Disposable Bikes

Bikes are not toys. They are fun, but are not toys.

The purpose of this article is to warn readers of the dangers of buying “cheaper” bikes. There are certainly many differences between big-box store bikes and bike shop bikes. Many people often assume the difference is just price and that “a bike is a bike.” In some situations, these lower-quality bikes are sufficient to meet your needs. Compare Mercedes to Hyundai, diamonds to cubic zirconium, Nike to Payless. You do get what you pay for with bikes.

Issue Big-Box Store Bike Shop
Assembly You or a Cereal Stocker? Experienced bike mechanics
Comfort New saddles and grips can be purchased Bikes are made with comfort in mind. Trade-ins are often an option on saddles and other parts
Warranty Possibly return or exchange Manufacturers that will guarantee their parts will work for at least 1 year
Sizing Good luck Proper fitting by professionals
Post Sale Service Included Tune Ups after purchase(We have Infinite Lifetime Service)
What do customers say about these cheaper bikes?

Actual customer reviews from Walmart.com, not changed in any way (don’t mind the grammar)

The bike is alright. You get what you pay for. The only issue I experienced is the need for a bike tune up. In this case costed 40 dollars on-top of the cost of the bike. I had no choice both wheels were bent and the braking system was beyond my understanding. But oh well.

My 14 year old son likes this bike, but the first time he rode it, the chain guard broke off. I am concerned what the quality will be like over time.

I didn’t get out of the wal mart parking lot with this bike, after riding it for 2 minutes I knew I was absolutely not going to be able to make use of it as a light commuter bike. The whole thing had a very wobbly, plasticy feel to it. The pedals are made of cheep plastic that feel as though they might easily shatter, much like twist shifter. The handlebars were far too narrow, and being only average height of 5′ 8″ I still had to put the seat as high as it would go. This bike is just heavy and ugly and wobbly and cheap. It is as its price speaks, a toy.

This bike came broken! After my local store put it together, I got home and the brakes were broken, lines crimped, wires poking out….I returned the bike for another just like it and it had bent rims and faulty brakes as well. The bike assembler said that they have had to order all new rims and brake lines for these brands of bikes. I was told that just about every one purchased was returned!

I bought this product 3 weeks back and I am not happy with it. The product is endorsed with 18 speed levels but unfortunately it can be changed to 3 levels only. The breaks are touching the wheels so I had to remove the breaks so that I can ride.

Not at all happy with product.

I made the mistake of ordering this bike over the Internet for pickup at the store. Didn’t realize I was buying a kit rather than a bicycle. Didn’t want to become a bicycle mechanic but tried to assemble it anyway. Instruction manual is lousy. It’s a generic manual for several different bicycles and is rather cryptic.

Some parts seem to be missing and there are some other parts that don’t seem to go with this bike. Couldn’t find anything in the manual about them.
I’m going to return it to the store.

Although this bike is priced very low, it is difficult to peddle on either smooth or off road surfaces. The gears tend to slip if you peddle hard. The left handled gear shifter has some slip in it, for instance when you turn the shifter to gear “3” it will not shift into gear “3”. You basically need to turn the shifter well past 3 to get the gear to change. Even after you mange to change the gear, the shift handle is lose. The seat is probably the most unconfertable that I have ever had on any bike that I’ve owned. I think you may be better off to spend a little more money and get something alot better quality.

My wife bought this bike as a gift for my 60th birthday. With all the gears… 18 of them…she thought it would be an excellent workout bike for me. She bought it preassembled since it was a surprise gift.
This bike has turned out to be an absolute disaster. I have had it four weeks and have only been able to ride three times due to component failures. First thing was a front tire blow out because rubber protection that goes over the ends of the spoke heads inside the wheel rim was not properly installed, causing a spoke head to puncture the tube so severely it had to be replaced. Also, the gear changer at the pedal sprocket will not function correctly, and now the breaks are messing up. All this and it has only been ridden 3 or 4 times. Now, the bike is starting to rust.

One more thing…this bike is incredibly heavy for its size. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and a strong desire to fix things, don’t waste your money on this bike!

Yes, the price is good and the bike LOOKS nice, but…it is very poorly made. My husband couldn’t get the gears to change and he did not feel comfortable riding this bike. I am returning it to the store tomorrow!

