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EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMED(21 posts)

EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMEDlevs
Oct 27, 2003 9:30 AM
I have been shopping online and on E-Bay for a new bike. Two sellers with great deals on "2nd tier" products like Motobecane and Mercier are Bikesdirect.com and SPRTYMAMA, who sells mass numbers of bikes on Ebay. I have been doing some research on these businesses. It appears that Sptrymama is a woman named Courtney Spratt from Ponte Vedra, FL. I believe she has the license or owns the brand name for Motobecane and perhaps other brands. I also think she may run the very slimmed down Motobecane website. She and bikesdirect.com seem to be the only two businesses selling Motobecane on the internet. However, I have found Motobecane products at one LBS in Seattle, and they confirmed that the source is the same as on the internet sales.

My research reveals that Courtney Spratt and her husband Michael, appear to have been in the bike business for a number of years. They have strong connections with Bikesdirect.com owner David Sander, who also owns the Cycle Spectrum stores in Florida, Texas and one or two other states. see

http://www.sunbiz.org/scripts/cordet.exe?a1=DETFIL&n1=P01000109963&n2=OFFFWD&n3=0002&n4=P&r1=&r2=&r3=&r4=&r5=&r6=&r7=SANDERD&r8=

This is a link to the Florida Corportations Department which shows that a company called CS Bikes has Michael and Courtney Spratt as officers, as well as David Sandler. In other words, its possible bikesdirect.com = SPRTYMAMA = Cycle Spectrum.

What does this all mean? I am not sure. On the one hand, it seems that brands like Motobecane and Chinese made bikes are held by this one small company with very limited distribution and marketing and you need to be careful about warranty issues and quality. On the other hand, SPRTYMAMA has excellent feedback on Ebay and clearly has connections with Cycle Spectrum, which has about 30 +REAL bike shops. Also, the fact that, at least in my area, you can actually buy Motobecanes in an LBS is a good sign.

Hope this helps people out ther in the same position I have been in. Chime in.
re: EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMEDjtolleson
Oct 27, 2003 10:18 AM
I don't think any of this is new news. The current bicycles being marketed under the "Motobecane" name are of asian build, get okay reviews for quality at that price point, and are marketed primarily through the internet. That's pretty much been the story for about 3 years now.

Your recitation of your detective work seems to hint that someone is doing something sneaky or wrong, and that probably isn't fair. I think that the word around the current "Motobecane" has been straight up. Competitive with some of the other recent off-brand entrants, like Supergo's Scattante, etc.
re: EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMEDlevs
Oct 27, 2003 10:42 AM
No, I really tried not to imply anything. I have seen questions raised about who Motobecane really is and I think this helps answer the question. It seems to me theses folks have a ggod business strategy and I have seen very little which indicates that there is anything wrong with either their products or their way of doing business.

My goal was to assure myself that such a purchase would be safe and wise and I am on my way to being satisfied. I am soliciting the views of others, however.
What's the problem?53T
Oct 27, 2003 12:11 PM
MB is small, limited distribution and marketing, long time in the business. The same could be said about Richard Sachs, do you suspect he has warantee and quality problems?
I can't imagine what you do when buying a house or car...biknben
Oct 27, 2003 12:12 PM
It's a bike!!! You're research seems excessive. What have you gained from this knowledge? How will this influence your purchase? You sound like a PI or a stalker.

You may call me naive but I consider a safe and wise purchase to be one where you leave the store with merchandise and a receipt. If you are that concerned about the warrantee then buy a more reputable brand. Even then warrantees can be a gamble.

