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Help in choosing a bike please! A newbie!
#1
Hi all. I am completely new to the world of biking and I am looking to purchase a bike just for casual biking on weekends along paved bike paths. I am a 34 year old male and almost 5.8. I just started researching and saw that there are road bikes, hybrids, mountain, etc and with the COVID thing, it is becoming virtually impossible to find any bike, forget a low cost one. However, I did find a couple of budget bikes and I have to choose between the two. The first one is a Schwinn Al Comp mountain bike 27.5 from Walmart and the other is a Schwinn Signature Men's Standpoint 27.5 from Dick's sporting goods. Links are below.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-AL-Comp-mountain-bike-21-speeds-27-5-inch-wheels-grey/388726134

https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/schwinn-mens-standpoint-27-5-mountain-bike-20hjlw275mschstndrmb/20hjlw275mschstndrmb?camp=SEM:DSG_39700052491565962_nonbrand_dsa-302060280660&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3s_4BRDPARIsAJsyoLPRmZm7fYZvik_oYF0MtR6U7-GT1BIQvm8u43ghYLFRC3QEEYeDuGIaAvyiEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

The AL comp from Walmart is $224 and the Standpoint from Dick's is $399. I tried to compare the specs and found some similarities and differences but I have absolutely no idea which bike is better for me as I do not understand all the technicalities. As I said before, I am a complete beginner and I don't want to spend too much for my first bike. At the same time, I do not want to spend money on a junk bike and end up spending more money on repairs if any. So kindly request you all to help out here and help me choose between the two! Why is the stand point priced almost $200 more than the AL comp? At face value, the obvious choice seems as if I should go for the AL comp but is the extra $200 for the standpoint really worth it? What am I missing here? Kindly help out !! I have ordered both and I have to cancel one of the two ASAP.
  Reply
#2
(07-20-2020, 06:30 PM)Vimal Wrote:  Hi all. I am completely new to the world of biking and I am looking to purchase a bike just for casual biking on weekends along paved bike paths. I am a 34 year old male and almost 5.8. I just started researching and saw that there are road bikes, hybrids, mountain, etc and with the COVID thing, it is becoming virtually impossible to find any bike, forget a low cost one. However, I did find a couple of budget bikes and I have to choose between the two. The first one is a Schwinn Al Comp mountain bike 27.5 from Walmart and the other is a Schwinn Signature Men's Standpoint 27.5 from Dick's sporting goods. Links are below.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-AL-Comp-mountain-bike-21-speeds-27-5-inch-wheels-grey/388726134

https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/schwinn-mens-standpoint-27-5-mountain-bike-20hjlw275mschstndrmb/20hjlw275mschstndrmb?camp=SEM:DSG_39700052491565962_nonbrand_dsa-302060280660&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3s_4BRDPARIsAJsyoLPRmZm7fYZvik_oYF0MtR6U7-GT1BIQvm8u43ghYLFRC3QEEYeDuGIaAvyiEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

The AL comp from Walmart is $224 and the Standpoint from Dick's is $399. I tried to compare the specs and found some similarities and differences but I have absolutely no idea which bike is better for me as I do not understand all the technicalities. As I said before, I am a complete beginner and I don't want to spend too much for my first bike. At the same time, I do not want to spend money on a junk bike and end up spending more money on repairs if any. So kindly request you all to help out here and help me choose between the two! Why is the stand point priced almost $200 more than the AL comp? At face value, the obvious choice seems as if I should go for the AL comp but is the extra $200 for the standpoint really worth it? What am I missing here? Kindly help out !! I have ordered both and I have to cancel one of the two ASAP.

Welcome,

I had recently worked on an "AL" (Aluminum) "COMP". It was given to me from someone who had upgraded and bought a new bike. I readjusted everything and sold it for my time and parts at $40 to someone I see everyday; no complaints after 2 years! The biggest problem with a lot of these bikes is the use of lower end components that are not made for your "big box" retailer to assemble and get adjusted properly and safely. That Schwinn I worked on seemed pretty typical in build and quality to many other bikes. It sucked until I made everything correct as far as alignment/adjustments. If you are just getting your feet wet than I'd save the $200 and try the "COMP"; but I would more than likely find a used bike at a bike shop or pawnshop and ask to be able to test ride a couple (with a security payment I'm sure) mtb/atb's and see what they're all about. You may find something for $50-$100 that fits you and your needs until you really understand what you really want if you're going to get more serious.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#3
(07-20-2020, 06:30 PM)Vimal Wrote:  ......completely new to the world of biking and I am looking to purchase a bike just for casual biking on weekends along paved bike paths. I am a 34 year old male and almost 5.8......

