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Wal-Mart concept store features ‘real’ bike shop

by Commute by Bike

Bike Biz:

The new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Highland Village, Texas, opened yesterday and has been built to minimize its impact on the environment.

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As many of the neighbourhoods in the Highland Village area are connected by a system of biking and walking trails, Wal-Mart has installed a store-in-store full-service bike shop.

keep reading…

 
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35 Responses to “Wal-Mart concept store features ‘real’ bike shop”

  1. BSR says:

    Lipstick on a pig. They can dress it up all they want, but It’s still Wal-Mart.

    I can’t think of another company that has done more to damage sustainable cycle-friendly communities, than Wal-Mart. Seems every small town in America now has one of these out on the edge of town, sucking the life out of cycle & walking-friendly downtown, and making people have to drive to get their cheaper Chinese-made crap.

    They can make it as eco and bike friendly as they like, but I’ll never shop there.

  2. CJ says:

    It is unfortunate that Americans suscribe to the everything has to be cheap, and price is generally placed before quality. That is what Walmart does. And yet many times Americans will skin thier wallets to drive expensive cars. I know so, because I did just that thing for a few years after I graduated from college the first time.

    Funny thing is, now that I don’t have a car payment and I ride my bike a lot more I have found ways to save a ton of money. It seems to me that our American car culture will only change as fuel gets more expensive and celebs and other people in the popular media really gravitate towards alternative forms of transportation. This translates over to products as well. When the “cool kids” start demanding high quality products and they want good service to go along with it, then and only then will Walmart suffer.

    The human “herd” in the U.S. needs to decide that they value good service, quality products, and the value of earning what you get, over cheap products that you throw away, and get it now with no money down.

    Sorry, I will get off my soapbox.

    Peace out

  3. David says:

    It’s about time. Walmart sell some decents bike (except Next) inexpensively that will work most every commuting venue and can take the abuse of every day riding. Now you can take your bike to Walmart to fix it, where there is still a sense of customer service. In the past I took my walmart bikes to the local bike shop for general maintenance that were more advance than my skill dictate, but they need to work upon their customer service better to attract more customer from the big box stores, not to cater to the sports group solely.

  4. rick says:

    If I was a bike mechanic at a “real” bike shop I would not want to work on the crap bike Walmart sells either. The first two posters got it right. Walmart is evil.

  5. Mike Myers says:

    There are pros and cons here, of course. There is the argument that WalMart will introduce new consumers to quality bicycles, creating large numbers of people who will use bikes as more than toys. Plenty of people find the traditional bike shop indimidating, but WalMart isn’t.

    The con, of course, is that Wal Mart is a huge corporate monster that storms into small towns and destroys small businesses. Wal Mart already costs LBS some entry level business, and their Schwinn offerings are really getting close to low end LBS bikes. If Wal Mart decides to get into the high end bike business big time, LBS will be unable to compete. What does that leave them? Will all bike shops just become ultra high end? Can shops make it selling only boutique bikes? Not in most places.

  6. Quinn says:

    The thing that I would be worried about is the mechanics, Are the Joe Public that Wal-Mart hires (that normally puts the bikes together) or are the mechanics certified/experienced?

    if the mechanics and not the general employee works on the bikes, I most likely wouldn’t have a problem, ALSO, if mechanics start assembling the bikes a/o back their skill/product, they (mart bikes) might start to be worth a look. (a person would still have to consider the Mass manufasture of those brands)

  7. jd says:

    I have a couple thoughts on this off the top of my head. Not that anyone cares, but I am a wrench at a LBS (since it was mentioned) and I also come from a small midwest town that was and is being destroyed by Wal-Mart. The town used to have very vibrant local mom and pop shops and specialty stores, but now the mentality (10 years later) is the “Oh, we’ll just get it at Wal-Mart” and you all know the rest…

    Now, I am a fan of anyone riding a bike and more specifically bicycle transportation, but I’d be happier if everyone were able to afford a reliable and good working bicycle. Wal-Mart in the bike industry is a bad idea. Wal-Mart is a bad idea. The product that they sell is cheap, and cheaply made, and poorly assembled. Everyone has their own views, but nothing good comes from outsourced labor, except for profit, and the depends if you value profit more than sustainable living. Won’t go there…

    Every once in a while someone brings in a “Wal-Mart” bike to get worked on. Every time this happens three things always occur.

