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Old 02-07-10, 01:15 PM   #1
mwengel62
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Bikes Direct Purchase Experience

The purpose of this post is to share my experience with Bikes Direct.

A couple of years ago I decided to take up cycling after several years off of a bike. Besides the enjoyment of being on a bike I needed to loose weight and increase cardiovascular.

My first bike was a Diamondback Wildwood comfort bike that I picked up off of eBay. I quickly started riding distances of 30 miles and realized this bike wasn’t going to cut it. After lots of research I was tossed up between a hybrid or road bike. One of my goals for 2010 is to ride a century. Knowing I would want several different hand positions while spending several hours in the saddle I decided a road bike was the way to go.

Living on a limited budget a new road bike from one of my local bike shops wasn’t in the cards. I started watching for used bikes and checking out several models from Bikes Direct. At the time I was ready to purchase I hadn’t found a good buy used and decided Bikes Direct would be the way to go.

Over the course of a few months I sent several emails to Bikes Direct inquiring about specifics on various models and availability. Each time my email was answered within one business day. I finally decided on a Dawes Lightning 1200. I liked the relaxed geometry of this bike and the fact that its specifications matched that of the Fuji Newest 3.0 a bike which has received good reviews in several forums. The one specification that was different was the rims which are the same ones used on the Fuji Newest 2.0.

I ordered the bike in early December and it was delivered via UPS within 4 days. The bike was packaged nicely. Assembly included installation of the following:
• Front wheel
• Front brake
• Handlebars
• Seat post and seat

The bike did require adjustment of brakes and front and rear derailleur. All manufacturers’ documentation was included for each of the components. I knew from reading the various forum posts these were items I would need to complete but didn’t mind as I enjoy working on my bike. The front rim seemed to be properly trued however the rear rim was not. I took both rims to my local bike shop and had them trued for $15 a piece.

Overall the bike was exactly as advertised and identical to the Fuji Newest 3.0 which I had seen and been fitted on at two different local bike shops. The seat is uncomfortable and low quality but I figure nobody buys a bike based on the seat and I’ll replace it with something much better. I’m having trouble with the handlebars staying tight. It appears the holes for the stem faceplate bolts may not be tapped deep enough. I contacted BikesDirect and they quickly sent a replacement stem. The paint job is good but thin. While assembling the bike I dropped an allen wrench that nicked the paint on the chain and seat stays. Nothing major but it’s noticeable.

Overall the value was good. I paid $439 (shipping included). If I had bought the Fuji Newest 3.0 I was looking at $750 or better plus sales tax.
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Old 02-07-10, 02:01 PM   #2
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There's been a number of BD inquiry/praise posts made lately, and it gives me an impression that this is a BD setup.

Last edited by dynodonn; 02-07-10 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 02-07-10, 02:11 PM   #3
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if they want a real, honest, review they could send me a rigid single speed 29er. i mean everyone needs one anyway...
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Old 02-07-10, 02:26 PM   #4
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BD is doing a good job of selling cheap bikes. They may not be selling the best bikes around and they may not be the best components- but they do meet the main criteria of a bike at less than normal prices. The only other place I know that will sell cheap bikes are the "Wallymarts" of this world.

I'll be honest and say that I would never buy a bike from BD. They don't sell a high enough quality bike for me but in my early days of cycling- I wasn't buying high enough quality bikes in any case- Wasn't able to afford one and probably wouldn't have needed one with the lack of expertse that I had.

And this is not a BD set up- as you can tell from above. My only worry about BD would be with faults on the bikes they supply and they do seem to correct any problems on bikes bought to the customers satisfaction.
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Old 02-07-10, 03:11 PM   #5
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I saw the exact same post word for word on another forum.

