debunking myths about walmart bikes

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by bigbutterbean, May 28, 2011.

  1. Mike B

    Mike B New Member

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    Never be surprised at low quality China stuff - laff

    Really, what are you expecting when you spend a hundred bucks for a bike?

    Or 1 and a half for an engine kit?

    You know that up front eh?

    Just throw the crap in the trash and replace what needs replacement.
     
  2. mapbike

    mapbike Active Member

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    I've got one of the Kulana bikes and it's a very well put together bike, very nice welds through out, that is one of the reasons I bought the bike is because of how good all the welds look on it, I bought mine used last year from a fella for $50

    I guess it's like anything else, we can get a good one and we can get a bad one. I got a better one on this deal.

    Peace
     
    #42 mapbike, May 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2013
  3. mapbike

    mapbike Active Member

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    Your dead on here Mike, It's all just cheap stuff really and if someone cant afford to fix this really cheap stuff they should either save up or just find a different past time.

     
  4. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

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    Ya know, I worked for Walmart for years. I've handled most of those bikes. I know those companies produce different quality goods for Walmart than what you will find elsewhere. (Heaven help me, I still shop there sometimes.) But I won't outright say "Don't buy a Walmart bike". I will say instead "Know what you're getting and understand what you're about to do with it.

    - A Walmart Schwinn is not of comparable quality with a Felt. That's life.

    But a Walmart Schwinn can work for somebody who doesn't plan to ride across the whole nation on it. Maybe just around town, etc. As with many other things, tools of the trade, daily drivers, anything where the user grows more serious about what he uses - his tools or equipement get more serious in return.

    A shadetree mechanic like myself can't afford Snap-on. Sears Craftsman is what I can manage and it works for me. Yes, I know it's not as good as Snap-on.

    What we do to these bikes is not what they were built for. It doesn't matter who made your bike or where you bought it or how much you spent, if you are not mindful that each owner/rider has a responsibilty to himself and others to keep his ride safe. These aren't motorcycle frames here - they are bicycles. We are stessing them in different ways, and we must remain mindful of that. We must be prepared to fix what needs fixing.
     
    #44 Allen_Wrench, May 29, 2011
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  5. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    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 MB 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?
     
    #45 BarelyAWake, May 29, 2011
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  6. Mike B

    Mike B New Member

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    Yeah Baby!

    Every time I see one of these guys asking about how he can make his $300 China bike/motor combo do 45 'cause it only goes 35 now...

    I cringe.
     
  7. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    Both nicely worded. While there are different levels of use and abuse ''rider''as is materials of varying quality to aspire of. The important thing is maintained and the vigilance to keep an eye on things on all these bikes. These are still bicycles after all.:)


    I have road all my life and been on just about every cheap what ever there was. I made due with it. The important thing is to know what you got more than anything. Maintenance is a important diddy.This is why I appreciate my high end stuff even more! In the last ten years I have put together some nice rides!

    I have seen bad low end stuff in my day.

    I know about the tools issue Allen I spent my whole life buying tools as a mechanic. I was broke all the time:(
     
  8. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Active Member

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    It's not the WalMart bike that has the problem - it's that the bike isn't being assembled by an actual bike shop. It's a box bike that's being assembled by someone who is also assembling patio furniture for display on the store's floor. I've heard too many horror stories in the last 11 years of avid bike riding. The most common is undertightened and stripped out bolts and bearings put in backwards.

    As well, people think, "Oh, Schwinn - that's a good name." But it's not OLD Schwinn, it's China Schwinn, there is a difference. Compare a Grubee to a Harley, and that's the difference between new and old Schwinn.

    Though, don't get me wrong - it's not like I have a supremely awesome bike, I'm on a thrift shop bike I picked up for 20 bucks. But, I also overhauled it day one, which I would recommend to anyone who were to do the same to either a thrift shop bike or a WalMart bike. When you're going down the street at 35, you don't want to be yelling in your head at some 16 year old kid making minimum wage at walmart when bearings in your wheel, stem or cranks blow out.



