Buying a Bike From a Shop Versus Buying Online

Jan 18, 2023 at 17:15
by Dario DiGiulio  
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Every spring there is an influx of riders keen to get into mountain biking, and at Pinkbike and Outside, we know that these newcomers are often overwhelmed with information and opinions. So, we’re launching a multi-part series called MTB Explained, where we help new riders navigate some of the basics of our sport. If you’re new, welcome to the best damn sport in the world, and if you’re a long-time rider let’s welcome these folks to the club.




So you've decided to buy a new bike, congrats! You're certainly making the right decision, your kids don't need that trip to Disneyland this year and your car definitely isn't making a weird noise. Validation aside, once your sights are set on a new ride the decision as to where to buy it can be pretty tricky, given all the options available.

As one of the more hotly contested debates in the cycling industry, the issue of where to buy your bike will always be a testy one for those who feel invested in the matter. To provide some context and background, the rising trend of direct-to-consumer bike brands may feel brand new, but has actually been around for some time, starting as far back as 1996 with Canyon's first foray into online bike sales. With the rise of online shopping in general, the Direct sales model has started to eat up more and more of the traditional brick and mortar bike shop business. Retail bike sales are a critical part of the business model for many shops, with service and smaller non-bike sales filling in the rest of the coffer. For the sake of transparency, I worked for years as a mechanic at a small local bike shop, and hold a lot of love for the culture and community that a good bike shop can create for customers and employees. Call it bias, call it experience, just something to consider.

I have too many thoughts on this topic, so in the interest of simplicity, I'll break it down to a few critical parts: Quality/Value, Test Riding, and Service.

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With bikes being as good as they are these days, we're spoiled for choice.

Quality and Value

Leading off, we have one of the main reasons that drives people to online retailers: the price. Compared to the traditional brick & mortar bike shop model, the overhead and distribution costs are relatively small for consumer-direct brands. This leads to a lower overall cost, even when comparing two bikes with very similar spec kits.

That said, as the online retail market heats up, as it progressively has for a few years now, that value proposition is starting to wane. Prices haven't quite equalled out, but online brands have started to work a heavier profit into their pricing, similar to the trajectory many tech startups follow. Start low, and slowly raise prices to the target point.

It's no mystery that many local bike shops have struggled with the competition posed by online retailers, but that's only half the picture. In order to keep their retail bikes selling, companies that don't sell online have had to work quite a bit harder to get people to make the effort to get into the shop and pick up the newest model. This means more competitive pricing, incentives for in-shop buying, and harder marketing pushes.

Somewhere between those two options are the brands taking the omnichannel approach. Notably, some massive industry players like Specialized and Trek have made this shift, to very mixed reactions. Alicia wrote about the change at Specialized last year in a well-considered piece showing the value of both sides.

Essentially, this shift results in the brand being able to sell both online and in-store, a win-win for the big companies. This can also be a more convenient experience for the customer, as their online purchase can be delivered to their local dealer, with the mechanics there assembling and prepping the bike.

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Fun in a box.

For as tight as pricing is starting to get, quality is even tighter. It used to be that many direct-to-consumer brands had a bad rap for producing low-quality frames, with solid componentry slapped on to dress things up. That's far from the case now, with some of the higher end retail-only brands now being matched in quality by the online competition. Thankfully you have us at Pinkbike to be the arbiters of quality, so stay tuned to the reviews to come should you need some guidance.

Test Riding

In my mind, this is the single biggest argument for going to a bike shop, as opposed to shopping online. Same as trying on a pair of shoes, you really should hop on a bike to at least check the general fit before pulling the trigger on a pretty hefty purchase. Many online retailers do offer some sort of return policy, but the hassle of that is immense when compared to the guidance and ease of pedaling a few options at your local shop.

To be fair, all brands have sizing tables that tend to include rider height and whatnot, but that's a pretty vague starting point for something that matters a lot to your ride experience. I've seen far too many people on bikes that don't fit them, even though they might've been in the height bracket provided by a given manufacturer.

I'll use myself as an example: I'm 6'3", and according to just about every sizing table out there I should ride either an XL or XXL, depending on the brand. However, I really like bikes with around 485mm reach, which ends up being most brands' size L, given the trend of ever-lengthening frames. I'd probably get along well enough with the bike recommended to me by the size charts, but I know for certain that I'm riding better and having more fun on the bikes I had a chance to feel out first.

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Always good to get a feel for bike fit before settling on a purchase.

Service

For the longest time, service was the main argument for buying a bike at a traditional shop, as online sellers simply couldn't offer the long-term care that a local shop provides. However, with the new omnichannel *shudder* approaches some brands are taking, there's more follow-up available to folks who buy their bikes directly from the brand.

Operationally, this is no different for the consumer, as they simply go to the bike shop in question and pick up their Trek, Specialized, etc. after it's been built up by one of the mechanics there. On the shop's end of things, they still make a cut of the sale, but without much say on what their profit margin is, and without being able to control their inventory. This also removes one of the nice elements of buying a model off the floor of a shop, which I'll call the pre-sale parts swap. Say you want that hot new downcountry whip, but you don't like the cockpit it comes with. Many shops will offer an upgrade to something more in line with your preference, and discount you some for the replacement of the original parts - also meaning you won't have to try to sell those bars afterwards. A small detail, but those things add up, and often result in a bike that better suits you and your needs.

Handlebar vs stem length
Plenty of folks can't settle for stock parts.

As a response to this parts-swapping issue, many consumer-direct brands have worked some sort of a-la-carte approach into their builds, with varying levels of parts selection available. Commencal and Fezzari seem to be leading the charge on this front, with the full gamut of options available to the consumer, down to the seatpost clamp and headset. The fully-custom build has always been a feature of the boutique bike shop, but the disconnect with online stores has always meant the reach is relatively small. One of my local shops, Fanatik Bike Co., has built an online custom bike builder that allows people to build up the ride of their dreams from a variety of brands that don't typically retail online in this fashion. It's a very clever system if you ask me, and I could see more local shops offering a similar service to compete with consumer-direct options.

Some Conclusions

In the end, you have to make the decision that's right for you, depending on your wants and needs. If you're looking for the all-out cheapest option, it's still hard to beat the online sellers - the prices are too low to argue with if you're simply trying to get into the sport. For people who want a bike that's going to be best suited for them, and who value the experience and service of a local bike shop, the in-person experience is going to be the best move. No amount of slick packaging can replace the care of a well-seasoned bike mechanic, even as consumer-direct brands start to flesh out their service channels, through mobile shops and permanent shops. There are plenty of brands and stores out there to choose from these days, it's just a matter of finding the one that feels right to you.

Happy buying, and happy trails!

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
190 articles

323 Comments
  • 257 1
 Or you can buy my used bike off the buy and sell. I’m doing you very good price innit.
  • 32 0
 very good price indeed... wheels are worth more than the bike
  • 16 5
 yup...the last "new" bike I bought was in the year 2000 I think.
  • 30 2
 As way say locally - used it for 3 rides, wasn't my size - never raced it.
  • 25 1
 How do you even ride with that saddle position? Big Grin
  • 12 0
 I swear Banshee has the worst resale value of any major-ish brand. I would know, I've sold two here for barely more than the frame is "worth", according to Banshee.
  • 6 2
 @V7V: Lady driven!
  • 14 0
 @valrock: on steep climbs it is flat. keeps the pressure off the gentlemans fruit basket.
  • 2 0
 That sim chair is pretty dope!
  • 13 0
 @corposello: no one who owns a Banshee “only rides XC trails” and “never crashed”. Them bikes are loved hard
  • 4 0
 @corposello: thank god I love banshees!
  • 3 0
 @DJTC: Yep, works a treat,
Also helps to artificially steepen the STA.

May i suggest trying the @aenomolycomponents switchgrade,
It is pretty awesome, and is even better in the descend mode
  • 5 0
 I have stopped doing this with the sales and lifetime warranties you can now get.

Why save a few hundred and have no warranty?
  • 1 0
 @DJTC: gotta protect the wedding tackle
  • 4 0
 Well played on the free Ad promotion!
  • 1 0
 @corposello: I know that feeling all too well, great bikes and those that got them off me got a fantastic deal
  • 1 0
 @valrock: Great for riding wheelies....
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: exactly, warranty is everything with these new bikes, they break so often that is really does beg the question why would I want one that has been on friday fails and is just waiting to reveal that stress fracture.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: Seems like the money you save buying used doesn’t offset the suspension/bearing service that is likely overdue. Plus the risk of buying someone’s lemon. Clapped out fork? Sell it. Persistent and unidentifiable creak? Flip it. No thanks.
  • 3 0
 I'm confused by your title: "2021 Banshee rune v2". This is a V2, but the V2's were made until 2018. Then from 2019 to 2021 it was the V3 (V3.2 frames released in March 2022). So this is at best, at "2018 Banshee Rune V2". Definitely not a 2021.

This may be part of why it's taking so long to sell. People get squirrely about mis-labeled bikes (intentional?). Especially when there is so much choice out there.
  • 1 4
 @islandforlife: yeah that is a valid point. I actually couldnt remember what model year it was. likely the 2018 if that's when they stopped making them. I just know I bought it in 2020 and didn't ride until early 2021. It has since then seen many many miles and lots of good times. Frankly glad i didnt buy a v3 as that would have cracked by now.

I think the market is saturated, so many people got new bikes in the last few years so either dont need a bike or are trying to sell their own.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: idk i use velosurance on used expensive bikes. Covered for theft and breakage
  • 159 1
 Love buying online. Get drunk on some whiskey and next thing you know a new bike shows up in 4 days. It’s the best thing ever.
  • 24 0
 Yes! This is when my confidence in my purchases are the strongest! “You know what, you deserve that bike! It will make you happy,” I say after a few beers.
  • 9 1
 Half my 4x4 stuff comes like that
  • 4 1
 Oh my God, hero status mate... Hero status
  • 5 0
 not me, oh no, I'd never do that......
£300 RC car shows up..
  • 3 0
 @naptime: Hopefully not a Traxxas lol
  • 4 2
 @asdfg3: Arma Vorteks Boost as I'm a complete newb, 4WD kit coming later. Started aboot a month ago with an FMS 24 Power Wagon because RC crawlers are the kewl MTB'ers Kewl second hobby :'D So then obviously I had to get a Max Smasher for indoor monster trucking. An then I was HOOKED! :'D
(was looking at a HPI but, reviews said they can be a bit fragile)
  • 3 0
 @naptime: Pretty cool, you'll be buying a gyro and brushless system soon lol just don't go burning your house down, lipos are scary good at burning through plasterboard.
  • 2 0
 @asdfg3: gonna be a while before that!
  • 2 0
 @asdfg3: need to find a 1974 Ford F-150 shell first
  • 2 0
 @naptime: RC cars is worse than bikes for me, new cars keep showing up at the house about every 2 weeks or so. My recent purchase is being used to pull my sons wagon around the garden
  • 3 0
 God isn't that the truth of it too! My phone probably should know when im drinking and not allow me to make online purchases. Its sure fun though.
  • 2 0
 @naptime: hpi racing has been in and out of business so I’d say avoid them because parts are hard to come by. Personally I have several RCs from hpi and I love them but I probably won’t be buying from them again. Only hope would for them to be bought out by horizon hobby.
  • 2 0
 @naptime: I've seen a 1976 F150 shell before, Carrisma made it or something
Also don't run it in wet or muddy weather, it will do it but the fun to frustration ratio swings massively against fun when you have to clean it and replace bearings.
  • 148 28
 I bought my YT online despite all the doom and gloom of the internet. "Putting it together is only for those seasoned mechanics." "Good luck with the warranty." "You're killing your local bike shop."

