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Posts Tagged ‘WALMART’

Schwinn Bikes, owned by Dorel Industries has been upping their game for the past two or three years concerning their department store bikes. I enjoy speaking about these bicycles because well… I am based in West Virginia and not every person who wants to ride a bike wants to own a fifteen pound (thousands of dollars) road bike, or the latest mountain bike shown on bikeradar. There has to be a middle ground between the trash sold at Wal-Mart, and the Independent Bike Dealer products. Dorel is finally learning that mountain bikes with fifty doohickey springs, and other trash is not going to last, and if they put out a quality product, people will notice. I’m not a fan of Dorel, but sometimes you have to acknowledge a good product.

schwinn solitaire wal mart urban rail trail cruiser trek bikes quality

The Schwinn Solitaire fits this description to a T. It comes in Male and Female versions and retails for $239.

schwinn solitaire wal mart urban rail trail cruiser trek bikes quality

Check out the specs:

  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Fork: SR Suntour Threadless
  • Shimano 7spd Trigger Shifters
  • Generic Brakes and Levers
  • SR Suntour Crank
  • FENDERS AND RACK
  • Shimano Front/Rear Derailleur, and Freewheel Cassette.
  • Somewhat-Generic 700 C Wheels

schwinn solitaire wal mart urban rail trail cruiser trek bikes quality

As you can see, the false flashy aspects are there for the disposable items, while the wheels are somewhat disappointing. I am so proud to see that they are 700c, to get away from sizing bicycles by wheel size, but the availability of tires and tubes at department/big-box stores are still somewhat scarce. The Fenders and Rear Rack are somewhat there for decoration, but I am sure they have a functional role too. Just don’t expect much out of them. The aluminum frame and SR Suntour fork is the most impressive part. Trek, Cannondale, and several other of the large bike companies probably had their frames and forks made in the same factories as these. No Lie. Trek’s 2008 Navigator 2.0 was very, very similarly specced in 2008 but started out at $300-400. While you are not getting a wonderful warranty and lifetime service on the bike when you buy it from a big box or department store, the $50-150 in savings may be worth the ignorance.

schwinn solitaire wal mart urban rail trail cruiser trek bikes quality

More than likely, you will have to do the walk of shame to a bike shop to get the wheels trued, and derailleur hangers/derailleurs correctly aligned/adjusted. They will give you a look that will burn into your inner consciousness and make you wonder why you got the Schwinn Solitaire instead of a LBS bike, but then you forgot that you’ll probably end up only riding it once or twice a week at max… and that is perfectly fine.

schwinn solitaire wal mart urban rail trail cruiser trek bikes quality

Now think about it… This bike is more expensive than say…. a NEXT MTN X-BIKE whatever with so much useless and outdated technology that isn’t worth the metal it was stamped out of. While a Tourney derailleur is not the best that Shimano makes, it is most definitely more reliable than some $0.85 stamped metal derailleur you can find on alibaba.com.

schwinn solitaire wal mart urban rail trail cruiser trek bikes quality

Once again, how can you go wrong (if you have your LBS build the bike, not Wal-Mart) with a bike this versatile and well priced when trying to start riding a bike? If you have to buy a bike from Wal-Mart, use your common sense and choose something with quality, not just wacky shapes and flash. If you see this bike at your local Wal-Mart, at least take a look at it and see that there is always an exception to the rules; Wal-Mart can and may sell some quality bikes in-store…

I give this bike One and a Half Thumbs Up.

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Stopped in Wal-Mart in Clarksburg to pick up a gallon of radiator fluid to replentish my vehicle after taking a trip to Morgantown. The toy department was right next to the automotive section, and I decided to take a look at their bicycle accessories… I wasn’t expecting to find gold, but it is always fun to see what the varying stores have.

Once again, most bicycles had multiple building failures; improper cable clamping, brakes installed wrong, loose wheels, etc… The number one, and easiest error to find and film is a loose handlebar; take a look:

If you even think about getting a bicycle from Wal-Mart, slap yourself. If you really must get a bike from Wal-Mart, make sure the thing is not a timebomb, waiting to tragically fail on you the minute you jump a curb or ride it further than a mile or so away from your house. Wal-Mart does not care about you, your safety, or what you do with this bike once you leave their premises. Make sure you are informed if you are planning on taking a risk and buying one of their bicycle shaped objects.

Filmed at Wal-mart – 550 Emily Dr Clarksburg, WV 26301. Phone number: 304 622-1954

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This was only a sampling of what was wrong with the bicycles. The handlebars were being moved by my thumb and index fingers, while I tried to hold the wheel with my knees.

Backstory – http://wvcycling.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/more-wal-mart-woes/

Yesterday evening while out on a ride, I received two phone calls from unknown phone numbers. Googling didn’t help, neither did white pages reverse lookup, or PIPL.com. Seeing how they were local numbers, I decided to call them back. It was Wal-Mart; their unlisted office numbers.

