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  1. #1
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    Purchased a new bike from BD and will share experience

    I recently purchased a new bike from BikesDirect and will share my experience. After reading many, many posts on this and other forums I assume I will be beat up and called a shill. I will let the general readership decide.

    Background:

    I do a couple of short triathlons a year. I have been riding a 30 pound hybrid mountain bike. I decided to replace. I am a big-time Internet purchaser. I purchased everything I possibly can on the Internet. I purchased my car, my wife’s car, etc. Anything significant that I purchase I usually seek out some forums and start lurking to learn as much as I can. I had actually never thought about buying a bike online. My bikes and kids bikes all been purchased at LBS. In this case I read some posts, some good and some bad about BikesDirect. After visiting the site I became very interested in the 15.1 pound Le Champion bike. Could not find anything close to this weight in price range at my LBS.

    The same week I was having a meeting with some co-workers and two of the guys in the meeting had purchased this exact bike on the web site and shared a positive experience. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the bike. A 2007 black 56cm Le. Champion SL with American Classic wheels. I went to two LBS to try to get an idea on sizing and I could not get either store to really engage me on what size I needed. They said that would happen after I purchased the bike. I finally choose 56cm after spending considerable time using the various calculators online and asking BD. I am 5'11 1/2" and have a 34" inseam. I purchased 10:00 PM on a Sunday evening. On Monday morning I sent an email and tried to change to a 58cm. BD told me it was too late the bike was already on the way. Which turned out to be true.

    On Thursday I received my bike. It came a lot faster then I expected. The only problem is that the bike I received was a 52cm Pearl White with different wheel than I ordered. In some ways I was lucky because now I could order a 58cm instead of the 56cm.

    I went ahead and ordered a replacement 58cm bike. I hate having almost $3k with BD but I could not wait for the bike to be retuned and them to then send me another one. I also sent an email over the week-end sharing that I received the wrong bike. I received a reply email this morning that I should ship it back and they would refund minus shipping. I was what the heck! I wrote back an email asking why I should pay for their mistake. I have not heard back yet but will share what I hear. I most certainly will not be paying for shipping.

    I will share the rest of this experience as it unfolds. Couple of things I want to share

    - How much the bike actually weighs. They advertise 15.1 lbs but I just can't believe this is true. Will be happy if it is in the ballpark. But I will share the true answer.
    - I have been doing a 13.4 mile run each evening. It is very, very flat without traffic. I do it with an average of 17.9 mph. I am anxious to see what improvement I experience with the new bike. I am hoping for 1mph improvement.

    I did want to share my experience on getting sized at the LBS. As I mentioned above the first two stores would not really give me any indication on size. I went out Saturday to three more LBS. My goal was to get a feeling on if I should reorder a 56 or 58. I went to the first store and the sales kid was rude, in my opinion. He only had a 56 and 60 in the particular bike he was trying to sell me. He insisted that I was a 60cm. That he was an expert and absolutely a 60cm. The second store had a 58cm and the store owner was extremely nice. He told me he thought I was a 58cm. The third store I also worked with the owner. An extremely nice guy. He also had a couple of 56cm bikes and really no 58s. He thought I was a 56. He actually was pretty convincing. In all cases I was looking at the same Trek bike.

    Just so people don't think I am a complete jerk wasting these guys time. I have eight kids and we have purchased bikes from two of the bike stores. Plus we will buy many additional bikes and how I was treated will go a long way. I really did not see any kids bikes on BikesDirect.com.

  2. #2
    Better rider 20 yrs ago fprintf's Avatar
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    Each bike is different, so a 58cm BD bike may or may not fit you as well as a 56/58 cm Trek. Furthermore, adjustments through the different ranges on each bike may make one bike more in-line with what you find comfortable. All in all it seems to be some science, some experience, and some trial and error. I have a 58cm Trek 1500 and have dimensions similar to yours - 6'0", 33" inseam, limited flexibility. A 56 cm in the same bike fit me almost as well.

