Once upon a time, buying a bike was easy. However, if you’ve been into a bike shop recently, you might have been overwhelmed by the array of choices available. If you’re thinking of buying a bike online, expect even more choices. While that means it’s more likely you’ll get a bike that’s just right for you, it’s wise to start with some ideas to guide you through the maze of bike shopping online.
While there are legitimate concerns when buying a bike online, bike shopping online doesn’t need to be daunting when you follow a common sense guide.
There are several advantages to shopping for a bike online, such as better selection of styles, sizes, colors, and prices. By knowing what you are looking for before shopping, you’ll be able to eliminate the bikes that are not suitable for you and hone in on those that are just perfect for you.
Here are some key things you should consider while shopping for a bike online:
- New or Second-Hand
- Purpose of the Bike
- Personal Touch Required
- Delivery & Assembly
- Cost of the Bike
New or Second-Hand
First things first, you have to decide if you want a new or a used bike. Knowing whether you are in the market for a new bike or one that has already seen some action will change a few things for you while bike shopping online.
For a start, you may need to look in different venues for a used bike vs. a new bicycle.
If you are in the market for a used or pre-owned bike, you can check out places like Craigslist or eBay for great deals on a used bike. If you are looking for a used bike and want to stick to local deals, Craigslist would be the one to check out. The prices may be cheaper and it may be more convenient in terms of delivery or pickup of the bike. eBay offers both used/pre-owned and new bikes on sale and many of the have free shipping specials.
If you are looking for a new bike, then you can check out major retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, REI, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or more specialized bike stores such as BikesOnline or Priority Bicycles, depending on what you are looking for.
Purpose of the Bike
What is your bike for? By knowing whether you will be riding it to work, offroading in extreme weather, or passing the time on a gentle weekend with the family, you’ll be able to hone in on the kind of bike suitable for your needs.
When you are clear about how, when, and where you are likely to be using your bike, you can develop your deal breakers. You’ll know whether your bike needs to be a fast and light city bike or a solid and heavy-duty mountain bike.
Many kinds of bikes are out there, including pedal-assist models, cruisers for the weekend, and fitness bikes for exercise. Know that you need to specialize when you’re bike shopping online, but there is little need to compromise.
Personal Touch Required
If you’ve ridden a bike before, you might have no problem getting a bike that’s the right size and style for you.
Suppose you are relatively inexperienced or have some exceptional circumstances, such as being incredibly tall or overweight.
In that case, you might need some help to get a bike that will be comfortable and that will do as you demand of it.
Asking questions by email, live chat, or on social media can give you some answers that will help you choose the best bike for you. Many of the specialized bike store and bicycle brands have several ways you can ask them for help, including email, live chat or social media.
Delivery & Assembly
Having answered the questions above, choosing and paying for a bike online should be easy.
But don’t forget to factor in the potential difficulty of having it delivered.
While you don’t need to pop into the store, shopping for a bike online with a local bike store might be useful for keeping your delivery costs down and logistics manageable.
Many retailers and specialized bike stores also offer free delivery on certain bike purchases. Some online sellers may also deliver to local bike dealers where you can pick up the bike.
Another thing you have to consider is assembly. This is not something you have to worry if you are buying a pre-owned or used bike. However, new bikes that are bought online would likely need some assembly, although many of them are easy enough to do yourself. Just be sure you have all the proper tools and are comfortable with assembling the bike yourself if you plan to do so. For some of the more expensive and complicated bikes, you may want to have the local dealer assemble them for you.
Cost of the Bike
It’s good to know your budget before you start shopping for a bike online. It’s easy to be tempted by bikes that push you out of your financial comfort zone.
Sometimes, this might be worth it, for example, a better quality bike may save you money in repairs down the road.
As a rule of thumb, consider that a quality bike for an adult is likely to start at around $350. You can get a bike cheaper for casual use, but if you are more serious, you can invest in a better product that will last longer. For about $350 or more, you are investing in a better frame, a sturdy fork, and some kind of suspension. You can also expect rim brakes or disc brakes. The good news is that many of these bikes go on sale and you can sometimes get them at a discount.
If you can stretch to spending up to $1000, you can get a lighter bike, which will be easier to ride. You may achieve better front suspension systems and hydraulic disc brakes. For $1000+, your potential bike gets even better. Typically, this is in the shape of even better suspension and even lighter materials, including wheels and tires.
If you are looking to buy a bike online, the good news is that there are many good deals on bikes. You just have to know what you want and where to find them.