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Old 12-25-06, 07:32 PM   #1
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Getting a new frame from Europe

A year ago, I built up a NOS (three year old) Fuji Finest frame with 9-speed Ultegra. Not bad, taught me about current technology, and a fairly decent ride, but I'm in the mood for doing something different. Thus my post.

I'd be real interested in replacing the Fuji with either a current model (French made only, please) Gitane, or a Rossin. I know the former isn't imported into the US anymore, and while I think the latter may be, they're sure hiding under a rock somewhere.

Anyone in this group have any experience with dealing with a European bike shop who's willing to sell and ship to the US? Any experiences, warnings about pitfalls, etc., would be appreciated.

Oh yeah, in answer to the inevitable question: My fixation on those two brands is due to the vintage stuff already hanging in the garage.
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Old 12-25-06, 08:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sykerocker
Anyone in this group have any experience with dealing with a European bike shop who's willing to sell and ship to the US? Any experiences, warnings about pitfalls, etc., would be appreciated.
The usual issue with European bike shops is that they have so much business around that they are not interested in shipping to the US. Smaller orders would be shipped only within their country or to the EU. However, they may be convinced in case of a larger order such as the frame. Due to their small volume of US orders, however, the shipping may end up being substantial. Another issue may end up being the payment. European shops often do not take CCs but usually take bank transfers. However, the US banks typically charge $30 for foreign transfers on top of other charges. The shops may suggest just putting cash into an envelope.

Most geared up for the US orders tend to be the British bike shops, e.g. in taking CCs. I suspect that this is due to their language-associated volume of the US orders. However, the British shops tend to be expensive, e.g. compared to the German shops. I have no experience with getting stuff from the French shops.
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Old 12-25-06, 08:59 PM   #3
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You might try contacting the manufacturer directly and ask about their methods of handling export sales. You may be able to deal directly with them or they can give you the name of a distributor or shop that can help.
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Old 12-26-06, 11:56 AM   #4
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One more season related comment. When you ask for land parcel mail, in order to save money, the items anyway end up shipped by air and you get them within 5-10 days. An exception is the Christmas period. It seems that during the year there is an excessive air capacity. However, during the Christmas time that capacity fills up and items sent by land indeed end up on a ship. The bottleneck clears up some time at the beginning of February. Thus, there may be some advantage in holding off with your order till then.
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Old 12-26-06, 12:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 2_i
One more season related comment. When you ask for land parcel mail, in order to save money, the items anyway end up shipped by air and you get them within 5-10 days. An exception is the Christmas period. It seems that during the year there is an excessive air capacity. However, during the Christmas time that capacity fills up and items sent by land indeed end up on a ship. The bottleneck clears up some time at the beginning of February. Thus, there may be some advantage in holding off with your order till then.
This is really bad information!! I regularly send and receive packages to and from the State and Europe. A packed shipped priority mail from the States will arrive in two weeks or less, air mail will take two to three weeks. The cheapest method of surface mail will take two to three months. In fact I'm still waiting for a surface package shipped in October.

Pay the extra for air mail if you want to see your frame in a timely fashion and in one piece.
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Old 12-26-06, 06:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i

Most geared up for the US orders tend to be the British bike shops, e.g. in taking CCs. I suspect that this is due to their language-associated volume of the US orders. However, the British shops tend to be expensive, e.g. compared to the German shops. I have no experience with getting stuff from the French shops.
Actually, I would rather suggest german shops. They are usually well equipped and intentioned towards US (and other overseas) destinations, and will accept credit cards or even PayPal. And shipping from germany is much, much, much cheaper than from the UK. I don't know why this is, but I won't subject myself to ParcelForce abuse anymore, and would like to protect my friends and biking comrades, too.

Last edited by wroomwroomoops; 12-26-06 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 12-26-06, 06:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
This is really bad information!! I regularly send and receive packages to and from the State and Europe. A packed shipped priority mail from the States will arrive in two weeks or less, air mail will take two to three weeks. The cheapest method of surface mail will take two to three months. In fact I'm still waiting for a surface package shipped in October.

Pay the extra for air mail if you want to see your frame in a timely fashion and in one piece.
I agree with the above, but would like to add: for small components/parts shipped from the US to Europe, I strongly recommend

USPS GPM Flat Rate Envelope


Small or Large.