    1) Every mechanic in the shop sighs, hoping they aren’t the one to work on the bike
    2) The customer is appalled that it usually takes about $100, to get their bike back up to how they want it ($60 for basic tune + $$ for parts).
    3) The customer wants to know why their bike isn’t as good as the more expensive bikes that we sell.

    There is no such thing as a high end bicycle that comes from Wal-Mart. I don’t care how much you pay for the bike, and the bicycle service that they can offer is will not be a good idea for one reason… Experience. The difference between LBS service and a big box repair service is experience. But these days it seems that even knowledge, wisdom, experience, or whatever you want to call it has less and less value.

    It’s exactly what BSR said first. Lipstick on a pig.

  8. Marrock says:

    I’d rather hit a bike co-op or an LBS for a 30 year old Schwinn than wal-mart for a brand new anything.

  9. Steve says:

    Let them do it. I am so tired of not getting paid to explain for an hour why their poorly-made, poorly-assembled box store bike is trashed in two rides, and in my second language most of the time. And OMG, that damned smell that comes off those tires.

  10. Mike Myers says:

    Actually, Wal Mart is selling some pretty high end stuff on their website.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5751048

    How about a carbon bike with a mix of Ultegra and 105 for $1900? Somebody was selling then on eBay for about a third of that recently. That’s scary, because it shows how cheaply Wal Mart must be able to get them. If Wal Mart gets into the bike business big time they’ll do very well at it. Scary indeed.

  11. Steve says:

    Big box sports stores haven’t driven the LBS out of business. The internet hasn’t driven the LBS out of business. I really don’t foresee Wal Mart hurting them, either. What’s interesting and sad for me is that it used to be that bike shop owners were in it because they liked it, and most could quit their business, put on a tie and part their hair to triple their income (God Bless Sheldon Brown). Nowadays, the margin on imported bikes, parts and accessories is so crazy that the mouths of the greedy just foam at the idea. Several bike shop owners don’t know squat about bicycling, whether mechanically or as a sport. On the flipside, you can’t blame even the greediest of bike peddlers for our economic state. There are too many factors affecting them to come to that conclusion. The whole bicycle business is just too small to say that they are to blame. I believe Shimano’s fishing division is still larger than their cycling division, as an example. The economic state is driving people to do things against their ideals and consciences out of sheer survival across the board, not just in the bike biz. A wise man once told me that the U.S. automobile market sustains the whole world’s economy. Anyone going to miss a car salesman…?

  12. Nord says:

    I grew up in the town next to Highland Village. It can’t be said that this Wal-Mart is going to destroy a small town economy as Highland Village never was and is not a small town place. It has always been, and remains, a suburban outpost thirty traffic-choked miles north of Dallas, chock full of McMansions, soccer moms, SUVs, the deadliest lake in Texas (with its attendant d-bag speedboat population) and (in the last ten years) grocery stores across the street from grocery stores that are across the street from grocery stores.

    Last I recall, the “system of biking and walking trails” was nothing more than a sidewalk / running path that cut through the affluent neighborhood.

    If this Wal-Mart is designed to destroy anything, it is Bluebonnet Bicycles. Ben Hayes and his boys have built Bluebonnet into one of the premier LBSs in North Texas over the course of the last twenty-five years. I should know. I went from freestyle to road bike to mountain bike over the course of 15 of those 25 years before I moved away. Bluebonnet Bicycles is a short ride from Highland Village and will be most affected by Wal-Mart’s “altruism,” should the “noble experiment” succeed.

    Wal-Mart be damned.

  13. Dan says:

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong in my assumptions, but I think LBS have more to fear for Wally World installing a repair shop than selling high end bikes cheaply.

    What’s the biggest selling bike for most LBS? The $300 hybrid, which Wal Mart already beats in price. Arguably, what has the highest profit margin for a LBS? Tune ups and repairs. If Wally can hire competant mechanics and offer lower priced repairs, then the LBS will start to feel the pain more.

