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Was it worth coming to this site?

As I hope you can appreciate, all that goes into producing these reviews, answering your comments, and running the site takes time and money.

A member of my cycling club told me he was “blown away” after he discovered and spent his first 2 hours reading a couple of reviews on In The Know Cycling. He wondered how I could have a life outside of it. (Good point John!)

I was also “blown away” after doing my taxes this year and tallying up the 5-figure total of expenses for all the gear and site costs I spent last year.

If In The Know Cycling, this ad-free, conflict-of-interest-free, one-of-a-kind platform for in-depth, comparative reviews written by and for cycling enthusiasts provides any value to you from “hmmm, interesting” to “that post just helped me decide what I’m going to buy and where I’m going to buy it,” then, good.

If you want more of that value, let me give you 10 ways to support the site, keep it going and get better, 9 of which won’t cost you anything more and some that will cost you less than you were already planning to spend.

1. BUY your cycling gear and kit after clicking on the links in the posts to the stores we recommend because they have the best prices, customer satisfaction, selection, and support. When you do, we may earn an affiliate commission from some of these stores

2. SHOP for the best prices on cycling gear using our shopping tool at the top of the column on each page. When you enter in a product name, you’ll go to our Know’s Shop where you’ll see prices and listings from my best ranked US stores including Competitive CyclistPower Meter City, and JensonUSA and top UK stores (many that sell to cyclists in the US and around the world) including Chain Reaction CyclesTredz LimitedMerlin CyclesTweeks Cycles, and Wiggle.

3. AMA-BAY or use these links to Amazon and eBay to buy anything you typically buy at these stores. We will also earn an affiliate commission from these stores to help cover our expenses.

4. DONATE whatever you think the site is worth to you with this link to PayPal. I only set this up because some readers asked me to give them some way to support the site when they felt guilty about buying products based on our recommendation from their local bike shop rather than through one of our links. OK, you can relieve any guilt this way.

5. DISCOUNT code your way to saving money. On the home page and on every page of Know’s Shop, you can see and link to a regularly updated list of store-wide or category-wide deals and discounts, most of which require a discount code to get the savings. When you link to these stores and use these codes, some of which are available only to you as an In The Know Cycling reader, you will save 10%-50% and the site will earn an affiliate commission. Win-win!

6. SEARCH for and click on In The Know Cycling’s reviews on Google. When you enter a keyword or phrase in your Google search and click on the summary of our post that comes up in all CAPS on the first or second (or sometimes later) pages of search results, it will help move that post up in the rankings. More people will see it, come to the site and be able to support it.

7. FOLLOW and like In The Know Cycling on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. I put content up there several times each week that you won’t see on the site. The more followers we have, the more cycling brands are willing to send me gear and kit to test and review for you (and then return it to them or donate it). That cuts down on the gear I purchase out of pocket. You can click on those links or the icons at the top of each page of the site to follow.

8. SUBSCRIBE to get each new, in-depth and independent In The Know Cycling post sent to you. If you ignored entering your email address into that pop-up window that comes up when you leave this and other sites (I do it too!), you can still subscribe. Go to the bottom of the right-hand column and you can do it there.

9. SHARE the site or a post with your friends or cycling club if you think they’d get some benefit from reading it. Maybe they will become a regular subscriber or follower and get all of the good stuff that comes to them and the site from joining in.

10. COMMENT at the end of any post with your helpful feedback or thoughtful questions. You don’t need to tell me what a wonderful site this is before asking your question. I try to respond to them all. But, if you want to share sincere feedback about the site, good or bad, I’ll gladly take it and use it to try to improve the site.

And, if you’ve got a really good, constructive question or comment about something I’ve written, don’t keep it to yourself. Let’s all benefit from reading what you have to say or want to know and from my answer and the responses from other fellow enthusiasts. That will help us make better choices about what gear to get next and where to get it.

What’s it like buying from an online cycling store?

If you haven’t done it before or recently, ordering from a quality online cycling store is similar to buying products from any specialty online retailer you may have experience with.  It’s a growing and increasingly accepted way for both the cycling enthusiast and major brands to do business.

Online stores get products to you as fast and often faster than many bike shops which nowadays carry less inventory on high performance, low turnover gear and have to order it through a distributor.  As authorized retailers, the biggest online stores do large volumes and have better price and service leverage working directly with cycling companies than do the smaller shops.  The online retailers I recommend have strong customer service records and will handle returns or warranty issues quickly and without a lot of back and forth.  I check them against various consumer rating services.  If they don’t rate extremely well, I don’t list them.

