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Big chain vs bike shop

Old 11-04-16, 06:35 PM
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Tcon123
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Big chain vs bike shop

I'm sure there are countless threads on this.

I've seen some YouTube videos lately and there seems to be a trend on this topic. Walmart and Canadian tire bikes are good... For the money. The problem is assembly. The assemblers are paid by the bike and it shows.

I would like to spend 600-800 on a good road bike. Not a racer. Something whose primary purpose is pavement but that can hit the trails a few times a year. I feel like a $650 Canadian tire bike with a $100 set up is better than an $800 bare bones Trek bike.

Am I wrong? Looking forward to hearing from everyone.
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Old 11-04-16, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
Walmart and Canadian tire bikes are good... For the money.
No.

Next question...
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Old 11-04-16, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post

Am I wrong?
Yes.
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Old 11-04-16, 06:45 PM
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They are good for the money if:

-you can find one that fits
-you can do your own wrenching

I couldn't when I was in your position 8 years ago and opted for a discounted NOS (New Old Stock) bike from the LBS.

Also, you might take a look at 'hybrids'. You can probably find something that fits your needs at a little cheaper price that what a roadie could be had for (new).
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Old 11-04-16, 06:58 PM
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Agree with the new old stock bikes. New models come out every year and often only the color changes. This time of year the 2017 models are coming in so bike shops want to get rid of the 2016s and you might find a good deal there. I don't know what bikes Canadian Tire has, but I doubt they sell with that yearly model.

Put it this way - I was able to pick up a US$1000 bike for $750 because it was the prior year's model a while back. The difference was the new model was white and the old model was gray.
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Old 11-04-16, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
I'm sure there are countless threads on this.

I've seen some YouTube videos lately and there seems to be a trend on this topic. Walmart and Canadian tire bikes are good... For the money. The problem is assembly. The assemblers are paid by the bike and it shows.

I would like to spend 600-800 on a good road bike. Not a racer. Something whose primary purpose is pavement but that can hit the trails a few times a year. I feel like a $650 Canadian tire bike with a $100 set up is better than an $800 bare bones Trek bike.

Am I wrong? Looking forward to hearing from everyone.
You need to do your home work so you'll be able to recognise what constitute value for the money so you'll be able to recognise a good deal when you see one.

First of all, don't confuse big brand names with "better" than lesser brand names but do recognise when there's a good deal on a brand name bike, major brand or lesser brand, because it will be better than a good deal on a BSO from a big chain store.

So, keep shopping around LBS's, until you spot the bike you want, at the price point you want and chances are it will be far superior to the big chain store bike re components, and really, that's what you need to get familiar with, not brand names. EG, a big brand name bike may have far better components than BSO from a big chain store, and be on sale for close to the big chain bike or at times even less. Buy a brand name with the best components you can get, for the most you want to spend, and stay away from big chain store bikes.

If you've got 650.00 and more to spend, don't get anything from a big chain store with that money. Look for new old stock at local LBS's and you'll be miles ahead.
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Old 11-04-16, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gweedo1 View Post
If you've got 650.00 and more to spend, don't get anything from a big chain store with that money. Look for new old stock at local LBS's and you'll be miles ahead.
Better yet, do some research and buy a used superior bike to get an even better deal.

Because: depreciation.
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Old 11-04-16, 07:11 PM
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I didn't think Walmart had any $800 bikes

If you're interested in a $200 to $300 bike... then Walmart might be an option. Not necessarily a forever bike, but hopefully you can ride it a few blocks.

At least here in the USA, the next step might be the mid-level sporting goods stores like Dick's Sporting Goods. They'll have some decent bikes. Nothing spectacular, but they'll be ok. I was disappointed that their support was minimal. Basic chains and etc, but nothing more.

Next step up might be REI. They're probably comparable to many of the lower end LBS stores, and usually have an in-store maintenance shop. I wouldn't have any qualms about shopping there. They're updating their product lineup for 2017, and it may also bring some good 2016 sales.

Then your LBS shops. Not all are the same.

I'd worry first about what type of bike you wish to buy. A Cyclocross or Hybrid would be high on my list. Then use that to help guide your decision of where to shop. You may find some stores don't carry the inventory that you're interested in.