    BTW, I would only hope most people who are going to buy a carbon bike would support a LBS, instead of Wally. I hope…

  14. kaz kougar says:

    No Pros here. Bottom line is that Wal-Mart is at the top of the heap of things that are wrong with this country. Big business, controls all and Wal-Mart is at the top of the list. Wal-Mart is destroying America as we know it, with their Chinese junk and poor treatment of employees. As an American consumer, the most unpatriotic thing one can do is shop Wal-Mart. I wouldn’t worry about utilizing Wal-Mart’s bike shop if I were any of you, any self respecting, competent mechanic would starve before working here.

  15. BWC says:

    Not in defense of Wally World, but it wouldn’t be so big if so many people didn’t patronize it. It’s capitalism at it’s finest… that’s what it comes down to. And isn’t that America by nature? A bunch of capitalists? As a whole, isn’t our population at fault for shopping there to begin with? It takes two to dance. It’s not just the retailer, it’s the ignorant sheep who shop there as well. And those of us who know better will still patronized the LBS. Do you really think for one second that the people Wal Mart hires are going to know a bottom bracket from a hole in the ground? If, and I mean IF this concept takes off, I will be once more shocked by what kind of service the public is willing to settle for in order to save a few dollars. Just my 2 cents.

  16. rick says:

    People take their cars to Wally for service. Their machanics seem to know the difference between a differential and that hole. This will be the same unfortunately.

    Ultimately people have to stop shopping there period.

  17. BWC says:

    If you only knew how much the ‘mechanics’ don’t know…

  18. Dan says:

    On second thought, maybe a repair shop at Wal Mart isn’t such a bad idea. To BWC’s point, once people realize that Wally World bike mechanics don’t know crap and their bike keeps on breaking down after getting “repaired”, they will take it to a LBS to get it repaired, even know it may be at a higher price. Then it might just don on them that you get what you pay for and purchase bike accessories while they are there.

  19. davidp. says:

    party of me hopes that it could encourage to get more people on bikes, more people commuting, more people on the road.

    i don’t think any one who is really into bikes, and normally goes to their lbs will now defect for walmart. people who shop at walmart want bargains. period. the threat walmart does pose to lbs’s is that walmart will absorb most of the new growth and profit needed by lbs’s for expansion and successful business practices.

    i don’t think most traditional bike mechanics would go and work for walmart, as their wages would most likely unsatisfactory. but i could see walmart hiring mechanics of questionable skill, and passing them off has mechanics.

    also, it should be mentioned – walmart is freaking rich. they are smart. they do research. they probably know all of this crap and have figured out tricky ways to lure people to their store. free crap. cyclists love free crap. oh, and you better believe they’ll give it to us to get us to come.

    the only thing we can do is to continue to be idealistic and not support their store.

    also – i volunteer at a bike – coop and i think they pose just as much a threat to LBS’s in the service sector… yet it’s kind of hard to hate on them right? i’ve probably saved $200 or so in a couple of months by taking my bike there. i wonder how the lbs’s will adjust to the popularity of bike co-ops. thoughts?

  20. Mike Myers says:

    Maybe this will encourage the LBS to improve the quality of their service. Let me tell you a story. I dealt with my bike shop and spent a considerable amount of money. I work with the public and whenever someone asked me about bikes I referred them to that shop. A girl I work with(against my advice) bought a cruiser on eBay, and when it arrived it was missing the expander bolt for the stem. She called the shop and told them her situation(including the eBay part) and was told to bring the bike down, no problem. When she arrived, the wrench took care of her problem—but the shop owner took her to task and ridiculed her for buying a bike on eBay. She’s unhappy and now he lost future sales.

    Service will be where the LBS earns their price premium. I don’t want to have my butt kissed, but being treated with respect by someone you’re giving your hard earned money to seems to be a no-brainer. If I ask you to special order a part, don’t gripe about it. Crack open the QBP catalog and get it done. If I know exactly which part or accessory I want, don’t try to sell me something you have in stock. Case in point—I recently built up a bike(well, REbuilt after an accident and insurance claim). I brought in a list of parts I wanted—and actually had to get firm with the owner to get what I wanted.”No, I don’t want a Shimano crankset with black rings and an integrated bottom bracket. I want a Sugino XD. No, I don’t want the rack you have in stock. I want you to order me the rack I want.”. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but when you’re dealing with the public, the customer is always right—especially when the customer is spending a considerable amount of money.

