Workshop tales, trials and disasters.
Maintenance tips, techniques and myths.
Technical discussion, description and outright lies
Well I bit the bullet - the $149 ALDI Crane "Montana mountain bikes" http://www.aldi.com.au/au/html/offers_20100225.htm were reduced to $99 so I thought what the hell it has a 60 day money back satisfaction guarantee so I have 60 days to kill it in without risk (at least to my wallet anyway). First impressions of this 21 speed hard tail mountain bike with front disk brake were generably favourable given the price. Pulled it out the box and it went together very easily. All the parts fit and were there. The small sticker on the frame saying "Not suitable for off road use" was not something I expected on a mountain bike. Kind of like selling hamburgers with "not fit for human consumption" in small print on a bit of paper stuffed under one of the buns.
Put the seat post in and tightened the quick release (poor hold) screw lever.
Put in handle bar post and tightened with allen key.
Put front tyre on after fiddling with quick release mechanism to make it fit just so.
Bung on the pedals.
Checked all the bolts and nuts. A little disturbingly the only bolts not reasonably tight were the ones holding the front disk for the disk brake on and most of them were not even finger tight - hanging out 5 mm or so. Front brake needed a fair amount of adjusting as I assumed it probably would (The front wheel needed to be fitted after all ). I also changed the position of the brake handles and tightened up the reflector and bell mounts.
After tightening everything and pumping up the tyres I jumped on and went for a ride. The chain almost immediately popped of the front I guess I should have expected that. Easily fixed - I also adjusted the front derailleurs so it would not happen again - the rear derailleurs had the reverse problem as neither top gear nor bottom gear were accessible with the out of the box settings. This was particularly dissapointing as I found the top gear a little low when going down hill. On reflection is probably a safety measure .
Made sure I had my helmet on tight and a pocket full of shifting spanners, screwdrivers and allen keys and took off for a longer ride. Pretty soon in that quick release adjuster on the seat post began to self release just a little, which I found annoying but fixable without tools. 20 minutes in the front handlebars decided I had not cleared the fork tube enough or the small lump in the cast plug in the end of the handlebar post decided to give way so the handlebars decided to move around a bit. Glad I had that allen key in my pocket. At this point I also noticed the handlebars were not quite centred on the post so I adjusted that too.
I have had a couple of five or ten minute rides to the shop and back since then and nothing has fallen off or come loose since
56 days of my 60 day satisfaction guarantee remaining and counting.
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Thanks for sharing you experience Aldifan.
What are the sizes of the sprockets on the back? In a few months I can expect to see some of these on the foot-path and I may strip them down for some cheap (free) parts for beater bicycles.
Thanks for sharing this - keep up the humour, stay safe and keep us up-to-date.
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That's just stupid!
I would've thought "Not suitable for on-road use" more applicable. All the things that can go wrong with a bike like this don't want to be happening when you're mixin' it with the auto-steel-death-trap-mobiles......
Any bike less then $1000 or there abouts should have a warning saying "Not suitable for off road use - safely"
Actually for a while I believe that was a standard sticker on many US mountain bikes, even decent ones. It some liability thing.
Certainly I wouldn't be taking an aldi bike on you yangs single track.
Great idea to share your thoughts and experiences on the aldi bike. Looking forward to future installments. It will make it easier for others to decide whether they want to go down that road or not.
Good info thanks ,
I bought a repco for a friend and picked it up ready assembled took it home and had a look look at it.
It was assembled with no grease at all - none.
Nothing on the seat tube, handle bars, in any bearing, and no chain lube at all.
Fixed all that packed everything with grease and re-assembled took it for a few short rides
as a shake down and it was good to go. Said I would look at it again in a month or so
to make sure it was all still ok
Peugeot Iseran - Geared Bike
Peugeot Versailles - Fixie
Peugeot U08 - Poser
Repco Nishiki - Single Speed
Most of these K-mart specials never see so much as a gram of oil or grease in any of its workings. That's why the end up on front lawns after 6 months of use, and probably 50km of riding. Then they go to bicycle recycling facilities where they are stripped down, built up properly and then sold again.
Well a few more days in and the lack of catastrophe is palpable.
Comments relating to lack of grease lead to a few openings of axles and fork head which were found to contain amounts of some form of grease like lubricant, if not as much as I would have used. If I had been packing them myself I would have used the proverbial you can never use too much. The group set and chain were hosed down with Nulon spray silicone lubricant (at least I didn't use wd40 ). I am still left waiting for disaster .