Do they get paid by the post or by the response?
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Old 02-07-10, 03:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post

And this is not a BD set up- as you can tell from above. My only worry about BD would be with faults on the bikes they supply and they do seem to correct any problems on bikes bought to the customers satisfaction.
I've dealt with BD's online problem "corrections" via email, and it was one of the main factors in making me return to LBS bike purchases, It's not so much the quality issue of BD's bike, but having the only option to test ride the bike after it's purchased and assembled.
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Old 02-07-10, 06:34 PM   #7
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They may not be selling the best bikes around and they may not be the best components
What? BD uses the exact same components as bike shop bikes.
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Old 02-07-10, 07:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Berg417448 View Post
I saw the exact same post word for word on another forum.

Do they get paid by the post or by the response?
Not surprised.
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Old 02-07-10, 09:33 PM   #9
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I saw the exact same post word for word on another forum.

Do they get paid by the post or by the response?
I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the OP - maybe he posted the same review to multiple forums.

But did he REALLY get fitted for a Fuji at TWO bike shops, then buy from BD? That's just wrong, unless he paid for those fittings.
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Old 02-08-10, 04:33 AM   #10
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I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the OP - maybe he posted the same review to multiple forums.

But did he REALLY get fitted for a Fuji at TWO bike shops, then buy from BD? That's just wrong, unless he paid for those fittings.

Happens all the time. I was hanging in my LBS one day when a guy came in for fitting, and told them straight up he needed to know what size he needed so he could order it online.

They didn't throw him out, but they sure didn't spend any time on him either.
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Old 02-08-10, 04:56 AM   #11
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Cycling is too big to die, but I watched sales off site kill a hobby I had.
While it's big, the service you need can suffer. I have bought a couple frames
and many parts on the internet. But I have also bought (for me and my family)
several bikes at shops, and more clothes and gear than I want to think about.
We've had 3 or 4 bike shops close here; which is nearly half of them.
And most of the ones left are hurting. I try to balance it out. I do what I have to,
but if they sell it, I get it there. An example of what I did not get was 9 speed shifters,
hard to find good ones now.
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Old 02-08-10, 06:49 AM   #12
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OP your local bike shops thank you for wasting their time and money for fitting you when you knew darn well you were ordering a bike online. It's people like you that cause the overall prices in bike shops to go up. They wasted time with you when they could have been serving someone who was going to spend money there.

Now that you have your bike, maybe you can go back and try on 5 or 10 pairs of shoes so you can find your size so you can order those also.
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Old 02-08-10, 07:29 AM   #13
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Happens all the time. I was hanging in my LBS one day when a guy came in for fitting, and told them straight up he needed to know what size he needed so he could order it online.

They didn't throw him out, but they sure didn't spend any time on him either.
There is a sign clearly posted at my LBS: Bike Fitting $90, credited toward new bike purchase in THIS store.
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Old 02-08-10, 08:17 AM   #14
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There is a sign clearly posted at my LBS: Bike Fitting $90, credited toward new bike purchase in THIS store.
All the shops around here have similar policies. If you have a bike in hand they'll typically do basic seat and handlebar height/position fitting free, but a serious fitting costs money or the purchase of a bike.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:11 AM   #15
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Fitting probably wasn't the best choice of words. At my local shops the fitting is nothing more than checking standover height.
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Old 02-09-10, 07:14 AM   #16
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I wonder why a new thread was started when the Bikes Direct thread is not too far down the list.
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Old 02-09-10, 10:57 AM   #17
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But did he REALLY get fitted for a Fuji at TWO bike shops, then buy from BD? That's just wrong, unless he paid for those fittings.
Most BD customers do the same thing (go and try bikes at an LBS to get the size to order). BD's business model is based on that happening.
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Old 02-09-10, 11:20 AM   #18
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Most BD customers do the same thing (go and try bikes at an LBS to get the size to order). BD's business model is based on that happening.
They'll even recommend it if you ask "What bike size should I get?"

Example: The Fuji Newest road frame geometries are identical to the Dawes USA road frame geometries. Identical. Why? They're literally made in the same place, and are sent down different conveyor belts.

These threads come up all the time, and I have to say, they're particularly off-putting for many people considering buying from bike shops. BD has shady practices. They don't have good service. I've owned two. My brother owns one, and his girlfriend owns one. All are capable bikes that are a far better value than what you can get in a shop for the same price. It's not even close. That said, my next bike will probably be a 105 Specialized, because as much as I ride, paying a little bit more is worth it.

