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The GMC Denali road bike review-the best low cost commuter around

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The GMC Denali road bike review-the best low cost commuter around

Old 04-22-14, 07:22 AM
  #51  
wphamilton
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
...
I also understand your frustration with me. I put the words "serious" in quotes because it was half tongue in cheek. I read posts about how road bikes make lousy commuters all the time, yet somehow I manage to get to work on one most of the year and enjoy myself while doing it.
QFT A road bike makes perfect sense, is all I ever commute with except for the Denali "beater". For some reason that one never bothers me. Granted my road bike is cleverly disguised with a generic frame, entry level components, high-spoke count wheels ...
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Old 04-22-14, 09:09 AM
  #52  
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Don't worry...the leets are passing you so fast they can't possibly notice the bike you are riding.
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Old 04-22-14, 11:20 AM
  #53  
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well, I have tried the denali which was heavy and I felt cramped on it... took it back and got a "bikes direct" dawes and the frame was quite a bit better in terms of weight and components (even though they are low end). Comparing between the two, I of course prefer the old school stem shifters of the dawes rather than those revo twist shifters...
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Old 04-22-14, 12:36 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
As I have mentioned, it goes against the orthodoxy here; but I also am no firm believer in Craigslist.

I agree with your approach, do check CL first, you might get lucky, as some report, miracles do happen. However, in most cases, CL only works for the faithful. If you study bikes to the point of it being a maniacal passion (and there are plenty of tracts, bibles, and websites to guide you in this pursuit), and attend CL frequently, then you will probably start seeing these miracles.

However, if you need a bike now, you are best placing your time and efforts elsewhere.

I happen to place more faith in Bikes Direct, as some others here do; but, it is good to hear that you have a bike that is working well for you.
Between the 4 of us, my family has 5 bikes from craigslist, 1 from BD, 1 bought new from an LBS, and one built up from a $25 Nashbar clearance frame.

Obviously I'm a fan of getting bikes from craigslist but it's not for everyone in every situation. If you don't have access to a car it could be a major pain in most U.S. cities just to get to where these bikes are. Some places don't have much to offer in terms of bikes and in others the going rate for old bikes that need work makes buying new more sensible.

And yes, there is knowing what's worth buying and what isn't. Finally, patience and timing is everything. My barely used "nice" road bike I got for less than half of retail by buying it in very late November. I brought it home and we had a snow storm the next day. I got to ride it once in the dark after I picked it up and then had to wait until Spring before I rode it again.

My other finds include a $75 vintage road bike that's become my main commuter and an awesome Bianchi Project 3 for $115 that unfortunately was stolen a couple of years ago. Those were again bought either out of season or late season.
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Old 04-22-14, 06:22 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by AlTheKiller View Post
Glad it worked out for you. For the average person I will continue to dissuade these **** bikes. That doesn't mean they can't be made to work, but it often means for a very small sum more, many can be made to work better.

It's mostly the hidden costs that make these bikes less of a deal to the average consumer who doesn't know adjusting a headset from truing a wheel. it's going to cost the average person seventy five dollars or more to get these things actually assembled properly by a bike shop, that wipes out most of the savings. Or they can just ride it not assembled properly, which might seem like more savings at first, but quickly find out the opposite when the bearings fail in a few months. You were already over the cost of a $320 giant escape three, which has an actual aluminum frame worth riding, lifetime warranty on frame, year warranty on parts, it had been assembled properly, and usually comes with at least six months of free adjustments from the shop... Was the $120 you saved on initial purchase ACTUALLY saving anything at all half a year later? For most, the answer is no.