  21. Matt S says:

    I don’t shop at Wal-Mart, because I can afford not to. Many people can’t afford to shop anywhere else. There’s a fair amount of bike commuters in my town, but they aren’t on this website, and they don’t shop at the LBS’s. They ride 5-year-old rusty Wal-Mart bikes, with no brakes, non-functioning gears, and mismatched tires. Cheap maintainence may be better than nothing at all. There’s nobody providing affordable service to the poor cyclists who make up the majority of commuters I see.

  22. rick says:

    I’m sorry but cheap prices at Wallyworld is nothing but their grand illusion. Cheap products yes of course, cheap prices is another matter. As always you get what you pay for. My corner sport and ski shop carries KHS bikes that have entry level models priced simularly to the Wally special. They’ll also provide free service for the first year.

    It not really about the price. It’s about people waking up and having the awareness that Walmart is bad for everyone. They use low prices as the lure to get you into their building. The only low prices are the products they place in the middle of the isles.

    I think it’s about people standing for something. For me, I’ll never set foot in a Walmart store again, ever! All I can hope for is more and more people feel the same way I do.

  23. David says:

    I agree with Tim of Blue Collar, Most bike commuters on the road are poor and can’t afford even the expensive entry-level models at $300. If the LBS start to selling quality sub-$200 bikes they might be able to get a large market share away from Wally World. Let face it, most people are not going to pay $300 for an entry-level machine that they might ride a couple times a year when they can get a comparible bike for half the price. I paid $700 for a commuting bike that had to be modified for my specific needs, it took 5 years of saving the money to get it. I paid $150 for a Sidewinder from Wally World 2 years ago and it is still on the road and I keep it in good repair to keep it on the road. Most bike mechanics are not certified at all. Wally World only needs 1 master mechanic and several apprentice mechanics just like the LBS’s to get a relable service operation going. If you looked most bikes sold in LBS are from China. And most components are made overseas also. Most of you are nothing but snobs, to good to shop in department stores. The purpose of this and other commuting websites is to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes, no matter how much it cost or where they bought it. We must encourage everyone to bike commute and not put a caste system around the bike and the retailer where it came from, which discourges everybody.

  24. rick says:

    Wow David! I’m not sure what to say other than before making blanket statements like the one you just did you really need to look a little farther and do some research into the business practises and the factories of the companies you defend.

    It’s time for me to bow out of this conversation I think

  25. rick says:

    Sorry actually I’ll make one more comment. I’m getting fed up with spoon fed North American’s thinking that purchasing really cheap products that are manufactured overseas has no consequence. It supports slave labor in countries like China. HELLO, is there anybody out there?

    Sorry about that.

  26. bikesgonewild says:

    …if i’m young fred w/ some limited bike mechanic skills & i get a wrench job in the ‘bike department’ @ wal-mart, AND if those ‘friendly’ guys who work at the LBS should happen to invite me out for the local tues niter, i’m thinkin’ i better check my quick releases & seat clamp, every time i get on my bike…

    …i jest, but you’re not gonna be real popular in the cycling community by wrenchin’ @ the wal-mart…

  27. BSR says:

    David, your words don’t make sense:

    Most of you are nothing but snobs, to good to shop in department stores. The purpose of this and other commuting websites is to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes, no matter how much it cost or where they bought it.

    Ok….I choose not to shop there because I prefer to buy local, and also prefer better quality products. I also hate what Wal-Mart has done to this country and don’t want to support their mission. It has nothing to do with snobbery. Each time I pass a Wal-Mart or Sams parking lot, I see plenty of Hummers & Escalades — cars that scream SNOB.

    I agree that we need to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes. However I don’t think the price of a quality bicycle is a problem for anyone who can afford a car. Why some people will spend $25K for a nice sedan, but balk at paying anything over $200 for a nice bike is a mystery to me. If you are dedicated and lucky enough to completely replace your bike with your car, it’s a no-brainer, and you save tons of money. Even if you aren’t financially well-off, and drive a $3K used beater or ride the bus, a $600 bike can pay for itself pretty quickly by not having to buy gas or bus-tickets.

    Those of us who can afford quality gear, and do, aren’t snobs. We’re cyclists. You say you don’t want to put a caste system around the bike, but that’s what your comments seem designed to do.

