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Old 01-07-07, 04:34 PM   #1
Canada Joe
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Purchase advice needed


i have not biked seriously in almost almost 10 years and recently decided to take it up again. Normally, i would know where to go if i were in my hometown, but i have been living in Paris for 5 years now and don't know much about the new bikes or about bike shops in France.

I am moving to the Cote d'Azur for a new job in a week and have decided that I will commute to work by bike. The ride is about 15 km uphill on smooth pavement and gravel side roads. Downhill on the way back - obviously. Weekends, I intend to explore the coast by bike by going on half-day and full-day trips.

I have a tall and hefty build of 265 lbs (120 kilos), so I would need the bike to be able to withstand the abuse.

As a general idea, I know that I would want slicks, slightly leaning seating position, shox not too necessary... I have looked around by internet and 2 series seem appropriate:
1. Cannondale Bad Boy
2. Specialized Crosstrail

Any suggestions? Other bikes perhaps? I have not tried out the above 2 bikes. Can someone provide me their input please? Do you know if it is possible to try them somewhere in Paris or southern France? Perhaps in Montreal otherwise?

I'm also very well aware that I'd be paying a massive premium for US bikes in France. Would it be worth picking up the bike in Montreal on my next visit there? Would you know of US bike shops that ship to France?

I appreciate all the advice I can get.... I am really looking forward to hitting the road with my new bike!!

Canada Joe
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Old 01-07-07, 11:36 PM   #2
Michel Gagnon
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For European resources, I would suggest you visit The DocVélo forum, which is a French-speaking forums that has a lot of membership from France. There are many low-end bikes and many mid-range hybrids in France. And if you were to want a "serious" machine, France has a lot of "randonneuses" (fast touring) and touring bikes. On the other side of the pond, the Brits have a few serious machines, including offerings at St. John's Cycle (Thorn bicycles). So if you buy there, stay local. Take advantage of local resources. If you want to buy a North American bike, then by all means buy it in Montréal.

As for buying a North American bike in Montréal, it depends how long you stay (i.e. shop preparation time) and how loaded you are on your way back, because airlines either charge extra fees for a bike (oversize box), or they count it as one of your two suitcases. If you have to pay a surcharge of 50, 80 or 130 $ (I heard all three numbers), then it's less money you save. Or you might ask the bike shop to ship it for you in France (I think they are allowed to do this once you have bought it with a Canadian address), but they will charge you with packaging fees and shipping as freight will cost you even more.

Another issue is maintenance. Bike maintenance is not rocket science and parts are all the same nowadays, but if you don't know how to adjust indexing, you will get strange looks from a Nice bike shop when you bring them your Canadian bike for a basic repair.

Incidentally, if you look for a bike in Montréal, I would suggest you look also at DeVinci and Marin bicycles. Both companies do very fine hybrids. And in almost all cases, it's a trivial matter to ask the bike shop to replace the knobbies that are on the bike with slicks.
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