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  1. #1
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    Surly Restricting Online Sales

    G'day

    It seems that Surly Bikes are as of November 1, 2011 are ceasing the sale of their complete bikes via online sales. This may only apply to US retailers, but of course that is one good source for Australian/international consumers.

    JensonUSA posted the following on their Facebook page:

    Quote:
    Surly is making some changes to the way their complete bikes are sold. Starting November 1, dealers like Jenson USA will no longer be able to ship bikes - we can only deliver them in-person, assembled. If you're interested in a Surly complete bike, please complete checkout no later than Oct 31st so we can send it to you. Additional information follows in this thread and we'll monitor for questions. Thanks!


    Regards
    Andrew

  2. #2
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    hmm was lawyers, insurance, or warranty headaches that caused them to do this? Something tells me, all of the above.

  3. #3
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    or they're jumping in to protect their LBS dealer network, which they already did a couple years ago to prevent on-line retailers from selling below MSRP. I suppose they're at the point that sales are strong enough, they don't need the on-line sales and it serves their interest more to bolster the brick-and-mortar shops.

  4. #4
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    as a bike shop employee, I applaud this. one more reason to support Surly- they support your local bike shop by limiting the amount of the market that online mega-shops control. my job depends on this!

  5. #5
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    They explain the reason on their blog (which I can't link because I don't have enough posts)

    surlybikes.com/blog/post/the_way_we_do_things

    Seems like they are doing it to help out local bike shops, as well as limit their liability somewhat. I was planning on ordering a frameset from a LBS anyway, though I'll be assembling it myself, both for financial reasons and because building a new bike is nearly as fun as riding it.

  6. #6
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    I bought my Pacer via my LBS early this year. They cut the steerer tube shorter than I specified, gave me wheels that were horribly out of true, and I don't even think they attempted to adjust the derailluers, all while telling me "your bike will be ready in a couple days," for almost a month. The thing is I could have put everything together myself, I just didn't want to, so I thought buying it assembled from my LBS would be a good idea. I learned my lesson. Surly says in their blog post that, "we also know that there are lots of folks out there who don't have the knowledge or tools to make everything work." I think those people are the ones who work at my LBS. Forcing me to deal with my LBS sucks because my LBS sucks.

    I'm not even clear how this changes much though. I can still call faraway bike shops, buy the Surly I want, then get them to ship it to me, right? That's not too much different from ordering online. If I have to like, physically go into a bike shop I will probably not get one another one of Surly's bikes. The closest bike shop (other than the local one which sucks) is a two hour drive away. I'd rather not drive four hours round trip to buy a bike if I can order it instead.

    If Surly is doing this because of warranty headaches, or in an attempt to crack down on sketchy business practices, then, although unfortunate, I get it. Too bad though.
    Last edited by Wramo; 10-31-2011 at 05:47 PM.

  7. #7
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    It looks like frames and components can be ordered through online retailers, just not completes. I wonder if the no online sales of complete bikes will apply to Universal Cycles (www.universalcycles.com)? There's no mention of it on their website. I think they might be directly connected with QBP but I could be wrong. Prior to moving to Portland, OR I would order stuff through them and found their prices to be reasonable and their service great. Since moving to Portland I initially would order stuff online and then pick it up at their warehouse. They've since opened a showroom. The staff are very friendly and helpful and they have a huge amount of stock on hand. I still try to use my LBS whenever possible, even purchased my LHT frame there (Revolver Bikes) this past summer. The price was almost the same as Universal but they did a few extra things in prepping the frame for me. And they're closer to my house. Furthermore, because I'm a Bicycle Transportation Alliance member, I get a 10% at Revolver. Here in Portland there are a number of great shops, I realize everyone isn't so fortunate. You might want to check into Universal for your QBP needs if your LBS sucks or doesn't sell Surly. I'd certainly use Universal before any of the other on-line retailers with the exception of Rivendell, Harris Cyclery and Peter White, all of whom stock items not available through bike shops or Universals.
    All good expeditions should be simple in concept, difficult in their execution and satisfying to remember--Alastair Humphreys

  8. #8
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    +1 on Universal
    www.AsanaCycles.com
    "Bicycle Lifestyle, realized." D.G.

  9. #9
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    purely speculating on my part:

    QBP has a huge amount of inventory, their own brands, such as Surly, and Salsa
    I also believe Foundry and Whiskey...

    with the big brands moving more and more towards the likes of concept stores

    me speculates, that its in the best interest of both the consumer and QBP to reinforce the Independent Bike Shop.

    initially I wonder how "not selling completes on-line" would effect Big Dummy sales thru XtraCycle, but then again... of course it goes to support your indy bike shop, which of course is great.

    I just finished reading "Fordlandia"

    as I recall, obviously botching the quote, goes something like: Capitalism is to support Community not overshadow it.
    www.AsanaCycles.com
    "Bicycle Lifestyle, realized." D.G.

  10. #10
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    Just read the blog post. I chafe at the idea that Surly feels they need to protect their customers from themselves just because some knucklehead put a part on wrong or whatever. But, I also understand that Surly is a private company, so this isn't the same as nameless Washington beaurocrats imposing the nanny state on everyone. Surly is free to do whatever they think is best for their customers and dealers. And anyone who doesn't like it can go buy a Motobecane. But I have a feeling this about protecting their brand integrity too. Its not exactly a secret that major on-line bike brands, like Motobecane, don't have the best rep among the cycling cognicenti. Whether that's fair or not is beside the point. Its better for Surly to be primarily a "bike shop" brand.