My main gripe with these bikes is that they build them even ****tier for the sake of marketing. They "shape" the aluminum tubing in ways that make no sense and serve no purpose because that's what the big brands do, they could have used round tubing and probably saved you even more cents. Except when a big brand has shaped tubing, that's trickle down technology from their high end stuff and might actually serve some purpose.building a bike isn't rocket science, yet somehow they are able to make bikes more inferior than they were twenty years ago, all to catch the eye of people who don't know better.
I have yet to go over $320 on this bike. I am an average person. I want to encourage other average people that like riding to expand their minds and learn how to fix their own bikes. It's not rocket science but does require persistence, a small investment in tools and time. Most major metro's have a bike co-opt or two. We didn't have Youtube, or Amazon.com twenty years ago. The department store bikes that were being sold twenty years age were really crappy compared to the selections that they have now. I wouldn't go near department store bicycles twenty years ago.

In America the paradigm used to "ordinary people doing extraordinary things," Of course that's slipped by the wayside these days (I won't harp on that too much because it isn't germane to the conversation.) My friend is an average person, and encountered some financial setbacks awhile back. His car needed repair. He got a Chilton's manual, went on to the auto repair forums and learned how to fix his car. He's so advanced at this stage of the game that can he now rebuild engines. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. I want to learn how to fish.
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Old 04-22-14, 06:25 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Don't worry...the leets are passing you so fast they can't possibly notice the bike you are riding.
I am not racing with them.
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Old 04-22-14, 06:38 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
QFT A road bike makes perfect sense, is all I ever commute with except for the Denali "beater". For some reason that one never bothers me. Granted my road bike is cleverly disguised with a generic frame, entry level components, high-spoke count wheels ...
My Denali has nick's and dings from traveling on the train with it, locking it to various poles, posts and racks. I am not worried about it, whereas I might be with a more expensive bike. Every part I replace is an upgrade-an inexpensive one as well. I would get it repainted if I could do inexpensively and/or have a place where I can do it myself. I am not afraid to work on it. It doesn't stand out and looks generic. I would be put out if it got stolen but I wouldn't be as put out as someone who lost their $5000 carbon queen to a thief.
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Old 04-22-14, 07:18 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by grizzly907la View Post
I would be put out if it got stolen but I wouldn't be as put out as someone who lost their $5000 carbon queen to a thief.
I think you're jumping to conclusions. How many people on this forum even commute on $5000 dollar bikes and leave them locked outside ??. How many commuters on this forum had their $5000 dollar bike stolen ??
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Old 04-22-14, 07:46 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I think you're jumping to conclusions. How many people on this forum even commute on $5000 dollar bikes and leave them locked outside ??. How many commuters on this forum had their $5000 dollar bike stolen ??
Mostly just the "leets".
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Old 04-22-14, 09:01 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I think you're jumping to conclusions. How many people on this forum even commute on $5000 dollar bikes and leave them locked outside ??. How many commuters on this forum had their $5000 dollar bike stolen ??
I think he's just expressing the same sentiment that's been stated in this forum a million times before. One advantage of a cheap and/or generic looking bike is that it's less of a theft magnet. And if a cheap bike does gets stolen it's less of an issue to replace it. I suppose you could argue that it might be less of a problem for a rich guy to replace a $5,000 bike than it is a struggling guy to replace a $200 one.

I've seen multiple threads like this in a few years time. My take on it is that big box store bikes may have a worse reputation than they deserve. I still have trouble recommending them over what I'd consider better but still affordable alternatives. However, I think they can serve their owners well if expectations are set appropriately.

The Denalis are especially interesting because the subject has a habit of generating multi-page threads. The designers did some interesting things with this bike with the aim of providing functionality at low cost. For example, cutting handlebars in half so that you can mount Revo shifters. It's a weight weenie nightmare but it is clever.

There are also "Pro" versions of the Denali that have Microshift brifters. I don't know if the frame is any different. Target actually sells a $550 road bike.

Anyway, I think it is possible to get a decent bike from a big box store, - at least online.

