wheres the cheapest place i can get a good mountain bike

it doesn’t have to be a mountain bike with suspension or anything. Just one with a mountainbike frame and wheels.

I checked ebay, but i’ve had bad experiences with ebay before. plus most of ebay’s models are professional mountain bikes.

This is the cheapest adult model i’ve seen


Is there a genre of el-cheapo mountain bikes in the $60 range or is this an exception? Aside from a suspension system and a frame made out of something other than steel, is there any benefit to a high priced mountainbike over a $60-70 model?

Most emphatically yes. There are vast differences between the 60 dollar Wally-World special and the 300 dollar entry-level mountain bike from a bike shop (and another world of difference between that and high-end machine). The department store bikes are hardly worthy of the name. Well, okay, my opinion is somewhat influenced by my time as a bicycle courier, when I thought paying 60 bucks for a new set of brakes was scraping the low end of the quality bin. :slight_smile: But seriously, you get what you pay for with bicycles, for the most part. A few key differences between the Walmart special and a $300 Trek or what have you:

The Trek will be much lighter, and therefore faster and more pleasant to ride. It will have alloy rims instead of steel, which, as rotating weight, makes a big big difference to acceleration, and alloy rims provide a superior braking surface. It will have shifting and braking components of acceptable quality that will perform fairly accurately and be reasonably durable. The Walmart bike will have extreme low-end components that will only barely work acceptably if you’re a whiz at tuning bike components (I know, because I’ve tried to keep bikes like this in rideable condition, with shifting and brakes working properly, and it’s a pain in the butt), and are prone to breaking.

In short, only buy the department store bike if you don’t plan on riding it much - say, 2 blocks to the park with the kids, or whatever. If you’re buying something to ride for fitness or for transportation, shell out for a real bike. A $300 bike that’s pleasant to ride is a lot cheaper than a $60 bike that will just gather dust in the basement after two rides.

ACK! I just looked at the picture in your link - a flat-parallelogram rear derailleur! I didn’t even know they made those anymore. Next to impossible to make those work with indexed shift levers, though maybe this thing doesn’t even have indexing. And suspension forks that no doubt do nothing but add weight. Jeez.

Scroll down and read the specifications on this wonder bike

I assume that this is the weight of the bike in the box. So knock off, say 5 lbs for the cardboard and you are left with a 48lb “mountain” bike. Pedaling this tank is going to be an exercise in pain.

go buy a real bike, you will be glad you did.

Why buy a real bike? i’ve grown up on cheap mountain bikes bought from Target. The main reason i ask is because i came home this weekend and had to use my dads mountain bike as my parents have no exercise equiptment. He has a Huffy Superia and it worked fine for me. And a 48 lb bicycle isn’t an issue for me. Thats barely 25 lbs more than a high quality bike.

Plus i’m a college student and id rather not spend $500 on a bicycle if a $60 model will do.

Are people like me the white trash of the bicycling community or something? i had no idea.

Once I’d moved to a rural area, my street bike went on the hangers. I looked at many different brands, and came back to Raleigh. Yes, there were many options to be had, but I was seeking a basic good sturdy mountain bike, not unlike the spirit of the OP.

I found out a while later how good the bike is, and the measure of quality dealer service. My dealer promised free service as long as I own the bike.

I crashed, badly-breaking my back, jaw, leg, and collapsing a lung. After a month in a coma, and several weeks in a rehab hospital, I was released.

When my Dad drove me home from the hospital, and I’d gotten onto the back porch, I was concerned about how my bike had fared. I surveyed the damage and he offered the typical Dadly statement, “Have you learned anything?” My response, “Yes. Raleigh builds a helluva sturdy bike.”

Repair costs-$42- they had never seen a front fork bent that badly. They apologized that they couldn’t match the frame color and had to supply black.

For under $300, it’s an excellent machine, and was repaired at a fraction of the cost needed for the owner. :smiley:

Look ride what you want, it doesn’t bother me. Anybody that rides is a friend of mine as Gary Fisher says.
Pounds do make a difference, and where they are located makes an even bigger difference. Go back and read Gorsnak’s post to get an idea of the differences between a Wally World special and a decent bike.
I used to feel as you do that there was no difference between a cheap bike a good bike. I rode a cheap mountain bike for a couple of years, and it was OK. Then I found myself not using it as much as I should. One day it got stolen.
I decided that I should replace it, and replace it with something that if I did not ride I would feel guilty about. I bought a Cannondale hard tail.
From the first ride I knew that there was a difference. hills that used to be unclimbable now I could ride up. Riding became fun. Riding became something that I looked forward to.

