I know people are already doing it, buying bikes online, even high-end bikes. Competitive Cyclist, Wrench Science, and others may have already cracked the code on how to deliver a bike via the Internet and your local freight service. It sort of boggles my mind.
Just speaking for myself, a bike is very personal. I want to have touched and ridden it, or at least ridden something very close to it. I wonder if there are folks test-riding at shops and buying online. It would be naive to think there are not, but it’s hard to imagine someone would take that kind of advantage of their local shop, too. You’re right. I’m just being naive.
Canyon has not yet arrived in the US, and their delays have left an opening, maybe even a panic, for the big brands to get into the direct-to-consumer channel, but it is unclear just how large a portion of their business has actually traveled through this channel. Mobile shops like Beeline and VeloFix have been announced as delivery partners, too, but again, it’s not clear to me how many are actually taking advantage.
I have biases, myself, toward the local bike shop, toward a more personal bike buying experience in general, but I might be a fuddy-duddy. I can’t entirely see what I gain from buying a bike online, but I know what I lose. I don’t get to touch it. I don’t get to ride it. I need to have it fit myself. I don’t get to know someone who knows more about it than I do. And of course, I deny my local shop the business they need to go on selling bikes to kids, organizing group rides, and reminding people on main street that bikes are a thing.
This week’s Friday Group Ride asks, would you buy a bike online? Have you already done it? Did it go well? Poorly? Would you do it again? What was your motivation? Cost? Convenience? Choice?