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WalMart: stop building 'built to fail' bikes!

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WalMart: stop building 'built to fail' bikes!

Old 01-18-22, 09:53 AM
  #101  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by car5car View Post
I deleted my post, but it is in yours as quoted. You can deleted, not me.

I can delete what?
Just kidding, I deleted it.

Still glad you're enjoying your Roadmaster, btw.
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Old 01-18-22, 10:11 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
So the proposal in the OP is to make bikes that will actually last a reasonable use, and can be repaired when they fail rather than getting maybe 20 hours of riding out of them before they are scrap.

And for the budget I think they can be, but they tend to go for flashy looking but terrible parts to make them more appealing - making them 21 speeds instead of 6, giving them awful suspension forks instead of rigid, disc brakes instead of V's and so on.
Except for the disc brakes, I agree. But it is not up to Walmart, or Target, or any other big box to do this.

If it is a profitable model, it would be pretty easy, “after the supply chain returns,” for a startup to offer 1x bikes at a bit higher price than Walmart but more reasonable price than an LBS.

Actually if any of the major bike mfg’s really cared about making low cost more utilitarian bikes, they would offer a separate line and partner with Dick’s, or Home Depot, Pep Boys, etc. and offer them. Bring back the old hardware store bikes and put Walmart out of, at least the adult, bike business.

I think a lot of kid’s would want to get a bike where Dad buys power tools than the family buys toilet paper.

John
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Old 01-18-22, 10:26 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
And you're the EXACT PERFECT example of the problem. I'm sorry to hear this happened. But again, why should you feel obligated to "check everything" on your purchase? Sure, it would be prudent as a bike person, but not in any way expected. Say you had checked the handlebars and front wheel and pedals, but failed to check the rear wheel and your son crashed? Would you blame yourself then? Or if the rear derailleur shifted into the spokes and you failed to check THAT? Of course not!

You shouldn't have felt bad then. No consumer should feel compelled to "check everything" on a product before using it. Did you check your stereo's power amplifier before turning it on? No. Does the car buyer check all the wheels before driving off the lot? Of course not!

(And no, I am NOT relieving the consumer of common sense, all responsibility, or the need to be familiar with the product their using and to be able to judge if they can use it safely. Nor am I relieving them of responsibility of having their stuff checked after a crash or mishap or other misadventure. But when a product is presented to the consumer, it should be safe to use as intended, that's all.)

So this is why this campaign makes so much sense.
I definitely wouldn't ride a bike from a shop without going over it either. Say what you want, at most shops there is a wide variety of expertise, and you never know who will work on your bike. I've sworn off bike shops after my last experience.

I haven't seen anything "unrepairable" from shops - as others have said, the problem is twofold
  1. People don't know how to fix their own stuff (and it's expensive to get someone else to do it)
  2. Retail (and even wholesale) on replacement parts is way above what the bike OEMs pay - so it ends up being expensive just for parts relative to cost of the bike. It isn't actually any more expensive to fix than a more expensive bike.

Shimano coming down on Chain Reaction and similar stores that were re-selling with markup from the bike OEM price has made this even worse. That kind of differential pricing is the biggest core of the problem. I don't know what we can do about people looking at someone who can repair a simple machine like a bicycle as a wizard.
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Old 01-18-22, 10:43 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
Basically, yes. The big box retailers get the price so low by using the cheapest parts they can find that are often not replaceable (stuff welded or riveted instead of bolts, obscure sizes, etc). So you buy the $99 bike, something inevitably breaks and you can't change it. You take it to a bike mechanic who points out it'll cost $150 to bodge a fix onto the $99 bike and then it gets scrapped.

So the proposal in the OP is to make bikes that will actually last a reasonable use, and can be repaired when they fail rather than getting maybe 20 hours of riding out of them before they are scrap.

And for the budget I think they can be, but they tend to go for flashy looking but terrible parts to make them more appealing - making them 21 speeds instead of 6, giving them awful suspension forks instead of rigid, disc brakes instead of V's and so on.




The average consumer doesn't have time to learn how to test and rebuild anything they buy from a shop. Walmart is selling them so should safely be assumed to be selling something that's fit for purpose.

