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Retailer Review: REI.com

REI Co-Op logo

Retailer Name: REI
Website: www.REI.com

Continue reading for my thoughts and opinions on REI, an outdoor gear retailer with products for hiking, biking, camping, paddling, snowboarding, and more…

Product Selection and Availability

Being a general outdoors store, REI doesn’t have a totally enormous cycling section, but it is surprisingly large. You could get a complete bike from REI, or get enough parts and accessories to build a bike and complete your cycling outfit. They even have a few trainers and rollers for winter training, as well as tire pumps, bike locks, etc.

They don’t carry every single brand, but they have quite a few good brands, and that’s all you need. Just to name a few things – Kurt Kinetic trainer, Easton EA70 wheelset, CamelBak MULE, CamelBak Podium bottle, Pearl Izumi Microsensor shorts, Look Keo pedals, Crank Bros Eggbeaters, Stan’s NoTubes, etc.

There was some stuff I couldn’t find – Sidi shoes, Uvex helmets, Castelli jerseys, Nokon brake cables – but that happens with every retailer. (There’s always that one item that you have to search for and buy somewhere else.)

So REI does not carry everything, but there is a redeeming factor – the stuff you don’t usually see at the other bike-specific retailers.

For example, there is a lot of hiking and camping equipment you might need for a 24-hour mountain bike race. Plus, they carry tons of general outdoors stuff that can apply to cycling, like the Seal Skinz waterproof socks and other technical apparel.

Overall, the selection is insanely huge! REI has nearly everything you need for any outdoor sport or activity!

Pricing

Browsing REI.com, it looks like everything sells at the typical retail price. I don’t recall seeing any discounts like they have at Price Point, Nashbar, etc.

For example, the Stan’s NoTubes kit costs $70 at REI, but only $60 at the official NoTubes.com website.

However, REI does have a section called the REI Outlet, and that contains a good bit of gear at 20-50% off. It’s mostly clothing and accessories in odd colors and sizes, but sometimes you can find something good.

Discounts & Coupon Codes

I rarely see any coupon codes for REI. Every so often there is a store-wide sale, and REI coupons do exist, but I don’t see that many.

There are only a few occasions annually where REI has a limited-time 20% off coupon.

But there is something called the “REI Membership” and it’s only $20 for life. You get a 10% cash back rebate on eligible purchases, members-only specials, gear rental discounts, and other perks. So that’s the way to go (you have to admit, $20 for life is cheap.)

Ease of Use (Website and Shopping Cart)

The REI website has a very nice design. It’s very clean and easy to navigate. It’s definitely one of the best, if not the best, e-commerce website.

To browse, there’s a horizontal navigation menu in the header with the “fly-out” menu. It’s the easiest to use and understand menu of any outdoor retailer I’ve reviewed.

On the product pages, there are good quality pictures with amazing zoom for up-close viewing, thorough descriptions and size charts, and customer reviews. All of that is laid out nicely, and each section contains the correct information.

The shopping cart works great, too. The Update and Remove buttons are beside each other, which means less scrolling if you need to update anything.

Overall, the REI website blows everyone else away!

Shipping & Handling

Standard shipping ranges from $5.99 to $13.99, which is a few cents more than other retailers, but not anything to worry about. (On the other hand, two-day shipping is expensive relative to other merchants.)

You also have the option of picking up your order at a local REI store, for free.

Customer Service

REI offers a 100% guarantee and they actually mean it. They are great at customer service. They’ll take care of any problem you have with a quick refund or exchange.

When you do need to contact them, it’s easy – phone, live online help, email, and of course, the brick-and-mortar stores.

This is the real reason to shop at REI. The prices aren’t the lowest, but you’re in good hands. (But don’t take it from me – plenty of people are happy with REI – it’s not hard to find people happy with customer service and the return policy.)

My final verdict is…

REI is my favorite place to shop for outdoor stuff. While they don’t have a huge cycling department, that’s fine, because they make up for it by having other stuff like SealSkinz socks, Osprey packs, and climbing and kayaking gear.

It’s a great store any way you look at it. I haven’t purchased from them a lot, but I love the stores, and I always hear good things about them from friends who shop there and work there. (REI has been on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list since the list started in 1998.)

So that settles it – if REI carries the stuff you want, it would be in your best interest to buy it there!

Official website: www.REI.com

Product Review Details
Company: REI
Product: REI.com
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Date last updated: 2016-11-16
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: Yes; paid affiliate.

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Levi Bloom is an experienced endurance athlete who has been training and competing for over 17 years. A former Cat 1 road and mountain bike racer (professional class on the regional circuit), he is now a cycling coach (USA Cycling Level 3 Certified) and sports nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified).

2 Comments
  1. Talk about AMAZING customer service! Anyone you talk to at the store or on the phone is trained in whatever you’re looking at, so you’re possibly talking to an expert.

    Their return policy is nuts. You can return almost anything, no questions asked, and if you’re a member, there’s the added bonus of not needing a receipt.

    BTW, that $20 lifetime membership is quite possibly one of the best things you’ll ever spend $20 on. You get dividends whenever you buy anything not on sale, you get access to special member events and sales, and you get discounts on the many classes they offer at the stores.

    Like you say, if you can buy it at REI, that’s the place to shop.

  2. @Valerie

    Yep, the $20 lifetime membership is almost unbelievable. It’s worth it for anyone that shops there, but if you have a physical REI store nearby, it’s 100x better!

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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