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.