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Old 01-23-12, 10:26 AM   #1
Pamestique 
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My Bike Buying Experience: NOT GOOD!

My Bike Buying Experience:

No, not for me. Thankfully I have some great bikes but I have a friend that now wants to take the plunge and buy a real road bike. She is a strong mountain biker and has been riding a “comfort bike” when trails are wet but she realizes she can’t keep up with the rest of us on our roadie bikes.

She has some difficult parameters: 1) she knows nothing about bikes and doesn’t want to know. If it’s any bother, she is not interested. She knows nothing about fit, or components etc. and doesn’t want to know (this is a lady that takes flats to the shop for fixing). So we go shopping – I don’t know her size and only know she is going to be fussy about color and she doesn’t want to spend more than $1000 “out the door”.

Good Grief…. I now have a lot of respect for people trying to get into the sport and don’t know much about bikes. I know quite a bit and my SO, who came with, builds his own bikes so knows a lot. The first shop we go to, I ask “need a first road bike, best components possible, less than $1,000”. The kid points to a bike but my friend didn’t like it because it was mostly white. I pointed to all the road bikes in the store to show her most of them are white with either black, red, blue or yellow decoration. The kid finds a bike that had more black and pulls it out. I ask “Do you think that will fit?” “Huh” he says. My friend is barely 5’2”. The bike was a 56cm. I tell him I think she is somewhere between a 48 – 51. He never measures her but just pulls out a 48. I won’t get into the test ride which was a whole other nightmare and let me just tell you my fiends is alittle stubborn so I have to work on the concept of “fit” with her.

The Shop was Jensen’s. They had a Jamis priced at around $800 with Sora Components. Not bad but I noticed it was a double. I know my friend. She won’t like the double. Do they have a triple. “no”. So we leave.

We next go to the local Specialized concept store. What a nightmare that was. This young girl comes out. I ask her “We are looking for a road bike, around a 50 – 51 cm, triple crank, around $1,000”. She first announces “You can’t buy a bike with a triple, they are becoming obsolete!” My SO walked away to avoid saying something nasty. I say “Ah no, they aren’t obsolete and won’t be obsolete… your store caters to young guys who want to race who don’t want a triple…” Realizing what she said, she then takes us over to the “book”. The first bike was in the price range around $1000 but the components were extremely low end (2300). I knew my friend won’t not be happy with that. I asked about the “Ruby”. It came in a triple with Tiagra components but sold at $1900!!! Good lord a low end for $1900!!! We leave knowing our best bet is either fix up her existing bike or find something used.

My beef is with the shops. The inexperience and down right lying sort of pissed me off. If you don’t have friends that know something how do you buy a bike and get a good deal? My friend most likely would have been sold something she didn’t like and would never ride.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:33 AM   #2
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Call local shops, ask to speak to a manager, and ask for exactly what you want. Indicate something along the line of: "I have a friend who is interested in a road bike for a final price of less than $1,000 and that is not primarily white (or whatever). Do you have what she is looking for? If I bring her in, will this be in stock and available for a test ride? Are you good at determining the proper size bikes for females and will take the time to fit her to a bike?"

If you get the right answers, make an appointment. If not, call another shop.

Good luck!
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Old 01-23-12, 10:34 AM   #3
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Shop for a shop first.

Forget about the bike, interview the people. When you find the right shop the rest will be easy.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:40 AM   #4
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Shop for a shop first.

Forget about the bike, interview the people. When you find the right shop the rest will be easy.
+1
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Old 01-23-12, 10:47 AM   #5
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I'm not trying to defend the Specialized store but triples are getting hard to find, especially with entry level bikes. Compact gearing gives a wide range of gears, usually with a choice of 18 combinations. They are easier to shift and not as finicky as triples. They are also cheaper for manufacturers to produce.

Since you know what size your friend needs, you might consider this place

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm

I know lots of people here have brought from them and it's probably the best valve you can find for new bikes around.
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Old 01-23-12, 10:54 AM   #6
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Since you know what size your friend needs, you might consider this place

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm

I know lots of people here have brought from them and it's probably the best valve you can find for new bikes around.
The Gigi looks like it would fit her needs/wants and is $800.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/gigi.htm
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Old 01-23-12, 11:05 AM   #7
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Trek has an entry level road bike with a triple and it's a WSD. I'm 5'3" and love my Trek WSD bikes. If you can find a good Trek bike shop in your area you might want to take a look at the Lexa S.

