Not entering your local bike shop and getting your bike delivered directly to your door can save you significant cash. But how to buy the right bike on the Internet?
Well, if you decided to buy a bike on the Internet, look for the following things:
- Fit: The major risk with buying sight unseen is getting a frame that doesn’t fit. If you can’t go to the store in person, make sure you check the actual top tube, seat tube, and head tube dimensions against a bike that you know fits you well, to make sure your new bike will too.
- Frame: The frame forms the basic character and performance backdrop to whatever kit you end up hanging from it. There are bikes optimized for high mileage and high spee, as well as blends balanced between the extremes, so be sure to choose what fits your riding.
- Wheels: The frame might be the heart of the bike but you can improve or decrease its performance by choosing the right or wrong wheelset. If you’re in doubt, always put the proven function and easy control of shallower wheels ahead of potentially hard to handle aero rims.
- Components: Find a website where bikes are offered in a ‘buffet’ format where you can change the components supplied with the frame to suit your wallet and preferences. This is a good way to purchase a truly individual and hopefully ideally specced bike, but only if you know what you’re doing or get good advice before you shop. Fortunately, all the good shops have experienced riders on their staff who will be happy to guide your decisions over the phone.
- Support: Online shops vary massively in size and support. Choose well established companies that you can rely on. Be wary of other ‘man in a shed’ set ups that might not be properly insured, and may not even be trading anymore if you have a problem a couple of weeks or months later.