So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby high_tea » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:15 am

Go the 3/32" freewheel. It will work with 1/8" or 3/32". The tool depends on the freewheel, as Paddles said.
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by BNA » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:35 pm

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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Mydget » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:35 pm

I've read every post in this thread and collected lots of good information, so I signed up, mainly to thank you all, especially LDR. :D

I'm thinking of buying either a Dunlop Armour 26" MTB or Repco Torrent 26" MTB, and yes, from Big W. :lol:

To be honest, I didn't expect too much from it, but it's mainly a project bicycle, as I'm planning to put a petrol engine kit on it. The kit actually seems easier to install than correctly (and safely) assembling a bicycle (shaped object? :lol: ) from Big W. Still, I'm a uni student on a tiny budget, so as long as the bicycle frame doesn't snap in half and I end up with a pole through my body, it should be fine... or so I think.

As I have almost no experience regarding bicycle maintenance (I have trouble changing the tire on my bicycle, though I do blame bad design for that... hehe.), I have looked up some of the things to do, such as greasing ball bearings, but if someone doesn't mind, could they give me a quick, short list on how to make an at-first pretty crappy bicycle to roll safely? Thanks again.

PS: Sorry if there's a thread for things to do to a new bike, but I basically came on the forum to read this thread, and I've typed so much already. Don't want to erase. Haha. -goes off in search of threads- A list specific to Big W's bicycles would be nice though. :lol:
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby thomashouseman » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:54 am

Mydget,

Great idea for the farm etc, but don't get caught on the road with one.... The police get you for everything they can think up: riding an uncompliant, unregistered, uninsured vehicle, quite possibly without a motorcycle licence or motorcycle helmet etc. >$1000 easily.

T.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby zero » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:27 am

Mydget wrote:
To be honest, I didn't expect too much from it, but it's mainly a project bicycle, as I'm planning to put a petrol engine kit on it. The kit actually seems easier to install than correctly (and safely) assembling a bicycle (shaped object? :lol: ) from Big W. Still, I'm a uni student on a tiny budget, so as long as the bicycle frame doesn't snap in half and I end up with a pole through my body, it should be fine... or so I think.

As I have almost no experience regarding bicycle maintenance (I have trouble changing the tire on my bicycle, though I do blame bad design for that... hehe.), I have looked up some of the things to do, such as greasing ball bearings, but if someone doesn't mind, could they give me a quick, short list on how to make an at-first pretty crappy bicycle to roll safely? Thanks again.



The list has 1 entry. That entry is
1 - do not fit an engine to it.

Note the kit you are looking at is illegal to ride on the road in most states, may get you a uninsured, unlicenced, no motorcycle helmet combo fine worth about $2000. Typically the noise makes them very easy for police to identify, ie you won't ride past cops more than half a dozen times before one does something about you.

IMO the kit is not particularly safe, it has an exposed chain drive, the clutch is at the engine so the chain will keep turning until the wheel stops turning and the mount transmits power by a sprocket and collar that is bolted through the spokes, the actual transmission itself is achieved through the bolts pushing on the spokes, and the collar makes it hard to inspect the spokes of a very cheap wheel that are inclined to break anyway, and now have an extra side load on them that they weren't designed to carry.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Mydget » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:32 pm

As I said, it's just a project bike, I don't plan to commute to uni or anything. The most action it'll see will be on a friend's plot of land. I'm aware of the laws, and not having a lot of money; looking to get a fine is the last thing I'll do.

Now I'm thinking of getting another one as well, just the bicycle that is, not the engine. Since my old bike is getting small. :D
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:21 pm

Hi mydget, good to hear you've enjoyed the thread :) .

