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WalMart: stop building 'built to fail' bikes!

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WalMart: stop building 'built to fail' bikes!

Old 01-14-22, 04:56 AM
  #26  
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Over in the UK we have Halfords (a big consumer auto retailer) who have demonstrated how to sell safe budget bikes. Walmart should follow their cycling business model, rather than Toys R Us.

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/ser...ce-centre.html
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Old 01-14-22, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
If we aren't capable of doing a basic safety check on a bicycle from Walmart before using it then it's our problem not Walmart. We they are not high quality bikes but you get what you pay for.
I disagree completely. A single Mom buying a bike for her daughter to get to school can not be expected provide a "safety check" before letting a daughter head out to school. Inusuit experience is outrageous, a Consumer Protection complaint should be addressed to the state attorney general. While the poor quality will show up all too soon a wheel should not fall off in just a "few days". Is it also her fault if she buys a set of cheap tires and does not check the lug nut torque and a wheel falls off on the freeway?
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Old 01-14-22, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wesmamyke View Post
Share bikes seem like a scam to me, the whole point being some multi year contract for servicing them. I could be wrong, but I'd be curious what kind of money gets thrown at a bike share program for a decent sized city or town.

They do actually get used a fair amount around here because of the student population. Not so much in the winter, as they remove them along with the charging docks in some places. Probably to keep them from getting totally destroyed.
The bike share program here in Philly is very popular with both residents and tourists. Saw a few being ridden this week despite some chilly weather. The program is sponsored by Blue Cross and continues to expand. Ebike versions were added in the last year or two.
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Old 01-14-22, 07:23 AM
  #29  
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It seems weird that yíall would defend dangerous trash, as ďitís all some can affordĒ but not stop to think that maybe the poor also want to be reasonably sure theyíre getting their moneyís worth and not buying dangerous trash.
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Old 01-14-22, 07:50 AM
  #30  
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Maybe if the minimum wage was more than "$zero/hr" the market for such bikes would cease to exist or shrink to the point it wasn't profitable any more. I guessing 1/2 the cheap bikes sold in X-mart is bought by their own under paid and overworked employees.
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Old 01-14-22, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wesmamyke View Post
Share bikes seem like a scam to me, the whole point being some multi year contract for servicing them. I could be wrong, but I'd be curious what kind of money gets thrown at a bike share program for a decent sized city or town.
Do you have any evidence at all to support your claims?
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Old 01-14-22, 07:55 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Everyone benefits from this campaign, cyclists, bike mechanics, bike shops, big box stores and all consumers.

I agree, there will probably be a negative outcome of this campaign: higher prices.

Sure, everyone benefits and no one loses. Right.

Like it or not, if you raise prices, you will make a bike unaffordable for some people. This "campaign" isn't going anywhere because obviously the big box stores are finding this profitable and this line of argument, which has been done to death at this point, is not changing consumer attitudes at the low end of the market.
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Old 01-14-22, 08:04 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This article popped up on my google feed, and I was like, yeah, it's about time.

The s*** Walmart bikes in question today are not like the Sears Free Spirits of yesterday. Back then, we could ride those $100 bikes for a dozen years without any issues other than a flat tire.

Because of inflation, that $100 in 1979 would be about $413 today. And there were plenty of crap bikes being sold in the 1960s and 1970s. I know because my dad, who never rode a bicycle in his life (literally), bought me a few of them when I was a child.
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Old 01-14-22, 08:12 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
As someone who sees these kinds of bikes often at my local co-op (where Mac Liman) works, I can tell you that not all of the issues are something that shows up in a simple ďsafety checkĒ. For example, the crank spindle below isnít the only one Iíve seen in that kind of condition. Iíve seen one that was actually twisted inside the bottom bracket like some wrought iron finial.






That is a single spindle that is cracked on both sides of the spindle.

Iíve also seen bottom brackets where the bearings were ground down to hemispheres and had bottom bracket cups pull apart inside the frame making them to nearly difficult to remove. Iíve seen ďsteelĒ cranks have eroded the square taper to a round hole and pedal threads that are complete gone to the point where a slight tug will pull them out of the crank.

The problem isnít with the assembly but with the materials of construction. Walmart has pushed the price point down so much that the manufacturers are cutting more than just corners.
That's obviously a hidden defect, and if it causes an injury, Walmart and everyone else involved in the manufacture and sale of the bike (the whole chain of distribution) would be strictly liable for it under US law in pretty much any state.

