Dirt is Fun
Best and Worst On-line shops
I have been surfing on-line stores to buy various bike parts. I have my issues from past experiences to after the smoke settled...really wasn't a great savings and could have just gone local...paid a bit more with no issues or hassles.
Would like to hear from on-line shoppers what they feel are the best and worst on-line bike stores to shop from.
I've had great experiences with:
Competitive Cyclist - 1 large purchase and several smaller ones
eBay, but I generally pick a top rated seller (feedback over 2K, does this for a living), pay with paypal for buyer refund protection, read the description carefully, ask seller if in doubt, not 100% new, etc. - bought a complete Sram XX group part by part, mostly new in box, couple were take-offs, no surprises, knew what I was getting and paid very cheap prices. Ebay's not perfect, mistakes happen, but they now refund you directly.
Bike Bling - great with detailed fitment questions - several small purchases
Amazon - several small/med purchases: good prices, product data and fitment can be a little hit and miss (i.e. part number clearly doesn't match picture, which should you trust?) and you can't ask seller question like you can on eBay. But, returns are super easy and overall trustworthy.
Now, Cambria bike: I would just rate ok, I did one time order 2 rotors express shipping, first one shipped fast, 2nd one I waited, waited, eventually heard it was discontinued, but it was just a standard formula R1 rotor which was replaced by a slightly different part number for the next model year, so I would have preferred A) ship me the new model, B) since I paid for express shipping, would have liked a refund on that, but to be fair I never bothered to ask, so no big deal. This is just one small experience so don't write them off.
Last edited by Procter; 08-30-2012 at 01:23 AM.
1) price point - literarily 20,000 wort of stuff over the last ten year, ships faster than anyone, no hassle return, great prices
2) jenson- just below price point
3) Cambria - good seclection, a little slow on shipping (probably drop ships a lot)
4) universal cycle- best selection but high prices but tey will price match,reasonable shipping
1) bike bling - no customer service, drop ship, teaser prices, wait a month for stuff
2) blue sky- avoid
3) wheel world and their sister company, commonly thought of as the worst
5000$ bikes - the place to go used to be sipped goat but they just got bought out - so my next big purchase will probably be competitive cyclist
Just my thoughts
I've only ordered online from Art's Cyclery & had a great experience both times & their prices are very good.
bike island, universal cycles, enduro fork seals/RWC (not direct from ABI), CS West bikes, Awwyeah bikes, ebay, craigslist
Fat Tire Fatty
I regularly use three: Jenson, PricePoint and Blue Sky. With Blue Sky I always call before ordering to make sure they have the items in stock (have heard others complain about this). My only complaint with them is that their parts are often OEM, but not labeled as such on their site.
Sites I avoid: BikeBling, Cambria - have had awful experiences with both in the past.
firstname.lastname@example.org - The best option if you are willing to spend a few extra minutes emailing him for a price quote and maybe wait a few extra days for him to ship.
Universal cycles - 100% reliable on over 20 orders I've done, they have everything, good discount codes that never expire, accurate inventory, quick shipping.
Competitive cyclist - Awesome customer service, knowledgeable employees. Usually not the cheapest but they have some specials from time to time that are awesome.
Performance - Sometimes they have something I need on sale at a good price. Their inventory is accurate and they always ship the same day. No complaints other than their selection of hard parts is weak.
My bad experiences over the last few years were with wheel world and cambria - both advertised items as in stock that were not. Both companies gave me an attitude when I called to cancel my orders.
No one's mentioned Tree Fort Bikes yet so I will. I've made several purchases from them with good results. I also use Universal Cycles regularly along with Pricepoint. I've been pretty happy with all three on price and shipping. I haven't had to return anything to them. I have returned items to Competitive Cyclist before with no hassle at all, so I give them a thumbs up as well.
I've also used Colorado Cyclist, Jenson, Bikeman, Speedgoat, and Performance with good results but I haven't bought from any of them in a while.
"Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!"
Most of my online shopping goes to the following two outfits
Jenson - Good, stand-up people. I visit their site often just to eyeball the deals on their front page. Sometimes they run some amazing deals.
Universal - When I need a specific part on a reliable schedule, this is the place. Extensive selection. Not really the place for blowout deals. Drop-dead perfect inventory management.
I've hit Tree Fort a few times as well. And recently I've been very happy w/some brakes purchased from Blue Sky. They were either OEM or take offs, but I'm ok w/that in return for the price.
