Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
gbnz
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Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby gbnz » 3 Jun 2019, 3:38pm

Have to admit I was reviewing replacement pedals. And then had a quick look at Halfords!

£215.00 for a brand new bike (Falcon Monza); 6061 alloy road frame, steel forks, decent paint job, triple chainset, decent gear range, v brakes, looks like there's fittings for panniers, maybe mudguards! I'm aware it's loaded with cheap parts; a 6 speed freewheel, a nutted rear wheel, cheap gear shifters, I'd presume cheap chain, tyres, chainset which'll wear out in no time!

But I'm already thinking I could use that bike for the run down the old railway line, the coastal paths, totally unsuitable for the road going bikes I've got

And I'm already thinking I could use the pedals, rims, BB cartridge, handlebars, saddle as replacement parts when required :? And I know I've got half used freehubs/cartridges et al I could build into the bike at some stage, at no cost :? And converting into a 7-8spd would cost pennies (NB. I'd probably put new sti's et al on a decent bike and swap the 2nd, 3rd hand parts to the above :?

I don't need another bike, but £215.00 is cheap for 2-3 months rides on semi-off road routes I'd otherwise never head along!

Anyone else ever been tempted by a cheap bike?

peetee
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby peetee » 3 Jun 2019, 3:57pm

If you are handy with a spanner and a pot of grease and don't make any assumptions about the skill of the assembler or quality control standards then it might just do the job.
As for only getting 3 months riding from £200+, by that reckoning most of my bikes should have expired decades ago! :lol:
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PH
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby PH » 3 Jun 2019, 4:48pm

Yes tempted, isn't that the whole point of consumerism? Another question might be has anyone regretted a cheap bike? I doubt that many have on a forum of enthusiasts but in the general population I suspect the number is very high, I know loads of people who have a bike they never ride.
Last November I bought a ex demo Evans Hybrid for £180, to use for food deliveries (Deliveroo/Just Eat), swapped the wheels (Possibly the weak point) straight away because I had some better ones gathering dust, fitted a saddle I prefer, been through a set of brake blocks, chainring/chain/cassette/BB changed around 4,000 miles, headset now feeling rough at 6,000 miles.
On the whole I'm more than pleased with it, it demonstrates that although there is plenty of nasty rubbish out there, you don't have to spend much to get something usable.

Tiberius
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby Tiberius » 3 Jun 2019, 5:41pm

A few more quid gets you one of these...https://www.cycleofgood.com/elephant-bike/

Not QUITE the same thing but it's cheap and MUCH better made than a Halfords/Chinese jobby...and yes, I do know it's heavy.

As for longevity, it will see us all out.... :mrgreen:

simonhill
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby simonhill » 3 Jun 2019, 6:03pm

A few years ago Cycle mag did a review including one of the very cheap bikes available at the time - remember Sterling House? The cost was less than the one you quote, more like £100 - full sus, 18 speed, etc..

One of the points of the article was could one of these bikes be cost effective as basic commuting machine. Given say a fiver a day in bus/train fares, then it would only need to last a month. The conclusion was that they are rubbish, most components were not worth replacing once they wore out, but it worked out cheaper than public transport costs, even if you binned it once it failed and went out and bought a new one for the next month or two. (NB they weren't advocating doing this, it was part of a bigger review of different priced bikes.)

On a personal note, I once bought the most expensive bike I could find in Madagascar. It was a US$50 (£35) Chinese MTB. It was absolute rubbish, but with careful nurturing I managed to tour for over 600 kms, including a few big hills. Every day it needed some attention and at one point I got a local mechanic to give it a complete service, which basically meant greasing and adjusting all the bearings. He couldn't see the point in doing any work on a bike that was still going. The concept of preventative maintenance is unknown there. In fairness, most of their bikes are only used for very local stuff and the mechanic didn't believe that the next day I was going to ride 113 kms (to next accommodation).

gbnz
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby gbnz » 3 Jun 2019, 6:24pm

PH wrote:Yes tempted, isn't that the whole point of consumerism? .


Yes, but I'm not often that tempted :? It was back in 2007 that somebody commented on my ancient rucksack :x (NB. Nonsense, I only bought it in 1986-87 and it's got years of use left in it :roll: ). And people still comment on my lack of a tv, phone or whatever :roll:

I think the temptation is more about the experiences if offers! I wouldn't dream of riding my 23mm road bike, 28mm flat handle barred road bike or even the tourer down the local disused railway line. Never mind along the coastal paths, or along the old coachroads around the moors (Nb. Bikes are too delicate, in addition to which I'd be mortified if damaged).