But every time I scan through these threads, I see a few camps: people happy with their BD bike, people that dislike BD on princible, and people in the retail industry that lose sales to BD. If you're in the last camp, you simply need to stop whining and figure out how to be more cost-effective. People aren't flocking to BD because they've been had by shady BD marketing. They're flocking to BD because they realize they're getting ripped off at many bike shops.
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Old 02-09-10, 11:27 AM   #19
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I have recently been bike shopping and have turned to various forums like these to seek advice. I've been leaning towards BD as they seemed like the best deal. I came across people who were so quick to hate on BD that it made me not trust them because I felt that they probably worked at a LBS and just wanted to keep business while BD never really made no issues in the matter which made me think that they have a good product and they let the customers judge for themselves.... so really I didn't trust the LBS mentality comparing it to car salesman tactics.

I went to a few bike shops around my area to see if there were any good deals because my wife was out shopping and had time to kill. Surprisingly I found good deals at the LBS in 09 models and found that there are definitely some gems to be found if you are patient and know what you want. Most of the bike shops were very helpful and I told them up front that I was debating between buying on BD and LBS and that price was a factor obviously but if all things equal I'd definitely support the local shops. A few days later, Performance Bicycle had the Fuji Roubaix 09 for sale for $750 w/ a 10% cash back for future purchase which I found to be a truly good deal. It had carbon seat stays and forks as well as Tiagra/105 components. It was slightly more than the BD offerings but just by a hair. I ended up hitting it off w/ one of the salesmen and found him to be truly helpful and concerned about me and my ride. I then started to trust a bit more and this is where I started to see the real value of the LBS. The little help you get from a small stupid question to planning on how I could progress my riding abilities... fittings and free tune ups were also a huge plus but I really felt the value was at the genuine fellowship of a rider and willingness to help them enjoy their ride time. I won't say BD can't offer this but its much easier in person....

Either way... Performance Bicycle gave me a rough fitting which included stand over height and seat post height. He informed me that I should log on a few rides and then come back for a full fitting based upon how I ride and what not. The lifetime free tune ups are a huge plus as well at Performance Bicycle. I ended up buying the Fuji Roubaix 09 for $750.... BD was comparable but at the LBS I got 15% coupon as well as 10% credited back to me to spend on other gear. The salesman was really helpful and answered all of my questions... I truly value the help at LBS and hope everyone will support those that support the community. Yes they need to make money but if they can provide value then I dont mind paying... I wouldn't buy a car I've never seen and tested so I apply the same logic to bikes.... I spend alot of time in my cars so I make sure I buy credible cars from credible dealerships that will always help me out if something is wrong. If I didn't care about that I'd buy cars off of ebay and carsdirect.....

Last edited by tangopapa; 02-09-10 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 02-09-10, 11:28 AM   #20
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Old 02-09-10, 03:12 PM   #21
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They'll even recommend it if you ask "What bike size should I get?"
Part of the reason BD can sell bicycles for less is because they take advantage of the money the LBS has spent to have a brick-and-mortar shop full of inventory where BD's customers can try bikes at. That is, BD would have a much harder time selling BD bikes without LBS's to try bikes at!

LBS's can't sell the "same" bikes for the same price as BD because the LBS's costs are higher. Ideally, the LBS should be providing some extra value for their higher prices. (Note that I am not expressing any opinion about where people should buy their bikes.)

Quote:
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Example: The Fuji Newest road frame geometries are identical to the Dawes USA road frame geometries. Identical. Why? They're literally made in the same place, and are sent down different conveyor belts.
This situation is interesting. I'd like to understand what the business relationship is between Fuji, the factory, and BD for these frames.

Last edited by njkayaker; 02-09-10 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:37 PM   #22
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I just received my 2nd bike from Bikes Direct. I've never went to a bike shop to get fitted. Heck, I never got fitted before I purchased a Bianchi hybrid from a bike shop. And all three bikes fit me well.
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