How to Buy A Bike Online

Before buying a bike online or offline, you’ll need to answer a couple questions for yourself:

  • What kind of bike am I interested in (ie. road, mountain, hybrid)?
  • What size of bike will fit me?
Finding your size correctly can be difficult when buying a bike over the internet. If you don’t already know your size, you can:
  • Use an online size calculator, ebicycles offers a good one.
  • Look to see if there is a sizing chart published by the manufacturer of a bike you’re considering (Try Googling bike brand and model sizing chart)
  • Pay for a professional fitting
  • Have a friend bike-savvy friend help you out
Online calculators and sizing charts may not be perfect for everyone, but they usually provide a good estimate. A professional bike fitting can be really helpful, but it is probably not worth the money unless you’re in the market for a high-end bike. If you have a friend who loves bikes, he or she might be able to help you with sizing (and may be very helpful throughout the rest of the bike buying process).

When buying a bike online, you need to decide if you’d prefer to get a used bike or a new bike. I expect that most people reading this article are looking for new bikes, but if  you know you want a used bike, switch over to Buying A Used Bike Online. If you’re unsure, take a look at Used Bikes vs. New Bikes.

The next step is deciding which online retailer to purchase from. For most people, the primary factor when comparing online bike stores will be price. Its important to recognize that three things will factor into a bicycle’s price:

  • The list price
  • Shipping charges
  • Taxes

Online bike stores are likely to have far better list prices than conventional retail stores. While some online stores will offer free shipping, others may charge $100 or even more to ship a full bike. Remember that some people will have to pay some type of sales tax on their online purchases, and this may or may not be equivalent to the sales taxes they would be charged at local brick-and-mortar stores.

While price is very important, its worth giving some consideration the return policy, service quality, and shipping speed offered by various companies.

By focusing on price, but giving some weight to other factors, I’ve come up with a list of suggested stores. Take a look at several stores and see which one will offer you the best deal on your next bike.