Obviously you're now aware of the issues with petrol engine kits so i won't carry on about that. As for getting a cheap bike safe to ride, IMO your first step is adjusting the brakes (assuming they are good enough quality that they CAN be adjusted, not always the case) which is just a matter of hitting up youtube/reading "Zinn and the art of mountain bike maintenance" and then practicing. Next you just want to go over every nut and bolt and make sure none of them are loose, especially the cranks. That doesn't guarantee your saafety, as it's not unheard of for the cranks to snap off on really cheap bikes (though it hasn't happened to me yet). Checking that the cranks are tightened properly is definitely important.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Mydget » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:10 am

Yeah, I had started up reading on the pre-ride maintenance in-depth, but I didn't think I had enough know-how and tools. I now have an entry level mountain bike (Esperia Light Race), currently fitted with road tires though once or twice in a month I do plan to use my bicycle for its intended use. I also treat my bicycle quite roughly, so it's perfect. Your thread has inspired me though, I think I might look around for a cheap fixie just for the fun and games. :lol:
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby kukamunga » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:05 am

K-Mart have a $129 Southern Star 700c Metro 'fixie/singlespeed' in their latest cattledog - black, purple, fluro green. Imagine how much better it'll be than the BigW bike for that extra $30!!!!! Headstem even looks like it might be made of aluminum!!!!

And Big BUYS by Harvey Norman have $98 Kent adults MTB-shaped-objects

And $97 kids duallies!!! From my experience, those kids duallies often weigh over 50% of the average body-weight of the intended users, and offer no stand-over clearance - that'll toughen up those whimpy kids of today!!!
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Mydget » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:54 pm

$129, I bet the extra price is worth it for all the extra-cool stickers they put on. :lol:

PS: Rode 47kms today on my bike, glad I didn't buy the Big W one, might have broken down some point and I wouldn't know how to fix it.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby evangelion » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:03 pm

To be perfectly honest Big W, Kmart, Target etc bikes all have their place. Some of their bikes given a particular price point are not bad considering the specs and parts on it. More importantly everyone is at a different stage in life and have different needs and so its not necessary to buy an expensive bike etc if that is not something you need or want. Sometimes your needs may even warrant a cheaper bike than a more expensive bike eg I bought this Big W MTB bike that at the time was really well built, aluminium frame, suspensions front and rear, decentish gears, disc brakes and a few other things knowing that I will most likely trash it etc and would not want that to happen to my 1k+ bike. It was a wise decision and yes I really did trash it but possibly some of the best 300 odd dollars spent lol :)
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Insolitus Somnium » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:01 pm

Hey guys I'm new here, rather than starting a new thread to ask this question because I feel that would be a waste of time and just clutter things up I figured I'd ask in here whether or not anyone has any experiences with the current K Mart bicycles? I'm looking at buying one of the Southern Star bikes just to zip around town and to gradually build up my fitness level as well as to hopefully get some exercise and hopefully get my severe and chronic migraines under control again... Staying in bed all day with your head feeling like it's imploding while you're getting spun around at 100km/h is not the best feeling in the world funnily enough. :wink:

Now before you read any further, I've already read all the stuff about how the parts are inferior and how heavy the bikes are and all of that and frankly if that's the case then I will have to deal with that because I am stuck on welfare because of the migraines and their unpredictable nature which makes finding work for me incredibly difficult so I can't afford to go out and buy a $400 budget bike...

I am currently looking at the Southern Star Kodiak for about $80 and there's another one up from that but I don't remember what it's called for $130, its some kind of weird mountain bike hybrid thing by the same brand and I'm not sure which would be the better option... As I've said all I'd be using the bike for is to zip around town and to maybe go out and ride a few kms just to get some exercise, any help and/or opinions would be greatly appreciated. :mrgreen:
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby MattyK » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:07 am

Do you know how to repair bikes? When it breaks (and it most likely will), you're not likely to get help from the local bike shop (I've seen mine kick out K Mart customers). Perhaps consider a used bike, otherwise get the simplest bike they have (less gears, no suspension, etc)
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby FuzzyDropbear » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:55 am

Insolitus Somnium wrote:I am currently looking at the Southern Star Kodiak for about $80 and there's another one up from that but I don't remember what it's called for $130,


http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Giant-Iguana-630-Mountain-Bike-/300880275078?pt=AU_Sport_Cycling_Bikes&hash=item460ddca686

If you're anywhere near these, I rekon they'd be a good buy. These things are very hard to break, custom butted 1990 technology but strong as an ox. Better components than the K-mart stuff.

