How Important Is It For The Dealer To Be Close To Home?

WMW

New Member
Hey Guys-

I'm really close to buying my first e-bike but the only network of dealers close to my house is Pedego and I'm looking to spend closer to $2000 total. I'm wondering if it's a bad idea to buy a bike from a dealer that's nowhere near my house. Rad Power is in Seattle. The nearest e-Joe dealer is 36 miles from my house in LA. Surface 604 dealer is about 12 miles away. That's the most manageable.

Most LBS will not work on these bikes as far as I understand. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't want something I can't get serviced but I also don't want to spend an extra $2000 just for the convenience of a nearby mechanic.

Anyone have any advice? Thanks.
 

Shoestring

Active Member
The biggest thing in my opinion is to get the bike you like. For me ,that was a Haibike. There are no dealers with these in stock anywhere within in 500 miles of my house. I purchased from an online retailer and so far, it has worked out well. It is great to have a local retailer to service your bike if possible, are you ok with basic maint/repairs? Flats, minor adjustments, that sort of stuff, if so its not as important. If you're dropping $2k+, you want to think "man, I have a cool bike" everytime you get on!
 

fxr3

Active Member
Living in LA, you should mostly be concerned about finding a good dealer, about every bike is likely avaiable in SoCal, from multiple dealers, one that cares is priceless, one that doesn't would be worse than buying online- for sure. Imo
 

Marvinschmidt3

New Member
Hey Guys-

I'm really close to buying my first e-bike but the only network of dealers close to my house is Pedego and I'm looking to spend closer to $2000 total. I'm wondering if it's a bad idea to buy a bike from a dealer that's nowhere near my house. Rad Power is in Seattle. The nearest e-Joe dealer is 36 miles from my house in LA. Surface 604 dealer is about 12 miles away. That's the most manageable.

Most LBS will not work on these bikes as far as I understand. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't want something I can't get serviced but I also don't want to spend an extra $2000 just for the convenience of a nearby mechanic.

Anyone have any advice? Thanks.
I got into e bikes 5 years ago and started with a stromer st1. (Still
Have it and completely hacked the bike with upgrades. I've had to replace the motor torque sensor and controller after 3000 miles. My closest dealer was 2 hours away and I became a slave to them for support. Without them I would have been out of luck. I joined the forum watched all the reviews by Court on EBR and the more I learned I decided to go to Sondor my sondor "fatty " with shipping cost $900.00 ( upgraded the controller) which was 1/5 the cost of my stromer. My "dealer " support is their blog and sondor online. I had to assemble the bike and their were a couple of glitches but I went online and the support from the forum and sondor was exceptional. Building out or assembling an ebike is the most rewarding way to go.
I find that dealers are just gouging you on parts and Sevice. The ebike community is growing daily and we're are all becoming wise to their ways. You really don't need a dealer, the hub drive and mid drives are not that intimidating to service. Prior to buying the sondor I was going to drive 5 hours to buy from a shop.
( I was going to buy a hiabike for $3250.00)
But the more I read and became educated I decided
Sondor. The bike is a blast and the joy of assembling and upgrading makes it even better
Good luck and welcome to the forum!
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I got into e bikes 5 years ago and started with a stromer st1. (Still
Have it and completely hacked the bike with upgrades. I've had to replace the motor torque sensor and controller after 3000 miles. My closest dealer was 2 hours away and I became a slave to them for support. Without them I would have been out of luck. I joined the forum watched all the reviews by Court on EBR and the more I learned I decided to go to Sondor my sondor "fatty " with shipping cost $900.00 ( upgraded the controller) which was 1/5 the cost of my stromer. My "dealer " support is their blog and sondor online. I had to assemble the bike and their were a couple of glitches but I went online and the support from the forum and sondor was exceptional. Building out or assembling an ebike is the most rewarding way to go.
I find that dealers are just gouging you on parts and Sevice. The ebike community is growing daily and we're are all becoming wise to their ways. You really don't need a dealer, the hub drive and mid drives are not that intimidating to service. Prior to buying the sondor I was going to drive 5 hours to buy from a shop.
( I was going to buy a hiabike for $3250.00)
But the more I read and became educated I decided
Sondor. The bike is a blast and the joy of assembling and upgrading makes it even better
Good luck and welcome to the forum!
That is too bad. Are you in Minneapolis? No 5 hours is too far. Anyway, diy isn't for everyone, since can take or leave maintenance as well. My two cents, if you are comfortable with regular maintenance, don't worry about local.
 

