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Old 08-04-11, 03:45 PM   #1
meangreen
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bikes direct bikes... whats the deal

Hi everyone,

I am always suprised to see so much hype on BF about bikes direct bikes. Do people that work for bikes direct post a lot? Are the bikes really good? I see a lot of stuff for Motobicane specifically. I guess I am just suprised because there is generally a push for people to use their LBS... If you respond, let me know if you are a bikes direct (or related company) and if that influences your posts. Just curious.
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Old 08-04-11, 03:53 PM   #2
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NFI, Myself, they are one of the advertisers Google charges, to display their ads.

maybe computer IT people hate bike shops.
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Old 08-04-11, 03:57 PM   #3
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I've purchased from them. The price was pretty damn good and since putting a bike together doesn't intimidate me, it all worked out for the best.

I purchased a GT. I don't know if the Motobicane stuff is good, but it looks nice and I think frame manufacturing has gotten to the point where frames don't get screwed up too often. The rest of the equipment is the same stuff you'd find on a Trek, Diamonback, Giant, etc, etc, etc.

No business relationships with Bikes Direct.
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Old 08-04-11, 05:41 PM   #4
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meangreen, For the most part cyclists would prefer to use their LBS, the last few year's economy and the resulting diminished disposable income have cyclists looking elsewhere for new bikes. Those that have bicycling related mechanical skills can save quite a bit of money by performing the final assembly themselves, required with BD bikes.

Nashbar is another company that can provide quality parts at a deep discount. While more piece-part than BD, cyclists can spec every part to their taste. Using their touring frame and fork seems very popular.

I have no formal relationship with any bicycling related company.

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Old 08-04-11, 08:06 PM   #5
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Depends. If you can do your own wrenching and have the proper tools, a BD bike can be a good deal.
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Old 08-04-11, 09:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meangreen View Post
Hi everyone,

I am always suprised to see so much hype on BF about bikes direct bikes. Do people that work for bikes direct post a lot? Are the bikes really good? I see a lot of stuff for Motobicane specifically. I guess I am just suprised because there is generally a push for people to use their LBS... If you respond, let me know if you are a bikes direct (or related company) and if that influences your posts. Just curious.
I don't know what you've been reading but there have always been mixed opinions about BD. I don't think everyone is sold on the idea.
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Old 08-05-11, 02:45 AM   #7
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Bikes Direct...sells Direct. You get a bike that needs work. You have to set it up, go through and make sure everything is greased and adjusted. If something is broken or missing YOU have to deal with Bikes Direct and work out the issues.

Buy a bike from your LBS, it costs a bit more, however it should come set up, adjusted and ready to roll. They will help you choose the correct size, swap stems and seat posts around for you and many other things. Quite often a bike shop will offer a free 30 , 60, 90 day or in some cases longer free checkup/tuneup to take care of the things that need it after the first bit of riding. If you have issues with broken or damaged parts, they will have been taken care of before you bought the bike, and you have somewhere to go to get a defective part replaced under warranty. Yes can save a few dollars, it is your decision as to what your time is worth and your skill level.

Most of the time a person that has no clue about bicycles or how to work on them comes here and wants to know about Bikes Direct. Those people would be better served by going to an LBS. Someone that is experienced with bicycle sizing and knows their components and wants will do better.

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Old 08-05-11, 05:07 AM   #8
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I've posted before that my primary objection to BD is their business model. They buy the rights to the names of some venerable older bike manufacturers (some that are no longer in business) in an effort to gain some cache from the moniker. That strikes me as slightly disingenuous. Other companies, from Nashbar/Performance to Fezzari and Neuvation, make up their own names, which seems a little more honest to me. Otherwise I have no problems with BD, or any of them, as long as customers understand what they're getting. By that, I mean in addition to a bike they'll have to wrench themselves, they're also becoming part of the economic equation that fewer sales at the LBS can lead to the LBS's ultimate disappearance.
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Old 08-05-11, 05:46 AM   #9
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Things may be different where you are, but here I have not found bike shops to be too helpful or honest when selling bikes...