Have you reported this defect to the CPSC?
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Old 01-14-22, 08:48 AM
  #35  
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Motor vehicle safety also involves the folks around you more often. Sure, a bicycle could fail and injure a bystander.....but I'd bet that's more rare. I think that and the speeds/forces/weights involved with motor vehicles drives more standards.

Citizens aren't willing to pay or deal with more regulation on a product like a bicycle given the possible risks to the public.

That's my view. From there it is simple supply and demand. Consumers buy cheap junk often enough they keep making cheap junk.

To counter this topic though, one of the biggest POS bikes I've ever encountered was my kid's Specialized mountain bike. He's never crashed it, rides it on the greenway, etc... Just total garbage. The brakes, the weight, the hardwares, etc.... First rate junk. Name brand.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:14 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Motor vehicle safety also involves the folks around you more often. Sure, a bicycle could fail and injure a bystander.....but I'd bet that's more rare. I think that and the speeds/forces/weights involved with motor vehicles drives more standards.

Citizens aren't willing to pay or deal with more regulation on a product like a bicycle given the possible risks to the public.

That's my view. From there it is simple supply and demand. Consumers buy cheap junk often enough they keep making cheap junk.

To counter this topic though, one of the biggest POS bikes I've ever encountered was my kid's Specialized mountain bike. He's never crashed it, rides it on the greenway, etc... Just total garbage. The brakes, the weight, the hardwares, etc.... First rate junk. Name brand.
Kids bikes in general IMO are all low end(I exclude BMX and racing exclusive bikes). only a few brands even remotely care about the kid riding the bike the rest care about a price point.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:23 AM
  #37  
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This is a very interesting topic, and one that really has no end of arguments. I'll weigh in here as a father of 4, step-father of 2, and grandfather of 4. So I've seen my share of kids growing up on bikes. And lots of that done on box store bikes. First, not everything Wal Mart (insert your favorite hated box store instead) is complete junk. But a lot of it is. Assembly is another issue. Around here, it appears store are using employees to assemble, rather than a third party. So it's hit-and-miss on proper assembly around here.

When it comes to kid's bikes, longevity isn't all that much of a factor, as I've found the kids outgrow them before they wear them out. Keeping in mind that where I am, you really have only about 6 months riding season for most people. My kids all started on box store bikes that were more than reliable. In fact, my shed is home to a $25 BMX purchased on clearance at Wal Mart 12 years ago, for my youngest son. It's still rideable, the only thing I had to do was continually replace the rear tire once he discovered he could leave long black marks everywhere he went. My oldest daughter did her second 100km ride at the age of 10 on a BS bike (first was a year earlier on an old single speed 24" wheel coaster brake Glider, but that's a different story).

As my kids grew older, they went through both BS and LBS bikes. Many times I found LBS bikes spec'd the same as BS bikes for double the price. Yeah, the stickers on the frames were different, but that was it. And yes, I have to go through the BS bikes and set them up correctly. But $150 for a 20" CCM mountain bike at a box store and $300 for a Bonelli that was the same damned bike from the LBS, guess what I bought. Not all them were BS bikes, if I came found a deal within say 20% of the BS price at the LBS, I went LBS.

There are probably a million kids out there riding around on cheap BS bikes. I hear all the talk about kids getting hurt, bikes only lasting a month, etc. But what are the numbers on that? The real numbers, not someone just guessing because they don't like BS bikes or their kid trashed one. Real numbers. Without them, you're just playing Don Quixote. Prove to me how bad these bikes are. Show me that we need to demand these stop being sold. There are lots of kids growing up poor that would not be cyclists without a BS bike to start with. I'd bet many kids wouldn't know the thrill of owning a new bike (or any bike) if BS bikes didn't exist. And if you can't get them on a bike as a kid, it's pretty hard to get them on one as an adult.

Rather than try to control what box stores sell (we have far too many rules, regulations, restrictions and other controls in our lives today), perhaps the better choice is to set a required checklist when a bike is sold, to ensure the store is setting them up correctly. And perhaps requiring a notice to given if a bike has parts that cannot be replaced (I've yet to see a bike with parts that can't be at least substituted, but they may exist). And let the consumer decide what they want. If we demand the end of short-lived bicycles, where do we stop? Our lives are filled with disposable items that we readily buy up as quick as we can. The reality is that most items CAN be repaired. It's just more cost effective to buy a new one. Bicycles are just one item in the very long list.

