Are Walmart Bikes Good? « Pros and Cons of Cheap Bikes

We all have thought about buying Walmart bikes for ourselves or our kids at some point. And let’s admit it, these are cheap… and, well, they ‘are’ bikes! 

Factually‌, Walmart bikes frequently receive criticism for their poor performance, unreliable construction, and questionable reliability. They are not so dependable and are most often a hit or miss case, with some of them being high quality while others being useless.

But do they deserve this? Let’s dive in and check out!

Difference Between Walmart Bikes and Bike Shop Bikes

Walmart BicyclesBike Shop Bicycles
CheapExpensive
Have low-quality partsBuilt with good quality components
Unprofessionally assembledProfessionally constructed 
Don’t tend to last longBuilt to last 
Require high maintenanceRequire basic maintenance

This table shows the difference between Walmart bicycles and bike shop bicycles.

Advice for Picking a Walmart Bike

Frankly, bikes from Walmart can be hit or miss. Some are completely useless and should be avoided, while others offer surprisingly high quality and dependability. 

It can be difficult to distinguish between the two if you are unfamiliar with bikes. After all, all new bikes appear to be attractive when you are looking at them. It’s crucial to focus on the little things.

The most trustworthy and top-notch Walmart bikes typically come in the most uninteresting and basic designs. 

Try to select a bike devoid of any unnecessary accessories. Look for bicycles with rigid frames without suspension and rim brakes. 

Also good are bikes without any ornate extras like racks, fenders, lights, etc. Picking a bike with fewer speeds, or even just one is something to think about too. 

The flashy-looking bikes with disc brakes, suspension, numerous gears, or expensive accessories should be avoided. They may look flashy and expensive, thanks to these components, but they typically perform poorly.

» You can also read my post: Mechanical Brakes Vs. Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Simpler bikes are preferred because the parts that come with them are of a marginally higher caliber and reliability. 

When manufacturers aren’t spending money on more expensive features and modern gadgets, they can tend to spend a little bit more on useful components. 

Additional features like a rack or lights also indicate that some other areas had to be cut to save money. Perhaps the manufacturer made the frameless expensive so they could afford to include a rack. 

Note: You can always add these features later if you decide to add them.

The Pros of Walmart Bikes

#1 Fresh Off the Shelves

When you purchase a bike from Walmart, you receive a completely new bicycle. There won’t be any wear and tear, rust, scratches, or dents. 

Contrary to a used bike, no parts need to be upgraded or replaced. You don’t need to be concerned about spending a dime on repairs. 

The bicycle will be immaculate and prepared for use. If you want, you can ride the bike from the parking lot straight home. 

For these reasons, a lot of people choose to purchase new ones. New purchases give one peace of mind.

#2 Refundability

If you’re not satisfied with the bike, you can return it to Walmart for a full refund within 90 days. The bike must be in the same state as when you first purchased it; that is the only requirement. 

Tip: While refunding, make sure to bring your original receipt. As long as you don’t violate their return policy, Walmart accepts returns almost without exception. 

#3 Lots of Options

A variety of bikes are available at Walmart, including folding bikes, women’s bikes, mountain  bikes, commuter bikes, road bikes, beach cruisers, and E-bikes.

Adult and kids’ bicycles are both available at Walmart. They sell bicycles with wheels measuring 16 inches, 20 inches, 24 inches, 26 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. 

Walmart has a bike that will work for you, no matter the size or style. 

Note: Not all of these bikes are offered by every retailer. Some models are only offered online or at specific retailers.

#4 Excellent for Beginners

Walmart bikes are excellent for those who are just starting out in cycling. Why spend more than $1000 on a bicycle you may never use? 

You can purchase a cheap bike from Walmart, use it until it breaks, and then upgrade to a better model. You won’t lose much money if the bike simply ends up gathering dust in your garage.

#5 Affordability

Walmart sells some of the least expensive new bikes on the market, so their bikes are reasonably priced. They simply can’t be beaten on price! 

