Where to Find Stuff

There are a number of online sources for bicycling components…

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eBay is one of the most popular place for finding a frameset. Once you’re there, you can pretty much find anything anyone would ever need to buy. Basically you can get all your cycling needs there, if you don’t mind waiting for shipping from (often) far-away countries like China or Taiwan, and it usually takes 10 days to 3 weeks to arrive in North America. Nearly all the components that you’ll need can be found there at a good price, although they’re not always the cheapest.

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Bike Nashbar is a US-based online store that I often visit to check up on prices. Their prices are always competitive, but not necessarily the cheapest. Although they do often have 20%-off sales. If you live in the United States, they provide free shipping for purchases over $49. Of course, buying an entire frameset will incur extra “oversize item” charges. Unfortunately, I live in Canada, so shipping plus the exchange rate makes Nashbar slightly less competitive, unless I’m buying sale items. The best deals to get on Nashbar are components sold under their own brand, especially tires and saddles. For example, their shifters are re-branded Microshift sets; their road caliper brakes are re-branded Tektro brakes. I had been using their $15 Prima 2 Plus tires that are both light and durable for the past 4 years. Those tires are actually re-branded Cheng Shin tires from Taiwan. (Cheng Shin also sells their tires under the Maxxis brand!) Likewise, my saddle is a $25 Nashbar saddle.

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Performance Bicycle is a lot like Nashbar in terms of their products. (I haven’t personally bought anything from them yet, but I know people who have, and they have only positive things to say about it.) More to come…

MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP - Mountain Equipment Co-op rebrands

If, like me, you live in Canada, then Mountain Equipment Co-op should be a familiar name. For decades, the co-op have catered to the outdoor lifestyle. I get most of my cycling accessories and spare parts from them: helmet, lights, fenders, pumps, water bottles, spare tubes, brake cables etc. If you spend more than $50 CAD online, they’ll ship to you for free. What is great about them is their life-time warranty on everything they sell, and their generous exchange policy. Once, a plastic piece on my indoor trainer broke after 5 years of heavy use. I didn’t need a new trainer, but I went back to MEC hoping to find a replacement part, and I was willing to pay for the part. But the staff member working there told me that they didn’t stock spare parts, an he took me to customer service for a full refund. While walking, he muttered, “That’ll teach them not to stock spare parts!” I assumed “them” meant management. MEC has started selling bikes a few years ago, some under their own brands, but also Ghost and Ridley bikes. If there is a store that can give you a run for your money compared to building your own bikes, it’s them.

(Okay, this list isn’t finished. I still haven’t added Chain Reaction Cycles and Merlin Cycles.)

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