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where to buy bike supplies online?

Old 08-15-20, 04:54 PM
  #1  
HawkeyeMatt
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where to buy bike supplies online?

What online suppliers would you recommend for shopping for bike parts, supplies, accessories?

My interests are value and reliable service. Since the COVID crisis, I've been fixing up and maintaining a dozen plus bikes for extended family. The "best" local bike shop in my area is located 10 miles from me and has disappointed me with a condescendding attitude after I've spent hundreds for marked up cables, chains, tires, and tubes - done with them for a while. Help me out:
  • Who are your go-to discount retailers?
  • What best ways to navigating Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist? Each has their uses and risks, I guess?
  • Any favorite local retailers in southern CT / New England area?
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Old 08-15-20, 05:12 PM
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I like Jenson and I've heard Universal Cycles is good. There is little risk buying via Amazon or ebay as long as you stick with USA sellers.
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Old 08-15-20, 06:20 PM
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World Class Cycles in Maine, nice selection of tires

Excel Sports is my favorite by far. If you call a real person answers that knows a thing or two. Prices are great.
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Old 08-15-20, 06:51 PM
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I try to buy from my LBS. If everyone buys online they will all close.

I can place an order and pay over the phone. When they have the order ready I call them when i'm in the parking lot and they bring it out for me and out it in the trunk.

totally contact free and I support a local business.
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Old 08-15-20, 09:41 PM
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Bicycle Warehouse

I too had an issue with a local bike dealer, same as you had. "I don't have time for you, you just need a gear, your not buying a $5000+ bike" kind of thing. I found the Bicycle Warehouse, they are in California (so am I) Decent prices and selection, free shipping over $50 but its USPS, and we all know they are having issues right now. https://bicyclewarehouse.com/
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Old 08-15-20, 10:04 PM
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Jenson is good. I've ordered some odd parts in the past from Modern Bike. Random Bike Parts is exactly what it sounds like (random stuff, often at a good discount).

I've had lots of positive experiences on Ebay. A few specific sellers I've had multiple positive experiences (and e-bay names) with include The Bikesmiths (the_bikesmiths), Trail This Bike Shop (trailthis), Average Joe's Bikes (packerbacker88), Wheel and Sprocket (wheelandsprocket), and Cross Lake Sales (crosslakesales), which is affiliated with Random Bike Parts. I generally stay away from larger shops with 99.5% positive or lower feedback, and carefully read reviews of individuals selling things.

The UK based Merlin Bikes is good as well, though I'm not sure what all they can ship to the US these days. I've generally received my orders, shipped to the Upper Midwest, in less than a week.

On Amazon, I've been fine so long as I stick to stuff that has Prime shipping fulfilled by Amazon. Craigslist seems to have less inventory than in the past; FB Marketplace is a good place to check for random bike stuff.
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Old 08-15-20, 10:36 PM
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I got my Campy groupset from Texas Cyclesport in Austin. They have some really good sales on parts and pre-built wheels.
I ordered my wheels from November Bicycles in Rhode Island. Excellent wheel builders.
I ordered some parts from Chain Reaction Cycles in the UK. Excellent prices, and they shipped DHL (free I think) and I got it in a few days.
I've ordered other stuff from Backcountry.com, Competitive Cyclist, Colorado Cyclist, Amazon among others. Backcountry is great for apparel and maintenance items and certain parts. They are a very good company with easy returns, etc. I've been using them for ski gear and outdoor products for years.
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Old 08-16-20, 05:41 AM
  #8  
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A friend just mentioned https://www.biketiresdirect.com/ . I just ordered from them. So I can't recommend them yet. Prices are good. BTW: they sell a lot more than tires.

Last edited by Univega; 08-16-20 at 05:42 AM. Reason: update
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Old 08-16-20, 05:59 AM
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I seem to strike a balance between supporting my LBS when I can. My long time favorite is geared towards the entry level/hybrid clientele. The LBS near me has the biggest inventory on the shelf but has given me that unhappy feeling even after dropping many G’s over several years. My current LBS meets my needs but has a small inventory. When I want to stock up on consumables or buy apparel I shop Jenson USA.
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Old 08-16-20, 07:05 AM
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The trick is to find an on-line retailer near you so shipping time is minimized. Universal cycle fills that bill for me, one day ground shipping. Jenson is cross country to me and can take a week.

I like on line retailers with websites employing decent filters on their parts lists. Jenson is probably the best followed by Universal in that regard. Chain Reaction in Ireland actually ships fast, has a massive inventory, excellent web site and good prices, but for some reason they can't sell Shimano parts to the US anymore.

Unfortunately I have zero use for my local bike shops. No inventory, staffed by teenagers with condescending attitudes and now with covid you need an appointment and a doctor's note just to visit. When I did order stuff from them it wasn't clear that they weren't ordering directly from Amazon anyway. Hate to see business close but they simply don't cater to enthusiasts well.