Putting it together couldn't have been any easier if they tried. If you can adjust your seatpost, install pedals, and adjust your brake levers, you can "build" a direct to consumer (DTC) bike. But there are plenty of people out there who don't even want to do that, and they're more than happy to buy locally. But for those who don't mind, and would like to save a fair amount of cash, buying a DTC shouldn't be thought of as something scary.

"Good luck with the warranty." As if dealing with a local shop can be much better. Both DTC companies and those who operate with independent retailers still all rely on getting parts. The warranty is only as good as the company behind it, and has nothing to do with how it was delivered.

"You're killing your local bike shop." Look, everyone has to eat, I get it. But some people literally can't afford to pay the premium most shops charge when a DTC can offer the same, or sometimes more, for less. That's why I went with a YT over any brand offered in a shop. I'm also not willing to haggle with someone in a local bike shop. I hate buying cars, I don't want to hate buying bikes.
  • 33 112
flag Weberxy FL (Mar 1, 2023 at 13:07) (Below Threshold)
 Dann repariere dein verficktes yt gefälligst selbst und belästige auf keinen fall deine fachhändler vor ort!!!! falls du das trotzem machst ist dein fachhändler hoffentlich schlau genug um dir minimum 100usd für seinen aufwand (mail, verpackung und logistik) zu verrechnen. wenn du auf den fachhandel beim kauf verzichtest dann gibt es keinen grund für dich für eine reparatur zum händler in deiner nähe zu gehen.
  • 15 2
 @Weberxy: muhahahaha
  • 107 91
 Nobody in your local bike shop wants to haggle with you either, it's one of the most annoying things people do when they're buying a bike. (Tight competition with "I bought this random assortment of parts online because they were so cheap, can you put them on my bike today? I'm in a hurry" and "I bought this bike online and put it together myself, do you know why brakes/ suspension/ shifting/ headset don't work?")

Some people have the know- how to assemble a bike they buy online and want to take advantage of the lower prices and that's fine, but if you think it's a better experience than going into a shop and talking to someone who's passionate about connecting people with outdoor recreation then you've been spending too much time on the internet.
  • 12 8
 @Weberxy: this made my day großes kino
  • 29 13
 @Portland-maine: I disagree
  • 40 1
 @Weberxy: you’re just turning away work! Say you move to a new town and bring your bike into a shop that sells the brand you have- are they going to turn you away for service just because you didn’t buy your bike there? What’s the difference? Most margin is in labor and parts anyway. In the US at least. Bikes are bikes… love them all!
  • 31 8
 @Portland-maine: That's a long way of writing "you're wrong if you don't think like me."
  • 64 8
 @Portland-maine: Going to a shop where employees get annoyed at sales negotiations and service requests does sound like a terrible experience.
  • 16 3
 @Weberxy: Wieso denn so wütend?

I don’t know, guys. There are advantages and disadvantages to buying online. I’d say the advantages weren’t what they were 5-10 years ago. You used to be able to get good deals online, but now shops and online are about equal. Shops had to compete. They caught on and matched online prices for the most part. Or they told manufacturers that online sales were killing their business, so manufacturers told online distributors that prices need to match up with the MSRP.

I bought a bike once from a direct to consumer brand. Won’t do it again. It’s the only bike I ever bought that I wasn’t satisfied with. You spend this kind of money, you definitely want to try it out first.
  • 41 4
 @Portland-maine: Bike shops need to price bikes accordingly then. Maybe put interested customers on a list for when it needs to be cleared at a sale price. As many have noted in the post, unfortunately many of those "passionate" mountain bikers also give off a solid "bro" vibe, and if you don't fit into their oh so cool demo, you get poor service if not outright attitude. It's certainly not all shops/employees, but it seems to be pervasive in the industry. That said I still try to support lbs, but there's more than one I'll never go back to.
  • 28 26
 @Portland-maine: Hard agree. The price is the price is the price. You don't haggle MEC over the products they sell. Pony up or gtfo.If it's on sale, it's on sale. If it ain't, it ain't.
  • 10 1
 @Weberxy: Heul leise!
  • 10 0
 I've had good experiences with Canfield on the customer service side. They are DTC and happily replaced broken frame bits without charging a dime. You've got to be comfortable taking on / off a rear triangle, and a new rider probably wouldn't be, but then you can always take the mess to your LBS.
  • 3 0
 @WaterBear: I think that's was the point. DtC works well for some people (shout-out to fellow Canfield rider!), but if you follow any online forums (including this one), there are way more people that overestimate their mechanical skills and suffer for it than there are people who are genuinely aware of their limitations.
  • 43 11
 @Portland-maine: Ug, your comment wreaks of the same arrogance I've experienced in shops my whole life. Maybe I've just been unlucky, but I'd say no more than 1 in 5 bike shop experiences has been positive, so much so I take note when they are. So for me, buying online was a no brainer, I could care less about supporting the arrogant hipster at the lbs rocking his stache and beany, pretending he's much too busy to deal with me. YT was awesome, and have had better customer service than most bike shops.
  • 20 1
 @shagolagal: my favorite it going to a shop and the bros working there are too cool to offer good service. If you own a bike shop, service is literally the only thing you’ve got. I’ve had great experiences too, but if your people aren’t super friendly and knowledgeable you’re shooting yourself in the foot, maybe the face.
  • 20 0
 I am %100 all about supporting local bike shops and bike shop brands.. Until last week when I ordered a YT with a XO1 AXS /Fox factory build for $5200cad during the sale. Literally half the price as any other brand with an equivalent build
  • 11 17
flag NWintheUSA (Mar 1, 2023 at 17:53) (Below Threshold)
 @Portland-maine: 100% correct
  • 22 0
 @txcx166: I spent about 6 years wrenching in shops throughout high school and college. I’ll admit, when I first started as a teenager I developed that all-to-familiar smug and condescending attitude towards customers. It didn’t take long to grow past that because obviously; helping people purchase/fix their bikes is kinda the point of working at a bike shop, and customers who don’t know what they’re doing (which is fine) are far more likely to seek maintenance help than those who do.
  • 23 8
 @Portland-maine: false. I walked in to my local specialized dealer with cash in hand wanting to buy an ANGI equipped helmet. They flat out told me they wouldn’t order any new helmets until they sold what they had in stock. Cool story, specialized now sells direct. Way better experience because they actually wanted to sell something. It was suck a good experience I bought a bike direct from specialized as well, love my status. Those people in the shop are not passionate about the outdoor community, just passionate about acting like it’s cool to work in a bike shop… which as an adult isn’t that impressive anymore.
  • 23 0
 @lostlunchbox: the shop I worked at for two years use to get upset about customers who only stopped during sales. I was the customer my own work hated.

I am literally that person. Almost everything I buy in life is on sale or clearance (groceries, clothes, bikes, phones and skis). I don't get the newest and greatest anything but I like the thrill of shopping for the deal.
  • 7 18
flag onawalk (Mar 1, 2023 at 19:12) (Below Threshold)
 Imma be honest here man, youre comment reaks of clickbait cliches, like youre looking for any sort of attention, whether good, bad or indifferent.

So here goes

No one has ever said any of those things to you,
You do not have to "haggle" at any store, simply pay the price marked on the tag and frig the hell off. If you want to pay less, buy used, or try to haggle, no one cares.
Saying you dont have the money to pay premium at a bike shop is a piss poor justification for anything. If you want to buy a DTC bike, then buy a DTC bike. Jeez

Just pay for what you want and move on, youve made a big deal about nothing
  • 2 8
flag TheRamma (Mar 1, 2023 at 19:28) (Below Threshold)
 @Moonie2123: damn, you gotta a lot of anger to unpack there...
  • 19 1
 @lostlunchbox: unless I need something that day, I straight up will not go to my LBS anymore because of how sexist they are to my wife when she goes in. It’s insane the difference in treatment between us just because of gender and because she doesn’t ride as hard as a “core” local bro dude. Pretty sad state of affairs
  • 2 7
flag TheRamma (Mar 1, 2023 at 21:39) (Below Threshold)
 @SillyTadpole: I mean, I get it, but don't you think that's a pretty personal exception? Or do you think that DtC brands are uniformly committed to smashing the patriarchy?
  • 7 9
 @Portland-maine: If they don't want to haggle then why do most bike shops offer such steep discounts to those willing to haggle?

Answer: because they usually have large enough margins that they're able to, just like auto dealerships.
  • 1 0
 Yep,canyon warranty is actually easier than from a bike shop because they pick it up from your house and drop it back.
  • 9 2
 @Weberxy: First of all, it's rude to write in german on pinkbike. I get your point, but on the other side, shops don't work for free. Your local shop will charge you for new parts for your YT. So your argumentation falls short. I like my local shop! I buy a lot there, like my main enduro bike. But i still buy stuff (even bikes) online. Cheers.
  • 6 2
 @Portland-mainI know too many bike shops here that have ruined my equipment because they don't know what they are doing on anything beyond a Cannondale Scalpel. You'd think the difference between single and dual caliper brakes is not that big that it would be a mind bender to them... I've literally had to learn to work on my own bike because most mechanics can't do it right...e:
  • 4 0
 @Ryan2949: @Ryan2949: Related, the shop I used to be at would do substantial promos on service packages during the (Canadian) winter months when we had quite a bit more discretionary time for big jobs (ie. wasn't as busy and trying to get some service $ in the door). To give 50% off full overhaul packages (excluding parts) was a great deal given the work we (mostly the head tech) did yet we didn't get as many bikes in the door as we thought. I guess "deal" and priorities are subjective.

As far as the rest, you can definitely walk into a bad shop with a bad vibe. I was an adult working in this shop as a later-in-life/mental health change and while there could be some stressors, I really enjoyed doing the service customer greets, service writing, and trying to get someone the best bang for their "bike shop dollar", whether it was fixing what they had or considering a new upgrade. As someone with mechanical and warranty experience, DTC doesn't scare me but sizing a bike does. That can be an expensive experiment. I've already discovered late in life I have a shorter than "average" inseam and it makes me rethink my current fleet.
  • 16 5
 @Portland-maine: I don't buy online because it's cheaper. I buy online to avoid dealing with your ilk and I'd happily pay extra for the privilege.

If I buy a bike assembled by you, I'll have to service it myself before the first ride to stop it from being a liablility anyway, so what exactly should I pay your margin for? And the post purchase "service"? Lol. I'm never letting a bored shop kid touch my bikes. Ever.
  • 4 0
 @TheRamma: it’s definitely not about brands ethos dude, I think that’s fairly clear from my comment. It’s about supporting a business that doesn’t respect its customers and has a shitty attitude.
  • 12 0
 Often in rural areas the local bike shop may be the only game in town and they know and flaunt it. I went to the LBS store a few years back looking for a basic pair of shorts. Everything on the rack was $150+. When I asked for something under the $100 range the response I got was akin to spitting in the guys face. He would take 10% off if I bought 2 pairs. Had to go to same bike shop for a pair of flat pedals a few weeks ago. In store $80 and same pedals online were $53. Said I'd like to support store and buy from them and could they match price or do a bit better. Response was "I'll take 5%" off. Unfortunately without a massive disposable income the price point online is often SO much better. With a LBS unwilling to work with the customer on pricing I've had to go that route.

