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Could low price emtb websites be real?

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Could low price emtb websites be real?

Old 11-18-23, 11:47 AM
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Could low price emtb websites be real?

I wonder if anyone completed the paypal transaction with these low price bike websites on shopify like reedbike, gorider, bothav, etc? It is my understanding that Paypal guarantees the transaction so if it goes south you are out nothing. Perhaps they have direct ship wholesale contracts with the 8 or so big brands shown and take a minimal markup. The mtb industry has huge markups by the lbs and the manufactures do not want to alienate the lbs so they keep their own online prices higher. It is all based on extorting the most money from the consumer, always has and always will be.

I have purchased other items in the past that appeared too good to be true, all without any issues. They were genuine and most often shipped direct from the manufacture. Although not at the price point of an emtb, so caution has prevailed so far. The mtb and especially the emtb industry is now overwhelmed with excess stock from overproduction after the covid based higher demand prompted firms to falsely believe the gravy train was forever. That coupled with the extreme high sales price and markups built into such simple products as an emtb (it is simple from a tech and mechanical standpoint, just compare any dirt motorcycle) gives a possibility that these sites may be real. On the other hand, when I looked up the addresses posted, they were homes and one was a Trek store that when called knew nothing of this online biz using their address to build consumer confidence. This screams scam to me, but ????

I too hesitated and ultimately did not pull the trigger, but open to reconsidering if any others have ordered and received the items correctly or got ripped off and spent endless hours correcting your paypal account. Please speak out. It would be great to have a better source of bikes than the inflated ones out there if it were real.
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Old 11-18-23, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by robert9
The mtb industry has huge markups by the lbs and the manufactures do not want to alienate the lbs so they keep their own online prices higher. It is all based on extorting the most money from the consumer, always has and always will be.

The mtb and especially the emtb industry is now overwhelmed with excess stock from overproduction after the covid based higher demand prompted firms to falsely believe the gravy train was forever. That coupled with the extreme high sales price and markups built into such simple products as an emtb (it is simple from a tech and mechanical standpoint, just compare any dirt motorcycle)

My first question for you is this. Have you ever managed a bike shop and openly talk business with your local stores? I've been a manager at 3 stores actually.

By what you said, you have zero idea on the markup on bikes, parts, and accessories. 95% of expensive bikes only have a 35% markup at the most. Unless the bike is special ordered, most high end bikes are put on steep discount to make room for the new stuff. The money is in the bread and butter bikes. Hybrids, $700-1500 mountain bikes, aluminum and entry level carbon.

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Old 11-18-23, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by frdfandc
My first question for you is this. Have you ever managed a bike shop and openly talk business with your local stores? I've been a manager at 3 stores actually.most high end bikes are put on steep discount to make room for the new stuff.
Fire your buyer...
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Old 11-18-23, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
Fire your buyer...
Reminds me of a guy I used to work for, who had bought a bike shop after a decade or so working as an engineer of some kind. He told me that in the past, whenever he went into a retail store, he'd look around and think, "I know your scam---you buy things and then sell them for more than you paid for them!"

Bikes sold in local bike shops had absurdly low profit margins for many decades, since they were considered part of the toy business. Which was fine, back when shipping costs were not onerous and most bikes were single-speed, coaster brake cruisers.

But when adults in the U.S. started buying geared racing bikes by the millions in the early '70s, the bikes took longer to assemble and tune, and shops were required by the manufacturers to offer at least one free tuneup---all on the same scanty margin.

And shops had to (and still have to) keep a range of different models (from different manufacturers) in a variety of colors and frame sizes in inventory, which, together with various other costs every business has to account for, made it nearly impossible to turn a reliable profit.

Meanwhile, ironically, the toy industry's margins had gone up significantly.

I worked for five different bike shop owners in three states over a span of years. The canniest businessman among those shop owners told me once that in his best year, he made a net profit of almost 3 percent. Of the others, two went out of business and the others sold the shops within 4 years.

(The smart guy, by the way, made his real money by keeping an eye on the business sections of local newspapers. Every five to eight years, when he saw an announcement that a bank was building a new branch in a suburb north of Baltimore, he bought property next door or across the street and built a bike shop. He said, "Why should I pay a guy to analyze demographic trends in the area? The banks already pay someone to do that.")