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Old 04-23-14, 04:00 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I think he's just expressing the same sentiment that's been stated in this forum a million times before. One advantage of a cheap and/or generic looking bike is that it's less of a theft magnet. And if a cheap bike does gets stolen it's less of an issue to replace it. I suppose you could argue that it might be less of a problem for a rich guy to replace a $5,000 bike than it is a struggling guy to replace a $200 one.
It's also been stated a million times on these forums that it's better to get a used brand name bike in good condition from craigslist then purchase a department store brand...Theft is theft and it really makes no difference how much a bike costs.. A $100 dollar bike means as much to a poor person as a $1500 dollar bike to an "elitist". Actually it may be worse for a poor person to get a $100 dollar bike stolen then it would be for an "elitist" to get their expensive bike stolen...Remember that all "elitists" have money to burn and it's easy for them to replace their stolen bike. Is that right. ??... OTOH ,it's difficult for a poor person to replace their stolen bike..Personally I don't care and I never judge anybody or call people names because of the type of bike they riding.
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Old 04-23-14, 10:50 AM
  #62  
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I got my denali (yellow and black) 3 years ago when I urgently needed a bike, had no car and was not bike/ bike forum savvy enough to look for CL deals or BD. A bike to me meant 2 wheels with a saddle that moves forward as i pedal (thats what i knew riding english single speed roadsters all my life). I must say the drop bars and 'racy' look were strong selling points then.

Over this time I only replaced the brake pads, Took a cpl of serious dives with no damage to its functionality and clocked around 5000 commute/trail miles. Since then, thanks to the $200 denali, I have gotten more enamoured with biking and bike and have gotten a few more bikes to just play around with. I recently changed the saddle to a brooks pro (huh..a denali with a brooks saddle). The gear train is made of cheap components and maybe the chief source of frustration. But over time I have gotten used to its personality, just like the quirks with an old car. I figure, once the cogs wear themselves out, or the shifters no longer shift truly, I ll just convert it to a single speed.

It comes with a kickstand, bottle cage, all eyelets for fenders and racks and a threaded headset. There are no weird bottom bracket, hub, crank parts. I couldn't ask for a lot more. Agreed its not a great bike, agreed if you know your stuff and have patience, you might find a better deal in CL but I definitely think some of the extreme hysteria around this bike being "OMG, its a death trap!!!" is pure BS.

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Old 04-23-14, 10:57 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I don't know if the frame is any different. Target actually sells a $550 road bike.

Anyway, I think it is possible to get a decent bike from a big box store, - at least online.
That bike, if we're looking at the same one - The Giordana Libero, is still much less bike than you can get for $550 at Bikes Direct (or a shop). At BD that can get you a bike with a Sora/2300 mix group, carbon fork, dual pivot brakes, Mavic wheels, decent frame. I know you know this, but it does illustrate how the products (at least bikes) these big box stores sell do not compare at any price point. True when you get down to $169 the only thing you can compare to is Craigslist. I'd rather do Craigslist, but then I know what to look for. I can see how people are lured into buying these bikes.
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Old 04-23-14, 11:36 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
That bike, if we're looking at the same one - The Giordana Libero, is still much less bike than you can get for $550 at Bikes Direct (or a shop). At BD that can get you a bike with a Sora/2300 mix group, carbon fork, dual pivot brakes, Mavic wheels, decent frame. I know you know this, but it does illustrate how the products (at least bikes) these big box stores sell do not compare at any price point. True when you get down to $169 the only thing you can compare to is Craigslist. I'd rather do Craigslist, but then I know what to look for. I can see how people are lured into buying these bikes.
Looking at it again, I see it's actually available for much less in other places and has a hi-ten fork. So while it does have a better set of components than the Denali, it's still a budget frame and fork. Overall weight is probably a couple of pounds lighter but still heavier than a mid quality 80's road bike, - so I agree. Not that great a bike.
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Old 05-17-14, 01:24 PM
  #65  
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I'm thinking this kind of market would be better served by a Raleigh Sports type bicycle with a tough frame, an internal gear hub, North Road handlebars and a heavy duty rear rack. I've ridden a Raleigh Superbe most of my life and this is the quintessential commuter bike. It was made of steel and wasn't made for racing but back in the day it was the finest commuter bicycle money could buy. And for many people in England and Europe it was the ONLY bicycle they ever owned and it was dependable transportation. It still fulfills that role in a part of the world where owning a car is a luxury.
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Old 05-17-14, 01:47 PM
  #66  
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I am far from an "elitist" but I have known since I was about ten that huffy's and their ilk are mostly crap. If you want to ride said crap that is fine, but don't come on here and call others "Leets" because they don't ride a POS. I could get into a" how poor am I pissin' contest", but suffice it to say that I am super broke at all time and I still ride decent bikes because I work at my bikes and i learned some decent mechanical skills because I can't normally afford bike shops. I could put together a decent steel frame commuter for that price. With racks and fenders!
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Old 05-17-14, 02:25 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
I'm thinking this kind of market would be better served by a Raleigh Sports type bicycle with a tough frame, an internal gear hub, North Road handlebars and a heavy duty rear rack. I've ridden a Raleigh Superbe most of my life and this is the quintessential commuter bike. It was made of steel and wasn't made for racing but back in the day it was the finest commuter bicycle money could buy. And for many people in England and Europe it was the ONLY bicycle they ever owned and it was dependable transportation. It still fulfills that role in a part of the world where owning a car is a luxury.
A sub-250 bike is very common in Germany and much better equipped than a Denali.

