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Old 27.05.2011, 13:39
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buying a bike in switzerland or england.

Im thinking about getting a cheap road bike, something like a specialized allez.

I noticed recently while in england this could be had for about gbp 500, while here more like chf 1300. with current exchange rates gbp 500 would be more like chf 725.

naturally i could pick one up in england, ride it about a bit, get it dirty, put it in a bike bag and fly back with it.

alternatively i could get it delivered from evans cycles for about gbp 40. They would subtract the VAT but I guess I would get a customs bill here with delivery. Does anyone know how much this wôuld be approximately (I ask because I am not planning to visit england anytime too soon)?

Im not too bothered to pay some premium for buying a bike out here in switzerland, and i can see the benefit of buying it here and having it set up for me and a friendly face in case something goes wrong with it... but when the difference is 600 francs on a relatively inexpensive bike... i really cannot see how I can spend that here.

any thoughts anyone?
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Old 27.05.2011, 14:21
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

I have had bikes delivered from the UK. Well worth while given the exchange rate as you have found out.

The cost will be approximately 8% for Swiss VAT plus a variable admin charge depending on which shipping company they use. Still, I would expect the total price including shipping to be not much more than the UK price including VAT.

It should come built up already, so you would just need to straighten the handlebars, put the saddle to the correct height and put the wheels on, all of which you can do yourself. The only extra cost might be the first service, which shouldn't be more than 150CHF.

I have an Allez from 2004. Still a good first race bike which I have used for commuting and touring now that I have upgraded to something a little more shiny.
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Old 27.05.2011, 14:39
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

Evans will only ship certain brands of bike - as the manufacturer requires them to be sold fully assembled.

Either - buy your bike from an independent bike shop in the UK (they offered me far better deals than the big shops) & ask them to repack it in a bike box (with extra packing/pipe insulation) & bring it back as sports equipment on the aircraft. Pay duty as you go through customs.

Or try Joos in Radolfzell or Konstanz - they have an enormous selection.

I paid 8% VAT when I brought my bike into CH
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Old 27.05.2011, 14:42
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

Alternatively buy a bike in Germany and get 11%* off it? Last time I checked, the Euro is pretty weak against the CHF too...

*19% German VAT minus 8% Swiss VAT
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Old 27.05.2011, 14:48
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

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Evans will only ship certain brands of bike - as the manufacturer requires them to be sold fully assembled.
I suspect this is more to do with protecting the dealers in the other more expensive countries like Switzerland.

An alternative could be something like this:
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/boardman-road-race-2011/

I doubt Boardman have a Swiss distributor, but the bikes are getting good reviews, and Wiggle will certainly ship built-up bikes to Switzerland (I had two from them earlier this year).
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Old 27.05.2011, 16:18
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

Oh yes, bummer, evans will not ship specialized. sounds like price protection to me.

Hmm i checked out Joos but seemingly no specialized.

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Evans will only ship certain brands of bike - as the manufacturer requires them to be sold fully assembled.

Or try Joos in Radolfzell or Konstanz - they have an enormous selection.

I paid 8% VAT when I brought my bike into CH
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Old 27.05.2011, 16:23
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

I'd have to say buy from a shop, then you know it will fit you.

Bought my cube from DE, and was glad to test ride as I was going to buy a medium, but ended up with a small after trying a few out.
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Old 27.05.2011, 16:25
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

Yes, i confirm that Evans does not ship specialized bikes. I ended up getting a Mongoose. Delivery takes about a week.
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Old 27.05.2011, 16:32
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

thats an interesting perspective. when i bought my mountain bike here, i visited my local shop, tried it, discussed with him many things, also the price differential between switzerland and the uk and or online buying.

although typically reluctant to haggle as the swiss often are, he saw my point and we met in the middle... i didnt expect to get online prices and could see the benefits in buying from him personally. this suited me well. but I am not quite so fussy about the road bike as i was for my mountain bike (I really knew what i wanted there and it wasnt cheap stuff).

in this case though with the strong franc and my lesser demands, its tough to pay all those francs.


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I'd have to say buy from a shop, then you know it will fit you.

Bought my cube from DE, and was glad to test ride as I was going to buy a medium, but ended up with a small after trying a few out.
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Old 27.05.2011, 17:10
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

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Alternatively buy a bike in Germany and get 11%* off it? Last time I checked, the Euro is pretty weak against the CHF too...

*19% German VAT minus 8% Swiss VAT
The saving is actually about 9% as percentage cannot be added and subtracted that easy.

An example:

You buy something in Germany to €100 incl. German VAT.

