Very often we meet people who are looking for a bike but their budget does not support a new bike shop quality bicycle. Often times people resort to purchasing a department store bicycle or even no bicycle at all. Department store bicycles are a mash up of lowest bid parts and are assembled under qualified technicians who are paid by the bike!
Unfortunately all the assemblers do is make it look like a bike while leaving out important bearing, brake and gear adjustments that create a bicycle that doesn't operate properly or wears prematurely. Worst case scenario we've seen bicycles with loose brakes or even handlebars, that aren't safe to ride but were sold "ready to ride" at a big box store.
The better investment of your money is to purchase a used bicycle shop quality bicycle. often times these can be found at yard sales and thrift stores well under $100 and with a standard tune up and/or some new tires these bikes will function better, and last much longer than a new department store bike with about the same monetary investment.
Here at the shop we take trade-ins so we can offer used shop quality bicycles at very low prices! Our used bikes are in the $100-$250 price point and all have had any necessary parts and a full tune up to ensure proper function! If you find yourself looking for a bike on a budget keep in mind a used bike shop quality bike, for a bike that will function better and last longer than most department store bikes!