I recently purchased a new bike from BikesDirect and will share my experience. After reading many, many posts on this and other forums I assume I will be beat up and called a shill. I will let the general readership decide.
I do a couple of short triathlons a year. I have been riding a 30 pound hybrid mountain bike. I decided to replace. I am a big-time Internet purchaser. I purchased everything I possibly can on the Internet. I purchased my car, my wife’s car, etc. Anything significant that I purchase I usually seek out some forums and start lurking to learn as much as I can. I had actually never thought about buying a bike online. My bikes and kids bikes all been purchased at LBS. In this case I read some posts, some good and some bad about BikesDirect. After visiting the site I became very interested in the 15.1 pound Le Champion bike. Could not find anything close to this weight in price range at my LBS.
The same week I was having a meeting with some co-workers and two of the guys in the meeting had purchased this exact bike on the web site and shared a positive experience. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the bike. A 2007 black 56cm Le. Champion SL with American Classic wheels. I went to two LBS to try to get an idea on sizing and I could not get either store to really engage me on what size I needed. They said that would happen after I purchased the bike. I finally choose 56cm after spending considerable time using the various calculators online and asking BD. I am 5'11 1/2" and have a 34" inseam. I purchased 10:00 PM on a Sunday evening. On Monday morning I sent an email and tried to change to a 58cm. BD told me it was too late the bike was already on the way. Which turned out to be true.
On Thursday I received my bike. It came a lot faster then I expected. The only problem is that the bike I received was a 52cm Pearl White with different wheel than I ordered. In some ways I was lucky because now I could order a 58cm instead of the 56cm.
I went ahead and ordered a replacement 58cm bike. I hate having almost $3k with BD but I could not wait for the bike to be retuned and them to then send me another one. I also sent an email over the week-end sharing that I received the wrong bike. I received a reply email this morning that I should ship it back and they would refund minus shipping. I was what the heck! I wrote back an email asking why I should pay for their mistake. I have not heard back yet but will share what I hear. I most certainly will not be paying for shipping.
I will share the rest of this experience as it unfolds. Couple of things I want to share
- How much the bike actually weighs. They advertise 15.1 lbs but I just can't believe this is true. Will be happy if it is in the ballpark. But I will share the true answer.
- I have been doing a 13.4 mile run each evening. It is very, very flat without traffic. I do it with an average of 17.9 mph. I am anxious to see what improvement I experience with the new bike. I am hoping for 1mph improvement.
I did want to share my experience on getting sized at the LBS. As I mentioned above the first two stores would not really give me any indication on size. I went out Saturday to three more LBS. My goal was to get a feeling on if I should reorder a 56 or 58. I went to the first store and the sales kid was rude, in my opinion. He only had a 56 and 60 in the particular bike he was trying to sell me. He insisted that I was a 60cm. That he was an expert and absolutely a 60cm. The second store had a 58cm and the store owner was extremely nice. He told me he thought I was a 58cm. The third store I also worked with the owner. An extremely nice guy. He also had a couple of 56cm bikes and really no 58s. He thought I was a 56. He actually was pretty convincing. In all cases I was looking at the same Trek bike.
Just so people don't think I am a complete jerk wasting these guys time. I have eight kids and we have purchased bikes from two of the bike stores. Plus we will buy many additional bikes and how I was treated will go a long way. I really did not see any kids bikes on BikesDirect.com.