Sunday, November 4, 2012

Searching for the Best Cheap 29er ?

Hello and Welcome, The other day an acquaintance asked me "Hugh do you know where I can find a good but affordable men's 29er Mountain bike"? I answered "not really but I will do some checking around and get back to you, give me a few days. Personally, I have never owned or ridden a 29er Mountain Bike. But I must admit I am looking forward to the experience. My search will focus on two price levels, the 200.00 to 300.00 range and the 300.00 to 500.00 range. What am I looking for? First a brand name that can be resold, should the the new owner decide "its just not my thing". A quality but not a "super high tech" bike. I think, If He can go without all the latest "bells and whistles", I may be able to find him a decent quality bike for a reasonable price. There are a some brands I wont even bother looking at RoadMaster, Pacific, Kent, Huffy that other one... Magna, well you get the idea. And I will only be looking at hard-tails as that is what most people I know prefer to ride.
Above: We have to start somewhere so I will start with the Polaris Rush 29er. Not much in the description (not a good indicator) Alloy frame, Shimano TX35 rear Derailleur shift intigrated brake levers. front disc (no brand listed) Rear V brakes. I consider the use of a company name like Polaris or Jeep or Hummer a big red flag. Attaching a brand to an inferior product is a common ploy to make you think of the quality of the bike as being on the same level as the attached name. This is seldom if ever true, you might want to watch out for that. At 269.97 this bike is not gonna make the cut.
Above: The Schwinn Elite Fire Wire 4.0 29er Black/Red 24 speed/alloy rims (description lacks detail not a good sign) Saddle WTB (there is a plus) Front brake disc. Rear brake linear ProMax. Shifters "non Series" (what the heck is a non series) Chain Alloy / Alloy Rims (again no details) I was actually liking this bike a little until the last part. Tire width 1 inch (no like) Weight capacity 250 lbs (a little low) 41.9 lbs (too heavy) At 399.99 this is a nice looking bike. But in the end it doesn't make the cut either.
Above: The Mongoose Impasse HD 29er. Aluminum frame. Alloy rims. Suspension fork. Front and Rear Disc brakes. 21 speed with Shimano rear derailleur. Sram Twist shifters. Crank alloy.(description lacks way too much detail) And its ugly too. At 229.13 this Mongoose doesn't even come close to making the cut.
Above: The Mantis Colossus Mt bike 29er. I could disqualify this one on the name alone! But that would be stupid. Steel Frame (not necessarily bad) Shimano rear D. Twist grip shifters. 29 Alloy rims. Front disc brake / Rear V brake (this description lacks way too many details) nice paint and chrome though. Repeat after me.. Chrome wont get you home! Chrome wont get you home! At 197.34 to 199.99 Not a chance. Pass
Above: DIAMONDBACK 2013 Overdrive V 29er. Finally! Butted Aluminum frame (sounds ok) SR Suntour KXCT 29 Fork (an actual brand name) Shimano Atlus rear derailleur (this just keeps getting better). W/EF-51 7 Speed Easy Fire Shifters (I like these shifters) Pro Max Alloy Linear Pull Brakes w Shimano Levers (brand names a big +) WTB Wolverine Comp 29 tires (I am really liking this bike!) DB Micro Adjust seat post and DB Race Saddle. Cranks SR Suntour 22/32/42. Sealed Bottom bracket. Gear Shimano 7 speed cassette. Wheels 32 hole Weinmann SL-7 Double wall. Headset Intigrated FSA drop in ACB upper. Zero stack lower Internal cup 9 cartridge bearings. At $349.31 (20inch frame) This bike easily makes the cut! But lets see what else is out there.
Above: Jeep Comanche Mt bike 29er. 18.5 inch frame.(insert red flag here) Satin Copper. Aluminum frame. ZOOM 29er Fork (not pleased at all with my Zoom fork) Over sized 31.8 Alloy stem. Shimano Tourney 21 speed shifters and rear derailleur.(brand name) Radius Front disc. Ship weight 25 lbs (that's probably incorrect) But at 238.88 I am going to pass. The lack of details about the wheels is not good. Branding makes me very suspicious. And as I mentioned I am not a big fan of the Zoom fork. The rubber seals on mine are already coming apart. Burn me once.... PASS
Above:(Sears) Thruster 29er Aluminum frame w forged drop-outs. Zoom 29er suspension fork. Shifters 24 speed Sram X4 w indicators. Cranks Truvativ 26/38/48. Cassette Sun Race ChroMo MFM - 6-13-32. Tires Kenda Nevegal 29x2.1. Wheels Custom Alloy V rim Disc w stainless steel spokes. Pedals VP Alloy platform. While some of the info about the bike is pretty good. I still have trouble getting past the Zoom fork. At 413.18 I will pass with some hesitation.
