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Old 05-02-09, 06:04 PM   #1
markaporter
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Better bike off internet? Or lesser properly fitted from LBS and estab relationship?

I'm new, want to thank the forum and all those I've read here for preventing me from having to learn from mistakes like bikes direct knockoffs and dept store bikes. AND for the crash course in what's a bike and what to look for and avoid even at my LBS.

That being said, I should probably already know the answer to this, but - I'm a student, trying to stretch my dollar, want to commute AND train on one bike (and hopefully not a bike that shouts "steal me"), can only afford one bike, bouncing back and forth between older good bikes and newish affordable entry level bikes (Fuji), minimum shimano 105 - what is the better strategy:

a. patiently wait for the better/older bike off of craigslist/ebay and take it to a bike shop I obviously didn't by it from?
b. accept a possibly lesser bike, but properly fitted and establishing that relationship with the LBS with possibly some free maintenance and much better goodwill?

I'm spending < $1000, maybe in that price range it doesn't matter, but i find i can't commit, always wondering maybe I could do better than this one or pay less and still be happy.

1 bike to last a while without a lot of upgrades, not embarrassingly bad and also not a "look at me newbie poser" bike, commute and train, not stolen, stretch dollar.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-02-09, 06:15 PM   #2
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If you're still waffling, I would consider going well under your $1000 budget and pick up an older mid range bike like a Trek or Cannondale. You'll be better able to decide your long term needs by riding something like this and figuring out if you want more performance or more comfort. Pop that one back on CL and make most of your money back, then go shopping in earnest. I'm not sure, due to the pact that shop owners have with suppliers as to the profit margins bike shops use. Could be they make more profit for repairs than selling bikes, probably varies from shop to shop./ I try to strike a good balance, I buy the newer, more available stuff at the LBS and the harder to find vintage stuff on EBay and CL. Pretty much if I can get it or order it through the LBS I will, unless there is a huge price difference, but some stuff is only to be had on the interwebs. Make sure you budget around $75 for a good lock and at least $100 for any bits and pieces you might need(bottle cages, lights, helmet...).
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Old 05-02-09, 06:16 PM   #3
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Unless you are a well-seasoned mechanic - with your own tools - I would suggest going through your LBS for the bicycle. Look for a brand that has a really good warranty. Maybe I'm a cynic, but I've found many bike-shops don't do a very good job on assembling and adjusting a new bicycle for the customer. So expect to be taking it back for adjustments. And the plus-side of this is it gives you incentive to learn bicycle-mechanics so you can start working on your own with the only mechanic you can truly trust: Yourself.

Not trying to steer you, but Trek probably has the best warranty and customer-service going. Let the arguments begin!
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Old 05-02-09, 06:22 PM   #4
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a. patiently wait for the better/older bike off of craigslist/ebay and take it to a bike shop I obviously didn't by it from?
b. accept a possibly lesser bike, but properly fitted and establishing that relationship with the LBS with possibly some free maintenance and much better goodwill?
a) Why would you need to take the bicycle to a bike shop at all?

b) Why would you want to establish a relationship with a place that will likely be closed, or under new managment, in a few years ... and won't know who you are? Oh and ... the likelihood of getting free maintenance is very remote, although you might get 10% off the occasional item.
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Old 05-02-09, 07:13 PM   #5
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Not trying to steer you, but Trek probably has the best warranty and customer-service going.
Funny, but our shop dropped Trek specifically due to their warranty and customer service policies.
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Old 05-02-09, 08:14 PM   #6
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When I got back into cycling I avoided going to a lbs but the only lbs was far away and a bit aloof. Since then a new shop opened and they have built my bike up. I just got a new custom built wheel today If you have a good lbs they will work within your budget and be helpful in the future. I am building my next bike there once my bike savings account allows.
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Old 05-02-09, 09:52 PM   #7
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Because you have professed to be relatively new to cycling a properly fit bike is maybe more important than if you were more seasoned. If you were to get a bike off of CL or Ebay would you know how to spot a worn stretched chain? What to look for on a cassette or chainring for wear? If you can maybe CL will work for you. If not I suggest a LBS.

