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Walmart Launches High-End 'Viathon' Bike Brand

Old 07-08-19, 09:31 AM
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Walmart Launches High-End 'Viathon' Bike Brand

My apologies if this has been posted prior. I haven't seen it if so.
Initially only available on viathon.com with walmart.com in the future. What the future holds will be interesting to see.

https://www.pinkbike.com/news/walmar...ike-brand.html
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Old 07-08-19, 10:26 AM
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This is a "Walmart brand" in a similar way that Rapha and Allied are "Walmart brands": all are controlled by the Walton brothers. Viathon is a bit different because it's owned directly by Walmart Stores rather than the Waltons' investment vehicle, but I'm certain the impetus to start the brand comes from the Waltons. These guys are true cycling fans and have plowed millions into cycling brands and infrastructure recently. The bikes look really competitive as well.

These guys are multi-billionaires, they understand cycling and they're at the head of the largest and most efficient supply chain management organization in the world. Over time, I think this has the potential to be truly disruptive.
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Old 07-08-19, 10:26 AM
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But when will Walmart start selling Rapha clothing?
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Old 07-08-19, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
This is a "Walmart brand" in a similar way that Rapha and Allied are "Walmart brands": all are controlled by the Walton brothers. Viathon is a bit different because it's owned directly by Walmart Stores rather than the Waltons' investment vehicle, but I'm certain the impetus to start the brand comes from the Waltons. These guys are true cycling fans and have plowed millions into cycling brands and infrastructure recently. The bikes look really competitive as well.

These guys are multi-billionaires, they understand cycling and they're at the head of the largest and most efficient supply chain management organization in the world. Over time, I think this has the potential to be truly disruptive.
I'd never heard that. It certainly is different from their usual options.
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Old 07-08-19, 11:39 AM
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The road bike pricing on https://www.viathonbicycles.com/ doesn't seem appreciably different from similarly-equipped models from Trek, Specialized, etc. A full Ultegra R8000 hydraulic brake Viathon model has a list price of ~$3600. I usually associate Walmart with aggressive pricing (and low quality); that does not appear to be the case here.
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Old 07-08-19, 11:41 AM
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If it's online-only, with no possibility of local sales or service, I don't think it'll make that much impact. It may cut into Bikes Direct business a bit or something.
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Old 07-08-19, 11:53 AM
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Personally I'm not a Walmart fan for anything. But some members of that family have dumped money into cycling in AR. Infrastructure near the HQ in NW Arkansas is growing, as they are recruiting employees to that area based on lifestyle over nationally competitive salaries. Good on them for supporting cycling.

First I have heard they are behind Allied, but I should have guessed it based on Little Rock facility. Now if WarrenB, JeffB, BillG, ElonM can all get on board with supporting cycling (in a BIG way) maybe America could begin to reduce obesity (and many weight related health issues), commuter congestion, auto pollution, etc. Time to end fossil fuel, single occupant, discretionary auto/truck transportation; especially in dense population areas. Oh well, I can dream.

edit: I find it hard to believe that Walmart marketed high-end bicycles will succeed. Better chance at selling mid-range motorcycles that look and sound like Harleys. But what do I know.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:00 PM
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Only bike service Walmart offers is refunding your money..
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Old 07-08-19, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Only bike service Walmart offers is refunding your money..
I was kinda thinking the same thing. What do you do or where do you take it when your derailleur hanger breaks and you need a new one? Are they prepared to offer full service bicycle repairs in all their stores? Personally, I don't see anyone buying a bike of that caliber from them.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
If it's online-only, with no possibility of local sales or service, I don't think it'll make that much impact.
I don't think there's any plan to have Walmart carry or service Viathon.

Regardless, direct sales have already largely taken over in Europe with brands like Canyon, YT, Commencal, Rose, Cube etc. Diamondback, Raleigh and Intense have gone direct in the US. Trek, Giant and Evil all have hybrid direct-sales models. Pure play American direct sales brands like Fezzari are growing quickly and selling some very competitive bikes. I think direct sales of bikes is a viable business plan.

