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  1. #1
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    Your first bike or even your current bike

    When you purchased your bike, whether it was your first or current one, did you find you gravitated towards the brand that your LBS carried?

    Or did you know what you wanted and went to that LBS to get it?

    And how important is proximity in choosing a LBS?

    The bike shops nearest me carry Cannondale and Trek so thats what I'm leaning towards. But at my price point (entry-level, <$800) is there any real difference between the bikes (unless I find a deal).

    And what are you looking for in 'fit and feel' on a new bike? I rode a Cannondale Synapse and CAAD8 side-by-side and could tell a real difference in ride. I could tell the Synapse was more of a 'comfort' bike. Is that a bad thing?

    And sorry for the ramble....
    Last edited by twentysomething; 02-16-11 at 07:10 AM. Reason: wording

  2. #2
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    Sorry, I'm out of the box on this one. I bought my frame and all the parts online, built it myself; nobody specs a bike the way I want it. Spent about $2k, and that was 4 years ago. Other than wear-out items and a couple upgrades, it's still as it was.

  3. #3
    tsl
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    The last bike I bought new, I went around with a list of features--several must-haves, and a few nice-to-haves. To me, brands have little value beyond any bragging rights. I found exactly two bikes that hit all the must-haves.

    The LBSs were equidistant, so that didn't matter (although being car-free, I'll only go to LBSs I can get to in a reasonable ride.) The LBS with the cheaper of the two bikes let met test ride around the parking lot for a few minutes. The LBS with the more expensive bike did a half-hour fitting, then let me take it wherever I wanted for an afternoon, "Just bring it back by closing time," they said, although I needed only an hour or so. Guess which bike I bought.

    What I look for in a test ride are the big things--how does it fit, feel and ride--and all the small things that can cause a "pebble in the shoe" sort of thing down the road. I ride familiar streets, climb familiar hills, I sprint, I tootle along, I fling it into the twisties with abandon. This is how that test ride went. EDIT: Follow the link at the top of the story about how I did the bike shopping before the test ride.
    Last edited by tsl; 02-16-11 at 09:30 AM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  4. #4
    of Clan Nrubso ChrisO's Avatar
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    Those are both good brands and there probably isn't very much difference quality wise between them at any given price range. Proper fit and comfort are usually interconnected and equally important; if the bike isn't comfortable (usually due to improper fit or geometry "type") you won't ride it and it becomes a dust holder.

    When I bought my first road bike I knew pretty much what I wanted/needed based on research I'd done on sites like this and an honest look at who I was. I flip-flopped for quite a while but ended up narrowing it down to the Surly LHT and the Cdale Synapse. My LBS carries both brands so it was a non-issue. Chose the Surly because it fit the bill as a great all-around do anything bike (as long as you don't want to do it too fast). I was in the uber-clyde category and have no idiotic yellow jersey fantasies; I just needed a bike that could get my fat butt to and from work and over hills on the weekends without aggrivating my neck.

    Your LBS is probably going to guide you in the direction of a bike/brand that they carry; there's nothing wrong with that as long as they're honest about it and aren't trying to put you on something that isn't right for your needs. So if you have a particular bike in mind that they don't carry, ask them if they have an equivilant in the brands that they do carry. You never know.
    Last edited by ChrisO; 02-16-11 at 09:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    I couldn't care less about brand - just type of bike, fit, and components.

    I'll probably never buy a new bike again because I enjoy fixing up used bikes.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by twentysomething View Post
    When you purchased your bike, whether it was your first or current one, did you find you gravitated towards the brand that your LBS carried?

    Or did you know what you wanted and went to that LBS to get it?

    And how important is proximity in choosing a LBS?

    The bike shops nearest me carry Cannondale and Trek so thats what I'm leaning towards. But at my price point (entry-level, <$800) is there any real difference between the bikes (unless I find a deal).

    And what are you looking for in 'fit and feel' on a new bike? I rode a Cannondale Synapse and CAAD8 side-by-side and could tell a real difference in ride. I could tell the Synapse was more of a 'comfort' bike. Is that a bad thing?

    And sorry for the ramble....
    I bought my first new bike after returning to cycling at my LBS and it was a Jamis because they carried that brand and I had read they gave a lot for the money. I take that back the first new bike I bought was a Giant Revive LX just to ride around town and get some exercise while saving gas.
    My first new road bike was a Jamis for two reasons. One because I had read that Jamis gives you a lot of bike for your money and two because my LBS carried them and had one on sale in my size.
    I messed around with a few used bikes before I got a deal on a frame and fork that my LBS had ordered for someone else. It was a Scandium LaPierre Xlite and was a bike I had admired for ever since I saw the French team on one at the Tour De France. I upgraded the shifters and cranks and wheels and tossed all of the old parts in a parts box. About 8000 miles later my Scandium frame developed a hairline crack at the joint between the seat tube and top tube. LaPierre replaced it under warrantee and sent me a full Carbon Fiber frame and fork.
    Would I get another LaPierre? Sure but I might get a Masi, Trek, Specialized or any number of other frames with good customer services reputations.
    By the way I took all of the old parts and put the Jamis back together and use it as a weekend coffee shop and back up bike. So an entry level bike can last you a long time as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    For my last 4 bikes I found an shop that had what I wanted rather than go to a shop and settle for what they peddled. (not pedaled :-) Some were local and some were mail order.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Service after the sale is where professional Bike shops have the upper hand.
    I have worked in several in my time..

    shop the Shop , first , if you have several ... a bike is just a bike.

    price point of parts and such determines what it costs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    I always wanted a Raleigh but couldn't find a nearby dealer and my local LBS didn't carry Raleighs. So I settled for a Giant Sedona and then a Dahon folding bike. Can't say I was fond of either one. Since then, I've sold the Giant and I'm getting ready to put the Dahon on the market come spring.

