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The top ten reason to NOT buy your tri gear online

Posted May 10 2011 10:47am

Online_shopping The online world is so enticing. You have first person interaction games like Halo and World of Warcraft that you could spend hours playing. Has anyone found the end of the internet? You spend hours and tons of money online… but should you?

Time online for triathletes usually isn’t an issue. Most are too consumed with swimming, biking and running, which you can’t really do virtually without being active.

What about spending money online? In this day and age, you can buy pretty much any piece of triathlon equipment you need. Tri kit, wheels, bikes, goggles, shoes, helmets, and GPS units are just a snippet of what’s online. But, just because you can, does that mean you should?

In my last article , I convinced you that you need a low cost set of wheels to swap out on your bike for training rides. I recommended places like eBay and craigslist to get a set under $100 to replace your $2000 wheels on your $3500 tri bike. I don’t like admitting I was wrong, and I wasn’t. I did, however, commit an oversight.

Thanks to John Navarro from South Jersey Running & Triathlon Co. of Stafford,, I was enlightened to the retail perspective. John was very informative on the view of a local multisport shop owner trying to make a living in the day and age of cyber buying. He pointed out how my wheel article can be interpreted as advocating avoiding your local shops in favor of buying online.

I’ll be the first to admit I do a lot of shopping online, but I have a limit. Clothes, wheels, tires, shoes and other items I know the manufactures and I know the sizes work for me, I buy online looking for the best possible price. At the same time, I’m not getting any input from outside expert sources. I’ve been lucky, for the most part, that I have not been ripped off nor had a major problem. But there is the fluid trainer I bought from a local bike shop. Luckily I was able to take advantage of the warranty when it had a leak. The shop sent it in to the manufacturer at their cost and all I had to do was come pick it up when it was fixed. Buying it online, I might have been up a river without a paddle.

To enlighten us to why the retail world shouldn’t go by the wayside, John put together a top ten list why you should consider retail over online.

1.  Support local merchants.
2.  No shipping cost.
3.  Personal attention (ask an online company to help you install something
4.  Warranty.  Ship it back, hope they even do warranty work and see how long it takes to get it back
5.  Most retail shops will match prices.
6.  You get to see the item before purchasing it.
7.  Customization if need be.  Retail shops can provide you things you might not have thought of when you bought the first product.
8.  Most retail shops are experienced in the merchandise.  Expertise and product knowledge.
9.  Going to a local merchant is more fun.  See more stuff and sometimes get more options.
10. The Internet is for porn

Thanks again to John Navarro from South Jersey Running & Triathlon Co. of Stafford,, for the input!

Runfinish Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog , married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans.  Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts HERE and he collects race reviews at .  Contact Ryan at: or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan .

*Expressed opinions are not necessarily that of

Follow on twitter @ everymantri or view latest videos on YouTube .

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