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Old 03-29-06, 08:37 AM   #1
Saintly Loser
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It's Impossible to Buy a Touring Bike in New York City!

So I've finally decided to take the plunge and acquire a touring bike. I'm what you'd call a returning cyclist, I guess, and I'm attaining a pretty good level of fitness after years of knee trouble (I had a knee replacement, and I quit smoking, so everything is working pretty good). I did a fair amount of light touring a long time ago (weekend or long weekend trips, loaded, camping, but no cross-country tours or anything like that).

I did my research. I figured I should spend about $1,000, give or take a couple of hundred bucks. Bikes in that price range include the Jamis Aurora, Fuji Touring, Trek 520, Cannondale T800, Bianchi Volpe, and the Novara Randonee.

I then set out on the mean streets of New York, looking for bikes stores that carried any of these bikes.

Guess what? There aren't any. Not that I can find. There are plenty of stores that are authorized dealers for all of these brands (except Novara -- there are no REI stores anywhere near New York). So I can't get a look at any of these bikes. I did see one dusty old Trek 520 in a store, sized just right for someone about a foot shorter than me (I'm 6'2", and bike shops don't seem to have much in the way of appropriately-sized bikes, touring or otherwise, for me).

All of these shops were willing to order a touring bike for me, but I don't like the idea of buying a bike without at least standing over it and sitting on it. Ideally, I'd like a test ride. I'd at the very least like to see it. And anyway, if all a shop is going to do for me is place an order, why should I pay full New York City retail price for that? I can get the same level of service online for less.

So how do I solve this problem? I have no idea. Does anyone know of a good, trustworthy online bike store that can work with me on fit and sell me a bike?

Thanks.
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Old 03-29-06, 09:08 AM   #2
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Have you tried Brands in, cough cough, Wantagh?
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Old 03-29-06, 10:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by paulrad9
Have you tried Brands in, cough cough, Wantagh?
I haven't. So far I've only been to shops in the city. I don't have a car, so it's tough for me to shop in the suburbs, but perhaps I'll try to get there via the LIRR.
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Old 03-29-06, 01:49 PM   #4
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I feel your pain. I also was looking in NYC and also found exactly one Trek 520 that was the wrong size somewhere on the UWS. I pretty much called every bike shop in the city. You simply can't buy one off the rack here. Finally broke down and had my LBS measure me up and order a Surly LHT about 5 weeks ago that they offered to build up for me (for $1200). I'll let you know how that goes if they ever get the frame in . . .
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Old 03-29-06, 03:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by troyclough
I feel your pain. I also was looking in NYC and also found exactly one Trek 520 that was the wrong size somewhere on the UWS. I pretty much called every bike shop in the city. You simply can't buy one off the rack here. Finally broke down and had my LBS measure me up and order a Surly LHT about 5 weeks ago that they offered to build up for me (for $1200). I'll let you know how that goes if they ever get the frame in . . .
That might be the way to go. Who's your LBS? They seem a bit more willing to work with a customer than most of the shops I've been to.
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Old 03-29-06, 03:08 PM   #6
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Wow, I figured NYC would be the best place to buy something like that. Amazing, special ordering sounds like something I'd have to do down here in Alabama.
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Old 03-29-06, 03:12 PM   #7
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Chelsea Bicycles on 26th between 6th and 7th. Have been using them for about 3 years. Great people. Here's their website: http://www.chelseabicycles.net/ Their old address was 156 W 26th, but they've moved a few doors down closer to 6th Ave about a week or so ago.
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Old 03-29-06, 04:49 PM   #8
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There's a used Cannondale T500 listed on Craigslist for $350 - looks to be in good shape. Might be worth checking out.
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Old 03-29-06, 05:56 PM   #9
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no person in NYC should EVER complain about not being able to get a bike.
craigslist
stealitback.com
garbagescout.com

finding your bike doesnt mean go to a bikeshop, it means go FIND your bike.
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Old 03-29-06, 06:40 PM   #10
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bike shops in NYC are terrible.
as far as touring bikes go, I think A bicycle on 14th st or Bicycle Habitat maybe able to help. I know BH carries a lot of touring stuff
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Old 03-29-06, 09:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RiotBoi
no person in NYC should EVER complain about not being able to get a bike.
craigslist
stealitback.com
garbagescout.com

finding your bike doesnt mean go to a bikeshop, it means go FIND your bike.
That's just absurd. It's far, far easier to *find* bikes in nearly every other part of the country than it is in NYC...