The German VAT is 19% (but not of the 100) so the price excl. German VAT is: 100/1.19 = 84,03 €

Then add the CH VAT: 84,03 * 1,08 = 90,76 €

Savings: 100 - 90,76 = 9,24 € which equals 9,24 % as the price was 100 €.

I hope this is correct. Otherwise I stand corrected and you can call me an A$$
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Old 27.05.2011, 17:43
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

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Oh yes, bummer, evans will not ship specialized. sounds like price protection to me.
I think I remember from the last time I was looking for a bike that Specialized doesn't allow their bikes to be shipped even within the same country. I was buying on Bike2Work and would have had to go to a store to buy in person.

BTW, is there anything like Bike2Work or CycleScheme in Switzerland? I guess the savings wouldn't be as significant.
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Old 27.05.2011, 17:59
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

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I suspect this is more to do with protecting the dealers in the other more expensive countries like Switzerland.

An alternative could be something like this:
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/boardman-road-race-2011/

I doubt Boardman have a Swiss distributor, but the bikes are getting good reviews, and Wiggle will certainly ship built-up bikes to Switzerland (I had two from them earlier this year).

Wiggle also have a 15% off deal for another few days on all stock over £100, so there are big bargains to be had, as they remove the VAT too. Here is the code:

15OFF-100ROW
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Old 28.05.2011, 19:25
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

I recently had a bike delivered here direct from the manufacturer in UK. Cost was 2000gbp then they removed the 20% UK VAT for delivery to CH = 1600gbp. Paid 8% VAT at this end (150gbp) so in the end paid 1750 instead of 2000 gbp.
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Old 28.05.2011, 19:27
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

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The saving is actually about 9% as percentage cannot be added and subtracted that easy.

An example:

You buy something in Germany to €100 incl. German VAT.

The German VAT is 19% (but not of the 100) so the price excl. German VAT is: 100/1.19 = 84,03 €

Then add the CH VAT: 84,03 * 1,08 = 90,76 €

Savings: 100 - 90,76 = 9,24 € which equals 9,24 % as the price was 100 €.

I hope this is correct. Otherwise I stand corrected and you can call me an A$$
you forgot the customs office fees that could go from 18 to 30 CHF depending on the carrier.
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Old 28.05.2011, 20:46
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

I have purchased two bikes from Evans Cycles this year and have been really pleased with their service on both occasions. The only thing I would say is that I had squeezed in a London trip beforehand and organised to test ride both to check the size/geometry was correct. This is well worth it, if the opportunity arises and if you phone more than 7 days ahead, they can get up to three bikes shipped to the store of your choice, for a refundable deposit.

I ordered my first bike online and this was eventually delivered for free as my total order exceeded GBP 1,000. This was an online transaction, so VAT was automatically excluded and I got a customs receipt about four weeks later.

Having been so impressed and caught the cycling bug I got a second bike, but made the mistake of buying in store. The hassle here is that you have to prove get the various VAT reclaims store, and then you present all of these at the departing airport and collect various stamps and post it back to get your refund. To top it all off, Swiss clobbered me for a further CHF 110 to carry a "medium sized sports item". I had no choice though as I was buying a BMC bike and Evans aren't allowed to export those as part of their distribution agreement (and the fact I probably saved 40% by buying in the UK, with price and currency weakness).

Not really knowing one end of a bike from the other at the start of the season and with limited local-lingo, I found it much better dealing with English speakers, where I could freely air my ignorance, but had a better feel for when they were beginning to try and push you to the next model up.

Am pretty positive on Evans and found they weren't too pushy on the sales side. Mostly cycle enthusiasts rather than sales people trying to maximise sales.

Good luck and happy cycling
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Old 28.05.2011, 20:47
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Yes sir. I was however only giving a lecture in percentage calculation.

The handling fee depends on which company is delivering the goods. Last week I received two invoices for delivering a bike from CRC. It was naturally a mistake they invoiced me twice but strangely enough they managed to add different handling fees on the two invoices.

Oh...there is also CHF 12 to be paid in customs.

For my 1500 CHF bike the VAT, custom and handling fee were approx. 150 CHF in total.
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Old 29.05.2011, 10:25
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Re: buying a bike in switzerland or england.

Re test-driving for size and geometry: this definitely makes sense.

For example, each 56cm bike will feel different depending on the brand and the set-up.

One option is to test-drive in Swiss shops and then buy on-line from abroad (without getting into the fairness of that).

My preferred choice is to holiday in the US and bring a bike back with me. That way, you can test drive many bikes and you can use it for the holiday too. It costs CHF200 to take the bike back with you on Swiss International Airlines, plus you need to get it boxed up for flying. Was very easy.

A friend of mine buys CHF 8000 bikes on-line from a small shop in Ireland.
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