I am 6’1″ and it was my fault for purchasing this bike without making sure it’ll fit me. It was too small for me and when i took it to the bike shop to have it adjusted, they laughed at me and said I should return it. They said they couldn’t get that to fit me and that it’s not worth 150 bucks since a lot of people bring those and end up spending another 150 to fix them after they break down. If it fits you perfectly, it may be a good entry bike. But I hated the way the brakes and gears are. You have to keep on changing your hand position. Chain got derailed on my first ride. I’m gonna save up and buy a $500 entry level bike. Good luck. By the way, it’s a very good looking bike!

This Bike fell apart and is now laying in the backyard nearly brand new Handle bars are broke tires flat. Its a peice of junk.

This bike was a big disappointment under the Christmas tree. The wheels were bowed and the brakes were impossible to adjust properly. I will be returning it as soon as I get a chance!!
I was looking for a nice but inexpensive new mountain bike. I saw this one online and thought it would be great. When it was delivered the box was ripped and banged up. I then came to find when my boyfriend and I tried to put it together we were missing parts to contect the handle bars to the shaft for the front tire. Also the gears would not shift on the handle bars. Finally when I decided to move the bike into the garage for the night to see if we could find the missing pieces in the box the back tire seemed to rub against the bike frame. I will be returning this item back to the store tonight and getting a new one. This is very upseting as I am to leave for a day trip to erie to go biking tomorrow.

This bike seemed to be assembled poorly and make a lot of creeking noises and the chain fell off while riding. I ended up returning it.

This bike did not last us for more than 30 days of typical use, on a local bike trail. Front and rear deraileurs shift awkwardly before and after adjustments. Gear box gaurd cracked off after an unsucessful shift of the rear deraileur. Exposed one time to a brief rain shower and all the bolts to the front fork as well as chain and gear assembly shown areas of rust 3 days later. Later, we noticed the rear wheel whobbling at the spindle!
Do yourself a favor and avoid Next brand bikes and invest in a Huffy or other name-brand!

I got this bike to be able to get into shape. I wanted a bike that was just simple. This bike was not the one for me. The gears were all messed up, the lower smaller gear is made of plastic and with the metal chain it was not a good combination. The chain would always skip. My fiance is familar with bikes and did all the adjusting he could and the problem would not go away. I think this bike was made very cheap and it shows when you get it home. I am returning this bike and will be looking for a little bit better quality one.

This bike does not shift well. The gearing system is on the handle bars and requires that you roll a dial. Well the dial needs two hands to operate……Not real handy!

Quality

Frequently customers come into our store and are shocked at the price tag on some of the high-end bikes. Not everyone needs a $5,000 bike. Not everyone needs a $500 bike. Still, everyone needs a bike they can count on.

The difference is in the details. The brakes on the cheaper bikes are simply stamped steel that will bend and warp. Brake levers and shifters are often entirely made of plastic. What happens when you pull the brakes too hard? Wheels are made of thin steel will bend easily. The frame is often stamped together rather than welded at critical stress points. Parts cannot easily be replaced when they break or wear out. More about that under compatibility.

There is essentially no warranty on cheap bikes either. When something goes wrong, there is nothing the store can do. You can bring it to a bike shop to be fixed, but it will cost more money.

Shimano is a name brand for bike components (or parts). You’ll usually see a big sticker on these bikes saying “Shimano Equipped!” but what they don’t tell you is there are over a dozen different quality/performance levels of Shimano parts. Remember, these bikes are made to hit a low price and will cut corners in critical places. Yes the derailleurs may be Shimano, but what kind of wheels or brakes are on it?

Safety

Bikes for you or your children ought to be safe. The most important factor to safety is proper assembly. At a bike shop, experienced mechanics assemble and adjust your bike using bicycle specific tools. At the big-box stores, the bike assembly might be left up to you (or may have been done by a cereal stocker)! Major mechanical problems come from poor assembly. If a part is not properly tightened, it will wear itself out from normal riding very quickly or might even come off! Most bike shops will charge $60 or more to assemble a bike from a box. That assembly charge is included with every bike shop bike.

Comfort

One of the recurring themes throughout the reviews is the lack of comfort in the grips and saddle specifically. You can be sure that every bike shop bike will be comfortable when properly adjusted.