    To summarize - it's not so much the quality of the bike, as the quality of work by those who are assembling the bikes at WalMart. At minimum, do a full inspection - given that you know what to look for. Though, if you know what to look for, then you'll have better peace of mind and a longer lasting bike doing a full teardown, and rebuilding from the ground up before you put a motor on it.
     
  9. Mike B

    Mike B New Member

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    If the bearings are in backwards it's the factory not the kid at wally world.

    They are pre-assembled in the box except pedals, handlebar and front wheel.
     
  10. gobigkahuna

    gobigkahuna New Member

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    The quality of "cheap" seems to have gone down over the years. When I was a kid, anything with a "Made in Japan" label on it was considered "cheap". Ten years later, any bike frame with welded instead of butted joints was considered "cheap". Now, Japanese products made during the '60's and Huffy banana bikes are considered "classics". Same seems true for Walmart products: My wife bought a Walmart bike 20 years ago and, besides being heavier than heck, it was made of reasonably good components and held up for years. By today's standards, that would probably be a $500 bike.

    By my old standards, the Walmart bike I bought for conversion is a POS. But thanks to my own economic downturn, the devaluation of the dollar and the total lack of good used bikes in my area, this was about as good I could find.
     
    #50 gobigkahuna, May 29, 2011
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  11. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    A very simple trick I have been doing for years now. When my bikes are new from the start cheap or higher end I drill about a 1/8th inch hole through the center of my hubs. This makes just like a grease cert. Sometimes I trick them out with a official grease cert threaded in sometimes I just leave the hole . With just the hole I have to butt up a rubber gasket between the grease gun and the hub of sorts. A couple of good pumps and the hub ends will squirt out old grease done deal. (^)

    I hate sitting there feeling picky about the preset end play with cone wrenches. While its not that hard to do I figure why make my life any harder! This way I set the end play up right and leave it. On some of the cheaper lower end rear hubs it would have a weak all thread axle there I would up grade that. Among my favorite slightly higher end hubs skewers type. I loved those hubs. No warping Axle ever I set the preload right those hubs ran forever with a grease gun !!

    I figured over the years on a rear hub preload set right with my grease gun I never need to fondle and stare at the bearings that set up could easily go 6000 or more miles. It always out lasted my spokes! ''Lower end set ups''.

    Front wheels always last forever..
     
  12. gobigkahuna

    gobigkahuna New Member

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  13. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    Rag joints On my Kmart entry level set up I broke a lot of spokes always on the opposite side of the joint. Once I got away from rag joints I started seeing 3000 and more than that miles wise figuring my extra hp studies with the Morini later on. Before that like about 1800 miles. But this was observed from a new all thread rear cassete set up with the Kmart Searcher. Then my spare used wheels observations were pretty consistent. ''Spoke wise''
     
  14. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    All you need is one hole to pump the grease in. This always worked perfect for me. I never got dirt in with just the one small hole. Cert Zerk yeah same thing my grammar bad sorry. lol I heard it by so many names..over the years.

    http://www.proz.com/kudoz/english_to_portuguese/mechanics_mech_engineering/2781301-grease_certs.html

    http://www.can-amforum.com/forums/can-am-outlander/16258-05-400-outlander-xt-4x4-grease-cert.html

    http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/744063-grease-certs.html

    With the coaster brake hubs I think its prolly still advised just to take those apart and clean them out. I never liked that concept I never used them. That's just me . Some folks like those and report good on them. Free wheeling cranks spoiled me.

    Then there is the internally geared hubs that were not meant to have axle grease.
     
