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-   -   Buying a bike at Walmart? (http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/921338-buying-bike-walmart.html)

chschen 11-07-13 04:44 PM

Buying a bike at Walmart?
 
My husband and I are finally trying to get started with biking more as a commuting option. We plan on starting out going to different places in San Francisco, but we may eventually go between cities as well (though this will probably be a little down the line). My husband has an acquaintance at work who bikes a lot, and he said that we should check out the bikes at Walmart if we're just getting started. I used to have a really cheap bike from Walmart that I hated. It was $40 and ostensibly a mountain bike, but it was a real drag to ride (brakes rubbing against the tire, super uncomfortable, etc.), even after we got it tuned up at a local bike co-op. Anyway, we were wondering if anyone here has an opinion on the road bikes and hybrid bikes that are sold at Walmart? Are they reliable? Would you recommend them to a beginner?

Wanderer 11-07-13 05:11 PM

You can do much better at a place like Performance, or even Bikes Direct..(or Bike Island)..... Most wally world bikes are really bottom tier.

dynaryder 11-07-13 05:18 PM

Why not get a bike from the co-op? They prolly have a selection of nice older road and hybrid bikes.

longbeachgary 11-07-13 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wanderer (Post 16228246)
You can do much better at a place like Performance,

I second Performance but a bike coop would PROBABLY work well too.

chschen 11-07-13 06:04 PM

Thanks for the advice! We went to the non-profit Pedal Revolution in SF, and the cheapest bike with more than one speed was $450, while Walmart sells road bikes for $170. If we need to pay $450 we will, but we just wanted to explore our options. The co-op in SF is unfortunately only open for about 4 hours on Saturday and not at all on Sunday. Since we're only up in the city on the weekend, it's just been tough arranging our schedule so we can get there during their open hours. I'm also not sure if they have many used bikes for sale. We are going to try Performance bikes, and we were looking at Bikes Direct, too, but we were hoping to go somewhere where we could do a little test ride.

wphamilton 11-07-13 06:09 PM

I rode my five year old GMC Denali to work today. since it was raining and sloppy ... I wouldn't say it would be unreliable as long as you or your husband are willing to mechanic on it as needed. It's somewhere between the junk mountain bikes and a bike shop brand.

roashru 11-07-13 06:28 PM

the gmc denali and genesis road bikes (kent international) are not complete junk. when new the grease in the bearings and nut torques need to be checked. even though these bicycles are inexpensive regular maintenance is still needed.

Sasquatch. 11-07-13 06:31 PM

You can find some very nice/good deals on craigslist, especially this time of year. If you aren't opposed to buying used you can get a much better quality used bike for the money .

GeneO 11-07-13 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chschen (Post 16228384)
Thanks for the advice! We went to the non-profit Pedal Revolution in SF, and the cheapest bike with more than one speed was $450, while Walmart sells road bikes for $170. If we need to pay $450 we will, but we just wanted to explore our options. The co-op in SF is unfortunately only open for about 4 hours on Saturday and not at all on Sunday. Since we're only up in the city on the weekend, it's just been tough arranging our schedule so we can get there during their open hours. I'm also not sure if they have many used bikes for sale. We are going to try Performance bikes, and we were looking at Bikes Direct, too, but we were hoping to go somewhere where we could do a little test ride.

Well it is true you get what you pay for (relatively speaking). If you go the wall-mart route, one of two things can happen IMHO. 1) It will be a bad experience because of the quality and performance and you won't commute, or 2) you will decide to commute and find the bike lacking and/or unreliable, then you will take a loss and buy a good bike.

I am confident that you will find it such a positive thing if the bike doesn't ruin the experience.

GeneO 11-07-13 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roashru (Post 16228436)
the gmc denali and genesis road bikes (kent international) are not complete junk. when new the grease in the bearings and nut torques need to be checked. even though these bicycles are inexpensive regular maintenance is still needed.

The Denali looks like a piece of dangerous junk to me.

acidfast7 11-07-13 07:01 PM

I love BSOs ... with maintenance they are great!

UserM4 11-07-13 07:28 PM

From what I've read on Amazon about the GMC Denali the brakes and tires are junk. The handlebar doesn't stay put. The saddle is very uncomfortable. The derailleurs are hard to adjust properly. The wheels are a crap shoot. And it weighs about 10 pounds more than a typical entry level road bike. All in all, there's a reason why name brand bikes start at around $500 new. Save yourself the headache and buy something used but nice in your price range. I went through the same thing and didn't see anything worth buying on Craigslist so I just bought new at my local LBS.

kebbs 11-07-13 07:45 PM

You will quickly outgrow the type of bikes you find at Walmart. Better to invest in a good used bike because you can always resell it for more or less the same value in case you end up hating bike commuting. My two cents... I commute on a mechanically sound Raleigh Sprite I found on the curb :)

Squeeze 11-07-13 08:05 PM

Please don't buy a bike at Wal-Mart. I bought one from Sports Authority (you'd think that would be a step up from Wal-Mart but NO) and HATED it for years.

I finally bought a 1993 Raleigh mountain bike on craigslist for $120 this summer, put street tires on it, and am now DELIGHTED with riding a bicycle that doesn't have parts fall off or have the frame bend when you hit a bump in the road. And I'm not kidding about the bent frame.

That craigslist bike has changed life, and I don't make that statement lightly.

And will someone please tell me what BSO means? I read the whole Commuting on a BSO thread and it was never explained. I can guess at what the BS might stand for but not the O.

