You know you've always wanted to....feel the summer breeze blowing through your hair and warm sun on your face while cruising (or racing) around town on a brand new bike. Okay, so we're not talking about the thundering motorcycle you've dreamed of. We're talking about that new road, mountain or specialty bicycle you've been saying you were going to buy for the past few summers but haven't known where to start looking. Well, here at TopTenREVIEWS we've done the work for you. You can now shop for the bike you've always wanted from the comfort of your own home at an online bike shop.
Making a large purchase such as a bike from an online store can be overwhelming. Let us ease your stress and explain the following criteria we used to evaluate the online bike shops featured in this review site.
Online bike stores have the ability to carry a huge selection of products that you can search for at the touch of your finger tips. We found specialty bikes such as cyclo-cross, BMX and tandem to your everyday commuter, cruisers, mountain, road and kids bikes. There is really something for everyone whether you're a beginner or advanced rider. The selection of biking accessories including apparel, bike parts, maintenance tools and name brand gear was enticing enough to keep us scrolling through pages that also appealed to every biking level. Higher rankings went to sites that had the most selection in each bike category.
The convenience of being able to shop for a bike without having to leave your home is a huge plus. You don't have to travel from shop to shop hoping they have the bike you want in stock. Also, the hours that traditional stores are open aren't as customer friendly as the 24 hour convenience an online store offers. We ranked websites based on ease of use including navigation and overall website layout. Other important factors we reviewed included detailed product descriptions and photos.
Here are some features you will find at an online bike store that rival the traditional storefront competition:
• Online videos showing riding tips and techniques
• Printable sizing charts for bikes and apparel
• Customer reviews
• Product wishlists
• E-mail updates of specials and promotions
• Online only deals
• Price matching
• Clearance and outlet products
Our favorite feature was the online videos found on a couple of sites we reviewed. Fun and informative, these videos appeal to all riders. Even if you're just browsing for products and not intent on making a purchase, you'll find yourself returning just to check out the latest video.
Having a handful of payment options always makes online purchases easier, especially when those purchases can be into the hundreds to thousands of dollars. The sites that got our best reviews offered creative options such as Bill Me Later, money orders and personal checks.
Shipping costs can be a big worry when buying a bulky item such as a bike online. Many of the sites we reviewed feature free shipping after a certain dollar amount is spent. Detailed charts are also a plus as they offered us a quick glance at price, estimated shipping time and the shipping carrier used.
While product selection, website, and payment and shipping are all very important factors in determining the overall effectiveness of an online store, customer service can be the factor that makes or breaks your shopping experience. We feel that if a representative is difficult to reach and cannot answer customer questions and concerns in a friendly and timely manner, your shopping experience may be at risk. We evaluated the customer service options available and our favorite option is Live Chat, which only a few bike shops offer.
If you combine all of these criteria, you'll come up with online bike shops that offer a large product selection, an easy to navigate website, fun and informative site features, creative payment and shipping options and top notch customer service. Soon you'll be hitting the road on your new bike and enjoying the season in style!
For a more in-depth look at our favorite bike shops, read the reviews of Performance Bicycle, JensonUSA and Bob's Bicycles. We also have some interesting articles on biking and bike shopping that you'll want to check out.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™