First post. Was hoping to get some help/advice.
I am looking to buy my first "road" bike soon. I am looking to ride for fun and don't expect to get competitive anytime soon. After looking at all my options I think the best bike for me would be a steel touring bike. I'm currently looking at the bianchi volpe, raleigh clubman, jamis aurora, surly pacer, masi speciale cx and redline conquest classic as I don't love the idea of bar end shifters and think i would prefer the tiagra shifters.
The problem I am having is that I've been to 5+ bike stores that sold these brands in the past week and I couldn't find one of these bikes in my size to test ride. I live in the NYC area so I didn't expect it would be this hard.
I didn't feel good about biting the bullet and buying one of these bikes from an LBS without trying it first. So when I saw the Clubman at REI on discount, in what I believe to be my size(55cm), I pulled the trigger. My rationale is that I can test the bike, and if i dont like it or it doesn't fit---return it---and i'll re-evaluate my options.
After reading about some poster's experiences at REI the reviews seem to be mixed. The closest REI to me that is an authorized Raleigh dealer is in Marlton NJ. Has anyone been here? Anyone have experience with the Bike techs here?
A couple other general questions? Does REI typically fit their Bikes to the consumer? Will they sell me the Bike if I should be riding the 57cm instead of the 55cm?
Any help would be much appreciated.