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lesson learned on cheap bike..
Very new to MTBs, needed a bike to keep up with my 4 year old and came Kmart to the rescue. Found what I thought was a great deal, a Quasar clash MTB al. frame with front sus. and everything for just $99, what a great deal!!!!! WRONG.
It was fine on paved, flat roads but when I found a MTB trail and got hooked on it, I went tru 2 of these bikes in one month. The only thing good about these cheap bikes is the big stores just refund your money back without any questions; if you live tru the ride on the cheap bike to get your money back.
Just bought a 03' model of the Trek 4300 with the 750 matrix rims and insync grind 323 fork. Still not great bike but will upgrade parts as they fail. Point is however; cheap Mart type bikes suck and will kill you. I had to learn the hard way.
Posted by Gunzilla a 32 year old Weekend Warrior riding a trek 4300 2003 model on 09/15/02

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  • Re: lesson learned on cheap bike..
    Gunzilla;

    The bicycle you purchased from a volume retailer (I believe) was not designed for stunting or extreme off-road use. Close inspection will show it has a sticker on the downtube or seat tube to that effect. There are models starting at the $200 price range that have a frame and fork assembles which can take a more aggressive riding style without failure (they carry no limitation stickers). However other components on the $200 price range machines will indeed stop working correctly owing to high impact loadings, thus will limit abuse to the frame members. If you utilized the $100 machine for companionship with your 36-month-old family member it would be very adequate for the task. I don’t believe the 36-month-old is ready for extreme sports yet, but I could be mistaken.

    The beauty of bicycling is that it’s a healthy pursuit that can shared with the entire family. Excellent cardiovascular exercise, remember heart attack is the number one killer in the United States. I fully realize at 32 years of age, the distant possibility of heart failure makes it appear as a non-issue, cycle regularly will help to keep it that way. You mention, “Cheap Mart type bikes … will kill you” please be advised that the leading cause of bicycle death in the United States is single car collisions involving (very sadly) juveniles so please take some serious time to teach your 36-month-old the hazards associated with a bicycle and “on road” use. The brutal reality is that children, not mountain bikers are by far and away at statistically highest risk of death while engaged in the sport of bicycling. I trust his mother also cycles together with you.

    If you obtain equipment from a Local Bike Shop “LBS” there is an excellent chance you’ll be able to know upfront the abilities of the machine you’re purchasing. LBS do add much value in quality assembly and adjustment, thus serve a very good purpose for the economically advantaged. Additionally, they will service minor adjustments for a period of (generally) one year without additional charge. However please realize that the Mechanics at the shop will quickly recognize the need for adjusts caused by aggressive and extreme use and will void the “without” charge because of the aforementioned (it’s in the small print of your contract with them, read it carefully prior to making purchase). LBS that advertise with a “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” do not refund your money they will simply allow exchange for equal or better (again, read the “Fine Print”).

    As with all things mechanical, Care & Service is the key to "good" operation and the more you learn the better it gets. Shimano's Service Instruction Sheet which ships with most bikes and Zimm's Mountain Bike Maintenance 3rd Edition are excellent starting points to learn how.

    There are many folks who would like to enter the world of bicycling however the price barrier to entry via LBS is a stumbling point. For the less economically advantaged purchasing an unassembled “boxed” machine is an alternative.

    Disclaimer: Please be advised that buying a bike “out of a box” isn’t for the faint at heart, nor for the naive, and could be hazardous to your personal safety.

    Nevertheless with sound basic bike maintenance skills “Boxed” Bicycles can be another avenue to bicycle ownership for those on limited incomes. Be prepared to make significant adjustments during initial setup prior to using the machine, i.e. the wheel bearings on my “boxed” bike had to be immediately overhauled owing to misadjusted (too tight with binding and grit in the races (an hour job with proper tools)). The brakes needed careful adjustment also and without Zimm’s Torque Values I could have seriously damaged the bars during installation (the Vendor did not include appropriate "Torque" values in their good, but generic instructions.) However, wheels were true, and tension was acceptable and the “Comfort Bike” drive train components were of the quality to be expected for the price.

    And please always remember, the most important component of all is the one on top of the bicycle's saddle, be certain that it’s fully functional before turning the pedals. Always wear a helmet while cycling, ride within your known abilities especially in remote terrain and never ride at night.

    Cheers; Hope

    Posted by Hope a Cross-Country from Northern Virginia, USA on 09/15/02

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    • Re: lesson learned on cheap bike..
      Last summer I purchased a Mongoose bike from Sports Authority. Its fully suspended and is quite a comfortable ride. I am new to the mountain bike scene, so I may possess some naievity when it comes to the apparent "bike standard". I have finally gone out on a beginner trail, going over logs (appx 1 ft high or so), etc. The bike that I am riding, I got at the end of the season for appx $120. When I went out, I did go with some very experienced riders, who have worked in the bike industry for about 11 years. They totally inspected my bike and all, and found that it is actually a VERY GOOD bike. There are no warnings, aside from "always wear a helmet", marked along my bike about not doing extreme stuff. So, dont always knock the less expensive bikes. Some of us just getting into the sport cant afford to sink $5000 into a bike.
      Posted by Vader a 29 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Mongoose from DC on 09/23/02

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      • Re: lesson learned on cheap bike..
        As i said, I am new also. Did some research after the cheap bike failed on me. I went with the Trek 4300 for the ease of upgrade and the service the local bike shop can give. Bike cost $320, not 5k. Just thought the lesson I learned would help someone out. When you are new and know nothing about bikes but looks, the Mart type bikes look good. I feel that they should say on them; do not ride off road; if they are not meant for it as one guy said. Good luck on the Mongoose. Keep the tires on the ground and avoid bumpy roads and it should last a few years.
        Posted by Gunzilla on 10/01/02

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  • Re: lesson learned on cheap bike..
    OK - help guys ! I just had my 7 year old GT all terra mountain bike stolen and I'm looking to replace it. Between hard tails and soft tails I've no idea even where to start looking and I certainly cannot afford to either break my neck on a cheap crappy bike or have the bike fall to pieces on me.
    I live in the outback on a small Caribbean island and go riding on our dirt roads and trails most weekends (when I have a bike that is !)I'm pretty fit and the trails are rough but I have absolutely no intention of jumping logs and ditches or doing competition type things.
    I'm looking for something wellmade and robust and I really don't mind paying good money if I'm getting a good bike.
    Do you have any suggestions for me ???
    I'd be really grateful for any advice.
    Posted by Kalli a 42 year old Weekend Warrior riding a !!! from Bonaire, Caribbean on 09/24/02

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    • Re: lesson learned on cheap bike..
      Depends on your price point really.

      Personally I've got a thing for konas. The lava dome is an excellent steel hard tail mtb ($650). Same price is a Fisher Tassarra which also is a quality bike.

      Currently I'm riding a 2003 Boulder SE, aluminum frame, decent ;) parts and a different wheelset. For $325 with the new wheels it does its job as a campus commuter, weekend beater and I can't complain.

      If you want a soft tail you may want to consider a santa cruz, superlight weighs in at 24lbs and can be fitted with any components you'd like, but $$$$.
      Posted by Leadfootedfool a 21 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Gary Fast City and Giant Boulder SE on 10/01/02

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