Walmart vs. Bicycle Shop

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by s_beaudry, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. s_beaudry

    s_beaudry Member

    I needed a brake cable (actually for a throttle cable) for my MB as it must of been kinked just a bit and did not slide easily in the casing....

    I usually order my cables off the internet for cheaper prices, but I was in a pinch for one so I went to my local bicycle shop here in Columbia, SC and I knew I was going to pay a little more, but when he told me $19.99 for a single cable (maybe 3 feet long) I had to leave without buying it.

    Took a chance and went over to my local Walmart and found a 4 cable kit they had for $4.97 - please believe me when I say I would rather support the small businessman, but how could I pay 4 times the amount?

  2. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    Good point. There may be differences....that you would never notice.

    I bought 2 brake cables at an Ace hardware 2 days ago- They are fine. $2.50 each.
  3. jmccrury

    jmccrury Member

    I like to support the small businesses too, but it's almost like your forced to shop at the super stores because most people can't afford to pay double or more for the same product at a local store. Of course, it's not the small business owners fault most of the time. Their prices are higher because of the small amounts of inventory they carry. I really dislike the large stores like Wal-Mart even though I have to shop there.

    Ace does have good prices on bicycle parts. I didn't even know they carried them until I was in there a few weeks ago looking for something else and saw them. I had ordered break pads online and thought I got this great deal, but they had them even cheaper.
  4. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    ran into the same thing a while back - cable frayed - inserts in cable housing were also coming out - since I wanted the deluxe housing and was far from discount store - I paid the bike shop price of 15.00

    better than Wal-Mart - maybe just slighty
    when time comes and I just need the inside cable
    won't be spending that kind of money again

    flip side --
    have also since that date - developed a relationship with a bike store closer to home
    they also now handel MB engines
    gave me a nice discount starting with second visit
    it is nice to have a full shop available for those fast instant repairs
    and parts not found at Wal-Mart..

    I owned a bicycle shop back in the 70s
    we could not compete With Pep Boys auto discount store prices
    so some of our customers went there to buy the small things
    to us for full service
    and then there are still many out there - don't do any of their own repairs

    have noticed that the difference in price between bicycle shops
    and discount stores is far greater than in the old days

    inside cables that we paid 49 cents for and sold for 99 cents
    were then sold at discount stores for 69 cents
    I do think that bike shops are marking these items up - way higher today

    taken into account -- bike shops have a high overhead

    Happy Riding from - Mountainman
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  5. Civalunrest

    Civalunrest New Member

    The bike shops here in port huron resist the idea of bicycles with motors
    i am not sur why
  6. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Member

    What brand was the bike shop trying to sell you? Could be you went to a shop that doesn't stock the cheapie cables due to their weaker strength, rougher finish, and quick time till rust. Sure the Walmart cable works, but a nice Odyssey Slic Cable will work and feel better much longer.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  7. Rain City

    Rain City Member

    ok, a bike shop probably pays a dollar for a brake cable, considering they usually sell them for 2.xx at a %100 mark up. I would NOT support that bike shop, let alone buy ANYTHING from them. I would have laughed in their stupid faces!!!
  8. terrence

    terrence Member

    Bike shops have there purpose. Most are experts in their field.There also for people who have zero bicycle knowledge or
    don't feel like messin with things themselves or need a part fast. Or to purchase a quality bike. Since your able to do things
    yourself and a comparative shopper I cant blame you for moving on. Ace hardware's are privately
    owned so you still would be supporting the little guy.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  9. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    Regarding bicycle shops and many other small business owners
    they many end up in a hard place -- I'll explain -- as a former bicycle shop owner

    as our business grew - we needed a larger building
    found one with a monthy rent that we could afford -- three year lease
    business was going GREAT -- then after the three year lease was up
    the property owner jacked the monthy payment WAY UP
    he had watched us grow and wanted a very large piece
    had us by the _ _ _ _ _ anyway
    this is what I know now -- to be a fairly common game played in the world

    Note -- overhead can be a killer
    small business worked from the home -- may be the best
    but - for bicycle shops - this doesn't work very well

    bicycle shops have an overhead - that most would not believe to be true
    yes - I pay extra when I go to the shop
    but - also receive extra service
    when my MB is down - I wish to get back up fast
    so I can

    Ride That Thing - Mountainman
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  10. autobo7

    autobo7 Member

    I have got a bike part or two from Wal-mart I admit, but if i am going to get a whole new bike(or any kind of big ticket item for that matter) I shell out the bucks at a bicycle shop to get something quality(the bikes at walmart say schwinn but they arnt exactly schwinn if you get what i mean). Maybe I'll spend almost twice as much, but the bike will last 3 times as long. Otherwise i will be back at walmart buying another whole bike every 3 years. Not only am I saving money in the long run, I am keeping crappy steel out of a landfill.
  11. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    It is a pity, isn't it, that we (of all people) can't afford to patronize our local bike shops?

