Pros: Price, chain cover, cushy ride, rack eyelets, bolt on wheels
Cons: Handgrips, fit (one size will not fit all), kickstand is too far back
First, I get really excited when I see commuter-friendly bikes. That was the case when I saw this Next Avalon bike. The thing that drew me to this bike was the chain cover. A chain cover! Remember when I paid almost $100 to put a chain cover on my current everyday commuter (see: http://utilitycyclist.blogspot.com/2007/12/chainguard-making-your-us-mass-market.html). For the price of this bike ($99), I get a chain cover with an entire bike attached to it! I had to buy it.
I did purchase it at the king of all mass-market retailers, Walmart. I know that a lot of bike enthusiasts have no respect for Walmart bikes. They are always panned for being shoddily put together. And, of course, Walmart pays its vendors peanuts. This should equal lower quality. Well, why not perform my own long-term test to see if what "they" say is right? That's what I will do. My plan for this bike is for short errand running or trips to the ATM or grocery store. I plan to add a trip computer to track the mileage and the kinds of problems that I encounter as the bike piles up the miles.
Thus far, I've taken it for a short neighborhood ride and the bike seems to perform like it should. The handlebars didn't fall off. Everything is ok. The brake pads were rubbing on one side of the rear wheel so I adjusted them. The ride is very cushy. It has a springy neoprene seat as well as and single spring rear suspension. It also has a suspension front fork.
I like that this bike has bolt-on wheels. This is a good wheel theft deterrent. All you do is tie your lock cable to the frame and not worry too much about your wheels being stolen. I probably won't like this when I get a flat, but I'll deal with that when it comes.
I've added the rack so I can put stuff back there. It does have rack eyelets by the rear dropouts, but none by the seat part. I attached my rack to the rear seat stay with some P clamps. I also plan to add some fenders to it when I find them cheap or used. I don't plan to put a lot of money into this bike. I will replace the hand grips, though. They are the hard rubber kind.