For $1000 bucks you can get a reasonable ride from a LBS and it would come with some kind of warrantee. As far as service, my LBS gave me free service for as long as I own the bike. I also joined a local bike club and get an additional 10 percent off of parts and accessories. I would suggest a flatbar road bike or Commuter. There are so many of them around it should blend in pretty well. My flat bar is a Masi but Giant, Trek and Specialized all make reasonable fitness bikes that will fit your description of what you are looking for.
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Old 05-02-09, 10:07 PM   #8
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Maybe I'm a cynic, but I've found many bike-shops don't do a very good job on assembling and adjusting a new bicycle for the customer.
Mine don't....not even after taking it in for a free tuneup.....or after paying for a service. This is one of many reasons why I bought my last bike online. I figured, hell, may as well since I always end up having to learn how to correct my LBS's screw ups anyways.
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Old 05-02-09, 11:19 PM   #9
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Funny, but our shop dropped Trek specifically due to their warranty and customer service policies.
Interesting since my experience in dealing with Trek has been nothing short of outstanding.

-R
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Old 05-02-09, 11:31 PM   #10
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Interesting since my experience in dealing with Trek has been nothing short of outstanding.

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Some reps are good, some suck balls.

Their corporate policies however make me want to vomit.
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Old 05-03-09, 07:45 AM   #11
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a) Why would you need to take the bicycle to a bike shop at all?
Look closely and you'll see where th OP has stated they are new to this. They want to commute and train, what magic bikes are you riding that would not need the occasional true, or a bit of service that requires a bicycle tool?


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b) Why would you want to establish a relationship with a place that will likely be closed, or under new managment, in a few years ... and won't know who you are? Oh and ... the likelihood of getting free maintenance is very remote, although you might get 10% off the occasional item.
I've been going to the same store for over 10 years, when I don't I often visit another store that's been around longer, and if I'm in the east side I visit one of several shops been there over a decade.

If I bring in a bike for new cables because I don't want to do it myself and can afford a mechanic, I often find my wheels trued and a hub repacked if it needs it. You get what you give in this world.

Stay out of my bike shops if your experience is they close after meeting you.
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Old 05-03-09, 08:39 AM   #12
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^I agree, everytime I go in for something to checks all the work he has done and adjusts everything for free and better than I can.
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Old 05-03-09, 12:44 PM   #13
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ha, l love this forum. So it sounds like the middle road is - make sure you know it's a good LBS, ask around, etc. OR don't feel bad about bringing them an outside bike, for all they know you bought a year ago and they want your return business, if they care. Just make sure you know what your looking at and a flatbar will blend you in nicely and maybe you'll hang onto your bike (I'm in portland).

I went to the closest LBS as soon as i got on this forum. I really like these guys, but they do a lot of used bikes, which should be up my alley, but a lot of steel bikes, they wanted $400 for a trek 330 - I don't know if you can negotiate, i just wasn't sure if i was paying for more their overhead than for the bike. I've been to a couple that feel like an Abercrombie & Fitch, not comfortable, a couple who's entry level is like a $900 raleigh and it's not even tiagra - so I was thinking of going to this place today, seems pretty reasonable to my untrained eye, whaddya think?:

http://www.hollywoodcycling.net/bikepages/road.htm
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Old 05-03-09, 10:18 PM   #14
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what magic bikes are you riding that would not need the occasional true, or a bit of service that requires a bicycle tool?
My husband or I can fix our own bicycles better than most mechanics I've come across. It's not a bad idea to learn to do your own tuneups.


OP, I would strongly recommend taking some bicycle mechanics classes at your local University, at your local bicycle shop, through your local cycling clubs, or wherever you can find them. I also recommend getting a book or two on bicycle mechanics for reference material. It's just so much more convenient being able to do your own maintenance.



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If I bring in a bike for new cables because I don't want to do it myself and can afford a mechanic, I often find my wheels trued and a hub repacked if it needs it. You get what you give in this world.
Do you mean your LBS does extra work you haven't authorized or requested? If any LBS did that to my bicycle, it would be the last time I darkened their door. Most cyclists do not appreciate it when LBS mechanics touch things on their bicycles without being authorized to do so. But evidently your LBS knows they can get away with taking those liberties with you.

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Old 05-03-09, 11:41 PM   #15
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Do you mean your LBS does extra work you haven't authorized or requested? If any LBS did that to my bicycle, it would be the last time I darkened their door. Most cyclists do not appreciate it when LBS mechanics touch things on their bicycles without being authorized to do so. But evidently your LBS knows they can get away with taking those liberties with you.
In this day an age the bike shop cannot win.

If they see something that is wrong and do not correct it, or at least inform the owner of the problem, they can be sued.

If they do more than asked/authorized to then they can lose a customer with your attitude.

