Freewheel vs Cassette
The first summer (2004) in our new location was intense! Did we make the right or wrong move? Would people from the West End forgive us for being just outside their area? Would we be O.K.? Ultimately the answer to all these questions would be a resounding YES, but at the time. . . .
Then there were all the struggles with the new facility- even tho we had a larger facility and we hired a professional designer to lay out the floor plan, things still didn't fit. It was frustrating and mentally exhausting. I finally became resigned to the fact that it took 10 years to figure out the last place and it would take a while to figure this one out.
While all these internal struggles were taking place, there was another dilemma that I have faced since I started in this business in 1977. That is the perception that one is getting some kind of a "deal" when one purchases a bicycle from Wal-Mart, Sams, Academy or Target. The players have changed over the years... back then it was Sears, K-Mart and Monkey Wards, but the perception of a "deal" hasn't changed...
What grates at me is how much money people spend in those places and how little they get! Really that's a whole nother commentary, but I have seen $500. Wal-Mart bikes that were glitzier than our $240. bikes, but were no better quality (think about that) and poorly assembled.
One area where ALL suppliers / manufacturers hide a cut corner is in the rear hub. It's a place where you really have to know what you are looking for to see what you are getting which brings me back to the story:
I was walking thru the warehouse last summer and saw this little piece of rear axle on the floor. Head-rush of memories from the '70's when! Some things don't change- and one of those things is that you get what you pay for! And I have learned from my perspective here in the bicycle shop that you have to suspect everything you get at the discount stores. Their bicycles for example have chronic problems- always have.
One Constant is that Discount Store Bikes have rear wheel problems. More specifically bent or broken REAR axles. Cheaper Bike Shop bikes and much older bike shop bikes did too, but technology has changed- in the Bike Shop at least.