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Old 07-09-09, 10:21 PM   #1
Cra1g
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Bell and Schwinn parts at Wal-mart

Wal-mart carries Bell products and Meijer (a regional store similar to Wal-mart) carries Schwinn products. What I'm wondering is if these products are any good. What I'm most curious about is the quality of the tubes and tires. I usually ride about 20-30 miles every couple of days and I'm soon going on a 140 mile bike trip.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:54 PM   #2
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Not with a 10 foot pole. I wouldn't let their computers recognize that a real cyclist was even in their store. Take a trip to your LBS, unless that's why you are asking the question about the Marts. Your LBS will have better stuff and somebody to actually help if you have a ?.
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Old 07-09-09, 11:34 PM   #3
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That's what I figured. Do LBSs sell quality stuff at the same price though?

What about the other stuff at Wal-mart like the headlights and panniers?
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Old 07-10-09, 12:18 AM   #4
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Can't speak for the other stuff through personal experience, but Bell tubes and chains work just fine for commuting and utility applications. Or you can go to the LBS and spend more for something that suits the same application.

Of course the LBS will (should) have a knowledgeable staff, and higher quality accessories.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:57 AM   #5
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Inner tubes are just rubber, so it probably makes no difference as far as utility goes.
The reason you by from the LBS and not Walmart is because you want to support the local business that walmart is putting out of business.


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That's what I figured. Do LBSs sell quality stuff at the same price though?
What about the other stuff at Wal-mart like the headlights and panniers?
They sell quality stuff at reasonable prices; the stuff at Walmart is cheap because its junk.
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Old 07-10-09, 04:50 AM   #6
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Not much if any difference in the tube at WM/Meijers versus the cheapest tubes at the LBS. Want a quality tube? Buy the Scwhalbe, they will run you around $15 for a road sized tire, but you can tell a difference. FWIW I run the less expensive tubes and chains on my 3 speed bikes with good results. I was interested to note that the last Bell branded chain I bought from somewhere (I know damned well it WASN'T WM) had KMC stamped on the side plates. It was lighter weight than the OEM Raleigh chain that I was replacing, but that is a 30+ year difference in products too.

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Old 07-10-09, 05:13 AM   #7
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Important to note that most tubes are being produced by the same factories and rebranded for Bell, Schwinn, Giant, Nashbar, whoever.

There is generally nothing wrong with their products and they make cycling more affordable to casual cyclists.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:30 AM   #8
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Also good when you are doing late night repairs and need that extra part.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:41 AM   #9
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Problem is you have to go to a walmart to buy one. I personally don't like getting scratches or dents in my car from parking there (certaily no rack to lock a bike), then have to stand in line for 25 minutes because the one lane that open is backed up. I asked someone there if they were going to open more lanes "ain't my job" was the answer I got, havent been back since. Is it really worth it to save .05 to have to deal with bad service. of course living in a city I find that there ar at least a half dozen other stores that beat WM's price.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:45 AM   #10
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Not with a 10 foot pole. I wouldn't let their computers recognize that a real cyclist was even in their store.
I think I would rather rub shoulders with trailer trash than a self anointed Real Cyclist.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:58 AM   #11
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I always use go to Walmart for Bell tire tubes. I was pleasantly suprised that they carry 26 x 1 3/8 tires. My LBS makes a big deal about ordering them. My townie has a brown Bell seat (the one with the springs underneath) and that is a comfy seat. The Bell Ipulse led torchlight is one of the brightest lights I've seen and it's small enough for me to remove and use at work as a flashlight. It has steady and blinky mode.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:02 AM   #12
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The tires don't seem to be very good quality, but it seems they are all folding now (Kevlar bead) - easier to set up on the shelf. At least that's nice.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:44 PM   #13
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The tires don't seem to be very good quality, but it seems they are all folding now (Kevlar bead) - easier to set up on the shelf. At least that's nice.
This is an amazing story, but it's true.
Wal-mart is actively pushing down the cost of folding-bead tires, because Wal-mart doesn't want the shipping and shelf display hassles of the wire-bead tires.
~
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Old 07-10-09, 06:49 PM   #14
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I like going to WalMart. My local store has had Bell carbon fiber bottle cages on display for $29 for several months. I'm curious to know why? And, have they sold any? That's the only bike bling I've ever seen in a WalMart.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:12 PM   #15
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I buy Bell fingerless gloves for summer riding at Walmart. Cheap ($5/pair) and comfy. Winter-weight gloves come from the LBS. Tubes and tires for my beach cruiser come from Walmart, too.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:26 PM   #16
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If you think the quality is the same as the LBS, you're underestimating WalMart's leverage with its suppliers. You either meet their cost demands, or you lose out on the world's #1 retail outlet. WalMart does not care about quality the way it cares about price.

