<p style=”text-align: center;”>Hi I just started mountain biking as a 15yr old and I got this schwinn 26inch sidewinder (Walmart bike) and I started doing things I had since last year in August but its started giving me problems with my whole drive train like the bottom bracket is loose the rear derailleur doesn’t hit every gear and the fork keeps rocking back and forth in the head tube and the breaks barely work even though in changed the break pass (one in back is a v break and the front one is a mechanical disc brake) the handle bars are too short (605mm)and the stem is really long at 127mm and the bottom bearing lost 2 bearings bur the question to this is. Should I try to replace pretty much everything on the bike or should I just invest in a new bike that’s worth like in the higher 3 diget and lower 4 diget numbers? Also i need a bike so I can commute every where around my town cause I don’t want to use that one where it would break 10 miles away from my house and try to walk the whole bike out but I would really like some recommendations too.</p>
Do not—I repeat–do not, spend a penny on that WalMart bike. Save your money and buy a real bike. I would take a look at a entry-level hardtail from any of the major brands. You should be able to get yourself something like a Specialized Rockhopper in a “Comp” build for a little over $500. If you start looking through FB Marketplace, you may even find a used one for less. Once this CV19 blows over, there are going to be a bunch of used bikes flooding the market. At least, that’s my prediction.
One thing about Walmart Bikes is that the quality of assembly is often terrible. They are store employees, not mechanics. When assembling a bike, failing to properly torque everything, using loctite, etc, will lead to premature failures. Even a crappy bike properly assembled should last a little while. There is a video of a guy taking a Walmart bike down the downhill track at Whistler, other than melted brake pads the bike bike survived. He did all the things I mentioned, including tightening the spokes
However, since you are already in the position of having failures, a better bike is probably a good idea.
Actually look into a decent quality bike from a reputable bike shop. As mentioned above, Wally World employees are dangerous folks when it comes to bikes and such.
A sandy area lends to the plus bike. 27.5 or 29 x 2.8 or 3.0 would make floating a breeze.
Now the recommend… I recommend test riding a number of bikes in both 27.5 and 29 to get an idea of what they ride and feel like. Also, if you find one you like, ask if they will rent for a few days or a week. Typically, a shop will do a rental and apply the rental fee to your purchase if you buy it.
Good questions and glad you here and going for it. Please don’t put any more money towards Walmart. Also do your best to tighten and fix what is on your current bike but don’t spend money on parts. You have a good plan for a budget. I have found great hard tails on Craigslist in your price range for about half price of what they are worth. I agree with the prediction in the next year there will be killer deals on used bikes, if you can hold out that long. Market will be flooded with barely used bikes forcing prices down. Even waiting until Christmastime when people are desperate for money gives you an edge in negotiating price. My first mountain bike was a Schwinn. Would never buy another but to get me started it was a great bike.