You have said 2 very important things: 1) "...casual biking...paved..paths...", and 2)"...34 year..5.8" (5.8 meters or 5 ft 8 ins, doesn't matter!); you are young enough, and if reasonably healthy, to possibly want to get serious, or at least take more than a casual ride in the near future, I would not buy either bike that you have "pre-ordered". You could get something without any "active" suspension (lighter and less expensive in general) that would handle any paved roads at "casual" speed (max. 12.5 Mph / 20 Kph, or so) and much faster while also being comfortable in various riding postures if the saddle design allows for it. If you looked at (type and style descriptions overlap) hybrid/cyclocross designs in a rigid frame allowing for at least a 32mm wide tire (smaller tire is lighter, and theoretically has lower "rolling resistance", but also harsher ride), but if designed for larger/wider tires you can usually size up a little. Most bikes are able to install a much narrower tire than that which is installed new or used. Always measure to ensure wheels will fit with larger tires than the stock size. I still think you need to go to a bike shop or anywhere that will let you "test" ride a bike; in your size of course.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#4
(07-20-2020, 06:30 PM)Vimal Wrote:  ... However, I did find a couple of budget bikes and I have to choose between the two. The first one is a Schwinn Al Comp mountain bike 27.5 from Walmart and the other is a Schwinn Signature Men's Standpoint 27.5 from Dick's sporting goods. Links are below.

The AL comp from Walmart is $224 and the Standpoint from Dick's is $399. I tried to compare the specs and found some similarities and differences but I have absolutely no idea which bike is better for me as I do not understand all the technicalities. As I said before, I am a complete beginner and I don't want to spend too much for my first bike. At the same time, I do not want to spend money on a junk bike and end up spending more money on repairs if any. the two ASAP.

My experience with a $200 Schwinn hybrid, has turned me off of new Schwinn bikes, especially at such a low price. Out of the box, it wasn't rideable, needing two new tires and inner tubes. You get what you pay for, and you're not going to get anything reliable in a new $200 bike. I did a lot of work on the Schwinn to make it into a decent bike. Unless you're good with fixing bikes, I'd forget the cheap ones.

Early this year I bought a new $500 cruiser from a bike shop, and had to replace the wheel bearings after 600 miles. They were literally grinding, and I had to put new ball bearings in. The Schwinn never gave me that problem but I had taken the ball bearings out, cleaned them, re-greased them and put them back. It was still running well at 4,500 miles I wouldn't have expected a wheel bearings problem with a bike from a bike shop, but it happens.
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
  Reply
#5
(07-20-2020, 06:30 PM)Vimal Wrote:  "The AL comp from Walmart is $224 and the Standpoint from Dick's is $399..."

[quote='CharleyFarley' pid='39245' dateline='1595371327']
" My experience with a $200 Schwinn hybrid...it wasn't rideable, needing two new tires and inner tubes. You get what you pay for, and you're not going to get anything reliable in a new $200 bike. I did a lot of work on the Schwinn to make it into a decent bike. Unless you're good with fixing bikes, I'd forget the cheap ones.
Early this year I bought a new $500 cruiser from a bike shop, and had to replace the wheel bearings after 600 miles."

Let us see! we have 2 Schwinns, both from "big box" retailers, both mtb/atb style; but nearly @$200 price difference. Per Charley, you can't get a cheaper bike from big retailer without problems, nor can you get an expensive, and presumably, high quality bike from a specialist retailer without problems. What is a person to do? Well unfortunately, most of the problems with new bikes are in the assembly of the bike; be on the factory "assembly line", wholesale/retail "assemblers", professional bike "mechanics", and/or the owners themselves. Bikes, although relatively simple to set-up in most cases, seem to suffer from a lack of attention to detail; surprising considering how dangerous it can be to ride on a perfectly functioning bike while paying quite often $1000 or more. I would not want the same folks working on aircraft!

You should never have to get a bike new that has bad tires or tubes! Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the cost of the bike or tires; merely with the person who ineptly installed them probably pinching the tube after doing this for the 732nd time that day. If tires are bad, but new, it would be due to storage since they had no road time. If bearings are bad but can be made serviceable, than it is again poor assembly; but if bad parts that's quality control issue at the plant that made that specific part, should be obvious warranty replacement issue and overall much more rare than an "assembly" related problem.

I disagree with people saying that you can't get a decent basic bike at around $200, but like buying any mechanical device you should check it out thoroughly before riding (every nut and bolt!), and during a VERY SHORT test ride using all of the functions/features. If a $1000 bike isn't set-up properly, it can be a pain to ride (sometimes quite literally!), but also very dangerous; same for a $100 bike, price does not matter! If this is being done at a bike shop, have one of the techs do a test ride first going through all the gears, etc.; then you get on and do the same thing. There should be no forthcoming "assembly" related mechanical problems, ever!, if this is done. Of course something can always happen, but overall you should not have to mess with the bike again, except to air up the tires and adjust for cable stretch (if you have cables), for hundreds of miles.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#6
(07-23-2020, 03:09 AM)Jesper Wrote:  You should never have to get a bike new that has bad tires or tubes! Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the cost of the bike or tires; merely with the person who ineptly installed them probably pinching the tube after doing this for the 732nd time that day. If tires are bad, but new, it would be due to storage since they had no road time.

In the case of my Schwinn hybrid tires and tubes, the tires were mounted but needed air. I pumped them up but as I was pumping the second one, I saw the first tire was flat. The second tire went flat in seconds, too. The tubes were made of some gritty or granular substance, not the material regular tubes are made of. Also, they were made for super skinny tires, not the tires that came on the bike. They had about the same cross sectional area as my thumb. So inflating them caused them to be stretched way beyond their capacity, thus causing holes in them. I attempted to patch the hole but the patch wouldn't stick because of the granular makeup. Sanding it didn't help. The material was defective all the way through.