For me, the sweet spot is here ... an excellent bike for 329.

Prophete Alu-City GENIESSER 2.5 - Lidl Deutschland - lidl.de

7-speed IGH and dynamo with rack and fenders.
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Old 05-17-14, 02:47 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
A sub-€250 bike is very common in Germany and much better equipped than a Denali.

For me, the sweet spot is here ... an excellent bike for €329.

Prophete Alu-City GENIESSER 2.5 - Lidl Deutschland - lidl.de

7-speed IGH and dynamo with rack and fenders.
Yea, that is a solid basic/beginner utility/commuter/town bike.

The reason the models we have here, be it breezer, trek, fuji, etc are at a higher price point for such bikes, or just a gap where the model you showed would be is because the price is balanced between demand and profit margin. If they sold more, the price would definitely come down, because they would make the same profit with the lower price made up by sales volume. Not only that, but if they sold more, you'd see a greater spectrum of models because the mfr would know they would sell. That's my hypothesis anyways.

- Andy
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Old 05-17-14, 02:54 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
Yea, that is a solid basic/beginner utility/commuter/town bike.

The reason the models we have here, be it breezer, trek, fuji, etc are at a higher price point for such bikes, or just a gap where the model you showed would be is because the price is balanced between demand and profit margin. If they sold more, the price would definitely come down, because they would make the same profit with the lower price made up by sales volume. Not only that, but if they sold more, you'd see a greater spectrum of models because the mfr would know they would sell. That's my hypothesis anyways.

- Andy
Like I said before, LIDL and ALDI are moving into the US and you will see these bikes. Then, you'll see the US bike manufacturers struggle to out compete them.

It's coming to North America (a small and isolated market), so you'll all have dynamos finally!

The point is that bikes are commodity items and there's no reason that they can't be sold at B&M stores. You just haven't had the option yet and that option is coming.
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Old 05-19-14, 10:32 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Like I said before, LIDL and ALDI are moving into the US and you will see these bikes. Then, you'll see the US bike manufacturers struggle to out compete them.

It's coming to North America (a small and isolated market), so you'll all have dynamos finally!

The point is that bikes are commodity items and there's no reason that they can't be sold at B&M stores. You just haven't had the option yet and that option is coming.
We've had ALDI for years. It's a low end supermarket... not sure how that's going to revolutionize the bike market here.
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Old 05-19-14, 10:46 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by puckett129 View Post
We've had ALDI for years. It's a low end supermarket... not sure how that's going to revolutionize the bike market here.
On the planet, as a whole, that's were most bikes are purchased. US market is behind for some strange reason.
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Old 05-19-14, 05:09 PM
  #72  
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Nice review. I like your perspective, there are too many that don't understand the luxury we (most of us) have in the US being able to buy bikes way nicer than we actually need. Try taking a trip to the 3rd world and see what kind of bikes hard working folk make do with; and maybe that will help understand what hard working americans can also make do with.

