I need a bike to get from my flat to the university, 10-15 minutes ride every day, exclusively on sidewalks (so no bumps other than curbs).
No need for gearing, single speed will do the job.
It has to be equipped with mudguards and a chain guard.
Not gonna use it for any other puposes, no offroad etc.
I'm thinking about a folding bike, but it can also be a regular big one.
Today I saw a brand new foldable Kingston for 298Y. Also a bit more expensive- Phoenix brand (regular sized) for ~500Y. Also some other brands that I've never seen outside China.
All dirt cheap, and that's what worries me.
Did anyone have any experiences with those bikes ? Are they reliable enough for such light use ?
They are dirt cheap because they are low tech by construction as well as low tech equipped.. Usually made from steel (not alloy) tube and are relatively heavy. Perhaps the only weak point is that the bearings will wear out.
Hard to carry but easy to live with. Nothing wrong with mine. It just shakes the bones.
I have a Chinese-made folding bike bought in Canada (Therefore, there's no point me discussing the cost). but I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Chinese-made bike in future. Yes, sometimes, alloy tubing is used and, obviously, it affects the price.
Perhaps, ten years ago, one would have been much more cautious.
We bought a few from Walmart about a year ago and had several problems. They are dirt cheap but you'll save money in the long run if you buy a decent bike. Ours have been collecting dust for the last 9 months.
You're not asking your bike to do much, so a cheap bike will do. However, if you buy a bike that's flimsy, things will break over 6 months, but repairs are cheap. Spend a little more on something that seems more solid, and it should hold up better.
Whatever bike you get, make sure to get a good lock. It doesn't matter if your bike is cheap, the bike thieves will try to steal it all the same.
As for bike thefts- how safe are university campuses ?
I don't think I'm gonna park it anywhere else.
Since any lock which is small enough to fit a bike is probably easy to lockpick within seconds and if thefts on campuses are common then I guess there's no point in getting anything expensive...
If you plan to ride the bike for more than six months, I would advise against a cheap one unless you have low standards and like having it serviced frequently.
Let me share with you my experience of a "Gammax" brand bicycle I bought six months ago for 900rmb. This is an aluminium framed 21 speed mountain bike. I found a defect in the frame and one of the rims shortly after buying it. Despite having a 5 year frame warranty I was unable to get the shop to replace the bad parts even after constant pestering.
This bike comes with a mix of bottom of the barrel Shimano parts and some off brand stuff. Pretty much all of the offbrand stuff is creaking or rusting. Lowend shimano holds up a little better but still requires constant tinkering. I've already replaced several parts.
Keep in mind 900 isn't exactly cheap for a Chinese bike. Just imagine what a 300rmb bike is like. I highly recommend Giant (check out the "momentum" line) or Merida. I bought a Momentum for my wife and the quality is quite a lot better than my Gammax.