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 dfc. » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:03 pm

Comedian wrote:So if you were going to spend all that money on parts wouldn't you be better off just buying a decent bike? :o


I suppose

Probably be better getting one of these:

http://www.goldcross.com.au/online-stor ... escription
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:28 pm

A few more details, the seat tube is 56.6cm, top tube 55cm and the bars are a very skinny 48.5cm.

I would also like to share the first line from the owners manual, which had me in hysterics.

"You have purchased one of the finest bicycles available".
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:49 pm

Big W marketroids wrote:"You have purchased one of the finest bicycles available in this store".


Fixed that for them :wink:

Must drop in and have a sticky...
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Richard.L » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:41 pm

dfc. wrote:Snipped
Cheap way to go racing, but maybe to heavy

If you are lucky you may find a proper track bike second hand for that price if you know where to find them.


What width is the wheel and how many teeth come on the chainring and sprocket and chain size?
Might consider buying one but that would involve me buying the BB tool, lower/reverse quill stem :roll:
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby dfc. » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:52 pm

I had a look at one tonight, and it looks pretty good. It has 700x35c wheels. Not too heavy, I could lift it with one arm easily
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:59 pm

Yea it's not really that heavy, it's a singlespeed after all, there's not much on it.

The rear spacing is 120mm, and the stock gearing is 44-16.

I forgot to mention earlier, not only did it come with the usual vague one-size-fits-all owners manual, but it also has an 'assembly and maintenance' dvd. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but i'm very curious to know what's on it.

Also of note that it came with a little flyer from the Amy Gillett Foundation briefly spelling out responsibilities of drivers and cyclists, number 1 on the cyclists list 'stop at red lights'. I don't know how many people buying this bike would pay any attention to it but it's good to see it in there anyway.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:04 am

I suspect that if the technology of the best available bikes in shops today was the same as it was, say, 15 years ago then many riders here would simply be turning their nose up at a lesser than bike than they currently do. We are all too much the marketers dream customers. That's why we keep having the toothbrush reinvented and remodeled and restyled an infinitum. (Seriously, I am planning on shopping tomorrow for a table PC when I have a serviceable netbook already.)

However I do find many of the brakes on the cheapies to be not very confidence inspiring, being made with no thickness at all. That is a part that I would often want to replace. And after that extra cost I gotta question buying one so cheap in the first place.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Nobody » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:24 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:However I do find many of the brakes on the cheapies to be not very confidence inspiring, being made with no thickness at all. That is a part that I would often want to replace. And after that extra cost I gotta question buying one so cheap in the first place.
I'd be changing the BB too. And not just because the bearings are sub-standard.
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=50539
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:39 am

Nobody wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote:However I do find many of the brakes on the cheapies to be not very confidence inspiring, being made with no thickness at all. That is a part that I would often want to replace. And after that extra cost I gotta question buying one so cheap in the first place.
I'd be changing the BB too. And not just because the bearings are sub-standard.
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=50539


I call freak fault on that one, or at worst just a bad batch. The BB on this one is an old style external thread btw (not that that would make any difference to it breaking or not).
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:26 am

This morning i popped on my Shimano road pedals and adjusted the brakes, and rode 26k from Coolum to Noosa. Drum roll please ladies and gentleman, and make sure you're sitting down........It is a really nice ride :shock: :shock: :shock: .

And note i didn't say "for the price", this is one of the nicest steel rides i've tried, almost as good as my plain gauge 531 Dawes, and better than a Columbus Max tubed frame i had a while back. The biggest shock is that it actually climbs! I had expected the narrow bars to reduce the amount of leverage, and i had a ridiculously heavy Roadmaster flatbar for a while which simply stopped and refused to move (like a cartoon mule) when presented with any kind of upward slope, 0.5% would be plenty. This thing gets up beautifully, and unlike most cheap heavy bikes where you get the distinct feeling that the frame is acting as a kind of torque convertor, soaking up and dissipating 90% of what you put into the pedals, this thing responds really well.

On the flat it absolutely rips along, very smooth and near enough to silent, the only thing that holds it back is the very upright position (although if Now as it's labelled 'urban commuter' i take that to mean fixie warrior type riding, so relatively low speed, threading through traffic, spending quite a bit of time on bike paths etc where an upright position would be preferable. So it could be argued that riding between towns is somewhat outside it's niche, but it could be as simple as swapping the risers for drop bars.