They are substantially quicker than AirMail, and 100% reliable (I received hundreds of items from the US; shipped this way - not one lost or damanged, ever). And, they are the cheapest as in, best value for money, if the total weight of your items is less than 4 pounds.

So, if you live in EU and want something shipped to you quickly, reliably and cheaply, use USPS GPM Flat Rate Envelope.

The reason I emphasize this, is a lot of americans are unaware of this shipping method, and same goes for most EU buyers, and it's a damn shame.
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Old 12-26-06, 07:19 PM   #8
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I don't know if they will deliver to European addresses but, at least for domestic shipping, the USPS also offers Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for $8.10 that can weigh up to 70-pounds (31.7 kg) .
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Old 12-26-06, 07:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
Actually, I would rather suggest german shops. They are usually well equipped and intentioned towards US (and other overseas) destinations, and will accept credit cards or even PayPal.
Could you give examples justifying the use of plural?? Some where you would not be charged EUR 70 shipping on a EUR 30 order??

Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
And shipping from germany is much, much, much cheaper than from the UK. I don't know why this is, but I won't subject myself to ParcelForce abuse anymore, and would like to protect my friends and biking comrades, too.
The cheapest, most straightforward, way of shipping from Germany is actually using Bundespost (DHL) Packchen for EUR 13 up to 2 kg. The problem is in getting the bike shops using that service for small orders. Otherwise, in spite of the spitting people like to quickly jump to, both the German and US Posts operate fairly well.
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Old 12-26-06, 07:48 PM   #10
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Well, not many French made bikes anymore. Rossin is Italian. Gitane is french but owned by the Cycleurope group from Sweden (same owner as Bianchi) and the frames are surely built in southeast Asia. High-end French made bikes are Time and Cyfac, other high-end brands are Look (frames made in Tunisia by Look employees), and Lapierre (not sure where they are made). There's also less known frame builders mostly employing more traditional materials such as steel and aluminum.
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Old 12-26-06, 08:11 PM   #11
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Germany sonds like a good idea, as their postal service, DHL, runs a package delivary company in the USA.
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Old 12-27-06, 02:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
Could you give examples justifying the use of plural?? Some where you would not be charged EUR 70 shipping on a EUR 30 order??



The cheapest, most straightforward, way of shipping from Germany is actually using Bundespost (DHL) Packchen for EUR 13 up to 2 kg. The problem is in getting the bike shops using that service for small orders. Otherwise, in spite of the spitting people like to quickly jump to, both the German and US Posts operate fairly well.

Of course, like always in life, you do have german webshops that are totally unreasonable when it comes to shipping charges, but it's more so in other EU countries (try Italy, Sweden, France or... Finland, for that matter) than in Germany.

As for the DHL Packchen, I agree, not many use it, which is a damn shame (it's the same as with the USPS GPM Flat Rate Envelope - not many webshops know of it (and not many US webshops sell overseas)), but I know several that do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
Otherwise, in spite of the spitting people like to quickly jump to, both the German and US Posts operate fairly well.
Agreed, absolutely! I think both are shining examples of good postal service! Expecially USPS - I think any country would be proud to have such efficient, dependable and cheap postal service.

(on the other end of the spectrum, take Egypt: every second international parcel disappears. Heck, probably more than every second.)
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Old 12-27-06, 04:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
Could you give examples justifying the use of plural?? Some where you would not be charged EUR 70 shipping on a EUR 30 order??



The cheapest, most straightforward, way of shipping from Germany is actually using Bundespost (DHL) Packchen for EUR 13 up to 2 kg. The problem is in getting the bike shops using that service for small orders. Otherwise, in spite of the spitting people like to quickly jump to, both the German and US Posts operate fairly well.
http://www.bike-components.de/kostenenglisch.php
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Old 12-27-06, 12:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
*Don't take CC, only bank transfer.
*Not plural.
*US S/H indeed one of the lowest I've seen, but still will not make you jump onto a EUR 30 order. If you try to beef up the order, you do not do not know when the bulk surcharge will hit (still one of the lowest I've encountered).
*Better than nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
Of course, like always in life, you do have german webshops that are totally unreasonable when it comes to shipping charges, but it's more so in other EU countries (try Italy, Sweden, France or... Finland, for that matter) than in Germany.
Please give me examples of German sites that take CC and have reasonable US S/H. I do not recall any examples of Scandinavian sites with English versions. I can make myself understand an article in a Swedish newspaper but cannot resolve bike component names and won't engage in a financial transaction in Swedish. Finnish, sorry, is out. The only one Italian site I recall, that shipped to the US, charged something in the vicinity of EUR 50 S/H minimum. France, yes, there are two vendors, one being of course the very useful xxcycle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
I agree with the above, but would like to add: for small components/parts shipped from the US to Europe, I strongly recommend