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/colle...t/lexa/lexa_s#
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Old 01-23-12, 11:09 AM   #8
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I'll look at Bikes Direct. Thanks for the infor.

As to shops...one of the reasons my SO started building bikes is that shops around here (literally) stink. They aren't any great shops anymore. If I want something I travel 4 hours up to a shop in Santa Maria (Main Street Cycles). Everything down in SO Cal is a concept store (so no variety) and manned by high school kids (so no experience)...
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Old 01-23-12, 11:25 AM   #9
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I don't know if it would have been the right bike for her, but this is what they should have shown her at the Specialized store. I'm sure you didn't really expect to find a carbon bike like the Ruby for close to $1K

Anytime I shop for anything, I try to go into the store with a good idea of what is on the market and what might be what I want, but try to keep an open mind for other choices. It is unfortunate that your friend shunned her responsibilities and left it to you to be the adult shopper. By rights, she should be stuck with whatever a salesperson convinces her to buy.

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Old 01-23-12, 11:29 AM   #10
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After hearing all that....I love my local shop even more

http://bicyclecityonline.com/product...formance-1014/

they might could ship to you
Got a feeling the site hasn't been update recently but they have good prices like that most of the time.

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Old 01-23-12, 12:17 PM   #11
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It really stinks to get bad information. My LBS is pretty good. They have been great with Trek warranty service (had many wheel problems with my Trek 1500).
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Old 01-23-12, 12:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
They are easier to shift and not as finicky as triples.
I have no idea why that would be. I think triples are easier to shift, because the chainrings have fewer teeth differences between rings. And there's absolutely nothing about triples that requires more finicky adjustments.

Quote:
They are also cheaper for manufacturers to produce.
Aha! now you've put your finger on the REAL reason why compacts are being foisted on the public!
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Old 01-23-12, 12:42 PM   #13
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I'll look at Bikes Direct. Thanks for the infor.

As to shops...one of the reasons my SO started building bikes is that shops around here (literally) stink. They aren't any great shops anymore. If I want something I travel 4 hours up to a shop in Santa Maria (Main Street Cycles). Everything down in SO Cal is a concept store (so no variety) and manned by high school kids (so no experience)...
If your friend doesn't change a flat Bikedirect is not for her. She would have to do some assembly or have a shop do it and it is a lot more than changing a flat. The wheels will more than likely need to be trued and the componants adjusted. Think long and hard before sending a novice to an online ordering place that doesn't have a store to check out. Performance at least has a store if there is one close to you. Tripples are a bit harder to find now that SRAM has added their wide range cassettes for the compact cranks. But still some makers offer them.

As everyone has said a good LBS is worth its weight in gold. But with the economy they are geting hard to find. One of the better stores here is closing their doors at the end of the month. I have two stores within 3 stores within 6 miles from me but only two I take my bike to. If one on the mechanics leave the closest one I will be down to one. I bought a Jamis about two years ago with a compact double and a 12-26 or 27 cassette. I rode it with our group for maybe a year and it was pretty trouble free even with SORA. Still if there is one close have her chack out a Performance Store. That way she can still see feel or touch any bike she is interested in and they service what the sell. http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...10052_10551_-1 Once she has tried a road bike she might be able to buy something off line but the best advice I ever got from these forums was, "try before you buy".
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Old 01-23-12, 12:53 PM   #14
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^^^^ There is a Performance shop near:

2745 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92782

If, however, this is one of the shops that didnt' treat you all properly, I'd ask to see the manager. I've had both positive and less than stellar experiences at three different Performance locations, however, in every case the mangers worked hard to make the less than stellar experience a positive one.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:55 PM   #15
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. It is unfortunate that your friend shunned her responsibilities and left it to you to be the adult shopper. By rights, she should be stuck with whatever a salesperson convinces her to buy.
You were kidding right... if she listened to the kid in the shop she would have purchased a pricey bike that was ill-fitting, didn't suit her riding style that had Wal-Mart components.

I knew going in $1000 doesn't buy much. I paid alittle $7500 for mine (which was fully custom, had custom wheels and top end components). But I was surprised at how little for the money you could get the Specialized shop. My friend would be better off at Performance or REI - they offer better bikes for the money.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:58 PM   #16
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^^^^ There is a Performance shop near:

2745 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92782

.
Thanks I am familiar with the store, a friend of mine is the manager! It's fairly small though, the bigger store is in Aliso Viejo down the road. Will have to look there next. Although frankly I'm now convinced used is the way to go...

