Bike Forums

Bike Forums (http://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   General Cycling Discussion (http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/)
-   -   What is wrong with Wal Mart bikes? (http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/25427-what-wrong-wal-mart-bikes.html)

Maelstrom 04-22-03 11:49 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Inoplanetyanin

Now, I am not talking about classic, expensive bicycles or ones from Europe, but all bikes that are sold at supermarkets, are made either in China, Taiwan, Thailad or other Asian country with low labor rates.

The design and weld set are signifigantly different on most bikes. While they aren't 'european' or 'handmade' (two buzzwords that will never mean anything to me as I have never been convinced hand made is better) they are generally far superior in quality in strength.

I will give you one thing there are crap bikes being sold for too much. And some designs are so old or the r&d has been payed for that the price should be dropped. (single pivot bikes should NOT be so damn expensive arg...) but for the most part if you do some research you do get what you payed for.

But being factory made or even made in china does NOT mean lower quality. Frame materials also cause a difference in strenght as does how the material is shaped. I could go on but don't feel the need and I really don't have the engineering background but the difference in materials, design, weight shape of the tubing all allow for more expensive frames that MAY look similar but aren't. There is a signifigant strenght difference in a lot of cases. But hey who am I to comment I have never OWNED one.

I will also give you another point. Some tubing made is mass produced and sold to multiple companies making some of the lower end frames look the same and some higher end frames look similar...either way I am rambling and I really didn't want to jump into this conversation as I don't think you will actually take anything I say into account anyways. You may not need the higher quality but know a couple of things

a) THERE IS A DIFFERENCE in quality. Sometimes it is less than signifigant but often the different means a stiff stronger material especially when comparing different styles of welding on different materials of aluminum for example. Then we get into carbon fibre and Titanium and there is even more of a difference.

Here is a link with some very basic frame information on material strenghts / costs etc...

http://www.ecmtb.com/frontpage.htm click on "whats in a frame"

b) the components although made by the same company work in very different degrees of smoothness / weight / durability. You may not need the best but the difference is noticable.

Again enjoy the trip the ride across Canada is stunning (flat in some parts. Just let go and coast the praries are pretty dull) but Northern Ontario / quebec and the east coast are sites to behold (I love newfie land ;)). Not to mention BC ;)

cyclezealot 04-23-03 12:28 AM

Other than fact, I just do not like Wall mart.. Will not buy a bike with no service. Who do you ask technical advice of.? No service.!
They undercut their regular outlets. No bike stores left. Where will we go for service.. This is a rotten thing to do to their regular outlets, which normally have exclusive contracts with bikes such as Trek..
Regular bike stores usually have a small profit on bikes as is. They make their money on accessories.. Wait until the end of the year- You can find deals on quality bikes, as opposed to low end bikes that the likes of Wall Mart carries..

Dutchy 04-23-03 12:29 AM

Do you really want to descend at +60kph on a bike put together by a 15 y.o. earning minimum wage at x-mart? Also the cheaper the bike the heavier the bike. I would guess that a cheap MTB will weigh at least 15kg/33pound. That is one heavy, slow bike. I should know, the first bike I bought as an adult weighed that much. It isn't until the first hill that you realise weight makes a difference to the enjoyment of the ride. My current bike is 16.5ponds now that's enjoyment.:D

BTW It is made in Taiwan

CHEERS.

Mark

Kev 04-23-03 12:45 AM

I have not owned a x-mart bike in ALOT of years, but they definately do serve a purpose. There is alot of members here who first got back into cycling with one. It's easier to spend $70 and pickup one to see if you enjoy rather then the few hundred on a good bike. That is what my brother did, when he realized he enjoyed it he went out and bought a lower end KHS bike for around $300. I can say what he experienced differently, he mainly road on city roads and light trails. Within first month the wheels were out of true, within 1 year the pedals had basicaly fallen apart, and BB was making really bad noises. He has had the KHS about a year now, so far wheels are still true, nothing has broken yet, main thing he noticed different was how much improvent there was with the fork when riding the trails due to better suspension, he could climb the hills better and brake faster.

