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Old 05-20-09, 04:50 PM   #1
corkscrew
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Local Surly Dealer doesn't keep them in stock.

So I'm in the market for a Touring bike, and really, really want to give a 58 LHT a test ride. However the LBS that is shown as Surly dealer doesn't actually keep them in stock. I was told I'd have to purchase one for them to order it. Is this normal? How can I decide if I like a bike if I can't test ride it first?
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Old 05-20-09, 05:13 PM   #2
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Find a different shop? That's not only bad customer service, but a bad attitude IMO. You could probably buy it online cheaper than they have, and might even have a better return policy if you didn't need/want to test ride it. That's kind of a ridiculous request.
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Old 05-20-09, 06:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by corkscrew View Post
So I'm in the market for a Touring bike, and really, really want to give a 58 LHT a test ride. However the LBS that is shown as Surly dealer doesn't actually keep them in stock. I was told I'd have to purchase one for them to order it. Is this normal? How can I decide if I like a bike if I can't test ride it first?
I had the same problem when I was living in St Louis - none of the local stores actually stocked the LHT. The thing I did eventually was to go onto Surly's website and look through their dealer directory for dealers with three pirate flags - apparently those are the ones who order more bikes from Surly to keep in stock for customers to test ride. I found a store up near Chicago which did that (North Central Cyclery in Dekalb), gave them a call, and sure enough they had them. So it was a case of an overnight trip to go see the bike. I would call ahead of course to make sure they actually have the sizes you might be interested in ahead of time, and if they know you're coming, they might even make sure they hold that one for a day or two until you get there.

http://www.surlybikes.com/dealers.html

Hope that helps,

Neil
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Old 05-20-09, 06:40 PM   #4
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I found that to be normal. My LBS did have one in the shop to look at. That was more than most of the places that I visited that sold Surlys had. I had to just trust them to choose the correct size after a thorough measurement.

-Sue
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Old 05-20-09, 07:00 PM   #5
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Most shops don't stock Surly, they just order as needed. The deal with my shop was that they would order it and if it fit (it did) I would buy it if not they would put it on the shop floor and order another size.
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Old 05-20-09, 07:13 PM   #6
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It seems strange to me to not have bikes available for a test-ride. I can't see doing that with the bigger manufacturers, that's for sure.
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Old 05-20-09, 07:42 PM   #7
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Ah, most bike shops have over half a million dollars of stock on hand, so they can't stock everything. Good shops will work with you to get the right bike. any Trek, Cannondale or Jamis bikes in stock to test ride? Those are all good touring choices.
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Old 05-20-09, 08:23 PM   #8
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Some Surly LHT-CC mailing list members have created a Google Docs spreadsheet with LHT fitting data and the locations of people who have volunteered to let others test-ride their Surlys.
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?k...s0XLxM31WpvkCw
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Old 05-20-09, 09:13 PM   #9
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Both my wife and I have been through two LHTs a piece trying to get the fit right. The main culprit is because our LBS (which I now own btw) didn't stock them... still can't afford to.
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Old 05-21-09, 05:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by corkscrew View Post
So I'm in the market for a Touring bike, and really, really want to give a 58 LHT a test ride. However the LBS that is shown as Surly dealer doesn't actually keep them in stock. I was told I'd have to purchase one for them to order it. Is this normal? How can I decide if I like a bike if I can't test ride it first?
Head over to Google groups and join us (LHT-CC). Then post a request for LHT owners in your area. Hopefully you'll find someone close by that will let you try their bike.

Brian
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Old 05-21-09, 06:15 AM   #11
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Same here. Two local shops don't regularly stock them, even though one is listed as a Surly dealer. The non-Surly dealer, however, keeps one LHT in the shop. I test rode this one but it was too big for me. I had to make a best guess on the fit when I ordered one. I'm happy with it though.
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Old 05-21-09, 10:53 AM   #12
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Thanks for the tips guys. I hadn't visited their dealer site recently and there is one other dealer in town I'll give a call to.

The shop I visited is my normal "go to" shop, so I checked their first, and have a few friends that have had good luck there. However they carry primarily Electras, Specialized, Bianchi and Cannondales.
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Old 05-21-09, 07:35 PM   #13
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I was in your boat to corkscrew. Only one shop in my area (an hour away) had Surly's but nothing in my size (of course the most popular 54 or 56) but I was also shopping in September thru December (old ones sold out new ones not in yet). Through some web browsing I found a shop in Philadelphia (about 3-4 hours away), gave them a call and found one in my size and the rest, as they say, is history.

In the meantime however I test rode other touring bikes (Cannondale t2, Jamis Aurora, Trek 520) at LBS. On one LBS excursion I was lucky enough to run into a guy at a bike co-op in Ithaca who let me ride his Surly (although one size to big). He also turned me onto a guy who sold and worked on bikes part-time in his garage (Surly and Fuji). Although he was out of stock (in my size) and could not order one (because of the time of year) it was worth a try.

I know patience is not what you want to hear (especially since its nice out), but give it some time. Word of mouth, time, as well as a broad based web search, I was able to find my bike within a reasonable distance.
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