Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Edison, NJ
Bikes: 2001 Specialized Sirrus Pro, 1961 Raleigh Sports
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Service costs money. Most of the items we buy are fairly standard and do not need individual attention or customization. This is generally a good thing because it drives prices down. However, there are still some things that do benefit from expert attention and advice, and a bike is one of them. The price of this expert service is factored into the bike.
There are far more serious consequences of wanting to get something for nothing than a poorly fitted bike. Think of some of the tainted investment research that cost so many people their hard earned savings during the most recent stock market bubble. The research was "free", which is the best deal of all. Of course, nothing really is free and the end result was a corrupt and hidden compensation structure that ended up enriching a few and costing billions in shareholder wealth.
The store selling a $100 bike isn't performing an act of charity. They need their own compensation to stay in business just as much as the LBS, so think how much that bike really cost to build - probably no more than $20 - 25. Just like investment research, you can't get something for nothing.