USPS GPM Flat Rate Envelope
Agreed. I have used that service. Very cheap and the recipient at a remote place in Denmark got his package within 4 days.
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Old 12-27-06, 12:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpelpel
Well, not many French made bikes anymore. Rossin is Italian. Gitane is french but owned by the Cycleurope group from Sweden (same owner as Bianchi) and the frames are surely built in southeast Asia. High-end French made bikes are Time and Cyfac, other high-end brands are Look (frames made in Tunisia by Look employees), and Lapierre (not sure where they are made). There's also less known frame builders mostly employing more traditional materials such as steel and aluminum.
The last I heard is that there are two different Gitane's in production. The European bikes are made by the successor to the 70's company and are still made in France - yeah, possibly they've gone to Asian sourcing like everyone else, but are still finished in France. The Austrailian models are made in Taiwan and possibly China, and are named as such due to a long ago marketing agreement. They have nothing to do with the original French company, it's bought out successor organization, or any other such outfit.

Which is why I'm interested in the 'French' product.
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Old 12-27-06, 01:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
Otherwise, in spite of the spitting people like to quickly jump to, both the German and US Posts operate fairly well.
I always get one of greatest laughs by listening to the constant complaining about the USPS. And I definitely will defend them all the time.

Back in the 1990's, I ran a mail-order business (17th century re-enactment gear and weapons), and relied on UPS and the USPS.

UPS lost more orders for me than the post office. The postal service was cheaper, more convenient, and got 90% of my business, unless I was shipping muskets, swords or slow match (proscribed under USPS regulations).
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Old 12-27-06, 01:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
*Don't take CC, only bank transfer.
*Not plural.
*US S/H indeed one of the lowest I've seen, but still will not make you jump onto a EUR 30 order. If you try to beef up the order, you do not do not know when the bulk surcharge will hit (still one of the lowest I've encountered).
*Better than nothing.



Please give me examples of German sites that take CC and have reasonable US S/H. I do not recall any examples of Scandinavian sites with English versions. I can make myself understand an article in a Swedish newspaper but cannot resolve bike component names and won't engage in a financial transaction in Swedish. Finnish, sorry, is out. The only one Italian site I recall, that shipped to the US, charged something in the vicinity of EUR 50 S/H minimum. France, yes, there are two vendors, one being of course the very useful xxcycle.



Agreed. I have used that service. Very cheap and the recipient at a remote place in Denmark got his package within 4 days.
You are very abrasive for some one who is asking for my help. Good luck in finding your frame.

EDIT: Bulk charges are for frames and wheels. Bank transfers are very a common method of payment in Europe. This is not America.

EDIT: It clearly states on the bottom of the page what "bulky goods" are.

3 Bulky goods : trainers, frames, rims, wheels and repairstand;

Last edited by Ziemas; 12-27-06 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 12-27-06, 01:26 PM   #18
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try checking out belgian shops too. europe is much more likely to ship to the US than the UK is. And they can often be cheaper than the UK too.
bear in mind that you'll have to pay import tax too.
maybe if yo uknow somebody in the UK or Europe they can order it and have it sent a s a gift to avoid tax.
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Old 12-27-06, 01:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
You are very abrasive for some one who is asking for my help. Good luck in finding your frame.

