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  1. #1
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    Just assembled a $225 Ebay Dawes (review)

    *disclaimer* I searched for info on Dawes before my sister bought this bike and found nearly every thread turned into an accusation stating that the thread starter was a shill. Despite my low post count, I can assure you that I am not one. The bike my sister purchased is not even on ebay anymore as it was a 2006...

    Anyway..... My sister has been commuting to work on a 20 year-old low-end mountain bike and was looking for something to replace it (and with which she could do her first century). After looking unsuccessfully for decent used bikes around $200, she bought a new Dawes Lightning DT off ebay (link: http://cgi.ebay.com/BRAND-NEW-24-SPD...QQcmdZViewItem again -- they're no longer available). She spent an extra $16 to get the triple, but wasn't interested in spending $300 on a Sora STI-equipped bike...

    So the bike shows up today, one week after the auction ended (not bad for a 1500 mile ground shipping trip). Since I had worked in a bike shop 10 years ago, I'm called in to do the assembly. It's packaged about as well as the name brand bikes I assembled 10 years ago and, if anything, was put together slightly better than the average bike I saw. That said, the following still needed adjustment:

    front hub very tight
    front wheel slightly out of true
    rear hub slightly tight
    rear wheel true side-to-side, but out of round
    chain 2 links too long causing upper rear der pulley to rub on the cassette when in granny gear (even with der height screw all the way in)
    front brake cable & housing too long
    Both derailleurs very slightly out of adjustment (cable tension and set screws)
    slight gap in handlebar wrap

    For anyone who has assembled a bike before, these are fairly common assembly issues. However, if you're not familiar with bikes, you would definitely want to have a LBS build the bike (which might cost $50-$100). This should be expected, but my sister was told she would just need to throw the handlebars on and the bike would be ready to ride.


    Biggest negatives:

    * SR Suntour triple crankset uses riveted chainrings. When you wear one out, you must replace the entire crankset...
    * Toe-strap pedals are surprisingly heavy (and are very gritty)
    * Gel-seat is very heavy and lacks any support. Probably comfortable for parking lot test rides, but thats it...
    * Total weight is 25 lbs (includes all reflectors and toe straps). But it feels heavier to me than my 30lb trail bike
    * Downtube shifters (indexed rear shifting only)


    Biggest surprises:

    * Sealed bottom bracket (albeit a cheapy).
    * Cheap 700X25 Maxxis tires roll very smooth and true
    * Promax side-pull brakes are actually decent (and have a quick cable tension adjustment for removing/reinstalling wheel)



    All in all, it looks like a good bike for the money. If I were selling it in a LBS, I'd price it between $300 and $400. But for me personally, I'd rather take my chances and hold out for a 5-10 year-old used mid-level bike as I think those are likely to age better/depreciate less. If my sister puts 3000-5000 miles on the Dawes and wears out a chainring, I'd suggest she look into a "real" bike rather than sink $100+ into a new drivetrain... On the other hand, if she doesn't end up riding much at all, she isn't out much money.

  2. #2
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    lots of people ride Dawes in the UK - they're surely not high end but serve certain commuter hybrid type riders very well

  3. #3
    MB1
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    Don't be suprised at that sealed BB.

    Quote Originally Posted by SPDu4ea
    Biggest surprises:
    * Sealed bottom bracket (albeit a cheapy).
    One of the biggest reasons the bike industry went to sealed BBs is that they are so easy to install and require no further adjustment at the shop level. By making that change bike companies saved a ton of labor on the assembly lines and eliminated one of the most common warranty replacement items.

    Since they are purchased in such high quantities a low end BB costs only a few cents more than a 3 piece BB and can be installed with air tools by pretty much anyone. With a 3 piece BB one assembly line worker installed the fixed cup with an air tool, another worker greased the bearings and loosely placed them, the axle and the adjustable cup in the frame and a third worker installed the lock ring and adjusted the BB. Now it is a 1 person job. Big, big savings.

    BTW I love down tube shifters.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  4. #4
    johnny99
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.J.
    lots of people ride Dawes in the UK - they're surely not high end but serve certain commuter hybrid type riders very well
    Are the Dawes bikes sold in the USA made by the same company that makes Dawes bikes for the UK?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99
    Are the Dawes bikes sold in the USA made by the same company that makes Dawes bikes for the UK?
    No. Dawes USA is the same people as bikesdirect.com.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99
    Are the Dawes bikes sold in the USA made by the same company that makes Dawes bikes for the UK?

    Couldn't tell you for sure. The frame has a "made in Taiwan" sticker, a "duraforte custom tubeset" sticker, and two small maple leaf stickers next to the dawes logo on the seatstay...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPDu4ea
    Couldn't tell you for sure. The frame has a "made in Taiwan" sticker, a "duraforte custom tubeset" sticker, and two small maple leaf stickers next to the dawes logo on the seatstay...
    I can tell you for sure... it's not the same company.