As for the original question, I'm surprised! A couple of years ago when I was looking, I found the 520, the Jamis, the Bianchi and the Fuji Touring locally and was able to check them all out in person... I'm very surprised they're not stocked anymore! Perhaps it's just still too early in the spring and stocks haven't fleshed out yet?
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Old 03-30-06, 12:13 AM   #12
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Just build one! Surly makes a great touring frame. A cheap build with barcons could run you as little as $700. For $1,000 you could probably afford 105. I recommend getting a 48/36/28 and a MTB cassette (32-11). That gearing would be much easier on your knees than standard road bike gearing. If you buy the necessary tools, you could build it yourself and save a fortune on maintence over time.

Otherwise, there are a few good options from Trek and Cannondale. You could have a LBS fit you and order one for you in your size, based on its measurements. As a big guy myself, I recommend the Cannondale touring frames from strength and stability and doubt you'd be unhappy.
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Old 03-30-06, 07:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenrobot
As for the original question, I'm surprised! A couple of years ago when I was looking, I found the 520, the Jamis, the Bianchi and the Fuji Touring locally and was able to check them all out in person... I'm very surprised they're not stocked anymore! Perhaps it's just still too early in the spring and stocks haven't fleshed out yet?
Maybe you're right. I haven't yet been able to find any of them, though. I was particularly interested in the Jamis, simply because the price is right. I'd like to see the Fuji as well, for the same reason, although I don't think it comes in the right size for me. I did see one dusty Trek somewhere, but it was tiny.

Maybe you're right, and in a month or so all the shops will be stocking up for the spring/summer rush. We shall see.
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Old 03-30-06, 07:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troyclough
I feel your pain. I also was looking in NYC and also found exactly one Trek 520 that was the wrong size somewhere on the UWS. I pretty much called every bike shop in the city. You simply can't buy one off the rack here. Finally broke down and had my LBS measure me up and order a Surly LHT about 5 weeks ago that they offered to build up for me (for $1200). I'll let you know how that goes if they ever get the frame in . . .
It may have been the same lonely dusty Trek!
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Old 03-30-06, 09:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintly Loser
I did my research. I figured I should spend about $1,000, give or take a couple of hundred bucks. Bikes in that price range include the Jamis Aurora, Fuji Touring, Trek 520, Cannondale T800, Bianchi Volpe, and the Novara Randonee.

I then set out on the mean streets of New York, looking for bikes stores that carried any of these bikes.

Guess what? There aren't any.

why should I pay full New York City retail price for that? I can get the same level of service online for less?
First, any bicycle you ask a bike shop to order or build will probably come with a warrenty or full year of free service plus a tuneup whiich is why you would still want to order from a LBS.

My experience has been the same. My Jamis Aurora was puchased new from Ebay and my Volpe was purchased from a bike shop in Philadelphia! New York City sells the Trek 520 and Cannondale tourer. These bikes take YEARS to move which is why shops don't buy them. There was one Volpe in a store that was 3 years old and it sold two days before I was going to buy it. As a result, I ended up having to take 3 trains to Philadelphia to buy a new one.
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Old 03-30-06, 09:38 AM   #16
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Let me clue you in - you're a newbie and you believe that there's some differences in these bikes and so you might prefer one to the other.

Believe me the differences are so slight as to be unimportant. Find a local shop that will measure you up and just buy the one that's the color you like that they sell.

There are differences in bikes but you'll need a couple of years of riding to recognize them and they are more in the line of preferences than in anything of practical value.