EDIT: Bulk charges are for frames and wheels. Bank transfers are very a common method of payment in Europe. This is not America.
The advice I have been providing has been claimed to be inaccurate. I suppose it is fair for me to ask for examples demonstrating the inaccuracy.
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Old 12-27-06, 01:47 PM   #20
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I purchased a frame in the Netherlands last year.
Shipped to a friend in Germany as the company could not ship to U.S.A.
( copyright issue too long to get into here)
Other than my friend leaving off the street number in the addy, the frame arrived in the states, was shipped back to Stuttgart Germany and returned across to my waiting hands in four weeks told.
D H L ROCKS!
There is a tax involved which can be re-imbursed but the paperwork was a pain so I 'ate' the fifty Euros.
Small price to pay for an original one of a kind custom frame ;0)
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Old 12-27-06, 02:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
The advice I have been providing has been claimed to be inaccurate. I suppose it is fair for me to ask for examples demonstrating the inaccuracy.
I'm trying to help someone with good advise. If you'd like to engage in a pissing match I suggest you check out the P&R forum.
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Old 12-27-06, 03:00 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
I do not recall any examples of Scandinavian sites with English versions. I can make myself understand an article in a Swedish newspaper but cannot resolve bike component names and won't engage in a financial transaction in Swedish. Finnish, sorry, is out. The only one Italian site I recall, that shipped to the US, charged something in the vicinity of EUR 50 S/H minimum. France, yes, there are two vendors, one being of course the very useful xxcycle.
I think we might have a missunderstanding at our hands here. I listed countries where shipping to USA is much more expensive than from Germany - and you apparently took me to mean the opposite.
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Old 12-27-06, 03:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
I think we might have a missunderstanding at our hands here. I listed countries where shipping to USA is much more expensive than from Germany - and you apparently took me to mean the opposite.
You're right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rea1high
try checking out belgian shops too. europe is much more likely to ship to the US than the UK is. And they can often be cheaper than the UK too.
bear in mind that you'll have to pay import tax too.
maybe if yo uknow somebody in the UK or Europe they can order it and have it sent a s a gift to avoid tax.
Including shops that do business in French or Dutch only, there seems to be just one Belgian shop selling on-line, barracuda, and they sent exclusively to Europe.

If one ships through UPS rather than mail, there may be charges for 'presenting goods to the customs' that can be as hefty as the customs duty. On its own, the US customs duty kicks in only for more substantial orders and is lower than the European VATs.
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Old 12-27-06, 07:59 PM   #24
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70 lbs for $8.10

Quote:
Originally Posted by HillRider
I don't know if they will deliver to European addresses but, at least for domestic shipping, the USPS also offers Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for $8.10 that can weigh up to 70-pounds (31.7 kg) .
Hillrider,
I don't follow you. Are you saying you can ship a 70 lb item via Priority Mail for $8.10? Or that you can buy a box for $8.10 and you can ship something that weighs 70 lbs in the box-but have to pay whatever the shipping charge is?
Thanks,
Charlie
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Old 12-27-06, 09:03 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sykerocker
I always get one of greatest laughs by listening to the constant complaining about the USPS. And I definitely will defend them all the time.

Back in the 1990's, I ran a mail-order business (17th century re-enactment gear and weapons), and relied on UPS and the USPS.

UPS lost more orders for me than the post office. The postal service was cheaper, more convenient, and got 90% of my business, unless I was shipping muskets, swords or slow match (proscribed under USPS regulations).
I concur, at least as far as Helsinki is concerned: the local UPS office is probably manned by untrained monkeys. It's the only service from the USA that delivered me items in damaged boxes - items that were broken, in fact, because of the damage done to the packaging! And their delivery process, well, that's a tragicomical tale best left for another time.




Quote:
Originally Posted by 2_i
*Don't take CC, only bank transfer.
*Not plural.
*US S/H indeed one of the lowest I've seen, but still will not make you jump onto a EUR 30 order. If you try to beef up the order, you do not do not know when the bulk surcharge will hit (still one of the lowest I've encountered).
*Better than nothing.

Please give me examples of German sites that take CC and have reasonable US S/H.
Well, you're hard to please, heh, but let's see:


http://www.a-k-f.de/shop/ These take PayPal (make sure you select Fahrrad category)

http://www.wheels-of-steel-store.de/ These, too, accept PayPal, and their shipping quotes are:
http://www.wheels-of-steel-store.de/...&file=shipping

http://www.netsport24.de/ Accept Credit card and PayPal. Here are the shipping charges:
http://www.sport-stenzer.de/netsport24/shipping.php They don't list USA but say to contact them for a specific destination not in the list.
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