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Old 12-10-11, 09:18 AM   #1
WriteNow
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Buying long-distance family member a bike as a gift. How?

Hello all -- new to this board. Hope I can get some suggestions on how to accomplish the following:

My son, who lives in another state, would like a road bike for fitness and weekend touring. I would like to buy him one as a gift.

He lives out of state -- how do I accomplish this and get him the proper fit, etc.? His dad is roughly the same height so we could probably get the basics, but I know sizing is so individual.

Also -- budget is under $1000.

I went to a bike shop and liked the entry level Trek -- but for some reason they can't ship it??? I don't get this at all!

Help and advice appreciated!
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Old 12-10-11, 11:53 AM   #2
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Maybe give him a gift certificate for a bike shop near where he lives. That way the shop can help him with sizing and fitting.
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Old 12-10-11, 01:45 PM   #3
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He lives out of state --
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Old 12-10-11, 01:47 PM   #4
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Send him the $1000.
It needs to be a bike that fits and one he likes.
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Old 12-10-11, 02:49 PM   #5
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He lives out of state --
You can find Trek dealers in his city via the Trek web site. Call them and work something out.
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Old 12-10-11, 08:01 PM   #6
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Do a search for bike shops in his city and then call them up and ask to buy a gift certificate. If you're going to drop that much money, you want to make sure the bike fits and that he loves the ride. Road bikes should feel like an extension of you and if you buy a bike that just isn't right fit-wise, he won't like riding it. Buying someone a bike that they can't test/try out is like buying a woman a pair of shoes. They may be a size 7 but not all size 7 shoes fit the same. If the shoes doesn't fit right or is not comfortable, it will never be worn. For $100 pair of shoes, it may be ok but not for a $1000 bike.
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Old 12-11-11, 05:28 PM   #7
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There is *one* bike shop and all they carry are uber-expensive Treks. The ony other options in his town is a Sun and Ski sports -- also overpriced.

He doesn't want to be the next Lance Armstrong -- just a bike to ride and chill out and get some exercise.

I've been looking at Performance Bikes and found a Fuji 3.0. road bike. What I don't get is how they carry only "Small" "Medium" and "Large."

His Dad is exactly the same size and one bike shop recommend a 58". So imagine my surprise when the bikes online do not reflect this. ???
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Old 12-11-11, 05:49 PM   #8
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There is *one* bike shop and all they carry are uber-expensive Treks. The ony other options in his town is a Sun and Ski sports -- also overpriced.

He doesn't want to be the next Lance Armstrong -- just a bike to ride and chill out and get some exercise.

I've been looking at Performance Bikes and found a Fuji 3.0. road bike. What I don't get is how they carry only "Small" "Medium" and "Large."

His Dad is exactly the same size and one bike shop recommend a 58". So imagine my surprise when the bikes online do not reflect this. ???
Building bikes in only small, medium, and large sizes helps them save money and produce a cheaper product. Some customers care more about price than usability.

And 58 means different things to different manufacturers (sometimes much different). Don't buy based on a number alone. And 58 absolutely does NOT mean 58 inches.
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Old 12-11-11, 06:00 PM   #9
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Work with me here a little bit guys

If I send him $1000, he's going to feel like he needs to save it or pay down his college loans or something -- he won't spend it on himself.

I'm trying to do something nice for him.

Trying a different tack -- Do you have a favorite online retailer?
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Old 12-11-11, 06:21 PM   #10
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Work with me here a little bit guys

If I send him $1000, he's going to feel like he needs to save it or pay down his college loans or something -- he won't spend it on himself.

I'm trying to do something nice for him.

Trying a different tack -- Do you have a favorite online retailer?
Online retailers rarely do a good job with sizing and fitting. I never recommend them to beginners.
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Old 12-11-11, 06:34 PM   #11
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Dude, I don't know what your thing is, but you are way UNhelpful.

Anyone *besides* Johnny99 have any suggestions?
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Old 12-11-11, 08:23 PM   #12
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There is *one* bike shop and all they carry are uber-expensive Treks.
Have you tried contacting this store and seeing if they could order the model you have in mind? You could send a gift certificate to your son, have him go to the shop so they can determine the appropriate size/etc., and then they could order the bike and do the necessary fitting and adjustments when it arrives.

It might also help if you could identify the town where your son resides. Someone here may know of other bike shops within a reasonable distance.
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Old 12-14-11, 04:25 PM   #13
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I'm not afraid to go against the grain and give you an OPTION....

http://www.bikesdirect.com

They've got plenty of bikes and they all ship for free.

Pay attention to the "Geometry Sizing" charts that each bike lists. The "standover" height is virtually all that is important, as seen here.... http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...y_29er_geo.gif

This is why it's important to get the standover height right, because various [types of] frames from various manufacturers are going to be completely different. I'm on a 15" frame, which is short for a road bike, but I'm not on a road bike.... I'm on a 29er (700c wheels w/ beefier tires that make for a smoother ride).

Did the "boy" specifically ask for a road bike? If it were me, I'd just get him a rigid (NO SUSPENSION) 29er that was shorter than his standover height. I'm 5'9" and my 15" frame is the smallest you can get a 29er in... and it's PERFECT for me. So, basically... anybody shorter than 5'9" is going to have a very difficult time getting on and off a 29er.