Above: The 2012 Diamondback 29er. Brakes Tektro Novela Disc w 6 inch Rotors. (there is the big difference from the 2013) Fork SR Suntour. Tires WTB. Shift Sram x4 Trigger. Front derailleur Shimano. Rear derailleur Sram. This is a nice "resell able" brand name bike that makes he cut easily. The 549.00 price is a little out of my specified range. If I was going to spend that much money I think this would be a real good choice. If you found it on sale for 500.00 then yes definitely a winner.
Above: North Woods N 29 (Meijer) Aluminum frame 29er. 21 speed Shimano FF40 shift. 36 hole Alloy rims. Alloy 31.8 stem. Steel Crank 28 38 48. Front disc brake. Rear linear pull brake. Alloy post clamp. Weight Capacity 200lbs. Descriptions lacks some detail. The 200 lbs capacity is too low. Maybe ok for someone about 150 lbs who is just cruising around town. At 293.14 a definite pass. At Meijer's Store 199.99 A much better deal. I did own a North Woods w 26 inch wheels before. And that was it`s weakness as well. Not sturdy enough. Might be ok for lighter rider cruising around town or in the subdivision. Still a Pass for me though.
Above:Genesis Two Nine 29er.(walmart) 18 inch aluminum frame. 21 speed. Front disc brake. Rear lineal pull brake. Large wheels (now there's a detail for you) Alloy bar stem. weight 37 lbs. At 199.00 this Genisis bike did not come close to making the cut. No details in the description at all. Usually an indicator that the cheapest possible components were used. a definite Pass. Nice color though :)
Above: The Iron Horse 4.1 Osprey 29er.(sears) SunTour SR suspension fork. Alloy Bars and Alloy Stem Head. Sram Twist shift. Shimano TX rear derailleur. Front and Rear Pro Max disc. Light SR SunTour Crank. Alloy quick release Front and rear. At Reg 289.99 now 275.49 (available at sears) I like this bike. While I do not like "everything" about it I think it would be a great start for the price. This bike at 275.49 makes the cut. I would consider this bike for myself.
Above: The Raleigh Talus Sport.(REI) It comes in several higher priced levels as well. Frame Atomic 13 SL Custom butted Aluminum forged down-tube CNC machined Head tube. Fork SR SunTour XEM 80mm w/lockout. Threadless head set. Crank set Shimano MC442 Octalink 22/32/44. Front and Rear Shimano Acera shifters. Shimano M3 10 speed cassette. HG 50 9spd (11-34) Brakes Hayes MK5 Mechanical disc 180/160 rotors. Sizes small through extra large. Now this bike is about 650.00 I have seen it on sale for 600.00 Now if you can find one of these in the dead of winter you might get it cheaper. But I really like this bike. And besides I had to include a Raleigh. The folks at Raleigh must think a lot of this bike to name it the SPORT. I think this bike is the winner except it is 100.00 to 150.00 above the 500.00 range. But compared the the "high end" 29ers this is still pretty cheap.
Now if your wondering which of these bikes one "Ole Hugh' would buy. well, If I absolutely had to stay under 300.00 I would buy the Iron Horse. Now if I was trying to stay as close to 500.00 as possible I would buy the 2012 Diamondback. But I have to say for 350.00 I also like the 2013 Diamondback. Now if I really wanted to "Go to Town" and I could afford it, I would go with the Raleigh Talus Sport. Hands down the Best of This Group (in my opinion). In the Under 200.00 Range If I were you...I would Pass on All Of Them (and not just the ones in this group) and fix up a used bike for myself. Because as someone recently reminded me, That is what I am all about. Until Next Time.. Please RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always...RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE Cheers, Hugh
If I had given the people what they wanted, I would have sold them faster horses. Henry Ford....... ATTENTION AMAZON SHOPPERS! You can help Support This Blog by simply shopping on Amazon dot com using the Amazon Search Box located at the Top Right Corner of This Page. It will not effect your cost and I will receive a very small commission. Thanks for your support, Hugh

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hollandia Opa Bike (Made in China)

Hello and Welcome, Once again I am tempted to purchase a "Department Store Bike". The Hollandia bikes style is wonderful but I am sure the quality is everything but. However this is one awesome looking bike! And I would not have to purchase it from Wally Mart. I could even order it from using the Amazon Search on my own blog for a mere 182.19 with free super saver shipping!
Above: I have possible improvements going through my mind already. The vinyl saddle would have to go for sure. And the "brown" grips (their description not mine) I imagine are plastic or pleather. (plastic leather) Cork grips are only 10 bucks and I already have the Shellack. And I just happen to have an extra set or two of block pedals, I am sure one of the sets would be a good fit.
Above: What a profile, absolutely captivating. I can`t find anything in the description that tells me what the chain guard and fenders are made of. I`m not real keen on the idea of plastic chain guards. And nothing listed about the load capacity of the racks. Although the total load capacity is listed at 275 lbs.
Above: The woman's model appears to be right out of the Wizard of Oz. I am not a huge fan of step through frames. But this is a really sweet looking design. Why no luggage rack on the front? From what I have found so far, this model is priced higher than the double horizontal top tube model.
