8 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Walmart Bike

Walk into any Walmart or other mass-market retailer, or log onto Amazon.com, and you’ll find mountain bikes, road bikes, and town bikes—some for under $100 and some from brands you can find at your local independent bike dealer for more money.

The biggest retailers are able to sell bikes to the masses at extremely affordable prices because those stores buy bulk orders of a single model. If you’re on a tight budget, you can walk into one of these retailers and walk out with enough bikes for the whole family, often for less money than you would have paid for a single bike from another source. You won’t get all the bells and whistles you could find on a bike from your local shop (IBD) or at a sports equipment retailer like Dick’s Sporting Goods, but you will walk out ready to ride. Here’s what to know before shopping for a mass-market bike.

Here’s why you might prefer a custom bike:

Bikes on a rack
You’ll see some trusted brands.

There’s a tendency to equate mass bikes with cheapness of quality, but that’s not necessarily accurate. “Sometimes you can’t afford the Porsche, and you need to buy the Corolla,” said Joe Werwie, senior director of product development at Schwinn. “If you’re on a tight budget, you want to enjoy cycling, but you’re not looking to invest in the highest end or most expensive technology, you can still get a solid bike that’ll get you out with your family, to and from work, or cruising with friends.”

RELATED: How to Buy a Bike for $1000 or Less

But you’ll lose some options.
bikes on a rack
But you’ll lose some options.

To get efficiency of pricing, your local mass-market retailer will just have one frame size in each wheel size per brand. For example, if you’re looking at Mongoose mountain bikes at Walmart, the 26” wheel option might come in an 18” frame, the 27.5” wheel option might come in a 19” frame, and the 29″ wheel option might come in a 20.5” frame. Bikes will also come in one color per model.

The fits are improving.
bike wheel and spokes