Buying a bike online effortlessly: the essential guide
In this Article
Published February 16, 2023
Already well established in our daily consumption habits, e-commerce continues to grow in Europe, and the bicycle market is no exception: with a growth rate well above that of the automotive market, online bicycle sales are attracting a growing number of buyers... and opportunists. Whether it takes the form of a marketplace or a classified ad, scams are lurking (counterfeiting, fencing, phishing, etc.), and we need to foil them. Road, gravel or mountain bikes, new or used bikes, here are our tips for buying a bike online safely.
What are the advantages of buying a bike online?
At the risk of pushing a few open doors, they are infinite. By "infinite", we mean above all that you have a choice, infinitely more choice: on the one hand, you have access on the Internet to additional purchasing channels (online bike stores and the private market), and on the other hand, to stocks that are potentially far from your home, new or used. More choice also means more chances to find the bike that suits you, and to acquire it, not only at a good price, but within a controlled time frame. Finally, by comparing prices, sellers and products, you give yourself the means to make, if not the best deal, at least an excellent purchase.
What are the disadvantages of buying a bike on the Internet?
As long as you follow the advice in the next section, bad experiences are fortunately quite rare. In our opinion, the only disadvantage of buying online is that you can't try your bike. Even though there are a multitude of tools available to choose the right size, purists will not be able to invest without trying it out, and we understand them: a bike is also (and foremost) a good feeling. You must find it beautiful and feel good on it, it's as simple as that.
If the geometry of the bike you bought online does not suit you perfectly, you can always make the necessary changes to adjust your bike to your position (and not the other way around): the stem, the seatpost and the saddle are the elements you can play with to reach the optimal position. If you feel that an adjustment is necessary but you don't know where to start, we advise you to have a postural study done by a professional.
Our advice for a successful bike purchase on the Internet
1. Target your search
The Word Wide Web is full of millions of bicycles, among which the future chosen one of your riding heart is hiding: that's good, but how to avoid getting lost? Just like at work, in love or in real estate (!), having precise criteria will greatly facilitate your search: size and type of bike of course, but also the targeted brands, the preferred components, the maximum weight, the frame material...
You don't need an exhaustive list of all the criteria at the beginning of your search, but it is useful to refine them as you go along. Finally, it is good to know what is negotiable for you, and what is not. This will save you valuable time.
We have published several articles to help you with this first step:
- Aero, Climber or Endurance: which road bike to choose?
- Semi-rigid mountain bike or gravel bike?
- Full suspension, trail, enduro, XC : which mountain bike to choose?
- Disc vs. pad brakes: the experts' opinion
- Choosing your bike frame: carbon or aluminum?
- Electric vs. mechanic drivetrain: pros and cons
2. Find out about the seller
Whether it's a company or a private individual, you need to find out everything you can about your seller: customer reviews, address, phone number, etc. Leave no stone unturned to make sure they have the best intentions. The ultimate technique: type the name of the site + "scam" in the search bar of your favorite search engine. It's foolproof.
Otherwise, most of the major brands provide a list of their authorized dealers on their website. If in doubt, do not hesitate to contact them directly, on the Internet or on social networks.
3. A deal that's too good to be true? Beware!
This advice makes sense in the classifieds market: anything that seems strange should alert you. A price that's really too low should tip you off, as should poor quality photos or a suspicious repair - in short, any element around which the seller seems to maintain a level of vagueness that is incompatible with the transparency he or she should be showing.
4. Focus on secure transactions
Unless you know the seller personally, never send money to your seller via PayPal or any other untraceable payment method. When they exist, use the secure payment services provided by the sales or ad sites.
Protect yourself from phishing: strictly speaking, you have no more personal information than bank details to communicate to your seller.
5. Find out about the return policy
Let's repeat it here: as a rule, buying on the Internet does not allow you to try your bike. In this context, it may be a good idea to find out how to return or exchange the product. If, for one reason or another, you are not satisfied with the product, is it possible to return it or exchange it for another item? If so, at what price? And within what time frame?
6. Ask about the delivery
How will the package be shipped? How long does it take to receive it? Is the packaging thorough enough to ensure smooth shipping? LIs the bike delivered assembled or to be assembled? If the latter, is a tool kit provided? If not, what tools will I need for assembly? These are all questions that you should ask yourself and your potential seller.
7. Ask about after-sales service
Make sure before you buy that you have someone to turn to in case of a problem. Ask about warranties in case of failure (what is guaranteed and what is not). The bill could go up quickly if the damaged bike has to be repaired by a pro after you receive it!
8. Anticipate possible extra costs
Don't forget that the acquisition of a bicycle is usually accompanied by other costs. Postural study and adjustments, revision of the bike after a few weeks, purchase of accessories... All this has a cost, which should be taken into account!
Where to buy a bike on the Internet ?
The following sites are guaranteed 100% safe, both in terms of the quality of the equipment offered and the customer service in case of a problem. They also have the advantage of being European companies, with large stocks available: no need to wait weeks for a bike sent from the other side of the world!
In addition to the e-commerce sites, we advise you not to neglect the official sites of the major brands. Among them, Canyon is the leading brand on the market to offer 100% of its bikes for sale online. The direct sales business model results in lower prices than those normally charged in stores.
The Cyclist House
You've come to the right place! The Cyclist House is the European market leader in reconditioned bikes, offering a wide range of certified used road, gravel, mountain and electric bikes. Check out our catalog and fall in love with one of our models, inspected and tuned by our expert mechanics and chosen among the biggest brands: Specialized, Trek, Pinarello, Lapierre, Scott, BMC, Giant...
The cyclist is our priority: all our bikes are guaranteed for 12 months and you have a 30-day trial period to get to know your machine. You don't like it? Send it back.
Our customers are our best ambassadors: take a look at our reviews on Trustpilot if you have any doubts.
We receive new bikes every week, subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don't miss any new arrivals.
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