Downhill and through corners it is less impressive, it could be the frame is a little smaller and the geometry different than what i'm used to, but on one occasion thanks to a somewhat inattentive driver i had cause to brake hard downhill at 40+kmh which induced a momentary shimmy i was able to settle easily, and on a few occasions i could feel and hear the front tyre scrabbling a bit through corners. That may be more about the pressure being too high or low but i haven't had that on any other bike i've used these tyres on.

The ride was a very pleasant surprise, it's quite smooth, not the smoothest but very good. Anyone who has ridden a heavy gaspipe frame knows the dead feeling they have, where the weight is so extreme that it doesn't smooth out bumps by absorbing them, but by steamrolling the road and removing the bumps altogether. This bike has a similar but lighter feel, but without the 'deadness' that afflicts most gaspipe, coming out of a corner, roundabout etc a few kicks on the pedals and you're back on top of the gear and humming along again.

Hard as it is to believe, this is actually a really good bike, regardless of price. At $98, i can wholeheartedly recommend it, IF you have the tools and knowledge to set it up PROPERLY.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:08 am

Oh and the new car smell mentioned above is in evidence here too, i had the bike in my car last night while delivering pizzas and it created a miasma through the entire car :) . Seems to be coming from the rubber bits, grips tyres and seat.

Re Frugal's comment about his mate's knicks catching on the seat bolt, i may have had that on my test ride, but attributed it to the reflector, as it was right at the top of the post. I changed the rather narrow stock seat for my own preference which is a bit wider, and didn't have any issues this morning.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby AndrewBurns » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:25 am

Sounds like a good bike to be chaining up at the station/when you go shopping etc.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Nobody » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:35 am

ldrcycles wrote:I call freak fault on that one, or at worst just a bad batch. The BB on this one is an old style external thread btw (not that that would make any difference to it breaking or not).
Fair enough. Most people seem to survive BB/crank failures anyway. It's just that safe BBs are cheap and teeth are expensive... as you would know better than me. :)
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby waramatt » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:00 pm

I agee with Comedian. I built up a single speed for a touch over $300 that included MTB clipless pedals, a Brooks saddle, an old Suntour frame and Alex rims. It weighs 11kg and rides sweetly. I would NOT enjoy riding single speed on a 19kg heifer.
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So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ozdavo » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:17 pm

Ldr, can you give an actual weight?


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

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:09 pm

Read my thoughts ozdavo. The 19kg quoted on the big w website has to be total boxed weight. With alloy BMX pedals which are significantly heavier than the stock plastic, a heavier saddle, rear frog and 28c tyres (which are thicker than the standard 35s so might not be any difference there) my scales have it at exactly 13kgs. The frame is bloody good, and when you start off at under $100, you could replace the steel cranks (which would probably drop half a kilo easily), spds and better wheels 2nd hand and still be less than $300. As it is it's a really nice ride, i'm already considering buying another one just for the hell of it :) . Did about 10k on it this arvo with my girlfriend and even at slow speed on a bike path it was good fun.

I'm tempted to buy a geared big w/kmart/whatever bike and see if i can get that working properly but with the derailleurs on those being made of plastic and very poor quality steel i don't like my chances.

I'm also going to take Chris's suggestion, and go back to Big W sometime this week and see about getting a replacement for the brake lever which won't return properly. It's usable as is, but it should be better. Just for giggles i'll ask about the 'first service' too :) . Oh and i'll get around to adjusting the pedal bearings, and watching the dvd.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby AndrewBurns » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:25 pm

About 6 months ago I bought an Aldi hybrid for $130. It weighed in at 16kg out of the box, 700C wheels with 38 tyres, crappy front suspension, suntour triple chainset and 7 speed freewheel with a shimano RD and an unnamed FD coupled with SRAM gripshift shifters. It was actually fairly good out of the box in terms of everything being greased up and turning free. Only significant problem is that only 6 of the 7 gears were accessible, the largest gear at the back couldn't be reached by the derailleur and I never could figure out a way of making it, pretty sure it's incapable through geometry. That said I rode it more than 800km, to and from work a few times and recently my dad rode it while I rode one of my newer bikes so I've certainly got my money's worth from it. It's too large for me really, the position is too upright, it's too heavy and the front suspension soaks up too much power but for another person it would be perfectly adequate.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby brisrouleur » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:39 pm

