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chris_s
03-08-2012, 10:54 AM
Anyone have any experience buying a bike online? Since this bicycle commuting thing appears to have stuck, I'm looking to upgrade to a better bike and I've picked out one I really like the sound of - but the brand (Spot) appears to not have a single dealer in the area (closest - Roanoke!) so I guess online would be my only option?

I'm nervous about the idea of paying several thousand dollars for a bike I've never ridden. I know it's a quality bike. It's well reviewed and all, but so much comes down to feel and fit and whatnot. I've gotta put it together myself right? Has anyone successfully returned a bike they bought online?

Other thoughts?

DismalScientist
03-08-2012, 12:02 PM
I bought a touring bike off of Nashbar and didn't have any problems with fit. Bikes in that price range ($600 to $1000) are pretty generic with exception, perhaps, of the drive train, so I pretty much got what I expected. I'm not sure I would go online for a expensive bike I hadn't ridden though.

Dirt
03-08-2012, 12:09 PM
Buying a bike is difficult on-line. There's always an element of risk because a bicycle is truly more than the sum of its parts. There are, however, some things that you can do to help get the fit very close to what you'd normally ride.

The biggest measurement to get right is the Effective top tube length. That is basically a measurement of a horizontal line from the center of the head tube (Where the fork comes out of the top of the frame) to the center of the seat post. In the diagram below, it is called the Top Tube (Horizontal)

http://civiacycles.com/files/bikes/bryantGeo_LG.jpg

If your current bike fits and is comfortable, then getting a bike with a similar effective top tube length will likely fit pretty closely.

Most other measurements on the bike can be changed a bit. Certainly the seat post can be raised or lowered to adjust for leg length. The handlebars can be raised and lowered a bit by adjusting the headset spacers. I'd have a local bike shop help with the latter adjustment.

How will that bike actually ride? Who knows. :D I've been building and riding bikes myself for 35+ years. I've had successes and failures. As recent as last year I looked at a vintage frame on eBay and said, "There's NO WAY that thing will fit me", I bought it anyways... thinking that all else fails it will be lovely as art on the wall. The bike that arrived fit me PERFECTLY. That's the best kind of foible. Rarely do mistakes go in my favor.

Spot has a pretty good reputation. I like the look of their bikes. I have many friends who have ordered bikes on-line and had great success. My brother-in-law just did so with a new road bike and couldn't be happier.

Though more expensive for the initial purchase, buying locally often ends up being cheaper when you consider all costs over the next year or two.

Sorry for the "Gospel according to Dirt" sermon. It is exactly that. My view on things. :D

Rock on!

Pete

americancyclo
03-08-2012, 12:22 PM
the website lists the Daily Rider in DC. Have you checked with them? Also depending on where you're leaving from, Roanaoke might be farther than the three locations around Philly (one in NJ). Might be a good excuse for a road trip!

DaveK
03-08-2012, 12:32 PM
the website lists the Daily Rider in DC. Have you checked with them? Also depending on where you're leaving from, Roanaoke might be farther than the three locations around Philly (one in NJ). Might be a good excuse for a road trip!

The Daily Rider is the new shop opening on H St NE, but they are not yet open for business. Should be within a few weeks though, the exterior is looking pretty buttoned up and they're advertising for employees.

culimerc
03-08-2012, 01:01 PM
I bought a complete bike from competitive cyclist last year. It went really smoothly overall. I did have to touch up the build once it got here (true the rotors, adjust cable tensions, etc), but I didnt break it down completely by any stretch of the imagination. Size was good, and the geometry was comfortable too (touring bike). I've screwed up bike fits worse with the frame in front of me.

Greenbelt
03-08-2012, 01:43 PM
My only recommendation is that I'd second the motion to be really careful about fit when ordering. Often a shop will know how certain frames run relative to others, even with the same measurements. That is, a 56cm frame from one brand might not fit the same as a 56cm with similar geometry from another for some reason. So even if they don't have the bike you want, a good shop can can size you and see your riding style and make a very accurate recommendation for the size/setup that would be most comfortable or appropriate for long rides. They might be able to order frames or components for you as well in some cases, and help build up a custom setup.

SteveTheTech
03-08-2012, 04:42 PM
I <3 my internet road bike. It was the only way I was able to get a full bike with a Tiagra/105 setup for a hair over $500. I took a gamble on size and it worked out. If I did it again I would opt to go on the larger side of the smaller size than the the other way around. I did this consciously though, other than that I am completely satisfied with my BikesDirect bike.

Most seem to come in a box the all the hard work actually done all that is left is some minor assembly and adjustments.

I'm thinking of getting a Tri bike blind but that will be next year.

Good Luck.

chris_s
03-08-2012, 07:22 PM
The Daily Rider is the new shop opening on H St NE, but they are not yet open for business. Should be within a few weeks though, the exterior is looking pretty buttoned up and they're advertising for employees.

THIS IS AWESOME. There were no DC dealers when I looked last week! I'll just wait for The Daily Rider to open and go see if they'll order me up an Acme. :)

invisiblehand
03-10-2012, 08:45 AM
Anyone have any experience buying a bike online? Since this bicycle commuting thing appears to have stuck, I'm looking to upgrade to a better bike and I've picked out one I really like the sound of - but the brand (Spot) appears to not have a single dealer in the area (closest - Roanoke!) so I guess online would be my only option?

I'm nervous about the idea of paying several thousand dollars for a bike I've never ridden. I know it's a quality bike. It's well reviewed and all, but so much comes down to feel and fit and whatnot. I've gotta put it together myself right? Has anyone successfully returned a bike they bought online?

Other thoughts?

Fit is the most important aspect of the bike. Unless you have lots of experience with your likes/dislikes, I think you'll get more value buying at a good LBS. Although you'll probably get the best value from finding a used bike, learning more about fit, and tinkering.

baiskeli
03-12-2012, 08:12 AM
I <3 my internet road bike. It was the only way I was able to get a full bike with a Tiagra/105 setup for a hair over $500. I took a gamble on size and it worked out. If I did it again I would opt to go on the larger side of the smaller size than the the other way around. I did this consciously though, other than that I am completely satisfied with my BikesDirect bike.

Most seem to come in a box the all the hard work actually done all that is left is some minor assembly and adjustments.

I'm thinking of getting a Tri bike blind but that will be next year.

Good Luck.

Agree - I scored with my internet bike. It can work if you know your geometry and fit pretty well, and can handle doing some adjustments. If there's a major problem with either fit or equipment, it could be a hassle to deal with.

DaveK
03-21-2012, 01:40 PM
Chris - Daily Rider just posted on their FB page a request if anyone has an order for Spot Bicycles - you might want to get in there. :)

https://www.facebook.com/TheDailyRider