Bike Shopping: Small Shops Vs. Direct Buys

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Cycling, Mountain Bike | Comments Off on Bike Shopping: Small Shops Vs. Direct Buys

In the good old days, bike shops could be found in every town. Times have changed now though, and you either buy a bike from a big box store, online or not at all. Online shopping is becoming the most popular option, mostly due to lower prices.

Shopping online is not without its problems, though. You never get a chance to test a bike out until it is delivered unless you can find a similar model in store. Returning a bad bike is NOT a fun experience either. If there is a bike shop in your area, you can bet that they’ll tell you how annoying bike shopping online can be, especially since it is killing their business!

Bike Shopping In-Store: What To Know

When buying a bike from an actual shop, there are quite a few advantages. Usually, a bike shop worker is well-versed in what they are selling. You get to try out the bike and make sure that it is the right size/style for your needs.

Many bike models will offer different sizes within that model class, and it can make things very confusing. The layman isn’t going to know their ideal tire or seat size off the top of their head. This is where a shop owner comes in handy. A shop owner’s input, along with the test ride, is the best way to find the best bike.

Shops typically come with after-sale benefits as well. You may not think that your bike will need a tune up, but it will. Bike shop warranties are typically better as well, and you won’t have to wait weeks for a replacement if that becomes the case. This isn’t to say that online retailers cannot offer the same benefits, just that they will involve more time.

You’re probably going to pay more money shopping with a small business. Outside of that, there aren’t many downsides to the classic bike shops. They are, unfortunately, a dying breed, though. Some of the best owners have been forced out of business. Those that hang around seem to be of the shadier variety these days. It can take some time and effort to find a good seller. Shops aren’t guaranteed to have your desired model either; these small businesses are finding it harder to predict what needs to be stocked!

Buying A Bike Online Video Guide

Buying From The Manufacturer: What You Need To Know

Buying direct can take on a few different forms. There are some manufacturers that are willing to ship your desired model straight to your front door, regardless of where you live in the world.

There are bike shops, like the ones mentioned above, that are willing to run a mail order service. They can be varied or brand specific. Some retailers work specifically with certain brands even and can get you a great deal because of that partnership.

image of buying online verus local bike shopThe main benefit of this shopping model, though, regardless of the method, is that you get the best bang for your buck. Cutting out the middle man is almost always the ideal way to do business. There’s no need to pay the piper if you don’t have to! You won’t be sacrificing quality either. The bike should be exactly the same, just at a lower cost to you!

You should be able to compare similar bikes using this method as well, and get the same specs for a barebone price. For those of you that consider yourselves thrifty, this should be a major plus!

This method is not without its flaws, though. The chances are that you’re not going to be able to test ride from a direct buyer, unless a demonstration happens to be occurring while you are shopping. That is just the luck of the draw.

You should get the same help though when it comes to finding the right fitting bike for you. No one benefits from a returned bike after all! If this is one of your first bike purchases, though, make sure you ask for as much help as you can get! On the bright side, if you do make a mistake returns are usually hassle free. The seller wants to keep your sale, and will do what it takes to make things right. Be up front and honest and everything should go smoothly.

Recommended Bike Review Sites

Final Steps

If you’re a newer rider, your best bet is probably going to be to go bike shopping in person. This is a purchase that you want to get right, so it is better to put in the time and the effort. There’s nothing quite like testing out a bike in person and talking shop with a real, experienced owner, so make that happen if at all possible.

If you’re well-versed in bike riding, though, your best bet is going to be a direct manufacturer. You don’t need to waste time if you know what you want you just need the best bike at the best price as soon as possible. There’s a slight risk to buying direct, but if you are well educated then nothing should go wrong during this purchase!