Ideas about convenience or cheap prices may be tempting you to buy your bike at a department store like Costco or Target. This is a common mindset. As many as 75 percent of all bikes are purchased at stores like this. Despite their popularity, however, there are plenty of reasons to avoid department stores when it comes to picking out your bicycle.
4 Reasons NOT to Buy Your Bike at a Department Store
- They aren’t as cheap as they seem: Some of the low-end bikes are incredibly cheap at these stores, but if you read any product reviews on these, you’ll see they’re cheap for a reason. They tend to be heavy and made from poor quality parts. If you want a decent bike for the price, you might want to go to a proper bicycle shop instead. A low price tag does not mean a good deal.
- It might not even fit you: The size options are extremely limited at department stores, and having a bicycle that fits you is very important. You are going to be sorer, slower and less comfortable with a bike that doesn’t quite fit. Save yourself years of back pain and buy a bike that you know actually fits you.
- Nobody will ever fix it for you: When you buy a bicycle from a local bike shop, you are often also buying any initial tune ups or services that you’ll need to get started on it. It’s pretty common for a new bike to have one or two quirks. If you take a problem like that to the department store, it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to help you.
- They are often put together incorrectly: Big box stores typically don’t have any bicycle mechanics on staff to assemble the bikes when they arrive. It’s important that someone looks for safety or quality flaws before passing it along to the customer. A trained professional can also make sure that everything is set up just right to give you the right ride. A bad assembly can mean a worse ride, and possibly even a greater chance of injury.
If you only have a casual interest in cycling, it’s understandable that you may want to save money, but understand that often the benefits of picking up a cheap bike at the department store might not be as great as they seem. Take a look at your local bicycle shop before you decide that it’s too expensive.
Joshua Bonnici is a San Diego bicycle accident lawyer and avid cyclist with a passion for advocating for victims of cycling accidents and providing useful bicycle safety information.