Should you buy your next bike online?
Should you buy your next bike online? It's 2021 and I can buy a car online, so a bicycle should be no problem, right? Right. That's a great question, so let's get into the details below.
Convenience is king, and our time is valuable. Shoppers are increasingly looking to streamline and simplify their daily routine, and with that comes shopping online. Like many other products, there are practically no limits to the types of bicycles, price points, brands and stores available at the click of a button, all vying for your attention, and dollars. You'll also discover "DTC" or Direct to Consumer brands, like our Able Bicycle Company specializing in shipping bicycles directly to your door. These brands often forgo the traditional sales model which often times leads to less expensive bicycles vs your local bike store. So, we've saved time and money buying online. Sounds great, and it can be!
So, you might ask, why shouldn't I buy my next bike online. Bicycles themselves can be both challenging to assemble and ship and it can also be difficult to know which size or bicycle might fit best. Size charts can be helpful, but only if the data on both sides of the screen is accurate. Measure your height today with a real tape measure, and I bet you'll be surprised at what you might find! It also goes without saying a bicycle test ride online just isn't possible. Here's where live support and experience play a roll. Able's live chat is hosted by guys and girls that live and breath bicycles, in the USA. No overseas call centers, no robots, no emails bouncing back and forth endlessly. They've ridden all of our bicycles and can provide first hand insight. Feel free to chat it up and we'll do our best to make sure you're on the right, and right size bicycle the first time around.
The bicycle you buy online will likely come "mostly" assembled. After selling and assembling literally 10's of thousands of bikes from big name brands, we've found that "mostly" can vary from a pile of parts that loosely resembles a bicycle(and may take hours to assemble) to a well tuned machine only needing minor assembly to take from it from boxed, to ready-to-ride. This grey area can be pretty wide and often times glossed over by brands selling online. Packing and packaging integrity are also critical to the safe travel of your new bicycle. It doesn't matter how nice your rear derailleur is if its smashed to bits during shipping. And though convenient, "Prime" type services are not the most direct path of travel, leading to excessive handing and shipping and adding to the final cost and carbon footprint of any product. Convenience has it's price and it's far better to shop directly with your preferred brands when 2 day shipping speed isn't at the absolute top of your list. This is why Able does not sell on Prime type marketplaces and why we double box Able bikes utilizing double corrugated cardboard which are strong and recyclable. If you're counting, thats 4 walls of cardboard separating your new bicycle from the harsh reality of shipment, and a smaller carbon footprint. And, oh yea, Able plants a tree for every bicycle we sell further offsetting our impact.
How do I assemble my new bicycle? Each of our Able bicycles is inspected and mostly assembled, requiring installation of the handle bars, pedals and front wheel but we still suggest professional assembly. If you are not a professionally trained bicycle mechanic then we would strongly suggest hiring one to do final assembly your bicycle, wether that means a mobile service or taking your bicycle to a bike shop. Reach out on our live chat and we can help find a reputable shop or mechanic.
What about buying from my local bike shop? We were born of local bicycle shops and it's where are heart is. Local bike shops are the life blood of your local cycling community. They are the ones building trails, providing jobs for your biker friends, donating to local parks and participating in town, city and state meetings and ultimately deciding on the fate of cycling and bicycling where you live. It's why Able is sold in a growing number of select stores and markets.
We are Able Bicycle Company and we hope to earn your business wherever you prefer to shop, online or in person.