Yes, the margins seem to have improved over the last decade or so---just in time for Specialized and Trek to "persuade" shop owners that it's in their interest to sell out to them. It's a shame, but it was always a hard way to make a buck. As a sales rep for a local bike parts distributor once told me, "I love talking to the shop owners who love bikes---but my boss loves the shop owners who don't care about bikes, because they're the ones who pay their bills, and on time."
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Old 11-18-23, 06:00 PM
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The great thing about darwinism is that nature has a way of sorting out this sort of stuff.

For instance, I don't talk people out of things they want to do anymore.

It's more entertaining for me to see the snafu unfold, and when I am confronted about it again, I just side with them by "Orly? Wow. That ssucks", and continue to sip my beer.

It's amazing the amount of energy that victims spend to get others to help them feel good AFTER a clusterfugg. Post a photo of a flooded basement and if 100 people reply with a heart, then it's really ok it happened.

I on the other hand, just go visit my LBS. Or Costco. At least with the amazons, you are shipped some thing.
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Old 11-18-23, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by soyabean
It's more entertaining for me to see the snafu unfold, and when I am confronted about it again, I just side with them by "Orly? Wow. That ssucks", and continue to sip my beer.

​​​​​​Orly Tour De France
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Old 11-18-23, 06:49 PM
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Bike shops that sell bikes are an outdated business model on the way to extinction. Major brands have seen the light and are all going direct to consumer one after the other. Running a shop in 2023 is like a tiny country going to war against a huge country, oh and by the way, you must also buy your weapons from that same huge country. Yeah, good luck with that.
  1. there must be vastly fewer shops
  2. shops must focus on mechanical servicing, not sales
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Old 11-18-23, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by robert9
I wonder if anyone completed the paypal transaction with these low price bike websites on shopify like reedbike, gorider, bothav, etc? It is my understanding that Paypal guarantees the transaction so if it goes south you are out nothing. Perhaps they have direct ship wholesale contracts with the 8 or so big brands shown and take a minimal markup. The mtb industry has huge markups by the lbs and the manufactures do not want to alienate the lbs so they keep their own online prices higher. It is all based on extorting the most money from the consumer, always has and always will be.

I have purchased other items in the past that appeared too good to be true, all without any issues. They were genuine and most often shipped direct from the manufacture. Although not at the price point of an emtb, so caution has prevailed so far. The mtb and especially the emtb industry is now overwhelmed with excess stock from overproduction after the covid based higher demand prompted firms to falsely believe the gravy train was forever. That coupled with the extreme high sales price and markups built into such simple products as an emtb (it is simple from a tech and mechanical standpoint, just compare any dirt motorcycle) gives a possibility that these sites may be real. On the other hand, when I looked up the addresses posted, they were homes and one was a Trek store that when called knew nothing of this online biz using their address to build consumer confidence. This screams scam to me, but ????

I too hesitated and ultimately did not pull the trigger, but open to reconsidering if any others have ordered and received the items correctly or got ripped off and spent endless hours correcting your paypal account. Please speak out. It would be great to have a better source of bikes than the inflated ones out there if it were real.
Was your buying experience with your current bike OK? If you are skittish it might be best to stick with the same plan.
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Old 11-18-23, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
Bike shops that sell bikes are an outdated business model on the way to extinction. Major brands have seen the light and are all going direct to consumer one after the other. Running a shop in 2023 is like a tiny country going to war against a huge country, oh and by the way, you must also buy your weapons from that same huge country. Yeah, good luck with that.
  1. there must be vastly fewer shops
  2. shops must focus on mechanical servicing, not sales
The last shop I worked for, Giant dealer, closed their second location due to lack of business. I worked for Performance for 5 years, which went out of business due to poor finance management. The third shop, Wooden Wheels, closed, not exactly sure the reason(s). Heard stories. 3 former co-workers of mine at Wooden Wheels, revitalized the Wooden Wheels name in a new location with direct access around 40 miles of singletrack.

Right now there are 3 stores in Newark, DE and 3 more stores further north.

