Why are bike shop bikes so expensive? Bikes are bikes. Why this? Why that?

Bikes come in many sizes, types, and uses. What is a "Walmart bike?" Other than being bought from America's #1 bike retailer, a department store bike is made to fit many different heights, weights, and body types of people, and to wring out every dollar of profit with a low price tag. They do this by compromising.

The frames are not sized to the individual which can cause handling problems and limit performance. The parts are not the best quality. The store employees may or may not know how to build the bike when it arrives. It's about compromise to keep those low, low prices.

Do we own Wally-World bikes? Yes. They are good for camping, jumping into the lake, riding around the neighborhood, and using to travel around a small town. They aren't all that good for tricks, racing, cross country, downhill, or whatever other cycling discipline.

Bike shop bikes are more expensive because the size is matched to you, the components are higher quality, and they're designed for cycling sports. The bike shop can do everything the department store bike can do and more. Bike shop bikes also use newer technology and trends. Bike shop bikes are built by bike mechanics. The bikes come tuned and ready. Quality over quantity.

Can a department store bike be improved? Yes, you can replace the components with higher quality ones. But the geometry is still off, and the frame is made from recycled mystery metallurgy steel. It was probably rusting out inside the tubes before they welded it together. And the cost to upgrade the parts will exceed the bike's value and original sale price.

A big part of bike longevity is how it is taken care of. A Walmart bike can go a long time if it is parked in the garage and given some WD-40 every so often. Of course, if you have a bike shop bike you use specialty lubricates and have dedicated parking out of the elements.

What is your bicycle need? And don't fall for slick marketing for some bikes that are just dressed up generic department store bikes for a higher price because of a brand name or gimmicky feature.