Larus 04-23-03 01:00 AM

personally.. I have a home bike shop and I used to do a service to the little kids in my neighborhood by fixing their bikes. I used to constantly get those 'Wal-mart' bikes and well, 95% of the time they would have to replace parts because of the lack of care they take in building components and frames. I could seriously go to the local Ace hardware, buy some 2", 1 1/8", and 7/8" steel tubing, a home welder and make a better bike frame and I have 0% welding experience!
I usually had to be the bearer of bad news to these kids parents who had bought their kids crap bikes by saying things like "you know if your kid continues to ride this bike any longer he can hurt himself", they wouldn't believe me and then when their kid does hurt themself they tell their kids I'm evil or something. I was 14 when I started this shop and am now 21... that makes 7 years experience well... parents really hate it when someone my age knows more about something than they do..

Oh yeah, before I got sidetracked.. what I meant to say is that buying a walmart bike is a bigger pain than it is worth, seriously, don't be like the kids ignorant parents and instead that for a low price tag there is a catch.. Yugo is no longer in business because they made cars like Walmart has bikes... sigh... if you don't listen and your new 'super cool walmart bike' breaks, well, sucks to be you. And if it doesn't break, well congrats, your body fat % must be higher than the weight of your bike due to it not being ridden.

tomkatz 04-23-03 01:15 AM

Inoplanetyanen......I looked at the schwinns at walmart today, IMO they are an embarrassment to the schwinn name. My lucky bike break happened in 1989 when I took a schwinn sierra in on a trade, I had planned to sell it but after riding it a couple times found out that biking was fun so I kept it. What a great bike to start on, so I avoided the whole cheap bike thing. My current schwinn, a homegrown, is awesome, I guess one of the last of the great schwinn bikes. Jeez, someone is going to ask me if I bought it at wal-mart! The point of all this? Listen to these guys, they DO know what they are talking about. Get a used bike of good quality and feel the pride of owning a bike that is a notch above the mundane crap that is passed off on folks who don't know better, as always just my .02.....tom

NuTz4BiKeZ 04-23-03 04:51 AM

This thread is hilarious... one of the funniest on the whole forum.

You guys have reached a whole new level of snobbery which is so evident with a couple of other gems found dealing with "what is the best type of lock to protect your expensive bike" and "the whole idea of a beater bike" not to mention the "how to uglify your bike"... Why have such awesome bikes if you are afraid to use them :confused:

Geeez the important thing is to get riding... even if all you can get your hands on is a department store bike.

I'd choose any bike over walking :D

D*Alex 04-23-03 06:46 AM

Well, I am a mechanical engineer. When you take your required course in "materials processing" (generally a sophmore year course), pay close attention to the concept of how heat effects steel, specifically at weld sites. Most of these ***-mart bikes are made from mild, straight-gauge steel pipe, and absolutely no annealing of the welds is ever done. No wonder, then, that they always break just next to the (usually crappy) weld.

Quote:

Or maybe Wal Mart would even sponsor my trip as it serves a good advertisement purpose
Why? They already get enough dunderheads to buy their bikes, anyways. How would it look when a cross-threaded pedal breaks off in the middle of a hill climb? Or a crank breaks off while sprinting across a train track? Or worse yet, if the fool who agreed to do such a ridiculous thing decides, halfway through the trip, that he can't stand riding this piece-of-$hit any longer, and throws it off a cliff, with some news photographer watching??

Face it-***-mart doesn't give a d@mn about what people think about their bikes. They sell them for a few bucks less than anybody else, and that's all that matters to them.

lotek 04-23-03 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by NuTz4BiKeZ
This thread is hilarious... one of the funniest on the whole forum.
You guys have reached a whole new level of snobbery

No, Just answering the question "what is wrong with Wal Mart Bikes?"
The answers if you read them all state the expense of
proper maintenance, putting the bike together properly
etc. make in not worth it. Thats not snobbery its
good advice to someone who asked.

I agree that riding any bike is better than not, but
how many potential riders are out there, disgusted
with cheap, heavy, poorly assembled bikes rusting in
garages, basements and storage sheds ?


Inoplanetyanin
I'd check some of the local shops for used bikes.
There are a ton of shops in the LA area aren't there?
you could do much better than one of the mass retailers.
Explain to the shop that you're limited in funds and
don't let them talk you into something more expensive
than you can REALLY afford.

Marty

RegularGuy 04-23-03 08:47 AM

RegularGuy stumbles across a dead horse, examines the carcass carefully, and decides that a little more flogging won't hurt anything.

