I've used bikes for the majority of my transportation needs for more than 20 years, and I'm a tolerable mechanic, and even so I decided to buy a Huffy. I bike about 4 miles in the city most days. Here's an ongoing review of the Huffy experience.
My tendency is to have a summer bike, which I maintain. And I have two free mountain bikes (primary and backup), which I have not maintained much in 10 years. I ride the mountain bikes in the winter, and they see a bunch of salt and sand and snow and so on. I also use them in the summer when I'm towing a trailer (kids or cargo) because I don't want to destroy my road bike, and because I want a lower gear for towing.
The mountain bikes had both reached That Point. The backup's lack of maintenance had reached a crisis of comedic proportions -- the seat had fallen off, the rear axle was chronically self-loosening, the chain was rusted solid (ka-thunk-ka-thunk as you pedal), and the screws I had put as snow studs had become dull. The primary's drivetrain really needed to be rebuilt, but it turned out to be impossible because the bottom bracket was stuck.
I'm a little bit lost, uncertain what to do, because having free non-maintained winter bikes has been such an unquestioned assumption for so long. If I'm going to start maintaining my winter bikes too, then I want to be able to do a good job. I want to make sure every component can be freed and that it can be replaced with a standard component. Or is maintenance even possible when a daily salting is the norm? Am I just going to buy another new bike and run it into the ground?
So... I ordered a new Huffy ($136), and also put together a new bike out of the remainders of the previous two ($39 in parts).
I chose the Granite because it has no front suspension. It also has the linear pull brakes which I have a generally good feeling about. Specifically, I *hate* the mountain bike cantilever style. Pleased to see it has gone out of fashion.
I was anxious about whether a Huffy would be maintainable (single-piece crank, for real!), but it turns out to have a serious flaw right out of the box. I am 5'9.5" and normally-proportioned, so I was confident buying a bike sized "men's". That was a mistake. The seat post is all the way up to the top of the minimum insertion lines, and the seat is all the way back, and I even tilted the seat down in the front so that the back would be higher, and it is still about an inch too small for me. It is usable, and I am eager to get out of the saddle to torque in a high gear even for low speeds, but it is clearly bad.
Other than that, just a handful of setup issues:
I ordered a 25.4x450mm seatpost on ebay. *shrug*