The Wal-mart Fixie

Wal-mart automatically seems to have a negative stigma associated with its name. It is known for low quality products, treating its employees poorly, and an extremely expansive selection. In fact, these days, that selection even includes a fixed-gear bicycle: the Genesis Track One.

With such a variety in merchandise at Wal-mart, this may not be a surprise. But at the same time, a bike as specialized as a fixie at Wal-mart? What type of customers can this bike target? It cannot be used for racing, as the bike is definitely not a “track” fixie. Its not exactly a fixie for show, as it is a mass produced bike and lacks the uniqueness that makes a bike stylish and showy. However, there is one redeeming quality of the bike; Wal-mart’s “Always Low Prices” slogan explains it all: the fixie sells for a mere $150.

One-hundred fifty dollars is a really, really low price. Considering that the average fixie sells for $300+, there is nowhere else to get a fixie that inexpensive (except for maybe a used one on craigslist).

So does this bike live up to its Wal-mart brand stigma? According to T.J. Flexer, it does. He rails on the Track One, calling it an “absolutely inferior quality product.” Of course, this statement must be put in perspective. Flexer is comparing the Track One to high-end track fixies, so he is definitely correct. He is merely stating the obvious. What’s more important is whether the quality of the Track One is worth the price.

Not quite. While the Track One is durable enough to function, there are a few specs that make this fixie just not worth it in end:

1)    The crankset and the chain rings are a single unit.

2)    The headset is threaded

3)    The brakes are pretty chintzy

  1. On most fixies, the crank arms are separate from the chainring (the front gears), which allows you to interchange the chainrings as needed. Changing the chainring allows you to adjust the gain ratio, which is very important with only one gear. The Track One has a single crank-chainring set up, and this definitely limits your options.
  2. The headset is threaded, as a opposed to a thread-less headset. Almost all modern bikes today have thread-less headsets, and the lack of one on the Track One definitely shows the lack of quality.
  3. The brakes just don’t seem very durable. Another sign of lacking quality.

My friend, Santigold bought one of these fixies last year, so I tried his out the other day. I was surprised that the Track One rides just fine. Nothing special, just fine. So I can say for sure that the Track One is definitely not for me. But its cheap, and it gets the job done, so it does fill a niche in the fixie community.

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4 Responses to The Wal-mart Fixie

  1. Greg says:

    Perhaps, the Wal-mart fixie would be best for me as a starting bike. Do you think your friend Santigold would mind if I asked him a few questions about it?

  2. If Fixies are showing up at Wal-Mart does that mean they are now officially mainstream?

  3. ricefixie says:

    Yes, the “hipster” fixie of the old days has more or less become mainstream. But the whole “hipster” trend is nearly becoming mainstream, so could fixies be considered “hipster” and mainstream at the same time?

  4. Sonny says:

    Are you into non-fixie bikes? I definitely follow a lot of road racing.

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