range. Building up a vintage road bike with 35c tires at this price point isn't hard either; not many old school road bikes can take 38c tires though.

These are the specs for Ozark Trail Explorer Gravel bike. At 30.4 pounds, you can build a vintage bike that has better components for around this price point.
  • Ozark Trail 700C G.1 Explorer Gravel Bike, Medium Frame, Green, Adult, Unisex
  • Internal cable routing protects cables and gives the bike a clean, sleek look
  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum Gravel bike with nutserts, Integrated Frame Mounts
  • Fork: Steel front fork with nutserts, Quick Release
  • Weight: 30.4 lbs
  • Shifter: L-TWOO 2*7 speed brake and shifter dual lever
  • Front Derailleur: L-TWOO 2 speed R5007
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tourney 7 speed TZ500
  • Crank: 170mm length
  • Bottom Bracket: Neco BC35, 122.5mm, One-piece cartridge
  • Freewheel: 14-28T, 7 Speed
  • Chain: 7 Speed
  • Pedal: Plastic, Wide Platform
  • Saddle: Gravel Saddle, steel rails, 150mm width
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Old 06-09-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
<snip>
I'm not sure why that Walmart bike would be a price target to meet. And I was only able to watch about 40 seconds of that video before the guy's voice made my eye twitch. Wow that is a voice for print if ever there was one.
I've read reviews of the Walmart bike- it's a typical offering that looks like it's better than it actually is, and fools some into thinking it's a good deal as a result.

ETA- oh good lord, I tried to watch more and made it another 45 seconds. I'm that time he declared he doesn't usually like drop bars, but these are the expensive looking type where the bar 'swings out' at 'the lowers'. He then says he doesn't know what to call that part of the bar, but there is the 'upper, the lower, and the horn'.
Oof. Why would anyone take a review from this guy seriously?
Because he has first-hand experience with the bike, unlike (presumably) everyone else in this thread?
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Old 06-09-24, 04:28 PM
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I have two bikes that I built up for gravel duty that cost me around that price point; an early 70s Raleigh Gran Sport and an early 90s Specialized Stump jumper. I recycled parts on hand to build these bikes which kept the costs down:


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Old 06-09-24, 04:57 PM
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OK. Just watched the entire video for the Walmart bike from the first post in this thread.

Looks surprisingly good for the money. The seatpost is junk and should be replaced, but its diameter is 27.2, so it'd be easy to upgrade.

The weight of the bike is 30 pounds, or so the guy said in the video. So heavy wheels or a heavy frame or (most likely) both.

Components could be a concern, but from what I've seen, Walmart bikes in this price range are of (somewhat) better quality than their bottom-of-the-barrel bikes, where the only mandate for the manufacturers is for them to be as cheap as possible.

Just looked at REI's gravel bikes under $1,000. They have an $800 bike that weighs 26 pounds.

Someone who knows for sure that he or she will get a lot of use out of the bike should go for a more expensive one, without a doubt.

But the Walmart bike would probably be fine for those Walmart customers who are gravel-curious. They would likely get enough enjoyment out of it to be motivated to move up. Should be a good gateway bike, in other words.

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Old 06-09-24, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
I have two bikes that I built up for gravel duty that cost me around that price point; an early 70s Raleigh Gran Sport and an early 90s Specialized Stump jumper. I recycled parts on hand to build these bikes which kept the costs down:...
So, which way, vintage road bike -to- gravel, or vintage mtb -to- gravel... which way did you find to be the best? Or are there good/bad points to each? I basically put Panaracer Paselas on my old Schwinn and call it a graveler, but newly gravel roads around here are pretty hard to navigate thru, with my bicycle setup.
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Old 06-09-24, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle
So, which way, vintage road bike -to- gravel, or vintage mtb -to- gravel...which way did you find to be the best? Or are there good/bad points to each? I basically put Panaracer Paselas on my old Schwinn and call it a graveler, but newly gravel roads around here are pretty hard to navigate thru, with my bicycle setup.
The MTB is the more capable gravel bike. I like the 46/36/24, 11-28 7 speed gearing and a 26 x 1.9 tire is plenty capable for gravel and for the local single track.

I do a number of local rides that are mainly road with some gravel thrown in; the Raleigh handles that combo well.
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Old 06-09-24, 06:52 PM
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Another review of the $248 Walmart gravel bike. (tl/dw: At the end, the guy says: "If you're thinking about getting into gravel biking and if you never tried it, go get you an Ozark Trail from Walmart.")

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Old 06-09-24, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
.ETA- oh good lord, I tried to watch more and made it another 45 seconds. I'm that time he declared he doesn't usually like drop bars, but these are the expensive looking type where the bar 'swings out' at 'the lowers'. He then says he doesn't know what to call that part of the bar, but there is the 'upper, the lower, and the horn'.
Oof. Why would anyone take a review from this guy seriously?
Kev's POV is a guy who like cheap and affordable bikes, the kind of guy that would never call himself a cyclist. He's ridden dozens of bikes under $1,000, probably most of them under $700. He appeals to like-minded folk; certainly not the folks here.

Originally Posted by USAZorro
I've never been 100% clear on what makes a "gravel bike". Ability to handle wide tires for certain, but beyond that, what?

I have at least 10 vintage bikes that would hold up to a ride on terrain comparable to what I observed during the UCI Gravel World Championship.
The course for the Gravel World Championships was roundly criticized for being too easy and too short. The Gravel World Champion, Matej Mohorič, recently DNFd at Unbound, the grand-daddy of gravel racing. The men's pro race is 200 miles, and is significantly longer (in time) than the longest Classics race - Milan-San Remo.

This year's 200 mile winner, Lachlan Morton, won in 9:11:47. He rode a gravel bike with a 50mm front and 44mm rear.

So what's a gravel bike? At the sharp end, like competing in Unbound, it's a bike that you can ride for 9+ hours quickly and comfortably. Here's what that looks like:


​​​​​


​​​​​
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Old 06-09-24, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
It would not be hard to build a drop bar MTB or vintage hybrid at that price range. Building up a vintage road bike with 35c tires at this price point isn't hard either; not many old school road bikes can take 38c tires though.

snip
I would dispute this. Earlier today I walked through the paddock and counted bikes my size, ready to ride that will take at least 35s. I counted 14 of them. There only two that fitting 38s in would be problematic for. Additionally, I have three bicycles designed for road racing, and I don't see them taking anything larger than 28s.

1949 Raleigh Clubman, 1971 Modified Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Competition, 1972 Fuji Finest, 1972 Raleigh Competition (Gugified with 650B), 1973 Raleigh International, 1973 Raleigh Super Tourer, 1974 Raleigh Grand Sports, 1979 Carlton Corsa, 1981 Miyata 1000, 1984 Giant AT-730 and 1995 Giant Iguana all have clearance for 38mm. The 1973 RRA and 198? Bridgestone 300 would not handle them. Yes, the bulk of these are Sports/Touring and also happen to be made by Raleigh, so the sampling isn't exactly diverse, but there are plenty of Sports/Touring bikes still around from the 70s and 80s.

Five of the twelve meet the price limit, and four of those five I am confident would handle the task well, though I'd need to swap tires or wheels to be able to ride with 35s.
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