I spoke to a woman named Linda who was calm, friendly, and seemed concerned in a way that the business would want her to be; you know what I mean. Right off the bat, she knew who I was, and what I was calling about. I went over my findings, and clarified to her that this was not the first time that more than half of their fleet of bicycles (In her terms, Toys and Accessories) would fail a safety check due to one reason or another. Linda stated that the bicycles have been flying off the shelf since Easter, which is the usual kick-start to the bike-selling season. I am not sure if she told me this to assure me that this instance was due to being busy, or that it was an isolated incident, but I could tell where this was going.

She stated that all they do to a bicycle once they receive it is install handlebars. I told her that this is potentially the first problem, and that the whole bike should be looked over once it is in their hands due to the fact that I have seen frayed cables, loose pedals, housing installed in bass-ackward ways, and other things that could cause the bicycles to abruptly fail. Linda assured me that these issues were due to bicycles being returned to the store, and being put back on the shelves. “You can tell, see? The tires will have mud on them and stuff. It’s easy to know.” She could not confirm whether bicycles were reconditioned or just placed back on the shelf after being returned, but that they were sold AS-IS.

Seeing what I will now call the 6/10 handlebar problem was something under their control according to Linda’s own words, I decided to push with that, telling her again that these bicycles which I checked THIS WEEK could potentially cause harm to someone who is unknowing about bicycle safety. Linda stated that she will forward this concern to the department manager for the section that bikes are in, and that she will also address this issue to the associate who builds the bicycles.

She then thanked me for my concern, and said she could understand that a “cyclist would be concerned with things like this”.

At the end of the call, I do not feel any more reassured that problems like this will change. I took the time to try to reach a human being, but I still have that sinking feeling in my gut that people are at risk if they don’t know anything about bikes. I guess all that can be done now is to pray that people don’t get hurt…

Buckhannon Wal-Mart

Store #2809

304.472.5726

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Once again, getting a late night necessary item or two at Wal-Mart had me checking the bicycle department like an after hours security guard wanders around a mall looking for hoodlums.

I act like things should change every time I walk into this little area, but they do not. All of the accessories look like a supply truck took a number two, expelling product all over the place in no particular order. The bicycles are a little more conservative, I didn’t see as many bastardized bikes that were made with monster coil springs and junky frame designs reminding you of old Giant Warps circa the late 90′s.

Versus what was actually in the racks:

This Schwinn was $190-something; it would be what I would choose, if I had to ride something from Wal-Mart.

What was the worst part about this trip you ask? Stems. Yes, Stems. I tried lightly turning the handlebars of ten bicycles while they were in those awkward racks, and SIX of the bikes’ handlebars moved while the wheel stayed still. This to me says that someone is not properly doing their job, and needs to to understand that there are lives potentially at risk.

Just like every time I am in the bike department, I took out my trusty pen and scribbled on whatever paperwork was on the bike. I clearly wrote

HANDLEBAR STEM IS LOOSE. DANGER.

I know this is a bit overkill for something that may only need a few twists of an allen wrench to fix, but not everyone knows that it would need to be done in the first place. Look at how many old and young drivers forget to change their motor oil and filter, and end up doing 15,000 miles with it until excessive wear causes something to not function optimally. This happens a lot more than you think…

I really wish there is more I could do. Something like write a manifesto of discontent to the store operator to show that they are possibly contributing to the 100+ reported cases a year of Mass Merchant Bike related injuries. Should I even go as far as telling them I could do a better job?

I’ll keep you posted~

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Now I’m not going to get on the topic of Wal-Mart’s Bicycle Shaped Objects (or BSO from now on) in this post, no, this topic is about my odd sense of stewardship involving the parts and accessories section of the store.

Am I Crazy?

Every time I go into Wal-Mart in my neighborhood, I have to go to the bike section to see if the bikes are properly assembled or not. If they are not, I take a permanent marker and write on the big plastic instruction package or price-tag that the bike is screwed up do to assembly failure. Just my quirkly little contribution to society… Not only that, but I take time to organize the accessories shelf in a way that makes it manageable for any person with a pulse to be able to find what they need. I did not take photos of the local walmart’s bike section, but parts were strewn around, and tons of random items from all over the store; doggy toothpaste, miniature basketballs, shoes, and a cooking pan was left on top of the bike section… like it was some kind of dumping ground for unwanted cart items.

I place these items on the ground for an employee to hopefully notice, since they sure as heck didn’t notice them crowded on top of the shelf. This led way to being able to organize the tubes and tires back by size, and hang up any products that fell off their display hooks. I try never to spend more than five or ten minutes doing this since I am not an employee, I may get yelled at for doing these actions, and it is just a little public service to unexperienced bike riders.

If I was Johhny Second-grader’s mother and needed to get a tube for his flat wheel while out getting items for dinner, I may be stressed byt seeing a pile of tube boxes and junk strewn around like there was some kind of drug raid in the area. With my little bit of time, I’m hoping that Johnny Second-grader or whoever else will be able to find what they need in order to get back riding.

I should just complain to the managers that the store is in disarray, but I’m a little too passive-agressive for that; I would rather leave a pile of rubbish on the ground that didn’t belong there, and have all the little BSO accessories easy to find.

Maybe I should ask Wal-Mart to hire me and build their bicycles PROPERLY for them. Buckhannon might be a better place if this happened.

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