The add and the box claimed the derailleurs were shimano but only the back one is. The front one is Falcon no idea what brand the groupsets are but the front hub is Quando and the front disc brake is Promax.
How many brands can one bicycle carry? No wonder people complain about the weight of these things. As a point of reference the whole thing weighed 15.0 Kgs according to my digital bathroom scales. This is not as light as the claimed weight of a lot of "pro" bikes but may be closer to their actual weight. I did read on one site that people were finding their 23 lb bikes actually weighted 27 lbs in real life so a 33 lb bike may not be as heavy as it may sound.
The actual text of the warning sticker is
This bicycle is
not designed for
I only have 50 or so days left of my 60 day satisfaction guarantee and all I can see is that the wheels are marginally (1 or 2 mm) out of true. I may be stuck with the thing .
Sorry Harleymartin - I have not got round to counting the teeth on the sprockets at the back (or the front) but they are smaller than a breadbox if that helps.
That's because it's actually a Bicycle Shaped Object. It's not really a mountain bike at all. Mountain bikes are meant to be used off road. No serious mountain bike carries that sticker.
As for counting teeth, I'd be counting the ones inside your mouth - if you do continue to use it off road you want to be sure they're all still there when you finish your rides. Frame and fork failures have a habit of removing teeth unexpectedly. Hence the warning sticker.
Real mountain bikes also come in different sizes. Why is this? Might be something to do with the fact that people just occasionally come in different sizes, and when that happens it's a bit difficult adding or removing bits to make them fit the bike.
As to the lack of catastrophe... be patient. Persevere and it will come.
So are you usually a member of these forums under another name?
So have you used good disc brakes before? If so, have you bedded in the Promax brake and is it any good? (I doubt it would be, but you never know.)
My MTB, commuter and utility bike weight about 13 to 14Kg and it hasn't killed me yet. I'd say weight is the least of your problems unless you need to lift it above your head.
Most kids bikes come with this label. The Surly frameset I recently bought didn't.
Hope you didn't get any spray on the disc brake rotors or calipers - it might make the bike go faster !!
Wonder if this 'one' had a warning sticker.....
(Sure, it weighs less than 15 kg.....)
Any of these 'department store BSO's' may give you reasonable service if they receive regular service - including a complete rebuild from the start
The amount of pleasure received in ratio to the amount of work input to keep them running may be way out of balance, though they could be a good educational tool in bike maintenance for children and young adults
Don't know what you are trying to say here, but I wouldn't like to own a frame that breaks like that. All the Surly crash results I've seen so far are bending.
I'm worried about the number of these BSO's coming out with plastic derailers and very low end disc brakes. They are going to make it quite difficult for bicycle recycling facilities to turn out reasonable re-sale bicycles. At least the old rigid-framed MTB's and 10-speed bicycles are easy to repair.
You know they've gone too far when they start coming out with plastic discs for disc brakes.
Seriously though, I thought they already went too far when they brought out suspension BSOs. Without suspension the bikes are were use-able, as we know though suspension BSOs are pretty poor even for basic use-ability. In about 2006 I bought a very low spec Avanti for my wife with a BSO fork on it and the first thing I did was to replace it with a rigid fork then chop it up and put it in recycling. I thought even giving it away was going to be a dis-service to whoever I gave it to.
A friend of mine has a dual suspension BSO and I've ridden it occasionally. I nicked named it "the pogo stick". The brakes on that thing (linear pull rim) were dangerous (before we updgraded them). I don't even want to insult Shimano by calling them V brakes.
The funny thing is a mate of mine paid $350 for a dual-suspension BSO with disc brakes. For only $100 more he could have gotten a much better bicycle from the bike shop that would suit his needs. Oh well, when it finally falls apart, I'll jump onto it for bits to scrounge. It uses standard rims, so I can just get rid of the discs, and use them on a normal bike with V-brakes.
A mate bought an Aldi jersey, wore it once and gave it away due to sandpapered nipples!
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Tell his nipples to HTFU !!!
There is still stock of those reduced price 'Montana MTB's * available at my local Bayswater Aldi, along with reduced price gloves and socks.....
(*can't remember if they were $119 or $99)
I usually try to avoid that shop, but it's hard when it's the closest one, ie walking distance. In Hamilton today they still had a stack of those BSOs, reduced of course. Plus large plasma or lcd tvs that they can't shift either. Did buy some of the socks on clearout, avoided the gloves though. They only had full fingered ones left and they look like something to go to the snow in, not ride a bike.
I think it's nice of Aldi to throw in some bike bits when they sell you a boat anchor.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
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