The Best Bargain Bikes

The Best Bargain Bikes
If you're on a tight budget, it's important to get the most for your money. Cheap imported bikes are everywhere, but many are likely to fail when you need them the most. You can minimize the risk by finding a well-built frame with good welds and no suspension components. Get fat tires with thick wheels, and avoid disc brakes, index shifters and exotic materials. When every dollar counts, it's best to keep it simple.

GMC Topkick

This aluminum full-suspension mountain bike retails for $300 but occasionally sells for less than $150. While it's risky to buy a fully-loaded bike for so little, GMC's mtb gets lots of kudos from its owners. Forty-six owners gave it an average rating of four stars at and five owners gave it a full five stars at The Topkick's beefy aluminum frame and floating beam suspension coupled to an elastomer/spring fork, give it a smooth and stable ride on bumpy trails. Precise push shifters deliver 21 speeds through a Falcon MF 31T front and reliable Shimano TZ-30GS rear derailleur. Strong Kenda aluminum wheels feature powerful front and rear Promax disc brakes and the Topkick's quick release seat and tires sweeten the deal. Sometimes you get more than you pay for.

Currie Technologies E-Zip Trailz

Who'd have thought that an electric bike could be a bargain? While most electrics retail from $700 to $3,000 the E-Zip Trailz is available for $350. It's not surprising that eight reviewers gave it four stars since its 450-watt motor is more powerful than some electrics at twice the price. A lead-acid battery gives the E-Zip Trailz a range of 10 to 25 miles, depending on how much power you use. The battery recharges in three hours, and you can add a second battery to double the range. Speeds of up to 25 miles per hour are possible and a front suspension and comfort saddle help to smooth out the bumps. The E-Zip Trailz even has a rear rack for your gear and a reliable Shimano derailleur with SRAM grip shifts.

Bike Nashbar AT-1

Bike Nashbar cuts out the middleman and passes the savings onto you. While the AT-1 retails for $300, sale prices can go as low as $160. At that price, this bike is competing with inferior inventory at department stores. By selling direct from the factory, Bike Nashbar is able to offer a 6061 aluminum framed mtb with an alloy handlebar, seatpost and pedals, a KMC chain, a comfortable saddle, a Shimano derailleur, SRAM shifters and an SR Suntour 50mm suspension fork. Compare that to bare-bones department store specials with inferior assembly and components, and you'll see what a great value the AT-1 really is.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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