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Thread: Bad LBS Advice?

  1. #1
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    Bad LBS Advice?

    I went to an LBS the other day and asked the guy for advice. I told him that I wanted a bike used only for city riding, for 10-20+ mile trips. Not for excercise, racing, or offroading.

    I said I wanted to know what the decent bikes would start at.

    He showed me Raleighs. They all had front fork and seat suspension. They were $300.

    It seems like I've seen advice on here about staying away from suspension, and I haven't seen anyone recommending a Raleigh.

    So was this guy trying to sell me crap, or was he on the level?

    I'm going to a different LBS for another opinion, but I'd just like to know what you guys think.

    -DannyOKC

  2. #2
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    I have a Raleigh M-40 mountain bike that got me through nine years of many different types riding (commuting, off-road, trial, street, winter) before I finally upgraded. The bike was tough and reliable, even though I did a terrible job of maintaining it. My Raleigh doesn't have any shocks, and it has been a good, solid bike. You can buy better bikes, but maybe not at the price you want to pay.

    Summary: I don't think LBS was snowing you, but specifically ask for MTB's w/o shocks.

    Edit: After re-reading this post, I need to take old-faithful out of the shed and onto the road for a spin.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 09-03-04 at 12:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Seanholio's Avatar
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    Many of the bikes in the $300 price range are now coming equipped with shocks. Your LBS is most likely being completely straight with you. If you feel uncomfortable, ask them a question. I'm sure they can accomodate you. If not, another LBS can.

  4. #4
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Hey, the same thing happened to me. The LBSes kept recommending those comfort bikes with the front and seat suspension. In fact, a couple of places recommened a $300 Raleigh. I don't why the heck they recommend those things. I finally got a bike with just front suspension, and kind of think no suspension would have been better, since I ride on the road 90% of the time.

    I gotta think that seat suspension added to front fork would freakin suck up all kinds of energy. I can't imagine those bikes would be good to ride everyday. And like everyone has said, the suspension that comes stock with sub $300 bikes isn't going to be all that good. For instance, mine has no way to turn off the suspension if not needed.

    I was also frustrated with LBSes reluctance to recommend bikes less than $300. I mean, if you're brand new to biking, who wants to spend $500 on a bike you might end up not even using more than 5 times a year?!

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Suspension sucks bigtime, however most of the lower end bikes seem to like to come with at least front shocks.

    Phooey to that.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like you're expecting an awful lot from somebody who has only just met you. You obviously didn't develope any kind of a rappoir with him and now you want to put the whole blame on him. That's OK. It might even be right. Hunt around for a different sales person. You'll know when you find the right one. If you can't find any sales person that you feel that you can trust, maybe it's you.

  7. #7
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I guess I have a different opinion...
    If you tell LBS that you are not into excercise, etc. and just commuting they probably envision you are wanting a comfortable bike to take the bumps in the road.
    You get a lot of bike for $300 compared to 15yrs ago. Sure folks scoff at shocks, yes they can cut into performance, add weight, complexity, but they are not as terrible as folks make 'em out to be. The shocks on $300 LBS bikes are better than the ones on $150 department store bikes.

    My wife got a $280 comfort bike (Trek Navigator 200) with seat shock and fork shocks to replace a 3-speed beach cruiser and loves it. We go for 10-15mi fun rides all the time. No one is fooled to think this is a bike for hard and long riding or racing.

    I think it goes back to your approach with the LBS - saying you are not into exercise, racing, implies you are not looking for performance, but instead comfort and perhaps some sidewalk riding, comfort over potholes, etc.

    If you want a more performance oriented bike, tell 'em.