Inoplanetyanin:

Wally World bicycles (aka Big Box Bikes) are made to sell at a price point...a cheap price point. The frames are made cheaply and hung with cheap components. They are assembled by trained monkeys and minimum wage stockboys. (OK, maybe not trained monkeys.) They come in sizes determined not by the dimensions of the frame but the diameter of the wheels. They are made mostly for children who will outgrow them quickly. If one happens to fit you comfortably enough for a long ride, it's mostly a matter of luck. X-Mart Schwinns are top of the line X-Mart bikes. They are still X-Mart bikes.

If that is what you want, there is nothing wrong with it.

A bike shop bike, even a cheap one, has been assembled by a professional mechanic. The bike shop can fit the bicycle to you and swap out components. Need a different stem, seatpost, tires or saddle? Your friendly LBS guy will have them in stock or get them for you.

Again it's up to you. Do you want cheap or do you want good? Take your pick, it's no skin off my blue and yellow nose.

Larus 04-23-03 10:07 AM

ok, there is a big fat gigantic ***** of a line between 'cheap' and 'best value'

cheap = TV products, fast food, toystore bikes

best value = going to the gym, proper diet, and at least a low end mountain bike at a shop (I've seen em for 150 and they are still a ton better than a 150 dollar wallymart bike)

ok, what you are speaking of doing is buying a ford over a mercedes (or other foreign maker). After a year you will have to fix the ford while the better car will not have to be repaired.. than again if you live by the logic that a walmart bike is in fact a good deal, then I guess you live in a trailerhome because it was a good deal and drive a Geo metro because it was a good deal.. sigh... I'd still rather live in my house, have a honda with a yakima rack, and ride wonderful bikes like Haro, Univega, Giant and GT around... women will love you if you don't buy the walmart bike... it's really that embarassing.

D*Alex 04-23-03 10:43 AM

Actually, Geo Metros are a decent design. I'd compare ***-mart bikes to something like a Russian car-perhaps a Moskovitch or a Zapho....(???whatever).

Now, back to the original posting: OK, go ahead, and buy your $79 lead-sled. Just don't come crying to us (or asking for repair advice..) when it breaks. It will, and quickly, too.

MisterJ 04-23-03 11:13 AM

I'm going to chime in. I really don't have that much of a problem with bikes from Wally World. My wife and I both have $100 Huffy's from Wally World. Mine has about 400 miles on it in the last year. My longest ride on it was about 25 miles. While that isn't much in the way of mileage, it does give me a decent feel for the good and bad points of the bike.

My other two bikes are an early eighties Japanese Lotus, which got about 1,600 miles last year and a Dahon folder for the trunk of the car.

Here is what I liked:

18 speeds, with indexed shifting, that works pretty well.
Pretty decent V brakes, (and I have done 60 Kph decents) on it, although they really weren't that long, and I do weigh about 100 kg.
No flats, (versus about 7 on my Lotus)
Nothing has fallen off, although I haven't exactly thrashed the thing off road much.

What I don't like:

No quick releases.
The frame is a little small for me.
The tires are just ok.

Have I had to adjust some things? Absolutely.
Has anything broken. Nope.

Am I pleased overall. Absolutely. I got back into bicycling because my wife bought it for me. Enough so that I got the Lotus back into riding shape and I bought a Dahon, so that I can always have something to ride.

I have seen some pretty elitist comments on this thread, but quite frankly, both of the LBS that are closest to my house really don't that much to offer for casual cyclists.

D*Alex 04-23-03 11:57 AM

Unfortunately, every sale of a ***-mart bike means one less sale for a bike shop. With the market flooded with these sub-$100 junk bikes, more and more bike shops are going out of business. They can't compete on price, so they stock more high-end bikes (where the profits are better), leaving a huge hole in the $200-$800 price bracket. It's not only in bikes, either. The ***-mart phenomena has ruined the market for just about any sort of lower-priced quality merchandise, replacing it with brand-labelled junk. Clothing, shoes, furniture, etc....

fishepa 04-23-03 12:05 PM

I think Wal-Mart is a great company, and my stock portfolio agrees. :)

But back on the bike subject. You all convinced me to take back my wal-mart bike and head to my local LBS.