    #54 Goat Herder, May 29, 2011
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  15. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    i've never said i visited a factory in china. i never cared that the bikes were made in china, and i don't care that they're sold at walmart. i have no loyalty when it comes to quality. i never spread any "propaganda" at all. just stated my opinion, based on my experience.

    you seem to embrace low quality products, defend them with almost a religious fervor, and use what i can only describe as reverse McCarthy-ism to bash anyone who disagrees with your position.

    i've conceded that crappy bikes are fine for the first timer, the cheap, and the lazy, yet you reply with comments implying i'm some racist, fascist, american patriot bent on destroying relations with china through slandering their abililty to produce quality bikes.

    the facts are, that there are much better bikes, more suitable for motorizing, and a greater cost, than what's available at walmart.

    the other facts are, that a lot of people shop at walmart, and it's easy enough for them to buy a bike, catfood, diapers, jeans, and some nachos all at one store.

    i'm just not one of those people.

    if you are, yay! that's the new american way!

    you keep bring up my rollfast with the cracked frame. i've already said i bought that frame for my first bike. it was a late 60's model lightweight, which at the time, was sold at department stores. it wasn't a high quality american bike, and i knew it, and never projected it as anything more. it was a starter bike, which i learned from, and progressed. nothing more, nothing less.

    the bottom line is, no matter where the cranbrooks, the new schwinns, and all the rest of those cheap bikes are manufactured or what store they're sold in, they're still low quality bikes.

    one of the reasons there's many "success" stories about them, is that there's so many of them being built. if only 15 people out of 100 have a problem with them, that looks like good odds. but compare that to 0 out of 10 worksman's breaking, or 0 out of 5 antique Colson's failing, (or even 1 out of 3 rollfast's)it's a different story.

    there's so many problems with spoke tension, flat tires, coaster brake failure, clicking, squeeking and grinding noises, cosmetic damage in shipping, poor assembly at the store, etc on the review sites for cranbrooks from people who haven't motorized one, i just find it odd that anyone would spend so much time extolling it's virtues.

    what i find even odder, is that i'm kinda drunk right now, it's almost 2 in the morning, and i'm typing out freakin arguments to someone i'll never meet, don't care what kind of bike they ride, and who'll never take my advice anyway...

    what the heck do i care if you buy a bike at walmart, anyway? knock yourself out.
     
  16. moonshiner

    moonshiner New Member

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    PASS THE POPCORN !.....dnut

    oh god what could i add to this ?

    i hate shopping at the commie mart , but yeah i have bought just about every bike i have ever owned there ,because i am poor , walmart has cut rate models made for them like all chain stores do , all bikes are crap today , its a 50 / 50 shot at getting a decent one , most of even the mid and somewhat higher priced USA models{ specialized , felt ,trek etc } are the same taiwan/china made frames that are on the higher end walmart bikes , my mother works at walmart , trust me they only sell seconds of everything,
    every bike i bought there had something wrong with it , nicks , dings ,bent and un-true rims , with all that said , the perk is the 90 day return policy , make them get you a bike in the box , put it together yourself , check the frame welds very close , and check them again every so often, plan on putting new tires, tubes , velox rim tape and truing the wheel before you hit the road ..or it hits you first LOL , and if the fames last a few of years like mine have plan on buying a new set of Mavic rims , i love my schwinn varsity i bought at walmart in 2006 , i have rode it thousands of miles, and it fits me like a glove , the factory rims were not true and couldn't be trued , i was going to buy a specialized at my only bike shop in town for $900+ , it was the same bike except for the shifters ,mavic rims, carbon fiber seat post and handle bars , i am poor so i bought the varsity for $200 and a $200 set of wheels and called it done , i have never been happier with a walmart purchase ..
     
  17. moonshiner

    moonshiner New Member

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    Now a worksman thats a heavy duty ,quality , USA made bike , worthy of the best motor ....
     
  18. oldtimer54

    oldtimer54 Member

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    #58 oldtimer54, May 29, 2011
    Last edited: May 29, 2011
  19. paul

    paul Active Member

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    Let's cool it on this thread. Number 1 rule is show all members respect. No arguments who started what or anything else. Simple request. Show each other respect
     
  20. ruppster

    ruppster Member

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    I've never seen a thread on this site so hostile. This is a bummer! Let's get back to helping people that want help and have some fun. This is just beating a dead horse
     

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