A complete mountain bike with gears costs under $100 at Walmart. Kids’ bikes are available at Walmart for under $50. Just as a comparison, entry-level models of new bikes are available at local bike shops for around $300. 

Walmart has several options for cost-cutting. They start by placing a sizable order for bikes for their shops. Because of economies of scale, they can sell bikes for less than almost any other bike shop. 

Instead of paying a bike mechanic to assemble the bikes, Walmart uses an employee to do it. They also offer more bikes that are one size fits all. They can stock fewer models and sizes in this way.

#6 Pre-Assembled

No assembling is necessary because bikes purchased from Walmart are delivered fully assembled and prepared for use. You don’t need to worry about putting together anything.

» This could also be something for you: Titanium vs. Carbon Fiber in Cycling

Cons of Walmart Bikes

#1 Heavier

Walmart bikes are heavy; they weigh a few pounds more than bikes from similar shops. The primary explanation for this is that heavy materials, like high-tensile steel, are used to make the frames. 

Compared to Chromoly, which is used to make many higher-end frames, this type of steel is heavier. Frequently, the tubes are plain gauge and not butted. 

Because there is more material inside the tubes, the weight is also increased. 

Additionally, Walmart bikes’ low-quality parts are heavier. Ineffective bikes are heavy ones. To accelerate and keep up your speed, more energy is required from you. They tend to move slowly as well.

#2 Incorrectly Assembled

Occasionally, Walmart bikes aren’t assembled correctly.

Bikes typically arrive 90% assembled in a box from the manufacturer. 

There may be problems if the bike was constructed in a facility that only builds bikes for the mass market. For instance, the manufacturer might neglect to grease a hub or bottom bracket. 

Bicycle rims from Walmart aren’t always precisely true. When the bike is delivered to Walmart, a worker finishes the final 10% of the assembly by attaching the handlebars, pedals, and wheels. 

The main issue is that Walmart’s bike assembly staff lacks formal bike mechanic training. They are merely common employees carrying out instructions from a manual. 

Most likely, they are not measuring the bolts’ torque. They don’t check the spoke tension or make sure the hubs and bottom bracket have enough grease. 

People have reportedly complained that the headset or hubs were not tight enough. These assembly errors result in early wear and tear. 

Additionally, an improper assembly can raise safety issues. After purchasing a Walmart bike, you should check it out yourself or have a bike shop look it over to ensure that everything was assembled and adjusted correctly.

You should check the amount of grease on moving parts, the spoke tension and the tightness of all bolts. You might have to pay a bit extra for having your bike inspected at a shop.

#3 Poor Quality

Major bicycle manufacturers typically produce the parts found on Walmart’s mass-market bikes. For instance, the majority of Walmart bikes are equipped with a KMC chain and a Shimano or SRAM gearbox. 

The issue is that the components are inferior to those on a bike from a bike shop. Cheap parts are occasionally even created especially for Walmart bikes. 

On a mountain bike from Walmart, for instance, you might find a suspension fork or shock that is not branded. Additionally, the frames are low-quality. The welds could be subpar. 

The frames sometimes even have warped or bent tubes. It’s likely that the hardware holding the bike together is also of lower quality. The bolts might rust more quickly. 

These low-quality components are less reliable and require more frequent adjustment. They don’t work as well as other expensive components. 

For instance, cheap tires or brake pads might only last a few hundred miles. In comparison to a bike with higher-end components, you’ll probably need to adjust your brakes and shifters more frequently. 

#4 Additional Maintenance

The low-quality parts that are frequently found on Walmart bikes are more prone to becoming out of adjustment. 

For instance, you might need to give your derailleurs and brakes a minor adjustment every few months to keep your bike shifting smoothly and stopping steadily. 

Low-quality components also wear out more quickly and require replacement more frequently. Cheap tires, grips, chains, cassettes, and brake pads all deteriorate more quickly. 

