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How to spot a department store bike

Old 04-06-17, 02:50 PM
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Chadden
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How to spot a department store bike

This is something that frustrates me, when I'm buying a bike that a person claims they bought from a bike shop, but it turns out to be a Walmart bike worth about $20. (Problem I have with Schwinn a lot, obviously Huffy and Mongoose don't apply here lol)

Side question, is this a Walmart Schwinn or a decent Schwinn? It looks like a Walmart Schwinn, but it comes with a Trek I'm buying, so I figured I could flip it for a couple bucks.
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Old 04-06-17, 03:36 PM
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Maelochs
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Well ... you might ... find out the name or model, or list the parts ... you might even look for the serial number and check online.

No idea if its a good bike but for the purposes of identification its a lousy picture.
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Old 04-06-17, 03:48 PM
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If it has a sticker that says "Shimano Equipped" it's likely from X-Mart.
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Old 04-06-17, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Well ... you might ... find out the name or model, or list the parts ... you might even look for the serial number and check online.

No idea if its a good bike but for the purposes of identification its a lousy picture.
The only picture I have and he has no idea what model it is.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:01 PM
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Dunno, has more alloy parts than your average Big Box Bike.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:09 PM
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It's a dime-store Schwinn.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:10 PM
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Looking at a Schwinn off the site, this one doesn't have that funky bar going from the top tube to the seat tube like the OP picture. Neither do the Walmart models on their site but really, they all look cheap and I would not pay $20 for any of them.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:10 PM
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It's not the channel it was sold through, but that actual quality that should concern you. If you're going to play the flip game you have to learn about components and to an extent frames.

So, look at the derailleurs, brakes, and crankset. types of things to look for include;

are the front and rear derailleurs from the same group?
are the chainrings bolted to the crank and replaceable, or riveted.
is the right crank one piece with the spider, or two pieces fastened together
are the hubs from Shimano, or some generic alternaives.
are the spokes stainless
do the brakes look decent, rigid at the pivot, with spring balancers
if you see what seems to be a crappy suspension fork on a relatively low end bike, odds are it's a big box bike.

Those are the kinds of things you have to train yourself to look for. Then it pays to know bikes in general and what's been selling at the big box, and what's in bike shops. Even with good background knowledge, you won't exact matches in either category, but you will see commonalities that should give you the answer.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:15 PM
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It's a gamble .... not one I'd take. But ... are you buying the Trek sight unseen? If you have looked at the Trek, could you not look at the Schwinn?

And if the paint is okay and the tires aren't dry-rotted, Craigslist it for $60 obo, and .... gamble.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:16 PM
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Here is how you can tell.

Schwinn makes two lines of bikes. Their "Signature" series is their Local Bike Shop line. Those are the top quality bikes made with a lot of alloy, high quality materials and names that are historical such as "typhoon" as an example.

You can simply view them at the Schwinn website cause thats all they really show. Anything else is sold thru department stores. They make multiple non consistent name styles with different combinations. Some Schwinn you can only buy thru Sears, others target, walmart etc....
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Old 04-06-17, 04:29 PM
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Apparently it's a Target bike from the last decade. It's probably not the worst example of that breed.

2006 Schwinn SX-2000

Confusingly, this model name was previously used on BMX
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Old 04-06-17, 04:44 PM
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I work on the theory that all bikes sold though ads like Craigslist are department store bikes and act accordingly. I personally would rather buy the most basic bike shop bike at a bike shop as I know things like bearings etc are a higher quality and will run more than 100km. I know many cannot do this though.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:19 PM
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By the way, Pacific Cycles treats Mongoose just like Schwinn with 2 different lines. I just missed out on a Craigslist argus expert being sold as if it were a lowly box store dolomite. Learn your component levels and you will have a pretty good clue of bike quality if you can't do an internet search.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeTim View Post
Looking at a Schwinn off the site, this one doesn't have that funky bar going from the top tube to the seat tube like the OP picture. Neither do the Walmart models on their site but really, they all look cheap and I would not pay $20 for any of them.
Signature Line Schwinn is exclusive to LBS. They're high quality. I happen to have one.

BBS Schwinn isn't SL and is sold only through the mass market channel.
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Old 04-06-17, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
It's a gamble .... not one I'd take. But ... are you buying the Trek sight unseen? If you have looked at the Trek, could you not look at the Schwinn?