Here's a good example from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eurobike-wh...dp/B07QW62XLG/

To an experienced cyclist likely to be on this forum it's obviously a crap bike. But to a random mom looking for a birthday present? "They wouldn't sell it if it was dangerous, right?".

Not sure the Eurobike is "dangerous", but whatever.

I think this whole thing loses the plot when it's looked at from the consumer's angle. It may be perfectly rational for someone to buy a bike that lasts a year if it costs only $99 rather than saving up $400 or so for a bike that would last a lot longer, especially if they're buying it for a growing child. Having to defer the purchase to raise the money is time lost enjoying the bike just as much as down-time due to disrepair. But I'm also unclear on whether the complaint is that if it takes a $150 repair to keep going and that's more than the cost of a new bike, whether that's legitimately a complaint about the quality of the bike or the cost of repairs or neither.

Honestly, I don't want to sign the petition because I have no idea what that arbitrary 500 hours line would do to the cost of a bike, nor do I know what it means by "breaking down" since the "it makes sense to fix" is so dependent on the replacement price.
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Old 01-18-22, 10:47 AM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by Herzlos View Post
Basically, yes. The big box retailers get the price so low by using the cheapest parts they can find that are often not replaceable (stuff welded or riveted instead of bolts, obscure sizes, etc).
.
Please specify exactly which parts are welded, because I had a few cheap bikes and all parts were replaceable and easy to buy dirt cheap from ebay. Is it your personal opinion or some mechanic told you?

Last edited by car5car; 01-18-22 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 01-18-22, 11:03 AM
  #106  
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The petition is there to make people feel good about themselves that they are doing something.

There is a point at which the petition would carry some weight, but I’m guessing it will fall 100 million signatures short of that point.

Sign it or don’t sign it, nothing will change until a viable alternative is available that challenges the failing bikes. And an LBS is not the alternative.

John
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Old 01-18-22, 03:48 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by car5car View Post
Please specify exactly which parts are welded, because I had a few cheap bikes and all parts were replaceable and easy to buy dirt cheap from ebay. Is it your personal opinion or some mechanic told you?

They're going to keep posting stuff that implies that no one who knows anything would ride a bike like yours. It's complete nonsense, of course, and the argument never ends. TBH, I don't even think they get how insulting they're being.

Riding well is the best revenge, and it sounds like you do a lot of that.
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Old 01-18-22, 04:15 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I get what you're saying, but will point out developing unique BBs is pretty much SOP in modern cycling! (Was it a GNC video that claimed there are currently 27 different BB standards?) Besides, they wouldn't have to develop anything new, just fire up the old machine tools from Flying Pigeon days and make Thompsons..
Point me out a $200 bike that uses BB30 or Hollowgram. I'll wait.

All those crazy variations (Press-Fit, Outboard Bearings, Hollow Spindles, et. al,) came about in the last decade and a half as ways to reduce weight or friction on high-performance bikes, and /or addressing assembly issues inherent in mass-produced monocoque carbon frames


Bargain bikes, (if they're not Ashtabulas) pretty much all use 68mm BSA-threaded, JIS Square-taper BBs. It's a design that has been standardized for nearly 50 years; and come in (retail) price range from $10 no-name to $150 Phill Wood or White Industries.
It takes time to re-invent the wheel, and time costs money. Everyone knows what a 68mm BSA Square Taper is; it's just a matter of how cheap you can make it.

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Old 01-18-22, 04:17 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
The petition is there to make people feel good about themselves that they are doing something.

There is a point at which the petition would carry some weight, but I’m guessing it will fall 100 million signatures short of that point.

Sign it or don’t sign it, nothing will change until a viable alternative is available that challenges the failing bikes. And an LBS is not the alternative.

John
Canada's Dorel sold Pacific cycles, schwinn, mongoose, cannondale, etc to some guy in the Netherlands in December. what's in Walmart stock could be the last of the cheap bicycles we ever see . Nobody knows what the Netherlands guy is planning to do with his shut down Chinese factories

petition is pointless
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Old 01-18-22, 04:25 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Privolous View Post
Canada's Dorel sold Pacific cycles, schwinn, mongoose, cannondale, etc to some guy... Nobody knows what the ... guy is planning to do with his shut down Chinese factories
I'm pretty sure those are just labels to put on things that are manufactured under contract.