Jenson for selection, Aawyeah for price, eBay for stuff not available elsewhere
eBay - I usually enter UPCs and then sort by price. Watch their feedback, I usually try to stick with sellers that have at least 98%
Nashbar.com and Performance.com - I often find great deals when they have 20% off coupons or other major sales. Typically very slow shipping
Aawyeah.com - Unbeatable prices and free shipping, limited selection, fast shipping
JensonUSA.com - Great selection, great customer service, have received several incorrect orders in the past
Cambriabike.com - Good prices, but many problems with incorrect shipments and old items (rotten tires)
very knowledgeable, great service. Typically they will match any online price if you find something for less than their advertised price. Price matching service works great, quick response, no hassle.
JensonUSA - great
CompetitiveCyclist - now owned by BackCountry, customer service are slipping
Cambria Bicycle Outfitters - AVOID - Slow, large varitiy of items on site but does not have any stock
Performance - Great deal once a while but customer service is bad
PricePoint - bought from them before, shipping is average, never used their customer service, price isn't great imo
Art's Cyclery - a site to PM with
JensonUsa- Good, price matching has gotten better.
UniversalCycles- Good, shipping for me was slow and price matching isn't great. Always have 10-15% off coupon
Hucknroll- Great, my go to etailer just before Jenson.
CambriaBike- pretty decent although I have heard they have been slipping a bit.
Bicycle outfitters Indy- Good with coupon codes.
Allsportprotection- Good for me. Items not always in stock but i chat online to check stock before ordering. Customer service has been one of the best for me and they price match.
Wiggle- Great. Across the pond but prices on some things are awesome and their customer service is one of the best. Usually get items in 6 business days to CA.
BikeBling- Slow shipping. Took several days for the item to be shipped and emails took one day longer to get answered.
I have had good experiences with Chain Reaction Cycles. I have ordered from, or put in for a group buy a couple of times now.
Well packaged, which is another bonus when buying online.
In no particular order:
Jenson, good service and sometimes decent prices with quick shipping. Price match functionality often sucks, and it's a real pita.
Price Point, they have never had anything I've needed in stock, so I've never ordered from them. I'm not sure if they'll do will call now, but they previously wouldn't, and I work right around the corner from them. Well, if they did ever have good stuff in stock, they lost my business because of that. I wasn't about to pay to ship something around the corner.
Treefortbikes, ok selection, good upfront pricing (I hate the others that MAY price match), quick shipping. This would probably be my go-to place if they had a better selection. They rarely have everything I need, so I often go elsewher, but it is one of the first places I check.
Arts Cyclery, ok selection, quick shipping, and once in a while decent pricing.
Cambria, more often than not, half of your order is on backorder, and they don't tell you until you call - poor service. Yeah, like I want only 6 spokes when I'm building up a set of wheels - ARGH!
Universal Cycles, not so good selection, and I've bought new items that showed up in used or incorrect packaging, which has made me wonder about them.
May the air be filled with tires!
chain reaction cycle - great deals, fast shipping.
bike-components.de - best prices ever. fast shipping for Germany based inventory
Jenson is the first place I shop since they're right up the freeway and I can pretty much get stuff at my door the next day. Ever since they updated the website it seems like their prices aren't as good, but their price match is instant about 75% of the time. Their selection is decent.
TreeFortBikes is my second go to. Their prices are good and they often show competitor's price match info. I like that. Also they show if a part is in stock or not.
For me the key is knowing if a part is in stock or not. I don't care if the price is 10% cheaper. If they don't have it in stock, I won't buy from them. I no longer shop at BikeBling (eventhough they're right down the freeway too) because they don't show quantity in stock. I had a tire take 3 months one time. Not acceptable.
Chainreactioncycles - Quick delivery, real-time inventory, and reasonable shipping prices for Canadians
Probikekit - Although not aimed at MTB, good prices with coupon code, free delivery from UK to Canada
Competitivecyclist - Bought 2 sets of Mavic wheels, shipped reasonably quick, good communication
Ebay (bikewagon) - Only made one purchase, all is great
Universal, Tree Fort Bikes, and my new favorite: Backcountry !!! BC does not advertise price matching but they do. I had them price match with other US sites and still got free two-day shipping and no friggin tax (CA is nearly 9%!). They don't have as much inventory as most bike-specific sites. Oh and the big plus. Lifetime return policy, no questions asked. WOW!
We Ride In God's Country!
The good, in no particular order:
Chain Reaction - crazy that shipping from the UK on something can be less than from here in the lower 48. IIRC Wiggle is affiliated/same as CRC...