    Six months ago I found a neglected Raleigh Twenty folding bike in a thrift store. I restored it. Spent a whole lot of money retoring it since this was my first restoration. I made a lot of mistake on it but I don't regret it. She's a beauty, at least to me.

    The heart wants what the heart wants and no super duper bike sale or popular brand of bike can change that. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way but I learned.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    hmmmmmmmmm, best I can recall, my first bike came from a Whites' Auto Store on Polk St. in Amarillo, Tx about 50 years ago. Back then there were no LBS anywhere near us.

    Now, my current bike is a Felt F80 that I purchased used (5-yrs old) for less than half of original price. It was the size I needed at a price I could live with for this level of bike. I think they sold new for around 800 to 850. That said, if you are ready to pull the trigger for around $800, it might pay to consider buying used whereby you could score a 1500 to 2000 dollar bike for that 800. just food for thought.
    Primary rides:

    2000 BMW R1200C
    2000 BMW R1100RT
    1979 BMW R80S

    1996 TREK 730 hybrid 21 spd
    2005 FELT F80 road 27 spd

  11. #11
    Member Carlito408's Avatar
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    With my last purchase, I had a certain style, components, and brands in mind, but I didn't get hung up on all that. For me, it's all about seeing something that looks cool with the right price, riding it, and if it works--it's done. Simple.

    Importance of proximity of an LBS? I don't know... How far is too far you to ride?

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    My latest bike that I purchased from a shop was a touring bike. I had a punch list of features that I wanted and thought would be appropriate for me. I did my research online then went to LBS's to try them out.

    One of the popular brands lost out because the LBS didn't give me the time of day, I assume if the service before the sale is poor, the service after the sale will be worse.

    I ended up buying from a different LBS because they had a bike that I liked and it was equipped the way I wanted it. Since it was a touring bike, it needed specific equipment for its purpose.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  13. #13
    Ridin' South Cackalacky dahut's Avatar
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    When you purchased your bike, whether it was your first or current one, did you find you gravitated towards the brand that your LBS carried?
    My local bike shop sucks butt - they don't know what customer service is. The ones in the next city are sales outlets and service comes later, maybe. So I don't bother with either. Truth is I've been riding and fixing bikes for decades... I don't really need them for much.
    Or did you know what you wanted and went to that LBS to get it?
    I knew what I wanted and found it from a private seller.
    And how important is proximity in choosing a LBS?
    For the newbie without help or knowledge, probably important.
    The bike shops nearest me carry Cannondale and Trek so thats what I'm leaning towards. But at my price point (entry-level, <$800) is there any real difference between the bikes (unless I find a deal).
    Probably not. Off the shelf, low end components, cheap generic seats, cookie cutter frames all assembled in Asia - not much originality in the entry level market.
    And what are you looking for in 'fit and feel' on a new bike?
    "Fit and feel?" Resonance - the bike has to "hum," everything clicking together.
    In components, I look for Shimano 105 or comparable.
    In seats I say dont get budget happy - buy what fits. This is one place a decent LBS can help, if you dont know how to do it. Let them help.
    Last edited by dahut; 02-16-11 at 09:07 PM.
    "Watch out for giants; they are boorish fools with tongues wagging, drunk upon their own words.
    They will try to teach you a lesson if given the chance, and you will stumble over their stinking feet."

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Wanted to get a Trek 1.2. Went to LBS for the first time just look at what they had. Saw CAAD9. Bought it on the spot.
    Cannondale CAAD9
    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    I know but this is BF.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    The first bike I purchased for myself, as an adult, was my 2008 Trek 520, purchased new. I knew I wanted a touring bike--I wanted to tour, commute, and ride roads--and basically went around town seeing what touring bikes were carried. I pretty much only found Trek 520s and Surly Long Haul Truckers. I tried both, and for whatever reason the Trek felt better to me. I think I actually had a modest bias towards the Surly before test riding.

    My second purchase was a 2000 Trek 4500. This was pretty much the cheapest decent mountain bike I saw on Craigslist in my size, and it seemed solid when I test rode it, and has been. The brand name probably helped my scanning Craigslist, but I wasn't looking for a Trek now.

    Now I've crashed my 520 in a stupid accident (my fault, forgot to reconnect brakes on the top of the hill, etc, am fine now) and was a little pissed to find that Trek does not offer replacement framesets on 520s. I test rode a LHT again and liked the fit better (also a size larger than I used to ride, I think I was slightly misfit earlier, although I am sort of between sizes). My frame SHOULD come in tomorrow--can't wait. Hopefully it works out well. I'm going to check my brakes on every ride, promise.

    So yeah, I think availability of what's around to test ride drives me primarily, aside from fit, components, and price.

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