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  1. #1
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Online shopping????

    I have a few online shops that I occasionally look at- But I rarely buy from. I have registered with them so I can get the regular E-Mail so I can see the prices that are available and the "Few" really special offers that are about.

    Now I actually require a couple of tyres shortly. Road tyres in 23 and I like Michelin Pro race tyres. They are not that cheap- even on line- and if I did require them- my LBS will sell them just a cheaply in any case. But the roads are pretty bad over here and the PR3's are cutting up pretty bad.

    So I looked out for some Michelin Lithions. There is a new version out as Lithion 2's but no Discount on these yet so looking for the OLD form as they are a robust fairly light folding tyre. Found them last week on Chain Reaction cycles and they have the cheapest price around but in only one colour of Blue/Black. I can get by with that but in checking the other sites- I must have made a mark on their viewed list. This morning I got an offer from two Online shops of an additonal 10% off my purchase if over a certain amount. I have never bought from these two- only registered with them- but apparantly I am a valued customer. Chain reaction sent me a voucher of 10 off if I spent over 50 The two tyres only came to 24 but I did want tubes- so a pack of ten cheap tubes and up the tyres to 3 and I have now spent 56 but got 10 off so a net 46.

    Just realised how gullible I am. I only intended spending 24- but the temptation of the 10 discount and I have doubled my order for something that I do not really need although they will get used eventually- if I can keep them off the Son-in-Laws bike.

    Am I alone in my thinking?
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I have no comment on your shopping decision other to note two things about the decision between buying tires online as opposed to the LBS. First of all you didn't mention a delivery charge and second when it comes to buying new tires (as opposed to buying old tires) I like to get them at the LBS simply because they put them on the rims for me (no extra cost) and I like this because some new tires can be a real pain to mount.

  3. #3
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    You are not alone, for sure. It's called impulse spending. They know how to suck us in and get us to spend more money. I got caught by a 20% off sale one time and spent 200.00 instead of 55.00 that intended on spending. I think I learned my lessen now. Of course it doesn't hurt that the bank balance is low of late.
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  4. #4
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    Are you going to use the stuff you ordered or are you going to throw it in the back of the wardrobe forever?

    The thing about having disposable funds is that you can seek out the good prices when they occur and pay them. It's when you have to pay the premium price because you desperately need the item that you are wasting money.

    The idea of having an LBS fit tyres? Hmmmm... if it works for you, go for it... you've paid extra for it. Delivery charge for CRC to British residents? There isn't one.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    It happened to me once with probikekit but in the end I did save money, it just took awhile to see the savings. I buy my tires/tyres from them.
    Free shipping to USA

  6. #6
    Hump, what hump? horatio's Avatar
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    It's tough to resist adding on, especially when there's a discount AND free shipping. I try to buy only what I need, either online or at the LBS, but in order to get good deals it pays (no pun intended) to plan ahead. Tires wear out often enough that stocking up makes sense, and catching them on sale can save you some money, especially if you find closeouts or discontinued items. The best deal I have gotten so far was for a pair of Continental GP4000s tires from PBK. On sale, plus discount, plus free shipping to the US, I got two tires for what a single tire would cost me new at the LBS. Of course, the tires are still in the box! LOL I'm thinking of saving them for a new wheelset... now if I could just find a good deal somewhere...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Just realised how gullible I am. I only intended spending 24- but the temptation of the 10 discount and I have doubled my order for something that I do not really need although they will get used eventually- if I can keep them off the Son-in-Laws bike.

    Am I alone in my thinking?
    You did what I would have done.

    First of all, you really ride your bike so the extra tire and all of the tubes will eventually get used so none of that money is wasted. Actually, buying 3 tires at a time is a common stragety. When the first rear tire wears out, just pop on the third new one and it will wear out at about the same time as the front tire. A tube on the son-in-law's bike still counts as getting used. Frankly, if you aren't getting payment-in-kind from your son-in-law that far exceeds the value of a bicycle inner tube, you're not doing it right.

    Then there's the shipping charge. For things like tires and tubes you usually have to pay the minimum shipping charge so adding a few additional items onto your order doesn't raise the amount of shipping that you have to pay. In other words, you're minimizing the shipping cost per item.

  8. #8
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    The problem with the lbs is that they never have what I want in stock. They can order it for me, but then it costs more and I have to not only go back and pick it up, but often call and call again to see if it came in. It's a really big hassle.

    I get most of my bike and non bike stuff from the web. Not only does it save money (yes, including shipping/taxes), but it saves time and gas. UPS, USPS and FED-X love me. My last TV, a 46" plasma, I got from Amazon.

    When I buy a large dollar value bike item, I'll call my bike mechanic friend and ask him to give me a quote. Often, he can't get it for the price I can. If he's not too much more, I'll get it from him.

