Are Walmart mountain bikes safe?

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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 forks, 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 leads 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.

If you have a department store bike, and need some ideas on keeping it maintained, here’s the best resource you could possibly use: http://bigboxbikes.com

Get a Mongoose Ledge Here: http://www.sethsbikehacks.com/product/mongoose-ledge/

Comments

Mrcantfapenough says:

There was a 18% slope down where I lived I remember regularly going down it with my cheap bike and doing 70-80 kmh. Boy was I lucky or what?

Mudkippo says:

I’m going to be completely honest here. I bought a 7 speed mongoose mountain bike at walmart oh lord is it amazing. I hadn’t found a single problem while riding except one thing, which I’m not sure is correct or not(and would like some opinions). The reflector on the handle bar seems to be super lose and sorta just hangs there if I don’t straighten it.

John Doe says:

All of my bike have been from Walmart and the only reason my bike is broken now is because I got hit by an ambulance lol the irony

cartmanrlsusall says:

I just wanna take the bikes out and ride every now and then with my girl or a friend, we trying to race over peru,a wally world bike is just fine put ittogether your self and have the wheels trued if you can’t do it yourself grease all your bearings and adjust your brakes and gears .get out there and have some fun . serious competitors can buy all the expensive carbon and alloy, whiz bang machines they want,but a fun on a weekend rider doesn’t need all that

Team oh les gars riding Crew says:

Cool

mrouterrim says:

I just went thru 2 Walmart bikes within 3 wks  . I am now heading to a bike shop

Chris CXK says:

The rack you put the bike on had to be almost twice as expensive as the bike itself lol.

karL ish says:

you’ve got a trail named after emilia earhart! that’s super cool!

dragonfirechimeravids says:

Our department store bikes don’t have that many problems. But of course they cost more

Carl Delacruz says:

even if it is cheap it is very nice. can you make a gove away of that???

Rainbow Parkour Unicorns Powell says:

I have a mongoose and it had the same problem

William Monkell says:

can you do a review on a huffy carneg 27.5

Jason Waite says:

How much would a tune up like this cost? It looks like you traded time for 1 tune up, then went to the shop for another. Thoughts? $?

The Real Puerto Rican Gamer says:

I rode one of these once and I almost died because of how uncomfortable it was compared to my daily driver

Chase Barvinchak says:

I would subscribe but please don’t cuse.

Clorox bleach says:

Dont even get me started on their “top quality” skateboards

Euan Mcintyre says:

is a mongoose fireline a good begginer bike

Ride PNW says:

Go to the bike shop it’s only like 10 minutes away

William Farbman says:

1:59 What are Those!

John Myers says:

the answer is fuck no! lol

Meatking32502 4 says:

@Seth’s Bike Hacks how would a giant talon 3 be as a beginner mtb

deltafox399j says:

theres a bike shop near my town but all their bikes are 1000+
any recomendations on a downhill/mountain bike brand that isnt expensive

Francesco Tridori says:

i am 14 years old and i just bought a 200 dollar 29er bike, do you think the price is good?

Lionell Hall says:

They not good if you don’t have a bike can’t afford a bike go to Walmart the bike shop do not carry parts for the bike like the fork the tires they have them handing bar they will upgrade them and anything else wrong with it they will fix but Walmart bike not good at all i got me a nice bike at the bike shop am keeping my old bike i got from Walmart i be mess up money if i give it away i put alot money to my old bike and my new one is my show. bike keep it up it will do you right bike shop have good bike just spend to most to get a good bike Walmart bike not good

andrenegwer says:

still have my full suspension walgoose 10+ years strong

Clorox Bleach says:

what do you think of the mongoose teocali I’m thinking of getting this and would like your opinion. look on their website

Gammareign says:

I have taken my Walmart bike hundreds of miles and I have wrecked. Here is the kicker: *The wreck was my fault!*

Jacque Minogue says:

I kinda wanted you to shred it right out of the store, to see how long it will last.

