Retailer VS. Shop Bikes

FAQ: Why should I spend $300 bucks on a commuter bike when I can go to Wal-mart and spend half of that?

Wally World Bike
Price: $189.00

KHS Urban X
Price: $299.00

Here at commute by bike we promote riding ANY bike to work. We also believe that a good commuter bike can make a huge difference on the success of your commute. So what’s the difference between buying a bike from Big Box retailer stores VS a Bicycle shop?

Although the sticker says ‘Professional Assembly’, the truth of the matter is that a regular employee puts those bikes together on a retailer store. I’ve seen loose brakes, forks installed backwards and loose handlebars on these ‘professional assembled’ bikes. On a bike shop, each bike is assembled by a professional bike mechanic and it’s looked over before the bike leaves the shop.

2.Size matters:
You will find a ‘one size fits most’ bicycle at the big box retailer. Once you take the bike out of the store, you are on your own to make it fit. If you go to a shop, they will size you and suggest a bicycle that will fit your body. They also fine tune the saddle, seat post, and handlebars so you can ride on the proper position.

You obviously get what you pay for. A bike shop bike will have higher quality components than your Wally world bike. Higher quality means better reliability, lighter parts and longer life. Replacing a cheap part often costs more than a quality part since they are not readily available.

4.Service and Warranty:
I have yet to find someone at my local retail store that knows something about bikes. Also, have you ever seen a good selection of spare parts or a bike service department at your local Target? The biggest plus about buying a bike from a shop is service. Granted, I’ve been to shops where they’ve just looked at me and didn’t even greet me, but 99% of the shops have knowledgeable and friendly staff. As for warranty goes, most shops will include at least 1 year of basic tune ups on the bikes they sell and a lifetime warranty on the bike frames.

As you can see, buying a bike that costs a little more from a bike shop will actually end up saving you money on the long run. You will also get piece of mind that your bike will not break down. You will eventually get your money back on tune-ups alone.

Sign up for our Adventure-Packed Newsletter

Get our latest touring, commuting and family cycling posts and sales delivered to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

0 thoughts on “Retailer VS. Shop Bikes”

  1. JohnW says:

    One more point about service is that most bike shops include at least one tune up after purchase. Every bike has a break in period and needs adjustments after being ridden for a month or two. Getting a free tune up/adjustment is a big savings. And many shops include free basic adjustments for a year or even more.

  2. RL Policar says:

    I think what draws people’s attention to these Wally World bikes are the flashy paint, weird frame and dual suspension.
    To the average consumer, they see that and say, “looks just like the ones in the bike shop and its cheaper!”

    I remember a while ago, Moe had a co-worker that would ride with us on a Wally World bike. Sure enough, that thing would break down so often that it wasn’t even funny.

  3. Moe says:

    Indeed, my buddy’s bike only lasted 3 off-road trips. The rims and derailleurs were not able to handle the terrain.

  4. Jay says:

    Several years ago when my wife and I first started getting into cycling we went with another couple for our first experience mountain biking. We dug out our old Huffy bikes from college we thought were considered mountain bikes. Our freinds rode us into the ground as our bikes were not fit properly to our tall frames, they didn’t shift well and we pretty much tore them up in one 10 mile ride. We were hooked on biking so we went to the local bike shop and dropped $800 for two entry level Trek mountain bikes. I weigh 240lbs and have beaten the tar out of my bike over the last 4 years and have had nothing but normal maintenance issues. We’ve had way more fun with those bikes for the amount spent than any other purchase.

  5. charinko says:

    Wally bike often has a small sticker says “do not use off road” Just like RL said, they looks cool to average comsumer. I have 10years old Giant ATB, it might be a bit heavy and not so cool compare to newer MTB. But this old horse still serves me very well and, I must say, I am attached to it 🙂

  6. HH says:

    I worked with a bike shop owner recently. He tells me that, sometimes, he doesn’t mind too much of the big-box retailers selling bikes because he knows soon enough people will come to his shop for tune ups for repairs. Some of the repairs run equal or more than the bike itself! It’s interesting that people would pay so much for repairs when they should have just bought a new quality bike.

  7. Anonymous says:

    well, 200-400 dollars for a new bike is still a lot of money to a lot of people, and they can’t afford to shell that out all at one time. it was all I could do to pay what I did for my used 80s univega (sold by my local shop). I love it, though!

  8. Speed says:

    My son claimed he could not afford a $500 bicycle, working part time and going to community college. I pointed out to him hat he spent more than that on the stereo system in his car. I also showed him that he spent enough money on take-out food, computer upgrades, and gasoline to buy a new bike about every three months. What it comes down to is that people consider bicycles “toys” in their minds. If you can re-frame that thinking into buying a tool that can be used for the rest of your life, you may be able to find a way to spend the money. My “poor” son pays a gym membership each month so that he can get enough exercise. Just that money would pay for a $600 bicycle in a year, and he then wouldn’t ever again need to pay someone to get enough exercise…

  9. Grant Marshall says:

    I Agree with all the comments above. I am 13 and have been mountain biking for 4 years now. I started with an ’05 Specialized Hardrock then moved up to a ’07 Specialized Rockhopper Disk. I wanted to see department store bikes off-road, so i bought one and went to wakefield Park in Springfield, Virginia. in 30 minutes, I dented the frame and rim, broke the brake and poped both tires. I live near a bike shop and becaue I spend 3/4 of my summer there, wheneveri come in, they say “Hi Grant” and help me with any problebs i may have.

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


20% off ALL Ortlieb Bag Closeouts! Shop Closeouts

Scroll to Top