Better get in quick, cause I think this guy must be buying all stock to sell on for profit!! :P

Check it out. :roll: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/highgate ... 1000772091
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:56 pm

I had actually thought the other day that there might be something in buying them, adjusting them properly and selling on, looks like someone beat me to it (maybe without the adjusting properly part, i don't know).
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby helsabot » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:13 pm

FrugalRouleur wrote:Better get in quick, cause I think this guy must be buying all stock to sell on for profit!! :P

Check it out. :roll: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/highgate ... 1000772091


Wow that is pretty skeevy, it's not even fix geared like that.

Idrcycles, I was considering buying one of these and replacing the brakes and tires right away while eventually turning it into something worthwhile (basically just using the frame by the end, but still having a bike for pub runs etc. beforehand). Is the frame suitable for the job in your opinion?

I really don't know all that much about fixies and it will be my first.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:48 pm

IMO, absolutely. The bike rides beautifully, quick and smooth. Now with the cranks weighing half a ton, and the wheels not much less, that leaves the frame as being responsible. Honestly with the way it rides i would pay at least $98 for the frame alone. I couldn't be bothered stripping it to the bare frame to get a weight but it wouldn't be excessive by any means.

The tyres it came with look to be fine, except for the fact that there was virtually no clearance to the rear brake (credit card thickness at most). The chain on mine is about as short as it can be, so maybe with a couple more links, and the wheel further back in the dropouts, it would clear the 35s alright. As for the brakes, especially for pub run stuff they're fine, or at least they would be if both my levers were working as they ought to. Bit of squealing because of the painted rims but one wet ride should wear that off and then they will be quiet. I'm actually thinking about keeping this one stock and buying another to fit drop bars, maybe even gears, just do whatever i want.

Registered the warranty on the big w website this evening, planning on commuting to work on it tomorrow (the long one too, 45k each way) and popping round big w after work to see about a replacement brake lever.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby silentbutdeadly » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:01 am

ldrcycles wrote:The 19kg quoted on the big w website has to be total boxed weight. With alloy BMX pedals which are significantly heavier than the stock plastic, a heavier saddle, rear frog and 28c tyres (which are thicker than the standard 35s so might not be any difference there) my scales have it at exactly 13kgs.


Looks like I was wrong. Nowhere near as heavy as a 10ft Waratah gate!!

Despite the functionality of the thing...I'd still look at it as a cheap SS project frame with bonus bits. LDR's research certainly suggests that it's probably worth a shot if SS floats your boat.
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby Oxford » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:40 pm

went looking for one at the local Big-W, but they didn't have them. Its piqued my curiosity, I'd replace the cranks immediately with a spare set I have and lower the ratio in the process. looks like a good shopping trailer tow bike I reckon. need to sell the current bikes though as I'm downsizing my bike collection (going through n-1 presently). :cry:
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:26 pm

For that you would definitely need a shorter gear, the 44-16 is way too high for riding at path speeds.

Watched the dvd today and there was another surprise, in order to cover every bike with one dvd it has about half a million sub menus, 'assembling a boys bmx', 'assembling a mens mountain bike', down to 'attaching streamers' etc. However none of the half a million sub menus discussed 'assembly of a singlespeed'. This would definitely be a problem for someone who isn't familiar with bikes, they would likely have no idea how to adjust the chain tension, especially with the fiddly tensioner/washer thing it came with (which i removed as soon as i had checked out how it worked).

Assuming the lowest common denominator buyer managed to get their Preset together in spite of the lack of help from the dvd, it would be helpful for ongoing maintenance, as it covers basic things like changing tubes.

The worst thing about the dvd though, was that it showed a bloke doing all the assembly and maintenance inside on a polished timber floor. My other half would kill me if i tried that!
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Re: So how bad is a Big W bike, really?

Postby espressoman62 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:53 pm

I hope the the guy in the store was able to fit you up properly before you took it home. ie head stem & crank lengths for instance :roll:
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