    I could pay $20.00 for a cable once in quite a long while. But there's no way that I could pay those prices for all of the cables, brake pads and other accessories that I need.

    So I've been forced into Wal-Mart.

    But I am happy to learn that Ace Hardware carries bike parts. I'm gonna check my local Ace's and see what I can find there.
  12. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    quess that it's alright at this time to throw a little plug in for Ace here

    yes - I have been surprized at many times - all the things Ace carries
    have often went out on some big buying adventure - visiting many stores
    finding out later -- Ace had the part all along -- and Ace is close to home

    note - a while back Ace had some Corona - large pruners on sale for 15 dollars
    a lady was waiting on me there - I asked her if a mistake had been made on the price
    she checked and said "no"
    I bought 3 of them ---- they cost around 30 dollars at Home Depot
    CAN'T BEAT THAT --- I'll go down there today - tell them I finished the commercial...

    Happy Riding from - Mountainman
  13. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    If I need something very specific or I need work done that I don't have the tools to do myself I go to a bike shop. For all the consumables like pads, lubes, degreasers and oils I go to walmart. Their return policy is unbeatable anyways. I've found their mid to high range bikes are of acceptable quality and have never left me stranded. I think wheel bearings and weak rims are the downfall of most cheap bikes but otherwise they're just as durable as the expensive ones. A lot heavier of course but that is some times a benefit on an MB.
    I have no beef with walmart. They're just the outcome of the big shopping mall that america has become over the past 50 years. I think before we start patronizing local shops start buying from local farms, if you have any left. They're the ones that really need the help and stuff that isn't petro-farmed is better for you anyways.
  14. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    I do support our local farm (though I suspect it is some kind of radical christian sect). And I buy from Bike shops or the local ACE. I don't want a Walmart anywhere near our town.
  15. beachcruiser

    beachcruiser Member

    We should be interested in keeping safe on these motorized bicycles and not by buying inexpensive replacement parts, we all get what we pay for.

    When does the problem become part of the solution?
    When we have bugs in our teeth.
  16. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    Southern NH is consumers paradise. All the smug jerks in their BMW's come up here from Mass to shop tax free. The main roads are like huge strip malls that never end. On my way home from work I pass 2 walmarts, 2 targets, 2 home depots, 2 lowes, a car dealership every 20 feet and a million dunkin' donuts, burger kings mcdonalds etc etc etc. it would make you sick van. Theres barely a single mom n' pop store around. Closest thing is privately owned auto shops.
    I mostly buy small things like pads and tubes there because it's out of my way to drive deep into the city to get to the only bike shop around.

    Where you live sounds like paradise but I lived in Canada before... burrr.
  17. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    soom food for thought here -- if you all don't mind
    from a former bicycle shop owner

    we had many loyal customers
    some would even bring in their toasters and law mowers for repair
    although our parts cost were somewhat more -- didn't matter to these ones
    they wanted full service
    many didn't want to or know how to make even simple repairs on their bikes

    then there were some others who knew much in regards to bikes
    even hung around our shop at times
    couldn't help but notice -- some products they would buy from other places
    and at times even brag that they saved a dollar or two
    it was like a kick in the shins...

    yes - there's a very small bicycle shop down the mountain
    which I have developed a nice relationship with today
    I go in there occasionally
    in emergencies -- the gentleman gives me instant service
    realizing that I am riding my MB - wish not to leave it for a few days for repair

    now -------- what if I go in there for one of these instant repairs
    and he notices new parts on my MB -- bought somewhere else ????


    yes - it's a fact
    there were times in life when -- I could not afford much
    riding around on bald tires -- many things that I almost worked on every weekend
    I thank God for my many blessings today
    and he has given me the means to
    support the little business owners -- when I can...

    Ride That Thing - Mountainman
  18. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I went down to my local bike shop last week to see if they had a center-style kickstand.
    Nothing in stock. But the guy said he could order me one. It cost $37.00. A little high, but I figure I'd like to give the locals at least some business. He said it would be in Wednesday.

    I went back yesterday (Thurs) and asked if it was in. These guys all looked at each other saying, "didn't that get back-ordered?" I asked them if they were given an ETA.
    They didn't even bother to answer that. But the one guy said, "we've got one on this bike over here. It costs about $50.00"

    I said, "If it'll get this deal done with, then let's go for it."

    He took it off the bike. It was probably there when I had gone in in the first place. And I gave him another 16 bucks and some change.

    So my kickstand ended up costing me $54.00. I guess I don't mind the price too much, since it is a nice stand. But I do regret how these guys were willing to just leave me hanging. Especially after (it seems) they had been able to take care of me on my first visit.

    So I guess I just wont' worry too much about the big-box stores taking business away from them. I'm not their target customer and we both know it.