LBS Schwinn vs Walmart Schwinn- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    LBS Schwinn vs Walmart Schwinn

    At my LBS looking for a 24" bike for my son and the employee steers me over to the Schwinns. I looked like this until he said there is a BIG difference from the Schwinn sold at the LBS and the one sold at Walmart/Target.

    Any truth to this, if so is a LBS a decent buy?

  2. #2
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    What is the LBS charging for it, and do they offer a credit trade in when he outgrows it? Those are the really important questions here.

    From a mechanical standpoint, the stuff you get at the LBS will have [generally] better components, and almost always be put together/adjusted correctly. That said, I haven't seen a Schwinn at my LBSs that weren't cruisers/trikes. Might be my area, but it is food for thought.

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    Asking $379 for a 24 " Schwinn hardtail with front suspension, the model escapes me at the moment.

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  5. #5
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    I've often thought the same as the OP's question.

    There must be a difference.... it has to be.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=JonathanGennick;9292579]This one?

    [


    That does look like it. At that price point I should look at the Trek's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    What is the LBS charging for it, and do they offer a credit trade in when he outgrows it? Those are the really important questions here.

    From a mechanical standpoint, the stuff you get at the LBS will have [generally] better components, and almost always be put together/adjusted correctly. That said, I haven't seen a Schwinn at my LBSs that weren't cruisers/trikes. Might be my area, but it is food for thought.
    The trade in credit is a great point. I'll look into that. Kinda funny this LBS had MTB's and we are 5 minutes from the beach.

  8. #8
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    Schwinn shops around here were the bike shop in town. That was back in the day. It does make you pause to see the same brand on a bike in a department store. That's the power of Walmart, I guess.

    It must make it hard for the Schwinn shop to keep its reputation as a real bike store.

  9. #9
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    If they don't offer trade ins, that would pretty much seal the deal. Go somewhere where they do, and you might spend some more up front, but you'll get more later, and won't be stuck trying to sell an undersized bike yourself. They do sell, don't get me wrong, but it will generally be harder, and they don't command a very high resale value.

    I have nothing against Schwinns, btw. I own a vintage Varsity, and love their modern cruisers/trikes, but their quality tanked years ago, and they have not shaken off that stigma since.

  10. #10
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    My first MTB was a Schwinn.

    Schwinn, like Diamondback, GT, and probably some others, has a mass market tier and an enthusiast tier. Their enthusiast-level bikes are perfectly good.
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  11. #11
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    It's fine and should be much nicer than the WalSchwinn. I bought my son a 20" Mini-Mesa at a LBS and it was as nice or nicer than the comparible Trek etc.
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    an ultegra/xtr crank costs more than most walmart bikes.

    most walmart bikes tend to be the the cheapest stuff they can bolt together and still call it a bicycle.

    cheap steel frame, absolute bottom of the barrel components and wheels . it'll work like a bicycle if you take it easy and stay on top of maintainance. if your just putzing around the neighbor hood that's probably sufficient. if you ride it like a mountain bike it'll die quickly. then again the entry level lbs version ($300) isnt that much better.


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  13. #13
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    Schwinn is a shell of its former heritage and that's a shame. I wouldn't buy anything from them, instead invest in a bike company that's still relevant in today's market.
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    Looking on the Schwinn web site, their best MTB doesn't look like anything to write home about. Frontier Elite Mens | Schwinn Bicycles

    It is my understanding that Schwinn of today is no longer the company that we grew up with. They had union troubles, went out of business, and the name was brought by some Chinese or Tiawanese company for marketing purposes only. Look it up on Wikipedia if you want to verify what I remember.

    Interesting that they are still using the Mesa name. I have a 90's-era steel Mesa that I got at a thrift store for $50. It had barely been ridden. It has a label from a local bike shop. The forks suck, but everything else is OK. It is only 29.5# with pedals. I replaced the stock tires with low-end bontragers and saved about 11 oz per wheel. It was a big step up from my Wal-Mart bike

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    Guys, the OP is looking at 24" children's bikes...not adult bikes. I rode a Homegrown back in the 90s...USA-built [email protected] racing bike. I believe Pacific bought the in the early 2000s. Just think of the LBS Schwinn as a LBS Mongoose...fine bikes if you steer clear of the WalGooses!
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  16. #16
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    I really don't much about this, but have an honest question -

    Is it possible the LBS is carrying Schwinn simply to get more people in the door? A high end stereo shop I used to frequent carried Sony (which is mass market stuff competed to enthusiast stuff) in order to get more people through the doors. They'd show the Sony stuff side by side with enthusiast stuff at comparable prices. Most customers left Sony stuff on the shelf. The ones who didn't got what they wanted, so everyone was happy.