Bolts can rust very quickly. You’ll need to set aside more time and money for maintenance if you want to keep your Walmart bike on the road.

#5 Unsafe

There are several reasons why Walmart bikes might be less secure. First, failure is more likely because Walmart bicycles are built with less expensive parts. 

While you’re riding, a part could fail suddenly and catastrophically, causing you to crash and suffer injuries. For instance, if you ride off a curb while using shoddy wheels, you risk landing on your face. 

Another safety concern is the improper assembly: the handlebars, seat, pedals, or axles, for instance, could suddenly move or come off the bike and cause you to crash if they weren’t properly tightened. 

#6 Low Resale Value

Bikes typically have a poor ability to retain their value. When you bring a high-end bike home, its value drops by about 40%. 

Bikes from Walmart are even worse. When the time comes to sell it, don’t expect to get much money back. Your $99 Walmart bike might be worth $20 after a riding season.

» Read my blog post: How Much a Tour De France Bike Cost?

#7 May Cost More

Although Walmart bikes may initially be less expensive than bikes from bike shops, they may end up costing more. 

You might find yourself spending more money over time if you take into account the additional maintenance costs. 

For instance, say you spend $200 on a mountain bike from Walmart. You take it to a bike shop after purchasing it and pay $100 to have it inspected. 

A few months later, your plastic pedals start to crack, your wheel starts to wobble, and your derailleur needs to be adjusted. $100 more is needed to fix everything. 

You could have simply purchased a better bike with the money you spent.

3 Reasons You Should Purchase a Walmart Bike

If you deem that below mentioned reasons are applicable to you, then yes you should go for a Walmart bike:

#1 Simple and Inexpensive

You require a single-speed bike that is inexpensive. Since they are so basic, single-speed Walmart bikes aren’t a bad choice. 

#2 Infrequent And Short Travel

If you only intend to ride your bike a few times a year for a distance of a few miles, a Walmart bike will do just fine. 

Perhaps you frequently bike down a nearby path in the summer, or perhaps you frequently bike to the corner store. For this kind of infrequent riding, you don’t need an expensive bike.

#3 You Have a Spending Limit of $150

At this price range, Walmart bikes are the best value. It will be difficult to find a good bike anywhere else for less money. Unless you get lucky, even used bikes are more expensive. 

Go to Walmart if $150 is your absolute maximum spending limit. When purchasing a bike in this price range, try to find the most straightforward model you can. 

Avoid anything with disc brakes or suspension. Even better, consider a single-speed bike rather than a geared one. The components will be of higher quality on more affordable bikes.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Purchase Walmart Bikes

#1 You’re OK With Used Bikes

You can certainly find some nice used bikes from $200 or above, if you look around a bit. Despite them being a little old, you’ll get much more value for your money. 

Additionally, the bike will have higher-quality parts that will be more dependable and long-lasting and won’t require as many adjustments. 

#2 You Are Aiming for Vintage Bikes

Vintage bikes can be very affordable. A bike that was once regarded as high-end is now available for only a few hundred dollars. A good second-hand bicycle can last a lifetime.

#3 Your Primary Mode of Transport Is a Bicycle

A bike experiences significant wear and tear when used frequently for errands and transportation. 

The bicycle might, for instance, get wet or be left outside in the rain. Rust may result from this. 

The bike might be loaded down with bulky groceries. The frame, wheels, and drivetrain may experience increased stress as a result. 

You ride aggressively when you’re pressed for time. Walmart bicycles are not designed to withstand this kind of continuous strain and abuse. 

Parts will break or quickly wear out. You should look for a bike that is a little more robust than a Walmart bike if you intend to use it frequently.

Conclusion

So, if you are really tight on your budget or are simply buying a filler bike for your kids, as they grow out of their interest in it, then Walmart bikes might be the best fit for you.

But if you are seriously considering picking up cycling, traveling, or exercising then save a little more, bide your time and go for a good quality bike: be it a brand new one or an exceptional second-hand one.

All in all, don’t stop riding!

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