This would never happen in America

In Australia, the government has taken steps to halt the online sales of crappy bikes.

Yes, it’s shocking. The bicycles “failed to stop in the required distance and did not have the required safety warnings”. Can you imagine if the bikes sold at Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Toys R Us were tested for functionality? How would those substandard bikes, with substandard assembly, fare in a basic safety test?

If this one made it to a photo shoot for a national ad campaign, imagine what you’ll find in your local store:

Walmart bike with fork on backwards from national ad campain

As far as labeling goes, that should be less of a concern for the retailers. After all, where else can you buy a kid’s bike with front and rear suspension for $64.27? I’m willing to bet that the 20″ Boys’ Mako All Terrain Bike (not pictured) has a sticker on it that states it is not suitable for off-road use, even though the ad copy proudly proclaims “Its dual-suspension system and lightweight construction is designed to tame the toughest terrain”. Of course, the three moms that reviewed the bike all gave it 5 stars, which perpetuates the questionable notion that this is something you should buy for your child.*

In all fairness, I suppose that if I’m getting this worked up, it should be over feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, finding a cure for AIDS, or just proposing that there be some sort of court order preventing Britney Spears from breeding. But since cycling is my thing, that’s what I’m writing about. It would be nice to see our government pull their thumb out and do a little more to protect children from this crap. And if anyone thinks I’m being slack by devoting a whole page to cheap shots at Wal-Mart, just Google the following words: next bicycle recall.

*If you didn’t read the reviews, or can’t be arsed to even bother to check out the above link, click here for the bonus image of the awesome assembly handiwork.

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Tom Stormcrowe

If I hadn’t seen ’em like that at our local Walmart, I’d not have believed it. (I did bring it to the attention of the manager, by the way and he did get them fixed, the forks had been installed backwards as well. 😉 )

Rodney Olsen

Life is short …. but there’s still enough time to rant about feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, finding a cure for AIDS and stopping people profiting from the sale of dangerous toys masquerading as bicycles.

I cringe every time I see someone leaving a department store with a big bike box in their trolley.


This reminds me of the time when I worked for a certain outdoors sports retailer (that shall remain nameless) that sold Haro’s with painted rims. The reason for this as stated by our rep was to stop kids from doing skidding wearing out their tires and having angry parents calling them up wanting replacements. I had one kid come into my shop complaining that he COULDN’T stop his haro on a down hill street. So letting trash out isn’t exclusive to Walmart caliber brands.

Even still, I hated having pissed off parents coming to me to fix their kid’s bikes like we were some kind of Walmart service center. Everytime I’d show them how their bike’s (that was such a good deal btw) brake arms did nothing but bend when pressure was applied to them. Inevitably, the price for repairs would be more then they paid for the bike. Rest assured that Walmart is avoiding all kinds of consumer complaints by not having a bike shop… instead parents have to send their bikes elsewhere thereby constructing legitimate dealers as the bad guys.


That photo is AWESOME! Which catalog did it come from?


It was a Wal-Mart ad, but I couldn’t tell you the date. I think it was from a Sunday insert. The photo I linked to was just as priceless.


The last time our government decided to mess with bikes, we ended up with reflectors on high end racing bikes and front brake levers being controlled by the hand with (typically) the least ability to modulate them.


P.S. by “our government,” I meant the U.S. government. Sorry to those of you lucky enough not to live here.

David Rioux

5 years later and things are still the same with dept store bikes. The big box retailers need to hire qaulified mechanics to assemble and sell their bikes. All to often I witness a family walking to a register with a child holding the handle bars of a poorly assembled bike at head level.
They have qaulified Pharmacy techs selling prescription drugs at a reduced price they could do the same in the sporting goods dept.


The CPSC has all these safety requirements in place, but even poor design can’t compare to the substandard assembly practices.


Watch this Walmart bike take a beating.

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