This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
An article at Spiegel Online gave me the idea to post my experiences why I buy my bikes online.
So far I have bought all my road bikes online. Preferably at Rose. One but also at Canyon. I was satisfied every time.
My first purchase of a road bike
Already my first road bike I bought 2012 online. At Rose. Of course, I’ve been thinking back and forth for a long time. Once, I was very close to buy a Carver bike at a big bike. I only needed the shop assistant to say something like, “You can not go wrong with this bike.” Instead, he said, “I was able to climb every mountain with these gears so far.” He was about 20-25 years younger than me. Especially as a road bike beginner the statement didn’t help me at all. So I left without buying it. A little later I bought my bike online from Rose.
The bike was eve more expensive than the one from the shop. But I was sure it was the right one. Of course, I had to do the job: I read a lot of articles, followed the road bike tests in the magazines. And of course I compared the bikes from the bike shops with the online offers. Online I could get more for the money. Obviously.
Online or local shop
There are always articles that figure out the pros and cons of buying at a shop and buying online. In general it’s always the same core messages.
The higher price is justified because:
- you can test the bike,
- you get advice and guidance and
- the bike will be adjusted.
Well. Let’s see:
1. Testing the bike
I could to try the Carver bike at the yard of the shop. That did not really help. You need a longer tour to get a feeling for the bike. Renting a bike over the weekend is almost a promise to buy it. And it’s not easy to find a shop where this service is provided. However, there are a few events where you can try a bike. Recommendable is the Roadbike-Festival at Mallorca. Unfortunately only a few companies are participating.
2. Guidance and advice
I think it is very difficult to find really good advice. The local dealer wants to sell what’s already in the shop. Logical. New models enter on the market. If he orders a bike, it is not guaranteed it will be sold. And the other one is still in the shop. Therefore, he has more the intention to sell the bike which is already there. The recommendation will be suitable for that bike, I guess. That’s exactly what happened with a friend of mine. He got the bike for a “special price”. But it was a pure race bike. A marathon bike with an easier geometry would have been much more useful for him. Especially as as he was also a beginner.
3. Adjusting the bike
Of course you have to be clear first what type of bike you want. So you have to inform yourself about the different categories and products. Do you want a race bike? Then you know you sit in a stretched and athletic position on the bike. If you do not want that, there are marathon bikes. There you sit more upright and relaxed. Or do you prefer an agile cross or gravel bike because you also want to cycle off road? You have to take that decision and pick a bike that suits your budget. This decision is regardless of whether you buy the bike at the dealer or online.
To determine the size of the bike only a few parameters are necessary. When ordering online you need the inseam length and the shoulder width. That’s it. The inseam length is needed to determine the frame size. The shoulder width should be known for the selection of the handlebar width.
And then the bike will fit. Nevertheless, the bike can still be optimized. The saddle can be adjusted in height. Logical. But it can also be moved slightly forwards or backwards. There are spacers through which the handlebar height can be adjusted. If the handlebar is higher, you sit upright and relaxed. (Therefore, in case of doubt, it is better to use a spacer when buying a wheel.) Shortening is always possible, lengthening becomes difficult.) The position can be adjusted by replacing the handlebar stem. But the bike will fit. I’m sure.
I buy online
Resulting that the three criteria for the local dealer are quite relative. It’s different if you already found a real good shop. And he’s so good that you are prepared to set some euros on it. Because he is really good, reliable and a fast mechanic. This shop may exist. In all other cases I recommend buying online. No doubt about it.
Skills in craftsmanship
You need some skills in craftsmanship. But not much. Loosen one screw and tighten it again. That’s almost all you have to know. It is recommended to use a torque wrench so as not to damage the screw connections. You get a torque wrench already for about 40 Euro. Eine einmalige Anschaffung.
Assembling the delivered bike
At the Rose bike I didn’t even have to mount the headset as written in the Spiegel-articel. The handlebar was only twisted. At the Canyon bike it still had to be mounted. Apart of that, only the front wheel is to be mounted. Then mount the handlebar if necessary, set it straight and screw it tight. And of course, adjust the saddle to the correct height. Done. That’s it.
Did you make similar experiences with online retailers? Or completely different ones? Or did you find “your” local dealer? Write to me! I’m interested in your experiences.
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