Re: debunking myths about walmart bikes
I recently bought a Trek 820.
A decent, but not fantastic, low-end entry level mountain bike. 320 dollars. Pretty good value and I am happy the competition from Wally has kept prices of the competition low.
I like it. Unlike other Treks it has steel frame with 36 spoke wheels and that's basically why I bought it.
Meanwhile there is the Roadmaster Granite Peak 26"... $80 dollars.
* Wheels. Probably similar
* Brakes probably similar.
* Front fork. 820 is far stronger and also has mounting points to panniers. Has quick release.
820 has stronger looking Head tube
Top tube and down tubes are similar looking
820 has stronger seat tube. The quick release for the seat is bigger, stronger.
820 seat stays and chain stays are bigger, beefier.
820 Welds are better
820 has mounting points all over. 4 on the rear drop out, 3 on the seat stay, 2 on the seat tube, 2 on the down tube. The Roadmaster only has the mounts on the down tube.
* Headset: 820's headset is much stronger.
* Handle bars/controls... break levers on both are functional looking. 820's shifters are much better. Better grips on the 820.
* 820 has better seat tube attachment.
* 820's saddle is better. Those cheap 'comfort seats' are ok for a while, but will eventually squish up into the soft parts of your butt and will cause lots of uncomfortable soreness instead of supporting the hard parts of your butt correctly.
* The crankset is probably similar on both bikes. Cheap. The Roadmaster has a guard on it, which is a good thing. Pedals on the 820 are much better. Hard to say on the bearings, but the Roadmaster is obviously going to have the cheapest possible.
* Derailleur. Both have cheap parts. 820 has extra "very low" low gear which is actually very handy.
The Wally World bike is the cheapest of the cheap. It uses outdated and inferior components in order to be so inexpensive. It's not just that it's made by the chinese, it's the cheapest the chinese can make it.
Is it going to kill you? No. Liability concerns are good enough that it has obviously adequate brakes. The frame is not terrible either. It's average and probably won't cause problems. Stronger then your average road bike.
The 820 is not a good bike either. It's painfully adequate. Trek is a average brand and 820 is their entry level offering. But it's decent and will get the job done and it's stronger and built with better components then the Wally bike.
With the Wally bike at 80 and the Trek at 320 is the Trek worth 4x the amount of the Wally bike? No, probably not. But that is not all your buying. With the 820 your getting it assembled and inspected by a real bike mechanic and no some 17 year old.
Your not going to get damaged head tube. Your not going to get shallow welds, a headset that is going to come loose after 40 miles and start wiggling and rattling. Your not going to see stripped bolts and derailleurs that are all out of adjustment. Your brakes are going to be correctly adjusted and it's going to be properly setup. Bolts are not going to fly off and go missing. These are all common problems with Wally bikes and you are spending money to avoid this. Your going to get a good warrantee and a place you can take your bike too to get fixed and worked on professionally.
So say that's a hundred bucks....
Can you spend money on upgrading the Wally bike and get something better then 820 for the same price?
NO you cannot. A fork costs a minimum of about 150-200 bucks. You'll end up with a BETTER fork then the 820, but that's just one of dozens of cheap pieces. And no matter how much money you spend on it you will always have a inferior frame.
If you are willing to drop 1K on a bicycle (ignoring the motor) you can have just as good components as if I spent 1K on my 820. The difference is that my frame will still be better.
If you want to build up a frame you can get ones for 75-150 dollars that are better then my 820 by a long shot....
Is the Wally bike horrible? No.
Is it going to kill you or break on you? All bikes break eventually, but if you keep the wally on the road and avoid potholes and accidents then it should last for a long time.
But there is are very good reasons why I shopped at a real bike store...