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  1. #1
    Senior Member macwild's Avatar
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    Trek 520 or Kona Sutra - can only get the 520 at LBS

    So I have done about as much bike research as I can stand and I've narrowed my choices down to the Trek 520 or the Kona Sutra.

    I can have my LBS order the 520 or I can drive 2 hours to get to a Kona dealer.

    As of yesterday, there was 1 520 in my size according to the Trek dealer network. 1 in the whole United States? However, there are Kona Sutras in my size at the other dealers.

    Now here is the ethical dilemma. I can have the LBS order the 520 so I can try it out and there is the possibility that I don't like it or I can go to the Kona dealer and try out the bike they have in stock. And I may not like them either! (at which point I start the research part all over!)

    Whatever bike I purchase, the LBS will be doing all the repairs and ordering extra doo-dads for me (except for any dealer specific items if it's not the Trek).

    Thanks in advance
    Matt in Kansas

    93 Mongoose Hill topper - New utility bike
    95 Trek 520 - New Touring bike and daily commuter
    05 Univega Sport Tandem

  2. #2
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    I don't feel that having your dealer order the bike with possiblility of you not liking it is at all underhanded. You might like it and think it'll work for you, a calculated risk on the LBS' part a tiny one.
    When I read the title of this posting I thought, " is there even a place that HAS 520s ?" They're THAT scarce. Worst case you won't buy it, someone else will. The dealer should get it anyway. We are referring to a bike that's more sought after than it is available. I would feel the same way as you and have in the past, in most cases not being slick. The 520 is an extraordinary circumstance, the exception.
    I test rode a 520 and liked it. I wasn't looking for a tourer but it was steel, the only steel road bike within a 3 hour drive of my home.

  3. #3
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    The 520 is a great bike. I have found myself riding it more than my light weight road bike for my daily rides.

  4. #4
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    The LBS presumably isn't going to make you an offer that's going to lose them money. So is the deal that the LBS orders the bike, lets you try it out, and then sells it to you at full MSRP if you like it? If you don't pull the trigger, the worst case scenario is that the LBS gets on the horn to see if somebody else at some other Trek dealership wants it, and then cuts a deal. It doesn't seem like the LBS is taking much of a risk here.

    Maybe you just go to the Kona dealer first and test ride their bike. If it knocks your socks off, you can just pull the trigger there and save your LBS some trouble. Otherwise it sounds like you're leaning toward patronizing your LBS anyway, and you're not going to go far wrong going with the 520.

  5. #5
    Senior Member macwild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ploeg View Post
    So is the deal that the LBS orders the bike, lets you try it out, and then sells it to you at full MSRP if you like it? If you don't pull the trigger, the worst case scenario is that the LBS gets on the horn to see if somebody else at some other Trek dealership wants it, and then cuts a deal. It doesn't seem like the LBS is taking much of a risk here.

    Maybe you just go to the Kona dealer first and test ride their bike. If it knocks your socks off, you can just pull the trigger there and save your LBS some trouble. Otherwise it sounds like you're leaning toward patronizing your LBS anyway, and you're not going to go far wrong going with the 520.
    Yes the LBS isn't going to offer me any discount and I'm sure they'll be able to sell it to someone else. I guess I would like to be able to test each before I make a decision. I just didn't want the LBS to order a bike for the sole purpose of me buying it. Since they are the ONLY LBS, I want to try and keep a good relationship with them.
    Matt in Kansas

    93 Mongoose Hill topper - New utility bike
    95 Trek 520 - New Touring bike and daily commuter
    05 Univega Sport Tandem

  6. #6
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    Road trip!

    You are going to have the bike for a long time.

    But you would not go wrong with the 520.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macwild View Post
    Yes the LBS isn't going to offer me any discount and I'm sure they'll be able to sell it to someone else. I guess I would like to be able to test each before I make a decision. I just didn't want the LBS to order a bike for the sole purpose of me buying it. Since they are the ONLY LBS, I want to try and keep a good relationship with them.
    No ethical dilemma at all as long as they understand that you just want to try it out. You say you're sure they'll be able to sell it to somebody. I agree. They should be willing to order it in for you to try.

    If they won't, and as a last resort, you can consider offering them $100 to cover their cost in case you don't buy. Maybe then they'd be willing. After all, it'll cost you about a $100 in transportation to try the Kona.

    Test riding a stock touring bike is a big problem for those of us who don't live in really big cities. Takes some ingenuity. That's one reason I'm sticking with what I've got, a standard cc customized to my touring needs.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  8. #8
    Can't Re Member Nerdanel's Avatar
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    Your LBS won't order one if he's not willing to have it in stock. I faced a somewhat similar situation when I bought my Randonee. I really wanted to buy at the LBS but he had nothing in my size. He suggested the Sutra and offered to get one for me to try. He was not, however, willing to get a Long Haul Trucker (even though he carried Surly) because he didn't want to get stuck with a small LHT (doesn't like the 26" wheels). He was happy to stock a small Sutra. In your case, no one would mind adding a 520 to stock.
    Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  9. #9
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    The Sutra and the 520 are both good bikes, but they are different in a lot of ways. You should probably test ride them both to see what you like.

    I'm surprised it's so hard to find a new 520. They are really common here.

  10. #10
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    Yup, I always end up in ethical dilemmas, and I can tell you in this case, the best thing is just be upfront with the LBS. "If it fits me well, and I like it, I'll get it, but I can't promise you that" etc. If you don't end up getting it, you could buy some sort of accessory from them to soften the blow or something.

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