I get that there are no shortage of people out there that hate BS bikes. And probably with good reason. But not everyone can afford to drive a Volvo. That's why Daewoo exists. They aren't as safe, and they don't last as long. But they get the job done at a fraction of the price.

What bugs me the most is the *****mongering of the brand names.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:24 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by sloppy12 View Post
Kids bikes in general IMO are all low end(I exclude BMX and racing exclusive bikes). only a few brands even remotely care about the kid riding the bike the rest care about a price point.
My favorite has been a Vitus brand one. It hasn't had any of the quality issues the Specialized MTB has and it is a lot lighter. Not "specialty light" kids bike, but more doable. Also, it came with click shifters instead of the rotary grip. My youngest had weak hands and couldn't rotate many of the rotary gear shifters.

Almost got a Frog, but the Vitus ticked the boxes for use and came in great.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:25 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Nice smokescreen over N2deep. You didn't address his concerns at all. Instead a rant about how great your co-op efforts are. I agree with N2deep. We raise our kids and can't always afford the higher priced bikes and have to settle for a cheap model maybe even from Walmart (gasp!)
I did address his ďconcernsĒ. I realize that people canít afford $2000 bikes for their kids and Iím not saying that they need to spend that much. Nor would Mac Liman. But the $100 bike today isnít the same bike for which people paid $100 40 years ago. The ďcheap modelĒ from Walmart is a false promise and a false bargain. $100 for a bike that may not lost 1000 miles (or even 100) because it breaks is more costly than a bike that you pay 3 to 4 times as much but will last hundreds of times longer.

We get cheaper bikes from other stores besides Walmart all the time in our shop with problems/failures worse than the ones you are touting. It isn't fair to point the finger at just Walmart............. (We also get bikes in from co-op repairs that have to be re-done.)
Nice deflection there. Maybe your shop is different from every other shop Iíve been to but all the shops Iíve been to have turned away older bikes as not worth fixing. They wonít touch a Big Box store bike at all since it would be a losing proposition to try to repair one. At shop rates of around $70 per hour, it wouldnít take long for a repair job to quickly cost more than the purchase price of the Big Box store bike. Co-ops are usually the only place where someone with a Big Box store bike can go to get it fixed or to fix it themselves.

And, frankly, I canít think of anything on a bike that would be ďworse than the ones [Iím] toutingĒ. Perhaps a broken frame but no shop is going to fix that at all.

We use a constructive approach when getting in the cheap bikes needing work. Often we are able to upgrade the owner to a new bike with much better reliability. Results in a sale and a satisfied repeat customer. A win win situation.
Do you think co-ops donít take a constructive approach to getting cheap bike to work? Not only is the approach constructive often it is innovative as we try to fix what retail shops canít.

To be clear, Iím not faulting retail shops. I understand why they wonít even try to fix a $100 bike. If someone can only afford a Big Box store bike, they canít afford the bill to fix it. If a shop were to try to fix it and end up charging them several times the cost of the bike, the customer isnít going to be happy and they probably wonít come back.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:28 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Have you reported this defect to the CPSC?
No, I didnít. Didnít even think of doing that until you brought it up. Iíll try to be more cognizant of that in the future.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:32 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
My favorite has been a Vitus brand one. It hasn't had any of the quality issues the Specialized MTB has and it is a lot lighter. Not "specialty light" kids bike, but more doable. Also, it came with click shifters instead of the rotary grip. My youngest had weak hands and couldn't rotate many of the rotary gear shifters.

Almost got a Frog, but the Vitus ticked the boxes for use and came in great.
The grip shifts are terrible for little kids. maybe some of them can work the things but most cant. even if the throw is to far on a click type shifter they can still at least do that maybe awkward but its doable.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:41 AM
  #42  
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Does the OP have a particular issue specifically with Walmart? Just sayiní that it seems a little unfair to single out Walmart in this argument. They may be the biggest/most prolific among them, but many other department stores sell these bikes too. Besides Walmart, there is Target, JC Penny/Sears (where they still exist), and lots of local/regional department store chains.

Should this crusade also include sellers like Craigslist, ebay, and Facebook Marketplace, etc.? Thereís no guarantee on the assembly/quality of bikes being sold on those outlets either.