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Buy a bike from your LBS, it costs a bit more, however it should come set up, adjusted and ready to roll.
Like my friend's bike that broke 4 spokes in three months? The shop was charging him $25 each time to fix the spokes. When I heard about it, I simple checked the spokes with my hand and they were so loose that you could turn the nipples by hand. BTW, 36 spoke wheels on a mountain bike that he rode slowly on smooth roads.

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They will help you choose the correct size, swap stems and seat posts around for you and many other things.
Or do what they can to sell you what they have instead of what you need. Like swapping out the 100mm Specialized stem for a generic 60mm stem on my cousin's road bike to make an oversized bike fit.

Or convince the friend above to buy a full suspension mountain bike to ride on the road and paved bike paths.

I'm sure that there are lots of good and honest salespeople at shops out there. I just have not been impressed with my experiences at several shops around here. YMMV
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Old 08-05-11, 08:28 AM   #10
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the two big things novice buyers need to be aware of when going the BD.com route is sizing and set-up. if you know you're bike size and have a fair bit of bicycle wrenching know-how, then you can get some really good deals on bikes through BD.om. if you don't know how to match your body dimensions to a frame geometry chart and are intimidated by some of the more intricate aspects of bicycle maintenance/repair, then you will be better served going to a QUALITY LBS with knowledgeable staff who can get you on to the right bike. the word quality is bolded because, as a previous poster mentioned, not all LBS's are equal. i've had dealings with many bike shops here in chicago, and the level of knowledge, skill, and honesty varies WILDLY from shop to shop. some shops are actually interested in being full-service bike shops to get people onto the right bike and to keep them happy riding the bike for years to come. and some shops just want to move inventory out the door; they really don't care about any of the other aspects of being a full-service bike shop.

having said all that, i do own a motobecane BD.com bike. i've had my le champion SL Ti for a little over a year now and i absolutely love it. it has been a joy to ride and extremely trouble free (knock on wood). i did buy one of their higher end models, so my results may not be transferable to some of their entry level bikes, but overall, i would have to say that i am extremely satisfied with my BD.com purchase.

and no, i am not employed in any capacity in the bicycle industry; i'm just a humble little architect who commutes by bicycle everyday.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 08-05-11 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 08-05-11, 09:09 AM   #11
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and no, i am not employed in any capacity in the bicycle industry; i'm just a humble little architect who commutes by bicycle everyday.
And, might I add, have one of the greatest forum names ever. I'm a huge Steely Dan fan.

I own a BD bike. It's a great bike, and I had a positive experience purchasing my bike through them. However, that doesn't mean it would be the best route to go for everyone. There was a certain amount of work involved assembling, tweaking and fitting my bike. Some people don't have the knowledge and or interest in doing this, and in those cases BD wouldn't be the best route.

For me, the assembly, tweaking and fitting was part of the fun. When I was a kid, my parents quickly figured out that I was happier if they didn't assemble my Christmas gifts for me, as I loved putting things together more than I loved playing with the toy itself.

