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what is/ was your favorite "crappy" bike.

Old 02-03-17, 01:19 PM
  #1  
capnjonny 
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what is/ was your favorite "crappy" bike.

I have read numerous posts decrying this or that brand of department store bike . Over weight, poorly assembled, cheap components , etc.

Given all that, are there any junk bikes out there that are a cut above the rest?

I have rehabbed some old schwinn mountain bikes and find them, like the Mesa Runner, to be pretty good. I have noticed that not all of the cheapies have the stamped steel caliper brakes. Some have canti's and other s have V brakes which I think is an improvement. At least they can stop.

So, what is your favorite junk bike and why?

Note,

There will be a quiz at the end of class.

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Old 02-03-17, 01:32 PM
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1986 Rallye Ranger. Trash from birth, but comfortable and simple. Cut my teeth on bike mechanics and tuning.
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Old 02-03-17, 01:40 PM
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I'll get back to you if and when I ever own a crappy bike.


Life's too short to own and ride crap, much less enjoy it.
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Old 02-03-17, 01:49 PM
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Whichever one I'm riding at the time.

In all seriousness though, I've fixed up and donated a lot of Huffy's, and I've been impressed with many of them. They also have a great website, which has made it real easy to get replacement parts when I need it.

I have a couple of Huffy Good Vibrations cruisers which are fun to "cruise" around on.

My current favorite crappy bike is an old Free Spirit commuter.
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Old 02-03-17, 02:51 PM
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Probably my Huffy Pro Thunder BMX that my mom bought for me during income tax time back in 1981. That was my version of Ralphie's Red Ryder BB gun LOL! They had it all assembled up on the wall at Pamida discount stores and it was the highest price BMX in the group. I believe it was $125 back then. With the pretty Yellow Frame and the blue pads it was a sight to be seen. I'll never forget when my mom brought that thing home to me. I was in heaven.
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Old 02-03-17, 03:13 PM
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Back in the 70s I had a Schwinn Continental. 25in frame, weighed a ton and a half. It was in pretty poor condition when it was given to me, but I had it mechanically sound in no time. Rode it to work and the beach for some time as I didn't want my good bike stolen at work, or near the salt water. Dang thing was so heavy that once when I hit some loose gravel and slid on my side I nearly wiped out a whole city block! It wasn't pretty.
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Old 02-03-17, 03:48 PM
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Earlier in the 2000s decade I was a poor college student and ordered a bright orange, cheap mass produced Bikes Direct "Motobecane" Fixed Gear Single Speed. Yeah, that's how they name them because they have a flip-flop hub. I think it was $280 new. I loved that bike and rode it for a couple years exclusively. It was a pretty crappy bike - I think the plastic bottom bracket broke a few hundred miles in, and the robust chain made a popping sound every other pedal revolution. The hubs sounded like the were packed with sand. I rode that thing into the ground until I could afford a 'real' road bike.

Bonus: I also got a donated to me by my stepdad, a Univega Sportour - 1979 I think. It is still in excellent condition today and serves as my grocery/errand/bar bike. It sucked when I found it - it had a lot of paint chips. The parts were just way worn out; the front wheel was not true and eventually split at the seam and taco'd. I eventually upgraded everything but the quill stem to modern brakes, bars, wheels and moved from 5 speed to 10 speed. I think even back in '79 it was a cheaply made touring bike - though I hear good things about Tange steel.
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Old 02-03-17, 04:10 PM
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How "crappy"? My "good" bike is a Nashbar road frame build with Claris and Sora components, which probably qualifies by roadie standards, and that would be my favorite. For actual department store level bike, that would be the GMC Denali - I have about 18,000 miles with it and enjoyed every one of them.

I have a Dawes Streetfighter fixed gear from Bikes Direct that I prefer to the Denali.
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Old 02-03-17, 04:30 PM
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I got a "Schwinn" Varsity 1200 flat "bar road bike" in about 2013 for $200 from Walmart.

