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Need new bikes - Trek vs Schwinn

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Need new bikes - Trek vs Schwinn

Old 05-27-17, 06:45 PM
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jcwillia1
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Need new bikes - Trek vs Schwinn

We took our two kids' bikes to the local trek shop for checkups and came home with a $400 estimate for repairs. So we need new bikes.

Why would I spend $320 on a Trek 820 vs $150 on a Schwinn Sidewinder.

These bikes are going to be used for local riding, probably taken to college and the occasional paved ride on local paved trails.

I have a very nice trek that my dad gave me but I wouldn't call myself a bike enthusiast.
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Old 05-27-17, 07:16 PM
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For starters, the Schwinn Sidewinder is a department store (read: walmart) bike. The Trek isn't. In fact, you won't even find the Sidewinder on Schwinn's website. The Trek is almost certainly a better quality bike in every way. Additionally, that Sidewinder will be assembled by a sales associate. The Trek will be assembled by someone experienced bicycle mechanic. That alone is worth at least some of the additional cost.

FYI Schwinn has 2 separate lines: the department store line, and their "signature" series, only available at authorized dealers. The Schwinn Frontier is likely comparable to the Trek 820 as MSRP is $330.

Last edited by gbru316; 05-27-17 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 05-28-17, 08:05 AM
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as bad as this sounds I need to buy 3 bikes and I'm not in to pay $1000. I'm just not.

I've been burned too many times buying bikes off CL, so I'm not going that route anymore.

I'll take a chance on WM.
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Old 05-29-17, 07:32 AM
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I feel like bikes are a lot like musical instruments and tools. Better quality often equates to easier use and better results. But money matters and I love that you placed that on the table right up front. Given that. Find the best quality you can for what you're willing to spend. The Sidewinder has a 4.1 and 4.2 rating out 5 on Amazon and Walmart.com. When i scanned the reviews, a lot of the negatives dealt with poor quality/setup right from the start. So check it out before you even leave the store.

My wife and I were avid riders years ago and recently got back into it two years ago with Trek DS 8.3s. Our now 9 year old showed interest and when we went to a geared bike for him, we spent a whopping $49 for a box store bike that regularly sold for $79. A friend of his got the same bike. In the last 5 months, our son has put several hundred miles on his bike and the wear is starting to show. While it's sized to last him for the next 4 years - it won't last the year. We will spend the money for a quality bike to replace it within the year. His friend has put about 10 miles on his bike in the same time. It still looks brand new. There is no need for his parents to ever replace it (other than him growing out of it). I feel the money was well spent. We know he'll get value out of a better bike and we'll feel confident spending the money for it. Same for his friend (and his parents) - the cheap bike was money well spent - because they know he's not into riding.

Some would argue that if his friend's parents had gotten a better bike, he might have liked it better. They don't have the money to run that experiment. Others will say that if you get a good bike, you can resell it later for more - but that's not your plan.

All of this to say, check out the box store bikes. Ride them in the parking lot if they'll let you (we did). Put them through all the gears. And don't be afraid to say that you like a particular model, but not the one in hand (we did). Our son rode 3 different bikes of the same model before we bought.

Just my thoughts...worth exactly what you paid for them! :-)
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Old 05-29-17, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jcwillia1 View Post
as bad as this sounds I need to buy 3 bikes and I'm not in to pay $1000. I'm just not.

I've been burned too many times buying bikes off CL, so I'm not going that route anymore.

I'll take a chance on WM.
When it comes to my kid's safety, I am willing to pay a little more. And besides, the $150 Wal Mart special are poor quality disposable bikes that will never be enjoyable to ride. I appreciate that you have a budget, but Wal Mart isn't the way to go. I only have one kid, but this is the history of two wheeled bikes.

1. First bike. Diamondback single speed, purchased at a local bike shop.
2. First geared bike. Raleigh Rowdy. 7 speed mountain style bike. About $250, purchased from a local bike shop. Sold it for around $100 4 years later
3. First adult sized bike. Used Trek 800. Purchased from a local bike shop, almost like new, about $225. This bike ran like a top and when I sold it for around $125 3 years later, it was still in almost perfect shape.
4. Used Bianchi hybrid. Free, as it was my bike for 15 years.
5. Schwinn Moab mountain bike, purchased for about $150 from a local shop. This Schwinn was not a Wal Mart piece of junk, but rather was in its time sold for $1,000 retail. Bought it so my son could ride on local single track.
6. Used Gitane road bike, purchased locally for $225 plus trading in the Schwinn Moab. Since my son outgrew the Bianchi, he needed a bike for riding around local streets, and this happened to fit the bill.

