Behind closed doors, Shimano love online retailers. The online bike shops move a lot of product, and Shimano dominates groupsets so when you need replacements for Claris, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra or Dura Ace, or on the MTB Deore, Deore SLX, Deore XT, Zee, Saint, XTR or Di2 versions, particularly older versions, the internet can be a good friend… and cheaper too.
NEWS JUST IN – Chain Reaction Cyclies is the best place to buy Shimano. I was not aware of that, but according to CRC there are seven great reasons why. What are they you say?
1. Best prices on Shimano Worldwide
Lets trial this, it will be hit and miss but a fair starting point.
Round 1: I want a complete Shimano Dura Ace Di2 groupset.. and want the lowest price. Lets start with (based on turnover) the worlds biggest bike shop, Wiggle. They have a sale and the groupset will set you back £1,999.99. Not bad. Merlin Cycles also want £1999.99
Evans Cycles – fail, no results found. OK, Ribble.co.uk… whoops (that domain is availble to purchase). I remember, it is Ribblecycles.co.uk. It looks like something out of the 80’s and hard to find the search box. Two pages of search results but no groupset.
And now to CRC, low and behold £1799.99. On the RRP alone, Wiggle have a pre-sale price of about £2999.99 while CRC have £2499. Although Wiggle also have a price match strategy. But for this round CRC wins!
Round 2: That was probably an easy test – lets go for something obscure, I will let wiggle set the tone and have located the Shimano XTR BR-M985 Metal Pad With Cooling Fin. This is a metal brake pad (rather than resin. Wiggle list £18.49. Ribble and Evans are not coming to the party, not listing these.
Now it is time for CRC and their metal brake pad version is exactly £18.49. DRAW!
Round 3: to be fair, CRC can choose an obscure Shimano item. We are still in the MTB world and CRC have a Shimano XTR M970 Outer Chainring for £79.99
Evans wants to join in, but only with a bundle for £112.99 – and CRC don’t do anything similar. Ribble don’t want to be involved with no search results to match.
And even Wiggle decides not to take part – a few different variations reveal no real match.
Lets give CRC the benefit of the doubt on this. But what else makes them the best place to but Shimano?
2. Biggest Range across all disciplines
Lets not argue this one, even in the price test, CRC have been fairly consistent, Wiggle fairly good and the others trailing behind.
3. First to market with the latest products
A big claim – this means that before the local bike shops, before the dealers and before everyone else who has supported Shimano in their sales across the globe, Shimano are now trusting Chain Reaction Cycles as the first retail outlet to stock their new gear.
The dealers and distributers must be happy about that.
4. The best value on groupsets in all discplines
We will take your word that you have done your homework, and that Shimano have set CRC at the preferred retailer.
5. Unsure of need some help, our first class customer support and tech support team are always on hand
Most customers know what they want, I need a 6700 Ultregra 10 speed cassette, 11-28. Done.
But CRC have a big support team and if instant gratification is not crucial then they are in the business of selling and will assist the sale. The alternative is internet research, because the internet knows everything (you just have to find it). Or go to your local bike store where they have to know because they are fitting the part, and it is their responsibility if it doesn’t fit.
At this point, it is worth noting the extra tools you have to buy to DIY. I highly recommend doing it yourself, but is is an extra step and some people prefer the comfort of a skilled bike mechanic to do it for them.
6. Buy with confidence – 2 years warrant and 3 years on Dura Ace and XTR
When was the last time I had a warrant issue with my groupset. They are very well made. In the case of the SRAM Road cycling hydraulic disc brake failures, SRAM did the right thing and looked after their customers. Shimano would do the same. Though it isn’t noted who pays return shipping. Realistically, the chances are that when anything brakes in a new groupset then it is from an accident or rider error.
7. Peace of mind – return any item within 365 days (free returns UK)
Unless you use it of course. I would be surprised to learn that you could use and wear out a chain and return it within a year – no questions asked. Generally this claus comes with a disclaimer that the product can’t be used, has to be in the original box and in a resalable condition. It can happen, if you stock up on chains, however this is not as good as it is made out to be. And if you are outside of the UK, of course you pay shipping.
How it all stacks up
CRC have a good deal with Shimano and will genuinely offer competitive prices, for some gear it will have the same cost while for others such as the groupset there can be good savings. CRC have to make a big noise about this but for a customer it is a much simpler message – it is worth keeping an eye on CRC when buying Shimano gear online.