When I was with Giant, we were not busy in service whatsoever. Because the owners decided that service will only work on Giant branded bikes. Nothing else. I can see not working on department store bikes, but nicer bikes..... they shot themselves in the foot. Probably why it closed.
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Old 11-18-23, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
Fire your buyer...
Only bike buyer was the owner or store manager . We stocked the bikes that sold. From $600-4k. The high end bikes were just eye candy, which were demoed for a year, then sold to buy and try something new. Gotta tease the customers. I bought 4 bikes this way. Demoed bikes for a couple days if they weren't reserved for a customer, then decide if I want a new bike.
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Old 11-19-23, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Was your buying experience with your current bike OK? If you are skittish it might be best to stick with the same plan.
I did not complete the purchase online fearing it was a scam. I wanted to see if anyone did complete the purchase and see if it was legit or a scam. The prices on these sites are all very good, but not unrealistic for a website that does not have the expense of brick and mortar.
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Old 11-19-23, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
Bike shops that sell bikes are an outdated business model on the way to extinction. Major brands have seen the light and are all going direct to consumer one after the other. Running a shop in 2023 is like a tiny country going to war against a huge country, oh and by the way, you must also buy your weapons from that same huge country. Yeah, good luck with that.
  1. there must be vastly fewer shops
  2. shops must focus on mechanical servicing, not sales
I don't necessarily doubt your prediction. I think it will certainly play out for the enthusiast who is already in to the sport. But a budding enthusiast, and the casual rider who doesn't go in for Walmart bikes - I think they will still want and need to see bikes in the flesh and talk to people. My little city has three bike shops and an REI (which I believe sells a lot to the secont type of rider I mentioned). Of course two of the three shops are dedicated Trek or Specialized. The other sells a variety of other brands. There used to be a fourth shop which was a Giant shop. They retired out of the business and I haven't noticed any local shop taking over the Giant franchise.
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Old 11-19-23, 06:41 AM
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As for the sites you listed, I found Redbike, (not REEdbike,) Go-Ride (not gorider, which is a Japanese superhero movie) and nothing for Bothav.

Redbike was a lot of expensive e-bikes …. Go-Ride was a lot of entry-level MTBs at low-ish prices.

The Go-Ride prices were not ridiculously low …. Possibly if the Go-Ride management bought up a lot of last year’s leftover stock from various factories or something ….

Possibly if the site is operating with really low overhead …

Except that Go-Ride is actually a pair of brick-and-mortar shops in Utah … https://www.go-ride.com/about/about-us-pg65.htm …. In which case it is hard to see where the 25% savings come from … perhaps their local sales are strong enough that they can offer online discounts to capture customers they would not otherwise attract?

It is also possible that the bikes they sell online are leftover models …. But if you want to contact the shop, they have contact info online.

I might trust Go-Ride ... because they are US-based, and thus easier to sue. .... well, actually, just more closely governed by US consumer protection services.

Of course, I have no clue ... the whole thing could be a scam, with fake phone numbers, fake emails, and photos of some other shop with a photo-shopped name.
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Old 11-19-23, 06:44 AM
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As for bike shops in general .... it is regional. If there are enough enthusiast riders in an area and shop owners can figure out how to sell what they want ..... the shop in my town built a coffee bar next door so riders after (store-sponsored-bike-club) group rides could sit and brag ... smart business move.

Still seems like a tough business, with more ways to fail than to succeed.
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Old 11-19-23, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
As for bike shops in general .... it is regional. If there are enough enthusiast riders in an area and shop owners can figure out how to sell what they want ..... the shop in my town built a coffee bar next door so riders after (store-sponsored-bike-club) group rides could sit and brag ... smart business move.

Still seems like a tough business, with more ways to fail than to succeed.
One of my local bike shops has a coffee bar and they arrange demo events etc. But unfortunately their bike servicing sucks, so I donít use them anymore. It has certainly lost them thousands in sales to me alone. They sell all the big name brands, focusing on mid-high end sales. But they never have much actual stock available on the floor. Chances of them having the size and build spec you want is slim.

Another smaller shop I know doesnít even bother with big brand sales. They just do custom builds, bike fitting and maintenance. Thereís another local shop doing the same, but I havenít been there. This seems like the most viable bike business model in my area.
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Old 11-19-23, 08:19 AM
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It is a tough business due to the nature of the business being seasonal in much of the USA. In markets that really don't see seasonality like a shop in North Dakota or New York, the sales and service season is year round, not feast or famine. Back in the 80's and 90's when I was very involved in the bike shop we averaged 2-3% profit at the end of the year. Not good, and not sustainable for a small business. Brought in a consultant who really taught us how to operate a business, not a bike shop and in a 5 year span the shop started to come out at the end of the year with a 5% profit. Not great, but if we were able to survive on 3% we certainly could do it on 5%!
By the time the shop was sold due to retirement we were consistently showing 5-7% profit margin at end of year. It is important to note that we increased revenue by a factor of 3. If not, the shop would not have survived. Thank the good Lord for that business consultant!

