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XL Bike Sizes Typically Not Available in Local Bike Stores

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XL Bike Sizes Typically Not Available in Local Bike Stores

Old 03-15-16, 02:41 PM
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bmccollum
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XL Bike Sizes Typically Not Available in Local Bike Stores

The problem I run into at most of the local bike shops is that I need a larger-size frame, and most of them don't seem to carry the larger-sized bikes to take out on a test ride.

What's the common thing to do here? I have no idea if it's common practice for a shop to order a larger-sized bike to put on display at their store if they find that a customer is wanting to test-ride the bike? I'm down to 2-3 different road bikes that I'm considering buying, but none of the local shops have the size I typically ride. What I'm thinking about her is the situation that if I ask all 3 bike shops if they can get my size in, chances are that 2 of the shops are going to get the bike in, I'm going to take 10-15 minutes to ride the bike, and I'm ultimately going to buy a bike potentially from the 3rd, completely separate store. Not sure if this is common-place for bike shops and just a standard cost of doing business or what?

Thoughts/recommendations?
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Old 03-15-16, 02:52 PM
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Most of the LBSs around me require that you pay up front for a special size order. I'd try to ride the closest size possible and work with a fitter there to zero in on the size you need before ordering.
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Old 03-15-16, 03:23 PM
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Gotcha. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 03-15-16, 03:55 PM
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Talk to the stores.

Some may have more frames in the back room than they have on display out on the floor, and may be able to build up a different size in a few days. Hitting them up early in the season may also help so they have a full riding season before the parts go to a dead stock pile.

Personally I'd be reluctant to insist that a store invest thousands of dollars of inventory and hours of configuration time for a 1 in 3 chance I might buy the bike.
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Old 03-15-16, 04:47 PM
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I experienced the exact same problem. After careful geometry data collection and several test rides of bikes I already knew wouldn't fit, I came to a conclusion about what I believed would work for me. I offered a $200 non-refundable deposit on the bike I wanted ordered with the understanding that I believed the bike would work for me, but if once delivered and assembled I decided it just wasn't going to work, I'd walk away from the deal and lose the $200. I was confident about what I wanted, but wasn't willing to commit to a deal on a bike I never even saw in real life. My offer of a large deposit assured the shop they wouldn't get killed on an un-sellable dust collector taking up room on the floor.

In the end, everything worked out beautifully but I did a ton of homework, test rides and research (and hand wringing) while everything came together.


-Kedosto
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Old 03-15-16, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
I experienced the exact same problem. After careful geometry data collection and several test rides of bikes I already knew wouldn't fit, I came to a conclusion about what I believed would work for me. I offered a $200 non-refundable deposit on the bike I wanted ordered with the understanding that I believed the bike would work for me, but if once delivered and assembled I decided it just wasn't going to work, I'd walk away from the deal and lose the $200. I was confident about what I wanted, but wasn't willing to commit to a deal on a bike I never even saw in real life. My offer of a large deposit assured the shop they wouldn't get killed on an un-sellable dust collector taking up room on the floor.

In the end, everything worked out beautifully but I did a ton of homework, test rides and research (and hand wringing) while everything came together.


-Kedosto
Thanks again for your comments/suggestions. On to more research... :-)
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Old 03-15-16, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by thin_concrete View Post
Most of the LBSs around me require that you pay up front for a special size order. I'd try to ride the closest size possible and work with a fitter there to zero in on the size you need before ordering.
Isn't this a bit ironic, considering the LBS is supposed to offer the service that you don't get ordering a bike via mail order (which also have decent return policies)?
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Old 03-15-16, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Isn't this a bit ironic, considering the LBS is supposed to offer the service that you don't get ordering a bike via mail order (which also have decent return policies)?
The problem with the LBS model is the number of 6'6 or 7' customers is low. Maybe a bit better market for the 6'1 or 6'2 customers.

Anyway, shops do well selling the ordinary stuff.
They have troubles selling the stuff just a bit outside of the norm.

So, the customers are driven onto the internet.

Except that one can't test-ride anything on the internet.
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Old 03-16-16, 04:39 AM
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A big shop around here will get any bike in from brands they carry for a fully refundable deposit. It usually takes 3-5 days. They take the deposit to ensure you're at least somewhat serious and will show up when they do get the bike in.
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Old 03-16-16, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The problem with the LBS model is the number of 6'6 or 7' customers is low. Maybe a bit better market for the 6'1 or 6'2 customers.

Anyway, shops do well selling the ordinary stuff.
They have troubles selling the stuff just a bit outside of the norm.

So, the customers are driven onto the internet.