Jenson - I used to order more from Jenson, good about price matching, ships reliably, good customer service the one time I needed it. Prices don't seem as strong as they used to be...
Pricepoint - about the same as Jenson, shipping can be a bit more expensive as they don't seem to have as many shipping options as Universal
Universal - my go to lately, stock accuracy and shipping options are hard to beat. Can't get as aggressive price matching maybe but the other two items make up for it. USPS shipping is pretty nifty for smaller items
Huck n Roll - very impressive the couple of times I have used them, quick shipping, good email communication of order status, etc
Bikewagon - quick shipping, mostly seems to be OE or surplus goods, good deals can be had if in the right place at the right time
The not so optimal, in no particular order:
Cambria - can be hit or miss when it comes to stock accuracy/status and can be a bit slow to update on order status
Niagara Cycle Works - I have an RMA pending with them on a Conti TK right now that was defective. Up to 10 business days to process exchange per their return policy and I get to pay the shipping for the original item, the return of said defective item, and the replacement item which is a bit, well - wick-wick-wack if you ask me
Hit or Miss:
Bikebling.com doesn't mark things as out of stock just as others have said.
Last edited by F2a; 09-10-2012 at 10:40 AM.
I've had great purchases with Tree Fort Bikes, Competitive Cyclist, Performance Bike, Art's, Universal Cycles, Bikeman and Bicycle Outfitters Indy.
Decent transaction with Pro Bike Supply. They list items out of stock yet will take your money then tell you later it's out of stock. They are so-so returning emails and phone calls.
Horrible with eBay seller Rocky Mountain Cyclery out of Loveland, CO.
-Chainlove all the way! That is if you are not in a dire need to upgrade.
Pricepoint: bought one of those french company road bikes a number of year ago off of there with a bunch of other small purchases. Solid service.
Back in the day I used Dans Comp for BMX bikes...haha
Chainlove is owned by backcountry too. And as others have said, bikebling doesn't mark when items are out of stock but I have never had an issue talking to them and figuring out when items would be. Competitive cyclist huckandroll/backcountry/chainlove are all good along with jensonusa and tree fort bikes.
Dirt Rag Extraordinaire
Chain Reaction Cycles all da way!
There are many reasons I keep going back to CRC (in order of importance):
i. Price: First and foremost, they have the cheapest prices by far, even cheaper than eBay. I've been doing this a long time, used to compare the adverts in MBA in the 90's, before the web. They're the biggest bike shop in the world, so we're talking economies of scale. In fact, CRC are so cheap there's often a run on stock, you have to get in quick. I've purchased stuff from Jenson's and Cambria before, when CRC have been out of stock, and they're usually 10-30% more expensive.
ii. Range: Huge range, probably the best range of any online store. Like I said before though, sometimes you have to get in quick at the beginning of the season, because everyone knows they're not going to find a better price elsewhere. Also, the inventory is automatically updated, which is very handy. However, the cart doesn't don't tell you how many items are left in stock, which would be even better.
iii. Shipping: Not only do CRC have the best prices, they're simply unbeatable when you factor in the FREE shipping. If you spend more than a hundred bucks (on mtb parts? in an instant) you get FREE postage, to Australia anyway. I really appreciate that, as we often get wroughted on shipping to our far away island continent. Most US based stores, such as Jenson's and Cambria, only offer premium shipping, like UPS, which'll add another 40 bucks (at least) to your purchase. OK, the CRC postage might not be first class like UPS (might take 10 days instead of 4), but who cares? It's FREE!
iv. Service: Relatively fast customer service with a 48 hour turnaround, at most, usually 24 hours. Helpful too, though all of these online bike stores have pretty good customer service. The guys at Cambria might take several days to answer your inquires, but they're super helpful when they do. CRC are good for returns, and have actually paid the return postage for me in the past. I've spent several grand with them over the years, and as a valued customer they've looked after me.
My only complaint is that they've never given me a discount code, even when requested, which I think is a bit stingy. They know I'm not going to spite myself by paying more shopping elsewhere, so that's just they way it goes I 'spose. Other online retailers, like Karmaloop for example, will give you a 10% discount code upon request every time, as well they should. If you shop regularly at the same bricks and mortar store (clothing or bike shop anyway), you'd get to know the staff and/or manager, and they'd induct you into a customer loyalty program, with discounts and incentives. This hasn't really caught-on with online retailers yet, not sure why.
Last edited by m0ngy; 09-08-2012 at 11:34 PM.
"You go up the hill, you go down the hill."