Above: What about the moral issues of buying Chinese products? This is a photo of a Chinese factory with nets allegedly to catch suicidal workers. That is a difficult thing to ignore. By purchasing Chinese products are we endorsing inhumane manufacturing methods? On the other hand, with minimum wages stuck at the same rate in America for longer than I can remember.(Michigan 7.40 per hour) Are these folks expected to fork over big bucks for an American made bicycle? I mean if your knocking down 150 thousand or so a year. Are you gonna tell some poor 7.40 per hour worker He should buy American?
Above: Another issue, one I seldom hear mentioned. What about the pollution caused by the manufacturing practices in China? Are we supporting this way of doing business when we purchase Chinese products?
Above: Can you imagine your morning commute looking like this every morning? This would probably kill me. I am an Asthmatic. Also due to an injury I received in a fall in 2007 I am missing a pretty good chunk of my right lung. So I am not exaggerating when I say living in industrial China would most likely be fatal for me. And I find it impossible to believe that this environment is not fatal to many Chinese people. The key word here being PEOPLE. Do I want to support this?
Above: Yes Chinese products are everywhere? But Mitt Romney has promised He will get tough on China! Why do I have trouble believing that? Click on the picture and read the tag.
Above: Product Description. This comfy, one-size-fits-all, navy blue hat shows you’re a Democrat, with the word ''Democrat'' on the front and the Party’s website on the back. Like all our products, it’s American-Made and union-Printed. Maybe I should be asking myself, What would Barack Obama do?
Above: About the Blogs readers. The posts about the WalMart Thruster Fixed Gear Bike are the most popular (by a huge margin) I have ever written. This makes me ask.. Are these the only "new bikes" many of my readers can afford? If so, is it wrong for me to show them what they can do to improve their department store bikes? This is my dilemma.
Above: UPDATE I am inserting this a few days latter. After doing a little research I have come to the conclusion that rebuilding and upgrading this bike would be too expensive to make it a worth while investment. It appears that the chain guard and fender skirts are plastic. And from what I have read, not very good plastic at that. Also (and I had to read this review twice) the handle bars are welded to the stem. This is something I have seen before, but only on a child's tricycle. Also the saddle is a cheesy looking vinyl p.o.s. that would need a serious upgrade to make this look anything like a real classic. And trying to find, then paint and retro-fit a full metal chain-guard. That sounds like a real costly project in itself. And I would probably have to fabricate the metal skirts. That is if I wanted them at all. And do all this for "from what I have read is" a poorly welded, NOT a lugged frame bicycle. I don't think so. But what really scares me is this.. what about all the "unknowns". If this is how the rest of the bike was built.. What are the headset, hubs, crank and bottom bracket going to look like? I am guessing "not very good". Until I see one of these up close I am not going to risk the money.
Above: Another thought on Chinese made bicycles. I have three bikes that I actually ride. One of them is my Specialized Rock Hopper FS. The Rock Hopper was also Made in China. But it is not a "Department Store Bike" and that seems to make it ok. I have never heard a negative word from anyone about my Rock Hopper. So is it really Chinese bikes people have a problem with? Or is it just "department store Chinese bikes" we have a problem with? Are the workers that build the "better" bikes in China treated better than the workers who build the cheaper bikes? I am guessing probably not. Someone once said "There are 365 ways to look at an Elephant" This seems to apply to the "Made in China" issue as well.
Above: Change of topic. The fork decals decals for the Raleigh Sports have arrived. But as expected the pedals from the UK are going to take a little longer. The weather here has been depressing. Much too cold, way to windy and cloudy all day long. So I have not felt like doing much "bike wise" so far this week. I`ll try to "kick it in gear" as soon as I finish this post.
Above: I have no idea if it looks like the one above. But I heard a rumor that Tim Joe over at "The Trailer Park Cyclist" (Link in the Blogs by Friends and Readers section) recently purchased a Wally Mart bike. From what I have heard it is a Beach Cruiser. No doubt it will be put to good use down there in Fla. I guess now I could make my department store bike purchase and blame it all on T.J. Then I could sleep better at night knowing that I was influenced by one of the better writers on the internet. (He really is an excellent writer) But what kind of person would do something like that? LTMS Seriously I would like to hear your thoughts "pro and con" on the subject of yours truly purchasing the Hollandia Opa bike. And I promise I will wait 24 hours before responding to any negative comments :)
Above: Now that I have the headset and bottom bracket rebuilt I will be moving this project indoors soon. I will do all the nasty stuff out in the shop/garage and do everything else indoors. This will make it much more comfortable for me to work during the colder months ahead. UPDATE: I have taken the L.L. Bean bike in a whole different direction since this photo was taken. I will be doing a blog post about it real soon.. That's about all I have for now. Until next time, Please RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always... RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!
ATTENTION AMAZON SHOPPERS! You can help Support This Blog by simply shopping on Amazon dot com using the Amazon Search Box located at the Top Right Corner of This Page. It will not effect your cost and I will receive a very small commission. Thanks for your support, Hugh
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