It sounds to me like the poster you quoted and answered has a good relationship with his bike shop mechanics and appreciates them where you have an adversarial relationship with yours. I have found that friendliness and an occasional 6 pack tip does wonders for a working relationship with my LBS folks in a shop that has been around for 35 years and under the same ownership for 30+ of those. Currently claims to be the oldest bike shop in Nevada.
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Old 05-03-09, 11:59 PM   #16
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In this day an age the bike shop cannot win.

If they see something that is wrong and do not correct it, or at least inform the owner of the problem, they can be sued.

If they do more than asked/authorized to then they can lose a customer with your attitude.
If a shop genuinely and honestly sees that something is wrong, that shop should inform the owner of the bicycle of the problem and provide an option for fixing the problem ... if the owner of the bicycle wants. But just going ahead and fixing it without permission is wrong.

It would be wrong if you took your car in for an oil change and they did a bunch of extra stuff to your car that you didn't ask for. It would be wrong if you needed something small adjusted on your washing machine and the company gave it a full overhaul without your permission. However, it would be right in both cases if you were informed that your car or washing machine needed the extra work, and you were give the option of choosing to go ahead and have it done or not.

But if you're happy with a mechanic doing goodness-only-knows-what to your bicycle ... then that's great! Apparently that works for you. Don't know of too many cyclists who would like that, but I guess there are some.

And ... I don't have an adversarial relationship with my LBS. I don't have or use an LBS anymore ... haven't for a couple years.
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Old 05-04-09, 12:23 AM   #17
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a) Why would you need to take the bicycle to a bike shop at all?

b) Why would you want to establish a relationship with a place that will likely be closed, or under new managment, in a few years ... and won't know who you are? Oh and ... the likelihood of getting free maintenance is very remote, although you might get 10% off the occasional item.
It was this post that established your adversarial relationship.

Machka, I know that you no longer have a need for a shop, given that you and your SO are "advanced cyclists"...but how does this help the OP?

Bike shops are to serve the folks just getting into cycling, providing information and services until those folks become cyclists themselves. These customers are the base and the heart of the bicycle industry, an industry that you benefit from. If no entry level products are selling, then no high-end products will be developed since the manufacturers would lack the R&D dollars to do so....no matter how "above" them you feel.

Another way to look at the issue is if beginning cyclists need the bike shop to get started, so be it. That's just that many more people out riding their bikes on the same roads you do, but more importantly, more people that may vote for friendlier cycling conditions for everyone...including you.

Quit looking for faults and you may not find so many.
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Old 05-04-09, 12:41 AM   #18
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Machka, I know that you no longer have a need for a shop, given that you and your SO are "advanced cyclists"...but how does this help the OP?
This helps the OP:

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OP, I would strongly recommend taking some bicycle mechanics classes at your local University, at your local bicycle shop, through your local cycling clubs, or wherever you can find them. I also recommend getting a book or two on bicycle mechanics for reference material. It's just so much more convenient being able to do your own maintenance.
If you are going to use an LBS, it's a very good idea to go in knowing something about bicycles and bicycle maintenance. It's also a very good idea to ask questions. Don't take what the LBS mechanic says at face value ... if it sounds odd, ask questions.




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Another way to look at the issue is if beginning cyclists need the bike shop to get started, so be it. That's just that many more people out riding their bikes on the same roads you do, but more importantly, more people that may vote for friendlier cycling conditions for everyone...including you.
I won't even go into my opinions on that here.


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Quit looking for faults and you may not find so many.
I don't have to look for faults to know they exist ... that's why I'm warning the OP to learn something about bicycles on his/her own as soon as possible.
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Old 05-04-09, 12:46 AM   #19
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Getting back to the OP---

Limited bike experience-Limited Bike mechanical experience- and not really knowing what bike to get-



First find your LBS.

Sounds stupid but a good LBS will solve your problems. They will advise you on the bike- be able to cover any warranty issue in the future and sell you a bike that fits you and your use.

Now comes the problem-

"How to find a good LBS"
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Old 05-04-09, 01:04 AM   #20
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This helps the OP:<snip>
I'm not sure that it does.

One could easily equate your post with cars as a statement that they should learn all about auto mechanics before learning to drive. Certainly, some knowledge of how it operates will allow one to make a more informed choice in whom to choose and for what particular services rendered, but this is far from a requirement.

