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Timmy v.s. Chain - the struggle of buying parts online!

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Let us take you on a journey of buying replacement bicycle parts... Michelle is a busy mum with three active teenage children. Timmy, one of Michelle’s teen boys has broken the chain on his bike and Michelle doesn't have time to fit the bike rack to the car to take the bike to her local shop before the school ride next week. Even still the local shop says the workshop is booked out for two weeks! Timmy, has expressed to his mum that he can fit the chain if she can buy it for him. She counters him and asks, "But how do we know which one to buy?" And so it goes, Timmy Googles his bike, Trek Marlin 5 2021, the search returns over 3 million results. He scrolls through the first page of search results and opens a link that looks like his bike, but it is the wrong colour. Maybe that isn't his bike, but it said Trek Marlin 5 2021, turns out the link he opened was for the US model. He tries again, instead this time picking a link to Torpedo 7, under the specifications for the bike it reads: KMC Z7, 7 speed

Timmy hasn't heard of this brand before, so he now searches for that chain on Torpedo 7, but instead of getting the chain he needs he gets search results full of bikes that use that chain! Back to google, KMC Z7 yields 800,000+ results, and there are a high number of websites that aren't NZ websites, even the sponsored ad at the top of the page for the KMC Z7 chain is located in Australia which may not make it to him in time. Timmy feels confused, if his bike came with this chain why can't he just buy the same chain from his local store? The truth is, that bikes will often come stocked with components that then can't be purchased in the country that they are then sold in! However, this isn't always a problem as for a bicycle there are often a number of compatible aftermarket parts that are suitable, if you know how to work out which one will fit your bike...

In the end Timmy realises a number of the other components on his drivetrain are Shimano so maybe a Shimano chain will be fine for his bike. To be certain he reaches out to the online chat support on his favourite online store. They can't help him right away but come back to him via email the following day confirming he will be able to use a Shimano 6/7/8 speed chain to replace this one and offer up some suggestions. Two days later the chain Timmy purchased arrives and he loads up the YouTube video he found, not too long later he has his new chain fitted to his bike ready for his school ride the following week. Michelle wonders why it was so hard to find out this information and wishes that bike parts were easier to buy, she is grateful that the online store was able to help them select the right part and it didn't need to be returned as she had feared the whole time.

Here is how a site using Bike Matrix would work in the same situation. Timmy would jump onto his favourite site, he would select his bike based on brand, make, and year model, and confirm this from the shown picture. His results would then be filtered to instantly show him only parts that fit his bike. So when he goes looking for a chain, instead of seeing sixty four results on his favourite site, he would instead see only three!

I'm sure we can all agree that it is far easier to only see three options that are guaranteed to fit your bike than trying to work out which of sixty four options would fit! In this simple situation, a customer typically spend 30-60 minutes online researching prior to purchase. This research requires the customer to leave the eCommerce site they were going to purchase from, and they may end up shopping on a whole new site entirely, it also often leaves them feeling frustrated and confused and causes them to hesitate prior to purchasing. Bike Matrix means that a customer never has to leave their favourite online store to identify which part will fit their bike, they can be confident in their selection and can now spend more time doing things they enjoy like riding!

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