Aemon_ 04-23-03 02:12 PM

i know that i'm a newbie, and i am far from an expert. i dont know any of you in real life, so i cant judge, but some of you are very rude. he asked one question, and he got quite a few good answers, but then it got ugly.

this is from another thread, posted by livingood:
Quote:

Get out and ride what ever you can, whenever you can.

we all know that LBS will be better, but my wife and i have wally world bikes (roadmaster), and we like them for right now. and against some advice of wiser memebers, i too am looking into small upgrades. but these bikes are my training tools, i'm learning how to work on a bike, so if i break it i'm not out of hundreds of dollars.

again, i'm a newbie, so flame away if you like :D

later

Kev 04-23-03 02:31 PM

Aemon I agree some comments did not come across very well. I think the main concern was that he wanted to use the bike for touring across canada. The most important thing is to enjoy riding, a wall-mart/x-mart bike is a good cheap starting point to see if you enjoy it, but is not designed for long treks like that.

Aemon_ 04-23-03 02:38 PM

Quote:

he wanted to use the bike for touring across canada
yeah, i kinda forgot the point of this thread. i can see where that could be a concern.

like i said, maybe with a few upgrades (yes i know, the LBS one would come with the better parts) maybe the machine could handle it?

later

NuTz4BiKeZ 04-23-03 02:42 PM

Oh man this keeps getting better...

Quote:

Most of these ***-mart bikes are made from mild, straight-gauge steel pipe, and absolutely no annealing of the welds is ever done. No wonder, then, that they always break just next to the (usually crappy) weld.
How many threads are there discussing frame fatigue and failure in aluminium, carbon and titanium frames?
I seem to see a reasonable number of equipment failure questions amongst the LBS equipped bikes.

Face it... Bikes and components break and wear out.
Other than the snob angle the only difference between a dept store bike and a LBS bike is a little bit of quality, which is no different than saying that there is a quality difference between an LBS bottom of the heap vs a top of the line bike.

LBS = Lying Buck Snatchers :D

tomkatz 04-23-03 02:43 PM

I think that he had made up his mind already, he asks folks here to try to talk him out of it, and everyone tried. I see no rudeness in that. If he wasn't talking about long treks on this bike, I'd say go cheap if you want to, but for his purpose there is no denying which bikes would be preferable.......tom

Kev 04-23-03 02:47 PM

Aemon yes with some upgrades it could handle it.. probably good set of tires, have a LBS properly retension and true the wheels.. Just by that time you are up to easily $80-100..

Aemon_ 04-23-03 03:12 PM

Quote:

Aemon yes with some upgrades it could handle it.. probably good set of tires, have a LBS properly retension and true the wheels.. Just by that time you are up to easily $80-100..
hmm... point taken.

later

Larus 04-23-03 03:49 PM

I've seen some good used bikes that are the same price range as **-mart bikes... I discourage people from buying them out of their own ignorance for what will happen later on down the road.

Then here is a point that goes against what I say.. my dad has an older huffy that he has been riding for a long time... it handles like it's been rusted over 1,000 times but it still rolls.. one day I decided to try it offroad because of it's weight. I didn't enjoy that at all, the fork kept trying to steer me where I didn't want to go, but anyway, on road it was fine (until a hill), and it has held up for 10 years. Point is, you can make anything last, the bikes I had to repair were kids bikes mostly, my dad is an older man who well.. doesn't really off-road much at all.

trinewbie 04-23-03 04:12 PM

Check out the bikes on ebay too. Might be able to get a better quality bike for the same price. Just a thought...

I rode a heavy (musta weighed 50lbs!) no name brand mountain bike from Sears back in college. I wasn't all "into" biking back then -- just getting where I needed to go. It got the job done. And I got some exercise too (especially lifting the bike in and out of the house!).

barkingdog 04-23-03 04:45 PM

I'm going to chime in here. I may have found a decent comprise btwn walmart special and the 'I need a cheap bike' debate. Pls let me know what you think seriously....

I too am looking for a $100 low-end bike for my wife. She's not sure she'll get into cycling and we don't want to spend a lot to have it sit in the shed. Been looking for used bikes, but so far nothing.

I found a bike shop in my area that sells a ladies Roadmaster for $120. The shop offers life time adjustments, even on the Roadmaster and will set up and adjust it for her. She only needs it for paved roads and perhaps some easy rail trails.

So, my question is: Why not?? If she loves cycling (I hope, I hope, I hope) we can up grade her to a "real" bike and yard sale the Roadmaster. I mean what am i missing. I know her experience would be enhanced on better cycle, but I doubt any of you would say that if you started on cheap bike you wouldn't be riding today. If like cycling a cheap bike just makes you want to upgrade!!


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:25 PM.