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kyfirestorm 09-03-05 07:06 PM

Buyer's Remorse Setting In . . .
I posted this originally in the "Introductions" section under my thread titled "Gas prices leading me to explore" . . . and then realized I needed to post it elsewhere. So here it is, in all of it's cut and pasted glory:

The trip to the bike shop went great . . . with one small deviation from the plan. We didn't come home with any bikes in the back of the Pathy.

We did, however, put a $50 deposit on a brand new bicycle for my daughter.

The shop was great. Several people were in and out while we were there (I've always taken customer traffic as a good sign for any privately owned store) and the guy who waited on us was wonderful. After getting the $100 24" Trek MT220 out for Stephanie to test ride, he made a suggestion . . .

"See how she's all bunched up . . . how her legs stay bent most of the time and how she's hunched over? She could really use a bigger bike."

He proceeded to explain to us about the difference between "adult" sizes and "child" sizes . . . and how my daughter is tall enough to actually ride an adult bike. Made sense, because even though she's only 10 years old she's almost as tall as I am. He asked us what type of riding she does mostly (around the neighborhood and to friend's houses that are less than a mile away) and he said that he felt she could take a small-frame women's bike. In a very nice way, he asked what my price range was (without making me feel cheap for not wanting to spend over a thousand dollars) and I laughed and told him that I had planned on spending no more than $150 for her a bike to last her through the fall and into next spring. I told him that my plan was to spend that much and then buy her a bigger bike when she needed it. I also explained that I was going to be looking for another bike as well, to commute to work.

We then went back into the shop and he showed us some small-framed women's bikes. Pulling a Raleigh SC30 (aluminum frame) off the rack, he began to tell us about it and that it was one of the less expensive bikes that they carry but that it was a decent bike to own. He wheeled it outside, adjusted the seat for Steph, and told her to ride it around the parking lot. As she rode it, he called out to her to switch to certain gears . . . to peddle a certain way . . . and then he turned to us and said, "Now, see how her legs extend when she peddles? And how her arms aren't bent almost completely at the elbows? This is a better size for her." And he was right. Stephanie rode around that parking lot with a smile on her face and when she was finished he told me to get on and try it. It felt wonderful . . . the first words out of my mouth were a shocked "My butt doesn't hurt!!!!" Of course, that is probably because of what my husband jokingly called a "fat-bottom-girl" seat. What can I say? He's a Queen fan . . . lol.

So, anyways . . . we went back inside and he showed us several other bikes . . . but Stephanie always kept returning to that SC30. Even though it was black and champagne with a little gold on the decal, she seemed to really like it. The salesguy asked us to wait a second, and he went into the back of the shop and after a few minutes came back out with a brochure. He said that they had the '06 model of the SC30 (which is now called a Venture 3.0) and that they had sold the assembled model last week. He had checked and they had one still boxed up in the back . . . and then he showed us a picture and it was a gorgeous powder blue. You can see it here:

My daughter immediately decided that she liked it and we made the decision to buy it. The only problem? I only had about $200 extra to spend until I get paid next week and the bike was $279 ($300 after taxes). He said "No problem, we've got a 90 day layaway. Be happy to put it on hold for ya." He even offered to give us a good deal on the '05 SC30 that we had ridden . . . for me. Seeing my hesitation (I wasn't sure a comfort bike would suit my needs (daily 6 mile - one way - commute to work over very nice paved roads, and the possibility of longer rides in the future) . . . even though I really liked it . . . I don't like buying stuff for myself, lol) he told us to think it over and let him know when we picked up Steph's bike. He even suggested that she and I could share the Venture . . . that would give me some time to really ride the thing and get to know if I wanted it or something different. He explained that they offered 90 days of free adjustments (cables and etc. . . ) because the bike will need them after she has ridden it and it's loosened up some . . .

Here is my question. I know that he seemed really nice, but most salesmen do. The only difference between the bikes is that the '05 model is a 21 speed and the '06 model is a 7 speed. The '05 was priced at $279 (which was the exact same price as the '06) and he offered to drop it down to $249 if we bought them both. We talked about it all the way home and my husband said he felt like they should have dropped the price on the '05 a little more because next year's model is already out. Is this true? Is $300 (after tax) too much to pay for the '06 for my daughter? Is the "lifetime frame warranty" really worth that much? Does my daughter really need something with more than 7 gears? Is the difference between the value of the 21 speed vs. the 7 speed enough to bring the price on the 21 speed up?

It all seemed so fine and wonderful in the shop . . . now buyer's remorse is setting in.



DannoXYZ 09-03-05 07:28 PM

the gearing range '05 21-speed and '06 7-speed should be similar. Both have 7-gears in the back and it's spread out pretty wide on the '06. You're really only getting like 3-4 extra gears on the high & low end with the 21-speed. It's not that difficult to change the gear-ratios in rear to suit the terrain, so that shouldn't be a consideration in your purchase at all.

The '06 model does have slightly more suspension travel, I doubt that your daughter would be bombing down off-road hills at speeds that would make that difference apparent.

