Re: debunking myths about walmart bikes
Manufacturers certainly do make different levels of quality and not just bikes. Tool manufacturers do it as well as auto parts. They look the same but some of if not most of the components are different much like the fishing reel that was mentioned. I took a dewalt drill from Home depot to be repaired at a repair shop and the guy looked at the model number and said he couldn't get parts for it because it was a throw away. He then showed me what looked like an identical drill but the model numbers were different. My friend owns a auto parts store and he tiold me there were 3 levels of quality in auto parts by most manufacturers even with light bulbs.
As far as the Wal-mart bikes go I wouldn't trust the wheels at minimum. I also believe that if that's what you can afford then buy one as long as you inspect the bike often for issues. I personally would get good quality wheels and brakes for safety's sake. I nearly got into a serious accident because of a cheap hub failing at speed with no warning. You can get by with a cheap bike but in my opinion you'd be better off with a quality used bike.