As for maintenance, buy a fairly simple wrench kit and go to YOUTUBE. Huge resource. I'm no wrench head at all but I've gained a ton of knowledge on bike maintenance and repair simply by going to YouTube.
  • 3 1
 @Weberxy:

die Fachhändler reparieren gern Versender Bikes, die Kunden müssen den Service doch genauso zahlen und der Händler verdient Geld.
Und haben potentielle Kunden für Zubehör im Haus.
Bestenfalls sogar Werbung, falls sie sich nicht wie die letzten Motherf... Gegenüber dem Kunden verhalten haben.
  • 2 0
 YT has been fantastic with after purchase support for me. They sent me a brand new carbon rear triangle free of charge even after I told them it was 100% my fault and offered to pay. I also have a bike purchased from my local shop, so I see the value in both.
  • 9 16
flag Portland-maine FL (Mar 2, 2023 at 5:42) (Below Threshold)
 Wow, a lot of people on this thread have never worked retail, lol.

Almost all customers are great, they come into bike shops because they're excited about bikes and that's awesome. There's a small minority that are a pain, just like there's a small minority of shops/ shop employees that are jerks.

But, for everyone on here saying how terrible every shop they've ever been to is: if you got fired from every job you've ever had it's pretty likely that you're at fault, and if you hated every shop you've ever been into it's pretty likely that you're one of those minority of bad customers.
  • 16 0
 @Portland-maine: I’ve worked retail for years in the past- even at a bike shop. I do my best to be a kind and patient person. It is still a challenge to find a bike shop that doesn’t treat me with condescension and disregard. I’ve event spent upwards of 7k on a bike at my local lbs to then receive poor service, unsafe mechanic work, and disappointing communication. I wish it were different but I think many people on this thread have valid points.
  • 3 1
 @TheR: that’s not what happened. bike shops don’t set prices unless they are having a sale, and then those prices are less than msrp. Manufacturers set the prices. Like the article said, dtc companies have been raising their prices (and profit margins) as their brands grow.
  • 5 0
 Bought a YT as well and their customer service has really improved. I really love their company. BIKE was incredibly easy to put together. Same with Commencal.
  • 16 0
 @Portland-maine: Worked at a ski shop for years. Definitely are bad customers out there, BUT they tend to have a bad attitude, are argumentative, or overly demanding. The ones who ask for a deal and are polite or bring their own stuff to the shop for us to take a look at was never an issue because they were passionate about skiing and wanted to get advice/share the passion w/ us. I think that's pretty cool. I get SUPER frustrated with shops who get all pissy when people bring materials in that they need help installing on their bikes because it wasn't bought directly at the shop. Take the business, gain a loyal customer, and shut up. You should celebrate a fellow rider getting a good deal on something that's going to improve their experience. Long story short, the customer doesn't owe you anything. You gotta earn their respect/trust/business, end of story.
  • 1 0
 @olafthemoose: That’s what I said. They set an MSRP, and they’re holding the online retailers (Jenson, Competitive Cyclist, Cambria, etc.) more strictly to them than they used to. I wasn’t speaking to Direct to Consumer brands at all in terms of pricing — just that I bought a DTC bike once, and I didn’t have a chance to test it out first. Won’t do that again.

As for the DTC prices, they’re lower, but it’s not like youre gettting twice the bike for the money. Maybe 20 percent more.:.
  • 8 0
 @Portland-maine: You're going on the assumption that all bike shops are created equal and that all their employees know WTF they are talking about...

"Why do you want that tire, it's like over 900 grams...that's really heavy" (has no idea who I am, where I ride)

"What is Tri-flow?" (still amazed by this)

Odd look, like when a dog doesn't understand when I ask for a length of SP-41.

I've watched someone pull a cable out of the bulk box and have it drag across the shop floot on the way to the register...
  • 4 4
 @snowwcold55: you're 100% right. Anyone who comes in with a good attitude is great. We're always happy to help them install stuff whether they bought it online or at the shop, and even teach them how to do some work on their own. It's the people who come in and are demanding about getting things done immediately, or are obnoxious, talk down to the employees, etc. that are super frustrating.
  • 8 1
 @mnorris122: Cash is King brother, so i'm haggling the sale of that $6700 bike. (Especially in the current market) You don't wanna make a deal and move that product, fine, there are plenty of other shops within a short drive. Have a nice day!!
  • 4 0
 @SonofBovril: Just like cars, it's hard to find someone that not only knows what they're doing, but isn't out to screw you.
  • 2 0
 @endoguru: I bought my second bike from a local bike shop, but it was on sale. This shop seemed to be a larger dealer with Specialized so their pricing reflected Specialized's pricing. I had apparently "missed" the Spring sale, but they called Specialized and got them to honor the price. They've been awesome. They changed the tires to tubless when I bought the bike for free, and offered a huge discount on parts for weeks.

I don't think DTC or LBS is better than the other, it just comes down to a consumer's price sensitivity.
  • 3 1
 @snowwcold55: "Take the business, gain a loyal customer, and shut up."

Holy shit yes! Businesses that don't get this simple concept don't deserve to be in business. I live close to World Wide Cyclery, who basically only sells dentist's bikes, but they will gladly work on anything at the drop of the hat. I love them and they've gained a life long customer.
  • 2 0
 @Petemoss: This. If I go into my LBS for something trivial like a tube or CO2 cartridge, I can rest assured it will be Specialized brand and cost 2-3x what it should. They seem to be largely out of touch with the desires/needs of the broader overall market and apparently exist to serve a select few customer bases (high disposable income and low knowledge/care = willingness to buy whatever the LBS recommends, and then alternatively there is the comfort bike crowd that just want something to slowly pedal around the bike paths). If you're a person into MTB who does not have limitless funds, it's a useless place. And then the snobbery is just a whole other thing entirely.
  • 1 4
 @Petemoss: Just so that I'm crystal clear, You want the local bike shop (who has to keep people employed, the lights on, and the mortgage paid) to sell you stuff below the cost you can find it online?

I try to support bikeshops where i can, and advocate to all my friends to do the same. Those shops support us, the riders like us in ways that some dont always realize. They support the organizations that build trails, organizations that provide trail advocacy, and youth programs, that also in turn support the bike shops, kinda cyclical.

You can always find a cheaper version of what you want, but dont expect the LBS to drop their prices maybe below what they paid, to give you a deal.
Thankfully we are moving past the days of "giving a buddy a deal" if youre buddies, support your buddies, and dont expect that people should give stuff away.
  • 1 2
 @mca896: Strange
Bike shops, like most retail operations make a lot of their money on volume. By percentage, shops dont make the most of their money on the big bike sales, they make it on high volume, high return items like tubes, clothes, etc.
You believe the LBS's are mostly out of touch, and arent meeting your needs? I think we, as the very vocal minority think that we are much more importatn than we really are.

The bulk of the market, is not niche mountain bikers by and large, its regular mtb's, commuter, and road bikes. So they might be meeting the needs of their larger market.

Here in town we have shops that cater to niche mtbers, so I'm fairly lucky, but for the most part, I dont buy branded clothes, I do all my own service, and mostly go into shops to look at cool new gear, shoot the shit, and see whats going on.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Good point. We are such a vocal minority that it makes it feel like a majority at times.
  • 1 1
 @mca896: It does for sure,
We surrond ourselves with like minded individuals, and think we are the most important user group, when in reality, all the shops I worked at, outsold Hybrid bikes 20:1 full sus mtbs.
I recognize thatthere are shops that sell MTbs only, and specialize in DH, or Enduro, or XC, but their sales pale in comparison to the general bikes, and commuter bike sales.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: I never asked or expected to pay below cost for any product and never implied that. I do understand they have to run a business but when a MSRP on a product on MANY other sites states $53 and they sell it for $80 there is a bit of discrepancy there. I only asked to match or if they could do a bit better on price. It was not so much that they offered to take 5% off but the air of arrogance at which they did. I understand biking and bike products are expensive. I don't have a ton of funds left over after mortgage, gas, food, kids activities etc. I try to find products that are quality and fit my price point and keep me riding. Unfortunately MY (not all) LBS is unwilling to price products competitively (often OVER MSRP) so I go the online route. And I make no apologies for doing so. And props to you for supporting your local LBS, sounds like you have a good one.
  • 2 0
 @Petemoss: the amount of times I caught my previous employer overpriced items (a lot of shimano stuff) was endless.

If an item ever went into the system below msrp and i caught it, they'd adjust the price immediately. If I caught a price that was too high most of the time they would leave it. Especially during covid where "well its hard to get so we'll leave it". I always cringed when people bought products we'll above MSRP because they didn't know.
  • 1 1
 @Ryan2949: @petemoss: Suggested retail pricing, not hard and fast retail pricing.

Some reason we are cool with someone charging us less than MSRP, but get real persnickety when its above MSRP.

Can we agree that an in demand item might be "worth" more to someone than the MSRP, especially if its scarce, as things were during covid?

I always try to value things rather than get caught up in the actual pricing of something. If a titanium 3d printed stem is $300, that seems more expensive than I'd want to pay, so I dont buy it. I appreciate the work, skill and materials that go into making it, but its not a purchase for me. A $100 I9 stem, might be something id consider, if I was looking for something blingy, but in reality, the off-brand stem on my bike serves its purpose just fine. Now, if im at the bike park, and I break my stem, I'd prolly shell out the $200 for whatever the hell is immediately available.

A rural bike shop that serves a smaller community has different constraints than an online retailer that might serve thousands of more customers. Why we feel that they should compete on price is beyond me, and it kills smaller retailers.

Obviously you guys choose to do what you want with your money, its not for me to say, just trying to point out the different challenges that might not be so obvious
  • 3 0
 @onawalk: the issue is your suggested method of assessing 'value' is too subjective. if you want to buy things like that go to an auction. hence why manufacturer's set 'suggested' retail prices - so that the consumer does not pay an arbitrary price set by one shop's perceived value of an item. but hey by all means go around offering more than MSRP for retail goods.
  • 1 2
 @mca896: Its exactly what we all do right now.
Value is perceived by all of us, on everything we choose to, or not to purchase.
Same as anything used, the price is set by the owner of said item, anyone purchasing gets to decide if its worth it. Making it individually subjective.
Were not all running around on AXS or XTR drivetrains due to their perceived values by individuals. I ride GX/ SLX stuff, as they provide a better value to me over X01, or XX!/XTR, theres no ROI for me to spend more, as in my stem example.
But, IF its the only alternative at the time, and I really want to ride my bike (splashed out on a trip to Moab) I'll pony up for whatever is available to get me back on trail.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: i agree on principle, but in practice it wouldn't work in a retail setting. although actually look at pay-what-you-can events as an example - most people end up paying more than the normal set cost. So if nothing had prices and the consumer had to offer what they thought the thing was worth, i am wiling to bet most people would end up overpaying.
  • 1 1
 @mca896: Maybe I'm miscommunicating
Im not advocating for a wholesale change of anything, its simply a way for the individual to look at pricing when they are shopping for a thing.
You have the individual power to determine if something is of value to you or not, complaining about the price of something is a fairly pointless activity. Either it is worth purchasing, or it isnt, for a number of reasons.

