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$98 Next Avalon bike review

Discussion in 'Road & Cyclocross' started by Mike Stone, May 18, 2007.

  1. Mike Stone New Member

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    This is the story of a $98 Wal-Mart bike that doesn't suck.

    I was driving a trailer load from CT to Honduras, when my customs broker informed me that I was going to have to wait five days for Mexican customs paperwork due to a new title verification procedure. So rather than twiddle my thumbs for five days, I toured the bike shops, sporting goods stores, and department stores for an inexpensive bike I could ride for a couple of days.

    The bike I zeroed in on was the Next Avalon, sold at Walmart for $98. http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=2061606

    This bike would fall into the comfort bike or city bike categories, but it is rather unique and well thought-out. It has a 7005 aluminum main triangle with a wide ovalized and curved downtube. The rear shock has perhaps 20mm travel to improve ride without soaking up too much power. The shock is very good looking, with cast or machined aluminum preload adjusters. I think if it had a little Fox sticker it would fool quite a few cyclists. I think it has some rebound damping but I didn't remove it to check for sure. I didn't pull out my magnet, but I believe the single pivot subframe is steel.

    The front forks are cheap spring-only units with no damping, but that really doesn't significantly hurt the bike's performance for its intended purpose, which is recreational road riding, commuting, bike trails, or non-technical dirt roads.

    The rims are aluminum with 26 x 2" 40psi tires. It seems 1.75" would be more appropriate. Front hub is aluminum, rear is steel. The spokes are stainless steel. There are no quick-releases, a 15mm wrench is used to remove the wheels.

    The cranks are chromed steel with a 38 tooth front sprocket. The 7 speed rear cluster is 14-26 as I recall. These ratios are well-chosen, reasonably close ratio with a good low gear for hills. Top gear is a bit low, causing one to spin out and coast a bit prematurely. I really like the relative simplicity of the single chainring, but an 8 speed rear would work better for the application. The black plastic Shimano derailleur shifts quickly and precisely with the twist grip shifter. A couple of times when I shifted, the chain came off the chainring, and there is a plastic ring on the outside of the chainring which catches the chain so it doesn't eat up the bottom bracket or chainstay.

    A nice touch is the aluminum adjustable handlebar stem because one can substantially change the handlebar position to meet personal preferences.

    Not trusting Walmart assembly, I brought the bike to Camp Waiting4Customs in the crate. Assembly was simple and took less than 2 hours. My only gripe was that the wheels had "quality control" stickers but were not well trued. I wear 32" inseam pants and the seatpost was at the marked limit, so a bit longer seatpost would be a plus.

    After assembling the bike, I rode a 75 mile loop from Los Indios TX to Pharr and back with no problems. The next day I washed and waxed my truck. The next day I rode the Avalon from Los Indios to Port Isabel at the bridge to South Padre Island, checked out the view from the lighthouse, and back to Los Indios, a total of 85 miles.

    After this ride, I changed the straight seatpost for a set-back post which placed my knee directly over the pedal spindle. The riding position on this bike is a bit further forward (relative to the bottom bracket) than most MTB or road bikes, which actually works well for me. On most bikes I have to go from a set-back post to a straight post, and then the plumb still shows my knee a bit behind the pedal spindle.

    When I got to Honduras, I had several much more expensive bikes at my disposal, but I still felt like riding the Avalon. I replaced the standard pedals with SPDs. Then I rode Carreteria Olancho (a roughly paved road) out to La Sierra and back to my property in El Tomate, an 80 mile ride. Another day I rode a combined road and dirt road loop through El Tamarindo and past Talanga, about 45 miles. This loop included a good climb out of Rio Dulce and I surprised myself by doing the whole climb seated - a challenge even on a triple chainring MTB.

