I generally do not advise people to purchase bicycles from big-box or department stores. These stores generally suffer the following disadvantages, when compared to independent bicycle dealers (aka local bike shops):
- Poorly designed products,
- Poorly assembled and adjusted products,
- No service agreement,
- Poor warranty support, and
- No staff-people trained in bike fitting or selection,
The bike below is not poorly designed, and can be purchased at a well-known big-box store for $132. Of course, Problems (2) through (5) still apply.
If you do buy one, I strongly advise you to take it immediately to a local bike shop for a tune-up. When properly adjusted, even a bike of this quality (that is, not good quality), can get you where you need to go. The tune-up will bring the total cost to about $200, but that's still less expensive than most bikes at independent bike dealers.
90+ % of buyers will pay more in the long run. Here's why: the low quality parts are harder to adjust, come out of adjustment easily, and wear out faster than nicer ones. So...
- If things are not adjusted correctly, it's not as fun to ride, and you won't ride, and then you will still drive and pay for gas and parking, gym membership, etc.
- If you do ride, and get into it, you'll need to replace parts sooner than you would have on a better bike, and these costs will quickly make up the difference in price between the $132 bike and a $400 bike.