Buying the labels doesn't mean that "guy" bought any factories.

And even if he did, there are plenty of others who can fill Walmart orders at whatever price/quality Walmart purchasing dictates. So what if we see "Ozark Trail" bikes now.

Didn't what is effectively Giant spend years making stuff for other brands only to finally come up with their own name to market halfway decent stuff under?

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Old 01-22-22, 03:52 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Except for the disc brakes, I agree. But it is not up to Walmart, or Target, or any other big box to do this.

If it is a profitable model, it would be pretty easy, “after the supply chain returns,” for a startup to offer 1x bikes at a bit higher price than Walmart but more reasonable price than an LBS.

Actually if any of the major bike mfg’s really cared about making low cost more utilitarian bikes, they would offer a separate line and partner with Dick’s, or Home Depot, Pep Boys, etc. and offer them. Bring back the old hardware store bikes and put Walmart out of, at least the adult, bike business.

I think a lot of kid’s would want to get a bike where Dad buys power tools than the family buys toilet paper.

John
Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
I'm pretty sure those are just labels to put on things that are manufactured under contract.

Buying the labels doesn't mean that "guy" bought any factories.

And even if he did, there are plenty of others who can fill Walmart orders at whatever price/quality Walmart purchasing dictates. So what if we see "Ozark Trail" bikes now.

Didn't what is effectively Giant spend years making stuff for other brands only to finally come up with their own name to market halfway decent stuff under?
Just because the manufacturers don't necessarily own the factories doesn't mean they aren't the ones specing the product. It's Dorel's or Pacific's product managers developing and specifying the product. The Asian factories simply bulid them to the mfgr's spec.

That said, someone above essentially said, "Target/WalMart doesn't spec the bikes..." This is technically true (as is my statement above), but WalMart works VERY CLOSELY with manufacturers in determining spec and price point. They "collaborate" on reaching certain price points. WalMart influences spec, color and price point. They're so big that they require this. Any manufacturer who doesn't "play ball" loses the account and millions in sales. So the manufacturers spec per big box requirements. They're both complicit, but ultimately the manufacturer is responsible.

Which is why a petition like this is circulating.

That said, the automobile market doesn't rely on the makers to provide safe products. It's a highly-regulated industry. This petition makes the argument for regulating the bicycle market. Now I realize I'm fanning the flames here, but if the mass market cannot provide safe bicycles, then perhaps it needs safety regulations like the auto market. "Unsafe at Any Speed," recently celebrating 50 years, is responsible for a lot of consumer safety regulations that have saved millions of lives. Ralf Nader showed how when you leave an industry's safety up to the private industry, they don't place safety at the top. Without regulation, Americans were being sold death traps.

And Peter Robison's recent "Flying blind : the 737 MAX tragedy and the fall of Boeing" exposes the peril of undermined regulation. It is an account of how airline safety regulation has eroded through budget cuts and regulatory capture. The result is an inherently flawed airplane whose design was the result of financial decisions over engineering good sense. Up until recently, airline regulation ensured excellent engineering and implementation.

The petition may indeed be "useless," but is begs an important question about the bicycle mass market and industry.
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Old 01-23-22, 09:17 AM
  #112  
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It is amazing that bikes have become disposables. I'm always reminded of this when working on something as humble as a late 80s mountain bike that, even if it was used and abused in its day, still has many, many miles to offer.
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Old 01-23-22, 12:13 PM
  #113  
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I have seen some Walmart bikes that have been ridden almost daily for several years with little maintenance and still are able to ride. If someone is getting good use out of it, then I am not going to be a snob and hate them for not having a better bike.
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Old 01-23-22, 01:16 PM
  #114  
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There were some people who liked their Yugos. That didn't mean Yugos weren't a failed attempt at building a reasonably reliable automobile.

No one hates people who ride bikes from Walmart. They hate the fact that a lot of folks will have poor experiences with such bikes. Of course not all of them will, but with cheap, poorly assembled goods there are guaranteed to be a lot of post sale issues.