It may cut into Bikes Direct business a bit or something.
Given who's behind this and the bikes on offer, I'd say Viathon is a different proposition than a guy in Texas selling five year old catalog frames.
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Old 07-08-19, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
I don't think there's any plan to have Walmart carry or service Viathon.

Regardless, direct sales have already largely taken over in Europe with brands like Canyon, YT, Commencal, Rose, Cube etc. Diamondback, Raleigh and Intense have gone direct in the US. Trek, Giant and Evil all have hybrid direct-sales models. Pure play American direct sales brands like Fezzari are growing quickly and selling some very competitive bikes. I think direct sales of bikes is a viable business plan.

Given who's behind this and the bikes on offer, I'd say Viathon is a different proposition than a guy in Texas selling five year old catalog frames.
Direct sales of high-end bicycles is a viable business plan, but only for an organization that will support the customer well with technical info, repair issues, warranty, etc. The direct sales companies growing quickly are growing from the base of zero sales, but the trend is positive.

I think it's all good. E-bikes are adding to a renewed interest in 2 (and 3) wheeled transport by people+companies with deeper pockets.

Let's hope the people from AR stay involved and expand their philanthropic financial commitments to communities at every town/city where they have stores - many of which destroyed small businesses and drove towns to vacancy & associated problems.

yes, BikesDirect is not an equal comparison. Low tech, low end is BD's volume. If the AR clan financed Allied (production in Little Rock), then it makes sense to invest again with an imported frame from a low overhead, overseas manufacturer.

Final thought: it’s all good for cycling and the customers = more options and choices in buying nice bicycles.

My personal philosophy with new bike purchases: Support your local frame builders. Where better to spend your money than with a craftsman who lives near you? (But I dream)
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Old 07-08-19, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Personally I'm not a Walmart fan for anything.
Now if WarrenB, JeffB, BillG, ElonM can all get on board with supporting cycling (in a BIG way) maybe America could begin to reduce obesity (and many weight related health issues), commuter congestion, auto pollution, etc. Time to end fossil fuel, single occupant, discretionary auto/truck transportation; especially in dense population areas. Oh well, I can dream.

But what do I know.
Never been a fan of Wally World either.....

This same group of people only worry about making their next dollar..
All the obese people are in charge of taking their own weight off, and their own health. Nobody else is going to do it for them.

Sometimes I think it's all a bad dream......
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Old 07-08-19, 03:25 PM
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While their bikes may be nice, the price sure is nice too..... I will be excited about Walmart having a bike brand when they fund and/or sponsor a world tour team. Until then I would never support any part of the Walmart world for any reason.

I wish I had endless amounts of money to play with and make my own brand just because I could......that would be a sweet way to support a personal hobby.
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Old 07-08-19, 03:36 PM
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It's always funny to hear how the Waltons love cycling after they mugged Huffy and Murray and left them to die, and their bike department requires a tetanus shot
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Old 07-08-19, 04:21 PM
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No matter the quality of the bikes, the limit to 2.4" tires will hold them back and making it a risky investment.

I'm not saying plus tires are better, and tire fads go up and down in size. But it would be good to have open options on such expensive bike. It seems 2.6" is the new happy medium these days.
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Old 07-08-19, 07:31 PM
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God, I hate synthetic brand names. Viathon. I guess itís supposed to evoke something. At least thatís what the marketing company will tell you. To me it evokes a random collection of parts selected by the marketing guy off the suppliers spreadsheet. Yuch.
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Old 07-08-19, 09:51 PM
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I think they'll start getting returns of $6,000 bikes because people put kick stands on with hose clamps and damaged the frames. Just does not seem like a good business model.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 308jerry View Post
Never been a fan of Wally World either.....

This same group of people only worry about making their next dollar..

Sometimes I think it's all a bad dream......