    Some 5 years ago when I got my ti cyclocross frame, I knew that another lbs handled that brand. So I asked them for a quote. It took them some 10-days to give me a price and that was with three calls on my part. They came in $300.00 more.

    I ordered on-line and surprisingly had it in two days.

    I'm not a fan of bike shops.

    Before the web, I had stacks of catalogs to shop. That worked better than local as well.

    On tires, I probably have a three year supply for my ATB. I find a tire that really works, I get more before they run out after they change the design. I'm very fussy on ATB tires.

    I never get on an e-mailing list. Too much useless clutter. I google for price/availability, but most often wind up ordering from the same tried and true outlets.

    Al

  9. #9
    Oh! That British Bloke .. ThatBritBloke's Avatar
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    Some of those UK webstores charge very close to US wholesale suppliers prices. Some tyres on PBK are less than our LBS can get them for ... and free postage to USA.

    On the other hand some stuff is way less expensive here.
    Alan

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  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    UK Online shops

    Not many I use but a brief summary is this.

    PBK are good- delivery excellent and Prices to the US are good- normally with no shipping.Very good for tyres--But I have found cheaper.

    http://www.probikekit.com/display.php?cat=Wheels

    Chain Reaction Cycles. Have some very good prices on Certain items. Cover MTB and Road but seem to be better on MTB.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Default.aspx

    Wiggle- You want it- they will probably have it but they are not cheap.

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/

    St. Johns Cycles. Looking for older stuff and they will be about the best online to shop with. Definitely not cheap but They are an old style shop that carry the older hard to get stuff

    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/

    Merlin Cycles. Mainly MTB but their line is Hand Built wheels at a very good price. I can vouch for the quality of their wheels. They are moving into road but a bit limited on what they carry. MTB prices are good- Road Just so-so except that they do get hold of a lot of end of line stuff at a very good price.

    http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/

    But like all these shops- They are limited on what they supply. I have spent hours looking for a particular item- found the cheapest possible for the item I want- gone to order it only to find they are out of stock. Favourite trick is to have an item in stock one day- gone to order it and found a 10% offer on everything- gone to order what I found the previous day as they had the best price- ONLY TO FIND IT IS NO LONGER LISTED OR OUT OF STOCK.

    One of the reasons the UK is cheap is the $ to exchange rate. The is low right now so it makes sense for stronger currecy to use the UK. Just wait till the slump hits you and You will be inundated with us British buying up all your stock
    Last edited by stapfam; 02-06-11 at 08:59 AM.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I did the same thing at Nashbar yesterday. I ended up getting 8 tubes at a cost of $2.24 each, plus I got two chains instead of one. I will have my computer remind me in a year that I have a chain in my bike box so that I won't forget and mistakenly buy a new one.

    The discount was a subscription to Outside magazine OR a $10 discount (which is what I took) for orders over $75.

    The key is to buy supplies that you will eventually use rather than equipment.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member muzpuf's Avatar
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    hmmmm free shipping no tax and clearance items or full price full price and not in stock ......not a tough choice

  13. #13
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    PBK ships fairly promptly, but time for delivery is terrible.

    Some USA online shops have really good prices on some items I want, but they only have sizes that normal folks can't use.

  14. #14
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    stapfam might be right for the things he tries to source, but I haven't had any significant issues with my orders.

    It's part of a strategy of forward thinking. I have done quite a lot of business with CRC. They do have one weakness in listing items and prices that are discontinued, for instance. But there are clues in the listings before you actually get to the ordering stage as to part status. And they list when stock is due in, and you can get email notifications when it does arrive.

    Wiggle even has an in-stock indicator on its listings.

    As I said earlier, there is no point in shopping if you are desperate. You will always pay a premium or be disappointed -- premium at an LBS, or disappointed with out-of-stock items.

    There also needs to be an understanding that right now is the Northern Hemisphere winter, so stock will be wound down when business is much slower.

    I plan ahead and do a lot of comparative browsing before homing in on deals. My sources include eBay stores and private sellers, Wiggle, CRC, PBK, Torpedo7 and others.

    Unfortunately, the insanely nasty postage/freight charges from the US preclude me automatically from considering operators such as Nashbar, Performance, et al.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #15
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    I buy tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and cables online and always keep a stock on hand. PBK for tires and Jenson or Price Point for the rest. Tires at PBK are less than half the LBS price, no 10% sales tax, no shipping, better selection.

  16. #16
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    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Default.aspx is an interesting company. When the dollar/pound are in the correct relationship, CRC will appear more often/earlier on google searches. I've bought XTR pedals, XTR shifter pods and my son got a suspension fork from them at far lower overall cost than US options at the time. It's surprising they can do that considering shipping.

    It's risky buying across the pond though. The cost of shipping a defective product back would be a killer and one might run into warranty problems as well.

