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I'm starting to look for a new bike, and have grown accustomed to shopping online (or at least, pricing online) for just about everything I buy. One feature that makes online shopping especially appealing is the ability to search through an online database with constraints. For example, when shopping for a computer, I could start with all computers sold by an online retailer. Then I could filter out anything without 8GB of RAM. Then, from those, select just the machines with a certain processor, and so on.

When I look around for bikes online, I cannot find any such database. For example, I'd like to be able to start with all models 2010-present, then select only those with internal gear hubs, then only those with 8 or more speeds, and so on.

My question comes in two parts:

  1. Is there a database or online retailer like this?

  2. If not, why not?

Note: I'm not opposed to supporting my LBS, but like to consider as many options as possible when making large purchases. In this case, I'd like to price out many different options and consider tradeoffs on price vs. functionality at home rather than at the shop, but would probably still buy there.

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Now you touched an overlooked point! I figure I have the same point of view of yours, but have never realized it so far... –  heltonbiker Mar 13 '12 at 0:15
    
Several vendors have their selections set up for modest "filtering". rei.com, for one. And I assume that your outfits like bikesdirect.com have some sort of search mechanism, though I've never looked. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 13 '12 at 0:25
    
@DanielRHicks bikesdirect.com doesn't seem to have anything more than "Road/Hybrid/MB..." filtering. I didn't know rei.com though, and it looks to have pretty detailed filters. Might be what I'm looking for actually. EDIT: It's alright, but doesn't have the level of selection or the level of detail I'd hoped. –  John Doucette Mar 13 '12 at 0:28
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4 Answers 4

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Perhaps your best option is Gear Finder provided by Bicycling Magazine. They have various bikes organized by type, price, and some sub-details.

As for why you don't see the same types of databases that you see for computer products, this is because the people who actually make these things (computer programmers) are much more likely to be interested in computers (as a product) than bicycles.

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The site doesn't seem to offer much in the way of selection by details on bikes themselves. The rei.com site in the comments above was better. I think the reason given for their absence makes sense for small bike shops, but plenty major retailers have good databases of non-computer items. For example, bluenile.com has a database of gemstones; Amazon.com has a database of books (and many other things, but not a good one for bikes). –  John Doucette Mar 14 '12 at 3:16
    
But REI is fundamentally limited to the bikes they carry, which, given their extremely limited selection, is a pretty big limitation. And any online retailer is going to be limited in their bicycle database since most of the major bike manufacturers don't allow their products to be sold online. –  prototoast Mar 14 '12 at 5:48
    
The trick is that REI lets me filter the results. If I can't do that, then having 1000 different bikes to look at isn't helpful. That said, your second sentence actually answers my question. –  John Doucette Mar 14 '12 at 12:47
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The Internet Bike Database is built on user-submitted data and lets you list bikes by type (mountain, road, BMX and 21 other types) or by brand, and you can search for specific models, but it won't let you filter by year and gears and so on.

BikePedia claims to be the "Bicycle Industry Encyclopedia" and lets you view by year and manufacturer, but again you cannot filter in the way you want.

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The Internet Bike Database seems the better of the two, but not being able to break down by type makes neither of them very useful. –  John Doucette Mar 15 '12 at 20:28
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A bit of a late reply, but I'm working on an app at the moment that can do this:

http://bikedb.co.uk

It's a bit of a work in progress, but any feedback is appreciated!

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BicycleDB is a new bicycle database with advanced filtering options. Filter on:

  • Price
  • Brand
  • Frame Material
  • Gear Type
  • Gear Model
  • Suspension
  • Wheel Size
  • Brake Type
  • Brake Brand
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Year
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