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Before you buy a cheap bike...

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Before you buy a cheap bike...

Old 02-08-08, 05:23 PM
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Before you buy a cheap bike...

Before you buy a cheap bike, consider what you are getting. Cheap components mean cheap construction, which when coupled with 25 mph, can be quite dangerous.

For my birthday this year, my girlfriend asked me what I wanted, and of course, I wanted something bike related. I have an old beater, but planned to make it a fixie, and wanted a bike to commute on (I'm not going to park a bike worth $2000 I use to race on campus just to be beat up, scratched and rained on). So, my girlfriend offered to get me a road bike I could use to commute. I told her to go cheap since performance wasn't an issue, so she bought me a Dawes Lightening off of ebay. Now, this isn't a BikesDirect blow, its actually a Shimano gripe. The Dawes is outfitted with a POS Shimano SIS group (not Sora or Tiagra). The rear derailleur, since I recieved the bike new, has been very springy, with relatively low tension provided to the chain - a very very big difference from my 2005 Shimano Ultegra derailleur and 1970's Shimano derailleur. Well, a few times now, the chain has hopped off the cogs after going over a bump (these are bumps in a road, 1" MAX!).

Today, one my commute home from school, I was cruising along, prolly about 15-20 mph, when I hit a bump in the road while not pedaling (just under an inch drop to a sewer cap). Seeing a car coming on my rear about 50 yards back, I wanted to make sure they didnt cut me off making a right turn ahead onto a popular street (happens all the time around campus, I was just riding defensively to maintain a visible position). When I go to put pressure on the pedal, there is no resistance from the chain. Being a pretty heavy foot, having no resistance was a problem, taking my body off balance, causing me to swerve about a foot to the right. My wheels hit the 8" curb, and the right pedal catches the curb. I go end over, luckily onto a sidewalk, and not out in front of the car that was fast approaching.

Now before someone says this is a bike maintenance issue, I had a similar problem as I was riding the bike into the shop to get it checked over after I put it together. Luckily I coasted to a stop light and walked the bike into the shop that time. They said it was simply the quality of the derailleur that caused the lack of tension on the chain. Anybody else have this issue?

So lesson learned: cheap derailleurs could ruin your day. Luckily I was wearing some thick jeans and a heavy coat, so road rash was minimal, but my shoes are wasted now.
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Old 02-08-08, 05:33 PM
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You know what they say: "Get rich, or die riding your POS bike to your job at McDee's"

Glad you are ok. See an exorcist about the bike.
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Old 02-08-08, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jkizzle
They said it was simply the quality of the derailleur that caused the lack of tension on the chain.
Sorry, but IMO, that explanation is bull excrement. Sounds more like they were "simply" trying to sell you a better RD.
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Old 02-08-08, 05:42 PM
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Install a better derailleur and see what that does for you.
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Old 02-08-08, 05:58 PM
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Yeah, the components spec'd on that Dawes is something in the Shimano 2200 line is even worse than Sora. Frameset is good as it's the same as the '05 Fuji Ace/Finest/Newest/League. My fiance rides a Fuji Ace frame. Get a different RD even a Sora would be better.
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Old 02-08-08, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cuski
Sorry, but IMO, that explanation is bull excrement. Sounds more like they were "simply" trying to sell you a better RD.
Ive ridden a lot of derailleurs -from campy, to all ends of the shimano lines, just havnt gotten to try a SRAM set yet-, and this one is just like the junk on my friends walmart bike. Complete garbage. It is looking like i might have to toss the idea of new race rims aside for a new group... which sucks, but oh well safety first.
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Old 02-08-08, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jkizzle
Ive ridden a lot of derailleurs -from campy, to all ends of the shimano lines, just havnt gotten to try a SRAM set yet-, and this one is just like the junk on my friends walmart bike. Complete garbage. It is looking like i might have to toss the idea of new race rims aside for a new group... which sucks, but oh well safety first.
1) Unless the RD is damaged or worn out, that line is bull****
2) It's time you start learning how to fix simple things on your own bike and gradually moving onto more complex stuff

Always relying on your LBS's mechanics for fixes is a disaster waiting to happen.

Even on low end **** bikes that come through the floor, everything should work. You should not be dropping chains anywhere (except in very rare circumstances) and everything should function good enough that the customer isn't going to die on their bike either.

With trile cranks and large rear cassettes (especially the mega-range ones). Cross chain combos like small-small will give very slack chains - and you risk dumping it, no matter how well it's adjusted. This is the kind of stuff that most LBS's will not explain to you (depending on the bike, there are a lot of catches or nuances).

If you want to take a stab at this.

First check that nothing is actually damaged, RD springs can be worn out. Then check chain length:

https://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=26
RD adjustment: https://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=64
FD adjustment: https://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75
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Old 02-08-08, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jkizzle
Ive ridden a lot of derailleurs -from campy, to all ends of the shimano lines, just havnt gotten to try a SRAM set yet-, and this one is just like the junk on my friends walmart bike. Complete garbage. It is looking like i might have to toss the idea of new race rims aside for a new group... which sucks, but oh well safety first.
If all else being somewhat decent, just find a cheap Sora or Tiagra RD and you should be ok. That said, I've got 9spd Ultegra and a carbon fork on my Fiance's Ace and it's great!