I had a mate buy a BigW bike, within 2km the pedal fell off... it took me about an hour to tune the gears so they'd work, brakes were horrid. While the canilevers on the Iguana aren't much better, the overall bike is much better. Would have rathered my mate buy something like the Giant as it's trusty, good components (some of the Iguanas were $500 in 1990 so not bottom end stuff). I rekon, had he have done this, he would still be riding. But he had to have a 'new' bike, rather than a good 2nd hand bike.

Good luck with it mate, hope you get into cycling, the benefits pay for the initial startup cost over and over again.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby mitzikatzi » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:47 pm

Insolitus Somnium wrote:Hey guys I'm new here,...snip... As I've said all I'd be using the bike for is to zip around town and to maybe go out and ride a few kms just to get some exercise, any help and/or opinions would be greatly appreciated. :mrgreen:



read this thread Aldi Bike: Assembly or minimising self destruction Even with lots of love it didn't last.

this is a much better bike than a K mart bike but only in 23 inch. The GWABR Learsport Bike

Again limited sizes and twice your budget but a Much much better bike. probably cheaper in the long run.
Azzurri Roma 700

also maybe look at Reid cycles or Cell bikes
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby kukamunga » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:01 pm

MattyK wrote:Do you know how to repair bikes? When it breaks (and it most likely will), you're not likely to get help from the local bike shop.....
+1. Poor build and no back up service on cheap department store bikes = $trouble$. Unless you are skilled at fixing bikes, leave these cheap shitters alone (read from page 1 of this thread)

Take one to a LBS to get fixed, and you'll get charged at least for a general service ($70 - $100), plus parts and extra labour if needed - if they'll service it at all

Buy a bike from a LBS, and you'll get a properly built bike, a good Warranty, and one or two free services in the first year

If you must buy a 'cheapy', avoid suspension: Cheap suspension = dead weight & knocking & clunking & flexing & poor handling
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby HLC » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:19 pm

Checked out the $130 Kmart Fixie today....


Stay away.

For an extra $70 pick up a Cell Fixie. Infinitely better.


The Kmart was heavy, parts were of a substandard finish and most importantly it looks bad

[Mod edit: language]
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Insolitus Somnium » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:52 pm

Thanks guys, I think I'll see if I can pick up some odd jobs around (I do a bit of mystery shopping here and there) to see if I can scrape up enough for a lower end bike from a bike shop around town somewhere and if not then I'll see if any of them offer lay-by services... My biggest concern is that I can't go and drop $400 all at once and a more expensive bike is more likely to be stolen.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Paddles » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:07 am

The reality is that your local bike shop will stock an entry level bike for not too much more than a k-mart one. The added bonus with this way is that it will be the right size, will have warranty from the shop, will more than likely include a service or two to tune it all up as it runs in, and most importantly it will be assembled and backed by an expert.

If you know your way around bikes and have the right tools then even a bike shop quality second hand machine is worth looking at for around the same price as a new k-mart bike, just be prepared to strip it and fully clean/service it for best results and maybe have a bit of a budget for some consumables like tyres, brake pads, chain, grips etc.

Some of the cheaper new bikes available online aren't too bad of a deal either, for example reid cycles here in brissie have a ripper entry point mountain bike for $251, I build/service bikes for friends and i'd struggle to put a second hand bike together of a similar quality, with new consumables, for the same price.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Insolitus Somnium » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:28 am

I've actually decided to begin looking in the classifieds around here for second hand bikes :)
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby zero » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:53 pm

Insolitus Somnium wrote:Thanks guys, I think I'll see if I can pick up some odd jobs around (I do a bit of mystery shopping here and there) to see if I can scrape up enough for a lower end bike from a bike shop around town somewhere and if not then I'll see if any of them offer lay-by services... My biggest concern is that I can't go and drop $400 all at once and a more expensive bike is more likely to be stolen.


