I'm trying to buy a bike. Trying REALLY hard to buy a bike. Very few of the bikes I'm interested in are stocked by the local bike shops and are "special orders", and thus (they tell me) are nonreturnable, so I'd have to go completely on faith that I would actually like the bike I get.
Specifically, the local shops that carry Raleigh, Kona, Torker, Felt and Giant will not order a bike they don't stock unless I pay for it in advance, and it's nonreturnable.
Therefore, I won't be buying a Raleigh, Kona, Torker, Felt or Giant bike.
The Marin dealer will order the bike I'm interested in, and if I don't like it, charge me the shipping fee ($45), which seems reasonably fair.
The Jamis dealer will order the bike with no obligation, which is great.
The specific bikes I'm interested in seeing/riding are the Raleigh Detour Deluxe and Raleigh Calispel i8, Kona Dew FS, Torker t-530, Felt Cafe 8, Giant Suede, Jamis commuter 3 (2009) and Marin Bridgeway IT.
I understand a small bike shop can't carry every single model a manufacturer makes, and that they don't want to be stuck with a bike they can't sell, but it seems there should be some sort of agreement between the manufacturer and its dealers to be able to offer non-stocked bikes to interested buyers.
Would appreciate any alternatives to the above bikes that may be more widely available. I'm particularly interested in internal gear hub bikes for around-town (Charlotte, NC)neighborhood riding, coffee shop runs, grocery getter, park rides, etc., probably no further than 5 mile rides, mostly fair weather, mostly street, some greenway trails, etc.