    I don't understand how Walmart can be selling this bike for $98. It should cost at least $300. The bike is very rideable, comfortable, and enjoyable, even though my average speed was about 3mph below what it would be on a good flat handlebar 700c bike. Someone at Next put some extra thought into designing this bike, and I'm glad they did.
    #1 May 18, 2007   
  2. LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    I'm actually a fan of the newer version of the Wal-Mart philosophy, business practices, and products. Except...
    I just don't think that any store should sell a bike that's not assembled by a proven bike assembly technician/wrench.


    Your story was fun tho.

    Did you wear cycling shorts? 75 miles is way too long for me to not be in my bibs. Not to mention that you were probably on flats with sneakers. My feet ache thinking of it.
    #2 May 18, 2007   
  3. howieloso New Member

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    bOUGHT THE BIKE BASED ON YOUR REVIEW..STORY. i LIKE IT..YOU MUST BE IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE . ENVY YOUR FREEDOM!..THE FRAME ON MINE IS ALL ALUMINUM.
    #3 May 5, 2008   
  4. LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    welcome to the :monkey: glad you're riding, keep posting.
    #4 May 5, 2008   
  5. r464 New Member

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    #5 May 5, 2008   
  6. Lelandjt Active Member

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    A lot of friends here in Lahaina have bought Walmart bikes (both single speed beach cruisers and the model shown) and after I've completely rebuilt them them work great. Straight out of the store everything from drivetrain to spokes to bearings is so out of adjustment or lacking good grease that they start having problems right away. Once properly built the parts hold up to the intended use.
    #6 May 9, 2008   
  7. sumerdobie New Member

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    Hi all
    just wanted to pop in and tell you I just bought a womens next avalon bike, used from a friend, mine is blue and silver tho. But I totally agree, I love the bike and for Walmart Im amazed. Im not sure how old it is, or what its been threw. The only problem Im having is the front brake, is not working. But I dont think thats the bikes fault. I feel like Im riding a horse when Im on it and just love cruisen around and showing it off.
    :banana:
    #7 Jun 19, 2008   
  8. JewBagel New Member

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    Why does this exist, it pains my head to think someone would buy this ****, let alone review it. Just remember, if anything goes wrong, don't bring it into a bike shop, throw it away and get a new one, it will save you money in the long run and save me a headache.
    #8 Jun 19, 2008   
  9. DRB unemployed bum

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    such an odd thread
    #9 Jun 19, 2008   
  10. Westy the teste

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    Can they be upgraded to the new Campy 11 speed?
    #10 Jun 19, 2008   
  11. Jorth Vorlund New Member

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    I only spent 50bux on my Emerald Green commuter as I got it at a pawn-shop. But it was in practically new condition (I suspect it was stolen). After adjusting the seat post to it's tallest safe position I found I didn't need the seat back post. I kinda like my knees a bit forward, since when I get up on my feet I tend to stand on my hands a bit. I didn't like the handle bars at first, but the adjustability made me accutely aware of the fact that a few inches adjustment can make a whole back's difference in comfort level.

    The pseudo-aquatread tires are sweet. I actually wish I could soften up the tail suspension just a bit more, but it's fine as is. I find when I'm riding my 21 speed, I tend to stay in a single front gear and foodiddle (technical term) with the rear depending on urban terrain requirements anyway; so the 7 speed is no more a limitation than it is a simplification. The brakes are sound once properly adjusted.

    In short, it's a dependable work-horse of a daily rider. And I couldn't recomend it more strongly for someone who may possibly be looking to enter the "Bike-as-primary-vehicle" world. For the money, frankly, you cant even get into a double-diamond frame at all. And for the size you can't beat the weight without really breaking the bank.

    It's light enough I felt I could get a little crazy on ... Gear.
    I started with a rear rack, spring loaded -20bux. Rear paniers -28bux. Fenders against the dreaded back-of-shirt stripe -junk from local bike graveyard. Handlebar bag -used Kodak case from 1973. FrameShoulder pouch holds the fusion reactor.

