I posted this originally in the "Introductions" section under my thread titled "Gas prices leading me to explore" . . . and then realized I needed to post it elsewhere. So here it is, in all of it's cut and pasted glory:
The trip to the bike shop went great . . . with one small deviation from the plan. We didn't come home with any bikes in the back of the Pathy.
We did, however, put a $50 deposit on a brand new bicycle for my daughter.
The shop was great. Several people were in and out while we were there (I've always taken customer traffic as a good sign for any privately owned store) and the guy who waited on us was wonderful. After getting the $100 24" Trek MT220 out for Stephanie to test ride, he made a suggestion . . .
"See how she's all bunched up . . . how her legs stay bent most of the time and how she's hunched over? She could really use a bigger bike."
He proceeded to explain to us about the difference between "adult" sizes and "child" sizes . . . and how my daughter is tall enough to actually ride an adult bike. Made sense, because even though she's only 10 years old she's almost as tall as I am. He asked us what type of riding she does mostly (around the neighborhood and to friend's houses that are less than a mile away) and he said that he felt she could take a small-frame women's bike. In a very nice way, he asked what my price range was (without making me feel cheap for not wanting to spend over a thousand dollars) and I laughed and told him that I had planned on spending no more than $150 for her a bike to last her through the fall and into next spring. I told him that my plan was to spend that much and then buy her a bigger bike when she needed it. I also explained that I was going to be looking for another bike as well, to commute to work.
We then went back into the shop and he showed us some small-framed women's bikes. Pulling a Raleigh SC30 (aluminum frame) off the rack, he began to tell us about it and that it was one of the less expensive bikes that they carry but that it was a decent bike to own. He wheeled it outside, adjusted the seat for Steph, and told her to ride it around the parking lot. As she rode it, he called out to her to switch to certain gears . . . to peddle a certain way . . . and then he turned to us and said, "Now, see how her legs extend when she peddles? And how her arms aren't bent almost completely at the elbows? This is a better size for her." And he was right. Stephanie rode around that parking lot with a smile on her face and when she was finished he told me to get on and try it. It felt wonderful . . . the first words out of my mouth were a shocked "My butt doesn't hurt!!!!" Of course, that is probably because of what my husband jokingly called a "fat-bottom-girl" seat. What can I say? He's a Queen fan . . . lol.
So, anyways . . . we went back inside and he showed us several other bikes . . . but Stephanie always kept returning to that SC30. Even though it was black and champagne with a little gold on the decal, she seemed to really like it. The salesguy asked us to wait a second, and he went into the back of the shop and after a few minutes came back out with a brochure. He said that they had the '06 model of the SC30 (which is now called a Venture 3.0) and that they had sold the assembled model last week. He had checked and they had one still boxed up in the back . . . and then he showed us a picture and it was a gorgeous powder blue. You can see it here: http://www.raleighusa.com/items.asp...306&childid=471
My daughter immediately decided that she liked it and we made the decision to buy it. The only problem? I only had about $200 extra to spend until I get paid next week and the bike was $279 ($300 after taxes). He said "No problem, we've got a 90 day layaway. Be happy to put it on hold for ya." He even offered to give us a good deal on the '05 SC30 that we had ridden . . . for me. Seeing my hesitation (I wasn't sure a comfort bike would suit my needs (daily 6 mile - one way - commute to work over very nice paved roads, and the possibility of longer rides in the future) . . . even though I really liked it . . . I don't like buying stuff for myself, lol) he told us to think it over and let him know when we picked up Steph's bike. He even suggested that she and I could share the Venture . . . that would give me some time to really ride the thing and get to know if I wanted it or something different. He explained that they offered 90 days of free adjustments (cables and etc. . . ) because the bike will need them after she has ridden it and it's loosened up some . . .
Here is my question. I know that he seemed really nice, but most salesmen do. The only difference between the bikes is that the '05 model is a 21 speed and the '06 model is a 7 speed. The '05 was priced at $279 (which was the exact same price as the '06) and he offered to drop it down to $249 if we bought them both. We talked about it all the way home and my husband said he felt like they should have dropped the price on the '05 a little more because next year's model is already out. Is this true? Is $300 (after tax) too much to pay for the '06 for my daughter? Is the "lifetime frame warranty" really worth that much? Does my daughter really need something with more than 7 gears? Is the difference between the value of the 21 speed vs. the 7 speed enough to bring the price on the 21 speed up?
It all seemed so fine and wonderful in the shop . . . now buyer's remorse is setting in.