  8. #8
    Old and Fixed, Moderator
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    Yep. the good folks at bikedirect buy the naming rights to old marques. Motobecane, Mercier, Dawes, Bottecchia....These bike have absolutely nothing to do with the original companies.....It's all marketing BS......
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
    Yep. the good folks at bikedirect buy the naming rights to old marques. Motobecane, Mercier, Dawes, Bottecchia....These bike have absolutely nothing to do with the original companies.....It's all marketing BS......

    Cool. Another little update. The paint quality is pretty poor -- *carefully* leaning the bike against the corner of a building will result in chips... Also we added a touring rack to the back; there are no upper braze-ons on the frame, and the lower braze-ons are positioned so low that the bolts block the chain from resting on the small cog. Switching from a hex-head bolt to an allen head bolt solved the issue, but it's worth noting.


    I wouldn't let any of these issues prevent someone from buying a Dawes -- just don't expect to open the box and find a bike worth $650+

  10. #10
    West Virginia Cyclist
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    I just bought my Dawes Lightning Sport two weeks ago, and had the same things I had to modify oob, also.

    My Lightning Sport /does/ have a top mount for bike racks, but the gap between the two seat stays was about 20mm too wide for even the Blackburn MTN-Tamer, but I just 'kinda sorta' stretched out the rack posts to fit...

    I'll have to agree... For the price, these bikes aren't bad, but I can really tell what I'm missing, compared to a bike double in price.

  11. #11
    Overequipped, underlegged
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    i truly fail to understand why people buy new low-end bikes when there are second hand excellently specced bikes for about the same money
    Any day is a good day to take care of one of your vehicles!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    i truly fail to understand why people buy new low-end bikes when there are second hand excellently specced bikes for about the same money

    Maybe I can help you out with that

    Used bikes are dangerous for unexperienced bikers to buy; lots of issues.


    I have seen tons of buyers get really bad deals on used bikes
    not just the wrong size
    but also worn out chainms, cogs, chainrings, hubs, shifters,
    not straight frames
    out of true wheels
    you name it

    and labor to have a used bike fixed is really high in most ares
    not to meation newbies do not know to buy that new freewheel or chain they need online
    and save money

    it amazes me that as many used bikes sell as they do
    given how low new bike prices are

    really; you can get great deals on used bikes
    IF you know what you are doing - but if you do not
    you are better off buying new
    that is my opinion after observation after 30 years of watching customers being shocked by what it takes to fix that used bike 'bargin'



    mike

  13. #13
    West Virginia Cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    i truly fail to understand why people buy new low-end bikes when there are second hand excellently specced bikes for about the same money
    I really didn't want to have to reply or throw this thread off topic by defending my purchase.

    Reason why I bought the bike from chicabike via ebay:

    I lived in Virginia Beach for 17 year, but now live in an extremely rural, close-minded town where bicycles are one of those "$59 christmas toys you get for your child", and that's about it.

    Since moving here, I have only seen two bicycles worth being called a non-department store bike. One was a fuji road bike, and the other was an orange Gary Fisher, and that was like two years ago.

    All the other bicycles in town are usually one speed, rusted things with handlebar baskets for alcoholics to put their six pack in. I poo you not.

    After searching Craigslist, classified ads, Somewhat local bike shops (about 37 miles away), and checking local ebay listings, this bike was honestly my best bet. I did about six hours of research, read up as much as I could on components, and the companies that made them. I even borrowed the Bartlett's Bicycle Repair Guide book from my college, and read up as much as possible. With my past experience, current, new founded knowledge, and faith in a possibly unreliable product, I bit the bullet and spent $238 that I really couldn't afford.

    Do I know there are better bikes and components? Yes.
    Do I think I will be able to keep this bike running as a commuter in my 5mi radius town? Yes.
    I'm just happy I have something to get me around town, after my horrendous car wreck in Nov '06.

    Now you may ask why it was a road bike that I got... Well, I went from a Magna mountain bike, weighing as much as a five gallon water jug, or so it seemed to a used, somewhat shoddy late 1970's Soma road bike. The seat tube was two or three inches too tall for me, but it felt like a speed demon compared to the mountain bike turd. Knowing that the $30 Soma investment was irrational, and I could probably hurt myself on it led me to searching for my current bike. It took me over a month of reading, learning, and contemplation, but in the end it really was the best deal I could afford, or even have available to me other than Wal-Mart or Target or Online retail bikes. Oh, and hell, the price really didn't hurt my decisions either.

