Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montréal (Québec)
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For European resources, I would suggest you visit The DocVélo forum
, which is a French-speaking forums that has a lot of membership from France. There are many low-end bikes and many mid-range hybrids in France. And if you were to want a "serious" machine, France has a lot of "randonneuses" (fast touring) and touring bikes. On the other side of the pond, the Brits have a few serious machines, including offerings at St. John's Cycle (Thorn bicycles). So if you buy there, stay local. Take advantage of local resources. If you want to buy a North American bike, then by all means buy it in Montréal.
As for buying a North American bike in Montréal, it depends how long you stay (i.e. shop preparation time) and how loaded you are on your way back, because airlines either charge extra fees for a bike (oversize box), or they count it as one of your two suitcases. If
you have to pay a surcharge of 50, 80 or 130 $ (I heard all three numbers), then it's less money you save. Or you might ask the bike shop to ship it for you in France (I think they are allowed to do this once you have bought it with a Canadian address), but they will charge you with packaging fees and shipping as freight will cost you even more.
Another issue is maintenance. Bike maintenance is not rocket science and parts are all the same nowadays, but if you don't know how to adjust indexing, you will get strange looks from a Nice bike shop when you bring them your Canadian bike for a basic repair.
Incidentally, if you look for a bike in Montréal, I would suggest you look also at DeVinci and Marin bicycles. Both companies do very fine hybrids. And in almost all cases, it's a trivial matter to ask the bike shop to replace the knobbies that are on the bike with slicks.