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  1. #1
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    picking a bike - what if they don't stock?

    I'm currently trying to plan a tour for this summer and I'm still trying to decide on a bike. Unfortunately, none of the bike shops in my area stock or ever plan to stock touring models. I think that to find a shop that stocked one, I'd have to go a long way, and I don't have a car. So, what should I do? If I have to special order a bike from my LBS, can I just not buy it if I don't like the fit? And if I do that, does it hurt the bike shop?

    Also, I've been looking at the Fuji Touring model, but there seem to be a lot of complaints about folks breaking spokes all the time. I'm a pretty light guy, though (145 lbs), so I'm wondering if I would encounter the same problems? I plan on using panniers front and back for an unsupported trip. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khorpulent
    I'm currently trying to plan a tour for this summer and I'm still trying to decide on a bike. Unfortunately, none of the bike shops in my area stock or ever plan to stock touring models. I think that to find a shop that stocked one, I'd have to go a long way, and I don't have a car. So, what should I do? If I have to special order a bike from my LBS, can I just not buy it if I don't like the fit? And if I do that, does it hurt the bike shop?

    Also, I've been looking at the Fuji Touring model, but there seem to be a lot of complaints about folks breaking spokes all the time. I'm a pretty light guy, though (145 lbs), so I'm wondering if I would encounter the same problems? I plan on using panniers front and back for an unsupported trip. Thanks.
    My suggestion: Check the Fuji (or Trek, or Surly, or whatever) websites for a dealer near you and have them order the bike, if you're pretty sure what you want. If it doesn't fit, but you end up buying a different bike from the same shop, I would hope they won't bill you any costs for the one you sent back.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khorpulent
    I'm currently trying to plan a tour for this summer and I'm still trying to decide on a bike. Unfortunately, none of the bike shops in my area stock or ever plan to stock touring models. I think that to find a shop that stocked one, I'd have to go a long way, and I don't have a car. So, what should I do? If I have to special order a bike from my LBS, can I just not buy it if I don't like the fit? And if I do that, does it hurt the bike shop?

    Also, I've been looking at the Fuji Touring model, but there seem to be a lot of complaints about folks breaking spokes all the time. I'm a pretty light guy, though (145 lbs), so I'm wondering if I would encounter the same problems? I plan on using panniers front and back for an unsupported trip. Thanks.
    Sounds like they are not interested in your business. If a shop will special order for you they will(should) measue you properly for a touring frame, not a racing frame. Then a good shop will work with you to get a good fit. Yes it would hurt the bike shop if you refuse it. In their place I would require a good deposit which you would lose if you refuse the bike. I feel it would be fair for the deposit to exceed the amount they would lose by having to sell a now used bike. Maybe find a shop with a fit service and get measured. Then tell them you are sending the numbers to a mail-order shop that will sell you what you want ( ). If you can afford a really good tourer like a Bruce Gordon Rock and Road you could afford to fly to Petaluma and have him fit you personally.
    This space open

  4. #4
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    If your local bike shop is any good at all they should be able to get a pretty good idea of which size bike to order for you. Then once it arrives you might need to swap the stem to dial in the fit. You should just ask them what sort of return policy they would have if it didn't work for you since you won't be able to test ride it first.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    in my opinion, you should borrow a car, find a bus, a train etc. to a bike shop that stocks touring bikes. i would NEVER spend spend $500-$2000 on something that might not fit me right. it's likely that one or more of the bikes stocked by a good shop will fit you like butter, and the others just won't feel as good. seems worth it to me to make sure that i have one of those good ones beforehand.

    the exception to this would be buying a FRAME beforehand and having it built up or building it up yourself - that way you can do whatever you need to to make it fit you.

  6. #6
    SpecOps-27 Emerson's Avatar
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    I recently had a bike ordered and built up for me. I was nervous about the same things. I asked the shop what happens if the bike didn't fit or I didn't like it. They did a comprehensive fit on me before we went ahead with the order and, while they didn't say I could simply walk away, they reassured me several times that they would work with me to get the bike to fit right or if necessary find a different frame. I don't think it is reasonable to expect to have a small shop just suck up the costs if you back out. I do think it reasonable for you to do careful research, for them to do a thorough fitting, and then work with you closely to make you happy.

    I agreee that borrowing or renting a car might be a good idea. Have you done touring before or ridden a touring bike? Do you know what kind of setup you like--how high you want the bars for example. I'm no expert, but I'm also wondering what else you might get for the money. I don't hear a lot about Fuji touring bike compared to Trek, Surly, or Cannondale.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jcwitte's Avatar
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    I had a shop order a Trek 520 and the manager had me sit on one of the other road frames they had and take some measurements and then he looked through some charts and did a few calculations, remeasured, did a few more calculations and then had one of his employees do the same to make sure they agreed on the outcome.

    If the guy at your LBS looks you up and down and then says something to the effect of, "Eh, you look like you're about a 58cm", then turn around and go somewhere else (actually happened with a Bianchi Volpe dealer).

    Once the Trek 520 arrived and was assembled, he had me sit on it, he took measurements, adjusted a few things, took some more measurements, etc. I then took it for a spin, came back, told him I liked it and paid for it. I got the sense that he was very interested in making sure that I got a bike that fit right and that I was happy with.

  8. #8
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    I live in Long Island, NY. The entire area is (elitist) roadie central. No one around me carries touring bikes. I was lucky to find an LBS that does a fair cyclocross trade. Seems like they better understand what I'm looking for although they don't carry (and seldom sell) touring bikes. A few things that I like about this place, and you should probably look for in an LBS if they don't typically sell tourers:
    1. Willing to order individual bikes.
    2. They asked me what type of riding I was planning on doing and fitted me. If they agreed w/ the model of bike I wanted, and I go by their fitting, they guarantee that the size they ordered will fit. If it doesn't, I don't have to buy it and they will order a different size if I want.
    3. Will switch out parts on a credit/charge basis - I get credit for each part I "turn in" and that credit will be applied to the replacement price.

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