Just get a bike and ride. You'll start out probably loving the bike you bought and keeping fond memories of it forever.
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Old 03-30-06, 09:43 AM   #17
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Let me clue you in - you're a newbie and you believe that there's some differences in these bikes and so you might prefer one to the other.
No, I'm not a newbie. Believe me. And I'm aware that there aren't great differences between these bikes, but there are some. Price, for one. The prices range from around $750 for the Jamis into the $1,200 range for the Cannondale and the Trek. That's an important difference right there. Another is frame size. The Fuji comes in 58cm and 64cm, while the Jamis comes in 60cm and 62cm. There's a significant difference, and I want to find the right frame size. Otherwise, I'd agree with you -- component differences really don't matter than much to me.
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Old 04-03-06, 09:59 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by funbun
Wow, I figured NYC would be the best place to buy something like that. Amazing, special ordering sounds like something I'd have to do down here in Alabama.
Yeah, I would have thought the same, but they're right about the poor bike shopping in NYC. I just returned from my first ever trip to the Big Apple. Naturally, I had to drop in at a few bike shops to see what was the latest and greatest in bikes and gear. Boy, was I surprised. I went into three shops and was sadly disappointed. My LBS has much better selections and variety than any of the NYC shops had. In fairness, however, I spent all my time in the Manhattan area. Other parts of NYC may have better shops.
But other than the bike shops, the trip was a blast. Looking forward to going back soon.
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Old 04-08-06, 04:57 AM   #19
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Try a Fuji Tourer

I bought a Fuji tourer in Kentucky a month ago, and really like it. It listed for $900, but my LBS gave me a deal for $800. By the time I paid the tax and put some stuff on it, it was out the door for around $950. This is about $2-300 less than the Trek 5200. I let my wife ride my Fuji, and now she wants one, so we are headed back to our LBS today. We plan to do some light touring this summer, but mainly I use my Fuji for around town and rides out in the country. The tourer wheelbase is 3" longer than my Trek 1400, and it sure does make for a smoother ride. My LBS suggested I buy a tourer as my primary bike, because at age 67, the aluminum short wheelbase Trek was a little hard on my old bones. The Fuji weighs 36 pounds ready to roll (tools, lights, pump, seat bag, etc.) , but I have no trouble getting up the steepest Kentucky hill. I think the Fuji weighs 26 pounds as it comes from the factory, and this includes a rear rack Incidentally, my doctor just bought two Trek hybrids for himself and his wife. He has been a runner for a long time, but the constant pounding is taking its toll on his knees. So he is still running some, but rides the bike more and more. He is in his mid-50's. My knees started to go in my early 60's, and that's when I gave up running and went to a bike as my promary exercise. Last year, I cycled 1800 miles, according to my log book.
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Old 04-08-06, 03:17 PM   #20
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touring bike quest

Did you try Bicycle Rennaisance? They usually have them.
www.todmoore.net
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Old 04-11-06, 06:01 AM   #21
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Did you try Bicycle Rennaisance? They usually have them.
www.todmoore.net
That's the place on the upper west side, near the Museum of Natural History, right? Yes, I tried them. No luck. The sales staff said that they didn't get a lot of demand for touring bikes.
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Old 04-11-06, 10:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintly Loser
I did my research. I figured I should spend about $1,000, give or take a couple of hundred bucks. Bikes in that price range include the Jamis Aurora, Fuji Touring, Trek 520, Cannondale T800, Bianchi Volpe, and the Novara Randonee.
You might(!) be able to find a left over Fuji World for about that price. The model was discontinued this year but that means bargains may be had. I almost bought one of those last year.
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Old 04-11-06, 10:57 PM   #23
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Can't NYC bikeshops um, order stuff for customers? They are able to order things from manufacturers and distributors in Tennessee, I don't see why it would be much different there.
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Old 04-11-06, 11:12 PM   #24
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Presumably you'd want to test ride a couple different models.
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Old 04-12-06, 10:00 AM   #25
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Can't NYC bikeshops um, order stuff for customers? They are able to order things from manufacturers and distributors in Tennessee, I don't see why it would be much different there.
Bikeshops in New York City can order any thing but you'll have to leave a deposit. If you decide not to buy the bike, they keep the deposit.
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