I’ve been getting a lot of questions about
department store bikes. These bikes are readily available at places like Walmart for as little
as $100. Can a bike that cheap really be ridden on the trails? Is it fine for a beginner?
What about bunnyhops, manuals, and other techniques? How much of that can one of these bikes take?
Well, there’s only one way to find out. In the name of science, I picked up this Mongoose
at Walmart. It’s a full suspension, 21 speed mountain bike with lots of bells and whistles––oh
and it costs less than my dropper seat post. With Florida State Sales tax and a Dr. Pepper,
I still paid less than $150. The first thing I did was put the bike up
on the stand for a comprehensive safety check. Whoever assembled this bike either didn’t
know how, or didn’t give a shit. I think it may have been a combination of both. The gears
and brakes were ridiculously bad, but I already expected that. I didn’t expect the bars to
be out of alignment with the fork, or the wheels to be completely out of true. Also
the steering was indexed, which means the headset was overtightened during assembly.
I tried to fix this to no avail, so I left it tight with the best case scenario being
that it breaks in. The spokes were like spaghetti, which would have led to bent rims. I tightened every
spoke on both wheels, and then did a standard truing to get everything dead straight. After
I did my 2 hour tuneup I brought the bike down Elmo at two& for a professional opinion.
He greased the mechanism in the quill stem, and dicked around with the gears and brakes.
Thanks to Elmo, I might not die on this bike. The things I found wrong on this bike were
pretty serious. Most of the issues would have quickly led to mechanical failure or even
injury. For instance, without greasing the stem, the bars were easy to move independent
of the front wheel. Maybe this isn’t always the case, but I can only base my experience
on this bike. So if you’re buying a bike from a department store, don’t ride it without
a thorough safety check. A bike you get at a shop, on the other hand, will leave in perfect
working order, and usually include a free tuneup after it breaks in. So, yeah, keep
that in mind too. There are hidden costs to buying a department store bike. Overall, the
bike is pretty impressive for $140. Everything works now, the suspension is….plush…and
the saddle is actually pretty comfortable. The bike doesn’t even look that bad. I can’t
wait to beat the shit out of it, but one thing at a time. In the next video, we’ll take
my Mongoose to Amelia Earhart Mountain Bike Trails to see what it can do. Thanks for riding
with me today and I’ll see you next time.