Lifetime frame warranty is pretty standard, it's almost impossible to destroy an bike-rame, unless you crash a plane into it. There was a story up in the S.F. Bay Area about 10 years ago where a car got crushed by an 18-wheeler that rolled on the freeway. The occupants were saved from being turned into a cup of freshly-squeezed OJ because they had some bikes on a trunk-rack in back. The truck could only crush the car down to the height of the bikes. :)

I would suggest making a low-ball offer of $230-240 of the '05 model for your daughter. Wait a week or two for them to call you and go back and forth and split the difference. Shops don't make that much money on bikes anyway, so they're not losing much by lowering the price. Certainly makes it attractive to you though. Most of the money is made in service, so you can support them that way in the future.

Then for yourself, a basic commuter bike doesn't have to be a brand-new model. Pick up a used bike in the paper or from CraigsList for $100 and it'll be 90% as good as a brand new bike. Take it to the shop, have it overhauled and freshened up for $50-75 and you'll have something that's 95% as good as the brand new bike for 1/2 the price.

twahl 09-03-05 07:37 PM

Sounds like you had a good experience with a good bike guy. The decisions of course are yours to make, but it doesn't sound like he was stearing you wrong.

7 speed vs. 21 speed. The 21 speed has more hardware, so it's going to generally cost more to produce. That's an extra deraileur and shifter, so it raises the cost. The 7 speed is more simple, and for riding around the neighborhood will be fine. The extra range of the 21 speed will come in handy on your commute is you have any hills to deal with, or if maybe you decide to add a rack and/or panniers to carry around cargo of any kind.

halfspeed 09-03-05 09:38 PM

You did fine. There might not be a lot of negotiating room left. Bikes have been selling really well this year and with gas prices over $3 a gallon, they aren't likely to slow down much until it really starts getting wintry.

lilHinault 09-04-05 01:17 AM

Ya did good!

magoolc1 09-04-05 01:34 AM

My wife had buyers remorse because we just up and bought both of our treks on a day we was just going to look. Wasnt the salesman, wish they would have adjusted ours a bit more for us. Sounds like you did ok on the bike to me. Feel glad you got out with that much. I went in to look and came out much lighter in the wallet then when we went in. But no remores for me...i love the bikes

gcasillo 09-04-05 02:00 AM

What bike shop? Seems like good LBSs could use a plug around these boards lately.

Bontrager 09-04-05 12:28 PM

Just make sure you guys get out there and ride the hell out of your bikes.

kyfirestorm 09-04-05 05:54 PM

I didn't know if we were allowed to give "shout outs" to the wonderful bike shops here . . . but now that I've been asked, here goes:

Bikes And Moore of Hopkinsville, Kentucky is a wonderful bike shop . . . and we were helped by a very nice guy named Dave Diamond. If any of you ever get the chance to pass through Hop'town, look them up!

I've decided to get the '06 Venture 3.0 for now . . . and I'm looking into hybrid type bikes for myself. I'll ride the Venture for a week or two and then go back to the bike shop and try something else. That way I'll have a pretty good idea of where the "comfort" bike fits into my needs.

Thanks for all the input guys!!!!


soni_guin 09-04-05 06:44 PM

always give a shout-out to a good shop!

CB HI 09-04-05 07:43 PM

Looking at the bicycle web page, the '06 Venture 3.0 is a 21 speed bike. Triple chain ring and Shimano Revo MegaRange 7spd cassette.


Julie "I've decided to get the '06 Venture 3.0 for now . . . and I'm looking into hybrid type bikes for myself. I'll ride the Venture for a week or two and then go back to the bike shop and try something else. That way I'll have a pretty good idea of where the "comfort" bike fits into my needs."
Outstanding plan.
I do wonder if your daughter will get a chance to ride it once you start commuting. :)

CB HI 09-04-05 08:25 PM


Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Lifetime frame warranty is pretty standard, it's almost impossible to destroy an bike-rame, unless you crash a plane into it.

I agree that today Lifetime frame warranties are common. That started in the early 90s by Trek. Then some expensive carbon frames were self destructing. Trek wanted to make a point that their OCLV carbon frames were built to last, so they came out with the Lifetime frame warranties. Other manufacturers then followed the trend.

I disagree that frames are almost impossible to destroy. I have worn out 2 frames, which after 10 years of hard commuting, each failed at a weld joint from a fatigue fracture. One frame was prior to such warranties, the second was a Trek. Trek offered either a replacement of the aluminum Unified Rear Triangle (the part that failed) or a frame upgrade replacement. I went with the frame upgrade replacement ($1800 frame at Treks cost of $700). A sweet deal. I also got left hooked once, that bent the top and down tubes which basically totaled the bike.
That is 3 good quality frames that were not impossible to destroy.

After several years of riding a bike, you should do occasional inspections looking for small cracks in the frame. Especially check the welds.

kyfirestorm 09-06-05 06:11 AM


Originally Posted by CB HI
Outstanding plan.
I do wonder if your daughter will get a chance to ride it once you start commuting. :)

We've already had a discussion about that . . . I'll use is for my morning rides while she's at school and I'll hold off commuting until I make a decision. It'll give me more time to build my stamina too! :)

I've been thinking about a Trek 7,000 series . . . but I'm still researching different websites (Giant, Raleigh, etc. . . ) and watching Craigslist and Ebay. Might make a trip to the local thrift stores today and see what they've got.

Have a great week!


Portis 09-06-05 12:07 PM

Sounds like you had a good salesman. I know you haven't been to a lot of shops, but finding that kind of enthusiasm about selling $200 bikes is pretty rare. Trust me.

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