    Al

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    Well DannyOKC, it seem as though you visited an LBS that normally sells to the family/ bike path crowd. You need to find a bike shop that tends to sell to the commuter/touring type cyclist, a shop like that will be better equiped with the inventory you are looking for. Try to find a shop that is owned and operated by a commuter him or her self, they tend to stock higher end, more rugged bikes, components and accessories that would better serve your needs. Remember, there are no bad bikes, some are just better at doing certain things then others. Commuting is tough service, the bike you chose for even short commutes, that are ridden daily and carry a variety of loads in all kinds of weather, needs to be heavy duty in the frame area, be equiped with a dependable, heavy duty component group, have racks to carry your things, fenders to protect you and the bike, lights to see your way and tires that are durable, flat resistant and long wearing. Most comfort/family type recreational bicycles cannot survive the commuting environment and afford the rider any amount of long term dependability without costly upgrades. Commuting to work is only worth it if you have a job, if you get fired because you are always late getting to work because of flat tires and equipment failures it's can be a non-productive thing to do. Some important commuting requirements are, 1. Getting where you're going on time and dependably, 2. safely carrying what you need to carry, 3. Having enough energy to work when you get to work, 4. seeing where you are going during the trip and being seen by drivers while on the way. 5. being able to be comfortable while on the bike, 6. ride a bike that doesn't cost more than you make to maintain.
    Good luck with your search.
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  9. #9
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    I guess I have a different opinion...
    If you tell LBS that you are not into excercise, etc. and just commuting they probably envision you are wanting a comfortable bike to take the bumps in the road. <snip> Sure folks scoff at shocks, yes they can cut into performance, add weight, complexity, but they are not as terrible as folks make 'em out to be.

    <snip>

    If you want a more performance oriented bike, tell 'em.

    Al
    I agree with Al. My wife and I recently bought Specialized Expedition Sports, another comfort bike. I'm hoping that with some riding and some workout, she will be comfortable to ride a more traditional platform in the future, but for now, limited upper body strength and a history of carpal tunnel indicate weight distribution to the butt. I bought the same (although I had a green light to go to a Sirrus ) so we would be riding similar equipment so I didn't outride her, making it miserable for both of us. She's comfortable riding the bike...no, she loves riding the bike. That means that she rides the bike. They have front shocks and seatpost suspensions like the Raleigh, but the only time I really notice them is over bumpier stuff. We've done quite a few rides in the 30 - 35 mile range, having worked to that in about a month worth of riding 3 - 4 days a week. We plan to ride a metric century the 18th of this month, and I'm not concerned about being able to complete it, even though we know that it's going to be a fairly challenging course. We won't be fast, but we'll complete it in the time we have available.

    As much as people talk about this type of bike being so far inferior to a road bike for comfort over any distance, I can't wait to get on a road bike, I should be able to do a full century the day I get on one without breathing hard. Proper bike shorts help a bunch, I won't ride more than a couple mile errand without them. In short, I'm happy with our bikes. They wouldn't have been my first choice but the circumstance made them the best choice for us to ride together, at least for now.

  10. #10
    'Bent Brian
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    Each has their own preference. I ride a 'bent, for fun, for club rides, for fun, for commuting, for fun, for errands, for fun.... It does everything I need it to, and reasonably well at that. The key is to get something that fits you well and that you will want to ride, and then go out and have fun!

    'bent Brian

  11. #11
    Senior Member larue's Avatar
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    for what you are looking to do a comfort bike would be fine, but stay away from raliegh. They aren't the same company they used to be.
    Leave your treadmill power trip behind.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like they gave you a good reccomendation for the description of the type of riding you want to do.

  13. #13
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Did you bother to take it for a test ride?

  14. #14
    contrarian lala's Avatar
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    Personally, I wouldn't go with any type of mtb for city riding. Too slow! Plenty would disagree with me though.
    Higher ground for the apocalypse!

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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Suspension sucks bigtime, however most of the lower end bikes seem to like to come with at least front shocks.

    Phooey to that.
    I don't mind a suspension seat post if the low end bike is made of hard alu. The problem with low end bikes is the majority come ONLY in alu and it's practically impossible to get anything today in that price range with Reynolds 525. If the bike came in a low Reynolds number (525 & 520), there would no need for suspension at all.