Also, I got a 29er with a flip-flop hub, so that I can ride with a freewheel OR a fixed gear on the back, depending on what I'm planning to do that day. Either way, there's only one gear, so you better make sure it suits him and his terrain. The Motobecane Outcast I ordered actually came with 2 different front sprockets (33t & 42t), so I could pick which one depending on where I'm riding. It's ALL flat here, so I keep the 42t on at all times, and it's actually perfect gearing.

I lucked out in finding a 29er w/ flip-flop hub and extra sprockets, at the exact standover height I needed (almost ordered the 17" before I looked at the geometry sizing chart!!) all shipped to my door for $350. That bike isn't available anymore, but there are other (mostly better) single speed 29ers available... but I don't think they come with the extra sprocket. Oh well... $50 will buy an extra sprocket. A whole new crankset can be had for $50 if you look hard enough.

I think it's worth the chance to just get him a rigid, single speed 29er (get him a geared 29er if it's REALLY that hilly) and let him deal with the gearing when he gets it and an extra $100 in the mail. Worst case scenario is that it's too tall for him and he puts it on craigslist, then orders the proper size frame.

The scenario isn't as bad as others are making it seem, except that their jobs will be needed less and less. But I've got news for them, too... being jobless ain't so bad.
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Old 12-15-11, 02:23 PM   #14
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Hey grandslm --

Wow am I glad I checked this thread one more time! I was feeling a little hopeless! You gave exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, and I can't thank you enough.

A little more info -- my son is 6'2, about 220. And yes he specifically asked for a road bike. Should I ignore the recommendation of a 58 frame? Ounds like you're saying that it's better to have the frame a little small than too large.

Thanks again!
WN
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Old 12-16-11, 02:54 PM   #15
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I think that the suggestions on having your son try out some bikes is a good one. Different bikes fit very differently and you really have to know what you want if you are buying online.
Some frames just don't seem to fit my body at all.
But if you have to buy online and want some references I am 6'3" and I like a 62 cm frame for road bikes, if the frame is a upright one I like 21 inches.
I would think the suggestion of talking to the bike shop and having them order a more reasonably priced frame is a good one.
If you are ordering from bikesdirect you should check how much assembly is required.
Does anyone here know what would be required to make the bike ready to ride?
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Old 12-17-11, 10:47 PM   #16
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Bikes Direct - A good deal IF you know a bit about bike mechanics. Most LBS's will assemble and adjust a BD bike for $50-75 still a pretty good deal. You are on your own as far as warranty stuff.

You don't say where he is but another option is REI. Buy the bike on line and they will ship it to a local store for pickup. They also stand behind their products.
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Old 12-24-11, 05:21 PM   #17
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WriteNow, I get that you're new here, probably not a real bike enthusiast yourself, you're wanting to do a good deed for your son. We who spend more time in the 'bike world' don't want to pick you apart, make you feel stupid, or anything like that.

But you have to work with us, too. We can't just give you a simple, pain-free "pill" for your problem.

You say the shop in your son's town carries "uber-expensive Treks"; if they are a Trek dealer, they can ORDER any Trek made. You will likely need to either make a few long-distance calls to this shop, or e-mail them back and forth, to make it happen. Your ideal scenario would be to arrange an order, and a fitting, for your son -- covered by your gift certificate. They can FIT him to a similar bike, giving you both the info you need to order one you want him to have. (FYI -- doubt even THAT shop would measure up to a Lance wannabe -- Lance's bikes were $8000-10,000 each during his career)

I would not recommend Bikesdirect.com; for every person here on this forum who likes them, there is at least one who doesn't. I had a HORRIBLE experience with them, so I chase people away from that dealer.

Being in separate states as you are, this is a difficult thing to accomplish; it's not "one call and you're done". I counsel patience and persistence. You can't put someone on a bike the way you can put them in a car.

If you need more info that I may be able to provide, I am here. Private Message (PM) if you feel the need.
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Old 12-24-11, 05:33 PM   #18
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Sorry, but, very experienced riders, or people that work in a bike shop that fit people all the time, are telling you to get him to go the bike shop. They are right. It is more complicated than you think. No one is trying to be unhelpful, they are offereing the best answer.
Get him to go to the bike shop, get fit to a bike, find a bike that he likes, and then have him call you from the bike shop.

Get a shop person on the phone, and then make a credit card sale over the phone, with your cedit card.

Then the money goes to where you want it, and he can have a bike he enjoys, instead of a huge mistake.

Different brands, and even different styles from the same manufacturer will have different measurements to end up getting a bike that fits him.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 12-24-11 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 12-26-11, 08:35 AM   #19
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There is *one* bike shop and all they carry are uber-expensive Treks...
Each line has its entry-level models (entry-level is relative). Some lines share geometry but differ in materials and componentry. Unless Trek people are stuck-up snobs they will work with your son using floor models and recommend and order one within budget.

One thing, tho - unless Jr. is already riding regularly, even a Hellmart contraption, going from a desk chair into road saddle is quite a leap. It will feel weird. If Jr. is not a regular rider disclose that fact to the bike shop staff.

Good Luck and Merry Christmas!!!

SF
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Old 12-27-11, 02:09 PM   #20
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Dude, I don't know what your thing is, but you are way UNhelpful.

Anyone *besides* Johnny99 have any suggestions?
The problem wasn't that he was being unhelpful. He was giving you very good advice---the problem was, it wasn't the advice you were looking for.
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