so if you are serious about riding you can:
A) step up and buy a decent bike now, or
B) shell out the money for a WW special and then when you are sick of it, then shell out money for a decent bike

I’m sure some cyclists think that, but like Rick, I don’t care what you ride. Ride whatever you like. However, you asked if there were benefits besides frame material and suspension between the cheap bike and the real bike. And I answered your question as best I could. There are extremely large differences in the quality that make noticeable and substantial differences to how pleasant they are to ride. To be honest, I don’t think suspension is even an issue. Unless you’re trail riding, you have no need for a suspension fork (well, okay, I don’t know about the pothole situation in your town :)), and unless you’re downhilling, I don’t think you gain anything with rear suspension either.

Weight isn’t the half of it. I’ve ridden the department store specials, and I’ve ridden mid- to high-end stuff. Well - depends on what you call high end, but my main ride is an old Stumpjumper M2 with AMP forks which cost me Cdn$1350 plus $600 or so for the forks, back in the day. Not exactly bottom of the barrel material, though one can spend a lot more without any difficulty.

In my experience, the braking power on el cheapo bikes is downright scary compared to the stopping power of good cantilevers on decent rims, and that’s only if they’ve been set up by someone who knows how to do it - otherwise they’re even worse, howling and squealing because they’re toed the wrong way, and improperly positioned to take advantage of what little leverage the cheap brake design gives them. The rear derailleur that bike has - flat parallelogram instead of slant parallelogram - means that the cage on the derailleur gets further from the freewheel cogs the higher the gear you’re in (with slant designs the cage moves up as it moves out, more or less tracking the angle of the cogs on the freewheel), and once the chain is worn the least little bit it has simply too much lateral flex to shift accurately on the outer half of your gears. You’ll have to overshift to get the chain to jump, and then move the shifter back to center the cage. This is at least possible with the SRAM shifters it has, unlike some of Shimano’s Rapidfire™ jobs, unless they’ve changed their design since I last used them; however, it’s a pain in the butt, renders the indexed shifting useless, and it makes the bike far less rideable.

The weight, which, as I said, isn’t the half of it, nonetheless is a big part. Until you’ve ridden a light bike - particularly one with light wheels - you just have no idea how much livelier it feels. They float over rough spots, accelerate effortlessly, and top out far faster than you realized you could ride. Not, I should hasten to add, that $300 will net you a truly light bike. However, it will almost certainly have alloy rims, which make a substantial weight difference to the most weight-critical part of your bike. Paying attention to weight when choosing tires makes a difference too. This is because that rotating weight around the perimeter of your wheels is the mass that has to be accelerated the most. Weight on the frame is much less important, though certainly not negligible.

If you plan on going offroad (I suspect not, given what you’ve said), things get even worse. The weight of that thing would make it next to impossible to muscle around on a trail, and simple strength starts becoming an issue. In spite of increased weight, most parts of the cheap bike are actually weaker than those on a more expensive model. I recall seeing a “review” of a Huffy in one of the mountain bike magazines, where they’d ridden it no differently than any other test bike, but had pretty much destroyed the thing in a single afternoon. The handlebars had bent alarmingly, I seem to recall they’d taco’d a rim (though to be fair that’s not all that hard to do to a good rim on a gnarly trail, either), and various other bits had failed. Of course, those guys thrash bikes pretty hard, far harder than you’re likely to. Nonetheless, durability is something that does matter to a degree no matter how gentle you are with a bike.

So basically, as I said in my first post, you get what you pay for. The Walmart special will get you from A to B. However, it will require double the effort that a $300 machine would to make the same trip, and will operate in a generally inferior fashion. It’s entirely your call. If you like, go to a bike shop and take something out for a test spin, to see how better bikes ride. This will help you determine whether you think they’re worth the higher price, which is the question that matters. If you decide to go with the cheap bike, I do have one piece of advice. Look around for something without a suspension fork. The sort of suspension fork you’ll get on a 60 dollar bike is worse than no suspension at all. It’s just extra weight and some moving parts to go awry for no benefit.

Your chances of having a properly assembled bike are better when you go to a bike shop as opposed to a discount store. I think most of the mountain bikes and hybrids being sold now have v-style brakes, which are an improvement over cantilevers.

You also get a lighter bike. The frameset is probably more reliable in a non-Huffy/Royce Union/Roadmaster bike. The parts are likely more serviceable, so when the bike needs a tuneup there’s something there that can be tuned up.