As far as the objection to their marketing tactics, I respect people's right to hold that opinion. For me, though, it's no big deal. I doubt there's too many people that recognize the Motobecane, Mercier, Windsor, etc brands from years ago, and think (or care) that they are the same company producing the same bikes today. Companies and company names are bought and sold regularly. It happens all the time in the world of consumer products. Harley Davidson, Indian and Fender are other companies that immediately spring to mind where the company has changed hands several times and their current products evolved with the new company, yet I don't hear anyone making the same complaint that their current products share little heritage with the original ones.
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Old 08-05-11, 10:16 AM   #12
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As far as the objection to their marketing tactics, I respect people's right to hold that opinion. For me, though, it's no big deal. I doubt there's too many people that recognize the Motobecane, Mercier, Windsor, etc brands from years ago, and think (or care) that they are the same company producing the same bikes today. Companies and company names are bought and sold regularly. It happens all the time in the world of consumer products. Harley Davidson, Indian and Fender are other companies that immediately spring to mind where the company has changed hands several times and their current products evolved with the new company, yet I don't hear anyone making the same complaint that their current products share little heritage with the original ones.
I think that's a valid point, though to me it's more applicable to the companies you mentioned, where they're bought out by another company with the purpose of carrying on the original company and continuing to propogate its product lines. I don't see that as BD's intent, which appears to me to be spec'ing out a frame from a generic pacific rim shop and bolting parts to it. I admit, though, that it's a fine distinction, and one that's easily blurred by the realities of today's global economics. Many "real" bike companies do the same. I just feel better knowing that somewhere there's a building with the same name over the door that's on the bike frame, where you can walk in and bother someone who gets a paycheck from an organization with that same name.
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Old 08-05-11, 10:49 AM   #13
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Love my BD bike,but it's one of the nicer models. I bought it second hand off eBay because it had the mods I liked(disc brakes,wheelset),but I'd buy another one since no shop is going to sell me a ti bike for that price. As for them reusing old names,my Motobecane is awesome. It does everything I want it to do,is my second favorite bike,and with the parts spec it's either equal or perhaps even higher quality than the originals. If anything I'd say it improves the name's cache.
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Old 08-05-11, 11:12 AM   #14
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If you object to BD's business model, you object to modern capitalism period. Pick any mainstream product and you'll find all kinds of cross branding, licensing, contract manufacturing, etc. Old brand names are bought and sold in all industries, all the time.

This is not your father's Oldsmobile.
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Old 08-05-11, 11:23 AM   #15
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If you object to BD's business model, you object to modern capitalism period. Pick any mainstream product and you'll find all kinds of cross branding, licensing, contract manufacturing, etc. Old brand names are bought and sold in all industries, all the time.

This is not your father's Oldsmobile.
Hope you brought a jacket, because it's gonna get frosty...
Man your post was so, so, so to the point and cut and dry. When you make a post like that you just can't argue, I like that writing!
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Old 08-05-11, 11:24 AM   #16
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If you object to BD's business model, you object to modern capitalism period. Pick any mainstream product and you'll find all kinds of cross branding, licensing, contract manufacturing, etc. Old brand names are bought and sold in all industries, all the time.

This is not your father's Oldsmobile.
You're right, and given the knowledge and opportunity, I tend to avoid those products and companies when I can.
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Old 08-05-11, 02:49 PM   #17
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If you object to BD's business model, you object to modern capitalism period. Pick any mainstream product and you'll find all kinds of cross branding, licensing, contract manufacturing, etc. Old brand names are bought and sold in all industries, all the time.

This is not your father's Oldsmobile.
How true. I used to fix consumer electronics and you'd be surprised how many Zenith TVs were also a Panasonic, Sylvania, etc, etc, etc.

The practice of buying out high end companies and then cutting costs with Asian labor is very common in car audio. RockFord Fosgate may have an office in the US, but ultimately they're just selling rather generic Asian electronics.

That said there is nothing wrong with objecting to the way modern capitalism works. Lets not forget modern capitalism brough us the "mortgage meltdown" while making millionaires of the very people most responsible for the meltdown.
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Old 08-05-11, 05:25 PM   #18
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I don't object to the business model.

But I feel that the buyers need to be extremely comfortable in knowing their size and ability to assemble the bike and have the proper tools necessary. I have worked in a bike shop for a many years as a mechanic and have no problem with the assembly of the bike but I don't have certain tools (and they are pretty expensive) and may need to take it to an LBS to do some of the work.

The main reason that I would not buy a bike from BD is that I don't feel comfortable about buying a bike that that I haven't tried for a fit and test ridden to feel the ride.
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Old 08-06-11, 05:20 AM   #19
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You're right, and given the knowledge and opportunity, I tend to avoid those products and companies when I can.
I get it, and I respect that. Unfortunately it's not always easy to know. Take the beer market as an example. The biggest U.S. brewers (AB, Miller, and Coors) are no longer U.S. owned (InBev, SABMiller, Molson Coors). That means that dozens of brands of beer that most people assume are "american" are really owned by foreign interests. That's just one example of how consumers are challenged in knowing who owns/makes/markets what.

