What is the best place to buy bicycle parts online?
January 2, 2019 12:44 PM   Subscribe

What is the best place to buy bicycle parts online?

I'm new to bike maintenance, but my daughter and I are excited to start learning how to take care of our respective bikes. At the moment we're in the market for a new tube for my cheap-ass BikesDirect road bike, but I imagine we'll have additional parts needs down the road. So where should we buy from? We have a local bike shop that we're planning on visiting, but it's gonna be a while before I have time to get over there and would like to have an online option available as well. Ideally it's:

- Affordable
- Has a good selection
- Has a reasonably clear web interface (unlike, say, BikesDirect)
- Is sufficiently specialized that it's not just a random assortment of shit, a la Amazon or Walmart
- Isn't evil? Not every place is Patagonia I guess but damn

Where do you shop online for bike parts when you can't go local? Also, any warnings against particular places appreciated as well.
posted by saladin to Shopping (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My cycling guru friend recommended Nashbar. They have a large selection, good prices, and my experiences with them have been good. Though they started as an independent store, if I'm reading this right, they are now a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:56 PM on January 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nashbar and Performance Bicycle have a common parent, ASE, who just filed for bankruptcy protection. Performance Bicycle is liquidating inventory but I haven't seen anything yet on Nashbar, but just to add that..

I buy too many bike parts, but normally start at Competitive Cyclist/Backcountry. They have good sites that are easy to navigate and prices are usually very competitive. SteepandCheap is their closeout site.

If you sign up for ActiveJunky, you can get cash back by starting at their site, often 6-10%, on top of any deals a site is running. Nashbar, Competitive Cyclist, and Backcountry are often running cash back deals there.

Also Universal Cycles, Jenson, and, of course, Amazon.
posted by dta at 1:39 PM on January 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

REI doesn't have as big a selection as some of the cycling-specific retailers, but it's generally good stuff from a generally good company. Campmor has been around forever and are usually easy to deal with.

Sierra Trading Post has an even smaller selection, but they offer some good deals (I've been expecting their service to drop since their acquisition--I've noticed an increase in the number of brands I've never heard of, but that's about it so far).

Seconding both Jenson and Competitive Cyclist. You might also check out eBay (lots of brick-and-mortar shops run eBay side hustles, and, if you're willing to consider used stuff, bike parts generally have a pretty steep depreciation curve).

Smaller, more niche sellers like Rivendell or Velo Orange offer a curated selection of the kinds of stuff they think certain kinds of cyclists will like.

And, finally, good local shops like (e.g.) Ben's Cycle/Milwaukee Bicycle Company and WebCyclery sometimes move to a place where a significant amount of their business is done through their websites.
posted by box at 3:30 PM on January 2, 2019

Nashbar and Competitive Cyclist, as noted.

But I recommend that you support your local shop as much as you can by purchasing most common parts there. I'm an avid cyclist and only buy clothing online, or parts if its something unusual & I can't wait for a special-order from the shop. As you develop your wrenching skills you will benefit by having a local resource for advice. If you have a good relationship with your shop a trued wheel may only cost you a six-pack. and except for very high-value items that the store can't price-match, the savings for maintenance items (tubes, tires, lube, many tools) can be pretty minimal.
posted by TDIpod at 4:27 PM on January 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've always been happy buying from Tree Fort Bikes. They seem staffed by real bike enthusiasts, and have a retail store in Michigan.
posted by oxisos at 5:56 PM on January 2, 2019

Universal Cycles is usually the first place I look (if I can't find something local). They often (not always, but often) have the best price, and sometimes still have stock of things everyone else has sold out of or discontinued. The place it fails to meet your criteria, though, is their website. It ugly. But I like everything else about them that it's worth it to me.

Competitive Cyclist is also great.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:30 PM on January 2, 2019

Jenson, Cambria, Universal, REI, but for tubes and common things I always go local.
posted by bongo_x at 8:00 PM on January 2, 2019

At least for me, tubes weren't much cheaper online than at the local bike shop. But I got my stuff from Nashbar and Amazon.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:43 PM on January 2, 2019

Response by poster: A lot of great recommendations here, thanks everybody.
posted by saladin at 6:23 AM on January 4, 2019

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