  28. bikesgonewild says:

    …david…i think everyone on this site would agree w/ you in encouraging people to get out of their cars and commute (when possible) by bike…

    …if it’s not too much of a stretch, i’ll draw a parallel w/ the old saying: give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and he can feed himself forever…

    …you can certainly walk into wal-mart, buy a $ 2OO bike that works, and go about your business…
    …whereas if you get involved w/ your LBS, they’re going to share their personal enthusiasm for cycling…you might cynically say, “well sure, that way they can try and sell me more stuff”, but the truth is, shop guys (and girls) work where they do because they love cycling and the pride they take in setting up your bike to be a safe and well balanced machine is to your advantage…whether they’re ‘certified” or not…
    …no one works in a bike shop expecting to make a fortune, so there is a lot of spirit and pride involved in both the business and activity of cycling and if the LBS turns you, the customer into a fan, then you’ll take pride in your own involvement…

    …you do something awesome by commuting, david and i applaud your efforts…you’re taking the first step in making a difference…enjoy that fact…

    …two quick points…
    …one, i think a good bike mechanic is an artist & i consider myself lucky to have several friends that worked for years on the PRO circuit…i’m not trusting them w/ just my bike, but my life…and i feel comfortable w/ that…

    …finally, i would mirror bsr’s statement, “those of us who can afford quality gear, and do, aren’t snobs…were cyclist’s”…

  29. David says:

    bikegonewild, thanks for the nice comment, I do agree wth you that if you can afford it to pay for an LBS bike why not buy one, but in my area most bike commuters can’t afford anything but the low-end of bsr bikes. I agree a good mechanic is always need and will have a passion for cycling. I went to my local LBS mechanic for 18 months before I had enough duchets to buy for my new LBS bike which had to be special order and then modified for my special needs (I am disabled). My mechanic has kept my bsr bike running its best for the last two years. You can always start with a low-end bike and upgrade components as you need to, and when you can eventually afford your dream bike, buy it.

  30. David says:

    Rick, I have done my research. All the stuff that comes from China is slave labor from their prison camps, even a good deal of high-end brands, except Trek which is made in USA. Look at the made in tag. I was shocked that two local cruiser companies had their bikes made in China not in California as their ads say. Giant is a Chinese company, they got their start by making Schwinns in the late 70s and 80s to name one.

  31. Steve says:

    David, you haven’t done any research, Trek is NOT MADE IN THE U.S.A.! Cannondale is the last company to mass produce bicycles domestically, and that’s history pretty soon here, because they were just bought by Pacific, the largest bike manufacturer in the world. I’m sure there will be more corrections to your line of dribble soon. Let’s get back to the topic.

  32. David says:

    Steve, you hurt my feelings, “Trek not made in USA”, but really that makes all bikes foreign made and most bikes made do come from China, they have a worldwide distribution, so why knock bsr when the LBS sell Chinese made bikes also. And those people who drive Hummers and SUVs don’t bike cummute, after all Walmart sells other things besides bikes. No one buys a race machines from Walmart anyway. But people who have to commuite do not pay top dollar for a machine that can be stolen and they will need a replacement quickly. So they buy cheap machines that can with stand the abuses of daily commuting without falling apart. Commute bikes are utility bikes anyway.

  33. steve says:

    David, I am genuinely sorry to bear that bad news to you. I really mean that. Foreign-made does not equal junk, though. Japan began as a junk-bike manufacturer. Now, Japanese bikes are on par, if not better than European and American. They built so many, they just got good at it. It happened to Taiwan, it will happen to China, too. Let me tell you, proper assembly means a lot more than country of origin, anyway. If one chooses not to support the Chinese for humanitarian reasons, so be it. In fact, more power to you. But, the sales and maintenance of any bike within our borders creates jobs. There are many more layers to this woeful economic tale, sadly, very few of which we can actually affect, even in numbers. Join me in praying for the Invisible Hand to reach down and hit global Reset, with minimal bloodshed. Peace on Earth!

  34. Rolf Manza says:

    Incredibly this is a unusual issue to deal with,really should this kind of possibly seem to be useful in the foreseeable future I am sure this may certainly be a lesson found. Hardly has this taken place with such type of great attention of a wide range of the effects,the fishing could possibly improve but it is not really just about a person mainly because nature is at total power.

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