Two days ago, on Sunday, I went out to buy a bike. I stopped by at Mike's, and found out they were having a season end sale on everything in store. The best deals i found was the Gary Fisher Piranha for $529 and the Cannondale F6 for $449. They had specialized in stock and they were also on sale, but the stuff is very comparable to the Cannondales and are heavier too.
I decided to go to another LBS nearby. They didn't have a sale going on but all the same I wanted to check out what they did have. I narrowed down my selection to the Trek 4500 and the Marin Bobcat Trail, selling for $500 and $560 respectively. The Trek had V-brakes and the Marin had mechanical disc brakes. I had never rode on a bike with disc brakes before, so I decided to test ride both of them to see the difference. I first test rode the Trek 4500. I went to the parking lot behind the shop to test it. During the Trek test ride, I found out it is pretty good bike, better than my old single geared bike anyway. It took about 5-7 minutes to get used to the gear shifts and stuff. I was not used to having the chains moving around during gear shifting since I never did that before. Im still not too good with it, but I guess I'll be more comfortable over time. I am still not sure whether I should pedal while gear shifting. Maybe someone can answer that for me. The brakes worked perfectly and worked very well. I noticed however, that I kept feeling the bumps while testing it. It started to hurt my butt after a few minutes. The parking lot wasn't paved for quite a while so it had lots of potholes and cracks and pretty much a ton of things that make riding uncomfortable. I guess it is quite comparable to the unpredictable ground surface of off roading.
Now I went to test ride the Marin. It worked pretty well, except I noticed two very different things. The first is that the ride is WAY more comfy. It almost felt as if I was on a smooth road with small bumps occasionally. I then started speeding up to test the brakes. It didn't feel too different. It was a bit slower on stopping. It took more effort to stop as fast as the Trek V brakes.
I was about to finish my test of the bike and then the chain fell off. The bike shop guy told me someone didn't adjust the rear deraileur correctly. Then I told him about the comort problem with the Trek. I compared the two bikes and noticed that the Marin had a big cushy seat while the Trek had a small, narrow, and a very little cushioned seat. I just found out that it was a racing seat as the reason for the seat's design after reading a thread on this forum. Anyways, he said that he can swap the seats for me to any one in store for free.
I decided to go with the Trek 4500. We then tried to fit the bike. Two sizes were the best fit for me. The first is the 18" and the other is 19.5". We decided to go with the 18" since it allowed for some clearence between my and the bike. He said that the 19.5" bike would be great if I was doing road cycling, but I was also planning on off roading, so we picked 18". Then came the choice of colors. The three colors that the shop had was Red/Black, Jade green/Black,and Dark Blue/Black. I wanted the green one since it is my favorite color, looks great on the bike (they had a green one in a different size already built so I saw it), and it looks unique from pretty much every other bike I see everywhere. I see white, black, blue, red and silver as the most common colors on bikes.
Well, it turned out that they did not have any green ones in the 18" size in stock, but I did not want a red or blue one. So I placed a order with them. They said they would have it by next week's Monday or Tuesday. They told me by buying from their shop, I get the benefits of having 10% off all accessories, and free adjustments/ services/ repairs for the first year from the day I get the bike. I was hoping he would say more stuff, but he didnt. Then I started to negotiate the pricing. He said he would give me a 10% discount. I pushed for more and he said that he can't do more then that because every employee is allowed 10%, but he said he can talk to his co-workers.
So pretty much thats it. I hope I get a bigger discount when I pick up the bike next week. I'm not too happy about the delay in getting the bikes since that means less free time for me to do biking since school starts for me soon. But I can live with it. I just hope it doesn't get stolen. I plan on buying a lock or two because I am also going to ride in my neighborhood when shopping but I am a bit wary of the locks after hearing not too long ago about the easiness of picking them with a pen or something similar. Why did I not give as much interest into buying a bike at Mike's had to do with the fact that they probably would not give me a discount. Unlike the other shop, Mike's employees are not as lenient. In the other shop, my parents have a food store pretty close to them so we were I guess pretty old family friends. I think they would give me a discount because of that.