The tires had no discernible tread pattern, and looked furry. Evidently, something went wrong in the manufacture of them, but the assembler threw them onto the rims, anyway. I complained to the company that sells nothing but bikes, and they sent me one tire which I sold because I had already been to a bike shop and bought new tires and tubes.

Quote:... but like buying any mechanical device you should check it out thoroughly before riding (every nut and bolt!), and during a VERY SHORT test ride using all of the functions/features.

That's fine if you know what to look for and how to fix it. What do people do who buy a bike, knowing nothing about the mechanical side of it, and just want to get on and ride? How many people go over all the mechanical parts of a new car or motorcycle they just bought? The businesses that sell these things are responsible to see they are roadworthy before the customer picks them up. Cars and motorcycles seem to be good; it's mostly just bicycles that are prepared by incompetent mechanics.

Quote:If a $1000 bike isn't set-up properly, it can be a pain to ride (sometimes quite literally!), but also very dangerous; same for a $100 bike, price does not matter! If this is being done at a bike shop, have one of the techs do a test ride first going through all the gears, etc.; then you get on and do the same thing.


"One of the techs." And thereby lies a problem. How does anyone know if the tech is good or bad? You'd trust him, though, like I trusted the 'mechanic' who botched up the three new bikes. When I bought my Specialized fat bike, I had no idea how derailleurs worked or how to adjust them. How was I supposed to check it out? Well, I checked it out fifteen miles from home when the chain came off and wrapped around the axle. I don't know if that was factory-installed or what, but the mechanic at the bike shop should have made sure it was properly adjusted instead of just assuming it was. Ten minutes on a bike work stand, and he would have saved me the trouble I ran into... that's assuming he knows how to adjust a derailleur.

And like the work he did on my previous fat bike when he swapped the hub gear for a derailleur, he just assumed the chain ring was matched to the freewheel cogs, and it wasn't. If he had done good work on all the bikes, I would have bought my new cruiser from him. As it now stands, I wouldn't even buy an inner tube from that shop. The owner doesn't have a clue, either; he depends on his 'mechanic.'

Quote:There should be no forthcoming "assembly" related mechanical problems, ever!, if this is done. Of course something can always happen, but overall you should not have to mess with the bike again, except to air up the tires and adjust for cable stretch (if you have cables), for hundreds of miles.

In a perfect world...
If I knew how to ride a bike properly, I'd do it every time.
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#7
Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world. If you took Charley's warnings and anecdotes to heart you would never buy a bike or maybe anything for that matter. It's hit or miss regardless of what you get or do; caveat emptor!

The main thing I'm saying is to beware and check things out. If you can't determine if something is loose, ask a "Tech"/"Mechanic", there are good ones out there! Like anything you own, it's your responsibility to become familiar with how it works and how to maintain it whether you do that work yourself or not.
If I was talking about a car or motorcycle (or a thermonuclear reactor for that matter) I'd say the same thing, but this is about bikes; they're simple overall and I give you credit that you have more than a modicum of intelligence and common sense, just look and observe; if it doesn't look or "feel" right, than it probably is not.

Again, getting bad/wrong tires/tubes for a new bike is rare! This does not make the bike cheap; merely the assembly of it.
Having poorly installed/adjusted components is not rare; thus, the test ride by the person "setting it up" (if not yourself), and then by you before it ever leaves the business. If you get one in a box at home and you are unfamiliar with the assembly requirements, you will have to put trust into someone else anyways, so do the same practice of making the "assembler" test ride it, and then yourself. Leave only when you are satisfied! It's your money and your life on the line!

Again, if the bike is not set up right by a tech/mech than demand a different person to do the work; same thing you would do for your body, or your car, or your house, or whatever else you get worked on by others. This again does not have anything to do with whether a bike is "cheap" or not. The point being: the cost of the bike does not reflect on its actual quality; good assembly and service can make a low cost bike work great while poor assembly and service can make the highest quality bike seem like a piece of you know what.

I still believe you should try different rides before purchasing. A little experience goes a long way.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#8
(07-20-2020, 06:30 PM)Vimal Wrote:  Hi all. I am completely new to the world of biking and I am looking to purchase a bike just for casual biking on weekends along paved bike paths. I am a 34 year old male and almost 5.8. I just started researching and saw that there are road bikes, hybrids, mountain, etc. I have ordered both and I have to cancel one of the two ASAP.

Again I say that the cost, and/or where you purchase a bike does not matter as much as, first: proper FIT; second: proper assembly and adjusting (both for fit and function); third: function (will it comfortably go where you want, at the speed you want). That is why I recommend trying out a few different styles of bikes before potentially wasting time and money. Good luck in choosing.

PS. Please maintain a proper decorum when posting. Previous post example is not for the family; and certainly does not pertain to the conversation at hand. If you felt I posted something improper to you; I apologize. I will let other more experienced members provide you with any further guidance regarding your query. Caveat Emptor!
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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