It is an eye opener when one analyzes where the profit in a bicycle goes and why a 30% margin on the sale of a bike is not sustainable at the low volume of a bike shop. Either the margin must increase or the volume must grow in a big way.
Giant brought in the idea of 40% margins on the bread and butter bikes. For the most part they succeeded. That 40% margin allowed the shop to make a true realized profit on the sale of the bike, but part of that realized profit subsidized the most expensive bikes in the shop because nobody is gonna pay full price when every other shop is discounting the same level of bikes just to get them out of their shop.

As it is in the auto and motorcycle biz, the service department holds the whole thing together. Without it the company would fail. As things shift to online consumer direct sales, this will become more and more important. Will the traditional bike shop go the way of the roman coin? Not sure, but it is possible. No way to predict the future with any real accuracy. Just ask the weatherman about that!
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Old 11-19-23, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by frdfandc
The high end bikes were just eye candy,
That is definetly a thing. The $5k bike looks more reasonable with the $10k bike next to it. Merchandising is another thing bike shops don't do well. I remember sitting at an increase your sales "seminar" at InterBike a while back, (basically cause we had time to kill before our flight) and we were laughing out loud at some of the back and forth between the presenters and the attendees. My brother looks at his watch and says "not a single businessman in the room, let's go!"
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Old 11-19-23, 12:15 PM
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Years before the existence of aliex, I had a friend that would buy a lot of stuff from aliba, these were called "samples", because you want to sample a quantity of one.

After a 6 to 8 week wait, half the time he got nothing, and half the times he did get something it was the wrong or bait/switch object, so he would only hit 25% of time.

Then he would parade about how cheap it was and how much he "saved", when in reality it would have costed less and much faster if he just bought it locally, or at least from a next-day amazon prime seller.

Like when folks lose trading 9 out of 10 stock tickers, but celebrate themselves a winner when one finally gains them 5%.

This is why I don't talk people out of doing stupid things with their money. The time I spend giving them good advice is less time that I work on bikes. And I have a ton of bikes that need work.

I just worry about where I put my money, and use the rest of my time to go cycling.
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Old 11-19-23, 04:47 PM
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You know what they say - if it seems too good to be true, open up that wallet!
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Old 11-19-23, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
As for bike shops in general .... it is regional. If there are enough enthusiast riders in an area and shop owners can figure out how to sell what they want ..... the shop in my town built a coffee bar next door so riders after (store-sponsored-bike-club) group rides could sit and brag ... smart business move.

Still seems like a tough business, with more ways to fail than to succeed.
The guys at Wooden Wheels got their license to dispense homemade beer.
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Old 11-19-23, 08:25 PM
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Anything could be real, Bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, Elvis still being alive but generally if it sounds too good to be true it is and generally going to bottom feeders to buy stuff you get whatever is at the bottom and it is a murky nasty place with a lot of junk or it just doesn't exist. For an e-bike I want to buy from an authorized retailer and I want a quality system from the likes of Bosch, Brose, Shimano, Mahle, Fazua, Specailized...because in the end the support is key and without it I could have a very expensive problem.

We had a customer at my old shop who came to us looked at bikes and wasted our time then he said ho ho I found a pillow salesman (not that one) on eBay who can sell me a that same bike and I can save $100 (on a 6-8k bike) so he bought it through this unauthorized seller and had an issue with his battery. Normally on a brand new bike it would have been covered under warranty by the OEM but because it was essentially a second hand bike as they were not authorized sellers, he had to shell out $1000 to get a new battery and whined and complained the entire time. Don't screw yourself over to spend an extra $900 on your purchase like that guy did to "save" $100". The fake receipt was very cute though but both the e-bike system manufacturer and the manufacturer of the e-bike saw right through it.
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Old 11-20-23, 08:46 AM
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IMO, a novice will almost always be better served buying from a shop. When someone becomes knowledgeable enough to buy online, they won't need to ask.
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Old 11-21-23, 12:42 PM
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not mentioned in all of the above.

Many shops will not service ebikes that they don't sell. This is because there is not as much standardization of parts in ebikes and and by all accounts it it is worse with cheap ebikes
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Old 11-21-23, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by robert9
On the other hand, when I looked up the addresses posted, they were homes and one was a Trek store that when called knew nothing of this online biz using their address to build consumer confidence. This screams scam to me, but ????
Isn't this enough to be certain it's a scam?

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Old 11-21-23, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
Isn't this enough to be certain it's a scam?
Well, no. Just because every single thing about it appears to be a scam, doesn't mean there's no reason to search for some remote hope that it's not. Until they spell out "we are a scam site" there's always hope.
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