The larger online cycling stores will ship to you wherever you are, usually within the week and often for free on purchases for the amount of most of the gear I review.  Shipments coming out of the UK or Europe into the US don’t charge the taxes you would incur buying products from a physical store.

In addition to the online stores that focus on cycling products, I occasionally post links for recommended products to eBay and Amazon when they have the best prices through highly rated vendors (99.5%+ ratings).  If you are planning to buy from either one of these sources, please go through the links provided on this site the day you plan to buy as they don’t provide a referral fee otherwise.  And when you buy anything at all through this link to Amazon, you also support the site.

You can read my review of the best online stores here.

Thank you and be sure to share any feedback you have below, good or bad, about any of the stores we link to.

Steve

63 comments

  • Peter, Thanks for the feedback. Nice birthday present. Here’s to your health and ability to buy many more such presents!

    Nothing to report about Shimano’s new Di2 groupset or wheels yet. Only the 9070 mechanical groupset has been released. What I’ve heard is that it’s not worth the upgrade. The new Di2 version is supposed to have some added software bells and whistles and lower profile shifters with slightly louder clicks when you change gears but this doesn’t sound like it’s earth shattering change. The new Dura Ace Di2 and wheels are not supposed to be in stores until the spring so I won’t have anything to say probably until the beginning of the summer. This will be Shimano’s first shot at anything beyond the low profile disc wheels they are making now. Those are really clunkers. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised but frankly not expecting too much from the C40 discs.

    If you are going all out with a Ti bike and Dura Ace Di2 quality groupset, I’d get a wheelset at the top of the line too. I’m a big fan of the ENVE 3.4 disc brake set. It’s comparable in depth and width with the upcoming DA C40. The review is in the same post as the one that reviewed the Zipp 30 Course http://intheknowcycling.com/2016/02/21/best-wheels-for-disc-brake-road-bikes-2016/#ENVE.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  • What about a pair of handbuilt wheels? In my experience you can get a great wheel, specifically designed around your needs and budget, often much cheaper than stock wheel sets.

    • Pete, Perhaps so; perhaps not. I have no way to evaluate how your experience with custom-built wheels would translate to others or compare that experience to standard-built wheels. And if you can’t compare, you can’t say one is a great wheel while another is a less than great wheel. Most people also don’t know their performance needs in a measurable or comparable enough way to specify the wheels they want (vs. the specs they want). Cheaper vs. more expensive is also hard to determine.

      Note that most carbon and high priced alloy wheels are also built by hand but to a performance, component and manufacturing process set of standards rather than a customer’s specification. I wrote more about beliefs around “hand-built” vs. “factory-built”, which I think is a false dichotomy and largely a out-of-date carryover from an earlier era of wheel building, in this post http://intheknowcycling.com/2015/10/08/5-beliefs-about-choosing-cycling-gear-dropped/. Steve

  • hi steve. this is an FYI re the Garmin Edge 520 i bought 10 mos ago on a recommendation from your blog. i started having software problems with my unit about 4 wks ago. software version 11.10 (this seemed to be important to Garmin Support). symptoms were ‘speed’ displayed on head unit but not ‘distance’ (just a constant 0); ‘autopause’ stopped working; i could no longer ‘save’ or ‘discard’ completed rides (the ‘progress wheel’ just kept turning and i had to shut the unit down) and i could no longer access any ‘history’; ‘activity profiles’ no longer displayed as set up (certain screens would not display despite being ‘enabled’ in the set-up process). Garmin did send me RMA info after some quick troubleshooting emails and fortunately it looks like i’ll get a new unit, so i have no complaints about their service or support. the problems started gradually from aggravations to completely disrupting my rides and caused confusion trying to figure out what was happening

    just writing to inform you because i know you’re pretty conscientious about passing info to your readers. i also know you get a lot of these messages so pardon if you really can’t use this info.

    thanks,
    (grasspress)
    dave sanders

  • Wondering if anyone can give me a recommendation. I am thinking of taking advantage of Enve’s buy back offer. I own a 4 year old set of Reynold Assault wheels. I live west of Boston – rolling hills. I average about 17.5. Wish I was faster on the hills. Which Enve wheelset would you recommend? Will I see a noticeable difference? Riding a Stork F3 with Ultegra.

    • Jonathan, Take a look at my post on the ENVE 3.4 here and the 4.5 here. Both are put into context in this review of all-around wheels here.