My first modern mountain bike, after being out of the sport seriously for a couple of years, I had a list of criteria.
Threaded bb
had to hold a water bottle
alu frame
$3000 budget, all were factors, so I had to buy used to meet the criteria, took a couple months, but I found exactly what I wanted, for $3300. In the time it took, I was able to bump by budget to $3500, so I ended up being under budget to but the bike. It wasnt something to complain about, it was just the way things were. Retail pricing is the same, sometimes theres sales, sometimes the stores are trying to raise capital, sometimes its the distro, sometimes its the manufacturers, prices fluctuate, so their perceived value constantly changes.
  • 1 3
 Wow it’s been a long week for you all, huh? Got some big feelings?
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: tsk tsk. don't you know this is pinkbike? complaining is the ethos! especially complaining when it is a fairly pointless activity!

but i hear you and i think we're fundamentally on the same page.
  • 1 0
 @samdeatley: hmph. yes. and yes.
  • 86 17
 dont waste your money
Stop the "buy new" addiction!!!
Use your current bike and components, maintain them untill they are at the end of their life ! You dont need a new bike !!

Second hand is your friend
  • 38 5
 Someone has to buy new in order for there to be second hand. Buy what you what and suits your budget, needs, wants, desires...
  • 17 25
flag TayVaughan (Mar 1, 2023 at 12:42) (Below Threshold)
 You can sell a 3 year old bike on the used marking for 80-85cents on the dollar you paid for it. You can roll that money into a brand new bike every 3 years or so. You are crazy not to buy new and do this.
  • 14 9
 @TayVaughan: Or you can buy a three year old bike and sell it as a six year old bike for nearly the same price. The majority of depreciation on bikes occurs in the year or two following purchase as new.
  • 37 1
 @TayVaughan: I'm guessing here but I don't think anyone is gonna get 80-85 cents on the dollar 3 years from now
  • 18 1
 @Neechy: Not true. would you buy a 2016 bike today? I sure wouldnt. Geo and component tech has changed alot. Also 6 years of abuse is alot more than 3.
  • 1 1
 @DizzyNinja: Ha you might be right. "You know....not in this econemy!" lol
  • 1 0
 @TayVaughan: ...maybe during the high demand low supply days of Covid, and highly dependent on what that bike is, and probably needs to be every year to 18 months if you hope to recoup that much... says a guy trying to sell a 2 year old bike for 60% of original cost...
  • 7 3
 @andrewhowe: I think they key is buying a well priced, smartly parted bike. I just paid 6500CAD to my door for a new Vitus Sommet CRX vs the same build Specialized Enduro which would cost me $10,700 pre tax. People will be much more willing to pay $5000 for the used Sommet than $9000 for the used Enduro in 3 years. The market of $5000 buyers is much much larger than the $9000 market. Most cost driven consumers look beyond the name and at the product as well
  • 7 3
 @TayVaughan: My 2016 Knolly Warden Carbon frame w/ shock that I bought for $1300 two years ago as "new old stock" would disagree. So to answer your questions, no I wouldn't hesitate to buy a bike that's a few years old, which is what I usually do. Used bikes hold their value better than new bikes, and changes in recent years aren't all that drastic or worth the new bike premium.
  • 8 8
 @Neechy: Im not suprised. Knolly has to sell bikes that cheap because nobody wants them.
  • 1 0
 My local used inventory (ignoring 20 year old beaters) is entirely $200-300 off original MSRP 2-3 year old bikes, mostly 27.5s...you can actually buy a new bike on sale for the same price. The exception is the really REALLY pricey bikes which are offered at a bigger discount but still asking like $7k lol. Now if you're willing to sit completely over the rear wheel on an XL from a couple generations back you can still find plenty of Trek Fuel EXs at a reasonable discount. I ended up saying screw used bikes and new $5k NX entry level carbons and bought the Gf and I a pair of New (2022) aluminum Deore bangers double on sale...(we had no bikes to shuffle parts from). Another decent economic play would be buying a DTC top spec bike and then continuing to shuffle those nice parts onto new frames when the urge arrises, but we were on a budget and needing two bikes after having none.
  • 5 0
 I don’t know. Sometimes you need to buy new.

And this is gonna blow your mind — we’re all at different points in the cycle of needing new. Some will need “new” tomorrow, others next year. Still others in two or three years. So you know what? The cycle never ends. Good thing we have people manufacturing and selling these things so that when we need/want it, it’s there.
  • 4 0
 @TayVaughan: based on my experience and what I see online, you’re lucky to get 50-60% on the dollar for a 3 year old bike.
  • 8 0
 I don't agree. Second hand can be great when you get lucky. But most sellers right here on PB are a bunch of apathetic beer guzzlers who can't even be bothered to clean/lube/grease what they're selling before taking pictures and asking for money. And then you message them some questions and they give one word answers or get all pissy/defensive, so there's zero confidence in the item or the transaction.

Old New stock is the best bet. Buy new, just don't buy it right when it's released.
  • 9 0
 @TayVaughan: You are in for a nasty surprise if you think anyone is going to hand you $5k fun tickets for a used vitus.
  • 1 0
 @Neechy: Majority of depreciation is when a redesign is released or rumored to be released. Generally, that happens to be 3-4 years, but longer for some.
  • 5 0
 Yep I'm still building my dream bike 2007 sx trail! 26 ain't dead to me.
  • 1 0
 Or perhaps new/discounted new frame with used components. Don’t have to deal with crap bearings and no ride wrap plus you get that new bike feel
  • 2 0
 Have you seen what guys like Brage Vestavik do to their bikes? I hear Cam Zink occasionally sells his bike after rampage. Good deal, barely ridden.
  • 2 1
 @TayVaughan: I don’t think 80% is true anymore, but regardless let’s do the math. You likely need: Suspension service. Let’s assume damper service so you can’t do it at home. New tires, brake pads, sealant, cassette, chainring, chain, grips, bleed if you can’t do it, bearings, headset, dropper service, bottom bracket, wheel bearings. All if these parts are likely worn out on a 3 year old bike. Maybe some have been serviced. It’s not worth it to me. Now a 3-6 month old bike with a 30% discount. That’s worth thinking about.
  • 3 1
 @TayVaughan: You know what,
My newly acquired used Fugitive gets way more props at trailheads than my fancy new Carbon bike. Everytime I take it out, everytime, I get a "cool bike" or a thumbs up.

I was in the "not for me" crowd, but traded it with a friend for a Sentinel, and I gotta say, this thing rocks. The frame details are pretty amazing, fit and finish are incredible, alignment is dead on, and it is way more fun to ride than I expected. Also, theyre customer service has been outstanding, as has Transitions. I've never had such good customer service as I have with those two companies (shout out to @KNOLLYBIKES and @TransitionBikeCompany)

I might love this thing.....
  • 2 1
 @cmi85: Its pretty funny what some people try to sell you sometimes.
Was in the market for a New/Used Pike Lyrik (140-150) the nonsense people would tell me was wild. I'd ask for a pic of the serial number, to check on what I was buying (you can just punch in the serial number into the RS Trailhead app, and find out exactly what it is) 7 times out of 10, they had replaced CSU's so the info didnt match what they were selling. Or they wouldnt give me the serial number for fear I was going to do something nefarious.

One clown, tried to pass off a SRAM warranty claim for a blown damper and CSU, as a factory custom rebuild, then got all pissy when I called him on it.

I honestly looked up info on 10 different forks, only to be disappointed every time.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: interesting. I too was looking for a new/ lightly used 150 mm Pike/Lyrik for my RMB Growler. What part of the country are you in? My experience was the opposite, and most of the forks I've posted myself or seen for sale have a pic of the serial #. Ended up with a 150mm Pike Select +. Since then prices have gone down and selection has gone up. What fork did you end up with?
  • 1 1
 @woofer2609: I'm out West, land of milk and honey.
Selection was real bad for a while there, I almost spent $1100 on a used Lyrik.....friggin glad I didnt in the end.

Havent pulled the trigger yet, still riding the Fox 36, Grip 2 factory fork, just reduced travel to 140.

Really hoping I can make a 23 Lyrik reduce down to 140mm, as I think that would make a sweet fork for this bike.
  • 3 2
 @RedBurn *sigh* another article aimed at people WHO DON'T HAVE MOUNTAIN BIKES YET and like clockwork, the "dOn'T bUy RiDe WhAt yOu hAvE" brigade shows up to tell everyone they can't read.
  • 2 1
 @redburn: amen
  • 2 5
 @therealnobody: I like to show dentists with their 2023 14k$ yeti that I smoke them with my 2013 26" GT Force...

Its the rider, not the bike
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: I have the takeoff OEM 130mm Suntour XCM from my Growler you can have cheap. It really gives the front of your bike a "planted" feeling. (Mostly beccause it weighs over 7 1/2 lbs.)
  • 5 0
 @RedBurn: Man, this isn’t happening and you know it.
  • 2 0
 @RedBurn: At a certain point, the bike is the limiting factor.
  • 1 1
 @woofer2609: to be fair, that excuse really only applies to Olympians.
  • 1 0
 @RedBurn: I name several "dentists" the right extremely expensive minds and smoke the vast majority of photos we need to try to keep up with them. We have enduro or.trrail riding. Are there posers out there? Of course. However, many people with expensive lights are also fast and talented riders
  • 4 0
 Reduce: do I really need that new bike, or can my skills do with some improvement with the one I've got?
Reuse: buying second hand is cheaper, and much better for the environment!
Recycle: if it is high time for a change/upgrade, sell your bike at a non-inflated price to someone who will keep shredding on it for years to come!
  • 73 3
 Idk, all my local bike shops seem to be clueless on helping buy a bike. I always seem to know more about the bike then the the salesperson, and good luck trying out sizes.
  • 31 0
 Totally relatable. I sometimes even play the dumb guy just to avoid akward situations haha.
  • 22 1
 Also, the LBS doesn't carry Specialized, YT, Canyon, Nukeproof, Santa Cruz, Ibis, Yeti, Vitus, Trek, Intense, Orbea and Marin. They don't sell you what's right for you. They sell you what they have.
  • 40 1
 Nobody will take as much care assembling or maintaining a product as the person who owns it. And if my bike/car/motorcycle is going to have a screw up during the building or a maintenance procedure, I want to be the guy to screw it up.
That and sitting in the basement listening to tunes, drinking coffee or a beer, and wrenching is really enjoyable (to me, I get some people have no interest.)
  • 10 0
 Me too. I take the exact same amount of pleasure from servicing a fork or adjusting a cockpit as riding around. It's really why mountain biking is what it is right now, the mechanical aspect. The bike is the best medium in existence between and riding, in my opinion.
  • 3 0
 Agreed
Love the bike, the parts & the tweaking and testing
Goes hand in hand with loving the trails and working in/on them

Long love the classified section, my third home
  • 33 2
 This is a 2016 question. Not sure people care as much anymore. All the industry cares about is that you BUY.