Rode it commuting 2 years, including 1 season of road bike club rides...I was able to keep up.

It had tourney components, normal thread less stem, no suspension, and 28mm tires. I did have to get a new cassette put on it pretty early on cuz it was wobbly...after that rode and shifted great.
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Old 02-03-17, 04:47 PM
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The 20" J.C Higgins "Fall-A-Part" I rode in the late 50s
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Old 02-03-17, 05:23 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
So, what is your favorite junk bike and why?
I found this "junk" bike thrown out as junk and by the recycle bin in Heidelberg.

A Kynast with Sachs Pentasport 5 speed IGH with coaster brake and all standard German City bike accesories. A fine riding, good looking bicycle.
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Old 02-03-17, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I'll get back to you if and when I ever own a crappy bike.


Life's too short to own and ride crap, much less enjoy it.
Chapeau!
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Old 02-03-17, 06:17 PM
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1968 blue Murray F1 Eliminator. This was my favorite bike that I know I put hundreds and hundreds of miles on as a 14 year old. It was a single speed, banana seated, high rise handle barred demon. Got my first taste of cycle touring on this bike by strapping an army rucksack filled with water and PB&J sandwiches to the sissy bar and riding from my house to Baton Rouge, approximately 45 miles. The route included winding river roads and a ferry ride across the Mississippi. Man, I miss that bike and those days.
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Old 02-03-17, 06:37 PM
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'86 (i think) Univega Rover 5.
5 speed came with steel wheels, all steel drivetrain, steel seatpost and handlebars, and terrible brake calipers.
Everything with a nice sheen of rust.

Some changed wheels, new tires, new cables and housing, and a lot of cleaning and derusting took place.
Nothing like a pink XL 5 speed mtb frame set up as a cruiser.

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Old 02-03-17, 06:48 PM
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I got rid of my crappy bikes for a reason. Which one was memorable? None.
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Old 02-03-17, 08:00 PM
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My favorite was the Thruster that my son-in-law got on Craig's List for $40. It was too small for him so I got it do training rides when visiting. I spent 5 years riding it and looking for some maintenance to do. The wheels were true and the bearings were smooth. Keeping the front derailleur for the triple was the only challenge. I finally had to let it go to thin the herd when I got to d-1.
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Old 02-03-17, 09:18 PM
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I have a green Motobecane Kilo WT. I put some fenders on it, swapped in a 19t freewheel, left everything else stock and I've ridden the hell out of it without anything breaking on it for about three years. This may be the best $430 I've ever spent on bike stuff. Even the tires are pretty damned good.

My first road bike was a grey '85 Schwinn World Sport with foam grips. Those old lugged Schwinn bikes were pretty good for fairly cheap bikes any kid could own.
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Old 02-03-17, 09:41 PM
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I used to build department store bikes for a living. In 1983 Murrays were the worst. Very heavy out of the box. Huffy bikes were a little lighter and once in a while one had aluminum rims,but one,day some kents from China showed up. The wheels were nearly true and the frames were lugged. Ergo kents from about 1985 are mY favorite junky bikes.
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Old 02-03-17, 10:06 PM
  #19  
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Globe Carmel comfy hybrid -- the bike I started with in 2015 when I resumed cycling after a 30 year hiatus. It's heavy, with massive aluminum tubes, about 35 lbs with heavy duty puncture proof tires, rear rack, etc. Components are basic, just a step up from rock bottom Shimano -- Altus derailer, MegaRange freewheel. Long wheelbase and chain stay, takes 122 link chain. Simple Suntour spring suspension fork, probably accounts for at least 5 lbs itself.

A mechanic snorted and described it as a tarted up Huffy. Probably not far wrong.

