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Potential problems and issues to consider when you buy bikes online

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

Buying bikes online

When you buy bikes online the choice becomes unlimited and you have access to every brand, model and type of bike available to buy. When you buy bikes online there are often many deals to be had and some great savings to be made, so you get more bang for your buck. With all these advantages when you buy bikes online it is easy to see that the internet is the place to buy your next bike right, or is it?

The internet allows you to see a photograph of the different types of bikes available but it does not always mean you can go and see the bike, sit on the bike or take the bike for a test ride before you buy it. If you live miles away from the online retailer, or the retailer doesn’t have a physical shop there is no way you are going to get to see the bike until it gets delivered. You may get lucky and when the bike is delivered it is perfect for you but then you may also be one of the unlucky ones. The question is “are you willing to take the risk?”

When you buy a bike you need to ensure it is the proper size. You need to make sure the frame is the right size, the stem is the right length, the bars are the right distance away and that the seat can be raised above the crossbar. Different bike manufacturers have different sizing criteria and one company’s small may be another company’s medium. Unless you get to sit on the bike and take it for a test ride you are never going to know though. A bike that is the wrong size is not comfortable to ride and it is going to be a costly mistake. To overcome the sizing issue you could go to a bike shop and find the model you prefer in the correct size, and take it for a test ride to ensure you are comfortable. You could then go home and search the internet for an alternative retailer in order to save some cash. This is fine but when you buy bikes online the problems don’t stop there.

When you buy bikes online there is the issue surrounding delivery. Bikes are large items and the postman can’t simply slip them through the letterbox. Similarly, unless you have access to a large van there is no way you can go and pick up the bike from your local delivery office because the box
used to deliver bikes is simply huge. When buying bikes online you need to ensure you are at home when the bike is delivered, which may involve taking a day off work or making specific plans. This is fine if you are making a good saving but if you are only saving a few bucks this hassle may not be worth it.

When you buy bikes online they arrive in a semi complete state and you have to finish off building them. In order to finish off building the bike you will typically have to bolt on the handle bars, sort out the brakes, put the seat on and bolt on the pedals. The retailer will supply instructions and all the relevant tools to do this and the website will claim how easy it is to do. Building the bike is an easy task and easily achievable, but setting it up is another story. Setting up the brakes and the gears is difficult and the slightest adjustment makes a big difference. Setting up a bike takes a certain degree of skill and if you don’t know what you are doing you are going to struggle. In order to get the bike set up as it should is likely to require a trip to your local bike shop, which is going to be even more hassle and more expense.

With the hassle of sorting out the delivery, the hassle of getting the bike to your local bike shop to be set up and paying to have the bike set up you have to ask the question is it worth buying bikes online. If you can get a huge saving online and manage to buy a cheap road bike or the only place you can get the bike you want is online then you have to buy bikes online. If, however, the additional hassle and costs are too much the only option is to go to your local bike shop. 

To buy bikes online or not to buy bikes online?

 In my experience the shopping experience when you buy bikes online is just too much hassle and not worth it, and I would always recommend going to a local bike shop or, if the bike you want is not available locally, travel further afield in order to buy a bike.

When you go to a bike shop you get to try out several different types of bike so you can see which one is the best one for you. When you buy a bike from a local bike shop they shop will set the bike up for you, which will be free of charge, so you can ensure the bike is ready to ride and everything will work as it should. When you buy a bike from a local bike shop you can collect the bike at your leisure and won’t have to worry about having to stay in for delivery. What’s more is that the bike can easily be carried home in a normal sized car since you won’t have the huge bike delivery box to
deal with.

Only those who know about bikes and know what they are actually buying and know how to set up bikes properly should buy bikes online.



Nov 20, 2011 3:09pm
Really good advise about buying road bikes online.
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