Only available at Walmart, the NEXT line of bicycles is made by steel-frame manufacturer Dynacraft and includes bikes for the entire family. NEXT bike reviews are quite enthusiastic, noting that the two models on our list -- the 20-inch boys' Chaos Freestyle (starting at $80) and 24-inch boys' Power Climber (starting at $100) -- appeal to budding daredevils.
The Chaos Freestyle impresses young riders and adults with its relative lightness and agility, according to NEXT bike reviews posted at Walmart. One parent says these qualities are just what are needed for young cyclists who enjoy doing low-key tricks. Another reviewer reports that this bike can handle whatever pre-teen boys mete out. That said, some reviews caution against excessive abuse, noting that too much trail riding on particularly bumpy terrain could shorten the bike's lifespan and add that jumping is not advised. We also found some Chaos Freestyle reviews that grouse about the brakes; i.e., they quickly need replacing, and the assembly and adjustment process leaves something to be desired. But for the most part, reviews indicate that Chaos Freestyle riders bike with ease and joy.
The Power Climber is heavier than the Chaos Freestyle and, with its dual-suspension frame, is designed for mountain biking rather than stunts. The consensus opinion in NEXT bike reviews on the Walmart website is that this is a sturdy and well-built bike, but quite a few buyers conclude that it's more appropriate for neighborhood off-roading than hard-core mountain biking. Boys like the cool and aggressive look, according to reviews, not to mention the thrill of the ride thanks to the front and rear shock absorbers. Some bike reviews complain about low-quality parts -- e.g., gears that break or don't have much effect and brakes that jam or need frequent adjustment -- but NEXT Power Climber reviews overwhelmingly say this is a good value bike for the average rider. One warning: Several users who purchased the bike online report that a different color bike was delivered to their homes.
The Chaos Freestyle is a one-speed bike with front and rear caliper hand brakes. The frame is made from reinforced high-tensile steel, the handlebars can be raised several inches, and the specs say it's got the makings of a bicycle built for tricks. The Power Climber boasts an 18-speed gear shift, cantilever hand brakes, and a quick-release seat post for changing the height of the seat.
NEXT bikes are good, basic bicycles for light to moderate riders, but probably won't last for more than two or three years. Expect to make some simple adjustments and repairs over the lifetime of the bicycle, and consider buying in-store to ensure you get the assembly and the color you want.