Undercut Online
Wednesday April 29th 2009, 7:35 am
Filed under: Advice & Tips

Ever go into a shop and check out bikes only to find they’re out of your price range? Well, if you’re an insensitive ass, there’s a place for you online. I say “insensitive” because I’m being nice. I say “insensitive” because those places online are murdering local businesses, murdering those who want to provide good service and product and want to feed their families.

I’ve heard of it many times, but for some reason I’ve always neglected to visit the site. I will admit, I am pretty shocked at how inexpensive bikes are at bikesdirect.com. What am I missing? How are they able to sell these bikes so cheap? There’s an Ultegra equipped titanium cyclocross bike for 1700 dollars. Isn’t that insane? Do these bikes fall apart or something in a few week’s time? How is this possible?

Photo courtesy of bikesdirect.com

Two things. This bike is ridiculously priced. I’m almost tempted to buy one it’s so cheap—it almost beats any discount I get at the shop. But I won’t, because I want to support the shop I work for, I want to support the local economy and help feed the families around me. I’d rather support those around me who at least care about bikes in ways other than in a money making capacity. And here’s the second part: look at those levers on the handlebars. Is that just perspective, or are they really wholly misaligned? I’m a stickler for details because I think the multitude of minor details in any system contribute entirely to it’s successful operation—no matter the subject. To me, those levers are a major oversight that shatters any confidence that these people know what they’re doing. What else is wrong with the bike I can’t see in this picture? To photograph a product you’re selling, publish it, but not have the sense to make sure the product is correct speaks to me as pure apathy for your product. And that is something else I just can’t support.


* If you want to visit that site, feel free, but you’re going to have to type the URL in yourself.

7 Comments so far
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I have visited that site, but my two bikes came from two different (local) bike shops.

The prices are good, but there is something to be said about a test ride. Getting the bike serviced after the sale is important too. Good luck with that if you are buying online.

I read reviews of bikes purchased through that site. They generally fall into one of two camps:
1) ugh, it’s horrible
2) Great price, and I’m knowledgeable, so I put it together with no problem.

Yep, you’ll have to put it together and adjust everything yourself. A bike shop will tighten everything, air up the tires, and adjust the brakes and derailleurs so that you can ride right out the door.

Comment by David Crowell 04.29.09 @ 4:18 pm

hey now, nobody’s perfect. maybe the wrench that threw it together has one arm shorter than the other. give a guy/gal a break!

Comment by fuckgas 04.29.09 @ 11:08 pm

This is a subject of deep concern for me, living in a society wherein the value of everything is measured in primarily monetary terms. It’s a hard life living with principles, with local values.

Comment by dressedinvalue 04.30.09 @ 12:01 pm

Anyone confident and capable enough to set up a bike purchased online is probably not going to be a service customer either. Yet, it is one more bike on the street and you will see them as they are resold to new owners. Hang in there…

Comment by 3sushis 05.01.09 @ 6:31 pm

I have seen a few bikes from BD.com in person. I’m sure the quality varies widely, but for their bargain basement single-speeds, here’s what I saw:

-Machine built wheels out of true by 3-4mm in either direction.
-Pedal bearings all messed up in one pedal causing a “pop” at the top of each pedal stroke.
-Brakes not centered or in any sort of adjustment
-Nothing else in any sort of adjustment either.
-No grease in lots of places that ought to have grease.

My recommendation is that if you are buying a bike from them, what you are really buying is a complete teardown/rebuild project and that you might want to budget to replace a couple of parts as well- not the ideal situation for the person who wants to, you know, ride their bike as opposed to investing in time/tools/energy to do the wrenching themselves.

My suggestion is that when somebody rolls into the shop with one of these, give them an estimate to tear it down to the frame, face/chase, reassemble/true and adjust. The customer will either pay up and appreciate a little bit about the true cost, or walk out (but they’ll be back in a year looking to replace the whole thing!)

Comment by Matt 05.08.09 @ 2:53 pm

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