And if the paint is okay and the tires aren't dry-rotted, Craigslist it for $60 obo, and .... gamble.
He has sent me like a dozen pictures of the trek at request, like I said, the Schwinn is just included in the bundle and he was adamant that he needed to sell them both. Will probably give it to my sister who is movingly to Boston.
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Old 04-06-17, 06:55 PM
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Old 04-06-17, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chadden View Post
He has sent me like a dozen pictures of the trek at request, like I said, the Schwinn is just included in the bundle and he was adamant that he needed to sell them both. Will probably give it to my sister who is movingly to Boston.
The brand name Trek is by itself no guarantee of high quality. The least expensive Treks are not a whole lot better than many department store bikes. What they do have going for them when you buy one is better assembly and dealer support
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Old 04-06-17, 09:53 PM
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I dunno what the NH market is like, but in Detroit, if you had it in rideable condition, you could get $50-75 out of it without much issue, probably $100, if you were patient.

That said, I'd think you are stretching it going much beyond that in any market. Those are the type of bikes you can find something similar enough all day new for $150. If it is a toss in with a fair market Trek, consider it a bonus, if the Trek price reflects the value of the "add on", I'd pass.
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Old 04-07-17, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by blue192 View Post
I work on the theory that all bikes sold though ads like Craigslist are department store bikes and act accordingly. I personally would rather buy the most basic bike shop bike at a bike shop as I know things like bearings etc are a higher quality and will run more than 100km. I know many cannot do this though.
Keep doing that so that we who put even minimal effort into research wont have to compete with you for fantastic quality finds.
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Old 04-07-17, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
I dunno what the NH market is like, but in Detroit, if you had it in rideable condition, you could get $50-75 out of it without much issue, probably $100, if you were patient.

That said, I'd think you are stretching it going much beyond that in any market. Those are the type of bikes you can find something similar enough all day new for $150. If it is a toss in with a fair market Trek, consider it a bonus, if the Trek price reflects the value of the "add on", I'd pass.
I live just outside of UNH, so bikes that are cheap go rather quick
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Old 04-07-17, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
The brand name Trek is by itself no guarantee of high quality. The least expensive Treks are not a whole lot better than many department store bikes. What they do have going for them when you buy one is better assembly and dealer support
I forget which Trek it is now, but according to the blue book they are worth $150-$200 once I fix the shifter (only visible part of the bike that is broken

Also, my sister offered to buy the bike rack it comes with because I dont need it
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Old 04-07-17, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Chadden View Post
I live just outside of UNH, so bikes that are cheap go rather quick
Yeah, that should go. College students (for many good reasons) generally aren't looking at quality, simply will it function for the year.

Originally Posted by Chadden View Post
I forget which Trek it is now, but according to the blue book they are worth $150-$200 once I fix the shifter (only visible part of the bike that is broken
I wouldn't put too much faith in BBB. It has little relevance to reality, at least around me. It seems to simply use a mathematical deprecation model based on MSRP and age, rather than actual prices bikes in a certain area are selling at.
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Old 04-07-17, 07:19 AM
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Ok, but here's everything I know about the bundle

For $100, I get:

-a 2013 Trek 820 with no visible rust, good cables, but has a broken shifter.
-a 2006 Schwinn xx2000, don't know if it has any problems but my sister
-an unknown trunk bike rack, may just sell it to my sister with the other bike because I have a better bike rack


I feel as though it's a fair deal, I could potentially make $75-$100 on the stuff I don't need, so $0-$25 for that trek seems fair to me
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Old 04-07-17, 08:10 AM
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As has been mentioned above...

Definitely a wal-mart bike for a few reasons.

Bolt on axles
Crappy front "suspension" fork
Already yellowed dork disk
Stickers stating "L" and "R" on the crank arms (for the idiot wal-mart assemblers.)
Crappy grip-shifters

In perfect working/pretty condition, you could probably get $75 out of the bike, but you'll more than likely get $50 out of it, provided it works.

You will RARELY see a modern schwinn that's not a wal-mart bike. Yes, I know they have their signature line, but even working at a bike shop for 3 years I've never seen one in person. So, if the bike is a modern schwinn, it's probably crap.
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Old 04-07-17, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
As has been mentioned above...

Definitely a wal-mart bike for a few reasons.

Bolt on axles
Crappy front "suspension" fork
Already yellowed dork disk
Stickers stating "L" and "R" on the crank arms (for the idiot wal-mart assemblers.)
Crappy grip-shifters

In perfect working/pretty condition, you could probably get $75 out of the bike, but you'll more than likely get $50 out of it, provided it works.

You will RARELY see a modern schwinn that's not a wal-mart bike. Yes, I know they have their signature line, but even working at a bike shop for 3 years I've never seen one in person. So, if the bike is a modern schwinn, it's probably crap.
I actually own one, they're ok, but I still prefer Felt
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