Dan
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Old 01-14-22, 09:44 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Does the OP have a particular issue specifically with Walmart? Just sayiní that it seems a little unfair to single out Walmart in this argument. They may be the biggest/most prolific among them, but many other department stores sell these bikes too. Besides Walmart, there is Target, JC Penny/Sears (where they still exist), and lots of local/regional department store chains.

Should this crusade also include sellers like Craigslist, ebay, and Facebook Marketplace, etc.? Thereís no guarantee on the assembly/quality of bikes being sold on those outlets either.

Dan
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Old 01-14-22, 09:47 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by RayHenry View Post
This is a very interesting topic, and one that really has no end of arguments. I'll weigh in here as a father of 4, step-father of 2, and grandfather of 4. So I've seen my share of kids growing up on bikes. And lots of that done on box store bikes. First, not everything Wal Mart (insert your favorite hated box store instead) is complete junk. But a lot of it is. Assembly is another issue. Around here, it appears store are using employees to assemble, rather than a third party. So it's hit-and-miss on proper assembly around here.

When it comes to kid's bikes, longevity isn't all that much of a factor, as I've found the kids outgrow them before they wear them out. Keeping in mind that where I am, you really have only about 6 months riding season for most people. My kids all started on box store bikes that were more than reliable. In fact, my shed is home to a $25 BMX purchased on clearance at Wal Mart 12 years ago, for my youngest son. It's still rideable, the only thing I had to do was continually replace the rear tire once he discovered he could leave long black marks everywhere he went. My oldest daughter did her second 100km ride at the age of 10 on a BS bike (first was a year earlier on an old single speed 24" wheel coaster brake Glider, but that's a different story).

As my kids grew older, they went through both BS and LBS bikes. Many times I found LBS bikes spec'd the same as BS bikes for double the price. Yeah, the stickers on the frames were different, but that was it. And yes, I have to go through the BS bikes and set them up correctly. But $150 for a 20" CCM mountain bike at a box store and $300 for a Bonelli that was the same damned bike from the LBS, guess what I bought. Not all them were BS bikes, if I came found a deal within say 20% of the BS price at the LBS, I went LBS.

There are probably a million kids out there riding around on cheap BS bikes. I hear all the talk about kids getting hurt, bikes only lasting a month, etc. But what are the numbers on that? The real numbers, not someone just guessing because they don't like BS bikes or their kid trashed one. Real numbers. Without them, you're just playing Don Quixote. Prove to me how bad these bikes are. Show me that we need to demand these stop being sold. There are lots of kids growing up poor that would not be cyclists without a BS bike to start with. I'd bet many kids wouldn't know the thrill of owning a new bike (or any bike) if BS bikes didn't exist. And if you can't get them on a bike as a kid, it's pretty hard to get them on one as an adult.

Rather than try to control what box stores sell (we have far too many rules, regulations, restrictions and other controls in our lives today), perhaps the better choice is to set a required checklist when a bike is sold, to ensure the store is setting them up correctly. And perhaps requiring a notice to given if a bike has parts that cannot be replaced (I've yet to see a bike with parts that can't be at least substituted, but they may exist). And let the consumer decide what they want. If we demand the end of short-lived bicycles, where do we stop? Our lives are filled with disposable items that we readily buy up as quick as we can. The reality is that most items CAN be repaired. It's just more cost effective to buy a new one. Bicycles are just one item in the very long list.
Itís not a case of ďletting the consumer decideĒ. Itís a case of the consumer is buying something that is defective because it has to be made as cheaply as possible to sell for the same price as bicycles sold for 40 to 50 years ago. There should be some standards applied. This idea isnít to get ride of inexpensive bikes but to at least have them built to a standard that includes steel that is actually steel and not some mixture of metals masquerading as steel.

Iíve had to tell several people that their bikes canít be fixed because the bottom bracket cup pulled apart inside the bottom bracket shell and canít be extracted. They canít ride the bike because the bearings in that same bottom bracket have been ground to dust in a few hundred miles. Instead of a bicycle, they now own a $100 object that will fetch them 25Ę at the recycle plant.