Bikes come in many sizes, not just 16″, 20″, 26″, etc. Those are the wheel sizes. The frame of the bike comes in different sizes to fit you. If you have to reach too far or your knees hit the handlebars, your bike doesn’t fit right, you won’t be comfortable, and you probably won’t ride it.

Bike shop bikes come in many sizes, not just a one-size-fits-all approach. A bike too big or small will be difficult to maneuver, pedal, or get on or off.

Durability

Honestly, if the bike won’t get ridden, any bike will be fine. If it is meant to be ridden, you’ll find that the big-box bikes are not going to last. That’s why this article is called Disposable bikes. We see these bikes either wear themselves out very prematurely or never work quite right from day one. The most common problems are wheels and brakes. Axles that don’t turn freely will grind the hub apart. Rims bend easily and don’t go back true (straight) again and often need to be replaced. Brakes that constantly rub or are difficult to pull put extra stress on the entire brake/wheel system causing trouble.

Compatibility

Often we have a customer bring in one of these big-box bikes needing a repair. Often, many parts need to be replaced because the original parts and the replacement are not compatible and do not work together. We’re happy to do the repair, but it usually ends up being a big project (and not an inexpensive fix).

We’ve seen a recent trend to make some parts non-replaceable such as the gears on the rear wheel. When those kind break, you must replace the entire wheel.

Performance

When we talk about performance, people often respond “I’m not racing or anything like that.” Something you find in bike shop bikes is engineering and design to make a bike ride easier, faster, and handle better. A better bike will be more efficient meaning when you pedal, it goes. When you pull the brakes, it stops. When you change gears, it works. These qualities also relate to safety.

A “mountain” bike that was not actually engineered to go mountain biking will make riding off-road difficult and frustrating.

A road bike with mountain bike parts won’t ride like a road bike should. You’ll waste a lot of effort riding an inefficient bike.

In-Store Service

One-size-fits-all bikes are not a good idea. At a bike shop, they will help you find the right size. You are able to test ride your new bike to see how you like it. Want accessories or something custom? A bike shop can help you.

Do you know what kind of bike will be best for the type of riding you plan on doing? Bike shop people ride bikes. They know what kind of bike will best meet your needs. They can help you find a bike that fits your price range and your style. They can point out options to make your bike “yours.”

Post-Sale Service

When your bike needs work, major or minor, you can’t take it back to the big-box store. The place you bought it can’t and won’t help you. (They may accept a return or exchange.) We are happy to work on these bikes, although many bike shops won’t touch them.

Virtually all bike shops offer at least one tune up after the purchase of a bike. As a new bike breaks in and settles, things need to be adjusted. Usually after 30 days your new bike won’t work properly and will need a tune up.

At Infinite Cycles, our goal is to keep you riding your bikes. That’s why we offer our Infinite Lifetime Service with every bike we sell, even the little kids bikes. We’ll give you as many tune ups as your bike needs. We’ll even change your flat tires, you just purchase the new tubes. At $48 for a tune up, our Lifetime Service will save you money keeping your bike in working condition for a long time.

Brands

Many bikes are made to deceive customers. Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT (to name a few) are good bikes, right? Well, not really. They were at one time. A few years ago these, and other, brands went out of business as quality bike shop bike brands. Clever business people bought the names, put them on cheap bikes, and tricked people into buying them because of the name. The Schwinn, Mongoose, or GT you had as a kid is not the same as you can buy at Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam’s Club, K-Mart, any number of these stores.

Sporting goods stores often sell good name-brand bikes, but because they are not bike specialists, they don’t offer the same service as a bike-specific shop. In many cases, big-box retailers sell a brand like Diamondback. Many brands including Diamondback make big-box bikes differently than the bike shop models. Using old parts, old designs, and different or old names, they are selling a different product than the bike shops.

Conclusion

Come see the quality difference between a bike shop bike and those other bikes. For a long, safe use of a bike for you or your kids, please consider the long-term costs. Bike shop bikes will last and can be handed down from one kid to the next, or resold with some remaining value. Your littlest kids may get by with a cheaply made bike, but as they get bigger the advantages of a quality bike become much bigger.

Please, before you buy a disposable bike, come see us. We want you to enjoy your bikes for years to come, not just for a few days or weeks.