Except that one can't test-ride anything on the internet.
Agree with most of what you said. FWIW I think that the brands' distributorships should actually be held responsible for having available demo models that they can loan out to the LBS's -- especially bikes that perhaps are in odd sizes. They should not have to carry one of each trim level, just one of each frame I'd think (eg. Trek ALR5, but no need to have and ALR4 and ALR6 to demo as well). Actually, it really should be part of the distributorships responsibility to take returns as well (if, for example, returned within a week or so).

Re: the internet, actually, with so many of the 100% satisfaction guarantee sites, you can pretty much test ride anything you want to order and pay for; you just have to deal with hassle of shipping back and waiting for the refund if it doesn't work out.
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Old 03-16-16, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
A big shop around here will get any bike in from brands they carry for a fully refundable deposit. It usually takes 3-5 days. They take the deposit to ensure you're at least somewhat serious and will show up when they do get the bike in.
Deposit is refundable only if you buy some bike from them (if not the one they special ordered), or even if you just decide it didn't work out and shop elsewhere (as the OP's scenario lays out)?
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Old 03-16-16, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Agree with most of what you said. FWIW I think that the brands' distributorships should actually be held responsible for having available demo models that they can loan out to the LBS's -- especially bikes that perhaps are in odd sizes. They should not have to carry one of each trim level, just one of each frame I'd think (eg. Trek ALR5, but no need to have and ALR4 and ALR6 to demo as well). Actually, it really should be part of the distributorships responsibility to take returns as well (if, for example, returned within a week or so).

Re: the internet, actually, with so many of the 100% satisfaction guarantee sites, you can pretty much test ride anything you want to order and pay for; you just have to deal with hassle of shipping back and waiting for the refund if it doesn't work out.
Packing & shipping & unpacking using normal freight channels will cost a minimum of $50. It could be an expensive demo to have floating around the country.

A few demos, and the bike will be battered, and thus could only be sold as a demo (not that stores don't like any excuse to put stuff on sale).

Around here we have chain auto parts stores that have somewhat of a distributed inventory. They know what the inventory is in all of the other stores around town. So for slow moving items, they might only have 1 or 2 in the city, then either send the customer to the other store, or get an inter-store transfer. They have a regular warehouse restocking that they're always happy to throw extra items on the truck.

Are there big cities that might have multiple dealerships for a single brand that could do the same. Give the extra-small bikes to one store and the extra-larges to another, then move bikes around town? Or, perhaps do so on a state level? Also use a similar method with components, so perhaps only carry one or two complete super-record gruppos with provisions to get it (or parts from it) to the stores taht need it.
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Old 03-16-16, 11:58 AM
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Difference : carry in stock on speculation of a walk-in customer that size Vs Able to Order from importing-distributor Warehouse..

the warehouse may have remnants from a past year , and discount passed along to the customer by the dealer.


Bill Walton and those his size just have to go Built to Measure Custom. but you'd get just the right thing.

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Old 03-16-16, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Difference : carry in stock on speculation of a walk-in customer that size Vs Able to Order from importing-distributor Warehouse..

the warehouse may have remnants from a past year , and discount passed along to the customer by the dealer.

Bill Walton and those his size just have to go Built to Measure Custom. but you'd get just the right thing.
Old stock may only be pertinent if there wasn't a major redesign in the bike. Roubaix SL2, SL3, or SL4, etc. At which point the prices could just plummet.

Discounted bikes are always a mixed deal for a shop. It may help them move stock which is good, but then they aren't getting the full profit potential.

I suppose for any business this all comes down to economic choices.
  • Does one wish to expand one's customer base to as many non-standard riders as possible?
  • Does one wish to move as many standard products as possible at a minimum cost.
Have we even defined what the OP's XL size was?

One of the issues is that some manufactures have completely been dropping the extra-small and extra-large bikes.

It may be easier to throw together a basic steel frame from 42cm up to 70cm than a carbon fiber frame that might need a completely different mold for each size. Even hydroformed aluminum may be restricted with what they can do with the tubes at the size extremes.
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Old 03-16-16, 08:42 PM
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I've fought this for 50 years. I'm 6'4", and I prefer a 64 or 65cm frame (don't tell me that's too big--dozens of shop employees have tried, and they're wrong). Until I got old enough to be assertive, I bought a string of 60-62cm bikes ("Don't worry--we can make it work") because that's all that was in stock. I was miserable. I thought EVERYBODY on a bike was miserable. For my midlife crisis a few years ago I bought an Atlantis from Rivendell and followed their sizing guidelines. The local experts (many of them friends) insisted I'd be sorry, but I was instantly more comfortable on the bike than I'd ever been.
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Old 03-16-16, 08:49 PM
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Tell the store your problem,they should help you to find xl size frame
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