"Happy Buying"
  • 33 3
 I've been to too many shops that are owned by people who are passionate about biking but not about customer service.
  • 8 1
 What i glean for PB... bikeshops are a place you bring beer to and stand around talking. Its like a friend rental facility or something.
  • 6 1
 I thought most bike shop owners and employees only cared about making fun of customers behind their back?!?!
  • 7 0
 Yeah, that's the trick isn't it? So many people conflate passion with business acumen, when that venn diagram actually has little overlap. I worked for a major Trek account and my best inside rep knew little about cycling, as he came over from a golf company. He did, however, know customer service inside and out, and make my service manager life much easier.

Given that wages are generally poor in cycling, I don't hold out much faith that we'll see an uptick in professionalism over passion soon, but I am very willing to be proven wrong.
  • 27 2
 Couldn't be happier with my 2018 YT Jeffsy, but at the time I got it for pretty much HALF of what I would have paid in the store for a comparable bike. The way online prices have gone, I'd be much less likely to do it again. Seems like the online savings have really dwindled over the years. To be specific I would say I saved about 4k back in 2018. Nowadays seems like a YT bike would result in more like 1-2k savings.
  • 19 0
 I want to like this article, but I feel like it misses several important things. For example, it's rare that a LBS carries the size and model you want to look at. "We can order it for you" is the SOP at the majority of bike shops. Sure they might be a dealer of a bike, but the chance of you being able to see it before you pay for it is slim. Some will have it, but will charge to to build it up for you to sit on it (though they'll credit it to you if you buy from them.) Even Fanatik doesn't have most models in all sizes for the brands they carry.

The whole section on "Test Riding" is awkward. I don't know of a single LBS that will let me actually take a bike on a test ride. If I get the tires dirty, they're going to chrage me. One LBS won't even let you do a parking lot test without putting down thousands just to walk it outside. Parking lot tests aren't even that useful. Demo days are much more useful, and both DTC manufactures and others offer these.
  • 3 1
 My local offers demos for $200. You get that as credit if you buy the bike.
  • 3 0
 @snokarver: Totally agree. Demo days ftw.
  • 2 0
 I can't believe demo days aren't mentioned here, given that this is about advice for people new to the sport?

Here in the UK stores/manufacturers will often put on demo days where you pay a nominal fee and get to ride a number of bikes over a short loop, often at a trail centre. You can try different types of bikes across multiple manufacturers to see what the difference is, what you like, and what you see yourself riding.
For a beginner, blinded by a wealth of categories of bike and no real understanding of geometry, that experience is worth its weight in gold...
  • 1 0
 Even demo days will be extremely limited in what brands/models you can actually try.

How am I going to fly to the UK to demo a Cotic? f*ck it, I just ordered one.
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: There will always be regional differences - I could say the same about Reeb, or any number of other smaller and more interesting brands. However, I believe you probably bought your Cotic knowing what you wanted from your bike, and you *may* not be the beginner to the sport that the article was aimed at?
If you based some of your knowledge on your riding experiences of different bikes, then that is what a multi bike demo day will provide.

I'll also add that I had a quick look at YT's page earlier and, not only do they do demo days here in the UK, but they also do suspension running sessions. That's class in my opinion, and a really good option for beginners (and a lot of experienced riders)...
  • 18 3
 Direct to consumer makes more sense for the experienced rider who knows fit based on geometry and their component preference. Alot of us, in my riding circle outright refuse to buy bikes at a bike shop due to the price of them. We are all very advanced riders and have never had issues with performance, quality or otherwise from YT, Commencal, Vitus or Canyon.
  • 14 0
 Having a great bike shop to deal with makes all the difference.
My local shop is great, it’s like CHEERS, everybody knows my name, lol.
Happy to give them my business because of the service.

Shout out to North Shore Bike Shop.
  • 1 0
 That sounds fucking awesome, unfortunately not all of us are so lucky.
  • 17 1
 Just buy the bike you want and be a dick about it.
  • 13 1
 If you are loyal to a local shop, that built relationship can be priceless. Time, discounted or free service, discounts on other gear, demos, help with warranties and replacement parts, and advice can be worth thousands. On top of that, my local shop is full of rad humans who sponsor races, build trails and a lot more! Bike shop for life.
  • 5 5
 I'd love to be loyal to a bike shop, but I think they need to earn my loyalty and not only treat me well because I'm loyal.
  • 2 0
 My brother has been loyal to the same shop for a long time, he bought 7 bikes from them. He brought in his newest bike to get a brake line checked (he bought that bike elsewhere) and now they won't give him any service and told him he's no longer their customer.

Moral of the story, these hoes ain't loyal.
  • 13 2
 Bike stores never have bikes in my size (XL) to test ride and when shopping for a bike, they are always sold out before the season starts. It was very frustrating to buy a bike these past few times and I've had to settle for some brands that were available versus what I really wanted. Had to compromise a bit.
  • 6 1
 Ha! Came here to post exactly this!
  • 14 0
 @derekr: Exactly this. Plus I was at my LBS a couple weeks back and saw a Large spur build that looked awesome. I asked them if they were going to have any demos in XL and they all laughed at me. So I don't see why I would go to a bike shop and buy a bike just so I could "sit" on it. It's not like I'm going to get to ride it. Might as well get a DTC bike, when the cost is much much lower.

Example: Canyon Spectral 125 cf7 that I just purchased was 2999 CAD on their website. That worked out to 3700 CAD after import fees and taxes. select plus suspension, gx drivetrain, DT swiss wheels, and code rs brakes. There isn't a bike from a LBS that can remotely come close to that build and price point, even on sale.
  • 2 0
 Plus a lot of the time you can maybe ride it around the car park, not take it on trails. For me, there's very little point doing this. I asked my local bike shop if he knew anywhere I could demo his brand on the trail. He was genuinely shocked that I might want to do this. YT on the other hand, I rode a bike at a demo day and couldn't wait to pull the trigger
  • 3 0
 @CrookedCrank: I mean it goes without saying that if you'd lived in a place witb great access to demo days and quality bike shop with local trails (north van, Bellingham, Bentonville, Ashville, etc) I could totally see just spending all my $$$ at the LBS

One thing to note as well is if you have ever worked at an LBS, is once you see the actual prices through staff discount or even pro deal stuff, it's a tough pill to swallow and pay full dime when youre out of the system and onto a new job.
  • 10 1
 A couple thoughts about buying in a shop vs. buying online come from a LBS....

1) If your bike shop gets all crabby and shames you for buying stuff online, find a new one. It's up to them to stay competitive. If you want to support them, ask if they'll price match an online price.
2) If you want good and timely service at a bike shop, the best way to build that long term relationship is by purchasing a bike there. If you support a local business, they will most likely support you back. Bikes purchased from this shop always take priority in the service queue over the YTs and Canyons.
3) If you are a good home mechanic, why not save some $$$ by buying online? If you aren't, don't be surprised when you get charged a bunch of money for "a couple little things" on your new DTC bike.
4) Lastly, before you make a purchase online, think about where you would be without your local shop. No last minute tube purchase before a ride, no place to demo bikes, no place to check out new products in person, etc. etc. Chances are your local shop also helps build the trails you ride and sponsors your local trail organization, too.

Buy stuff online or don't. I suppose there are pros and cons to both...
  • 2 4
 I feel like #2 could be fixed if people weren't going to the bikeshop for chit chat. It was quicker for me to get a motor rebuilt for my truck than it was to get my bearing adjusted for a wheel. I had a crank that kept falling off, they had my bike for 2 months. The reason people expect to go to a bikeshop and get a part thrown on in 20 minutes is because that's how every other service works.
  • 5 1
 Big agreement with #1. Any shop willing to turn away a DTC brand isn't worth their salt. They know they make their money from service.
  • 3 1
 @noodlewitnosteeze: This is a big myth consumers made up in my opinion. Customers will come in and tell me that shops make all their money this way as if I didn't know any better. Working on bikes all day will add up to a few hundred dollars in service charges (more if there are lots of parts), but selling one or two bikes over $3500 in a day will almost always make more money. That being said, customers with DTC bikes are generally good for service revenue since they can't exactly take them to the place they bought them from Smile
  • 1 1
 @RonSauce: I agree for the most part. Other industries have made it so that people expect stuff immediately. The good shops have adapted to that. We offer appointment booking for customers who want same day service. Most people don't take advantage of it and then get bummed out by wait times, but the folks who have it figured out love it and rarely wait more than 24 hours for their bike, regardless of the service being done.
  • 2 0
 @hitchhikerbikes: As someone who works for a DTC brand, do whatever you need to make your money!
  • 4 0
 @noodlewitnosteeze: We never did that. It's a ridiculous way to treat people and not make money. We took in almost anything: handbikes, trikes (take up soooo much room), wheelchairs, any make/model of "regular bike", tri bikes (those are far from regular), we've done adaptive set ups (tweaking brakes for one-handed use etc) and we even tried to help people with weekend/temp issues like broken garage door or industrial machinery chains. All in accordance with how busy we were, but we tried to plan and schedule best we could so we could accommodate as much as we could. E-bikes all day long with brands we had access to service/warranty/software for, and as much of the mechanicals on anyone else's as we could. A flat tire and tube is a flat tire and tube and not helping a Canyon rider with that is a surefire way to get a handful of negative Google reviews.
  • 12 0
 I ordered this awesome new bike from Sick Bicycles. I can't wait for it to arrive.................
  • 1 0
 Ahahahahahhaa. Been waiting a while huh???
  • 9 1
 With regard to service, I bought a bike ~2 yrs ago from a shop reasonably far away - 58km. Far enough that I never took it in for service and now it has shut its doors after a brief stint.

I'd prefer to buy online since I can't be bothered to drive back to the shop for something I could fix myself. It's why Commencal is a good option.
  • 10 2
 I took advantage of the YT sale and picked up an Izzo for $3k (before taxes and shipping) that was full carbon, fox performance elite suspension, GX, and decent DT swiss wheels...seemed like a screaming deal to me.
  • 1 0
 You scored! I wanted one so bad, but waited too long - a few more days and they were all gone!
  • 1 0
 Doh, I screwed up my response. Nevermind.
  • 7 0
 I would gladly buy from a local shop but unfortunately there is no decent selection around here in Northern Virginia. It's either Trek or Specialized in store only with a smattering of Cannondale mostly for road bikes. Trek in particularly bought up a lot of the local shops so unless you like Bontrager socks and shoes don't bother.
  • 1 0
 ^^^ this 100%! Same situation in MD.
  • 7 0
 Honestly I much prefer to handle warranty issues myself vs trying to play telephone with multiple guys at the local dealer. Only time I had to warranty a frame I ended up having to connect with the manufacturer myself after waiting for the shop to go back and forth with them for over a month. "Shop Support" on warranties honestly serves the manufacturer more than the customer. I think adding that extra level of disconnect helps them to avoid dealing with annoyed customers. Everyone can just pass the blame off to someone else instead of solving the problem.
  • 5 0
 I like to support local bike shops if I can but I also think it is over romanticised and the constant argument of it is better service is false. There are 4 bike shops near me, I have tried them all but and I only trust one to do a decent job. The others tried either had poor service and one replaced existing parts with higher level components without consultation and expected me to pay the higher price. I still buy bikes from shops because trying it is vital to me but would have no issue buying online if I could try a mates bike for example.
  • 5 0
 A local shop's strongest point will always be service. Not all riders are mechanically skilled/experienced and many just don't have the time to service their bikes on their own. We also often try to fix something on our own, screw up and turn to the LBS to make it good again. Having a range of basic components available to cover an emergency goes a long way too. As for complete bikes, there so many brands, models, types of bikes and sizes that I imagine deciding what to stock would be a nightmare for a small shop, let alone compete in pricing with the major online stores.
  • 5 0
 I bought a Transition online- I would have purchased from LBS, but they didn't have my size/color/material in stock. Buying online sucked because Fedex left the giant bike box on my driveway, in front of my garage, facing the street- after I requested signature only on delivery. Getting the email I had a $5k bike delivered near a busy street was infuriating, I had to leave work early praying it wasn't stolen Frown
  • 8 1
 Buy a derailleur hanger adjuster, regardless of if you're buying from a store or online.
  • 3 0
 Amen, brother - that's one of the most useful bike-specific tools out there, and a hell of a good deal. Takes all of five minutes to align your derailleur and saves you the hassle of going to a shop.
  • 5 1
 I cant speak for all bike shops and all cities, but only in my experience.

