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Thread: LBS vent

  1. #1
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    LBS vent

    I'm not normally one to complain about LBS's, but this week's experience really has me shaking my head. Here's the story:

    My 11 year old daughter was due for a new bike. Hubby and I go off to our LBS, one we've dealt with before, and we like it there. It's owned and run by a family, and we've had really good service from them.

    We're looking at lower-end mountain bikes, liking the price of the Norco Pinnacle (it's on sale - yay!). So a woman comes over to help. This is where it gets frustrating. We tell her that our daughter is just a little taller than I am (5'4"ish), and she pulls out a 17" bike! I don't think that will work, and swinging a leg over the top tube I can only touch the ground with heels in the air, and the reach wasn't very comfortable. Well, this chick tells me that the 15" will be too small, and that my kid will probably have a growth spurt anyway, and if she's a strong rider (she's a bmx racer, so yes, she is) she can "handle" a bigger bike. WTF? Isn't it supposed to be about proper fit?

    Daughter and I went back today, and luckily talked to a different woman, who agreed that the 15" looked right for her. As we are waiting around for the shop guys to give it a once-over, the first woman sees us, and calls across the store "so, taking the 17 then?" The today-woman and I said "No, the 15" at the same time. Argh.

    My daughter is lucky that I know something about bikes at least - I'd hate to see what this chick tries to sell to parents who don't know! My kid would be riding off road and landing on the cross bar all the time, or dumping her bike over sideways to get off the thing. I don't care if she's going to eventually have a growth spurt - a kid needs a bike they can ride today! If she does go crazy and grow 6 inches in the next while, we'll deal with it and get her something that fits her then. How frustrating when the sales people don't even know the basics of bike fit. I'm just shaking my head.

  2. #2
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    To be fair, most customers don't want to buy another bike when their kids have outgrown one. As a result, sales people will usually try to set you up with the largest size that the child can safely ride. In this case, it sounds like your daughter would not been able to safely ride the bike. I am very hesitant to try to fit a bike to someone that isn't in the shop, so that is a couple of errors. Sounds to me like you got one bad salesperson, and then one good one.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply.

    When I hopped on the bike on to see the fit, it was just because I like trying bikes We had always intended buying with my daughter there, we were just looking to pre-choose a couple of models for our daughter to pick from. That's what surprised me - that the sales lady was quite aggressive about selling us the bigger one before my daughter had even been in to try it, when it didn't seem that the fit would be even close.

    I suppose you're right, that most parents would want to buy the biggest possible. You'd think the shop might educate people instead of catering to notions like that, but I suppose then they might lose a sale. Darned if you do...

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    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    That's just the reality of most bike shops. I see people almost daily come in and look at prices and make comments about going to XMart to get a bike for their kid. Then we get in a lot of repairs of crappy bikes where something has failed and they can't get any kind of service from XMart. Unless the parent is a cyclist, there's little chance of selling them a quality bike for their kids. Racers are an exception (I started BMX racing at about 30, and my kids both raced) because the parents know what fit and quality means. Most parents just want to buy their kid a cheap bike, load it in the Escalade, and go let them ride around on the sidewalk. It does sound like you had a salesperson that had something stuck in her head and wasn't going to be deterred, so I'm glad you did get another one that was ready to take the time and listen and look.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

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