If its d-locked to a solid object on your private property overnight it will be fine, even outdoors - though the finish and saddle will eventually deteriorate. Some places it may suffer vandalism if locked in a public space (where drunks walk past at night), and it may suffer component theft if it appears to be left unnattended for months on end in a public space.

Note they have a tendency to go missing from garages with unlocked side doors or unlocked roller doors.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:18 pm

Insolitus Somnium wrote:I've actually decided to begin looking in the classifieds around here for second hand bikes :)


That's what I would recommend for your needs, I've looked at the Southern Star Kodiak and while I reckon it wouldn't be TOO bad I wouldn't expect it to last all that long. The flat bar road bike they have (I forget the brand but it's a white and blue thing) would actually be pretty good IMO, but I think you could get a better quality bike 2nd hand for the same or less.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby HLC » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:57 pm

HLC wrote:Checked out the $130 Kmart Fixie today....


Stay away.

For an extra $70 pick up a Cell Fixie. Infinitely better.


The Kmart was heavy, parts were of a substandard finish and most importantly it looks bad

[Mod edit: language]


Had another look at this thing as I found myself at Kmart again...

The cranks are PLASTIC. WT.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Insolitus Somnium » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:33 pm

I put the bike on a back burner for the time being because my phone was beginning to fail and bought an android phone and Zombies, Run! in the app market, it's a fun little app and gets you moving.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby TTar » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:40 pm

ldrcycles wrote:
Insolitus Somnium wrote:The flat bar road bike they have (I forget the brand but it's a white and blue thing) would actually be pretty good IMO, but I think you could get a better quality bike 2nd hand for the same or less.


That K Mart bike would be a Southern Star "Citi", and yes, it's not too bad.

In my defence let me say I bought one second hand for $30 (from a guy who didn't need it anymore because 'he'd just got his licence back') to serve as interim transport during a planned major service of my main bike. Two days after I bought the K Mart bike' I broke my regular bike and had to scramble to make the citi serviceable in an afternoon.

The seller said he used it for a daily 40k work commute so I was filled with fear. The headset was knocking, a couple of gears wouldn't engage and the brakes... were installed. Despite all that, routine adjustments and new brake pads from my junk box set everything right and since then I've treated it with all the disrespect it deserves, but it's defiantly held up.

The biggest and most important task was removing the stickers and painting the frame with two $2.30 flat black spray cans
from Bunnings. A small price to pay to hide the shame of that distinctive white and blue paint job and transforming it into a cool Ninja Bike -- almost all the components were already black.

So far this bike has cost me $35 and my aim is to not ever spend more than a total of $50 on it, apart from expendables. So remaining; it's lifetime maintenance/upgrade budget is $15. I do have the tools, enough experience and a big enough junk box to achieve that, but anyone could study the online tutorials and tune and maintain such a bike for next to nothing.

ldrcycles is quite right, you could get a better quality 2nd hand bike for the same price, but this particular K Mart bike (can't speak for the others) is 80~90% the quality of a bike that costs two or three times as much.

Meantime, if you see one for $30; snap it up. Mine came with mudguards, computer, gel seat, saddle bag, metered pump, cable lock, lights, second set of tyres... I could probably sell all that for more than $30.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby russellgarrard » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:58 pm

The above bicycle is a turd. Admittedly it did get me out of a hole but at the end of the day, I personally feel that it's still a waste of money. I was planning to upgrade it, but glad I didn't. Everything on the bike has started falling apart in the past week. Ironically, they have now changed from Sighuan (spelling?) rear derailleurs to Tourney TX! The Tourney is miles better!
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