Just my $.02
I can't imagine what you do when buying a house or car...levs
Oct 27, 2003 12:48 PM
Sounds like you'e never been burned before. Well congratulations! Online purchasing is a risky business. You can reduce that risk somewhat (although not eliminate it) by understanding who you are buying from. Go through posts over the past several months regarding these bikes and you will see genuine questions being raised. I have tried to answer some of those questions FOR THOSE WHO CARE. Sorry if its too much info for you. Look at what I have written and it will be plain that I am not dissing these folks, just shedding light on the faceless process of online purchasing.
I can't imagine what you do when buying a house or car...levs
Oct 27, 2003 2:07 PM
Sounds like you'e never been burned before. Well congratulations! Online purchasing is a risky business. You can reduce that risk somewhat (although not eliminate it) by understanding who you are buying from. Go through posts over the past several months regarding these bikes and you will see genuine questions being raised. I have tried to answer some of those questions FOR THOSE WHO CARE. Sorry if its too much info for you. Look at what I have written and it will be plain that I am not dissing these folks, just shedding light on the faceless process of online purchasing.
Very Happy EBAY buyer of 3 bikes from sprtymamapecangap
Oct 27, 2003 1:51 PM
I bought a Fuji Team from sprtymama about 2 years ago; great deal. Then later I got my son a Motobecane Mirage Pro; which he loves. Last month my wife bought a Mercier ELLE from the same girl on EBAY. My wife is delighted beyond beleif - she loves this Mercier.
All three bikes came in within days of us paying; and went together easy. There are Motobecane and Fuji dealers here in Austin and they have been cool about doing any little repairs we have needed (the ELLE has needed none)
The prices we paid are way below the retail prices in shops here; and this may explain why we see lots of Mercier and Motobecanes and Fujis here that I think are purchased online.
all three of the bikes we got were made in Taiwan (looks like maybe even the same factory) -- but quality is excellent AND all the Treks and Specialized we shopped here were made in Taiwan too (maybe also the same factory)
my advise; EBAY is great but watch the rating of the seller - that is what makes EBAY a great idea to start with.
I bought 2 bikes from her too - great experience nmQuadRing
Oct 28, 2003 5:55 AM
It is not right what these sellers are doing to the bike businesbikeshopguy
Oct 27, 2003 2:46 PM
I have been working in bike shops since I was in high school. and every year it gets worse; catalogs and online sellers are undercutting the shops. Shimano does nothing to stop it and neither do the bike factories.
Everyone knows factories like Merida and Ideal make Trek, Specialized, Fuji, Felt, Motobecane, Bianchi, Mercier, Jamis, etc bikes. These factories should stop all this Ebay and online stuff. All of these bikes are sold in my town by hard working bike shop owners. But many are also sold at cut rate prices online and in catalogs. Then you also have the other Supergo, bikesdirect, and colorado cyclist bikes at cheap prices.
This trend will wreck the bike shops; then where will all this discount buyers be when there is noone to fix their bikes? I just think it should be worth the little extra money to get your bike from a full service dealer.
may be easier for you to say thatweiwentg
Oct 27, 2003 3:36 PM
since you worked at a shop yourself and got significant discounts on most stuff. not all of us do so (some of us can't), and not all of those who don't work at a shop can afford to pay full retail. I'd rather not see the bike world taken over by corporate whores myself, but this is, like it or not (and I don't always like it myself) a capitalist economy.
weiwentg....what do you do for a living?lanterne rouge
Oct 27, 2003 6:05 PM
It amuses me that most people on here want their bike parts at a huge discount and don't want to pay shop prices for service either. I just wonder how many of us would be so open to the same competition in our own business arenas? Before everybody jumps to the conclusion that I am somehow involved in the bike business, let me clarify, I am not. I do believe that it is necessary to support your LBS and let them know that you appreciate their services. I think that most cyclists want or think they deserve "pro deals" when they really have nothing to offer the shop in return for said deals. Now,I do not blindly support any bike shops that charge exorbitant prices, that would be foolhardy. I think it takes a certain level of communication. I often explain that I can get such and such a part for so much here and more often times than not the shop will work out some sort of deal to make it worth my while to purchase it there. Sorry for the rant, and I don't mean anything personal to you weiwentg, it just bugs me that we all want the convenience of our LBS but we don't want to pay for it.
The rest of us are in competition with the rest of the world...TFerguson
Oct 27, 2003 6:41 PM
and have been for 30 years. It's only the small retailer who still thinks they can operate in a time warp of some kind.

TF
The rest of us are in competition with the rest of the world...lanterne rouge
Oct 27, 2003 6:50 PM
I say that's a cop out. Retail establishments are not in competition with the rest of the world. Well actually, most probably are thanks to the internet. Most service industries, of which I would classify LBS's, are local in their influence and customer base.
LBS pricesdgangi
Oct 27, 2003 6:58 PM
What LBS sells for less than full retail? None of the LBS's near me sell for a nickel less than full retail, and that alone makes me want to shop elsewhere. Why should I have to twist their arm to get a discount off full retail? Fair pricing, in my opinion, is a discount off full retail price up front -- not a haggle (what the LBS can afford to take off the top and still make a "reasonable" profit). If the bike shop can afford to give you a 20% discount to match the price you found elsewhere, then why aren't they giving that discount every day to everybody else??

Did you pay full sticker price for your car?
Do you pay full retail for your clothing?
Do you pay full retail for furniture?
Do you pay full retail for jewelry?
Did you pay full retail for your TV?

I highly doubt you paid full retail for anything in your house *except* for your bike and its parts. Doesn't that seem a little silly?

Competition is a good thing IMHO. The REI near me sells a lot of bike parts for much less than the LBS shops, so why not buy from them? It's the same part for 10-25% less. And on-line merchandise from Price Point and other vendors is significantly cheaper -- too cheap to ignore -- so why not buy from them if I don't need the part today?