Mobile... my SO would build up the bike for my friend, that's not an issue. She would just have to buy him a good dinner somewhere.

I think why I posted is just the experience. I love my SO and he is worth his weight in gold since I don't have to go to shops anymore for maintenance etc. To me shops are for chains and lube but not much else. So Cal is plague with concept shops, few offering good service. And none, and I mean none, cater to an old newbie woman who doesn't want to spend much. If you ain't young and looking for a pricey race bike, they have no time for you.

I will stop tonight at my friend's Performance to see what they have. I agree I really ant her to try out a physical bike before buying.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:59 PM   #17
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Thanks I am familiar with the store, a friend of mine is the manager! It's fairly small though, the bigger store is in Aliso Viejo down the road. Will have to look there next. Although frankly I'm now convinced used is the way to go...
Used can be a real bargin, or nightmare. I've been lucky with used purchases, but have friends who have not. Good luck, and be careful.
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Old 01-23-12, 01:17 PM   #18
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You were kidding right... if she listened to the kid in the shop she would have purchased a pricey bike that was ill-fitting, didn't suit her riding style that had Wal-Mart components.
No. I wasn't kidding. I am not saying that whatever the kid at the shop sold her would the the right bike for her. I am saying that by refusing to take responsibility for her purchase, she puts herself at the mercy of others.

"She has some difficult parameters: 1) she knows nothing about bikes and doesn’t want to know. If it’s any bother, she is not interested. She knows nothing about fit, or components etc. and doesn’t want to know "

With an attitude like that, I hope she at least appreciates the burden you are taking on in being responsible for her. She is very lucky to have you around.
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Old 01-23-12, 01:50 PM   #19
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Fortunately, my LBS is owned and manned by older people. I don't think anyone there is under 35. The owner is in his 40s or 50s and the girl I often talk to and get assistance from, is in her 50s and a Tri-athlete.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:06 PM   #20
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Used can be a real bargin, or nightmare. I've been lucky with used purchases, but have friends who have not. Good luck, and be careful.
The SO is the king of Craigslist - he buys and sells on it alot. That's his job if we go that route.

I'm thinking maybe the best thing is to fix up my Lemond (have to change out the handlebars and pedals) and let her ride that when the dirt trails are wet... I'll make her buy me lunch afterwards. Cheaper for her and way less headache for me!
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Old 01-23-12, 03:13 PM   #21
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I would think finding smaller(or larger) bikes in stock could be kinda hard. I know our shop stocks a lot of 54/56 cm bikes(for men). Haven't looked at the choices for women. I did find a few 58s and even a 61 however.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:20 PM   #22
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If you can do your own service and setup mechanics, and know what you need in general , then 2nd hand, or web-stores are OK.

If the mechanics of a bike are not your strength, then the shop is there to help..

Trouble is people want something for cheap , and you cannot keep good mechanic
with skills that take time to acquire, for minimum wage and no health insurance.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:39 PM   #23
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Somewhere there has to be a shop in your area that will give you better treatment.

I am looking at a CX bike at present and My shop does not carry much stock right now. So I am looking online. Think I am like your friend as the gearing on the bikes that are worth it are wrong for what I want-The ones I am interested in do not come down to my frame size and some of the colours are diabolical.

Think you have to sit down with your friend and look online. Come to an idea of what is suitable for her tastes and the riding she will want to do. Get a more firm idea before you go back into the shop and tell them what you want. Gives no scope for the salesman to treat you like an idiot.

But the idea of loaning a bike sound like your best bet. I did this to a friend of mine 6 months ago and in fact sold him my old bike cheap once he was happy with it. Only problem with that will come in 6 months time when you ride with her as after all those years of sitting around and becoming unfit- She will beat you up the hills and always be the one in the lead that you struggle to stay with on the flats.
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Old 01-23-12, 03:47 PM   #24
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Since you and your SO have lots of road bike knowledge, and you know your friend well, use your time to research all the different bike brands online. Find the make, model with the features that'll work, then find a LBS that either has the model in stock or will order it.

Rather then rely on expertise at local shops, doing your homework up front before shopping will yield better results.

All the best...

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Old 01-23-12, 04:47 PM   #25
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This makes me appreciate my LBS all the more.
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