People often wonder why they should buy a bike from us or any bike shop for that matter. What makes our bikes better than say Walmart or other such retailers.
There are several reasons why our bikes are superior. First all our bikes are made by reputable bike companies who build a long life bicycle with the best components for the money. There is a reason you won’t see a bike for under $250.00 from Diamondback or other major bike companies. They simply do not stand up. The old saying you get what you pay for is especially true with bicycles. There is a cost to high quality components. If you want your gears to shift well, and your brakes to stop you when you need them, only high quality components will do the job.
Department store bikes cheap out on brakes and drive train. Often they will have a Shimano sticker on them but most of the time the only Shimano part on the bike is a Shimano’s lowest priced derailleur. To get the best shifting derailleurs and shifters should both be either Shimano or SRAM. Brakes are the other place department stores cheap out. They often at best slow a bike down but are inefficient and low quality and lack the ability to bring a bike to a quick stop. Reputable bike companies equip their bikes with highly efficient brakes. To work well brake levers and calipers must be made out of high quality allow to reduce flexing. One place consumers do not see at all are the inner cables. On department store bikes they are often unlined which increases drag and rust, housings are cheap. On a good quality bike you will find good quality cables. They are teflon lined, and have low compression housing to transmit the maximum cable movement to either the brake or derailleur.
Another area that sets apart a quality bike like a Norco or other reputable brand is the frame. Although many cheap bikes are now made out of aluminum not all aluminum is equal. Good quality bikes have heat treated aluminum to increase life span.
Diamondback and other reputable companies make their bikes serviceable. Many department store bikes will come equipped with cheap parts which are unserviceable and require replacement. Because of the low quality of most department store bikes many are not worth repairing as the cost of even a simple repair can cost more than the bike.
We service what we sell, we warranty our bikes for both parts and labour for a full year and do the service in store. This is something department stores can not do. They have no bike mechanic to service a bike, they have no parts on hand, so any repair must requires either sending the bike out or ordering parts. They are not in the business of servicing bikes. Their goal is to sell the bike and have it last longer than their exchange/refund period. In Walmart’s case for instance they will exchange the bike within 90 days after that you are on your own. That means that if you bike a bike for $140.00 and it requires a disc brake you will have to spend more than the bike is worth as their brake is generic no-name and only comes with the bike. It will require replacement with a higher quality as that is all that is available aftermarket. That repair will cost as much as the bike.
As I mentioned earlier Department stores have no trained bicycle mechanic. I was recently asked by a department store if I would assemble their bikes. They only paid $5.00 per bike so the answer was no. The person who took the position bragged to us that he could assemble 25 bikes in 8 hours, that is about 20 minutes each, to properly assemble and set up a bike takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Bicycles are highly technical mechanical machines and require extensive knowledge to assemble and repair them. Department stores get the same guy who works in the warehouse to assemble their bikes, they are poorly trained and as such are unable to set up a bike properly, and many leave the store in an unsafe manner. Parts are not properly installed and tightened, brakes and gears are not set properly. I have seen bike with shocks and brakes on backwards, as well as things so loose that if the bike were to be ridden the steering will fall apart. When we assemble a bike years of training and experience back it up, everything is adjusted properly and torqued to the proper specification.
We offer free adjustment s to all our bikes for the first year. Bikes being a mechanical device with many moving parts do go out of adjustment just through normal riding. Department stores have neither the personnel or knowledge to make such adjustments. You see there is a reason why department stores stock their bikes in the toy department, that is how they see them….as TOYS!! Bikes are not toys at all, in fact they are highly technical vehicles. But if you are buying a bike for your child at a Department store you are getting a toy.
Consider this, your 10 year old is riding their bike on the roads, thru traffic, do you really want them to be riding a bike that was manufactured with inferior parts and assembled by the stock boy? Would you buy a car from them? A bicycle is a vehicle and as such the rider’s life is on the line. If the brakes are poor and the rider can’t stop they may well end up dead. I am that serious about this and I take it that serious when I assemble a bike. If I think a part is not up to specification even on a bike out of the box I will replace it.
People often think there is no difference between a $140 bike a $500.00 bike o a $5000.00 bike. Only a person who has never test ridden a high quality bike will say this though. For a $140.00 is like a cheap car, a $500-1000 bike rides like a Lexus and a $5000.00 bike like a Porche. You do get what you pay for in a bike and as the price of a reputable brand goes up, the frame and component quality increase. This results in an increase in performance and durability.
Finally we come to the environmental cost of a cheap bike. It takes the same about of energy to manufacture a $140.00 department store bike or a $5000.00 high performance bike. So when that cheap bike you bought at Walmart breaks after 100 days and you bring it to me and I tell you the cost to repair it is more than the bike is worth, where does that bike end up? The landfill. Every year millions of cheap bikes are sold thru department stores and every year millions of cheap bikes end up in a landfill near you. This is a huge environmental cost that people do not often take into consideration. From my experience the average department store bike last between 4-13 months, whereas a decent quality bike of even $400.00 will last around 18 years provided it is not left out in the weather. This is a huge difference and when you consider the actual cost difference, when you compare all things, those cheap bikes are not so cheap, in fact they work out to be more expensive than a really high quality bike over it’s lifetime.