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Old 03-16-06, 01:24 PM   #1
Cisco_Kid
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I'm shopping for my first "real" bike that will be used for a mix of road and trail riding (mostly road riding, though). My GF bought a Trek 3700 last year from our LBS and I stopped by there the other day to see what he would recommend. He steered me toward the 06 Trek 3900 & 4300 or, if I wanted to spend more money, an 05 Cannondale (I cannot remember the model but the bike was dark blue--I want to say E50, F50, R50?). The 3900 was $309, the 4300 was $339, and the Cannondale was marked down from $560 to $475 since it was last year's model.

He said that either of the Trek models would probably be sufficient for my needs but that the Cannondale was a much better choice if I thought I was going to get bitten by the bug because I could hold onto it longer before upgrading to a better bike. He said that it had superior components compared to either of the Trek models, and that it would also be superior to a Trek of equal price. I wasn't sure if he was just biased toward Cannondale or if it is truly that much better. I don't really mind spending the extra money, but only if it will truly be worth it and if a casual rider such as myself will be able to appreciate the differences.

Advice, comments, and suggestions welcome!
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Old 03-16-06, 01:58 PM   #2
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ride as many manufacturers and models as are available. don't limit yourself just to trek or cannondale. once you find a bike that fits (both by price and by feel), go with it. that's how you'll be the happiest. and when you're happy, the bug is happy.
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Old 03-16-06, 02:54 PM   #3
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Good advice. Unfortunately, this is the only shop that I could find that sells non-XMart bikes within a 60 mile radius. The shop isn't that big--it's not like he has hundreds of bikes to choose from. I was hoping to get a recommendation based on what he has on hand. My current bike is an old 10-speed that I bought from Wal-Mart around 10 years ago, so chances are I'll be happy with anything from my LBS...
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Old 03-16-06, 03:06 PM   #4
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The cannondales are nice, i have an f600. the one that you are thinking of is probably the f400.

If you are going to be riding the bike on the road a lot, the cannondale is really nice because you can lock out the front fork (make it rigid) so you can cruise around on it pretty good.
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Old 03-16-06, 03:07 PM   #5
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If the extra money is no problem, spend it and get the cannondale.
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Old 03-21-06, 05:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. I haven't gotten to go back to the shop yet, but I'm going to Blacksburg/Christiansburg this weekend and there should be at least a couple of decent bike shops there (perhaps with more selection). Maybe I can take a look.

One thing I wanted to ask -- is it a common practice to haggle when purchasing a bike at a LBS? I certainly think he should make money on the sale, but there are lots of places (jewelry stores, pawn shops) that will happily reduce the price of an item to make a sale. I wasn't sure how much luck I'd have trying to negotiate at my LBS...
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Old 03-21-06, 06:43 PM   #7
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+1 on fit. If it doesn't fit you won't want to ride it, no matter how nice of a bike it is. If you are going to do any real MTB'ing the fit is important as it can seriously affect handling and comfort. Buy a bike that fits.

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Old 03-21-06, 06:50 PM   #8
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I can say with complete honesty that in my personal experience, Cannondale makes bikes like tanks.

I had an old Super-V DH bike that I LITERALLY crashed thru a tree. I went to the hospital....the bike went home to wait for my next ride.

There's no doubt that Cannondale makes some sweet rides, but its all about the fit. You have to get a bike that feels good first and foremost.

I'd honestly be waiting for a Cannondale Gemini right now if the nearest dealer wasn't more than 70 miles away.
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Old 03-21-06, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cisco_Kid

One thing I wanted to ask -- is it a common practice to haggle when purchasing a bike at a LBS?
No. Do not hagle. Ask if he has any special discount offers, like a club membership or something to save a certain percentage (i know many bike shops do). But NO DOT haggel with him/her. Do you try and bargain with the checkout chick or a grocery store? Nope. A bike shop isn't a market in China, LBS's need to make money, they are usually small business's and do not deserve to be haggled or bargained with. I think we should all leave them alone for once, you need to complain about prices? Go compalin to the supplier, there the real evil ones in the business.
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Old 03-21-06, 07:46 PM   #10
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If you're against haggling one thing you could do is see if they price match. A few LBS around me sell the same brands and will match the price of another if one sells at a lower price. I was going to ask the one shop to match but they already had it at a decent discount ($660 down to $600) Many places will also give 10% off on any accesories bought with the bike or within a certain time period.
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Old 03-21-06, 10:22 PM   #11
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As stated above fit is the #1 priority and again as stated if it meets your personal requirements no matter how irrelevant to other people (ex. shiny or your colors) then you are more likely to bike more often. On the subject of haggling, bike stores do make a decent amount off of the bikes but it isn't really common place to haggle, if you know somebody that works at a store though they can usually get you a decent discount. The real money for the bike stores is made on selling you the accesories so they will usually give you a discount on those.
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Old 03-30-06, 05:55 PM   #12
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Well, today was a beautiful day when I left work so I went back to the shop. The Cannondale is the F300. I rode it along with the Trek 4300 and honestly couldn't tell much difference between the two, except that the Cannondale was ever so slightly more comfortable (of course, I only spent about 10 minutes with each) and the Trek seemed to shift better. The owner said that the cable had probably been stretched on the Cannondale, and that he would be happy to adjust it if I wanted to stop by again after work tomorrow for another test ride.

Does that sound about right? I'm an amateur rider and could not discern a great difference between the two bikes. I want to go back tomorrow and make a purchase--hopefully I'll be able to make a decision without second-guessing myself later.
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Old 03-30-06, 07:06 PM   #13
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I'm a trek fan if you are a tall person the cannondale probably felt better they allways felt to long to me the cannondale will allso have a better resale value should you want to get a better bike in a few years but either way definantly go for what feels best or you will not ride as much
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