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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: StashthatCash on May 01, 2014, 02:46:46 PM

Post by: StashthatCash on May 01, 2014, 02:46:46 PM
I was looking at a website called  Has anyone ever ordered off of there?  It looks a little sketchy and I don't want to get ripped off.  Has anyone used any other bike websites?
Title: Re:
Post by: Thegoblinchief on May 01, 2014, 02:51:48 PM
The caveat with any online bike store is: do YOU know how to set up the bike properly? Brakes aren't terrible, but I've read you also need to adjust the hubs and other less obvious things. Plenty of people do this just fine, but just be aware of what you're getting into.

Craigslist is your best friend, to be honest.

Not sure about Beloit, but you're relatively close to Madison, which has at least one community bike shop that sells really well priced used bikes and will teach you to build your own.
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Post by: Sonorous Epithet on May 01, 2014, 03:00:16 PM
I was strongly considering buying a bike off of the site. All the research I did on them was that their bikes are sort of "Grocery Store Brand" bikes -- frames made in the same Taiwainese facilities as popular bike shop bikes, with a no-name branding (Motobecane and Windsor were bought out long ago), and the same Shimano parts you see on bike shop bikes. From what I gather, their pricing really is from volume sales and the fact that they outsource the final assembly to the customer. They do have one brick and mortar store in Florida. For high end Shimano and SRAM parts, the entire bike is comparable to the street price of those parts alone, it seems.

The downsides that I heard were that you don't support your friendly neighborhood bike shop, you obviously can't test the bikes so you need to the knowledge about what style of bike you want and the and size and geometry that fits you, and be able to read that from a diagram, and that you need to assemble them yourself (or pay $40-60 to have an LBS assemble it, and then pay to retune it a few months later once the components have broken in). Also the unmustachian concern that you have no brand recognition.

I ended up finding a used bike on Craigslist before I could put this research to the test, though.
Title: Re:
Post by: StashthatCash on May 01, 2014, 03:22:39 PM
Maybe I can turn myself into a little Forum experiment.  The way I figure they have really good pricing.  Even if I get it and can't possibly put it together correctly I can still bring it to my local bike guy and pay him $50 to put it together for me.  I have been looking at the Janesville CL postings and haven't found a bike that I would really enjoy for a decent price.  I will post an update when I get my bike so you guys know how the site is. 
Title: Re:
Post by: TLV on May 01, 2014, 04:20:51 PM
I bought my current bike (and my wife's) from them. I'm no expert, but as far as I can tell it was good quality parts for the price.

* Like others have said, you have to put the bike together yourself. In our case, 3 of the 4 wheels between us needed the hubs loosened before the wheels could spin on their axles, which was NOT fun as they had been seriously over-tightened by power tools.

* You should know exactly what you want and confirm it with the specs. We didn't notice that the bikes we bought had "down tube" shifters until they arrived, as we had never heard of such a thing. I'm used to it now, but it's still way less convenient than handle bar shifters. Also, the brakes are unusable in the drop position (attached at the wrong angle). That can probably be fixed, but I never use the drops so I haven't bothered looking into it.
Title: Re:
Post by: Derek on May 17, 2014, 06:40:08 AM
I just ordered a Motobecane Gran Turismo from them yesterday (steel touring bike).  Should arrive in 2 weeks, I'll post a review then.  Compared to local bike shop/REI about half the cost compared to similar bikes.  Local bike shop includes free tuning for life.  If the bike does not fit they will take back minus $50 shipping fee.  If you know how to work on a bike and you know exactly what you want they seem like a good deal.  The frames are made in Taiwan (Giant?) and can be found on many other name brand bikes (my frame is exactly the same as a Fuji Touring).  BTW, this was a very hard decision for me.  My rational side said this was the right choice but my heart wanted the very cool/trendy Surly bike that was double.  In the end I could not justify spending $1400 just for a bike (that's used car territory). 
    Working on bikes is not hard.  You tube has videos that can show you how to do everything.  A basic all in one bike tool and a wrench will cover most issues. 
Title: Re:
Post by: capital on May 17, 2014, 08:15:54 PM
The bikes are fine, and the company has been in business for years, shipping people bikes as promised. You see their bikes all over in NYC.

The main downsides are the ugly graphics (some are better than others), and some parts are chosen because bikesdirect presumably orders them mega-bulk, rather than choosing parts specific to suit the bike at hand.

You do need to choose the right size bike, and assemble and tune it yourself, which isn't hard if you're mechanically handy. Or you can find a bike store to do it for you— probably for $50-100. Some bike stores hate internet bikes, some will try to pick you up as a customer and make money selling you higher-margin accessories.

My girlfriend has been using this bike as her main commuter for 2 years or so:
There's pretty much nothing else similar on the market anywhere near the price. The rear wheel came bent and Bikesdirect sent a new one.
Title: Re:
Post by: Fuzz on May 18, 2014, 02:02:09 PM
I bought the motobecane gran premio from BD and love it. I had a good experience. I set the bike up myself in about an hour--it's pretty easy. One thing to be advised of, the documentation that comes with the bike is harder to understand than the ad on BD. So if you're trying to figure out if your stem is an inch or an inch and an eighth, it's more useful to have a PDF of the ad, then to keep all the docs that come with the bike. I'll probably replace the stem with something that fits me and my riding style slightly better. I want shorter and more upright. Overall, I feel like I got a great deal--maybe I could have done a little better watching CL for a few months, but that depends a lot on the area and what your used bike market looks like. I love the steel ride. I think it's a little more performance than touring oriented, which is fine with me. For my budget, it would be hard to do better. 

Title: Re:
Post by: Derek on June 10, 2014, 06:30:38 PM
I've had my bike for 2 weeks now (Motobecane Gran Turismo) and it is great.  Bikes Direct is a good deal as long as you know what size bike to get and minor bike repair/maintenance.  On my bike the headset was way too tight but everything else was adjusted properly.  The bike is the same frame as the Fuji Tourist with better components (except the quill stem) and $200 cheaper.  I could not have gotten a better deal on craiglist because steel touring bikes seem to be very popular now and are going for way too much used.  They will return the bike as long as it's in new condition but it has to be packaged in the original box the same way it was delivered.  Good luck with that, plan on keeping whatever you get.  Also many bikes have limited availability and may not be available in your size.  Bike Nashbar has similar bikes but seem to be a little bit more money.  Nashbar Steel Touring, Fuji Tourist, and Motobecane Gran Turismo all use the same exact frame made in the same factory in Taiwan. 
Title: Re:
Post by: darkadams00 on June 10, 2014, 08:54:09 PM
Two Christmases ago, I one-upped the BD discounted price by buying my son an immaculate 7-month old Motobecane Cafe Noir for 45% of the website sale price--hooray Craigslist. He's ridden that bike around 1100 miles since---all over town, to the library, to the park, to neighboring towns, to a nearby lake, and even on a couple dates (getting his GF to borrow one of my wife's bikes to ride w/ him was an awesome story!). He's only had one mechanical issue that I fixed in 10 minutes, just a few adjustments, no parts or costs. The only other issue is that he grew 1.5" during his senior year at HS, and that may have pushed him just over the upper limit for this bike size. I've considered buying it from him and using it for a rain bike to let him move up a size. That would meet both of our current needs. So I wouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger on a BD bike as long as you understand what you're getting--a discounted bike made possible by self-service bike wrenching.