Monday, December 21, 2015

Bikes Direct -- get what you pay for

I bought the Gravity single-speed mid-fat bicycle from Bikes Direct for $299 shipped last winter.  It's been a fair amount of fun.  I swapped out the flat-bars and cheap stem, saddle and post, for drop bars with a Thomson stem and post and the OEM saddle from the Focus.  It's a cool-looking rig thusly built.

Going out on a limb and saying it's the coolest-looking cheapo rig I've ever seen>
The rear wheel predictably went far south with well less than 250 miles.  This is not unlike the Bikesdirect rear wheel from the old Motobecane fixie, which Sam had to true and retrue no fewer than 10 times over a single 200K permanent back in 2008.  When these wheels go bad, there is no recovering them -- cheap spokes and cheap rims are made for 500 miles or less of use.

What's amusing is the exchange I had with Bikesdirect.  Here is Larry's e-mail to me:

"Stand behind" in Internet speak means "tell you that it's your fault."
And my rather clever response:

I'm right, of course, though it does not get me very far.  I don't think I needed the lesson, but I learned it anyway:  if you buy a bike for $299 online, it is bought as-is.  Doesn't mean I won't be doing what I can do upset the good BBB rating Bikesdirect advertises on its website.


sam said...

My motobecane boris has also been a fun ride, but I've had persistent issues with the headset loosening.

Realistically I think you're right that for $299 you can pretty much only expect a BSO. It would be great if that got you Trek Farley quality of course. I'm torn about mine. I could start swapping out parts. I already replaced the horrible mechanical disc brakes with XT. Do I invest in quality wheels? If I do, I'm putting thousand dollar wheels on a $800 bike.

My conclusion is to ride it into the ground, and if I decide it was fun then buy a real fatbike.

Max said...

Headset: apparently the Specialized Diverge has that problem, so maybe it's not related to price! I'm looking hard at that Farley. Only wish it had WB cage mounts on the front fork and underside of downtube. But the price is not bad for a 28-lb fattie.