Today I went shopping for a new bike for the first time in about 12 years. The amount of stuff out there can be over whelming, but good sales people definitely help. So for those who might be interested here are my experiences. First off, I live in Nipomo, Ca which is a pretty small town. So I drove to San Luis Obispo and Atascadero in order to have a bunch of choices.
So first shop in San Luis I rode a Kona Caldera. This was a pretty nice bike. The shop had a rather steep hill on a side street to test ride the climbing ability and it rode like I remember a mountain bike riding. This was a nice Hardtail and had I stopped I am sure I would have walked out the door with it. The sales person had me then ride a Felt Nine Comp. He was a big fan of 29" bikes and rode one himself. The bike rode sweet. I really like the way it rode. It was smoother than your typical hardtail. Only problem was that the top tube was way to high for comfort. At 6'0" I felt I was not tall enough for this bike.
I then decided to try a full suspension bike. When I stopped biking, full suspension did not really exist. Top of the line bikes came with a suspension front fork and that was high end. Anyways, I tried a Santa Cruz Super light. I immediately knew I needed a full suspension bike. Wow, what an eye opener. I rode off a curb to get around a lady walking and was impressed with how smoothly it handled the small drop. I cannot wait to ride a FS bike on a trail. I was less impressed when I rode around a rough corner on the bike. The back and felt sloppy and loose. So next up was a Santa Cruz Heckler. The shop did not have one in my size , but I rose an XL. This bike felt some what better, but I wanted to wait until they have a LG in stock. On to the next shop.
At the next shop I rode a Cannondale Rush 4 and a Cannondale Rize 4. I really liked both bikes. I spent alot of time switching between both bikes Both seemed to behave much better than the Santa Cruz Bikes. They both pedaled smoother and seemed more solid in the corners. Ultimately I decided I liked the Rush better. The bike seemed really comfortable and I really felt like I could spend allot of time on it. I almost bought the Rush, but the shop did not want to deal and so I decided to move on. Up to Atascadero.
The first shop was total crap. I walked in and was totally ignored. I could not believe how bad their customer service was. They sold Giant and Specialized. I just walked out.
The next shop was Go For It Sports I dealt with Matt and it was by far the best experience of the trip. Now at every other bike shop I was pretty much handed the bike and said see you latter. The Cannondale shop took the time to try and set up the suspension but really all they did was pump up the shock and roll me out the door. Matt was way better. He spent a few minutes prepping the bike and said lets go.
So I jumped on the Felt Compulsion 3 and he actually rode along with me. He brought a pump and some other stuff and watched me ride the bike. After just a couple of feet he stopped me a tweaked the bike a bit more and off we went. This bike rode better than all of the other bikes. It pedaled much better than the others. There was not any bouncing in the rear suspension like on the other bikes. It felt (pardon the pun) even better than the Cannondales with the pro pedal switch on. The seating position was more comfortable than the other bikes ( although the rush felt very similar) and I really loved the bike. We rode over to a nearby parking lot with some obstacles that he had me tackle. The suspension worked really well. Again I can not wait to hit the trails on the bike I ended up buying.
I ended up ordering a Felt Compulsion 2 with Matt. The Felt rode the best for me and felt the most natural. Plus the incredible customer service I received also helped with the decision. They did not have a Compulsion 2 in stock so I dropped some cash and special ordered the bike. I should have it in about two weeks and will give some more detailed impressions once I pick up the bike. I cannot wait.