Over the past few years, online shopping has changed the retail scene. More customers are choosing to buy their items online, including cycling gear.
With an increasing pressure from these online retailers, is this a sign for physical shops to pack up and call it a day? Here are some reasons that explain otherwise.
Numbers and pictures on your 15-inch computer screen do not always translate to what you have right in front of you. For example, helmets.
Some brands have separate European sizes and Asian sizes for their products to fit you best. No online tool can accurately estimate that a 54cm circumference of your head, will fit a 54cm size helmet.
Our heads aren’t exactly round. Hell, it’s not even oval. The same for jerseys, bibs, and gloves. A size S to an American, can be an L to an Asian. Don’t even get me started on bicycle frames that are the wrong size.
We all know at the back of our heads, that spending online comes with the risk that your item might not fit. Eventually, we end up spending more on returning, selling and repurchasing. Is it really worth it?
Ever bought something new and installed it, only to realise later on that it does not work? Pretty sure this has happened before to many of us, including myself. Years back, I bought a new crank to replace the non-series crank I had, for aesthetic purposes.
The crank worked perfectly and the installation video online looked super simple, so I thought why not do it myself. 4 hours into the night, I still couldn’t shift my chain from the small chainring to the large chainring.
It took me a couple of days to find out that my front derailleur was not compatible with the chainring because details about compatibility were barely mentioned on the site that I purchased from. This is just ONE example though.
It could be anything from a power meter not fitting into your bottom bracket, to your mechanical groupset not being able to function because of the type of handlebar used, or simply a wheelset that does not fit into your bicycle. The list goes on.
The bottom line is, local shops have the product, know the product, and can support the product. They know if something works, and will take care of you if it doesn’t.
That Human Factor
You head down to the local shop to get a spare canister. In that moment, right at the corner of the shop, you see an amazing bike. The shop staff stands beside you, and you both gaze at its beauty. Time slows down.
You connect like you’ve known each other for ages. It’s all about that feeling when someone else just gets it, and can appreciate the same things as you. But wait, there’s more!
You get to know ‘discreet’ details of new products coming in and of course, all the gossip! Notice how online sites now have ‘live staff’ ready to speak to you on the spot?
They’re trying to replicate this human touch, but you can never get that same experience over the keyboard. Plus, gossiping over the net with the ‘live staff’ is just weird.
What are your thoughts? Yes to online or nah? Share it on our Facebook!
Author: Irsyad Marican
Sports has always been close to his heart but racing bicycles is the extra special one. It’s been 3 years since his first race and there’s more in his tank. He enjoys time-trialling and loves bicycles that speaks to him.