fxr3

Active Member
"I find that dealers are just gouging you"............ you really don't need a dealer........
That paragraph is something you need to rethink.
There are many sides to dealer vs. direct from all different angles.
Think you could buy a Stromer, haibike, or most other name brand bikes without a dealer?
I don't know what circumstances were concerning your st1 experience but I do know many business people consider they have done a good business deal when they take advantage of you. Fortunately, many more are concerned with helping you and themselves by giving you a fair deal- insuring you'll come back next time and they can sleep at night. That's the way it is meant to work. If you feel you are being gouged by anybody, hop-scotch them and complain to their superior.
That will fix it- put the bad guy on notice and help everyone going forward.
 

fxr3

Active Member
I kinda forgot to mention Sonders might be the best bike ever, idk. Buying/ or mfg. selling direct is fine. Just another way of doing it. Dell computers seemed to get it right.
" support your local bike shop " is a great theory, as long as your local bike shop is supporting you(and the mfg).
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
If you live in LA you live in ebike ground zero for the entire country. You will find more dealers and more brands than in any other part of the country. A test ride and the ability to inspect the exact bike you are buying is the best way to buy, period. So get the bike you want AFTER you ride it from any SO Cal dealer you like, regardless of location.
You don't really need mechanical or electrical expertise to fix DIY anything you need to, just the internet. https://endless-sphere.com/forums/ has detailed advice for most DYI repairs and modifications. Also http://www.ebikeschool.com/ and many youtube vids.
 
Last edited:

shivas

New Member
I didn't get my bike at my local bike shop. They didn't have the type of ebike I wanted and I didn't want to pay an extra $1,000 to settle for something else. That being said, I do buy stuff there, and I suspect they would be glad to take my money if I needed to go to them for a repair.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I am in the Detroit area and I bought my ebike from Propel in Brooklyn. I really wanted to stay local but there just isn't much selection in my area. I was close to choosing the Trek XM700+ but the bike didn't fit me well. I have a local Focus/Kalkhoff dealer and I really liked the Integrale 11 speed. But that particular dealer didn't seem too concerned with getting my business inclusive of not returning a couple of phone calls. Also, I visited one local ebike shop that didn't seem very interested in helping me find the bike I wanted but rather only seemed interested in selling me on what they had on the floor. That dealer also let his bias against pedal assist bikes come out loud and clear when I mentioned a few makes/models I had researched. Finally, I visited a local traditional bike shop that sells some brands that also have ebikes like Scott or Felt (if I recall correctly). I inquired about the possibility of them ordering an ebike in one of those brands even though they only retailed traditional bikes. They steered the conversation to kit bikes and only seemed interested in building a kit bike for me (promising I could do 40mph on one of their kit bikes). So in summary, I had a really bad local experience on the shopping end (and conversely I found that Propel was eager to get me all the info I needed and respond to all of my silly inquiries). And I can report that now that I have had the bike for a few months, I've had it in to 2 different shops for brake adjustments. One is the Trek dealer where I almost opted for an XM700+. I have to say both places were very good about helping me out with service which was a pleasant surprise. It makes me optimistic that I can find someone to work on the bike should it become necessary.

I had a similar experience with one of my regular bikes. I did my research and kind of knew what I wanted but I couldn't find anything locally. I opted for a Spot Brand Champa because I was shopping for a steel frame city commuter with a belt drive. There were no Spot dealers near me so I purchased from a dealer in Chicago. The local Trek shop did the bike build for me, ordered and installed the fenders and now, over a year later, are building a front wheel/dynamo hub for me. So I have been pleasantly surprised that I've been able to get pretty good service from 2 different shops even though I didn't buy their bikes. Hopefully a good businessman sees those as opportunities to win customers if/when that customer decides to make another purchase.
 