I'm not saying there's not a place in your stable for WalMart tubes/tires, but they are not the same.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:34 PM   #17
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When I rode my MTB more often, I always bought tubes and tires from Walmart, but they never have 27" for my road bike. In fact, of the 3 bike shops near me, only 1 does, and it's the one that I refuse to do business with. When I needed 26 inch slick tires for my MTB, and the LBS didn't carry them, I went to K-mart, and got a set for $5. They are still riding like new. I'll take that over $50 LBS tire sets any day

I used to also buy brake pads from there, but within the last 10 years, all they have in that line is junk, and not worth the $4 you'll pay.

I have only used cyclo-computers from walmart also. I can calibrate them just as accurately as the more expensive ones. I bought my water bottle cage from there, because a cage is a cage. No use spending a ton of money on a piece of plastic from china.

As I mentioned, I stopped buying brake pads from Walmart. I also might stop buying their pumps, because they break so quickly. Maybe I'll try a real computer someday. But they alsways come through for me when I need tires and tubes!
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Old 07-10-09, 07:46 PM   #18
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Basically, they're all Kenda tires, so what's the difference between buying them there for $8 versus paying $16 for the same exact low-end tires at the LBS?

What you you can get at the LBS, though, is more variety, better performance, better puncture resistance, etc. If you are just gonna buy the cheapies at the LBS, save your money and go to a big box. If you want something more than the bottom of the barrel, the LBS is the place to go.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:11 AM   #19
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I'm not saying there's not a place in your stable for WalMart tubes/tires, but they are not the same.
Are you saying you think it's more cost effective for a inner tube factory in China to set up a whole new production line to make special tubes for Wal-Mart rather than just repackaging the tubes rolling off their current assembly line and selling them to WM for $0.75 less than they sell them to everyone else for?! I strongly doubt this.

I used to work in magazine distribution and a big part of my business was selling magazines to WalMart and I can tell you they did buy the mags for cheaper than mom-n-pop grocery store but they weren't buying special/different/less expensive magazines from the publishers I represented. If you can get your item sold at walmart even if you have a very slim profit margin you'll likely still make money because the volume of product that WM can move is ridiculous.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:23 AM   #20
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I have purchased Schwinn and Bell Helmets at WM they cost much less.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:32 AM   #21
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Are you saying you think it's more cost effective for a inner tube factory in China to set up a whole new production line to make special tubes for Wal-Mart rather than just repackaging the tubes rolling off their current assembly line and selling them to WM for $0.75 less than they sell them to everyone else for?! I strongly doubt this.

I used to work in magazine distribution and a big part of my business was selling magazines to WalMart and I can tell you they did buy the mags for cheaper than mom-n-pop grocery store but they weren't buying special/different/less expensive magazines from the publishers I represented. If you can get your item sold at walmart even if you have a very slim profit margin you'll likely still make money because the volume of product that WM can move is ridiculous.
Big difference between magazines and a manufactured product. And yes WM does have factories make special runs of things for them, especially in some of the larger ticket items like electronics. Problem with the still making money part is that WM will keep coming back and wanting you to lower the cost to them and eventually you won't be making money, and when you dedicate too much of your total production to making things just for WM you are screwed if you can't meet their demands.

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Old 07-11-09, 09:22 AM   #22
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I don't know the name of my Led Tail Light. But I got it at wal mart for cheap and it is rated very well when I first got it. Just put batteries and they last a long time... I have gotten several things from there because of the price. And it's not all that bad. Certain things I will get at the LBS such as my bike. I also get multi bike tools from walmart...It really depends on what you need. There is one LBS by me that I will go to and one I won't. I grew up in Maine and when I was 12 I had a paper route and went to my LBS Quinns to get my first bike. It was a Univega I believe. I loved that things. Well at 15 I moved to Fl.. Lived there for 16 years. Last year I was back in Maine, and wanted to start biking again. I was suprised to see QUINNS still there. Same Owner and his wife!!!! I walked in and he recognized me!!! It was really cool. So he gave me a deal on a bike and his wife even offered me to go upstairs and get some supper LOL! Was amazing.. I went there for my bike rack, Computer, Front LED light, New Tires Which he put on for free while I was there.. Also but my bike Lock, and air pump from them. I go from time to time to say hello...You can't get that service from Walmart. Thanks Quinn Cycles!!
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Old 07-11-09, 05:28 PM   #23
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I bought a set of folding kevlar tires for my mtb. They have lasted for 3 years and running with no noticeable wear. They cost me about $10 a piece. I'm not sure if Walmart sells tubes with presta valves or not.
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Old 07-11-09, 11:36 PM   #24
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I have to tell ya.I have two 70's paramounts that have Walmart tubes and neither one has complained.Nobody can tell what brand of tubes you are using.
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Old 07-12-09, 07:02 AM   #25
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Yeah, Walmart tubes might not be that great of quality, but I think they'd serve well as spare tubes in case I get a flat or something.
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