Many of today's billionaire's have committed the majority of their vast fortune to philanthropy. Gates, Buffett, Bezos and many others have taken the step, unfortunately none (to my knowledge) are cyclists. But I agree that in America, wealth is the primary measure of a person's value. SAD. This isn't the Politics Forum so I'll stop. If the Walmart family invests in cycling infrastructure in Arkansas, it can only be a good thing - let them invest more in every community.
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Old 07-09-19, 11:08 AM
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Again, guys, THEY ARE NOT SELLING THESE BIKES AT WALMART. This is not meant to be "Walmart's bike brand". The brand is owned by Walmart, but you have to search to discover that. This is not meant to be a discount brand. This is not meant to be sold to non-enthusiasts.

Also, I don't think people here realize just how giant Walmart is. Walmart has annual revenues of about $500Bn. The entire cycling industry in the US represents about $6Bn. They are the definition of the 800 pound gorilla. I'm not trying to fanboy Walmart (lol). I'm trying to make the point that just because Walmart is known for cheap t-shirts and off-brand soda, they can also produce and sell high end items. They are easily large enough to do both things, I give you Moosejaw.

Lastly, given that the Walton brothers have put at least $74MM out of their own pockets into cycling infrastructure so far (https://www.outsideonline.com/229548...le-track-minds) and made Arkansas into a world class mountain biking destination in just a couple of years, I think they've earned a little deference here.
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Old 07-09-19, 11:16 AM
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They did a publicity stunt and had someone ride one of their gravle bikes at Dirty Kanza. There's a writeup on Cyclingtips about it. I guess since Cyclingtips is owned by Pinkbike now that's OK?

Anyway, leaving aside the Walmart connection for a minute, the bike itself looks fine, but nothing special. It's virtually indistinguishable from the sea of other black carbon gravel bikes out there in terms of equipment and geometry. Most damming however is that the price point is exactly the same as every other black carbon gravel bike that's out there.

If you want me to spend money on your new brand then you've either got to offer some feature that is novel or some price that is novel.
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Old 07-09-19, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Many of today's billionaire's have committed the majority of their vast fortune to philanthropy. Gates, Buffett, Bezos and many others have taken the step, unfortunately none (to my knowledge) are cyclists. But I agree that in America, wealth is the primary measure of a person's value. SAD. This isn't the Politics Forum so I'll stop. If the Walmart family invests in cycling infrastructure in Arkansas, it can only be a good thing - let them invest more in every community.
I struggle with their philanthropy but they can do anything they want, it's their money. Mr Buffet just donated a billion or two to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Back on topic, I'll probably never buy a new wally world bike ... Or used either ...

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Old 07-09-19, 02:46 PM
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I am Soooo happy my standards are low requiring only a used ($150) MIA Cannondale mtn bike. :-)
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Old 07-09-19, 02:50 PM
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The words "Walmart" and "high-end" should never be used in the same sentence. Maybe not even the same paragraph . . . .
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Old 07-09-19, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
They did a publicity stunt and had someone ride one of their gravle bikes at Dirty Kanza.
Small irony here: both men's and women's Dirty Kanza races this year were won by people riding Allied bikes, another brand also owned by the Walton brothers.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 308jerry View Post
I struggle with their philanthropy but they can do anything they want, it's their money. Mr Buffet just donated a billion or two to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Back on topic, I'll probably never buy a new wally world bike ... Or used either ...
Gates Foundation is here in Seattle. If one wants to know about many of their projects one should check out their website. Preventing worldwide diseases through inoculation, clean water and sanitary habits is only one project but has seen a lot of press. BillG believes if you can reduce mortality, raise people out of squalor, offer better living conditions, sustainable farming, the society benefits. Pretty radical, huh. But he has the Foundation to study ways to attack problems. The headquarters building in Seattle is an impressive structure, the salaries of employees is beyond competitive (rumored).

Not sure why Warren invested $1b, maybe he saw something good he liked - maybe a tax break - if so, i'm sure it was by-th-book.


One of the young Kardashians is self-made billionaire - let's see what she does down the road.

Thread relevant = Viathon is not a bad thing. I wish Allied success because it is Made in America. I'm glad NW Arkansas has seen growth (send some cycling growth $$$ to other places in the state). Hope other companies see the benefit and invest in cycling infrastructure.
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