View Single Post
Old 05-29-2011, 01:08 AM
BarelyAWake's Avatar
BarelyAWake BarelyAWake is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Maine
Posts: 7,212
Default Re: debunking myths about walmart bikes

After reading this thread I'm at a loss... I mean... what "myths" are there that could possibly be debunked? What is there to debate?

If good enough is good enough than so be it, but better will always be better, right?

The above sentence is so self-evident I felt a lil stupid typing it, yet somehow I felt it necessary after reading this thread. Sure, you can build a motorized bicycle out of the cheapest bike available if that's what you wish, heck - it's obvious it's worked well enough for many folks as w/o any doubt whatsoever the Huffy Cranbrook is the most popular platform for motorizing, period...

...but that doesn't mean it's a good bike, just that it may be a good enough bike. It's not insulting, snobbery, elitism, nor even mindless patriotism to say that box store bikes are low quality - it's a redundant statement of the obvious.

Don't get me wrong, I have a motorized wallyworld Schwinn. Like so many others I wanted to give the Chinese motor kits a try and as it was apparent they were of exceptionally low quality themselves it's be just plain silly go go get a brand new three thousand dollar "top shelf" bike to stick it on - and ya know what? roughly 9000 miles later it's still my most faithful build, the crazy thing jus' keeps on truckin'...

However I wouldn't for a second even dream of saying it's good bike - if I did I'd be lying to myself as well as doing everyone considering motorizing a disservice, it's a total piece of junk. The "alloy" rims are made of recycled marshmallows prone to bending at the slightest side load, the derailleurs have not or will ever work correctly as the shifters' indexing doesn't match making them impossible to adjust properly, the brakes suffer a similar issue as the arm tensioners are so cheesy as to be an afterthought resulting in a pad dragging no matter what you do, the bottom bracket & pedal cranks get floppy so quickly after adjustment that I've long ago stopped bothering, the wheel bearings only survive because of my obsessive attention, and each and every bit of so called "chrome" on the thing rusted out the first season I had it. Oh right, the front "shocks"? ....ROFLMAO is all I have to say about 'em

Was it worth the $200 I spent? Absolutely, I've gotten so much more than my money's worth even including repairs I've no real regrets, I did know after all that this was a just a disposable experiment. Would I call it a "good" bike, recommend it to others or even just buy another?

No way in heck.

It was a "test platform" no more, no less and I've learned what I needed to know & that is - motorbicycling is awesome & if all you want is to experiment with a weekend toy, box store bikes are fine. Yes, fine - it's a "false economy" purchase in the long run, but that's irrelevant if you're just after the lols. Yet if ya wanna ride "for real" you'd better choose carefully because at the speeds these things go not only is there an inherent danger, you can rack up more miles in a single weekend than many other identical bikes will see in a lifetime.

That's where it gets decidedly hinky, it's repairs and upgrades. You'll note I didn't buy the $80 Roadmaster nor even the $100-something Cranbrook, I wasn't shopping for the lowest price, I was looking for the strongest frame for the least money, paying close attention to welds & construction & frankly, what I saw on some other bikes was horrifying... so I picked the Schwinn for it's gorgeous welds & frame gussets figuring everything else was easily replaceable...

...and that's where it gets ya.

After learning that I did indeed greatly enjoy motorbicycling, that in fact the cheap engine kits could be made reliable enough for daily commuting I decided I'd build another, from scratch this time - and the very first thing I did was spend more on my wheelset alone than my entire first build cost - bike, motor, accessories - everything. Which means that if you try and save a buck by buying the cheapest bike available figuring you'll "upgrade" later, you will spend more than the entire bike's initial price in short order, my Schwinn's repairs alone have more than doubled the initial purchase price even with inexpensive stock parts purchased in the cheapest fashion possible. Actual quality bicycle parts aren't cheap - in fact I'd go so far as to say they're grossly overpriced in many cases, most definitely if you jus' wander into your local bike shop for the sake of convenience.

If you want to build a truly quality bike on a budget, you're gonna hafta work for it plain and simple. You're gonna hafta hunt around & do your research, you're gonna hafta build some stuff yourself and that means you're probably gonna hafta be a lil patient and even perhaps learn some stuff along the way. A somewhat unpalatable concept in today's instant gratification disposable culture, I understand that.

Still, there is a "cheap" bike that I would recommend to any aspiring MBer, one that doesn't require all of the hunting around for discounted parts or buying a used high end bike to recondition - there is a bike that's actually worth more than the asking price in parts alone, one worth any upgrades you'd care to bolt to it and you could ride with confidence. No, it's not $80, $100, or even the $200 I spent on my Schwinn - yes, it's a bit over $300 yet w/o a doubt worth every cent;

Industrial Bicycles from Worksman Cycles

and I tell ya what, I feel the fool for not knowing about it before I bought that wallyworld Schwinn thing - but hey, live and learn & that's what it and this forum is about right?

Last edited by BarelyAWake; 05-29-2011 at 01:39 AM.
Reply With Quote