steep and cheap website screenshot

If you shop online, you probably know about the “one deal at a time” sites. I think it was that introduced the idea in the computer/tech market, and the trend has since spread to a variety of markets and industries – one of them is cycling.

The top deals site for cyclists is Steep & Cheap. To illustrate the concept, I’ll give you an example:

Right now as I look at the Steep & Cheap home page, there is a deal for a Castelli thermal jacket. Normally the jacket costs $200, but I can order it for $99.99. Sweet deal, but what’s the catch? Well…

  • I have to order it in the next 25 minutes and 6 seconds.
  • There are only 10 left in a size Medium.
  • I’m competing against 1,674 other people currently browsing the site.

All of that information is right there on the home page. Deals last for 30 minutes or until sold out, whichever comes first. Steep & Cheap provides you with live updates for number of items left in each size or color, as well as the number of people who are on the site.

So… given the limited time, limited quantities, and tons of other cyclists looking for good deals, how do you manage to get what you want? You follow my guide on how to get the best deals at Steep & Cheap, of course!

Here is what you need to do:


bonktown register form

1. Be Registered Long Before You Need to Place an Order.

Registering for the site takes extra time that you don’t want to waste if you have your sights set on a hot deal. If you’re trying to grab a popular item in a popular size, every second counts, so make sure you are registered in advance.

Registration is free, so take care of that right now, and then watch the deals. Like I said, having to register at the last minute might cost you a deal, and there’s no reason not to register today.

So before you go any further, go register at immediately. Because who knows, after you read this article, you might find an irresistible deal!


2. Know Exactly What You Need In Advance.

When items pop up, you probably don’t have time to debate if the item is something you need or just something that looks cool. If you have to think about it, you could miss out.

So, write out a little shopping list of the items you’re looking for (item, color, brand, size) and keep it right at your computer. This saves the debate about whether the deal is worthwhile, and helps stop you from buying stuff you don’t need, just cause it’s on sale.

Remember, it’s not a good deal if you don’t need it!


bonktown sizing

3. Quickly Double Check Sizes and Colors

A lesson I learned a very long time ago is to be very careful with checking sizing charts when ordering clothing online. Sometimes a retailer’s sizing chart doesn’t match a brand’s sizing chart, and there’s no sure way to know which one is correct for that specific item.

I like to pay extra attention to this on the deals websites, because the voice inside my head says, “if the item is only on sale for 30 minutes then gone, the site would put even less effort into exact photos and sizing charts.” This might not be the case at all with Steep & Cheap, especially because they are owned by (who provide great customer service).

I should also mention that BonkTown sometimes gives you a sizing tip for each item. The point is, pay attention to all this for your best chances of getting something that fits!

But still, if it’s an expensive item I’m not that familiar with, I might do a quick Google search to double-check sizing and color names/options. It’s not a good deal if it doesn’t fit and you have to send it back!

30-Day Unconditional Guarantee:

You can return any product for any reason within 30 days of purchase. No questions asked.

But like I said, this is I’ve always had good service from them, and they seem to get good reviews from others, too. Their return policy is straightforward and returns are easy, so if there is only one item left and you can’t risk the time to do any further research, it’s probably worth just buying first and asking questions later!


bonktown combine shipping

4. Combine Shipping

Shipping costs can add up when you’re paying to ship each item separately. That was always the big problem with these kinds of sites. If you order more than one item per month, with all the shipping costs, it didn’t end up being a better deal than ordering from somewhere else and shipping 10 items in one box for one shipping charge.

Today, Steep & Cheap offers combined shipping. You can “hold” items you purchase for seven days, then all items are shipped together.

I would use the combined shipping option unless you need the item immediately. I mean, why not hold the item from shipping for a few days in case you find another deal on there? It can save you about $5 per item.


bonktown firefox alerts

5. Stay Alert

Going forward, the hardest thing to do is keep a close eye on Steep & Cheap all hours of the day. Because you never know when a killer deal will show up!

Fortunately, Steep & Cheap provides a number of ways for you to stay updated:

  • Desktop alerts (for Windows and Mac)
  • Browser plug-ins (for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome)
  • RSS Feeds
  • E-mail alerts
  • AOL Instant Messenger messages

I personally like the Firefox plug-in because I usually have a browser window open. If you don’t, the desktop application for your computer would be a better choice.