I get that there are no shortage of people out there that hate BS bikes. And probably with good reason. But not everyone can afford to drive a Volvo. That's why Daewoo exists. They aren't as safe, and they don't last as long. But they get the job done at a fraction of the price.
Your comparison is incorrect. Big Box store bikes arenít Daewoo compared to Volvo. They are more like Yugo compared to a Honda Civic (the most reliable car ever made). The bicycles that Walmart sells today are nothing like the bikes they sold even 10 years ago. A 10 year old Pacific can actually be ridden with some expectation of reliability. A Pacific made and sold at Walmart within the last 5 years cannot. $100 isnít cheap if it is wasted.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:47 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by RayHenry View Post

There are probably a million kids out there riding around on cheap BS bikes. I hear all the talk about kids getting hurt, bikes only lasting a month, etc. But what are the numbers on that?
Well you know, my brother works with a guy whose neighbor's uncle heard about some kid somewhere that got impaled on his box store bike after it exploded. One month into riding it of course.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:00 AM
  #46  
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The same arugment could be made for many other products besides bikes. Buyer beware.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:10 AM
  #47  
RayHenry
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Itís not a case of ďletting the consumer decideĒ. Itís a case of the consumer is buying something that is defective because it has to be made as cheaply as possible to sell for the same price as bicycles sold for 40 to 50 years ago. There should be some standards applied. This idea isnít to get ride of inexpensive bikes but to at least have them built to a standard that includes steel that is actually steel and not some mixture of metals masquerading as steel.
And once the bicycle issue is dealt with, are you going to target TV's? Coffee machines? What? Our homes are filled with cheap crap that fails prematurely and isn't worth repairing. All I can see you doing is denying cheap bikes to poor people. You haven't been able to substantiate that these bikes are dangerous enough to demand they be pulled off the market.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Iíve had to tell several people that their bikes canít be fixed because the bottom bracket cup pulled apart inside the bottom bracket shell and canít be extracted. They canít ride the bike because the bearings in that same bottom bracket have been ground to dust in a few hundred miles. Instead of a bicycle, they now own a $100 object that will fetch them 25Ę at the recycle plant.
And? You know how many people I've had to tell over the years that their car isn't worth repairing? And "several" irreparable bikes out of millions sold sounds like pretty good odds to me.


Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Your comparison is incorrect. Big Box store bikes arenít Daewoo compared to Volvo. They are more like Yugo compared to a Honda Civic (the most reliable car ever made).
That's your opinion. As a mechanic, mine is different.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The bicycles that Walmart sells today are nothing like the bikes they sold even 10 years ago. A 10 year old Pacific can actually be ridden with some expectation of reliability. A Pacific made and sold at Walmart within the last 5 years cannot. $100 isnít cheap if it is wasted.
And? How many buyers of those bikes would be riding them if those bikes were 10x the quality anyway? Many buyers are already aware they are buying cheap disposable products. That's why they're at Wal Mart. For the cheap disposable products. And you can't tell me how many of those bikes can be ridden in 10 years. You can only guess at best.

Those BS bikes have their place, and I know many people riding them. Yes, even the $100 dollar ones. I've seen people buy them and ride them more than they expected. I've seen people lose half their body weigh by riding them, with minimal repairs. I'm bright enough to know that of all the people I know that are riding cheap BS bikes are only a small portion of those sold. But I'm also bright enough to see that of that small portion sold that I see, the value for the dollar is there in each and every case. Would they have a nicer ride, a faster ride, if they spend 4x or more the price at the LBS? Probably. But they bought what they could, and they are all getting their money out of them. Hell, if that BS $100 lasts 2 years, what's wrong with that? $50/yr for the benefits of riding. Cheap. And what about the ones that only last a month? I don't doubt they are out there, and pretty much any BS will take them back with failure that early.

Again, let's see the actual numbers on the danger and the premature failure of these bikes that prove they aren't worth purchasing or are a danger.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:25 AM
  #48  
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Is the intent to save lives or is it more that the intent is for lawyers to make themselves money?

If the desire is to save lives, then the OP's issue currently need less effort and the efforts of these people needing a cause should go to getting more people everyone vaccinated for COVID.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:30 AM
  #49  
RayHenry
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Is the intent to save lives or is it more that the intent is for lawyers to make themselves money?

If the desire is to save lives, then the OP's issue currently need less effort and the efforts of these people needing a cause should go to getting more people everyone vaccinated for COVID.
Evidently, we're not supposed to be discussing the jab/COVID here... :/
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Old 01-14-22, 10:45 AM
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Would not be winter time, without an extended conversation/arguments on the subject of affordable/cheap bikes that Wal-Mart and like sells.
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