    BTW, QBP is Exibit A in how a company can be both financially successful and socially responsible.
    Last edited by bolandjd; 11-01-2011 at 07:34 AM.

  11. #11
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    After reading their post, i'm impressed. Before buying my CC, i had been looking into surly for a while. I like their sensible environmental stance: trying to do what they can for the environment but being straightforward that it's far more environmentally friendly to not buy a new bike at all. this seems like something similar. i take them at their word that they are protecting their brand while trying to support the LBS's. I like that surly doesnt' try to sell you with the idea that their business practices are going to save the whole world, but they are also honestly trying to run a successful business and do the right thing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    as a bike shop employee, I applaud this. one more reason to support Surly- they support your local bike shop by limiting the amount of the market that online mega-shops control. my job depends on this!

    Right on!! Support your local bike shop....before they're gone.

    Mikey
    (Spoke and Wheel Bike shop Mechanic/Manager.)

  13. #13
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    I ordered my complete through a shop and just told them I didn't want it put together. I like building bikes. No big deal.

  14. #14
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    Well, if Surly is getting a ton of warranty claims or calls or whatever, I'm sure they have the fancy maths to determine whether cutting their online sales would save them time and money in handling these issues. If more people use their LBS instead of Surly, especially if Surly is answering questions like "Why is my steerer tube so long?" then it might be worth it to Surly to pass the torch the bike shops. I do not think their protectionist bent will help bike shops though, and ultimately it deprives the consumer of choices. People aren't going to like it, and people are going to buy Motobecane's, or more likely, people just aren't going to be able to get or know about Surly's, so they are going to buy Motobecane's.

    Like I said, if Surly's hand was pretty much forced via warranty headaches, then you gotta do what you gotta do, and I believe this is the main reason they did what they did. But if their primary intent was to sing Kumbaya with bike shops, it's going to be ineffectual. It's nice Surly wants to think their products are more than a simple commodity, but really they're just that. So is every bike. Don't kid yourself. If anything is going to change the impression of Surly as an ethos, it would be their marketing, not their distribution. Starbucks sits on the shelf next to Folgers.
    Last edited by Wramo; 11-01-2011 at 03:28 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprintcarblue View Post
    I ordered my complete through a shop and just told them I didn't want it put together. I like building bikes. No big deal.
    So if you can actually do this, then things don't really change much. If the only difference is that I have to use a phone instead of a computer the big change is that Surly can now just point customers to handle issues via the bike shop.

  16. #16
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    Hopefully they dont go the way of Salsa. That company (i know what you are thinking) has gone in the can with their marketing choices.

    I am very afiliated with a LBS by the way and never buy online.
    MUD


    My weiner is 10.5".....Oh wait...I'm holding this ruler backward.

  17. #17
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    Just out of curiosity, when one could buy a surly complete online, did it come like it does from the factory, or do they unpack it, assemble it, then disassemble it for ease of shipping?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    Just out of curiosity, when one could buy a surly complete online, did it come like it does from the factory, or do they unpack it, assemble it, then disassemble it for ease of shipping?
    I would imagine, that most completes would just get shipped from the online dealer's stock room to you without ever getting opened. Most bikes are shipped mostly assembled these days anyway.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfuller View Post
    I would imagine, that most completes would just get shipped from the online dealer's stock room to you without ever getting opened. Most bikes are shipped mostly assembled these days anyway.

    Yeah. Surly mentions in their blog post that people ask questions about steerer tube length and headset installation, so it sounds like they go (or went) from factory to dealer to you, but they aren't opened.

  20. #20
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    I ordered my complete through a shop and just told them I didn't want it put together. I like building bikes. No big deal.
    Most bike shops will not let you do this for liability reasons. My bike shop let me do this with my LHT, but I had to build it under their watchful eye.

  21. #21
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    I suspect Surly's insurance carrier mandated this change. Typically a LBS will carry coverage for the work its employees perform on bikes. I suspect that most LBS' insurance policies name the companies for whom they are certified dealers as additional insureds. This means that if the LBS screws up and the customer gets injured and sues the manufacturer as well as the LBS, then the manufacturer is afforded coverage under the LBS' insurance.

    I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that Surly didn't have that option with online dealers because it was damn difficult, if not impossible, to keep track of which online retailers were selling complete bikes. With that in mind, it would've been quite impossible for Surly to mandate it was listed as an additional insured on any insurance policy issued to any online retailer selling Surly complete bikes.

    My $.02.

    Like another poster said, lawyers and insurance probably involved.
    "Ride what you love, love what you ride"

  22. #22
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    Personally, I've never bought a complete online just because I think they are a bit overpriced. I can easily find better components than come stock for about the same price. This seems counterintuitive to me, since it used to be common bike knowledge that custom building a bike would be more expensive than getting one off the shelf, as it were.

  23. #23
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    I've always bought my Surly's as frames via my LBS and built up from parts. I know I wouldn't be satisfied by the complete builds so any cost savings is lost as I replace a lot of the parts.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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