Monday, April 7, 2008

Review of the Next Avalon Bike.

4/24/08 Update: After riding this bike for approximately 25 miles, this experiment is over. I’m getting rid of this bike. I could never get quite comfortable in the cockpit. It truly did not fit me like it should. You may have to be around 5’ foot tall to have this bike fit you. After riding it, my quads hurt, my lower back hurt, it was difficult to pedal. I did the adjustments to the seat and the handlebars, but could not get this bike “dialed in” for me. Sorry, Walmart. I’m leaving my original review for reference purposes.

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.

11 comments:

Alex said...

I just purchased this bike used. Does Wal-Mart carry accessories, e.g., basket and rack?

pedaling fool said...

Walmart doesn't carry racks, but I believe they carry those handlebar baskets. The rack you see in the pix is an Axiom rear rack which I picked up at an LBS. The basket was something I got from a Bed bath & beyond for storing towels (I think).

Teresa said...

I purchased this exact bicycle on 6/30/08 at Wal-Mart so I could save on gas every week. I purchased it to commute to and from work which is about 15 miles. I just started riding a bicycle after 15 years of not riding and I seem pleased so far. I am not riding the full 15 miles just yet but I am working my way up there eventually.
As for FLAT TIRES, here is something I found at Walmart is NoMor Flats. It is guarenteed to never go flat, blow out or lose air which is really important to me as a commuter bike. This is a solid rubber tube you put in place of the standard air tube.
The bike does seem quite comfy especially since I am a large (fat)person. I am still looking for a horn, rack and basket for mine.

pedaling fool said...

Sweet, Teresa! You on a bike means one less car on the road. Have fun!

Quentin said...

I bought one of these bikes last year, and my roommate was riding it around and accidentally hit the curb, bending the rim of the rear wheel, can you recommend a replacement vendor, preferably online of course, where I can purchase a replacement as Walmart will not give me a straight answer on whether they will allow me to replace it or not even though the bike is less than a year old.

Anonymous said...

I also got this avalon at walmart because of the quality alluminum frame construction and design. All the components are fine but very low end. I since upgraded most of the components and kept the fine shimano derailer unit. Then I added accessories like a rack, mirror, water bottle and bar extensions etc. I have used it everyday (10miles) and totally enjoy it off and on road. I have built it up to be a great crossover bicycle. I use my road bicycle often too and when I switch to this one, I know where they got the name comfort bike. It is slow and a little inefficient but "oh so comfy" I am now thinking of changing the caliper brakes and switching to 700c wheels and tires. Then maybe changing the front suspension fork for a damped unit. The frame alone is worth it.

pedaling fool said...

Quentin,
Thanks for visiting my blog. Here's what I would do with the rear wheel problem. Look on Craigslist for a 26" Magna or Huffy department store bicycle. They are always being sold there for cheap (sometimes as low as $40-50). Go see one, inspect the rear wheel and make sure it has the same # of sprockets, and buy it. Take off the rear wheel and replace it from the new bike. That should do it. You can buy a new wheel from someplace like Nashbar, but you'd end up paying more than $50. Good luck.

Kunal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave said...

I'm disappointed with the Avalon mens 26" bike for something minor, somewhat. I was in Walmart today and many 'cheaper' bikes had nice eyelets on the tube frame for pump or water bottle, etc, but the Avalon has nothing to mount any of these things to it. Straight tubing with no holes at all. What are people doing for bottle mounting and pump mounting? I ride in Florida and both are quite important to have with you.

pedaling fool said...

Dave,
Check out this website: http://www.nordicgroup.us/cageboss/ Some cool solutions for you. I haven't ordered from there, but seems to have what need. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Rick said...

I'm 62 and haven't ridden much since childhood. I wanted something inexpensive because I wasn't sure if I would stick with it. So I got the Avalon at our Vista, California branch of Walmart.
One thing not mentioned by other posters is that you can take your bike to them for free adjustments. I don't know if this is true for other branches.
I'm liking riding more and more. I've taken the bike on the train to San Diego and on the ferry to Coronado Island, a very pleasant place to ride.
My wife had never learned to ride. I got her an Avalon and, with some difficulty, taught her. Now she's as enthusiastic as I.