Should I Buy A Bike Online Or From A Local Bike Shop?

One thing is for sure: You’re in the market for a new bike. There are so many benefits to cycling, so congratulations for making the decision to get started (or you’re experienced looking for a new bike).

You’re reading this article because you’re not sure if you should buy your bike online, or from your local bike shop (LBS). It’s not a simple question to answer. Buying a bike online might be the perfect avenue for some people, but others will benefit from making the purchase at their local shop.

image of buying a bike online versus lbsIn this article, we do a deep dive and aim to help you make the best decision for your upcoming bike purchase.

The number one reason people buy online is because of the PRICE.

Bikes purchased online are much cheaper than ones bought in physical shops. That’s because the bike does not have to touch as many hands before the purchase is made. That means the savings are passed onto you, the consumer.

The number one reason people buy from a local bike shop is because you get to TEST it first.

So, just how much cheaper are we talking? Well, most bikes found online can be purchased for around $500 cheaper. That’s not a joking matter!

We’ve been trained to buy things online, and it’s not our fault. The prices can be too hard to resist. But not all items purchased online are the same. If you order cat food online (assuming you know the product) you can rest assured the right stuff will shop up at your doorstep.

The biggest issue with purchasing a bike online is the sizing. While the sizing charts do a great job at minimizing the chance of receiving a bike that doesn’t fit, there is no substitute for trying it out at the store. You’ll get to ride it around the and decide if it’s right for you.

Here’s our advice

  • If it’s your first bike (you are brand new to cycling) then we’d recommend find a cheap bike ONLINE. You’ll want to check out the sizing charts to make sure it fits.
  • If you’ve owned a bike, but don’t know enough about them, then go ahead and visit your local shop. You’re buying your second (or third, fourth, etc) bike because you want to up your game.
  • That said, if your cycling knowledge is strong, then you should know EXACTLY what you’re looking for. If you’re in this category, then I’d say you should buy ONLINE. That’s because there’s a great chance you’ll find the exact bike you want, but for a lot cheaper.

If you’d like to take a look at online road bikes, we our full review here.

Other Considerations

  • Not all local bikes shop have friendly staff that will bend over backwards for you. Granted, most LBS will go the extra mile to make you happy (and make the sale), but you should expect this service if you’re thinking about making the purchase in-person.
  • Local bike shops may give you a stink eye when you bring your bike in for service (if you did buy it online). Be prepared to pay extra unless you have a friend that knows cycling inside and out.
  • Buying specific bike parts online is the best option. You can purchase items that don’t rely on a test ride, and you will receive the pricing discount you’re looking for.

Conclusion

Buying a bike online can be a risky option. As long as you understand the risks involved, you can make the best informed decision. If you’re confident with your decision to buy online, then congratulations, because you’re going to be saving a hell of a lot of money.

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