Online shopping has its advantages. There is no waiting in line, no driving around to find the best price, and there is the convenience of reading customer reviews before making a purchase. Shopping for outdoor gear like a bicycle can be confusing, so here are eight things to keep in mind as you go through the process.
Warranty - Big purchases like a bicycle should be backed by the manufacturer. Before you click the "Place Order" button, browse the site and find what kind of warranty is offered with your bike. If the information provided on the website sounds shady, do some research and see what others are saying.
Assembly - If your bike will arrive in hundreds of pieces, a detailed instruction manual should be included. Certain bikes, like those from Critical Cycles, arrive 95% assembled. For these bikes, you'll need to screw on the pedals, fasten the handlebar, insert the front wheel on the axle, and adjust the seat height to fit you correctly to finish assembly. Choose a bike you'll be able to assemble easily.
Customer Service - Buying a bike online doesn't mean you're on your own. Make sure there will be a team of real people available to answer questions or walk you through the setup process.
Shipping Costs - Is this where the company is trying squeeze extra money out of you? If the bicycle is advertised for cheap but costs over $100 to ship, you should be wary. Figuring out the total out of pocket cost to you should be simple with no hidden fees.
Craftsmanship - To put it plainly, is the bike top quality, or is going to crap out on you after three months? This is another reason to read customer reviews before making a purchase. Buying online is convenient and can be effective if you do enough research before making the final decision.
Bike type - If you live downtown in a landlocked city it doesn't make much sense to buy a beach cruiser just because it's on clearance. Read on what type of bike is best for your situation and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Maintenance - The company should provide some direction here, but it is also important to find a local bike shop that you trust. Experienced bike technicians have knowledge of a wide range of bike-related problems and will likely be able to address yours directly.
Buying a bike online isn't always easy but with these simple tips, you'll be able to find the right one for you.