Amp63 says:

Anybody else look up walgoose and get this vid

Leon van der Linden says:

hide it is hot%wtrk remark :‑(

Throttle rc4 says:

Or u could just buy an unasembled bike

Andrew Howden says:

at least he said he liked it.but what he did with it is still so unfair it’s a riding around going to work bike,I like it.

sixstanger00 says:

I’ve been riding on a $80 Roadmaster Granite Peak for a year & 4 months, and I had a similar experience – the bike itself seems to be well made, especially considering I’ve punished the hell out of it for over a year on single track, dirt, gravel, pavement, etc. Well over 1200 miles on it.

The only problems I’ve had with it were due to the Wal-Mart employees half-assing the assembly; brakes weren’t centered, wheels weren’t trued, derailleurs were all janked up. Did a full self-tune up on it and ever since it’s been rock solid considering what I paid for it. Didn’t have the problem with the bars like you spoke of, though. I’ve had to replace both tires once, but it was only because my rear picked up a fish hook and I eventually wore the tread off the front.

My only complaints are

1) The front fork is too darned stiff; it does absolutely nothing to absorb bumps on the trail, and the only time the shocks seem to “compress” is when I’m hitting a huge root or washout at full tilt. Even then, the fork makes a “popping” sound like it’s bottoming out; it seems to only compress when the jolt is severe enough to force it. However, considering one of my buds rides a rigid frame, I don’t consider this a major drawback; I figure if I’ve learned to keep this thing upright on sketchy downhills when it’s so jittery, my next bike with proper suspension will seem like a Cadillac.

2) Not enough gears! Mine is only a 18 speed, so the lowest gear really isn’t torquey enough to tractor up steep inclines or jumbo roots. Using the granny gear up front & 1st is pretty much worthless on single track; I wore myself out just spinning the crank while barely managing to keep enough forward motion to keep the bike up. Since then, at the suggesting of my fellow riders, I’ve started using the the mid chain ring & 1st/2nd/3rd gear. This works much better, but 1st just doesn’t have the power to make those steep climbs.

3) OEM saddle was hard AF. At the time, I didn’t have any extra cash to drop on a nice seat, so I ordered one of those El Cheapo seat covers from Ebay for $6. It solved the problem and I’ve been using it since.

4) Bike is too small for my height. It’s a 26″, and I’m 6’2″. This isn’t really the bike’s fault, as when I bought it, I was absolutety – and I mean *_absolutely_* new to mountain biking, so I didn’t know jack sh*t about a proper bike size for me. Why didn’t I research it beforehand? Because at the time, I had not rode a bike in over 10 years, and didn’t think I’d immediately develop a healthy addiction to it.

Other than that, no complaints. Knock Wal-Mart bikes all you like folks, but they’re a perfect investments if you’re new to MTB’ing, and once properly tuned, they’ll perform as well as any Trek or Specialized. Any problem you have on a Wally World bike can easily occur on an expensive one – broken frames, worn derailleurs, out-of-tune brakes, etc.

TWrecks says:

My old shitty walmart mongoose doesnt even shift gears

Isais Lawrence says:

Haha, yeah, already tried this, never again. Upgrade was very welcoming.

AverageJoe DirtBikes says:

I love my Walmart bike all the tuning and then some brakes handle bars tighten the suspension lubricate the front and so on but it was so cheap I don’t feel bad beating it off every ledge and drop up and riding down the local river over every log in sight or riding in the salty snow and so on I got the $12 warranty and when I snapped the frame in half they sent me a credit for a brand new one I have ripped six pairs of handlebars​ off but that really has nothing to do with Walmart because even though their stock bars were a bit weaker one handlebar set I ripped off was an old trek handlebar I used as a replacement it just goes to show how hard I ride my Walmart bike.

Badar Ali Shah says:

i like YOUR bike it’s cute andò good bike for me

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