    Just some food for thought. Not sure if the LBS Schwinns are higher end than the Walmart Schwinns or not.

  17. #17
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    The LBS Schwins ARE better than the WallyWorld ones. I have first hand experience. Again, no different than Mongoose.

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    The big problem OP is that you can never resale the bike for a decent price. Say you got a specialized hotrock for your kid. I can guarantee in a year or two you will still be able to get 150+ (Probably over 200). On the other hand if you get a Schwinn everyone on Craigslist will just assume it is a Wall-mart pos.

    Off name brands and destroyed formerly name brands can be great bang for the buck, but you better be buying these bikes with the intention of keeping it for a long time... (Not a kids bike)

  19. #19
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    I got $75 on Craigs for my son's Schwinn..paid $185. Boys rode it for 3 years. Ad on Craig's said "Boys' 20 mountain bike, shop quality bike not dept store junk!". $200 for a used Hotrock??? New Hotrocks are going for $350...if I got $200 for it when I sold it on Craig's I would be down $150. I was only down $110....how does that math work? Most people shopping Craig's don't appreciate the little differences enough to pay a bunch more for a better name brand. The Schwinn had normal non-Wallyworld components that Treks and Specy's have and actually had a better fork (feeling-wise) than many of the other similar kids' bikes on our street.

    How much do they want for the Schwinn vs. the other brands at the shop?
    Last edited by TiGeo; 05-09-2012 at 05:45 AM.
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  20. #20
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    I will always buy a LBS bike new or used for my daughter. The Walmart versions are simply not as well put-together. Regardless of the warranty and the adjustments a LBS provides, it's a better quality bike.

    There are more options available to us than ever before. Craigslist, LBS trade-in programs for kids weren't around when I was a kid.

    Depending on how much your child uses the bike, how hard he is on it and how much attention he/you pay to its mechanical state, you could break even if you looked at it as a rental since he'll be outgrowing it.

    It's a tough thing to accept but you do it all the time with cars, motorcycles, computers, cell phones. Until he stops growing that's the choice you have.
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  21. #21
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    If you have friends, see what they've got.

    There are a fair number of parents on my team. So, there are some kids' push-bikes and pedal-bikes that have been making the rounds as their kids grow and they buy and sell to each other.

    I think when I was growing up, there were at least a few kids' bikes working their way around among my parents' friends, and they weren't on a team or anything.
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  22. #22
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    I currently own a WalMart Schwinn hybrid and it's a perfectly good bike for what it is. I bought a one size fits all bike for $250, and for the money it's pretty good. Yes the drive train was bottom tier Shimano and the suspension fork is 60mm crap, but I knew going in I wasn't gonna get world class stuff for $250. I've had it for a year and have upgraded or changed everything on the bike except the fork. That's no different than others on this forum who buy bikes that are literally 7x-8x as expensive and do the same thing. Buying from LBS is a better idea since their support can definitely make riding more enjoyable and yes depending on which particular store you buy from, sometimes the bikes are assembled from half-a$$ed to just flat out shoddy, but that can also happen at the LBS if the mech had tied one on the night before and worked on your bike with a hangover. As long as you know going in what you're getting I don't think buying a bike from WalMart or Kmart or Target or Sears is any worse than buying off of Craig's List or the classifieds. The main thing about buying from the X-Marts is that 95% of their "off road" bikes aren't meant for anything rougher than a gravel driveway. I recently bought a more expensive (but WAY more capable) bike but I still keep my Wal-Schwinn as a back up for commuting. There's no bling factor for that bike, but it lets me keep pedaling if/when my good bike is down for repairs so I've gotten my money's worth several times over.
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  23. #23
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    Can you skip the 24" model? Depending on the age, you might find in a month or two, a 26 will fit.

