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Etiquette for buying bicycles online and getting them built in Canberra?

By fernandof 29 September 2011 25

With spring arriving (minus this week’s weather, obviously), I thought to make do on a long overdue promise and get myself a nice commuter bike. I was googling around and found some local shops like the Tuggeranong Bike Hub and some less local shops like Cell bikes in NSW. However, a knowledgeable friend recommended purchasing the bike for the UK as the prices are much lower. Looking at sites like wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, I must admit he has a point.

I want to get the best value for money, obviously, but the problem with online purchases is that the bicycle will arrive disassembled and I’m not comfortable enough to assemble it myself. I was therefore thinking to buy the bike online and pay a mechanic here in Canberra to assemble it.

So here’s the question: is this something that would be acceptable by bike shops and if so, what’s the ballpark cost for assembling a bike?

What’s Your opinion?

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25 Responses to
Etiquette for buying bicycles online and getting them built in Canberra?
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fernandof 5:00 pm 02 Oct 11

I think this thread needs a closure.

We bought our 2 bikes for my partner and myself. I got myself an awesome 2nd hand Shogun Mach 3 from a really nice bloke in Franklin (thanks to Spoono for redirecting me to the classified ads) and my better half got herself a Trek 7.3 from On the Rivet in Tuggeranong. Both bikes were at a hugely reduced cost than what I originally planned for (at about 500+- each, that’s a serious bargain) , so we had some money left to get a rack for both bikes from the shop (On the Rivet) and get some other additions.

So there you have it, if you’re after a 1st bike – take a very close look at the 2nd hand offers and ask local shops for their clearance deals. At that money, you’re better off buying locally.

Thanks again for all the responses, you guys are the best!

churl 9:43 am 30 Sep 11

In my experience the biggest differences between commuter vs road bikes are the handlebars and the wheels/tyres. ‘Flat’, mtn bike style handlbars are generally more relaxing to use: look at the road cyclists and mostly they will be holding onto the short, straight section unless racing. On most bikes this makes quick braking difficult..
For longer commutes (e.g. 1h as suggested), bolt on bar ends, which make the thing look like cow horns, are currently unfashionable but give some variation in grip which is nice.
For wheels/tyres, get something in diameter between thin racing wheels and knobbly off-road tyres.
For commuting it is also nice to have a rear rack and box (or panniers perhaps) and mudguards.

Spoono 9:21 am 30 Sep 11

Jump on Allclassifieds and check out bikes. There’s bargains to be had. People in Canberra are always buying decent bikes and end up riding them once or have to move OS etc.

fernandof 7:22 am 30 Sep 11

Postalgeek said :

My main advice is be damn sure of your frame size if you’re going to buy online.

The main advantage of buying local is you can have the bike properly fitted to you with follow-up adjustments. A centimetre here and there can really affect the ergonomics.

Moreover, if you want a local bike shop, you have to support it. Most work on narrow margins and get screwed by the distributors.

I absolutely agree on the support local shops comment and that’s why I’ll go this weekend to local shops and see first-hand what they have to offer. I won’t ask for assistance & fitting unless I’m absolutely sure I’ll buy, otherwise it’s just unfair for the shop that is putting the experience without getting paid.

That said, if I see that the price different is too steep, I’ll just buy online with the assistance of friends (I have one particularly buddy whose absolutely crazy about cycling, participating in international tournaments and what not – I’m sure he’ll be able to assist in the getting the correct size).

Postalgeek said :

Carbon forks aren’t overkill. They help dampen road vibration. Don’t get a mountain bike if you’re going to be mainly commuting. Better to get a cyclocross or some other hybrid if you planning to do mostly on-road commuting, but still want the freedom to ride off sealed road. And make sure the frame has rack mounting points.

My current “kmart-level” has suspension and I find it quite pointless for the kind of usage I’m doing, i.e., riding to work & to the shops on roads and relaxed dirt paths. I’m thinking about getting a non-suspension bike, but for the front fork to have a “bend” (not a straight line fork) so to gain some degree of flexibility in the frame. Hopefully this will make the ride a bit nicer, while still keeping the weight down. I’m not THAT bothered about weight, really, but I see no point adding weight for no reason,especially in the front of the bike.

Postalgeek said :

You should be able to get something decent for $1200. Quality bikes have become a lot more affordable over the last few years. If you’re serious about cycling, it’s a good starting point.

Great to hear & thanks for the assurance! 🙂

RedDogInCan said :

fernandof said :

I was looking at this one: probably with a more confy seat. Very reasonable price and good components.

“Sorry – this product is no longer available
This Boardman Hybrid Team is no longer available.”

Try to change the Internation options on the top-right to match Australia. The bike is difinetly available for purchasing.
But regardless, the point here was to present an example of what I’m looking for: not a road bike, not a mountain bike, but something in the middle with good light frame and descent components.

And for all others who replied with links to shops (Brandi, Aeek) – thanks a lot, I’ll be looking into those as well! 🙂

OpenYourMind 10:52 pm 29 Sep 11

borizuka said :

Also in relation to assembling a bike, it is going to be the same as buying from the UK vs another state. It’s basically a allen key job to put it together, quite easy.

I’m not sure I totally agree with Borizuka on this one. Assembling a bike can be more involved than you may first expect. Even if everything fits to everything else, you may need some special tools and some skills. Assuming it’s a geared bike, adjusting a derailleur can be a challenge, getting chain length right and chain joined takes some skill. Cutting cables well requires a decent cable cutting tool.

I’m not saying it’s not diy-able, but it can be a bit more involved than an Ikea flatpack. That said, building your bike can be quite satisfying and also gives you better skills when it comes time to repair your bike.

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