Had a good friend who rode a WalMart bike for a few years until it fell apart. Given the low price, he thought he got his money's worth. But he appreciates the ride on the bike he has now a lot more. About the same cost on the used market. There are better alternatives than Wal Mart but he was unaware of them when he started. Now he has a bike he likes more that will last longer.
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Old 01-23-22, 06:57 PM
  #115  
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I find superior bikes on CraigsList for the price of WalMart bikes
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Old 01-23-22, 08:39 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton View Post
I find superior bikes on CraigsList for the price of WalMart bikes
At the least, I'm finding fixing up craigslist bikes a great learning experience.

I'm basically 2 for 3, first and last purchases have been great, middle one (which was actually two) more of a learning experience than a result.

But I think my net investment is $140 in bikes and around $80 in tools, for two riders accommodated and a ton of knowledge gained.
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Old 01-23-22, 10:36 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton View Post
I find superior bikes on CraigsList for the price of WalMart bikes
All well and good, provided you have a pretty deep CL, and a good way to get to where those “superior” bikes are.
In my area, setting the filter to “$200 or less” gets you about 110 bikes; 5 of them meet your criteria, 4 are early ‘00s ‘major brand’ MTBs, 26’ers that are about 8/10, and one ‘92 Cannondale road bike that’s a complete, but well-worn 6/10.
Half of what’s left are late model Department Store grade MTBs and 7-speed beach cruisers, the rest are kids bikes and rusty junk.
oh, and a 70’s Peugeot mixtie with a Scott AT-4, and dry-rotted tires that they’re asking $200 for

The main issues with buying off the used market is that you’ve got to have the knowledge to identify a “good” bike from a few pictures and basic description; size it, also from that same description; and then have the time, cash, and transport available to get it before someone else does.
Not everyone has that, or is willing to put all those elements together, for the sake of a $200 bike, so they buy one from the store.
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Old 01-23-22, 11:56 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton View Post
I find superior bikes on CraigsList for the price of WalMart bikes
You have the knowledge, skills and tools to make those used bikes work. The average shopper buying a bike from a BigBox retailer has none of those things. At least if they buy from Walmart, they might get their money back if it falls apart.
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Old 01-24-22, 01:39 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Just because the manufacturers don't necessarily own the factories doesn't mean they aren't the ones specing the product. It's Dorel's or Pacific's product managers developing and specifying the product. The Asian factories simply bulid them to the mfgr's spec.

That said, someone above essentially said, "Target/WalMart doesn't spec the bikes..." This is technically true (as is my statement above), but WalMart works VERY CLOSELY with manufacturers in determining spec and price point. They "collaborate" on reaching certain price points. WalMart influences spec, color and price point. They're so big that they require this. Any manufacturer who doesn't "play ball" loses the account and millions in sales. So the manufacturers spec per big box requirements. They're both complicit, but ultimately the manufacturer is responsible.

Which is why a petition like this is circulating.

That said, the automobile market doesn't rely on the makers to provide safe products. It's a highly-regulated industry. This petition makes the argument for regulating the bicycle market. Now I realize I'm fanning the flames here, but if the mass market cannot provide safe bicycles, then perhaps it needs safety regulations like the auto market. "Unsafe at Any Speed," recently celebrating 50 years, is responsible for a lot of consumer safety regulations that have saved millions of lives. Ralf Nader showed how when you leave an industry's safety up to the private industry, they don't place safety at the top. Without regulation, Americans were being sold death traps.

And Peter Robison's recent "Flying blind : the 737 MAX tragedy and the fall of Boeing" exposes the peril of undermined regulation. It is an account of how airline safety regulation has eroded through budget cuts and regulatory capture. The result is an inherently flawed airplane whose design was the result of financial decisions over engineering good sense. Up until recently, airline regulation ensured excellent engineering and implementation.

The petition may indeed be "useless," but is begs an important question about the bicycle mass market and industry.
737 max. Argh…

If an airplane is pitching up into a stall, a pilots instinct should be to lower AOA by pushing the nose down. Exactly what the pilots in the crashed 737s tried to do.

