I was at Target recently and as I walked by the women’s clothing section I spotted these bikes in the middle of the clothes racks. Turns out the bike is an Alice & Olivia “designer” bike that was part of a collaboration between Target & Neiman Marcus. Back in December my friend The Budget Babe tipped off the folks at Huffington Post that the entire collection was discounted 50% about 3 weeks after it appeared in stores. Earlier this week The Budget Babe posted that the collection is now discounted 70% (!!) bringing the cost of this bike down to about $150.
This bike is cute, and $150 for a steel-frame, 3-speed internal hub bike isn’t a bad price. But the information provided about the bike by the retailer only underscores why I have never been a fan of buying a bike from a big-box store, especially your first or primary bike. I understand that not everyone can afford to spend $500-$1000 on a bike, but even for less than that, you are better off going to your local bike shop for a used or low-end bike because your local bike shop, unlike Target or other big-box retailers, understand bikes. Why?
- Target can’t even get the specs on this bike correct (derailleur vs internal hub) – you’ve got to check it carefully yourself to know what you’re getting
- Because this store doesn’t know what it’s selling how can you be sure it was assembled correctly, with all the parts?
- Big-box retailers do not have bike mechanics on staff, do not generally offer the first year of maintenance for free, nor are available for quick questions about the bike and it’s upkeep, like your local bike shop usually is.
The tag on these bikes states that they have a Shimano 3-speed internal hub. And while I didn’t take a photo of the bike from the other side while I was in the store to prove it, it didn’t look like it had a derailleur, nor did I notice one in other photos I’ve since seen of the bike. However, if you go to Target’s online site, they describe the bike in terms of it’s derailleur (which they can’t specify) and do not mention the internal hub.
On both the Target site and the Neiman Marcus site, as well as in-store, they refer to the bike as a “28-inch” bike. Actually, the bike has 28-inch wheels, and has approximately a 19-inch frame. The bikes have a lovely lime-green double kick-stand which is so much more useful than a single-sided kickstand, sprung saddle, and flat pedals. Note that those pedals are actually purple to match the bike – somehow my iPhone made them blue.
Having said all that, this is a cute bike, and while not tall enough for me, it’s now at such a low price that I think it’s almost worth considering as a second ‘fun’ bike for someone who likes the flowery design and lime green accents. At $499 it was definitely not a worthwhile purchase, but at $150, perhaps. What do you think?