I would love to build my own bike from the ground up someday
That's what I did; you can do the same, incrementally. Buy a frame/fork that has an appropriate match with your existing components, swap as much as possible from the GMC to the new frame/fork, and then watch eBay like a hawk and buy used parts one at a time when good deals/auctions appear. Eventually you will have a whole 'new' bike and the GMC will have been reconstructed as well and you can sell it. Probably not for much though, $50? Max $100. Maybe better to find a friend to give it to, help them on their way to a cycling lifestyle.

FYI, here's my cost report for the bike I built up. Major cost drivers were the items I really cared about: CrossCheck frame/fork, Retroshift shifters/brake levers, and handbuilt wheels. Take out those requirements, and the whole cost of the project drops dramatically. Also find a bike co-op nearby, and many of the parts should be easily available for very little $$.
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Old 05-20-14, 12:59 AM
  #73  
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As long as you are happy with whatever bike you purchase, thats all that really counts. Not everyone can afford the latest and greatest or even the mid level models.
One guy down my block bought a Giodano Libero 1.6 road bike from Amazon for ~$350 and its an entry level ~23lb bike with STI shifters. He has been pretty happy with it.
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Old 05-21-14, 09:34 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by e0richt View Post
the problem with CL is that you DO have to be patient... can you find some deals on it? yes but they are not as plentiful these days. I got a great deal off of CL with my 1220 but haven't seen a deal like that since and its been a few years... add in travel time to check a bike out, it becomes somewhat burdensome...
True. Craig's list is VERY DIFFICULT to use.
I just bought a beautiful bike off of craigs list at a good price (after talking the guy down from an overly inflated price). Here are the problems:
1) Good deals are hard to find. If you do find one, the go very very fast. You have to pounce on the very quickly
2) with thousands of ads, it is very difficult and time consuming to find a bike that works for me (wading through tons of garbage, BMX bikes, kids bikes, and many other types that are not appropriate for me
3) the most important thing about a bike is FIT. This is critical. Most people don't have a clue to what size bike they are selling, and those who do want top dollar. For me a bike is worthless if it doesn't fit properly, and most people don't really have a clue about how to do this.
4) Many bikes are just worn out and in bad need of a tuneup.
5) There is a seemingly infinate variety of bikes out there. For every bike that looked interesting, I had to do a fair amount of research to figure out what it was, what it was designed for, what it sold for initially, and what it is worth.

It took me 2-3 years to find the right bike on craig's list. Yeah, if you don't care if the bike meets your needs, and have the time, you can get a deal. But it takes a lot of work to find a good match.

People often have over inflated values of their bike. You can get a new bike for 20-30% off (sometimes up to 50% off) if you get a good sale. And that typically comes with lifetime maintenance and discounts from the shop. Yet a lot of people want much more than 50% of what they paid for when selling their well worn bike that really needs a $50 tune up. Again, if there is a good deal out there, the trolls find it, take it to their shop, and sell it for a good profit.

Between the time to find the right bike, the time to research the bike, and the time to drive out there to see the bike to see if it actually fits and is as advertised, it involves a lot of time. Great if you enjoy the hunt, but not for everyone.

My general rules:
1) research the bike so I know what I should be getting
2) ask for detailed photos to verify equipment and condition
3) ask lots of questions
4) only buy bikes from relatively wealthy parts of town, because these bikes tend to be maintained much better, and often they are just trying to clean out the garage and are less price sensitive.
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Old 06-23-14, 06:46 PM
  #75  
Jaxxx
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I going to get a denali tomorrow any tips on what to check before I get it?

and tips on how to tune the bike or first few parts that needs upgrading???
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