1 hard tail -> DTC
1 road bike - LBS
1 gravel bike - LBS but not local to me.
1 full sus - LBS
1 fat bike - LBS

i can say with 100% confidence that the bikes i purchased locally were no better assembled than the DTC bike.

obviously, i had to assemble the gravel bike and the hard tail. (wheels, bars and seat post) and set the indexing.

for all the local bikes, i had to set the indexing as the bike shop didn't do it for me and i found out the hard way when i dropped my chain into the chainstay. the exception is the fatbike. it was set up well. HOWEVER, the steerer tube was too short and the top cap bottomed out causing a creek, so i had to add a spacer to clean that up.

as for warranty, i had 1 headset bearing replaced on the full sus. it also came with a bad tire that wouldn't seat on the bead (it would blow off the rim) but they wouldn't get me a warranty replacement.

long story short, in my experience, id rather save money on a bike, because I have not seen a personal benefit to buying local yet. however the ability to physically ride a bike would entice me to buy local than hoping the geo charts fit me.
  • 7 0
 Versus buying on the PB BuySell.
  • 19 1
 Which is now becoming about the same price as a new bike for either aforementioned option.
  • 4 0
 They should have included buying used off Pinkbike in the comparison. Best deal vs risk.
  • 1 0
 @james182: Not if you buy my Megatrail for a pretty good price. ;-)
  • 6 3
 Some of my best friends I've met through my LBS. Riding buddies, racing buddies, going to new trails, people that have my back and I, theirs. I've never had a drink with someone who works for Jenson USA (the last place I bought online from back in 2009).
  • 4 1
 I'm all about helping the bike shop but they over price everything and some of theme r very cocky owners. sorry to say this soon if this not being change, were gonna lost some bike shop and like the our local Malls r getting empty because of Amazon. This is gonna come soon.
  • 3 0
 Pre covid I was all good with the lbs, supporting when I could but now it's out of control. I asked for a couple of valve cores, they threw 5 in a bag and along with some other parts, I bought and hustled out. Got home and realized they charged me 25 dollars for 5 valve cores!!! I love em, but until they get their prices sorted, it's just too expensive to shop there.
  • 3 0
 @jaywindh: I did the same thing with $15 inner tubes. Worst of all they still had a $6 sticker on the box when I got home.
  • 1 0
 @jaywindh: That's wild, we just pull the cores out of dead tubes and give em away like halloween candy.
  • 7 4
 What never gets discussed when having this debate is the fact that alot of shops are servicing families that really need the help. Keeping bmx,comfort bikes and such on the road is really important. These people whining about a shop not serving their needs for whatever reason are annoying. If you are so hardcore then purchase your bike anyway that you choose and shut up.
  • 3 0
 Did specialized actually go direct to consumer in Canada? Their website removed the "available online" option quite a while ago. Only option is retailer and everything looks full price. Meanwhile their bikes are discounted in the US and available online, I think?
  • 1 0
 Everything costs more here. If it's possible to charge more and or offer less selection, manufacturers will happy oblige their Canadian customers.
  • 3 0
 My current bike is a 2016. So i thought it was time to treat myself to a new bike. I ended up going DTC because of the incredible value. And now they all have strong reputation for sales/service/warranty. I need to say that I do 100% of my own maintenance. I don't trust the local shops with their 16 yr. old inexperienced kids taking any wrench/tool to my bikes. Yes, there is only a handful of local mechanics I would trust my bike with and in a pinch, I will use them if I need to. But I do all my own work, including suspension rebuilds (except dampers). So I don't feel like I have a need for the local bike shop at all. Even all my consumables. I stalk the online shops and stock up when they go on sale. So I rarely find myself in a bind where I need something right away (i.e. the argument that the local shop stocks what you need).

Also, my local shop now stocks so little "fun" stuff. I can't go in and see the latest forks, the latest high end brake upgrades. I can't hold/try the 10 latest carbon bars to see their sweep, etc. They all only special order it in for you. So what's the point?

Case in point.

I just bought a YT Izzo Core 4. Full Carbon, Full X01 Eagle, DT XMC1501 carbon wheels, RF TurbineNext 35 Stem/Bar. $5,299 CAD + $130 shipping.

To get a bike with that spec at a LBS was going to be $10,000-$11,000+ tax.

And the YT Izzoa has been extremely well reviewed online. So I had the confidence it would be the right bike for my riding style.

I'm sorry to the LBS that didn't get my business. But there's no chance they could've offered me a bike like that for $5,430. I'd be riding an aluminum SX / Deore bike with mid-grade suspension from any of the major bike brands. And frame-only for any of the boutique brands.

I've steered at least 3-4 of my local riding buddies who have very little mechanical know-how also to DTC brands in the last 18 months and they have had ZERO issue with no LBS "support". So DTC is not only for the mechanically inclined.
  • 2 0
 How come this argument always revolves around bike purchases and not components, clothing, accessories? Margins and purchase frequency are waaaay better on non bike items yet when was the last time you bought an overpriced pair of shorts or bottle of sealant at a local shop?
  • 7 1
 Local Out-of-Stock versus Interwebz Out-of-Stock....decisions, decisions
  • 8 1
 that's very 2021-2022 of you.....everything is basically in stock...so much so that you can easily find 20-25% off a lot of things
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Sure seems like the supply crisis is over when the big online stores are all advertising 20% off new bikes.
  • 2 0
 Living in Alaska i have very few options. One bike shop sells specialized and the other sells Trek. If I try to order a bike online, the preset shipping prices for AK are insane (i.e $645 shipping from canyon to ship a large complete bike) That's even IF they offer shipping to alaska at all, which most manufacturers do not, as well as most retail online stores.
  • 9 0
 Idea...take a vacation to a state with no sales tax (Oregon?) to buy a bike and get some off-season riding in...then fly home with your new bike!

A lot of people do this for bikes they buy from Evo and pick up in-store in Portland
  • 3 0
 @mtbthe603: for sure, not a bad idea.. it's just how quickly that goes from "I only wanna spend $3k on a bike...to: this nicer spec is on sale for $4200, why not... - to might as well just fly and pick it up, then stay at a hotel, rental car, gas etc..$5500 later.. when the oringal plan was grab a bike for under $3k.
  • 2 1
 @Pinemtn: plus it's like $400 to fly your bike.
  • 1 1
 @RonSauce: Exactly. Once I budget a certain amount for a bike, I want my money going to the bike not a bunch of fee's or shipping costs..
  • 2 0
 Interesting that you mention the service from an omni-channel perspective. Yes we will warranty your specialized bike, but we always would have done. No we won’t give you a years free service as we would had you bought it direct from us. The only benefit from this as far as I can see is increased choice, and even then Specialized Canada barely have any inventory anyways.
  • 2 0
 Each is good. Depends on what I’m looking for. Out of the box my YT had perfect shifting and so did my Specialized from a not local to me (2+hrs) shop. My actual local shop is gone now, but that is from the games Specialized played in 21-22 with the small one line dealers.
  • 3 1
 Support your local bike shop.

I know, easier said than done. Some don’t have the luxury to choose a shop that best suits their needs, the type or brand of bike, but if you do, support your local shop as much as possible. It’s worth it to make friends and and get into the local cycling community. The benefits go beyond having a place to service your bike or buy parts.
  • 1 1
 Which is good, because service takes 2 weeks and they have to order parts. So you're better off using the lbs to shop for friends.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: that may be the case at a lot of shops. I’m fortunate that mine has good stock and I can book ahead of time so they can make sure they have what they need to do the work without delays.

Another point to support your LBS is that they probably support the local cycling association, sponsor or host events, donate prizes, etc. There is tangible value there, not just for you and me, but for the future of cycling.
  • 2 0
 in Belgium in bikeshop there is only Mondraker, Pivot, Santa Cruz. May be others brands ok but seller really insist to sell those brands. And it's the most expensive brand.

Other problem, here is an exemple; A shop tell a friend " we can order your commencal clash for free here in the shop if you want okey ?"
they ask 80e to mount it and they made scratches on the frame. I understand they have to make some money but 80e to put a handlebar and a front wheel..

And the last problem in few shops. The mechanics have very poor knowledge. They don't know what is PM to PM, 1 1/8 headset bearing, tokens, etc.

I would like to buy my future bike in a shop but i have no more confidence in mechanics and they sell only expensive brand
  • 2 0
 If I were to start bike shop, I would probably offer a paid service to help customers find the bike they need. Talk to them to see what they want, measure their limb and torso lengths, show them what is on the market, etc. When the bike comes in I check it, if there is a warranty problem I help out. No free maintenance. No new bikes on the shop floor, just a small rental fleet that doubles as a test bike set for customers of the service. It would combine the advantages of a local skilled advisor with the infinite choice of online. I think there's value in that. Not that I'm even considering starting a bike shop, but still.
  • 1 0
 This is the way.

The numbers don't sort for bikes much below 2.5k (I've checked), but there's a real place for boutique shops that go hard in on fitting and service. The problem right now is finding affordable commercial real estate close enough to a major client base that you can stay in business when the weather turns gross.

I love cycling in pretty much all its forms (sorry, triathletes) and it's a bummer that a shop model like this excludes lower-income folk (like me!) but I think it's one of the best ways forward as margins continue to tighten. If you're near enough to an area with good infrastructure, you could even build in a high-end family bike business if you're feeling adventurous. Lotta per-hour labor bucks to be had on bakfeits, cargo bikes and other weirdness.
  • 2 0
 It all comes down to finding a shop that actually cares about their customers.