Last edited:

fxr3

Active Member
When online vs. local conversation is on- always reminds me of California gun buying. Some people- NOT ME, will buy online- save $100.00, then use local dealer for $25.00 transfer fee. Talk about the walk of shame!!!! Local dealer knows what you did, then spend 15 minutes face to face with the store owner doing paperwork. They should take all his guns away!
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
When online vs. local conversation is on- always reminds me of California gun buying. Some people- NOT ME, will buy online- save $100.00, then use local dealer for $25.00 transfer fee. Talk about the walk of shame!!!! Local dealer knows what you did, then spend 15 minutes face to face with the store owner doing paperwork. They should take all his guns away!
I think we're confusing a couple of things here. The original thread was not buying local vs online but buying from local vs from a non local dealer. Which is also what I was referring to. Your gun scenario implies you can get the same gun from the local dealer as you buy online. The original thread was "unable to buy the bike I want locally". This was the situation I described for both my regular bike and my ebike. Particularly for the ebikes, I had a pretty limited local selection. And I wouldn't describe my final purchase as an online purchase but rather one from a non local dealer (in my case I flew to Brooklyn, met the dealer, rode the bike and had it shipped). So while the money part of the transaction was online, it wasn't like I was buying the bike from Amazon (or a gun off of Gunbroker). At least for ebikes, I think the lack of local product might be a primary motivation for many customers who buy from distant sellers (moreso than saving a buck although I'm sure that occurs too).
 

fxr3

Active Member
Actually, the thread starter says he doesn't want to spend an extra 2000 just for he convience of a nearby mechanic........
He also lives in la. Safe to assume any bike mfg slinging through dealers would have representation there.
I buy plenty of stuff from amazon that could be bought locally.
I was just reminded of gun dealer thing and thought it would entertain others as much as it does me.
 

WMW

New Member
Wow, this took a lot of twists and turns. As I initially stated, I would happily buy from a local dealer if there was a local dealer of the bike I wanted. I'm going to test drive the Surface 604 Rook but I believe the throttle on that is limited to the level of pedal assist you're in which is not a feature I want. Either way, I'll test it.

I'm inclined to agree with Mike's E-Bikes. I don't want a bike with zero local support. I'm not a tinkerer and I'd much rather have the support of a local seller that would like to be working with me. Some LBS just don't want the business with another brand, which I guess I understand. However, I think there are more and more mobile bike mechanics these days who in this gig economy may be more than happy to do the work and are probably chipping away at their business. So I may actually have more options.

Either way, this didn't start out as me trying to squeeze out hard-working brick and mortar dealers to save a buck but even if that was my motivation it's certainly my prerogative as a consumer. This all stemmed from a shocking lack of e-Joe dealers in supposedly e-bike central LA.

Ya know what...I think I'll make that their problem and not mine.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Definitely buy from a local dealer. The Surface 604 ebikes provide the best value vs price by far. People are making a big long term mistake buying on-line from afar, and not finding a dealer that you like that is also great at service. Many little things can go wrong with e-bikes, and the peace of mind you will get, not just the upfront costs will go a LONG way to making your e-biking experience much more hassle free. Local dealers that handle e-bikes are still very much an emerging industry, and many Independent Bike Dealers are still wary of carrying them, or not wishing to invest the capital. The more you buy local, the more the local dealers can grow around the country, and many more people will be entering this market to buy an e-bike. Just looking at first cost, and trying to get a 'deal', say from some 'crazy' guy is a sure path to risking your experience with e-bikes. So in summary, you are very fortunate to have a Surface 604 dealer only 12 miles away. Their ebikes compare well in quality and specs of components, with many that are priced $2500 to $3500, so you won't have to be worrying about the price you pay for one of their e-bikes. Even Court has said in one of his reviews of a Surface 604, that it is one of the best e-bikes he has ridden or tested for the money. I've tried over 30 different manufacturers e-bikes, and would agree with that, especially in that price range below $2000.
Buying from some crazy guy was a much better experience than the local shop for me. If you're going to take a dig at a dealer, call them out by name next time.
 

JohnT

Active Member
Don't assume the Pedego store near you won't service other brands. I'm a Pedego dealer on the L.A./Ventura County border, and we've started servicing non-Pedegos. I know a few other Pedego stores do, too. I'm pretty sure Pedego Irvine will work on anything and do an excellent job. I have no idea whether e-Joe will pay a 3rd party shop to do warranty work, but it might be possible.

As far as buying online, in the past few weeks, I've assembled three different brands of ebikes that people bought without test riding first, and two of them are being returned. One was a $500 piece of junk that turned out to be much worse than he thought, and the other wasn't horrible, but it wasn't what the customer was looking for. But I'd bet anyone reading this forum is doing more research than those guys did, and will buy more carefully, but test riding makes a huge difference in choosing the right bike.