    Good luck getting your refund including the shipping.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartturner
    I did want to share my experience on getting sized at the LBS. As I mentioned above the first two stores would not really give me any indication on size. I went out Saturday to three more LBS. My goal was to get a feeling on if I should reorder a 56 or 58. I went to the first store and the sales kid was rude, in my opinion. He only had a 56 and 60 in the particular bike he was trying to sell me. He insisted that I was a 60cm. That he was an expert and absolutely a 60cm. The second store had a 58cm and the store owner was extremely nice. He told me he thought I was a 58cm. The third store I also worked with the owner. An extremely nice guy. He also had a couple of 56cm bikes and really no 58s. He thought I was a 56. He actually was pretty convincing. In all cases I was looking at the same Trek bike.
    Hello, LBS, I was wondering if you could fit me to a bike so I can go order online? No? Why not? This is an outrage! I think I'll go post on the internet about how I've been treated!

  4. #4
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    15.1 pounds? In what size? The different frame sizes are different weights. The Champion also comes(The two I put together did anyway) with barcons rather than Brifters, that makes a weight difference as well.
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  5. #5
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    I have a Trek OCLV in a size 56, and I am two inches shorter than you. I wish I had bought the size 58. And, if I were as tall as you, I'd buy the size 60.

    The ideal size depends on a lot of factors other than leg length. Your riding style, your riding goals, your age, and other factors are also important.

    If I were age 20, and buying a bike for riding short crits, or short time trials, the lower position of a size 56 would be ideal. But, for long rides in heavy city traffic, I want my head up where I can keep a close eye on the SUV on my left, and the pickup truck on my right, and a size 58 would make that position easier to attain.

    In your case, if you are buying the bike strictly for racing, and will be in short races on closed courses, a size 58 will probably work. If you are not intending to get a racing license, and will be riding on public roads that have a lot of traffic, you probably should be looking at the size 60.

    But, I'm sure that the customer service experts at BikesDirect have already spent a great deal of discussing these factors with you...just like the time spent by the staff at the three neighborhood stores where you got "free" fittings, by pretending you were interested in buying an expensive road bike from them.

    Why is it that most folks who post to brag about buying from BikesDirect are "brand new" Forum members, and why do most of them seem to have the ethics and morals of a Louisiana politician?

  6. #6
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    Was not "bragging" about buying at BikesDirect. Just sharing my experience. It is a small data set but it seemed to me that bike sizing at a LBS was swayed towards whatever bike they had in stock.

  7. #7
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartturner
    Was not "bragging" about buying at BikesDirect. Just sharing my experience. It is a small data set but it seemed to me that bike sizing at a LBS was swayed towards whatever bike they had in stock.
    I've read a few posts with rants like that about their LBS trying to push bikes in sizes that may or may not fit them best, but in sizes that they have "in stock".

    I guess I got lucky... my original LBS didn't have them so they sent me to their "other" store, which was actually closer to my home. Prior to that, another LBS told me they didn't have my size but they could order it for me. I never felt pressured but I did find that good service depended on who you spoke to.

    Good luck with BD and hopefully you get your issue resolved soon.
    This day will be over... one of these days!

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  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Hello, LBS, I was wondering if you could fit me to a bike so I can go order online? No? Why not? This is an outrage! I think I'll go post on the internet about how I've been treated!
    Actually some shops offer fitting as a service that you can purchase... why would they care what you do with the info if you paid them for the service.

    I don't buy glasses from the Dr that does my eye exam... same thing.

  9. #9
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec

    I don't buy glasses from the Dr that does my eye exam... same thing.
    The difference is you pay for your eye exam, right? Then no reason why the OP shouldn't pay for his fitting.
    Not too much to say here

  10. #10
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    You're illustrating the value of a GOOD LBS very well here.

  11. #11
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    Update

    I received the 2nd bike this morning. Purchased on Saturday, shipped on Monday and received it today. Very fast. They also sent a UPS paid shipping label to send back the wrong 1st bike they sent. So BD had done the right thing and not making me pay any shipping for the 1st bike.

    This sizing is really tough. The 58cm is probably a tiny bit too big. Would probably have been off with a 56cm. This has been the toughest part of purchasing online.

    I built the bike on my lunch hour. It was very easy. But completely worthless instructions. I know little about bikes but have a mechanical mind. So I was able to figure out everything. I have a really knowledgeable bike friend at work and he looked it over and told me I did not screw anything up. I also had him look into why the front wheel was making a rubbing sound. It was not the brakes or fork. He took the wheel off and on a couple of times and was able to make the rubbing noise go away. But it is not clear to me what was causing it.

