Why Smart Shoppers Aren’t Buying Their Bike Parts and Accessories From Aldi

Standard Bike Parts and Accessories Don't Fit Aldi Bicycles

Recently I went looking for a hedge trimmer to keep the front garden from going out of control this Melbourne spring. Low and behold, someone mentioned to me Aldi was doing a catalogue special next week for that exact item. I couldn’t believe my luck. Aldi run some fantastic specials from time-to-time, no doubt about it. From electric tools to sunglasses, pot plants to wheelchairs, bicycles to pet accessories the Aldi weekly specials are an eclectic range well-priced household eveythings. So if you’re considering buying a bicycle from Aldi, or any other supermarket really, here’s something you need to know: Sometimes standard bike parts and accessories don’t necessarily fit cheap ‘supermarket’ style bicycles.

So, what does that mean for the average consumer? Take for example a recent ‘special buy’ promotion Aldi did. A “premium” mountain bike for about $350. On the surface, a cracking deal. But here’s the rub: In an effort to pursue cheap prices it seems they use some seriously weird geometry to put the bike together. Try this out for an example:

A customer of ours purchased a supermarket-brand special buy some time ago and came to us with a problem: the OLD (distance between the inside of the left fork and inside of the right) of his front forks were 100mm. Perfect, standard across all brands and manufacturers, with a 9mm quick release skewer straight the middle. Easy, right? Apparently not so. This particular bike happened to be made with a slightly overlength axle through the hub of around 136mm, presumably to compensate for the strength/weight ratio instead while not pursuing a thru axle option. Supermarkets, it seems, unsurprisngly sometimes use non-standard bike parts in pursuit of cheaper prices. Unfortunately that makes those bikes difficult to service, difficult to buy spare parts for and difficult to use accessories like these. Ok, so manufacturers routinely seek to find ‘better’ ways to keep costs down so no big deal right? Consider this: An awkward width hub makes for an irregular length axle, ergo a slightly longer than standard skewer. If ever the buyer wanted to change or upgrade wheels they’re in for a rude shock: Have you ever tried sourcing a front wheel with a particularly wide hub? Yup, not easy (at least not off the shelf). Is the supermarket brand going to provide you with spare parts upon request so you can buy or build your own wheel? Probably not. And with that, our friendly customer suddenly found himself in a pickle: His Positz bike fork mount didn’t fit his supermarket-brand pride and joy either. You see, Positz is a professional brand of bicycle parts and accessories; they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They use standard length axles accordingly. As for the supermarket in question? Well, let’s just say they’re a professional chocolate milk and grocery supplier and I’m sure they’re good at that…

Still, 350 bucks is a damn good price for a seemingly decent mountain bike but be aware of the experience described above – it may end up costing you more than what you realise in the end. Next time I’m looking for a hedge trimmer I might reconsider the supermarket option and buy one at my local hardware and tools store instead; buyer beware.

Main image for display purposes only, not necessarily representative of the bicycle mentioned in this article.