Department Store vs. Bike Shop

You see the deals all the time... A kids' bike for $75, an adult mountain bike for $150, a Fat Bike for $200?! The Department Store bike prices seem too good to be true.

If you are looking for a bike that will work properly, not fall apart, not need a ton of maintenance, and fit you properly, that Department Store bike really is too good to be true.

Why you should avoid Department Store Bicycles:


Assembly: Department Store Bikes are not assembled properly. 

Unlike Bike Shops, Department Stores do not have a Bicycle Mechanic/Bike Specialist assembling bicycles and putting them through a safety checkover with proper tools

Brakes are one of the most common parts of department store bikes to be improperly assembled.


Department store bikes are not built to last. Estimates on the life of department store bikes is about a year (if you are lucky) - and this short lifespan isn’t because “kids are rough on their bikes.” Cheap parts and improper assembly mean a bike will not handle the stress of being used.

Bicycles from Bike Shops can, quite possibly, last a lifetime. The extensive research and technology that goes into making a bike industry bicycle is done because these companies want to make bikes that will last, be safe, be fun, and so you can have the best ride possible.


Many Bike Shops offer the chance to trade in bicycles for a new size bike (handy for growing kids) or for a new bike upgrade.

Try to bring a Department Store bike in for Trade-in, and a bike shop will not take it.

Department Store bikes are not priced cheaply because it's a bigger store that is selling them. Why are they priced so low? These bikes are made from cheap materials and come with cheap parts.


There is no “one size fits all” bicycle.

Department store bikes come in this “one size fits all” status - or their size is based off of the size of the wheel rather than the size of the bike.

All humans are not the same size. Shoes are not “one size fits all,” so why would bikes be that way?

An adult bicycle should not be sized based off of the diameter of the wheel. Just because the bike looks like it has big wheels does not mean that the frame of the bicycle is the proper size for you

Ex: A Specialized Rockhopper (sold at Rocktown Bicycles) is available in 5 Sizes: XS, S, M, L, & XL. The wheel size stays the same - 29”. There are 5 sizes to accomodate for the fact that human size is variable.

Ride quality

If you have never had the chance to check out a Bike Shop, we encourage you to do so. We are sure you will be quite surprised by how different a Bike Shop bicycle will feel from a Department Store bike.

A Bike Shop will size you to the bike that works for you, this alone will make your ride feel better.

A Bike Shop bicycle is made of much more quality material, and is specifically designed for the task you want it to do (commute, road ride, mountain bike, etc.).

These bikes will feel so much smoother and comfortable than any department store bike out there.

What is a 'Bike Brand' Bicycle?

Any bicycle sold at a dedicated/specialty bike shop.

Department stores do not sell the same line of bikes that bike shops carry.


Whatever your reason may be for riding a bicycle, whether it be a commute or a Sunday ride in the park, a safe, properly functioning, and dependable bike is what you should have. 

Kelly PaduchComment