  16. #16
    pluralis majestatis redfooj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche325
    It sounds to me like they gave you a good reccomendation for the description of the type of riding you want to do.
    i agree. you presented yourself as Joe Biker and they showed you Joe Biker bikes.

    if you wanted excercise / racing / mountain riding (which you explicitly did not) then he would have referred you to 'real' road and mountain bikes

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    It sounds to me like you're expecting an awful lot from somebody who has only just met you. You obviously didn't develope any kind of a rappoir with him and now you want to put the whole blame on him. That's OK. It might even be right. Hunt around for a different sales person. You'll know when you find the right one. If you can't find any sales person that you feel that you can trust, maybe it's you.
    You should make it clear who you're responding to. Being that I posted the original question, it would seem you're responding to me. I hope not because if so you're post is a bit out of line. You speak of my high expectations. The truth is, I EXPECT salesmen to lie to me. That's their job. And I didn't blame anyone. And you haven't the slightest idea how much I talked to the guy. And "maybe it's you"? Maybe WHAT is me?

    -DannyOKC

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    I asked about efficiency. I asked about weight. I asked about tire size vs. speed. Are these questions to lead to a comfort bike? I don't think so.

    Thanks for the responses.

    -DannyOKC

  19. #19
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redfooj
    i agree. you presented yourself as Joe Biker and they showed you Joe Biker bikes.

    if you wanted excercise / racing / mountain riding (which you explicitly did not) then he would have referred you to 'real' road and mountain bikes
    Dude, if you're just getting into the sport, how the heck are you supposed to know the differences between an excercise/racing/mountain bike?? When you're starting, everyone is a "Joe Biker".

    Holy crap there's a lot of people on these boards that have a revolting elitist attitude about this sport. It can be a little over the top sometimes. Gee, would you like to compare and see whose bike cost more? Gee, I wonder if I have enough cool SHimano and Campy parts on my bike . . . Geewhiz, maybe all the other biker guys will think I'm a nerd Joe Biker if I don't wear a cool Campino (or whatever) shirt. Jeepers, gollygee.

    EDIT: Gosh, I wonder if I have a "real" moutain bike . . .so what is your definition of a "real" mountain bike or road bike?

  20. #20
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    For what you want to do I often point people at eh bikes like the Specialized Sirrus or Giant Cypress SX. These are great commuter bikes, light, tough, good parts. They also start at $500 and go over a $1000. So we often end back up at bikes as you described, that are cheaper. The dude may have been showing you that bike because that was the closest bike in the brand they carry. Most shops only handle one or two lines for their main bikes with a highender(Like Titus) for a little prestige and the occasional highend customer.
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  21. #21
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyOKC
    You should make it clear who you're responding to. Being that I posted the original question, it would seem you're responding to me. I hope not because if so you're post is a bit out of line. You speak of my high expectations. The truth is, I EXPECT salesmen to lie to me. That's their job. And I didn't blame anyone. And you haven't the slightest idea how much I talked to the guy. And "maybe it's you"? Maybe WHAT is me?

    -DannyOKC

    I think the problem is you honestly sound very paranoid... if you are expecting them to lie then you automatically aren't going to trust anything they say. Its NOT our job to lie. I REALLY resent that remark actually and am pretty offended that anyone would say that. Its my job to put the customer on the right bike and to make sure they are satisfied and feel like they were treated well. I think the "maybe its you" comment was in reference to the attitude that comes through in your posts. Knowing the internet doesn't always convery true personalities though I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    For what its worth, $300 is the price I always quote as the base for a decent bike.

    Raleighs are decent bikes.

    90% of the people that walk in the door think they MUST have suspension.

    For what you said you wanted, and the mileage and terrain, he recommended you to exactly what I would have shown you. I would also have shown you the Sirrus and higher end Cypress models, but I think you are being really unfair to this shop, and have a really narrow view of salesmen in general that is going to color you whole buying experience no matter where you go.