    Jensen is one of the best. I sometimes call to discuss a product with them if I'm not sure it's "right". Much of the staff apparently bikes which is helpful. Had an amusing conversation with one of their guys some months back when I had to get a new saddle after I destroyed mine in a crash on a very rocky section of trail 6 miles out from the car. The Jensen guy recently had the same thing happen (saddle pops off rails) at 9 miles out. He had to walk 6 miles as he couldn't stand but three.

    I found out from him that it's not unusual with ti rails. I told him I carried medical tape and taped it back on. I rode out.
    We both wound up replacing the saddle with the same model that gave us grief. Gluttons for punishment, but he'll carry tape now.

    I broke the saddle on a Sunday afternoon, had the replacement installed on Tuesday afternoon and it came from the west coast to rural Georgia. Didn't get it from Jenson as they were out of stock on the ti-rail model.

    I rarely buy from Nashbar and Performance nowadays. Nashbar doesn't carry much stuff, except they do have a Trekker bar for the wife's road bike which we are waiting on. Performance is rarely cost competitive for my stuff. We do drop by the Performance store sometimes in Atlanta when we are in the area.

    When we are in N Georgia and I need something in a hurry, I'll call about 5 bike shops in Atlanta some 50 miles away. I always strike out and have to overnight it if it's critical. I didn't bother on the saddle. Bike shops have to stock high turn-over items. $120.00 saddles are not in that category.

    Al

  17. #17
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    It really depends on what your buying. If you want some late model this year item, prices can only be cut so much. If however you design entire bike builds around close out sales you should be able to net significant savings. This trend though is fading as more and more factory lots are being snapped up by Chinese internet merchants for resale at higher prices. Years ago, I was able to purchase last years Haro hardtail frames at $49 from an online Ebayer who got a deal............not so much anymore.

  18. #18
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    I also like St. Johns Cycles. They have a lot of stuff that is not available to the North American market.
    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/

    Peter White is good for Nokian studded winter tires and dynamo lighting parts. Also used them for Giles Berthold stainless fenders, the only ones that meet and exceed OEM standards.
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/

    Schwalbe North America for summer tires.
    http://smtp.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires

    All of these shops have great customer service.

    Paul

  19. #19
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    Be careful on those discounts - there are exceptions.

    I bought some more expensive DuraAce parts recently because of a 20% discount. I had only a few minutes to order for the discount (expired at midnight) and to claim reimbursement for shipping (freeshipping.com). It wasn't until I was submitting the paperwork for free shipping that I noticed the "discount" was much too low. Apparently Shimano doesn't allow Nashbar to offer more than a 10% discount so I got none on those items.
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  20. #20
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have to be carefull on the wording of the "Advertised" item aswell. I once ordered an XTR rearderailler at a very discounted price that made it a "Must Buy". Put it on the Tandem and I still get caught out as it the reverse throw to what I have on the other MTB's. No wonder it was cheap.

    But ordered Saturday- despatched Monday- arrived wednesday. Not bad for Free delivery by Royal mail where 1st class mail can take up to forever to arrive.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  21. #21
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    Yes, top normal and low normal can be deceiving (as opposed to deceptive). I have to check the definitions each time to make sure that what I am buying is what I really want in rear derailleurs.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  22. #22
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I can never remember which is really normal, high normal or low normal. The other is not normal, so imho, the naming chosen by Shimano for this borders on deceptive.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Recently I bought quite a few bike items through Amazon.com. Things like a new set of 3 chain rings for a Shimano triple and a 9 speed cassette, SRAM chains, shifter cables, a Lezyne pump and a combo tool, pedals, saddles, LED tail light, etc.. They don't always have the best prices, but sometimes they do, and depending, you might be able to get free shipping on orders over $25. And with such a wide range of products (virtually everything and anything you can think of) you can get something other than bike related stuff to make that $25.
    Last edited by Looigi; 02-10-11 at 06:47 AM.

  24. #24
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    It's a good idea to stock up on tires when the kind you like are being discounted. I typically order three or more at a time (Bike Tires Direct will ship free if the order > $100, and usually three tires does it). When I receive them, I weigh them on a kitchen scale and mark the weight and date received inside the tire with a silver felt marker. I then store the tires in a dark, cool, dry place and use them as needed in FIFO order so that the rubber has a chance to age. Rubber tends to harden as it gets older, and harder rubber is less likely to pick up sharp shards of anything.

    If you order the tires as you need them, you are subject to current price and you don't get to age them. I like to maintain at least the next year's tire supply in my personal inventory.

    BTW, when we used to use tubulars (sew-ups), we'd store them fully inflated on old rims in order to get them stretched and slightly easier to mount. Might not be a bad idea for some of these hard-to-mount clinchers.

    Luis

  25. #25
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    I received an order today from PBK. The Royal Mail postmark indicated that it was shipped on January 6 via airmail. Royal Mail is a royal farce.

    In contrast a tailor in Hong Kong sent me a suit on a Monday. It was delivered on Saturday in the same week.

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