Wheel and Sprocket in Hales Corner, WI was amazing. I bought a Salsa Timberjack from them in 2017 for around $1400 and that came with two full services. They adjusted my shifting and warrantied a crapped out bottom bracket for me. That was definitely worth it.
  • 2 0
 Glad there are options .
What price do I pay to see the stoke of shop employees with genuine enthusiasm for the sport ? The profit they get feeds the family of the employees and shop owners. Maybe I'll see the whole family on the trails next ride .
I'm not rich but I'm also not so unbelievably cheap that my hard earned dollars can't stretch a bit farther into the pockets of my local business.
I spread my mediocre paycheck to many local brick and mortar businesses.
To me economy is based on keeping my local community healthy and happy .
Wealth is the smiles on people's faces . Value is how my money is spent not on what I save .
  • 1 0
 Industry is adapting, You can order a specialized bike online and ship to a local retail shop of your choice for assembly. Cost for shipping is the same as the ship to home option and no charge for the pro assembly. I used to be an auto mechanic but I value my time and like having local support for any warranty issues. Also huge benefit is being able to physically check out bikes in person, get a seat feel and a casual ride in the parking lot.
  • 1 0
 Alright PBers, what's the additional value worth to you from getting a bike from a legit shop vs. buying online in USD?

I asked this of a few friends locally and responses were mixed. Interested on what you all think and if you could provide details and why-Cheers
  • 7 0
 legit shop gives me an actual person/place that's accountable for the product they just sold me instead of having to deal with some person half a world away over the phone....especially if dealing with a warranty claim
  • 8 1
 On a $5,000 bike purchase, i would be willing to pay approximately $100 extra if buying from a local shop, but I wouldn’t be willing to pay more. Primary reason is because I don’t feel any of our local shops add much value. I’ve seen way too many cases of local shops messing up very basic maintenance, resulting in ruined rides or even broken parts.
  • 5 0
 Personally I find more value in buying consumer direct but I'm probably in the minority.
  • 8 0
 Legit bike shop might be the term. A great shop can be quite valuable, while a poorly-run one, not so much. Last year, I was specifically looking for an Orbea Rallon and found one at a LBS on sale. On the second ride, the hub crapped the bed on me. The shop ordered the replacement parts and hooked me up with a loaner wheel to keep me riding while I waited. Once the parts came in, they fixed the hub and I traded the loaner wheel back to them. In this case, having a great shop was very much worth it. All done under warranty.
  • 6 0
 Personally, if it's cheaper I'd much rather buy online. I just really don't require any of the service a middle man (local bike shop) could provide - so why pay for them. I can set up and maintain my own stuff myself thank you very much.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: It can come in handy for warranty issues. Or, if the specific bike that you want is only sold through dealers.
  • 1 0
 Most shops around me, if I had to ride the bike they assembled without checking every single bolt myself? I would pay for not having to do that.
  • 3 0
 I see zero added value in buying at a brick and mortar shop. I'd actually pay extra to not have to deal with most bike shops. I can't recall walking out of a bike shop and thinking "ah, yes, that was useful, quality customer experience and I got exactly what I needed".

And like @ak-77 said, bikes put together by shop staff are death traps before you check them over yourself anyway. The rise of online trade is a blessing for customers, not just in the bike industry and not just because of prices.

If a specific bike is only available through a shop then I guess I'd have to suffer through it, but my experience buying bikes online has been infinitely better. Not even in the same league.
  • 1 0
 I just want to clarify I'm not against local bike shops. I think shops are awesome for repairs and in my case repairs I don't want to do or can't do i.e. build wheels, shock service, finding mystery creaks that after trying everything and anything over the course of many weeks I still can't resolve and fixing them. Also great for picking up snacks for the trail.
  • 1 0
 My last two bikes were bought online but weren't direct to consumer brands (SC and Ibis). I think the biggest advantage for me of buying online is being able to snag sale prices. The chance of a shop having an XL of the model I want in stock and on sale when I'm in the store is pretty low. Online shops have a larger number of bikes in stock across the size range and it's pretty easy to check regularly for sales (they usually get announced to my in box or discussed online), so I can quickly commit.
  • 2 1
 I've bought almost all of my bikes over the past ~5 years online, but probably won't moving forward because the pricing is not really any better. If I buy from you directly and take on the responsibility for service and warranty issues I should get something for that. Instead it's exactly the same price as my local bike shop. They might as well get their cut and I'll have easy access for service and support, for the same price. Looking at you, Chromag.
  • 4 1
 It would be nice if more LBS' were respectful about internet bikes, the ones were I live, some of the employees can be jerks if you own a canyon!
  • 1 0
 the last Brand new bike I bought from a LBS was in April 2000. I bought 1999 Schwinn 4 Banger from Freeman's Bridge Sports in Scotia, NY. I washed A LOT of dishes to buy that bike! Since then I've mostly bought frames and built the bikes myself. Besides that, both Jedi's were Pink Bike sales. the 1st on was a small and too small. Sold that one to a local kid and found/bought a medium from a lady who was somewhat local. If I buy another bike it's going to be a HT frame from my buddy who builds frames.
  • 6 1
 Best part of buying online is not having to deal face to face with people.
  • 2 1
 It's more than just the huge monetary savings; the last bike shop I dealt with tried to kill me through mechanical incompetence more than once, so I buy online.

The good mechanics set up their own businesses outside the authorised dealer/franchise networks.
  • 1 0
 I will always support my local shop by buying consumables and for work that requires special tools, but my last couple bikes have either been DTC or online retailer purchased and the experience has just been great. Im experienced enough to know how to check the bike over properly for assembly issues and there's just so many great options online.
  • 1 0
 The answer is, "both", which will always be true in some form or another. As an expert mechanic, if I know exactly what bike I (or my friend who asked me to help him get a bike) want and can buy it online for some savings, that's what I'll do. But if my friend or I aren't sure and need to actually see and ride a bike first, off to a shop for testing and buying.

Personally, I believe that some sort of Tire Rack style of omni-channel will become common. Tire Rack will ship your car or truck tires to your house if you don't need an installer or they'll ship them to one of their very many installer partners if you need installation. That seems like the best of all worlds to me - shops can keep inventory or not, customers can have a shop relationship or not, small bike brands can have a customer perception of shop presence even if they're really DTC, and small bike shops can have a customer perception of more brand availability. I know this is already happening to some degree, but it's not common as far as I can tell.
  • 1 0
 A really good bike shop, with at least three different brands and friendly, well-informed employees certainly has value. Especially for beginners who don't really know what they need. For me, it doesn't add much. I bought a DTC bike and I am very happy with it. Shout out to Radon for their swift and friendly help the few times there was an issue with my bike.
  • 3 0
 I'd like to see DTC E-bike kits where you have to assemble the motor, wire up the controls, and program the display. I would pay to watch that!
  • 1 0
 I have found, over the past 30 yrs of riding, that there are good shops, and not so good shops. Once I had a new Giant that just wouldnt shift right. Brought it back 3 times and they never got it right. Bought a 'how to' repair book and fixed it myself, problem solved. After that, I worked on my bikes more and more. Found some great shops over the years that really knew their shit.

Problem is now, between mountain biking, and snowboarding, and motorcycling, and all the other stuff I do, I cant buy new bikes too often. Or snowboards, or motorcycles. So I have to pick and choose what I buy, and find it on sale. Usually the internet wins out with at least 30% off new bikes a year old.

At this point, now I just buy a frame and build it up myself. Do my own suspension service etc. Its not rocket science.
  • 1 0
 Local dealer put a nice rocky mountain on sale. Done. I know my size, I know the bike, I know I want it... Cash in hand, call in advance etc. Strangely my size was not available when I arrived. HOWEVER we have some bullcrap with sram sx and brand bxskunk forks available today in your size... Cue up a short discussion about how great sram Sx can be for YOU!! Then cue up a walk out and online order. "What payment is in your range?"
  • 1 1
 I was told "well sure, we can get you an xl, but
we will have to build it up.. Anyway, you're definitely not an xl, you need a large. We have some right here".

I'm 6'5"... but even if I was 4'5" sell me the damn xl that I asked for when I called to see if they we in.
  • 1 0
 Done both. Probably prefer online truth be told. Store bought bike came with 2 years of free tune ups and never ended up back in the shop because brand new bikes don’t require tune ups with proper maintenance. Online bike had a much better bang for the buck component wise
  • 1 0
 I love bike shops, and everything about them. It's an impossible decision, you want to support your LBS, but when they are offering a bike with an SX, or NX level build for $6k, and online is offering GX level builds at $4k-$4500, it's hard to justify paying more for a bike with components you already want to upgrade, than the opposite. I wish my bank account was such that it didn't matter, but it does unfortunately.
  • 3 0
 Once a mechanic clamped my brand new double barrel shock in a vice without soft jaws,never gone to a shop for repairs or maintenance since.
  • 1 0
 I have worked in the industry for many years and kinda know it works..I have a good relationship with the local shop and the distribution here in Switzerland..the communication and order process couldnt be better. In the industry and biking in general you can build certain relationships, and alot of friendships..after all its just a hobby.
Been building up my own bikes for years, don't need a shop for that..but purchasing a frame and wheels from the local shop makes things easy and retains the small "business" side friendship...
I have seen it alot times that the guys that order DTC often ask for help adjusting or whatever is thats wrong with their bike - but too proud or cheap to ask the local dealer. If you take the time to establish a certain relationship, business related or not - I am more than 100% sure it always pays out.
  • 1 0
 If anyone asks you for help it isnt because of pride, its because you claim you're an experienced wrench and they don't want to wait a week and a half for a minor problem.
  • 1 0
 All my mountain bikes are frames that I bought and built up myself. It's not just price that has me order most things online, it's that I want something specific and can't be bothered to call 5 shops that often don't even have what I need. Shops are great if you need help, and the best shops have to survive on service.
  • 2 1
 Yeah.. I see here a lot of weirdness.. and un-awareness.. I am a professional mechanic coming from Automotive industry.. the level of knowledge and especially the amount of money to be invested in the right tools it is something that no end consumer could match.. but we have also to consider.. that not all the workshops are enough professional neither aknowledged to service high end or race MTB..
  • 1 0
 I personally mainly shop DTC, but it isn't only because of price/value, it's largely because my LBS only have Giant, Scott, Specialized, Trek and Cannondale and not that many models from each brand. Now personally then non of these brands have a bike that speaks to me look and geo wise and I like to have a bike that you don't see 10 times on every ride.

I have a local mechanic that I do support from time to time (either when I lack a tool to do a job or time, since i do prefer to do my own wrenching). He can order things home if needed, but him and I have an agreement that I will generally take care of buying the parts, since he doesn't stock that much stuff and most stuff will be a special order for him. He has also expressed a interest in the more special parts I come with, since I often buy from smaller lesser known brands, but only if they offer something a larger brand doesn't. He gets to widen his knowledge, spend less time looking for parts for me and have a customer that isn't pushing him on money and time.

Now I also don't have the best experience with LBS people, most in my area have no clue about MTBs and just try to push things on you.

I think the thing many people online forget is that not everyone lives close to LBS that stock many MTB specific things, let alone higher end parts. Something as simple as a helmets is next to impossible for me to buy at a LBS since they only stock 3-4 mtb helmets and usually it's bell and giro, where neither brand fit me, no-one stocks Lazer or POC.
  • 1 0
 At the moment Im more likely to buy on line as long as it cheaper. Mainly because most of the benefits on buying retail don’t exist in reality. Wander into my local bike shops and Im met with loads of ebike and a few hard tails. Want to look at a trail or enduro bike without a motor then you have no chance, they simply dont have any in the shop. As for a demo to test for fit and if the characteristics of the bike suit you then you might as well as for a trip to the moon as they are more likely to be able to organise that. As for servicing and maintenance that really does depend on how good the specific mechanic in each shop is. Round me its not been a good experience.