Don't forget the used market, especially for the hybrids and old MTBs. But the best deals come with bikes needing work.
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Old 11-04-16, 07:35 PM
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Old 11-04-16, 08:03 PM
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I've never seen a decent road bike at Wal-Mart. On the other hand, I have purchased hybrids there in the $230 range and they lasted 10 years with medium duty use. Totally agree with buying a quality USED bike........there are so many out there.
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Old 11-04-16, 09:09 PM
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Its always has been, and always will be, a department store bike is junk. But some people don't know any better.
There are some good bikes at REI - I believe they have their own design dept.
Mail order bikes can be ok, as many have an actual store front shop, so they know bikes.
But do yourself a favor, and go to your own local neighborhood bicycle store and get a bike with a little more (probably a lot more) quality.
You will like bikes more... And you will thank me later.
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Old 11-04-16, 10:15 PM
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Thank you so much for your views.

I'm in Canada so we don't have REI. We have mountain equipment co-op. I think they are similar. They have their own brand which is in the 2-3 grand range.

Maybe Wal Mart is a poor example. Canadian tire sells some $600 stuff but they are made by CCM.
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Old 11-04-16, 10:22 PM
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I wouldn't buy a bike from Walmart. Heavy frame, cheap components. You're better off getting an entry level road bike like Fuji sportif 2.5
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Old 11-04-16, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
Thank you so much for your views.

I'm in Canada so we don't have REI. We have mountain equipment co-op. I think they are similar. They have their own brand which is in the 2-3 grand range.

Maybe Wal Mart is a poor example. Canadian tire sells some $600 stuff but they are made by CCM.
Do you not have a local bicycle shop that carries *real* bicycles? There is no justification for a dept store bike if you really want to ride.
If its something you want to take on vacation once a year, well, maybe a dept store bike is for you.
No offense meant to you Tco.
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Old 11-04-16, 11:24 PM
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If you really want to ride, you would be wise to avoid Target, Wal-Mart and the likes. Get a quality bike assembled by a qualified mechanic at a brick and mortar bike shop. They will get you fitted on the proper bike in your price range, and most shops offer some support, be it a free tune up or minor maintenance for a year. If this is not an option, then finding a quality used bike online would be next. You want something from the big name brands, Giant, Trek, Specialized, Norco eh, etc.
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Old 11-05-16, 09:31 AM
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Can you get Jamis bikes there? Coda Sport and the next model up (Coda) are excellent bikes for the money. Very good cromoly frames and decent parts - well worth upgrading as you become a better rider.

Jamis Street, City, Hybrid, Jamis City Bikes, Jamis Urban, Dual Sport dealer in Toronto
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Old 11-05-16, 12:01 PM
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supporting your local bike shop is a good idea, so they'll still be there when you need them.

REI bike shops are good, and their staff are all well-trained. If you have something similar, that would be a good bet.
Also agree with the Jamis bikes from a good shop.
While you're shopping around for bikes, find a shop you like just as much.
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Old 11-05-16, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
I've seen some YouTube videos lately and there seems to be a trend on this topic. Walmart and Canadian tire bikes are good... For the money. The problem is assembly. The assemblers are paid by the bike and it shows.
In general, they're not good. Don't take my word for it, though. Do a little research on what's good and what isn't when it comes to components, then take a close look at Walmart's offerings. You'll find that they're generally heavy and built with low-end parts. The bikes won't necessarily fall apart, but you may be stuck dealing with excess weight, poor braking, and drivetrains that won't stay in adjustment. They're built to a price point, and the cost-cutting doesn't stop at the lack of trained assemblers.

Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
I would like to spend 600-800 on a good road bike. Not a racer. Something whose primary purpose is pavement but that can hit the trails a few times a year.
What's typically referred to as a "road bike" isn't something you'd take on the trails at all. New "road bikes" tend to have little frame and fork clearance for the wider tires you'd want to be running off-pavement. A few decades ago, it was more common for road bikes to have more tire clearance, but nowadays, road-ish bikes with tire clearance tend to carry niche labels/purposes like gravel bikes or cyclocross bikes.

If you don't want or need drop bars (curved handlebar) typically found on road bikes, hybrids often sell at a lower price point. They typically have more clearance for fatter tires. Select a wide tire with a pavement-friendly tread pattern (in other words, not knobbies) and you'll have your pavement bike that can also do a little trail riding.

Someone above mentioned previous model year bikes or closeouts. Timing's actually pretty good to look for those kinds of deals. November isn't exactly peak season for selling new bikes, so shops may be willing to mark down inventory just to get it out the door. Turn depreciating inventory into cash and floor space for next year's bikes.
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Old 11-05-16, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
I'm sure there are countless threads on this.

I've seen some YouTube videos lately and there seems to be a trend on this topic. Walmart and Canadian tire bikes are good... For the money. The problem is assembly. The assemblers are paid by the bike and it shows.