Yet a bike suitable to use on the road to get there and then use slowly on the rough surfaces encountered could be superb. Aside from which I've more capable of rebuilding it as and when and have a crate load of various parts :? Seriously tempted

PH
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby PH » 3 Jun 2019, 6:45pm

gbnz wrote:I think the temptation is more about the experiences if offers! I wouldn't dream of riding my 23mm road bike, 28mm flat handle barred road bike or even the tourer down the local disused railway line. Never mind along the coastal paths, or along the old coachroads around the moors (Nb. Bikes are too delicate, in addition to which I'd be mortified if damaged)

Seems to me the question is do you want a different type of bike and the answer seems to be yes.
Then the follow up is how much to spend, how capable you want it to be, how long you think it'll last... yes you could do what you want on that cheap bike, but that doesn't necessarily mean it represents the best value, you might be better off working out what you want then looking for something that fulfils it, rather than what appears to be the case here - seeing a bargain bike and thinking that'll do X...
Which brings me back to consumerism, it doesn't want you to make informed decisions, there's a reason Aldi/Lidl offers are short stocked and don't last long - buy it now or you'll miss it is a great marketing con.

roberts8
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby roberts8 » 3 Jun 2019, 7:10pm

In the 80s with a young family and mortgage I did buy a cheap bike for my daily commute of six miles each way and it get me interested in cycling. Paid for itself quite quickly but I replaced it bit by bit as they broke, mostly from other cyclists upgrading. It took ten years and nothing original was left.what fun I had on that bike.

Brucey
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby Brucey » 3 Jun 2019, 7:19pm

most bikes are not well assembled and in cheap bikes that goes double because the bearings usually do not have wonderful seals in them etc. I'd nearly always look to spend £200 on a better used bike rather than a cheap new one. In any event I'd be taking it apart and putting it back together again properly, knowing that it isn't going to last well or be very reliable unless I do.

Running costs are dominated by consumables, and those parts only need to be as good as they need to be to do the job. However in a cheap bike, all the parts tend to end up being 'consumables'... :wink:

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brynpoeth
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby brynpoeth » 3 Jun 2019, 7:24pm

Buying a new bike is as unnecessary as buying a new car
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gbnz
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby gbnz » 3 Jun 2019, 7:38pm

roberts8 wrote: It took ten years and nothing original was left.


Well, that's true of my expensive road bike. I've still got the original frame, handlebar stem, handlebars, brake calipers; everything else has been replaced anything up to several times

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gaz
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby gaz » 3 Jun 2019, 7:56pm

Brucey wrote:... I'd nearly always look to spend £200 on a better used bike rather than a cheap new one. ...

Same here, especially (as appears to also be the case for the OP) when I've multiple boxes of part-worn and pre-loved parts with which to tweak the spec to suit me better at minimal additional cost.
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sjs
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby sjs » 3 Jun 2019, 8:00pm

I bought my daughter a Carrera Parva (£230 I think it was then, cheaper now) a couple of years ago to replace a university bike that got stolen. Alu frame, 7-speed freewheel, reasonable brakes. With a rack and mudguards added it was (and still is) fine. With a change of tyres it was even good for a short tour.

There's a lot of snobbery about bikes, even here.

Greystoke
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby Greystoke » 3 Jun 2019, 8:43pm

I have a nice bike but commute to work year round on a cheap 15 speed early 90's mtb. Rack, mudguards, hub dynamo etc.
Cheap as chips. I fully rebuilt it, re-grease etc. Chain lasts forever being 5 speed.
Ok it's a bit heavy but the aim is to get & stay fit.

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Spinners
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Re: Anyone ever tempted by a cheap bike?

Postby Spinners » 3 Jun 2019, 8:55pm

Brucey wrote:
I'd nearly always look to spend £200 on a better used bike rather than a cheap new one.



Yep. I bought a cheap road bike for £250 last year and it was surprisingly good (strong wheels, sweet shifting 7-speed Tourney groupset, nice handling) and I even raved about it here. But, earlier this year I bought a used classic steel frame with a shiny 105 9-speed groupset for £150. No comparison.
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