Dang, I like that bike. It's my sofa bike. When my neck and back are aching it's really comfy. But it's not a know-nothing pillowy feel. The feel is very predictable and easy to ride on rough gravel, washboard ruts, sand and pea gravel washouts, even off road in open fields and prairie, or rolling down grassy levee slopes. Mostly it's an errand bike now and did a lot of duty before the holidays for group rides with food drive pickups for local food banks. But occasionally I still take it out for fun rides when my neck aches too much for my rigid fork mountain bike.
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Old 02-03-17, 10:09 PM
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My college housemate found an ancient bike in his family's barn and gave it to me. It was a big ball of rust, with a crooked frame made by Hercules. Single speed coaster brake, with a tire that rubbed on the chainstays but couldn't be replaced with a smaller tire because it was some weird bastard size. Bottom bracket couldn't be serviced because the cotter nuts had fallen off and someone had fixed it by peening the threaded posts over. So it was completely unserviceable, but it got me to class for several years in college and grad school, and I never locked it.

Noticing that I was a bit too proud of my crappy bike, another housemate got a horrid old Raleigh ladies bike with a Sturmey Archer permanently stuck in high gear and no brakes. He was pretty short, so a ladies size was perfect for him.

My dad felt sorry for me, and picked a 1982 Schwinn lug frame out of the trash. So the Hercules frame is long gone. The Bendix hub is still in my bin, waiting for a new crappy bike. A friend has promised me a Schwinn in unknown condition, when he gets a few more feet into his garage.
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Old 02-04-17, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
I have read numerous posts decrying this or that brand of department store bike . Over weight, poorly assembled, cheap components , etc.

Given all that, are there any junk bikes out there that are a cut above the rest?

I have rehabbed some old schwinn mountain bikes and find them, like the Mesa Runner, to be pretty good. I have noticed that not all of the cheapies have the stamped steel caliper brakes. Some have canti's and other s have V brakes which I think is an improvement. At least they can stop.

So, what is your favorite junk bike and why?

Note,

There will be a quiz at the end of class.

Cap'n Jonny
I don't remember the brand, but I bought a 15 speed mountain bike from Sears in the mid 90's. Thing was built like a tank and I think weighed as much as one as well. I was always fixing something component related on it, but I did learn some basic bike maintenance that way. Didn't put a lot of mileage on it each year, maybe 1500 miles or so, but the whole thing lasted close to 10 years before a weld cracked where the head tube met the top tube.

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Old 02-04-17, 09:44 AM
  #22  
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A Rollfast 10-speed "road" bike, my first derailleur bike. Bought brand-new in 1970 for $69. Rode it on campus for about 6 months until I felt the need for something better. Every bit of it was steel. It was heavy, rubbery, and slow, but it was better than half the bikes on campus and served a purpose. I sold it for $35. Someone promptly stole it from the new owner off the dorm bike rack.
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Old 02-04-17, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I'll get back to you if and when I ever own a crappy bike.


Life's too short to own and ride crap, much less enjoy it.
Must be nice to be born with enough money to never have to buy what you could afford. There was a time I rode an old Schwinn that was put together from two bikes I picked out of the trash just to get to work .

I have a Huffy 3 speed that is a decent bike for around town. I had a Ross Eurotour 5 speed I gave to some one to ride to work, that I miss. It was the best "around town " bike I ever had. With the front freewheel system you could shift while coasting up to a stop.
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Old 02-04-17, 10:14 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by plumberroy View Post
Must be nice to be born with enough money to never have to buy what you could afford.
Wut? Were you born with enough money to never have to buy what you couldn't afford?
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Old 02-05-17, 12:12 AM
  #25  
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It would have to be the Saint Tropez La Sport 420 10-speed I got from the local toy store way back in middle school. Coming from my BMX bike, it was my first "proper" road bike and it was another step towards adulthood. I rode that thing everywhere for several years and I felt so fast on it. I also learned to wrench on it. And friction shifters were a lazy kid's friend (no maintenance schedule—I fixed things when they broke). I'm sure it's junk, but if I ever run across one that fits, it would be hard to resist.

It looked like this one (more pics in the link), but I seem to recall mine having some gold accents. And I think the stock tires were gumwalls.

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