And then take Sam Adams for instance....an american beer for sure. But...do they brew much beer themselves? No, they contract that work out to others. SA is a marketing company first. BD is a marketing company, not a bike maker or designer.

The brand names that BD sells mean very little to the general public, and probably very little to avid cyclists under a certain age. I'm 45, and I have no recognition of many of their brand names.

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Old 08-07-11, 02:42 AM   #20
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The heart of any bike is the frame. You can bolt parts from any maufacturer onto it- go mad and fit the lightest- most expensive- Best parts onto it and if that frame is not up to the standard of the parts- It will ride at a lower standard. I have never ridden a BD bike and I am shocked at the Low price that they sell their bikes at. Have even seen bikes with Dure Ace- Good quality Mavic wheels and top grade components that are so low in price- that it is worth buying the bike for the components alone. Obviously a high purchasing power for last years production that has now been superceded. Not that that matters as good components will still be good components in 5 years time.

But it is that frame. That will denote how good the bike will be. I do not just mean to the top riders either that have to screw the final bit of performance out of their bikes. Once a bit of experience and ability has been aquired- then a poor quality bike will always be a poor quality bike.

5 years ago I bought my first road bike. Tried several models in both quality and price. I went for the cheapest OCR made in the 3 as I could not tell the difference between that and a TCR2. Two bikes at vastly different prices and quality levels. Within 6 months I was looking for my next bike. My abilities had overtaken that OCR.

BD have a market that they fill. It is for cheap bikes. Unfortunately- untill they start putting all those high end parts onto a good frame- Then that is where they will remain. Cheap in both price and quality. But still suitable for a lot of riders.
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Old 08-07-11, 07:07 AM   #21
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BD have a market that they fill. It is for cheap bikes. Unfortunately- untill they start putting all those high end parts onto a good frame- Then that is where they will remain. Cheap in both price and quality. But still suitable for a lot of riders.
FWIW: I own five bikes, and of all of them my BD bike has my favorite frame.
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Old 08-07-11, 06:09 PM   #22
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BD have a market that they fill. It is for cheap bikes. Unfortunately- untill they start putting all those high end parts onto a good frame- Then that is where they will remain. Cheap in both price and quality. But still suitable for a lot of riders.
I understand that we all live within different economic realities, but from the perspective of my station in life, I absolutely do not classify the $2,000 purchase of my BD.com Motobecane as "cheap". I do consider the purchase to be an incredibly good value, but in my world, 2,000 bones is a significant amount of dinero regardless of what it's being spent on.

My titanium frame is a work of art to admire (the welds are like metallic pornography) and an utter joy to ride. I've had it for over a year now and put over 5,000 miles on it, and do not expect I will ever outgrow it. Failing a wreck, I do not anticipate ever needing to replace it. It is an excellent frame; the only thing it really lacks is snob appeal.

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Old 08-08-11, 07:30 AM   #23
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When it comes down to it, buy as local as you can. Do you think any online vendor is going to support your local job? Your money goes out of town, leaving less in it.
This goes for buying your contact lenses and glasses also.....ahem!

But I don't begrudge someone building up a bike buying online at all. Just support your local guy when you can.

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Old 08-08-11, 12:53 PM   #24
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I bought a Bikes Direct bike. I knew that the brand (Motobecane) that I was buying was not the authentic Motobecane. Just a decal, ya know?

I was buying a bike that I thought may have been just a "temporary" bike, as it was to ride on a several-mont out-of-town work assignment, so I was looking for something cheap but with a better size selection than I could get at China-Mart. Also, as I kind of like retro stuff, I was looking for either bar-end or downtube shifters and a retro-looking steel or aluminum frame.

I ended up with this.......



........and ended up liking it so well I spent $150.00 to ship it home after the end of my work assignment.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:52 PM   #25
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I always suspect that some of the BD bashers are LBS owners or employes.
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