      I too live west of Boston (between 128 and 495), ride the Harvard hills, ride at about your speed, and have owned the Assault and two ENVE wheels. You will notice a difference. The 3.4s are outstanding in those hills but not as fast on the flats and rollers. The 4.5s are faster on the flats and rollers and good on the hills, just not as noticeably light than the 3.4s. Both will be better on the hills and flats than the Assault. It’s a tough choice but if you plan to spend a lot of time climbing hills and steeper mountain passes in VT, NH and elsewhere, I’d recommend the 3.4s. If it’s just an occasional thing and the hills you ride are more rolling or short than mountainous and miles long, I’d go with the 4.5s. Better training can do a lot more to improve your hill climbing than wheelset choice.

      If you do plan to go forward with the trade-in offer through ENVE.com and want to support the work we do at the site, you can do so through this link to ENVE Upgrade Program. Steve

  • Looking for the group to provide me recommendations on sunglasses that have good optics, UV protection (a must), and have large eye coverage.

    I looked at Oakley’s, POC, Smith, etc. and don’t want to spend that type of money.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for moderately priced sunglasses?

    • Steve, I’ve got a review of sunglasses coming out soon. I’ve found you get what you pay for. But for only $100-$150 more, you get a lot better options, which is hard to say for a lot of cycling gear. Follow the site or check back in a week or so for the review. Steve

    • Hi Steve… As I’m in the market for a new carbon wheel set atm.. I’m really interested in your opinion of the new wto versions of the bora.
      Regards chas

  • Hello Steve,
    I am looking to upgrade my road bike to etap gears. although i like the SRAM due to the “double tap”, I am also considering the Shimano Ultegra R8050 Di2. However, i do not know if it will fit on my 2013 Orbea frame. What should i check to make sure that these new components will fit?

    Also, i hate cables. The less, the better. even with disc brake, i still need the cables, correct?
    PS: I wish there is a information support page… rather than posting like this. Thanks

    • Khoi Chu, I don’t know why the Shimano wouldn’t fit. Depending on the model, I recall the Orbea Orca frame and others had external cable routing. If you have internal cable mounting, you may need to run some of it externally but I’d check with a shop technician to be sure. If you go eTap, you should also have no problem. And yes, you will always have at least brake cables whether the groupset is electronic or mechanical, wired or wireless shifting, rim brake or disc brake.

      You can read more about the choices between groupsets and find the best prices on all groupsets in my post here. Steve

  • Hi Steve. I learned after many years of research and indecision that Aero Wheels make a difference. In many ways. But here’s a new question i ask myself. First ill add i love my bike. It’s the only road bike I’ve ever owned. After man years I recently upgraded to 11 speed and aero wheels. Call it a rekindling if you want. I built it up myself, bough tools that were needed (some not needed ;-). Researched all the parts. It’s great. I love cycling even more. Now back to my question. Aero is creeping into mostly every aspect of road cycling. So would an aero frame benefit more than more aero wheels. Currently Mavic Cosmic Pro SL UST , considering Vision Metron 55 on Enve SES 5.6. Just to give an idea of what I’ve researched. Ive looked at Bianchi and Cannondale for new aero frames. At what point does new, more aero profile outweigh deep carbon, or does such a comparison exist? Thanks for the great information you share here.

      • Yep. Read that one before i posted. The entire read was good. I ride by myself. And there are certainly days i ride and feel more slippery. Not sure if it was part of that post, but the pedal stroke is one i use a lot. When to pull up in those “dead spots” at the 7 thru 10 position. Would you think theres an argument for what gives a better aero advantage. Aero wheels or aero frame? My CAAD9 is certainly not aero but adding deeper carbons made a significant increase in over all speeds. We know that most new bikes come with stock wheels that leave you looking at that as the first upgrade. (I read that here too.). But if you get an aero frame and don’t ride aero is there a disadvantage? I have to ask, Ive never ridden an aero bike. Thanks

        • There will be benefit but there is more bang for your buck in other areas. Position will have the biggest impact on aero performance many times what wheels or an aero bike will give you. You can even spend money going into a wind tunnel to work on your position. An aero bike helmet will give you as much aero benefit as a bike and it’s 1/10th or 1/20th the cost. Shave your legs. Cover your shoes. Lots of things I would do first before getting an aero bike or frame.

          • Well its March 1. The weather is warming up and ill get to work on trying these things. Haven’t had to shave legs much wearing thermals. Razors. Check. Shoe Covers. Check. Aero helmet… in the basket. Ill check back with you and let you know. Thanks for the support.

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