Thanks.

xtrajack 11-07-13 08:05 PM

There is a world of difference between a BSO from the Evil Empire, and an entry level bike from a bike shop. You would be much happier with the latter, even if it costs more up front.

xtrajack 11-07-13 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squeeze (Post 16228645)
Please don't buy a bike at Wal-Mart. I bought one from Sports Authority (you'd think that would be a step up from Wal-Mart but NO) and HATED it for years.

I finally bought a 1993 Raleigh mountain bike on craigslist for $120 this summer, put street tires on it, and am now DELIGHTED with riding a bicycle that doesn't have parts fall off or have the frame bend when you hit a bump in the road. And I'm not kidding about the bent frame.

That craigslist bike has changed life, and I don't make that statement lightly.

And will someone please tell me what BSO means? I read the whole Commuting on a BSO thread and it was never explained. I can guess at what the BS might stand for but not the O.

Thanks.

BSO= bike shaped object.

roashru 11-07-13 08:09 PM

sports authority or dicks sporting goods bicycles are not that great either they are also bicycle shaped objects. go to a local bicycle shop for higher quality and service.

Murray Missile 11-07-13 08:23 PM

A few weeks I hit some local Wal Mart, K Mart and Target stores to compare their BSO's just out of curiosity. The fare at WM and KM was pretty much what I expected but Target had a few bikes that seemed a half notch or so above the other 2. Unfortunately the Target I visited was in serious need of a new bike assembler, most weren't "half bad" bikes but they were poorly assembled. The bikes at the WM I was in all appeared to be properly assembled and adjusted. Maybe it was just me but, the Target faux "Schwinn" bikes seemed to be a little nicer than the WalMart faux "Schwinn" bikes. ???????

wphamilton 11-07-13 08:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UserM4 (Post 16228570)
From what I've read on Amazon about the GMC Denali the brakes and tires are junk. The handlebar doesn't stay put. The saddle is very uncomfortable. The derailleurs are hard to adjust properly. The wheels are a crap shoot. And it weighs about 10 pounds more than a typical entry level road bike. All in all, there's a reason why name brand bikes start at around $500 new. Save yourself the headache and buy something used but nice in your price range. I went through the same thing and didn't see anything worth buying on Craigslist so I just bought new at my local LBS.

Mine was from Amazon, not Walmart so there may be some differences. The tires are (were) Kenda which are about what you'll find on any entry level bike.

Everything else you mentioned from the reviews - well let me put it this way. Most of them, it's pretty obvious that the reviewer had never ridden a bike as an adult. It's simply, completely wrong.

To be specific for each point, the brakes are exactly the same as on other entry level bikes. They do need to be adjusted correctly. The saddle is the most comfortable one I have currently, and also the widest (and the reviewers badmouthing it say it's too narrow and some of them said they prefer gel saddles). I didn't find the derailleurs to be appreciably harder to adjust than Sora - but you do have to adjust them. The wheels were actually better quality than the low-end wheels you get on Amazon or Niagara Cycles for instance. The handlebars are rock solid - there is absolutely no way the handlebars are going anywhere unless someone loosened the clamp. My point is that you've got to take the negative internet reviews with a grain of salt, unless there's at least something in it showing that the reviewer has a clue.

It is true that it weighs 5 or 6 pounds (not 10) more than entry level brand name bikes. In all honesty that's probably a plus for this particular bike because it means the frame (1 - 1.5 pounds heavier) is beefed up, the heavier deep-v type wheels are sturdier, the rings are bombproof, and the handlebars are are heavy but more solid than I have on other bikes. There are some flaws on the bike that we don't really need to go into in detail, but the bottom line is it's a cheap bike and you really need to disassemble it completely and build it back right. But no it's not complete junk and will work fine with competent adjustment and maintenance.

NoviceJohn 11-07-13 08:43 PM

I personally will not buy used bikes on craigslist or any bikes online just because you're new to cycling. On Craiglist, everyone knows there's a chance that you may not like the bike after riding for awhile. People who had success in buying from Craiglist are people who knows what they're buying (components, comfort, and most importantly, fitting themselves on the bike). Buying from online retailers is also risky for new cyclists because no one is there to inform you about each bike (new or used) and some models / brands you may see might not be at your LBS to test ride. If you want you save money, I suggest buying used from a LBS. At least, you'll make a more informative purchase and get a basic fitting to make your ride a little more comfortable. Your LBS may also give you a short store warranty with the purchase. I suggest to go to several LBS and compare prices. If you have doubts about how much a bike should cost, get the complete specs of the bikes (usually you can easily get them online) you're interesting in and come back to this forum and ask.

Hangtownmatt 11-07-13 09:29 PM

I do not suggest a WalMart bike, but here's a current thread in General Cycling on this forum, that you might be interested in:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...d-admits-to-it

Matt

roashru 11-07-13 09:29 PM

my opinion, if you want to purchase a new cheap high quality bicycle now purchase a 9 speed based bicycle. this is the cheap better quality standard now. :D

Axiom 11-07-13 09:36 PM

If you go down that route, a cruiser usually isn't a bad idea. Then, take is to your local bike shop and have it re-assembled/do a once-over and you should be set. Schwinn is the top-tier of the bottom of the barrel choice at Walmart. This shouldn't cost you more than $150 (and that's way over shooting the price quote for labor + the cost of the bike).

howeeee 11-07-13 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sasquatch. (Post 16228444)
You can find some very nice/good deals on craigslist, especially this time of year. If you aren't opposed to buying used you can get a much better quality used bike for the money .

Craigslist is a good place to find a used bike if you know what you are doing. There are many flippers on craigslist that prey on people that dont know bicycles. Unless you know about the mechanics of a bicycle I wouldnt go to craigslist.

roashru 11-07-13 10:04 PM

the schwinn solitaire and admiral are nice bicycles but expensive for what you get.


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