    The bike did not come with American Classic 420s like I expected but instead Ritchey Protocols. Have not gone through everything else to make sure it is there. Not sure how I feel about the difference in wheels.

    I am really, really excited to take it for a spin this evening. It is really hot here so will need to wait until dusk.

    BTW, I did weigh the bike. It was on a dial scale and my eyes are very bad reading the scale so I could be off by as much as 1 pound. I weighed myself without the bike and then holding the bike. It looked to be right at 15 pounds. This was without pedals, water bottle or reflectors. Will try to do a more scientific weighing this evening.
    Last edited by bartturner; 07-18-07 at 02:24 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    Looking forward to your updates.....

  13. #13
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    I would say you would be a 56cm on the Trek Geometries that you were trying since I was 2 inches shorter and had a 56 found it too big after they sold me that one and took it back for a 54cm. My dad was interested in getting a new bike and was looking for the value from BD.. this seems interesting. The hassle may be worth it for saving a grand for a similar component Trek bike from the LBS.

  14. #14
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Sizing also depends on the realitive torso/leg length. Not just overall height.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Actually some shops offer fitting as a service that you can purchase... why would they care what you do with the info if you paid them for the service.

    I don't buy glasses from the Dr that does my eye exam... same thing.
    I think there are two issues raised here though. One is that unless he told the bike shop that he wanted to get fitted to a bike in the shop so he could buy online, he was just going in and getting a free fitting under the pretext that he wanted to buy a bike.

    Shame on him.

    The other issue, which I didn't pick up the first time I read it, was that some of the bike shops were pushing bikes in whatever size they had in stock, rather than fitting him to the size he needed. Now, we all know that we can ride a range of sizes, and they may have been pushing bikes in his size range (or not), but they should have fit him to the right size bike.

    Shame on them.



    Quote Originally Posted by bartturner View Post
    I went to two LBS to try to get an idea on sizing and I could not get either store to really engage me on what size I needed. They said that would happen after I purchased the bike.
    That's because they're on to guys like you.

  16. #16
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    While you want the ideal frame size, I have bikes that are called 54 and bikes that are called 56 and bikes that are called 57(and some called medium and some called large and some 18"s and a 17"). They all fit me fine, with different stems and seat positions.

    We tend to size for comfort, so I might put someone on a "close" bike to see how they feel on it. That does not mean I want them to buy that bike anymore than sizing someone on a bike above or below thier price range means I want them to buy that bike. There are only so many spaces for bikes in a shop. Most shops cannot afford every size and model in stock, much less on the floor.

  17. #17
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck View Post
    Sizing also depends on the realitive torso/leg length. Not just overall height.
    And age, health, fitness, flexibility, type of riding, what kind of feel the rider likes etc. etc.

    Attempting to size for an online purchase by posting "I'm 5'10" what size should I ride?" is a crap shoot.

  18. #18
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    xxx
    Last edited by doctortalk121; 08-12-07 at 01:21 PM.

  19. #19
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    Thank you for the post.
    From this review I would never buy a bike from BD. First time wrong bike, second time 'almost' the bike you expected. I would expect better service for the money.

  20. #20
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    Update

    My older son's bike had a flat tire on Saturday so ran to LBS to get a new tube. While purchasing I noticed that they had a variety of tune ups available. One was only $35 and seemed perfect for what I needed. I purchased the tube and asked about the tune ups. He really pushed the $55 tune up but did not really know my particular situation. Told him that I have my bike in my car and would like to get the $35 tune up.

    Bring the bike in and he tells me that bike will have to have the $55 tune up. I asked why? Which he was then speechless with no explanation. I asked him if he thought the wheels would need to be trued? I thought that was done at the factory. I went through each thing that the $55 tune up did that was not included in the $35. He could not find anything and agreed to do the $35 tune up. This kind of stuff really irks me.

    As I mentioned before we have four LBS within a couple of miles of my house. We have purchased a couple of bikes from this store and the guy knows me as I am in often. In the last week I have purchased a high powered pump, inexpensive set of peddles and a tube. I would like it to be the place we go to. I have recommended to others. I thought it was going to be perfect as it is run by the guy that owns it, it is a lot smaller than the other three and much more simple inside.

    But this experience is a huge turn off for me. We have purchase several of these relatively expensive kids bikes from him called Jamis. BTW, we love these no speed 20" kids bikes. So maybe he was shocked I purchased a bike online but give me a break.

