In this episode we discuss the pros and cons of buying a mountain bike online. We talk strategies for test riding bikes and share our experiences with assembling bikes delivered directly. Also, we touch on the idea of fully custom bike builds and the risks of buying mountain bikes through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.

# Comments

  • Jim Klaas

    I think the standard bike shop business model is quickly evolving into more of a demo and service model. I shop both at my local shops and online. I am a fan of supporting a local bike shop but many times I find they just don’t have what I want. I do most of my own mechanical work, not because I don’t want to support my local shop but because I really enjoy working my bikes. I believe that the only way to become a better rider is to take care of your own bike. I have also shopped directly from China for some “small” carbon products like water bottle cages, and bars. I have found it to be a mixed bag and wouldn’t trust China direct for something as big as a frame. The small stuff is not only “critical” but fun to try. The shop in my town that give the best service the workers are all “true” believers and the shop is also a bar! The same counter you sit at to talk about your bike being repaired is also the counter yo order a beer from. I love it! I think as time goes on more and more people will shop online and bike shops will be come more and more service and demo shops for bike manufacturers.

    • Aaron Chamberlain

      Thanks for the comment Jim. I think you’re right and there’s a lot of riders out there, like you, that like to work on their own stuff. Check out our episode “Your local bike shop is not trying to screw you” where we talked to a local shop owner, and friend, Chris Tavel. His shop sounds like your local shop, there’s a bar in front of the work area where you can drink a beer and talk to the mechanics. If you’re interested, they’ll even show you what they’re doing so you can learn for yourself.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    Good discussion. I bought two low-end bikes online last year when I was getting into MTB for the first time. I bought a $350 29er hardtail from Nashbar, and a $350 27.5 SS from Bikes Direct. Both bikes shipped fast and were easy for me to assemble. The Nashbar was made in Taiwan and the Bikes Direct was made in China (I’ve since made upgrades to both). This year I did a lot of online shopping and comparing while deciding upon a FS bike. My local bike shop sells Giant bikes and that’s what I ended up buying. The online research allowed me to learn a lot about the many FS bikes that are available and what I could expect for my money. The bike I got from my LBS — a 2015 Giant Anthem SX — is a good bike for the money (=$3,000). I was happy to be able to support my LBS ( a guy who’s married and has a kid) and it was nice that the owner did the assembly, tubeless set up, and suspension set up. He also gives free tune ups for the first year. You don’t get service like that online.

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