Like in the screenshot, you might be busy browsing Velo News, but the little Steep & Cheap pop-up will alert you of new deals!

If you have a desk job and are in front of a computer 8+ hours a day, it’s not hard to stay up to date!

If not, try SAC Alerts, CleanSnipe, or DealSpoon. These are third-party services that offer text alerts with the new deals, so you can be anywhere your cell phone has coverage. You would have to be able to run to a computer, though, or have a smartphone.


FAQ: Does Carry Items In ‘Normal’ Sizes?

As with most good deals, you will find items in odd sizes and colors. Perhaps a rare crank arm size (180mm,) or jerseys available in XS and XXL sizes only.

But there are normal sizes quite often. For the clothing that popped up while I was writing this article, each item started with about 12 available in the normal sizes (small, medium, large.) Of course, you gotta be quick to get these! The smalls and mediums sell out quickly.

And remember, deals go up back to back, kind of like a Woot! Off, rather than Woot’s regular one deal per day. So if one item doesn’t fit you, the next one might.


4 “One at a Time” Deals on Athletic Gear

Do you like hiking, cycling, or snowboarding? Do you like to get good deals?

Then say hello to the new Woots on the block: Steep and Cheap, Chain Love, Whiskey Militia, Tram Dock, and BonkTown.

All these sites have the limited-time closeout deals ala, but they fulfill your road cycling, mountain biking, freeriding, hiking, snowboarding, and camping needs.

They seem to apply the same “Product narratives are for entertainment purposes” editorial strategy as Woot, too, so you might get a good laugh. (Although if you are looking for nothing more than comedic writing, stick with Woot.)

But if you want outdoor gear on the cheap, here are the sites:


steep and cheap logo

Steep and Cheap brings you hiking and outdoor gear.

Typical items include backpacks, jackets, sleeping bags, sunglasses, sandals, etc.


[Editor’s note: All these sites have since been combined under Steep And Cheap.]


chainlove logo

Chain Love brings you road cycling and mountain biking parts and accessories.

There is quite a bit of freeride stuff like gloves, full-face helmets, pants, and jerseys. A lot of woman’s shorts and jerseys are there, too. Sometimes there are parts like Shimano cranksets, stems, handlebars, and even a frame or wheelset on occasion.


whiskey militia logo

Whiskey Militia has cool gear for skaters, snowboarders, and BMX riders.

Typical items include hoodies, longboards, snowboard pants, etc.


tramdock logo

Tram Dock

Last but not least, brings you ski gear.

Typical items include ski pants, winter coats, ski socks, ski boots, helmets, etc.


Bonk Town

New for roadies! (launched about 1/19/09) is for road bike accessories.


Note: These sites are brought to you by online retailer It’s a good way for them to sell off overstocked gear, and it’s a good place for us to get good deals!

To stay abreast of all the new deals, each site offers RSS feeds and deals widgets that automatically update with the latest items. (I recommend the Firefox plugin.)

Also, check out these tricks to find and buy the best products you actually need!


[This post was first published on December 1, 2008. It has been updated to account for retailers opening and closing.]


So that is it. By now you should have a good idea of how to get the best deals on!

Please post your success stories, or any tips of your own, in the comments!

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  1. Does anyone know of any sites like this or that have atleast almost as good of deals, but for BMX biking/ bmx park riding, dirt riding, etc…?


  2. The best way to follow Bonktown (and it’s sister sites) is with And with Sacalerts, you can enter keywords, so you will recieve a text alert whenever that word pops up in a deal. I’m hunting some new bibs right now, and I like the Airgel chamois, so I have “Garneau” as a keyword.

  3. @Joe

    Ah yes, now that is ringing a bell! I must have seen it when Steep and Cheap launched but then forgotten about it.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll add into the post.

  4. Anyone else know good sites like Whiskey Militia and Steep and Cheap?

  5. If you like these daily deals sites Steep and Cheap, Chain Love, Whiskey Militia, the you have to check out it’s got all these sites plus 50 more on one page, plus they have an android and iPhone app for keeping an eye on the deals. Pretty helpful.

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