I would like to spend 600-800 on a good road bike. Not a racer. Something whose primary purpose is pavement but that can hit the trails a few times a year. I feel like a $650 Canadian tire bike with a $100 set up is better than an $800 bare bones Trek bike.

Am I wrong? Looking forward to hearing from everyone.
Both Walmart and Candian Tire are selling one size fits all bikes. That may, or may not be your size. I took a quick look at the CCM men's hybrid. Only available in an 18" frame, with no details available on what exact components are on the bike. Undoubtedly, if it had even Shimano Altus derailleurs, it would spell that out, so I'm guessing it is something lesser. At the price point you're shopping at, there are a ton of good quality bikes available at your local bike shop. I do a lot of gravel riding/trails on a stock Trek fx 7.2, which is well below your budget. It works fine on pavement too. I have nearly as much fun on it, as my specialty gravel bike.
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Old 11-05-16, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
Thank you so much for your views.

I'm in Canada so we don't have REI. We have mountain equipment co-op. I think they are similar. They have their own brand which is in the 2-3 grand range.

Maybe Wal Mart is a poor example. Canadian tire sells some $600 stuff but they are made by CCM.

I'm in South-Central Ontario, Canada. For the money you're looking to spend I'd be inclined to go to a bike shop. I've seen people go to a Canadian Tire store on a Friday because the bike they bought just a few days ago needed a minor adjustment and the guy at the CT store said it'd take a week or so to do. Part of buying at a bicycle shop is the better service. You get a least one free adjustment of gears and brakes after a 30 days settling in period. Will you get that at Canadian Tire? Who will work on your bike at a Canadian Tire store? I saw a setup in an aisle at one store where a guy was doing quick adjustments on a bike and all he was using was an adjustable wrench and locking pliers like Vice-Grips. How well and who assembled your bike are other considerations. Are you able to do your own assembly and/or adjustments? if so then online might be an even better choice. I like a good bicycle shop that I've established a good rapport with. When I lived in Toronto Ontario i dealt almost exclusively with Pedler bicycles on Avenue Road and Dupont streets. They gave me fantastic service and over time I got many good deals from them because I was such a frequent and loyal customer.

In short, with Canadian tire there are too many negative variables that can affect the quality of and hence the enjoyment of a new bicycle. A good bike shop especially if you go there during their off-hours can give you utterly fantastic personalized service and continuing good to great service ling after you've bought your bike.

Cheers
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Old 11-06-16, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tcon123 View Post
I would like to spend 600-800 on a good road bike. Not a racer. Something whose primary purpose is pavement but that can hit the trails a few times a year.
There's your real problem. You have only the most basic concept of what kind of bike that you want, you probably don't even know what questions to ask, and, even if you did know the questions, you still can't get that kind of advice at a big box store.

"Where and how you picture yourself riding your new bicycle" is the big question. What kind of "trails" are you visualizing? The days of 2 or 3 basic styles of bikes are gone. Today there is a huge graduated range of bicycle styles. While you could probably get by on sever different styles and be happy, it would be nice to know what you are giving up by choosing the bike that you pick. An average or better bike store person will know your local area and will be able to guide you to the style bike that will serve you best.

"Size" is another huge issue. Bikes, just like shoes, come in sizes. Would you buy the wrong size shoes just because they gave the best "bang for buck"? Of course not. Again, an average or better bike shop person will be able to guide you to the right size bike and will be able to adjust it to fit your body and intended use.
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Old 11-06-16, 08:04 AM
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Old 11-06-16, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
"Where and how you picture yourself riding your new bicycle" is the big question. What kind of "trails" are you visualizing?
This.

You need to figure how many miles you plan on riding on the road, versus trails, and what kind of "trails"? ninety percent road or fifty percent, or (like most people who get a nice road bike) 99 percent road? Packed earth, loose gravel, MTB trails?

Lots of great bikes out there to fit pretty much any style of riding, but if you get the wrong bike based on misperception or insufficient consideration, you will waste a ton of money and lose a chance to really enjoy cycling.
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Old 11-06-16, 10:08 PM
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You are right. I don't know what questions to ask.

Here in Montreal, we don't really have trails. We have some great ones within an hour of driving. This bike would be well over 90 percent on gravel. We have a place called Mount Royal. It is hardly a trail. Its paths are made of small stones so it isn't very rocky.
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Old 11-06-16, 10:23 PM
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I have a store here selling the FX 7.2 for $510. Is that good? The Trek FX have so many models. Goes all the way to $2599.
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