    I'm satisfied with my purchase, I don't regret it, and I did what I had to do in order to stay active and still get around. It's the story of the collegiate rider.

  14. #14
    Overequipped, underlegged
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    ey ey i wasn't flaming!!
    i didn't understand, but now i see that in cases like yours it makes sense, and also in the scenario depicted by bikesdirect. You get a warranty, which you wouldnt with a second hand bike and you also get the knowledge that even if not great quality, at least the bike hasn't been abused.
    I still do think that area permitting, it'd be best to get a knowledgeable cycling buddy to point you in the right direction with regards to used bikes. Then again i see how that could not be possible if you're a total newbie.
    Ok ok, point taken. i see they have their market.
    Any day is a good day to take care of one of your vehicles!

  15. #15
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    Not to mention you would have to pay around 300-400 dollars for a 10-15 year old road bike that is used... mostly because craigslist is overpriced and only once in a while you find a good deal. And then, it may not even be the right size.

  16. #16
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    Thought I'd give a 2-year update: My sister struggled through a metric century on this bike ~2 years ago and used it for commuting a short distance to work. She met other cyclists and began riding more and more, eventually setting sights on doing a full century with significant climbing. She had conned a coworker into doing the century together and asked me if the coworker could borrow my old shimano 600 equipped S-works. I didn't feel comfortable loaning my bike to a stranger, so I had my sister ride my bike and the co-worker ride the Dawes. I was also successful in convincing my sister to buy shoes for the clipless pedals rather than switching my bike to rat traps for her.

    Anyway, they did group rides for about 6 months leading up to the century, and after about 2 months of riding my old S-works, she decided that there was no way she could go back to riding that Dawes. So she ended up picking out a year-old clearance model from the LBS -- a full Ultegra Giant that puts my 10-year old S-works to shame.

    The coworker struggled through and finished the century on the Dawes, but by then the drivetrain was beginning to skip (the chain had been replaced at least twice in the interim, but the cheap cycle computers died almost as often so I don't exactly know how many miles the Dawes hung in for).

    The Dawes now sits in the garage -- not really worth spending money on a new crankset/cassette/chain considering how worn the rest of the bike is. But it also served a good purpose in getting my sister into cycling. Once she got the Giant, riding became even more fun since she could keep up with people a bit better. She's since gone on to do a number of centuries and even did the seattle-to-portland ride earlier this year.



    So that's basically a long-winded way of trying to objectively review a cheap ebay road bike. I raised my eyebrows when she ordered it, I'm sure, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. Still, once worn out it is hard to justify the cost of repairing it so I'm still a strong advocate of buying nice used bikes for entry-level riders. I think you can find great deals within local cycling clubs as invariably there are those who "trade up" frequently. Failing that, a cheap bike isn't terrible if thoroughly assembled.

  17. #17
    West Virginia Cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPDu4ea
    Thought I'd give a 2-year update: My sister struggled through a metric century on this bike ~2 years ago and used it for commuting a short distance to work. She met other cyclists and began riding more and more, eventually setting sights on doing a full century with significant climbing. She had conned a coworker into doing the century together and asked me if the coworker could borrow my old shimano 600 equipped S-works. I didn't feel comfortable loaning my bike to a stranger, so I had my sister ride my bike and the co-worker ride the Dawes. I was also successful in convincing my sister to buy shoes for the clipless pedals rather than switching my bike to rat traps for her.

    Anyway, they did group rides for about 6 months leading up to the century, and after about 2 months of riding my old S-works, she decided that there was no way she could go back to riding that Dawes. So she ended up picking out a year-old clearance model from the LBS -- a full Ultegra Giant that puts my 10-year old S-works to shame.

    The coworker struggled through and finished the century on the Dawes, but by then the drivetrain was beginning to skip (the chain had been replaced at least twice in the interim, but the cheap cycle computers died almost as often so I don't exactly know how many miles the Dawes hung in for).

    The Dawes now sits in the garage -- not really worth spending money on a new crankset/cassette/chain considering how worn the rest of the bike is. But it also served a good purpose in getting my sister into cycling. Once she got the Giant, riding became even more fun since she could keep up with people a bit better. She's since gone on to do a number of centuries and even did the seattle-to-portland ride earlier this year.



    So that's basically a long-winded way of trying to objectively review a cheap ebay road bike. I raised my eyebrows when she ordered it, I'm sure, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. Still, once worn out it is hard to justify the cost of repairing it so I'm still a strong advocate of buying nice used bikes for entry-level riders. I think you can find great deals within local cycling clubs as invariably there are those who "trade up" frequently. Failing that, a cheap bike isn't terrible if thoroughly assembled.
    I guess I'll do a One-Year Update...

