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Old 03-26-06, 05:51 PM   #1
Pale Rider
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LBS Advice Needed

Okay, so thanks to some research and some good input from these forums, I had a couple of different models of bikes that I wanted to test ride as a commuter bike/weekend recreational bike. The bikes are the Jamis Coda Sport and the Specialized Sirrus Sport. Both bikes are lower end bikes, priced at $600(Jamis) and $660(Specialized), but which I think will adequately fit my needs. Being as I'm just getting back into riding after having been away for 15 years or so, I think this particular type of bike and useage is the smartest way to go.

Shop #1 (the Jamis dealer) didn't stock the Coda Sport and said they would have to special order that bike. When I explained to the guy on the phone that I'm in the "test-ride & fit" phase of choosing a bike, I believe he immediately lost inerest in me, judging by the silence at the other end. After the pause, he said he'd have to check with the "warehouse" to see if they have one in stock, and that in the meantime I should just come into the shop and check out their selection. WTH?! I got the impression that, because I wasn't ready to plunk down money immediately for a $2,000 bike that was IN STOCK, I was merely an inconvenience to him. But in the off-chance he could sell me a more expensive bike, he wanted to get me in the store.

Shop #2 (the Specialized dealer) didn't have an '06 model of the Sirrus Sport in stock, but that I could try out their '05 Sirrus Comp (med) for fit. This guy was, to his credit, trying to be accomodating. He did say something towards the end of the phone conversation that made me think, though. He said that his store mainly sells "high-end road bikes"--his words. And I will definitely go down to his store to fit the Sirrus Comp. But I won't buy it, as it is $1,000 and well beyond my price range, of which the gentleman was well aware.

I live in Bend, Oregon, where people are willing to pony up wads of cash for high end road and mountain bikes. Obviously, the bike shops are going to stock what sells, as does any retailer. My problem is, I don't want a "high-end bike", yet. I'm just getting back into cycling and want to get started by commuting and recreational weekend riding. For this useage, I don't need a bike costing more than $600-$700. Also, I can't fit or test-ride a bike if it isn't in stock, and I get the impression that the bike shop isn't going to special order a bike just for me to test-ride it, what with no guarantee that I will purchase it. Finally, it seems that, at least in the case of the Jamis dealer, I'm going to get the old dealer shuffle where you go into the shop looking for one thing and they try to sell you something more expensive instead.

Is this a common issue I'm having, or is it just because I live in a resort town?

Oh, and by the way, how much more than MSRP should I expect to pay at the bike shop?

Last edited by Pale Rider; 03-26-06 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 03-26-06, 06:10 PM   #2
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I can't really dispense any advice as I'm new myself but I did check "Google Local" for you and found many other bike shops. Perhaps you will have better luck at some of these shops? Post back and let us know.

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Old 03-26-06, 08:43 PM   #3
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First off, I'm not quite sure why it's so offensive to you that the first shop had to check with the manufacturer to see if the bike is in stock and suggested you stop by. Checking with the manufacturer is the only possible next course of action and I'll suggest a visit if someone wants to test something and we might have something similar in stock. It's an opportunity for us to sell ourselves/our service if we can get a customer into the shop.

Ask either shop if they're willing to order the bike in for you just to test ride, rather than formulating assumptions beforehand. Most shops I've been at will do so with either a refundable deposit or a credit card number (or if it's a bread and butter model for them, without either). If you're just getting back into cycling after 15 years, it seems a bit odd that you're certain you're getting the "old dealer shuffle." Going in with an open mind can make the whole experience smoother. The two people you spoke with definitely could have been more intelligent and tactful with you, but you don't always get the shop's best answering the phones. Despite what you hear from the same couple members on these forums, bike shops aren't out to screw you. I'd suggest stopping by each of the shops in your area that might have something to offer you and basing your decision on your opinion of the shops/people, and their ability to get you a bike that will properly fit your needs.

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Old 03-26-06, 08:52 PM   #4
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Yes, there are other shops in the area, but they don't offer the same brands of bike that I had already narrowed my list down to.

UPDATE: So I went down to Century Cycles (the Jamis dealer), where the guy said he was open until 6pm. I got there at five o'clock, and the store is closed! Even his Hours sign states that the store is open on Sundays until 6pm. I was a bit peeved, as I had gone all the way across town to see if I could maybe get him to order a Jamis Coda Sport in for me. Okay, fine. On to plan B.

I went to Hutch's Bikes (the Specialized dealer), which is also open until 6pm. The Hutch's guys let me test ride the Sirrus Comp, which is the same frame and sizing as the Sirrus Sport. The bike size seemed right (medium), and they said they would gladly order the Sirrus Sport in for me to try out.

While the Hutch's guy was taking my name and phone number, I mentioned to him that I had also been considering the Jamis bike, and told him of my experiences with Century Cycles, both on the phone and when I went to the store. The Hutch's guy said I wasn't the first customer to have such experiences with Century Cycles. He said it was too bad, because Jamis is a good bike.

Anyway, if all goes well I will testride the Sirrus in a week or so and if it fits, I'll be riding it home, with accessories of course. Also, this shop offers 20% discount on any accessories for the first 30 days, then 10% for as long as you own your bike after that. That's good, right?

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Old 03-26-06, 09:52 PM   #5
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Old 03-27-06, 09:00 AM   #6
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Since you have been away from cycling for 15 years, I wonder why you are even worrying or have a list of specific brands to try. I would say to go to a few shops and try out what they have in stock. IMO, bike fit is more important than brand loyalty. And if service after the sale is of any importance, then I would say shopping the shop is as important as any other consideration.

Sounds to me you are going after the newer style flat bar road bike. Everyone is offering something in that type of bike. FUJI, Rocky Mountain, Jamis, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Trek - they are all offering up something. And if you shop around, a closeout from last year might be gathering dust on someone's floor. This type of bike is not a hot bed of innovation. Year to year colors change, but not much else.
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