What a mess.
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Old 01-24-22, 02:43 AM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post

You shouldn't have felt bad then. No consumer should feel compelled to "check everything" on a product before using it. Did you check your stereo's power amplifier before turning it on? No. Does the car buyer check all the wheels before .
Everybody is an idiot by default. Accept it. I am talking about people, who do something for you: car (or other) mechanics, plumbers, doctors, lawyers etc.
About 15 years ago I bought a textbook for medical students, spent 2 days, understanding 10 pages of it, then contacted idiot doctor and told him which pills he had to prescribe. He did.
You have to control everybody or try your best doing so.
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Old 01-24-22, 07:28 PM
  #121  
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I got this bike at Walmart to use as a beater bike. the rear wheel was extremely out of true, the chainrings were warped, the bottom bracket would come loose after each ride, no matter how hard I tightened it, and the brakes didn't work as there was friction in the cables. I did end up putting the rear brake from it on my Masi singlespeed at it was the only one that I could find that would work, and it works just fine. The headset on the Walmart bike had no grease and was overly tightened. I feel like Walmart bikes can go a long way if they are tuned and properly setup before getting ridden. This one would have to need a new bottom bracket, cables, grease, and a wheel truing to ride just fine

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Old 01-25-22, 04:44 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
It’s not a case of “letting the consumer decide”. It’s 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 isn’t 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.

I’ve had to tell several people that their bikes can’t be fixed because the bottom bracket cup pulled apart inside the bottom bracket shell and can’t be extracted. They can’t 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 25¢ at the recycle plant.



Your comparison is incorrect. Big Box store bikes aren’t 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 isn’t cheap if it is wasted.
The bikes today, five years ago, ten years ago at walmart are no different. These bikes change so slow, they barely do. The only difference is it's rarer to find disc brake bikes. That one Mongoose with mags on it has them optional. Cranbrooks got a third redesign. You can still walk in walmart and buy the same Roadmaster Granite Peak, and Next Break Point from twenty years ago. And the same Cranbrook(basically). Excluding bmx bikes; ten years ago, there were still bikes with side pulls on it.
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Old 01-25-22, 04:50 AM
  #123  
Jax Rhapsody
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Go read the petition. I brought up safety issues but the petition is about shaming retailers that use predatory practices that “waste the money of the mostly poor and working class people who buy them.” Bike shops that sell higher end bikes…and $300 is a higher end bike compared to Big Box store bikes…want their customers to have a bike that will remain in good working order long enough for the rider to actually get value out of them. The customer may even come back to either get the bike worked on or to buy a better bike when circumstances warrant that.

Frankly, many local bike shop will tell you way buying a bicycle from a Big Box store is a bad idea. Yes, they are trying to sell something but unlike the impersonal and uncaring Big Box store, they want the customer to be satisfied and to come back. They depend on it! Most local bike shops won’t fix Big Box store bikes because they know they will be cheating the customer if they try and they depend on their reputation more than HelMart does.

Big Box stores don’t care. They know that once the bike leaves the store, they will never have to deal with it again.
Is that why Walmart has a no questions asked return policy on bicycles?
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Old 01-25-22, 06:22 AM
  #124  
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I've worked for a contractor doing commercial refrigeration for Walmart, and they have a strong concern for product liability, perhaps stronger than product quality.
In my area, they use a contractor who hires the assemblers, I guess to reduce cost and push liability one step further away.
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Old 01-25-22, 07:52 AM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
There were some people who liked their Yugos. That didn't mean Yugos weren't a failed attempt at building a reasonably reliable automobile.

No one hates people who ride bikes from Walmart. They hate the fact that a lot of folks will have poor experiences with such bikes. Of course not all of them will, but with cheap, poorly assembled goods there are guaranteed to be a lot of post sale issues.

Had a good friend who rode a WalMart bike for a few years until it fell apart. Given the low price, he thought he got his money's worth. But he appreciates the ride on the bike he has now a lot more. About the same cost on the used market. There are better alternatives than Wal Mart but he was unaware of them when he started. Now he has a bike he likes more that will last longer.
Ha I Had two yugos and a buddy who raced them. they were alot of fun to just beat on.
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