Another thought, I think it's pretty hard to dump a chain off a rear cassette especially if it's in one of the middle gears. Is the FD adjusted correctly?
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Old 02-08-08, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by huytheskigod
Another thought, I think it's pretty hard to dump a chain off a rear cassette especially if it's in one of the middle gears. Is the FD adjusted correctly?
It's not hard in any gear if your RD spring is worn.
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Old 02-08-08, 06:47 PM
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even a sora RD is not that bad at keeping the chain in tension. I had my exage RD replaced with a sora, and it was just as good.
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Old 02-08-08, 06:58 PM
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I actually contemplated buying a Dawes road bike over the past several weeks til this forum and others convinced me otherwise over the course of the last day or two. Glad I spent a few bucks more and went with a reasonably decent Trek 1000 then trying to be cheap and ending up in a position like you were in!
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Old 02-08-08, 09:28 PM
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Anti-Shill.
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Old 02-09-08, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by operator
1) Unless the RD is damaged or worn out, that line is bull****
2) It's time you start learning how to fix simple things on your own bike and gradually moving onto more complex stuff

Always relying on your LBS's mechanics for fixes is a disaster waiting to happen.

Even on low end **** bikes that come through the floor, everything should work. You should not be dropping chains anywhere (except in very rare circumstances) and everything should function good enough that the customer isn't going to die on their bike either.

With trile cranks and large rear cassettes (especially the mega-range ones). Cross chain combos like small-small will give very slack chains - and you risk dumping it, no matter how well it's adjusted. This is the kind of stuff that most LBS's will not explain to you (depending on the bike, there are a lot of catches or nuances).

If you want to take a stab at this.

First check that nothing is actually damaged, RD springs can be worn out. Then check chain length:

https://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=26
RD adjustment: https://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=64
FD adjustment: https://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=75
Well, thats the thing, I do do all my own work usually, its just that RD has been like that since I got the bike -which is why I asked, to make sure it wasnt defective, never really thought it would be a serious problem though. I understand cross chaining, and dont have a long range cassette either, the bike is only 7 months old too! It wasnt something that I did with the gearing, it simply slipped off the bike. I wouldve replaced it if the bike was a year or more older, but being as new as it is, the new part would likely do the same thing.

I just will never buy another group worse than Tiagra.
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Old 02-09-08, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by HokieHooWVU
I actually contemplated buying a Dawes road bike over the past several weeks til this forum and others convinced me otherwise over the course of the last day or two. Glad I spent a few bucks more and went with a reasonably decent Trek 1000 then trying to be cheap and ending up in a position like you were in!
Its not a matter of quality of the bike, the frame is fairly nice for as cheap as the bike was. Its the RD that really caused the problem. Just buy a Dawes with a better groupset on it.
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Old 02-09-08, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jkizzle
I just will never buy another group worse than Tiagra.
There's no technical reason to do this. Sora works. So does every other shimano group. You can't blame compatibility, adjustment issues on the derailleur itself.

Like I said, even $15 sora RDs work as they're supposed to.
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Old 02-09-08, 10:47 AM
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I had an SIS deralleur on my bike, it was a POS and the chain kept bouncing onto the chainstay. Upgraded it to tiagr and this did wonders, and also inexpensive (£20ish IIRC)
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Old 02-09-08, 10:51 AM
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Old 02-09-08, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by operator
There's no technical reason to do this. Sora works. So does every other shimano group. You can't blame compatibility, adjustment issues on the derailleur itself.

Like I said, even $15 sora RDs work as they're supposed to.
True, my $11.99 Alivio never disappoints - chain tension, gear capacity are non-issues with this inexpensive piece of metal.
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Old 02-09-08, 11:36 AM
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20 years ago- SIS deraillers were fitted to most economy bikes and not a great deal of problems came about. Have to admit that I would never fit one nowadays- but Lower end rear derailers work so not a great expense to change it.
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Old 02-09-08, 11:47 AM
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my commuter bike is worth about 50 dollars total and ive never crashed because of the quality of my bike. been riding this bike for almost 4 years. then again i dont stomp hard out of the saddle either because i kno the bike is a pos, and i dont complain when the bike mysteriously wont shift when it's >5 degrees F outside.

cheaper bikes require more work and a better understanding and experience in knowing what to look for that could possibly/will go wrong. a cheap derailler will work too. i just wouldnt rely on them to shift smoothly, and NEVER shifting under heavy torque.
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Old 10-26-08, 10:14 PM
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I bought the Dawes Lightning Sport when I was in a pinch after I crashed an old high-end Fuji, but I have no complaints except that the tape on the handlebars was a little screwed up and I had to retape it. I can definitely notice some differences between the Fuji and the Dawes quality-wise, but do not rule out buying the ebay bike when you are in a monetary low. I found it to be a real blessing and the chain, brakes, gears, etc. have been just fine. Also, I know that downtown Atlanta poses many threats to people, cars, bikes, and bums that attempt to traverse its streets are subject to as much rigor as can possibly be expected anywhere. Maybe something went wrong during the shipping, or possibly the construction (no offense).

I would still endorse the Dawes Lightning Sport... and I rely on that little thing for my livelihood.
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Old 10-27-08, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jkizzle
I just will never buy another group worse than Tiagra.
Have fun locking that up.
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