Many hardcore bikers will tell you: don’t even attempt to use a department store-purchased bike on a trail.
They aren’t made for that purpose. Indeed, they say those kinds of bikes are fine for a ride around the neighborhood, at a park or wherever tarmac abounds, but not on an actual bike trail.
And while I tend to agree with the sentiment, I wondered if there was an exception. I wondered if there exists any cheap bike out there—and by “cheap” I mean ‘less than $200 bucks’ – that can be purchased on Wallmart or Ebay and can perform as well, or at least somewhat close to, an actual quality hardtail that will do competently on a trail? And is the Hyper Havoc Full Suspension Mountain Bike it?
So, I talked to a few of my squadmates, and they said none exists. In fact trying to find one will be a fool’s errand. I was told that getting a competent hardtail for less than $1,500 will be impossible and that the prices only climb from there.
In retrospect, my experience as a biker tells me that all they said made sense, which made me upset that I wasted about $150 bucks on this Hyper Havoc Full Suspension Mountain bike to review—it’s not going to perform anywhere near the more expensive mountain bikes. I might as well jump off a cliff than attempt to ride this feller on the nearby trail.
So I guess I’ll just have to change tack here. Since I already ordered the Hyper Havoc Full Suspension Mountain Bike online, I should at least check how good it is as a starter bike, and maybe advise others whether it’s worth their consideration, or whether they should go for the myriad of other bikes on offer.
The bike arrived, and yes, it’s a good-looking bike. I suspected it was from the pictures, so no surprise there. The frame is made from aluminum, so there’s no reason to doubt it won’t be sturdy. The frame looks well-built for the price. You’re not going to be turning heads with this bike, to be sure, but you won’t be embarrassed about it either.
It came with a manual that detailed the assembly process, which, again, I totally expected. It wasn’t very clear, to be honest, and while it took me less than 20 minutes to assemble the bike, I have to say I’m pretty good at assembling bikes. I can imagine that someone who doesn’t know his way around bikes as well as I do will have a difficult time. In fact, I didn’t even really use the assembly manual and just winged it for the most part since the manual was confusing.
The seat the bike came with was stiff. It also feels ridiculously cheap, like it was made in a hurry. In a nutshell, I knew from the onset that my butt won’t feel good after registering more than a few miles on this bike. But I guess it isn’t too much of an issue since bike seats are easy to replace.
It came with a Shimano derailleur and shifter, which is fantastic. I like Shimano, and I know they make quality bike parts. I also appreciate that the bike is fitted with a full suspension, which is nice for a bike this cheap. But I’ll need to ride the bike for more than a few days to see whether the suspension performs as advertised.
The pedals look cheap, too. They are plastic and look like they won’t be gripping my soles as tight as I will need them to. Happily, I don’t intend to test this on a trail, because those pedals look dangerous. I did consider swapping them out with metal ones that I had in my garage, but I thought: nah. I might as well just ride this thing as delivered and share my thoughts.
And, finally, I was able to take the Hyper Havoc Full Suspension Mountain Bike for a spin. Just around the neighborhood. The first impression is that it rides pretty well and is quiet. I read a few online reviews of the bike, and some were saying the chain and sprocket were immediately making rattling sounds, which they found to be both unnerving and annoying. Some have taken the bike back to the seller for those very reasons. But I seem to be having no such issues. Indeed, it’s pretty smooth for a bike this cheap. Of course, I was riding it on the tarmac, so it’s not totally unexpected.
Just as I expected, however, the seat was woefully uncomfortable. There is absolutely no way my butt will survive testing this bike out on a trail. If you’re on a budget and need a cheap bike, then you can’t go wrong with this one, but for the love of God, you’d do well to have a seat replaced.
I’ve done some moderate off-roading on the bike, and it performed better than expected. I guess this bike will do ok on a trail so long as it’s one that’s not too far away from an urban environment. You will risk life and limb going full enduro with this bike, but I suspect that this bike isn’t being marketed for that kind of thing. But, yeah, for trails that are more on the recreational side, this bike will be able to handle those. The only question is for how long. The online reviews don’t inspire too much confidence, and I’ve read people having quality issues after a few months.
All-in-all, this is a very affordable bike. And you’ll be able to do casual/commuter biking on it without a problem. You can, if you want to, take this on a trail, but make sure it’s not, how shall we say a difficult one. If you intend to do downhills or enduros, forget it—this is definitely not the bike for that. But as a starter-bike, you can’t go wrong, not least because of how affordable it is.