Last edited by Pop N Wood; 08-16-20 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 08-16-20, 07:05 AM
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There are many potential euro sources like pro bike kit, wiggle, chain reaction, ribble and bike24. The new problem is most are prohibited from shipping shimano or SRAM parts to the USA. I use bike tires direct, back country, competitive cyclist, Texas cyclesport too. Rarely, Amazon will have a good deal on something.
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Old 08-17-20, 03:06 AM
  #12  
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I've had a very good experience with biketiresdirect (as noted earlier, they sell more than just tires). I recently bought a new helmet for a price that was better than I saw elsewhere. A day or two after I received it I noticed, on their online site, the price was reduced another $18. I emailed their customer service asking if they had any kind of price guarantee since I just bought it and the price was reduced very soon after. They responded quickly and credited my credit card with that $18 savings. While I had purchased from them once or twice in the past, this definitely made me a fan.
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Old 08-17-20, 04:09 AM
  #13  
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Add Walmart to the list. They're becoming competitive with Amazon in some stuff for home delivery, including basic bike stuff -- chains, etc. Often Walmart is significantly cheaper than Amazon vendors. And, like Amazon, Walmart seems to source multiple vendors beside whatever they actually stock and sell directly.
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Old 08-17-20, 08:59 AM
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I have a great LBS just a mile away and have been supporting them happily for 20+ years, but I'm "stuck" at nine-speed; they don't stock that anymore, but can order it (two-week process for many items in the current environment). Accordingly, I use Amazon and ebay and have had good success. I used to really like what Nashbar had to offer until they "died".
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Old 08-17-20, 04:52 PM
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I've bought a fair amount of stuffs from Universal Cycles. But NOTHING, NOTHING even comes close to Ebay when it comes to used parts, old parts and cheap new stuffs. As far as I am concerned, Ebay is the best place for bicycle parts and accessories, and Craigslist is the best place to buy bicycles.
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Old 08-17-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
I've bought a fair amount of stuffs from Universal Cycles. But NOTHING, NOTHING even comes close to Ebay when it comes to used parts, old parts and cheap new stuffs. As far as I am concerned, Ebay is the best place for bicycle parts and accessories, and Craigslist is the best place to buy bicycles.
I agree with finding old parts on eBay, whether it be bike parts, photography parts, motorcycle parts. eBay has been great for me. I have bought and sold lots of stuff and only ran into one bad experience, back in the early 2000s. My second motorcycle was a one year only Honda CB1000F (1983 bought in 2000) so parts were hard to come by but eventually, I found what I was looking for, all on eBay. I was thinking of putting bar-end shifters on an old 1979 Centurian ten-speed I have and looked all over for compression shifters, most everything was index, then I tried eBay, now I found them.
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Old 08-17-20, 05:30 PM
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These are some US-based retailers I've bought from with good results . . .

Bikesmiths in Milwaukee
Kyle's Bikes in Minnesota
Ben's Cycles in Milwaukee
Modern Bike Supply in Iowa
Velomine in Illinois
Competitive Cyclist / Backcountry USA
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Old 08-18-20, 10:19 AM
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tacking on to this thread... How about "small hardware" type stuff? the little "around the shop" type stuff, like hex-head metric bolts and cable end-caps and such truck? Any favored sources for that?
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Old 08-18-20, 11:18 AM
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My LBS does a lot of mail order business with its suppliers
Other than the prime 2 day BS, and the delay, they will order things not in stock and make a little on the pass through
That is a good compromise between my drive for hard bargain shopping and the need to support retail.
Retail across the board is under profound stress, and we all need to have a reset on the way we support business.

We really need a new model for how we structure and support our community, not just locating new vendors.
That's how we ended up with Walmart

Last edited by bikebikebike; 08-29-20 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 08-18-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
tacking on to this thread... How about "small hardware" type stuff? the little "around the shop" type stuff, like hex-head metric bolts and cable end-caps and such truck? Any favored sources for that?
I have a big Marine hardware store Englund Marine.. I walk in there , lots of stainless steel ..

Other stuff I get @ the LBS, 1/2 mile from my house..
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Old 08-18-20, 12:22 PM
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Universal Cycles, biketiresdirect, Jenson, Excel Sports, to name a few. I've gradually built up a stock of common parts (cables, housings, brake pads, tires) -- by the time I buy a year's supply, it's cheaper to buy in bulk and I've saved next year's shipping.

Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
tacking on to this thread... How about "small hardware" type stuff? the little "around the shop" type stuff, like hex-head metric bolts and cable end-caps and such truck? Any favored sources for that?
If the 100 year old local hardware store doesn't have what I need, or I want it in stainless, Fastenal usually does and it's another four mile ride there. Cable ends are one of the things I've bought in bulk -- it takes a while to use up 25 or 100.
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Old 08-19-20, 10:24 AM
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also found this one: boltdepot.com
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Old 08-20-20, 09:47 AM
  #23  
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Almost all the time I need something my LBS do not carry it and they have to special order it. And then I have to pick it up at the store. Last time I ordered something through one of my LBS it took about a week to get delivered to the store and then it took the store several days to sift through their truckload of deliveries till I was able to pick up my stuff. We do have only very few LBS left but none of them do offer online ordering or don't carry what I am looking for. As much as I would love to support them it is not very convenient for me since there are other stores across the country which do carry what I am looking for and which can deliver in a few days. Mainly either in the North East or North West. I even had to order parts from Germany since I have few bikes with internal geared hubs and parts are almost impossible to find here in the US. Same for dynamo powered light systems and other stuff.
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