  22. #22
    pluralis majestatis redfooj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diggy18
    Dude, if you're just getting into the sport, how the heck are you supposed to know the differences between an excercise/racing/mountain bike?? When you're starting, everyone is a "Joe Biker".

    Holy crap there's a lot of people on these boards that have a revolting elitist attitude about this sport. It can be a little over the top sometimes. Gee, would you like to compare and see whose bike cost more? Gee, I wonder if I have enough cool SHimano and Campy parts on my bike . . . Geewhiz, maybe all the other biker guys will think I'm a nerd Joe Biker if I don't wear a cool Campino (or whatever) shirt. Jeepers, gollygee.

    EDIT: Gosh, I wonder if I have a "real" moutain bike . . .so what is your definition of a "real" mountain bike or road bike?
    if you dont know, then do some background research . thats what i did before i bought my first bike. how can you put your trust in somebody, and then turnaround and question it?

    i dont think the scope of the salesmen include mind-reading. somebody says that they want a city bike for 15 miles, with no hard exercise, racing, or off-roading intended... would it have more fitting for the salesman to recommend a 4000$ Pinarello? those types of bikes were created and marketed towards people that the poster presented himself as.

    if it matters, i dont have any jerseys, campino shirts, and my previous 4 bikes combined cost less than most poeple's 1 bike here

  23. #23
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Raleigh is a good and very old brand. Diamondback is pretty much the same brand, but with a higher theft factor since more kids remeber that name than ralgeigh.

    Yep it has a front shock...it's not great, it's not bad. I used my $200 DB for road commuting priomarily, and it help up ok...given I think I could use a stiffer fork, but I was still able to hit ludicrous speed on the sprints with it. It's also tough enough to hold well loaded panniers, and cheap enough to not cry about too much if itt got stolen. Really the only complaint about bikes of that level I have are the twist-shifter (i like rapid-fire far more), and the fork being a bit too weak for a clydesdale rider like myself. Both are easy tings to deal with.

    Oh, and the new Raleigh M20s have threadless, making it even easier to get the fork you want.

    Either way, they seem to have given you an honest reccomendation...dont think the world is out to get you, but if you do think they were shady, go someplace else.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    I think the problem is you honestly sound very paranoid... if you are expecting them to lie then you automatically aren't going to trust anything they say. Its NOT our job to lie. I REALLY resent that remark actually and am pretty offended that anyone would say that...but I think you are being really unfair to this shop, and have a really narrow view of salesmen in general that is going to color you whole buying experience no matter where you go.
    It was a generalization about salesmen, and one I believe to be true. I don't trust a guy working on commission. Sure, some are straight up. You say you are. I believe you. But others are not. I've dealt with salesmen. A large part of them are sleezy. And when I'm going in to talk to one, my guard is up. I'm trying to find out if this person is bull****ting me, because if they are, which they are much of the time, then they are wasting my time, since I can't believe what they say.

    To believe most salesmen don't care about the sale and do care more about the customer, that's just naive. It's business. And in a capitalist society, business is always about the bottom line.

    This guy wasn't asking the right questions. He wasn't really trying to assess my needs. He was trying to sell me one of two bikes.

    -DannyOKC

  25. #25
    Heeeeeere's Johnny! live311's Avatar
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    I don't know of a single bike shop that pays its salesmen a commission. If I do find one, I will be sure to avoid it at all costs. People work at bike shops because they love bikes. There are much more lucrative endeavors out there that require less work than owning/working at a bike shop. Please don't assume that everybody is a crook and end up pushing away people that you would be better off getting to know.

    That being said, do some more research so you can decide exactly what you want. Then find another shop that caters to commuters so you can have an intelligent discussion with a salesman on the bike that's right for you. I'm sure you'll benefit if you just give them a chance.

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