Every bike should be custom, and for me, this bike is a good starting point. I like hybrid/urban/cross style, and that's what this is. It's a hybrid frame with road cranks. If you go to a store with this in-stock, you can get this bike for a third less than the price listed on walmart.com. The online price includes the cost to pack and ship this to another store or your house, even if you say you'll pick it up from the same store Understand that, being a big-box-bike, this is made with the cheapest possible components. Any moving part will be good for less than 500 miles. The frame will have a decent warranty, and the store will offer you a 2-year replacement warranty for 10%. This suits the market, and may be perfect for you if you plan to loop around the block with the kids on weekends. The other option is to replace the cheap parts as they fail, upgrading it to a better bike without having to pay up front for a better bike. The bearings in the bottom bracket will be the first to go, especially if they get any dirt in them. They're not sealed well. A replacement 68mm bottom bracket (I think this is 113mm wide, JIS square taper) should be around $15. You'll need 3-4x that in tools to remove the old and install the new. You could pay a bike shop to do it, but it would cost the same as buying the tools. You need a crank puller, a 3-notch wrench for removing the lock-rings on these loose-ball axles, and you'll need a bottom bracket tool (socket) to match what you buy as a replacement. The brake levers are plastic, and will not work well for hard stops. Since they're part of the shifters, the shifters AND the brake levers have to be replaced. Decent, all-aluminum levers can be had from $17 to $30 for a set. Shifters can be had for $30-$55 for a set. This gets you into the 9-speed sets, which will work fine with the 7-speed rear until you upgrade that. There's always something more expensive, and always something cheaper. Go with the cheapest you can get that's all metal. Deore and Alivio are both decent. Acera is plastic, not much better than the Tourney stuff already on the bike. The threadless handlebar clamp is okay, but it's not super strong or lightweight. Still, save that for another time, though you might want shorter handlebars. You could hacksaw these, or spend $20 on a set of lightweight aluminum ones. The rear derailleur is cheap, and okay for low stress, but will stretch and flex. Plus, it's only good for up to 7 gears. The next model up is good for 8-9 gears, but will still work on the 7-speed freewheel. Again, Alivio or Deore 9-speed is the way to go. Installing is easy. Adjusting is easy once you read the directions. Sheldon Brown's website has the best, easy to follow instructions on this and it will take 5 minutes. If you don't read this, expect shifting problems for hours of riding. The wheels are single walled, and have poor welds. They will crack if you take a curb here or there. If you stay on flat road, you'll be fine for around 400 miles. You'll need to clean and repack the bearings at half that if you ride in dusty or dirty areas. The bearings are not sealed well. Also, if you're big, and you power up a hill, expect to bend the rear axle. Replacement axles are about $10, and are just a threaded 10mm steel rod. Gear mounting is for a 7-speed freewheel, though DNP makes a nice 9-speed freewheel. If you put alot of power into this, you'll work the freewheel into the hub body. A better option would be to pick up some Sun CR18 wheels, which cost about as much as the bike. They're double-walled, 36 spoke, with shimano mountain M430 hubs. Heavy duty, sealed bearings, and they come with a freehub rather than a freewheel hub. This lets you buy a "cassette". Many more options available there for up to 9-speed. The seatpost clamp needs a 4mm allen nut. I recommend replacing the clamp with a quick release. Tires are 32mm and rated for up to 75psi. That should be okay for a while, just keep the pressure up. The frame will accept tires up to 45mm without any risk of rubbing. You might go a little higher if you replace the brake arms. The booklet says how to keep things lubricated and maintained. Follow those directions, and the bike will last twice as long. If you just ride and garage it, then you'll find it doesn't last. Also, the bike has a lifetime supply of decals all over it. They peel off, and the bike looks okay, but the real purpose of the stickers is to hide the 2-tone paint problems. Again, it's a $90 bike, and the frame is aluminum, so it's not a big deal. You'll find most of the 700c (27.5" and larger) bikes use pretty much the same parts, even if they are different makers (Pacific Cycle for mongoose, and those brands - Kent for GMC, Genesis, and similar brands, etc). Basically, make sure the frame fits you, and the welds are clean. Follow the maintenance guide, or do better if you know how. When you go to ride the bike, make sure your spokes have about the same pitch when you pluck them, and that you can spin the tire without it rubbing the brakes. Make sure you can stop before you get going really fast. Don't ride in both small gears, or both large gears, as that stretches the chain sideways. Fix autoshifting (cable tension) or chain shipping (popped link). Tighten any squeaks, and grease (not WD-40) lubricate any moving parts. Wear a helmet, and drink plenty of water (a pint to a quart per hour for adults). Do all of that, and you'll enjoy this bike for as long as you care to. Yes, parts will wear out if you put a lot of miles on it, but that's just how the universe works.
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