    On the subject of lights, I went full white-trash effect. Of course I got TireFlys, green. But then I got stoopid. I had a dead 12v Ryobi drill. Nothing wrong with the batterys or charger, mechanical failure. So after careful surgury, the casing of the drill handle proved an adequate mount upon the mainstay. Shoulder pouch hides it from Ma Nature and theives. I got 4x2.5 rectangular automotive driving lights mounted to each side of the head. Blue LED's on each side of the handle-bag. Running lights in the form of 3" neons along the front forks and the top member of the rear suspension. Amber front, Red rear, of course. The 12" neon strip (green) down the forward downstay bolted nicely to the available 'bottle-holder' threads. Didn't need a bottle holder. My Kodak case has a slot for that. The drill battery can drive it for 4 hours. It's strong for 2.5. I rarely need it for more than an hour after dark. And I carry a 12v solar panel (also fits nicely into a slot in the Kodak case).

    I don't have a cameraphone or anything like a web cam. But I wish I could show you the truck I stash in my bedroom. It could inspire some to give up on the Prius. And that would be a good thing.

    Jorth.
    luv, out...
    #11 Oct 10, 2008   
  12. James Carbon Porn Star

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    Ummm....ok?
    #12 Oct 11, 2008   
  13. DRB unemployed bum

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    yep still an odd thread...
    #13 Oct 12, 2008   
  14. jcribbs New Member

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    I am so excited to read this thread..... I bought my avalon today..... I am 54, overweight and plan on riding 100 miles a month.

    I haven't ridden it yet. We live on dirt road with no houses. I'm taking it to the top of our mountain tomorrow to check it out. I am sooooo excited. It is the only bike on the walmart site that has consistent good reviews. I think there was over a 100 4-5 star reviews.

    Next year, if I stick to my plan I want a cannondale......

    But here is miy new bike. I am so excited. I have not ridden in 35 years..... Tomorrow is day 1 again. I have a calorie counter, a water bottle, a MPH attachment and a speedometer.... I am set....
    As soon as daylight gets here, I will be on top of our mountain.

    new bike.jpg

    biking road.jpg

    Jenn
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
    #14 Mar 14, 2012   
  15. Rip Mr. Excitement

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    Man this is like the zombie carnival prize goldfish of threads.
    #15 Mar 15, 2012   
  16. ShaneO New Member

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    Nice, looks like a fun bike. Hope you enjoy it.

    Edit: Just realized this my first post, lolz. Really though, have fun with your Avalon. I bet that mountain will be a blast to ride up.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
    #16 Mar 15, 2012   
  17. splat Nam I am

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    Still An odd thread
    #17 Mar 16, 2012   
  18. sm3gh34d New Member

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    Why should this be an odd thread? Someone actually enjoys a bike they didn't have to spend over a grand on? Or just odd because it is a five year old thread? There aren't many reviews of these bikes out on the net. seems pretty obvious why it keeps getting resurrected.

    Thanks OP for a frank and interesting review of a quality commodity bike.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    #18 Aug 3, 2013   
  19. Puma New Member

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    45 pounds of badly assembled bike-love on its' way from Wal*Mart to you. A bike doesn't have to be perfect, or even good, for you to love it.
    #19 Jan 14, 2014   
  20. Mike Stone New Member

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    Since this thread is still alive, I thought I would give an update. Shortly after the original post, I sold the Avalon to one of my workers in Honduras. I would roughly estimate the bike now has 6000 miles on it, probably half dirt road and half rough pavement. I have continued to do the maintenance on the bike. The bottom bracket bearings died and I replaced the bearings and crankset with an inexpensive triple chainring crankset, adding a shifter and derailleur for 21 speeds. I have replaced a few rear spokes. The front forks are shot, primarily due to worn plastic bushings. The tires are still original although the rear is very worn and the tubes have plenty of patches. It has been through several sets of brake pads, a chain, and new pedals. Wheel bearings and steering head bearings are still hanging in there.
    Walmart no longer sells this bike, or a comparable replacement.
    #20 May 23, 2014   

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