    Having eight kids and me getting into biking we are going to have a lot of LBS business. Plus just word of mouth as we are involved with lots of other local families through my kids various activities.

    I have only been involved in biking for a short time. But from the forums and visiting LBS there seems to just be a ton of attitude. Some of the posts here are just silly.

    I think the LBS is going at it all wrong. People are going to buy bikes online. They should find ways to support from a service and accessories standpoint. They will be fine. This is just IMHO. Just think if I walked in with the bike and they said that was great. Here is what you need and we are here to support you.

    I am pushing my wife to join me in my new biking hobby. I will purchase her bike at BD. Nothing in my experience so far would stop me. I got a great bike for an inexpensive price and I am willing to do the extra work that is requried to get it right. Yes, it would be a lot easier going the traditional route but in the end it would cost me more money and I would not have learned any where near as much as I have learned. Quickly the items that have been extra with BD

    1) Time spent receiving the wrong bike and sending it back
    2) Building the bike. Found it educational and very easy
    3) Bringing the bike to a LBS for a tune up.
    4) Getting the bike fitted. I still need to do this. What I have discovered for myself is that I will not fit off the shelve. A 56 would have needed adjustment. My 58 will need adjustment. I have talked to a lot of people about this and been told this is very common.
    5) Separate purchase of peddles and installation
    6) Separate purchase of aero bars and installation

    For 5 and 6 if I purchased at LBS would have got everything done at one time when I purchased the bike. But would have paid more and very important to me, would not have learned as much.

    In reply to ttopas. The 2nd time I got exactly the bike I ordered, a 58cm. Not sure why you wrote "almost". On that you would never purchase from BD that is your decision which I respect. I am just trying to write my experience here as factual as possible and let others make their decisions. The good and bad. But the entire experience because it does not end when the bike is delivered. There is additional work to be done.
    Last edited by bartturner; 07-23-07 at 07:37 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    He said 'almost' because of the wheel difficulties.
    Not too much to say here

  22. #22
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    You did a fine job purchasing your bike , I like the review and follow up you
    did . Don't mind Alan He's just a hater. Alan are you telling me the bikes that
    your lbs receive from the top suppliers are just as horribly put together as a BD bike.
    His LBS stated the price up front , then changed it on seeing the brand probably.
    The best thing here is talk to the LBS and be honest tell them what you told us
    that you have purchased a lot bikes from them, and will in the future. Alan
    I am surprised you don't hate craigslist purchases to.

    Dynodan

    Ps Alan I like hearing both sides of the coin, I like reading your posts Alan
    Sometimes they sound angry like bike shop owner, sometimes they sound
    inciteful to what goes on in a LBS, but nothing less I like to hear folks
    Experiences, any time we can get one more bike on the road I am happy.

  23. #23
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    Alan I think you are missing the point. If the LBS told me the $55 includes all the stuff you wrote, tear apart the bike etc, and the $35 does not. That in his experience you should get this done with a Motobecane bike. Then I would have taken in what he said and made a decision. I very well would have probably purchased the $55 tune up.

    What was a problem here is that they could not explain the difference in price for my situtation.

    Not really sure if I really understand the comment that I should buy my bike from Wal-mart. I have a new bike with terrific components and frame that with some work over the next two weeks should be perfect. Once I get it tuned up, fitted, aero bars purchased, new pedals, new saddle, a trainer, new stem and water bottle it should be pefect.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Denny Koll's Avatar
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    I don't understand nickel and diming your local LBS.

  25. #25
    Good Afternoon! SamHouston's Avatar
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    I doubt anyone will call you a shill for being honest with your BD experience. Most of the shills that pose for BD claim to have had wonderful experiences. Your own experience puts you in the category of "guy who got screwed" by BD.

    I'm sure they're nice people, but they sent you the wrong size, wrong colour, wrong components and would like to make you pay for their errors.

    You're out 3G and you don't have a bike.

    Pretty damned unlikely that would have happened to you at an LBS. You may have had to pay a few hundred more, but you would actually be riding a bike, one that's fit for the application you intend it for, one that would likely be fully tuned for free on your next visit, and maybe even found a club to ride with occasionally for fun or training.

    For a bike over 1G the LBS is really your best option, depending on the LBS of course.

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