FAT BIKE POINT OF PURCHASE SELECTION
You have many options as to where and how to buy your next Fat Bike. There will be many things to look for in a positive sale environment. It's not just about the price of the bike, but also about the source. Honesty, Quality, Product Knowledge, Warranty Support, Customer Service, all play a critical role.
In response to our customer feedback, here are things to look for (and not look for):
- Buy from a source you feel comfortable dealing with.
- Buy a Fat Bike that you feel comfortable on. It is very important to have a properly sized bike, or it could lead to neck, back, shoulder or knee pain. Many retail establishments offer custom bike fitment services, and if this is your first fat bike purchase, you should strongly consider using this service.
- Try not to buy an already outdated Fat Bike. Upgrade paths and resale value will suffer. (See our FAQ on this << here >>)
- Manufacturers - you will find the brand name on the bike frame did not manufacturer most of the parts on the bike. That brand name usually only means the frame. Other manufacturers usually have built the suspension forks, the drivetrain components, the wheelsets and tires. You may have over a dozen manufacturers involved in building a single fat bike. (This goes for any bike, be it road, time trial, or mtb). Do your research and get a fat bike that fits your geometry and riding style, above all else.
- Bikes at different price points will use different componentry levels, and quality or durability sacrifices are made to meet or beat price points... so do your research to see if that "weak spot" will affect your riding enjoyment. (Weak spots are usually the brakes, cranksets, tires, wheelsets, then the drivetrain).
- Buy from a source that is knowledgeable about the industry, and about fat biking. This usually leads to a better overall experience.
- Promoters and retailers involved in advocating the sport of Fat Biking usually have a passion for it, and can introduce you to group rides, and suggest the proper trail systems for your riding level. Sometimes, the places where you bought your Fat Bike, may have a group ride and demo event calendar where you can take an active part on rides assisted by other members.
You can view our Trail and Event calendar here, which is (hopefully !!) updated every month and includes rides for all 12 months of the year....rain or shine, snow or ice. If you would like to know where the local trails and ride events are in the Burlington/Hamilton/Milton area, just give us a call or email.
- If you buy from a source purely baiting you with price savings, yet they evade warranty service questions or have poor industry knowledge, don't be surprised when issues come up, that the reseller is unwilling to help you out.
- Always check a few things when dealing with e-commerce online retailers
- 1 - Are they using just stock photos for all their ads? (HUGE, HUGE, red flag).
- 2- Do the bike pictures and the itemized list of part in that sale MATCH EXACTLY what the sale price offers?
- 3 - Does this seller ride and race on the same bikes they sell? (or do they never/seldom use their own products?)
NOTE : You would be completely surprised at how many online retailers don't ride the fat bikes they sell, nor are they trained or experienced to build you a SAFE FAT BIKE TO RIDE!
- If your bike is being built for you, make sure it is done by a qualified and trained mechanic. Accidents can happen when new bikes are poorly assembled by resellers that are not trained to do so. - I have seen this happen many times, and I don't want to see more people hurt!
- If purchasing online, bring the bike box into a reputable bike shop, or to a trusted cycling mechanic, for assembly and final tuning. Note, this can add $120 to $200 to the final cost of that "bargain" bike, but it also solidifies your warranty with all the manufacturer parts going into your bike build. (This is extremely important - you may void the bike warranty right away, if you try to build it yourself).
- Go over the parts list to see if ALL PARTS EXACTLY MATCH THE INVOICE. Most times, you will catch substitutions being made from the wholesaler liquidators, to keep their prices down. The picture may show a Bluto...the ad may talk about the frame being bluto-compatible... you buy the bike thinking it HAS a Bluto... only to find out later that its' not there and is another $650+ upcharge for that item. Or, if it's a Bluto, it may be the RL version and not the RCT3 on the invoice. Ask for clarification as the price difference is significant on details like this.
- Make sure the warranty channel is in place. It can be devastating if your bike needs warranty service and your online seller selectively bails on you and there is no recourse. I saw this happen several times last season!
- Be careful of distributors of products selling at retail level. Distributors are supposed to sell only to the Bike STORES, not directly to the customers.
- Cash only sales = no warranty. Buyer Beware.
- If you see lots of bogus stock photos the online seller clearly did not take themselves of the gear they are selling, it's another huge red flag. Your items may be "NOS" (new old stock) from many years ago. Or, what you order may not even match the old stock photos because products tend to change.
- If the e-commerce seller has multiple web sites all linking into each other, with lots of page banners of "limited time only" sales, it's a big red flag.
- If an e-commerce seller is advertising too-good-to-be-true LOW or NO INTEREST RATE FINANCING. Just turn around and run... it's the oldest trick in the book. There will be front loaded admin fees, and extremely high interest rates if the bike is not paid off in time, or per the agreement. You may end up spending $4k+ on a $2k bike if you miss a payment, and the interest rate changes to the maximum allowable by law, and compounded monthly or semi-annually. (nightmare scenario and it can ruin your credit).
- Here is another good one... online e-commerce sites selling new old stock from 2015, as current 2017 models. Just think about which brands have not changed their product lineup in the last 2-3 years and you will figure it out. (Hint - who hasn't changed their frames for the last 3 years, in either paint scheme or physical upgrades, yet claims to be the most advanced composite design in the Industry..?)
- And finally, I see several online resellers claiming insanely low weights for their Fat Bikes, in order to bait customers. Ask these resellers for photos of that bike on a professional digital scale, to PROVE IT. Ask them to show clearly on the photos which tires and rims they have installed on the Fat Bike, and double check that is the same wheelset/tire combination spec'd out in the ad.
- If you constantly chase bike weight, chances are you will end up with a Fat Bike lacking the ability to get through a race without something breaking. (and that includes breaking your wallet !)
- If it's too good to be true, it is !! Quality bikes cost money. They also require lots of time investing in learning just which setup is right for you and your goals on that bike. The more time and energy you put into the "Fat Bike Search", the more rewarding the journey will be.
- Something we always offer customers, is the opportunity to take our demo bikes out for a test ride, either on the trails, or along the beach here in town... to get a feel for the quality, form, fit and finish of the brands we sell. You will know what you are buying right away.
- Call or email us for a test ride any day of the year ! (Blizzards included !)