Walmart Bike VS Whistler Bike Park

Walmart Bike VS Whistler Bike Park


My name is Paul and I am a mountain bike punter. But what if I took all that away? What if I tried to ride Whistler Mountain Bike Park on the Cheapest bike available to me? I thought I would give it a go and see what happens. An averagely skilled mountain biker who just so happens to live in the best place for mountain biking in the world – British Columbia, Canada. Specifically Squamish. With more than 150 bike trails on my doorstep and the best bikepark in the world just up the road – I’m pretty spoilt for choice! Not only that but I am also lucky enough to have a few mountain bikes at my disposal. With Carbon Frames, High Quality Suspension and powerful disc brakes, I’ve never had it better when it comes to riding. But what if I took all that away? What if I tried to ride Whistler Mountain Bike Park on the Cheapest bike available to me? I thought I would give it a go and see what happens. Of course I’m not the only person to have given this a go. Channels such as Seth Bike Hacks, Singletrack Sampler and Skills with Phil have already tried this, but just how many bike park laps could an average rider get through? It all started with a trip to everyone’s favourite rental program – Walmart. Unfortunately the North Vancouver location didn’t have what I was looking for, and while the nearby Canadian Tire did have a wide selection – with some low priced models having such “super modern” features like an a-headset and front disc brake – the returns and warranty policy didn’t really suit my needs. Surprisingly I didn’t even need to go that far! In Squamish’s own store we found the ideal Huffy full suspension mountain bike – it even had 27.5 wheels! And well…the lady at the counter gave me the kind of reassurance you would hope for from your nearest retailer… A few scans later and it was time to take it home for a once over. After checking the bike out, I didn’t think things would go to badly! ind back the clocks 20 years and things like V-brakes, Shimano Gears, rear coil suspension, a front suspension fork ans indexed shifting would have been enough to ride anything! The welds on the other hand didn’t really fill me with too much confidence. I did need to do some modifications before hitting the park, starting off with swapping the brakes over so that my left hand operated the rear brake. It’s probably been around 15 years since I last did this and I had forgotten how tricky the cheap brakes can be to adjust – it took me about an hour to get them feeling close to ok! Now I did decide to draw the line at the plastic pedals, if I had my favourite DMR Vaults on I figured I’d be more comfortable and slightly reduce my risk of crashing. Smashing the wheels that seemed like they were made of cheese was the biggest concern though, so I added about 5 turns (yes 5) of tension to the spokes to make them as stiff as possible. My buddy Will was on hand to ride with me, but probably came just for the carnage. …well this beast is trail rated – what can go wrong? And so off to Whistler village to see what would happen and hopefully not dying in the process. There was some awesome chat with my fellow punters in the lift line, I’ll put those together in another episode as there was too much gold to edit in to just one video. Make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss that one for sure. Look, I didn’t want to go crazy on a black diamond trail to start off with. B-line is most riders’ first trail in Whistler and is filled with berms and is pretty smooth and flowy. Well…on a bike with working suspension at least. After hitting a small drop on Wednesday Night Delight my confidence had gone from low to not so low. So it was time for Devil’s Club – now a blue tech trail, but it was previously rated as a black. I was so surprised the handlebars hadn’t snapped off, I mean I wasn’t really pushing it at all because of the brakes but it was still pretty rough. Guess I’d better step it up and go for a 2nd lap. Time for some crank it up action, a blue jump trail that is one of the most popular in the park. This trail is definitely a way faster speed, but I thought I’d try a bit harder than the 1st lap and hit some of the features. With wall rides, table tops and other jumpable features – I really was surprised when nothing bad happened. In case you were wondering, this bike jumped as well as you think it would do – like a kangeroo with no legs. OK so it survived crank it up. Might as well try a black rated trail now. With rock slabs and some faster speeds, Whistler Downhill is actually one of my normal warm up trails on my downhill bike – but the Walmart Bike made it quite a different experience. The brakes really hit their limit here and not wanting to completely wreck myself, I puntered my way down the rest of the trail using the preferred ‘tripod’ method. With Heart of darkness being the final trail of this lap, I almost couldn’t believe that the bike had survived yet another trip down the mountain – even ending with me catching up to some fellow punters. Wow, 2 laps down. Something was starting to happen that I didn’t really expect – the bike was outlasting the rider. As you have probably heard, that intense knocking sound is actually the “suspension” and it wasn’t doing very much. Combine this with the 40psi I had in my tires, it was pretty exhausting trying to hold on. Better head back up for another lap I guess. This time, I headed down a full lap of Crank It Up. With the trail filled with braking bumps the size of microwaves and my brakes now not working at all – I was starting to question if I would make it down in one piece. So there it was 3 full laps of whistler bike park. A dropped chain and my rear shock spring coming un-done – is that it? No bent handlebars? No taco’d wheels? Not even a puncture?! I couldn’t believe it. Sure, I hadn’t sent it down at full speed thanks to complete fear – but the walmart bike had done better than I ever thought. 3 full laps of the world’s roughest bike park – that’s not bad. Better celebrate with a beer. Afterwards there was only one thing to do, see if Walmart would take back the Huffy. With no brake pads left I probably, wouldn’t agree with the ‘Trail Rated’ slogan on the bike. But it did exceed my expectations and, unfortunately for Will’s enjoyment, I ended up in one piece at the end of the day. But still, I wouldn’t recommend you try it for yourself and I don’t think I’ll be doing it again any time soon. Oh, and I got my full refund.