    Both bikes are generally basic transportation. The LBS will at least know how to set it up and may throw in a tune up or two. This is real value if you are not handy. If they have a trade in program, you may do better with the LBS.

    If you are tight on money, get the Wally world since the bike will be out grown quickly and you can get a few bucks back using CL.
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  24. #24
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    This thread has taken a bit of a detour. The OP asked if the Schwinn at the LBS is the same as the one at Walmart. The answer is "no". Not only is it actually properly assembled and checked out at the LBS, its overall quality is much higher. Schwinn actually makes 2 tiers of bikes. Ones for sale at X-marts and ones for sale (albeit lower end) at bicycle shops.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavyRay View Post
    Schwinn shops around here were the bike shop in town. That was back in the day. It does make you pause to see the same brand on a bike in a department store. That's the power of Walmart, I guess.

    It must make it hard for the Schwinn shop to keep its reputation as a real bike store.
    Same effect Diamondback has from being sold in a box store. They're actually excellent bikes and my Response is on par with any new HardRock at a cheaper price.
    I hate it just because it wasn't sold at a LBS, it has to be junk.
    Diamondback killed it's rep by offering box store bikes. If Specialized sold their bikes at Wal-Mart, they'd die too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingAround View Post
    Same effect Diamondback has from being sold in a box store. They're actually excellent bikes and my Response is on par with any new HardRock at a cheaper price.
    I hate it just because it wasn't sold at a LBS, it has to be junk.
    Diamondback killed it's rep by offering box store bikes. If Specialized sold their bikes at Wal-Mart, they'd die too.
    not sure we can just lump everything into a single box store category. theres walmart level and sporting good store level. then lbs.

    i'd say the "high end" walmart bikes ( if there is such a thing) would be roughly equivalent to the absolute cheapest stuff at sports authority, mid/upper level rei stuff is basically low/mid level bike shop,

    *** stores picked because they are close to me.

  27. #27
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    Personally......i'd support LBS, you get BETTER service and advice before spending a penny at fall apart-mart! Ive learned my lesson on that! But if its sumthin for ur son whos hard on his belongings then us your own judgement on what is right for you! Good luck!

  28. #28
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    But if its sumthin for ur son whos hard on his belongings ...,
    That one is easy to fix. Make him pay for part of the bike himself

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan769 View Post
    At my LBS looking for a 24" bike for my son and the employee steers me over to the Schwinns. I looked like this until he said there is a BIG difference from the Schwinn sold at the LBS and the one sold at Walmart/Target.

    Any truth to this, if so is a LBS a decent buy?
    Truth is even the low spec bikes at the LBS are better then any big store bike. The only big name store that has reputable bikes that I know of is Eastern Mountain Sports who carry brands like Kona, Felt, and Jamis. For you and your son the LBS Schwinn far outweigh the parts and how they are assembled at the big store. Though Schwinn is not the company they were of the past they are still great bikes. Not to mention the build quality of the frame is better. Your LBS is something you can develop a relationship with, trade, buy your parts and go to for help. A big store does not provide this. Long story short My Aunt who never really rides her bike started talking to me about this same thing which was because she owned a brand name store bike. I kept telling her to go to the LBS instead of big name stores. She kept talking about the price of bikes and how that the LBS bikes where the same as big name stores. After her first ride at the LBS she was sold. She couldn't believe the difference in build, ride quality the LBS bike had over the other bikes she was looking at. She picked it up and now rides her bike way more then the dust collector in her garage. IMHO it's worth it for the LBS. One last thing, there are a billion big name stores, there might be only a few LBS stores in your area. Big name stores just want your money and don't really care about the customer. Not the same with your LBS, who wants to help you progress with cycling and need your support just to stay in business. Also like everyone else has all ready stated the LBS Schwinn and TargetMart Schwinn is not the same.
    Last edited by Hutch3637; 05-10-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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  30. #30
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    Honestly kids out grow their bikes really fast. I'd look at CL.

    Don't know where you are in FL, but an example.

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Honestly kids out grow their bikes really fast. I'd look at CL.

    Don't know where you are in FL, but an example.

    mtb specialized hotrock small
    Been scouring CL for about 2 months, absolutely nothing in my area. There are a couple on the bay I'm watching

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