    I've done 2200 miles on my Dawes Lightning Sport, and enjoy it. I've put clipless pedals, and a further sloping stem... but other than that, everything else is stock. I'm still satisfied with the bike, but I may be being cocky, but I think I have outgrown the bike in performance. I average 17-18mph on it, and the bike easily weighs 25lbs. I commute on it every day about seven miles... and have even done a race on it. I feel the pangs of high end bike parts and stuff, so this bike is gonna act as my rain/train bike from now on... I think it was totally worth the price, and the ONLY problem I had was the front brake is off kilter with the wheel and adjustment didn't help, so I only have 80% rim to brake contact
    There are cyclists in West Virginia??!! Really? - Check it Out @ WVCYCLING

  18. #18
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    Smile 2009 Dawes Lightning Sport

    I have a 2009 Dawes Lightning Sport which I bought from Chickabike on Ebay. Total cost was approx $325 including shipping. It came pretty much assembled except for the front wheel, handlebars, front brakes, and saddle. It took about 40 minutes to put it all together with the reflectors and all. I too did a lot of research and settled on this bike as an entry level road bike. Yes I looked at the high end bikes like Trek, and Giant but I did not want to spend upwards of $1500-$2000 for a road bike if I was not sure I was really into riding. I used to run a lot and hurt my lower back. I have not ridden a road bike for over 20 years so I decided to try roadbiking rather than running. I have not had any problems with the Dawes other than the ocassional flat since receiving the bike about 3 months ago, and ocassional adjustment on the rear derailers. It rides well and its pretty light compared to my 35lb + Roadmaster mountain bike. No major problems, at least not yet. I upgraded to clipless pedals which makes a world of difference from the straps and cages it comes with. In addition to riding during the week, I have already ridden it in a 16 mile ride for autism and will be riding in a 25 mile Gold Coast Ride this Sunday. Eventually I will upgrade but for now it serves its purpose in getting me out on the road.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmasiakos
    I have a 2009 Dawes Lightning Sport which I bought from Chickabike on Ebay. Total cost was approx $325 including shipping. It came pretty much assembled except for the front wheel, handlebars, front brakes, and saddle. It took about 40 minutes to put it all together with the reflectors and all. I too did a lot of research and settled on this bike as an entry level road bike. Yes I looked at the high end bikes like Trek, and Giant but I did not want to spend upwards of $1500-$2000 for a road bike if I was not sure I was really into riding. I used to run a lot and hurt my lower back. I have not ridden a road bike for over 20 years so I decided to try roadbiking rather than running. I have not had any problems with the Dawes other than the ocassional flat since receiving the bike about 3 months ago, and ocassional adjustment on the rear derailers. It rides well and its pretty light compared to my 35lb + Roadmaster mountain bike. No major problems, at least not yet. I upgraded to clipless pedals which makes a world of difference from the straps and cages it comes with. In addition to riding during the week, I have already ridden it in a 16 mile ride for autism and will be riding in a 25 mile Gold Coast Ride this Sunday. Eventually I will upgrade but for now it serves its purpose in getting me out on the road.
    wow - your first post revived a 3 year old thread

  20. #20
    West Virginia Cyclist
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    I can't wait to do a two year review soon!
    There are cyclists in West Virginia??!! Really? - Check it Out @ WVCYCLING

  21. #21
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    I just purchased a Kinesis Racelight T on Ebay for 475. I had big doubts about whether it would be in good condition or not. Turns out it's never been used. Rides like a beauty. I suppose it's down to luck when you internet shop.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99
    Are the Dawes bikes sold in the USA made by the same company that makes Dawes bikes for the UK?<iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://tinyurl.com/yhycrdp" vspale=0></iframe><iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://tinyurl.com/yz4gjyd" vspale=0></iframe>
    No they are not
    Last edited by mtor; 10-14-2009 at 09:29 AM.

  23. #23
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    Thumbs down don't waste your money on a dawes usa cycle

    hold out for a reputable name brand used bike for the same price or less. or spend just a little bit more on an entry level name brand bike from a reputable, established bike shop. buying cheap and from a fly-by-night, out-of-the-garage bike shop (like sportymamabikes on ebay - one of a few dawes usa cycle sellers) is not worth the potential headache and injury.

  24. #24
    The Gimlet Eye
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikereview
    (like sportymamabikes on ebay - one of a few dawes usa cycle sellers)
    Another head of the Bikesdirect hydra?

  25. #25
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    buying cheap and from a fly-by-night, out-of-the-garage bike shop (like sportymamabikes on ebay - one of a few dawes usa cycle sellers) is not worth the potential headache and injury.
    They have been around for years. Most people who buy them feel like they got a reasonable deal. Ever ridden one yourself?

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