Notice a pattern? If you buy quality used bikes, you can sell them and get some of your money back. Spend $450 on 3 junky Wal Mart bikes and you might as well be flushing your money down the toilet.
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Old 05-29-17, 10:56 PM
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What are the old bikes?

If they are decent, spending $400 on repairs is probably better spent than $350 or $400 on low end bikes. Just because they need repairs doesn't mean you should pitch them.

You may be able to talk them down a little on repairs, ask if they have any used parts on hand that would work, etc.

Or the kids could take a bike maintenance 101 class, depending on what needs doing, they may be able to cut into that bill this time and next.

Last edited by Viich; 05-29-17 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-30-17, 05:15 PM
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I have to second kbarj. Determine your kid's level of riding first and go from there. Not riding that much? Box store bike will fine as long as you verify it was assembled properly. My experience with box store bikes has been good, even with the amount of riding I did years ago. Bought a Schwinn from Target in 2003 and it's still in service today as my son's bike. Has different shifters (I dont like grip shifters) and all the wear parts (tires, brakes, cables, chain) have been replaced over the years, but overall it's still in really good shape and I'd be happy to take it back as my commuter again.

Second option is name brand used bikes on CL. Avoid "barn finds" unless you can do the work yourself. A top end Trek wont do you much good if it spent the last five years on the back porch.

Third option is to fix the bikes you have. Sometimes it really is the best option as you then know that everything will work for a few years (assuming you have a good bike shop) versus gambling on the unknown lemon new bike or a used bike that could end up needed repairs anyways.
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Old 05-31-17, 08:06 AM
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+1 !) Schwinn has sold its brand name to be applied to mass market ,big box stores,
Who have no service department, and rarely have anyone that is a trained bike mechanic. downgraded.

Trek is still sold thru Professional Bike Shops. and are going to be properly assembled,

adjusted, test ridden before put on display for selling, + you get service after the sale.





....

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-31-17 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 05-31-17, 08:14 PM
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you can totally find some decent bikes under $100 on CL or Facebook Market
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Old 06-05-17, 08:22 AM
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every family is different. do your kids have bank accounts? can they pay for their own bikes? are these gifts for birthdays? did they abuse their current bikes? will they abuse their next bikes? are they full sized yet or will they need the next size up in 2 years? then what, new bikes again?

craigslist has been my friend all thru my kids' cycling lives, even for adult sized bikes

no shame in a brand new Schwinn bike, but might want to have your local bike shop give it the once-over for safety sake. no shame in buying your bike at a big box store & going to a local bike shop for support. if they give you attitude, go to another bike shop
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Old 06-07-17, 08:24 AM
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@jcwillia1, if you are willing to share, I'm curious to know the nature of the $400's worth of repairs on your current bikes. That sounds like a lot of money.
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Old 06-08-17, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jcwillia1 View Post
We took our two kids' bikes to the local trek shop for checkups and came home with a $400 estimate for repairs. So we need new bikes.

Why would I spend $320 on a Trek 820 vs $150 on a Schwinn Sidewinder.

These bikes are going to be used for local riding, probably taken to college and the occasional paved ride on local paved trails.

I have a very nice trek that my dad gave me but I wouldn't call myself a bike enthusiast.
I'd still encourage you to consider the used bike route. If the current bikes are low end and not worth putting $200 apiece into, then you can find some very good used bikes in the $200 range that will outlast and outperform the WalMart special 10x over. If you have access to a reputable bike shop ask if they have had any trade-ins. When my wife and I started riding again, I started with two 1990s Treks, an 820 and an 830. The 820 that my wife rides was and is pristine. The 830 was in good to excellent mechanical condition and fair cosmetic shape. They cost me $100 each and I put another $60 or so into each for commuter tires and a couple odds and ends. As the bikes were trade-ins at the LBS, they had been serviced and inspected and were good for many miles before they required any more than routine maintenance (we're talking more than 1,000 miles before they even needed tires).

If you have any cycling savy friends, take one along if you do a CL or other owner-to-owner sale. Last summer I bought a 1990s Trek 720 in good condition for $80 from a gentleman who had bought his first new bike in 20+ years and didn't have room to keep both. The tires were on their last few miles but the rest of the bike was used but well maintained and would have been fine as-is for years to come (I bought the bike for the frame but the components went onto an older frame I had and that bike is still serving as a daily commuter for the son of a friend).

The only advantage I see in buying a WalMart bike is that it won't be much of a target for thieves when your kids go to college and, if they are stolen, you can take comfort in knowing that they were disposable bikes in the first place.
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Old 06-11-17, 08:53 PM
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I think the op took off long ago after deciding to go Walmart.

If the op is still around and bought the Schwinns, I'd take the bikes needing repairs off your hands if you're near Ottawa.
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