If I can’t even look at, sit on or demo a bike at the local store then what am I paying for v buying on line?
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce - sure, that came out wrong - its sometimes just little things that "on trail" can be frustrating, I think in this day and ago, a little knowledge can go a long way. I mean there's practically millions of videos of how to's...
  • 1 0
 My local bike shops, that were at one point reasonable independents, just got bought up by Trek and now that is all that they sell. I used to be able to walk in and see 5 or 6 brand offerings. Now, I only use them when I cannot fix something myself on my mail order Devinci. I am actively looking for another road frame as mine is about 10 years old and has seen enough miles and abuse that carbon makes me nervous. I will be mail ordering that as well. In my math, I can go to my local tri place and book an hour on their adjustable frame thing and get ideal angles, make sure my cleats are shimmed correctly, and then mail order and still be ahead of the game cost wise compared to going down the street and buying an off the rack Trek or Spec.
  • 1 0
 Well … i bought a focus at a local shop once, had the worst customer service ever and was without a bike for 2 months during summer due to 2x the same broken chainstay(also had to pay 120€ for installing the new part)

After that i bought a commencal, destroyed the rocker, had a new one 7 days later, cost me 0€
  • 1 0
 Ok, here goes, I work at a shop and i really don't care where you bought your bike from as long as you are having fun and more people are riding bikes. Furthermore come in and haggle, its usually a good conversation. I ride with folks who have DTC bikes and we out there having a blast!
  • 1 0
 Pro tip, buy last years model for 30% off from a shop in October.
If you can fix your own bike - you know where to buy.
If you are getting into biking - buy from a shop and don't buy expensive
If you want to buy new because your current bike isn't good enough, have you tried new tyres/brakes first?
  • 1 0
 You know what's really disappointing? When you buy a bike from the shop that has dry pivots. A lot of people who bought Trek full squish bikes had squeaky pivots almost immediately after purchase. I told my friend to take his couple month old $5k+ Trek fuel back to the shop and demand they give him a free full service of all the pivots. It's utterly unacceptable to not have a bike in perfect condition when you pay someone thousands of dollars for it.
  • 2 0
 Price being similar, I'd always prefer to buy from a shop. However, the trouble is that it's nearly impossible to find a local shop that stocks some of the more exotic or boutique brand frames or parts.
  • 1 0
 Huh… I’ve seen a lot of terrible bikes built from these so called professional shops, also have seen them sell people the completely wrong stuff over all the years…So the thought of quality is out the window with some of these places.
  • 1 0
 If you genuinely are into mountain biking, take the time to learn to assemble and repair it. If necessary, ask an experienced friend to help rather than taking to a LBS. You will likely have a better outcome, save money and be that much better maintaining your bike.
  • 1 0
 My logic on this that I have always applied: If I need service or advice, I will pay for it at an LBS. This includes everything from trying out bikes, trying on shoes etc. If it's purely transactional, say buying a tyre, I just go for the lowest price online with the most convenience.

All my bikes up until my latest (Commencal Meta) have been via an LBS, and I did get value from the price premium without a doubt with good advice, testing and fitting.

At this point, with the Meta, I knew exactly what I wanted and got the best VFM online.

But anyone who goes to an LBS, tries out bikes / shoes / whatever, then once they are happy goes home and buys that thing online for cheaper is a sh1trat.
  • 1 0
 wait, are there companies that'll send complete builds in giant boxes with seat, wheels, bars, stem, etc. all attached or is that just some stock/joke photo? I'm assuming the latter
  • 1 0
 It actually depends on the bike, mostly cheaper E bikes (like a gazell) where the wiring is all pre done and tight, are shipped totally assembled.
  • 1 0
 Yes - the bike is completely assembled and tuned. See above.
  • 2 0
 Not a joke. Every bike I have bought has come fully assembled in a comically huge box with the only "assembly" being turn the handlebars 90 degrees.
  • 1 0
 @neimbc: That headlight is especially well-tuned--if you're using the bike for apple picking, that is.
  • 6 6
 You cannot get the experience online. There is something more rewarding about going into a shop and buying a product that someone is visibly excited for you and your new bike. .com doesn't offer that at all, and it never will.
  • 4 0
 Buy bike used --> go to shop religiously for everything else
  • 1 0
 As the owner of a mobile service center specializing in suspension, I support this approach. Wink
I love sorting out the internet purchases.
  • 3 3
 I just bought one bike from an online retailer and one bike from my LBS (same model in different sizes for the gf and I), I gave my local LBS the chance to earn my business before firing off the order entirely online - turns out they could come within $50 of matching the online price but could only get one of our sizes so thats how it went down. I don't feel guilty about asking them to match the price, because its my money and I'm gonna treat it as such. Don't let anyone tell you what to do with YOUR money...
  • 3 1
 People are buying new bikes!?!?!

My last two purchases have been frames off But/Sell. Way more fun to keep the old legends running.
  • 4 0
 can't we just buy framesets and build them ourselves?
  • 1 0
 If I didn't have access to a cycle to work scheme I would absolutely buy online every time. But I do, so I went local. The shop got full RRP and I got a 30% cheaper bike. Everybody wins.
  • 2 0
 My local shop is selling last year models at this years retail price. Online I can find the same bike 30% off and no tax. There is no decision to be made.
  • 2 0
 Anyone have any experience with BikesOnline.com? Im wondering about getting a bike from them.
  • 2 0
 Bikes shipped to your door needing some assembly. Its a good time to be a dentist
  • 5 3
 If you're a capable mechanic, the only thing a shop can you is warranty support.
  • 2 0
 as the owner of my latest DTC bike with a faulty fork this is actually a big deal. Drop it at the LBS vs. mail it across the country to SRAM on my own dime (which with insurance is much more than a dime).
  • 2 0
 I went through a warranty issue on my bike and the LBS certainly stepped up to help out.
  • 2 0
 Yup, but that warranty support, especially frames, typically comes with the mandatory "reassembly fee" charged by the shop. Best warranties allow you to provide evidence of the broken component and agree to destroy it once the replacement is received. Problem solved.
  • 2 0
 @bcothran: You call that best? I got a complete frame warrantied from Radon because of a broken seatstay. I sent them a picture, they sent me the frame. No need to destroy anything. Best part is, this is a Horst link bike and the seatstay is actually sold as a spare part. So I bought that and then I had two frames. Built one up and sold it
, someone is still riding that. It would have been such a waste if they had made me destroy a perfectly good front triangle and chainstay.
  • 1 0
 Chances are you'll even be better than the shop's mechanic
  • 1 0
 Nah, if it's a good enough shop there's still benefits. A full blind-bearing puller set, and bearing press set, to service linkages is not cheap, nor are the various specific tools for any suspension service that goes beyond wipers and seals. Also, shops give you time to do other stuff you need to do that isn't working on your bike. For people with kids, long hours at work, or more, that's pretty significant. Just because you can, doesn't mean you want to. Even chefs still go out to dinner.
  • 1 0
 @monkeynaut: I love tools. An evening or weekend afternoon in the garage with the wife and beer chatting and working on my bike is pretty damned good. My kids are teenagers now and require less maintenance. My office is in my garage, so I can tinker with bikes during the day as well if there's a particularly stubborn issue to think about. I guess I've hit work/life balance.
  • 2 0
 The money I saved buying my Canyon, I consider it extra money I can put towards LBS when I need their mechanical expertise.
  • 1 2
 i have mixed feelings on lbs. i send them many customers who have purchased bikes and used my name as a refefence. I also purchased hoodies and t shirts promoting them. and the few times i needed something fixed or new wheel built i get the slow treatment. one time i had a month before colorado trip and wanted a new rear wheel and ordered it. the week before i had to pack bike up the lbs still did even start the build. i did stress that i needed the wheel. so i went to pinkbike and had one built and sent to me in 3 days. also when looking for the new bike they did not help in any way with a demo or anything. so online for me always
  • 2 0
 I try to buy everything I can used. Better for the environment and more affordable.
  • 1 0
 Do all the "good shops" have that posted on the door? How exactly does one determine a good shop from a bad shop without taking that unknown risk?
  • 3 0
 Reading the 3 and 4 star reviews of any shop can be illuminating. Those usually contain the most nuance, rather than simply effusive praise or spleen venting. Also, if there's a lot of long 5 five star reviews, like multi-paragraphs, that's usually a good sign.
  • 4 1
 OMG WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS?! AND WHY THE HECK AM I YELLING?!
  • 2 0
 You can always bargain with the local shop, not so much with the consumer direct...
  • 1 0
 You don't need to negotiate with DTC because the prices are already so much better.
  • 2 0
 Do trek stores and specialozed experience cenrers (tm) count as "bike shops"? Pretty sure they dont
  • 1 0
 For sure better online, stores feel like the queen! without knowledge and pretending you are the kid walking in a bike shop for the first time…especially here in B.C.
  • 1 0
 I've never been able to test ride a bike at a bike shop. The only bikes I've ever test ridden have been at events by online retailers.
  • 4 0
 Long live Pricepoint.com
  • 1 0
 Buy a new bike from a shop today and get low groupset and wheels for big bucks or buy lightly used, upgraded and bored previous owner...
  • 1 0
 A lot of major brands are offering the ability to buy online but pick up in your local shop. Kind of helps, kind of hurts.
  • 1 1
 Buying a bike from Stanton and don't get a f#cking answer from them during 2 months or buy any other brand. That could be another posting.
  • 2 2
 Bought multiple bikes online and via shop, I like buying via shop, since they allow you to customize order and include 1 year suspension service complimentary
  • 4 0
 That’s a solid offer. Around here they offer 1 year of derailleur tuning, or turning your barrel adjuster 1/4 turn free of charge.
  • 2 0
 @Branmuffin: Agree, and that's keep customers on the hook with them!
  • 3 2
 If you love mountain biking and your mtb community, try your best to go to a local shop!
  • 1 1
 Reason #1 - Do not have to drive and waste time talking to a LBS, DTC show up at the door and usually tuned better then a LBS.
  • 2 2
 It’s a business decision. There’s no loyalty to the local clientele when bikes and/or parts are offered for MSRP. So why be loyal to your local shop?
  • 1 0
 I bought my Marin online and had no issues. Also cause nearest dealer was 50 clicks away.
  • 1 0
 Just come shop at your LBS…. I work at the one Levy used too now so is that a point for me?
  • 1 0
 With some of the discounting going on you can go to your IBD and probably get a better price at the moment too!
  • 1 0
 Interesting times ahead for shops versus online…
  • 7 0
 Interesting in that good shops can finally focus on what they are great at, which should be service. Majority of shops in the US can not afford the old school way of doing business i.e. stocking an entire bike company's line of bikes in every size and color. Many shops can do great business by working on repairs, selling accessories, nutrition, etc...
  • 3 2
 Check out the YT Mill in Guildford UK. Best of both worlds
  • 2 1
 Make Bike shops great again!
  • 1 2
 Bike shops and the internet can’t coexist.

The facts not enough riders to support bike shops.
If everyone isn’t using them….. the inventory needs to turn over.
  • 1 0
 Ive bought from bike shops and online. Both good experiences.
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