If you discussing trust rather than self-sufficiency...I have a feeling that trust in the abilities of others is a rarity for you. After all, anyone in the bicycle industry is a bloodsucker...n'est-ce pas?
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Old 05-04-09, 01:12 AM   #21
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Machkas advice if you KNOW you are goin to do this long term. It will be tons more enjoyable in the long run. It will pay off bigtime, it will save you tons of hedaches and time.

jtarver's advice if you are going to do this at least part time, dont have much money and need to make every dollar count, and NEED to get rolling NOW.

The LBS route if you NEED to get going NOW, have money, are only a recreational bicycle driver, and are not sure if you are going to be cycling on a regular basis, IF AT ALL. Did I mention that you need to have money? As in a good amount?

Good Luck! Show us your bike when you get it.
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Old 05-04-09, 01:14 AM   #22
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I'm not sure that it does.

One could easily equate your post with cars as a statement that they should learn all about auto mechanics before learning to drive. Certainly, some knowledge of how it operates will allow one to make a more informed choice in whom to choose and for what particular services rendered, but this is far from a requirement.

If you discussing trust rather than self-sufficiency...I have a feeling that trust in the abilities of others is a rarity for you. After all, anyone in the bicycle industry is a bloodsucker...n'est-ce pas?

I couldn't equate her post with car drivers learning all about auto mechanics before learning to drive.

No.

I don't think its the same thing

Who know maybe I am wrong.
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Old 05-04-09, 01:30 AM   #23
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I'm not sure that it does.

One could easily equate your post with cars as a statement that they should learn all about auto mechanics before learning to drive. Certainly, some knowledge of how it operates will allow one to make a more informed choice in whom to choose and for what particular services rendered, but this is far from a requirement.

If you discussing trust rather than self-sufficiency...I have a feeling that trust in the abilities of others is a rarity for you. After all, anyone in the bicycle industry is a bloodsucker...n'est-ce pas?
Somehow or another you are completely misreading me.

I said, "If you are going to use an LBS, it's a very good idea to go in knowing something about bicycles and bicycle maintenance." ... and ... "OP, I would strongly recommend taking some bicycle mechanics classes at your local University, at your local bicycle shop, through your local cycling clubs, or wherever you can find them. I also recommend getting a book or two on bicycle mechanics for reference material. It's just so much more convenient being able to do your own maintenance."

I did not suggest that the OP get into major overhauls of his/her bicycle or anything like that (although the OP might want to do that too), but rather learn something about bicycles and bicycle maintenance ... so that he/she knows the vocabulary, and knows what the LBS is talking about, and has some idea if he/she really wants what the LBS is suggesting ... or what the LBS has already done.

All I said about the car situation was this: "It would be wrong if you took your car in for an oil change and they did a bunch of extra stuff to your car that you didn't ask for." ... and that's very true, it would be wrong. However, I do think that when a person buys a car that person should know something about car maintenance, and have some general idea of how a car works.

And I never said that everyone in the bicycle industry is a bloodsucker at all ... you are reading a whole lot into this thread than what is there. Am I not the one who started the "Positive Experience with cycling-related businesses" thread that's a sticky at the top of this forum?

I think you do need to be at least somewhat self-sufficient, and a bit of wariness and caution doesn't hurt either.


BTW - I have complete trust in my current bicycle mechanic ... he's the best mechanic I've ever come across.

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Old 05-04-09, 01:41 AM   #24
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It is so hard to infer tone with a text-based format.

I am not one whit against any cyclist gaining more knowledge and self-sufficiency. Your statement to the OP regarding avoiding a relationship with a business that is assuredly doomed to fail within a year or two and the apparent cynicism regarding the audacity of charging for labor or offering a mere 10% discount was taken completely wrong by me. My sincerest apologies.
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Old 05-04-09, 01:47 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
It is so hard to infer tone with a text-based format.

I am not one whit against any cyclist gaining more knowledge and self-sufficiency. Your statement to the OP regarding avoiding a relationship with a business that is assuredly doomed to fail within a year or two and the apparent cynicism regarding the audacity of charging for labor or offering a mere 10% discount was taken completely wrong by me. My sincerest apologies.
Yes, quite evidently my statement to the OP that an LBS could very well close or change hands ... no business, especially in this economy, is 100% guaranteed to last forever; and that the OP's hope of getting free maintenance is probably not going to happen because LBSs do, quite rightly, charge for maintenance, but that if he were going to go with an LBS he might get some small discounts on stuff, does appear to have been taken completely wrong by you.

Apology accepted.
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