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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Walmart bikes

I spent yesterday afternoon doing bike chores...cleaning chains, adjusting cables, etc.   After spending some serious quality time with my Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe I went on to check a reported issue on my wife’s bike.

Last year my wife wanted a bike.  On the way to the bike shop I told her I’d get her the perfect bike if she just told me how she would use it.  If she were going to hit the trails with me I’d need to know that to make an appropriate decision.  She said the trails weren’t going to happen...she just needed something to ride to school with the kids...a trip of roughly 1/2 a mile.  My mind began picturing a bike that would be ridden maybe 10 miles a year and sit in the corner of the garage the rest of the time...so I turned the truck toward Walmart.

After I got done working on my bike I get her Walmart brand Magnum bike out of the corner and start working on it.  After a few adjustments to its primitive and crudely manufactured hardware it was time for a test ride.

I know it’s not fair to compare a nice bike along the lines of a Fisher full suspension HiFi with a Walmart bike...but when I got on that thing I struggled to even recognize the feel of the activity as "bike riding".  It was a wobbly, off balance, crooked, shameful affair.  It was like all of the parts were put together to ensure that you were never 100% certain that you were going in a straight line.  The bottom bracket wobbled, the bars felt awkward and flexy, the "fork" was making its own negative contribution to the affair...i swear it felt like my feet were moving away from the bike the entire time.

If it were possible to feel like a string puppet riding a bike this would be it.  I was shocked at how horrid it was. 

Ultimately I got her bike back in action and asked her to perform a test ride to make sure she was good with it.  The bike has returned to the corner where it will sit, un-ridden, for a few more weeks.  So while her bike really stinks I think I made the right decision for its intended use...and if I ever start to tire of my full suspension HiFi, I can always go mount up on the Magnum to get a reality check. 

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