Maybe the LBS model needs to change like most other businesses. What is happening with on-line and discount purchasing in the bike world is no different than the electronics business, hardware business, etc. 30 years ago you would buy all of your hardware at full retail from the True Value on the corner -- today you go to Home Depot and pay FAR less than full retail. Yes, the service may not be as good, but do you care when you are saving up to 50% on paint, doors, etc?? If you still want the best service you will go to the few True Value stores left and pay through the nose. If you want fair prices, you will go to Home Depot. (I bet you shop at Home Depot like the rest of us).

I see no difference with the LBS's. They will have to change how they sell their products and services or be forced into extinction. And in my mind that is a good thing for consumers.

Thx...Doug
LBS priceslanterne rouge
Oct 27, 2003 7:17 PM
First, let me say, I understand competition and fully believe that competition only makes the competitors get better or go under. I understand your argument and will concede some points to you. Did I pay full price for my truck? No, of course not. But you bet your behind I had to haggle as I am sure you did when you purchased your car. The dealer didn't just go hey here's 20 percent off just because. Full retail for clothing, some yes. As I am sure you do too. Other things I shop for as do most people. All these points I will concede. My point in my initial post is that most people would complain if they didn't have their LBS to go to for service when things go wrong but they will not support them in any way. I have seen people buy parts from the mail order catalog and then expect the LBS to install them and tune them for next to nothing. People want the service but don't want to pay for it. Call me naive but I like having an LBS. There is something to be said to have a place to go and talk bikes and hang out with like minded people before and after rides. And as for your Home Depot comparison, I have heard more times than I can count about people waiting forever for help, and then get none from completely inept employees. Maybe they all go to local Hardware stores after that and support them too! Our local hardware store just closed its doors after being in business and operated by the same family for over 100 years! :(
LBS servicedgangi
Oct 28, 2003 5:36 AM
Anybody who buys parts on-line and expects their LBS to install them for free is a dolt. In my mind, the primary revenue stream of any LBS should be from the sales of new bikes and general bike service...just like a car dealer. So asking an LBS to do service for free or on the cheap is ridiculous.

I take my bike to my LBS for service on a regular basis and happily hand over my money to them. And yes, there are a number of times where I have purchased parts on-line and asked my LBS to install then and he has never complained. And of course I have always paid for that service and have never complained.

Thx...Doug
re: EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMEDdgangi
Oct 27, 2003 4:07 PM
Wow - you must have a lot of free time on your hands. Does your boss know you've been turning over these rocks?

I bought a Fuji Team from a Cycle Spectrum store in Phoenix. From what I recall, they sold Fuji, Motobecane, KHS, Oryx, and Mercier. I was *very* impressed with the Fuji and Motobecane bikes -- extremely high quality frames and components at a great price.

The purchase was a very pleasant transaction and I will gladly do business with them again.

The

Thx...Doug
re: EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMEDlevs
Oct 27, 2003 4:15 PM
I would say the whole "research" project took a total of 15 minutes...just need to know where to look. The payoff: I am satisfied that these sellers are legit and I can be comfortable purchasing from them if I go that route.
re: EBAY BIKE PURCHASES--BE INFORMEDdgangi
Oct 27, 2003 5:33 PM
As I said in my last post, I highly recommend Cycle Spectrum. I met the owner of the shops in Phoenix (Randy) and he is a really nice guy. And the bikes they sell are the real deal -- especially the Motobecane and Fuji bikes. I *really* liked a lot of the Motobecanes, especially those that were made from Kinesium. And I bought the Fuji, so that tells you what I thought of the Fuji bikes ('03 Team rocks!).

I have never dealt directly with BikesDirect.com, but the owner of Cycle Spectrum told me they are the same company. However, they don't always share the same stock. The Phoenix store did not carry Windsor bikes whereas the on-line store does. And the Phoenix store had some Mercier's that were not on the on-line store.

I did notice a price difference between the local shop (Cycle Spectrum) and the online shop (BikesDirect). My Fuji Team was $995 local and $1295 online. The online shop does not charge for shipping, so I'm sure they have to inflate their price somewhat to cover that cost. But I don't know why else there would be a discrepancy between the two, except if local market forces dictate the difference. Odds are there is a price difference between Cycle Spectrum in Phoenix and other states as well.

Thx...Doug
for what it is worthcollectorvelo
Oct 30, 2003 2:47 AM
I purchased a Motobecane on bikesdirect.com and was very happy with the bike and the service. Price was fantastic; my bike arrived in 4 days and was perfect. Saved $800 over local dealer price