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LBS Bike Etiquette Question

Old 05-31-12, 01:41 PM
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troyWI
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LBS Bike Etiquette Question

I'm very interested in a bike at a local shop and want to purchase it. However, I don't want the exact model that the owner has on the floor. Is it wrong of me to ask him to order me a new one for my purchase? I just don't know who has test rode the bike on the floor, shifted poorly, that sort of thing. This is my first time buying a bike from a LBS and I didn't want to step on any toes
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Old 05-31-12, 01:58 PM
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So they have the exact bike you want, but you just want a new one out of the box? I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask, but I guess I would wonder why? Your relationship with the LBS during the warranty period will probably be ongoing. Cables stretch and thus, brakes, derailleurs, etc might need to be adjusted after a month or two of riding anyhow. And, you may come in asking for other minor adjustments to your new bike.

Not sure I would worry that some previous customer rode it around the block a couple of times. But you are the customer, and you need to feel comfortable with your purchase.
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Old 05-31-12, 02:06 PM
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Keep in mind that it is highly likely someone will ride the bike even if you get the LBS to order a new one for you. It's usually a habit of many LBS to do a quick test ride after building up a bike.
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Old 05-31-12, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by troyWI View Post
I'm very interested in a bike at a local shop and want to purchase it. However, I don't want the exact model that the owner has on the floor. Is it wrong of me to ask him to order me a new one for my purchase? I just don't know who has test rode the bike on the floor, shifted poorly, that sort of thing. This is my first time buying a bike from a LBS and I didn't want to step on any toes
No problem. Ask for what you want and don't apologize for asking. "Since I'm paying for a brand new bike, I don't want the floor model." It isn't your responsibility to make the bike shop people happy. They earn their money by making you happy.

Practically speaking, bike manufacturers generally cover the shipping costs when bike shops to buy in quantity. The upshot of that is there is a very good chance that the bike shop has a brand new bike in the box exactly like you want. Tell them that you want that one. If they want your money (and you know they do) they'll build it up for you.
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Old 05-31-12, 02:44 PM
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I think it's sort of like buying a new car. You're not going to get one with exactly 0 miles on the odometer.
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Old 05-31-12, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
No problem. Ask for what you want and don't apologize for asking. "Since I'm paying for a brand new bike, I don't want the floor model." It isn't your responsibility to make the bike shop people happy. They earn their money by making you happy.

Practically speaking, bike manufacturers generally cover the shipping costs when bike shops to buy in quantity. The upshot of that is there is a very good chance that the bike shop has a brand new bike in the box exactly like you want. Tell them that you want that one. If they want your money (and you know they do) they'll build it up for you.
Another option is to ask if they can get it for you in the other color scheme (many models come in 2 or 3 different colors and if you want a different one than is on the floor they'll have to order it for you - will still give it a test ride after building it up though).
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Old 05-31-12, 04:05 PM
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Most bike shops I worked in tried not to sell the bike off the floor. Unless it is a super top of the line model or an odd size chances are they have another on in a box waiting to be purchased and then built.
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Old 05-31-12, 05:39 PM
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Do you want a few different components changes from stock,?
like stem extension length , fork steerer height too low?
and the saddle and pedals? those take offs have trade in value.
likewise asking about a tire trade up.
and there is some efficiency gain by making those changes to the bike
as it is assembled in the 1st place,
and parts still have the plastic foam wrapping on them, so pristine.

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Old 05-31-12, 08:14 PM
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My LBS maintains a fair sized stock of bikes, quite often they will have multiple models already built up. I am outside of the size norms so most of mine are special ordered. In the case a bike being test ridden, most test rides I have seen are from one end of the parking lot to the other. If the LBS is reputable they will have a warranty period when all adjustments are free. If you want something that is different from the floor bike, ask. If you are not wanting to purchase the floor bike because it is the floor bike...get over it. Smaller shops will have a much more limited inventory and need to sell the floor bikes to stay in business.

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Old 05-31-12, 09:33 PM
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One of my LBS has the floor model but if you want to test ride one they will bring one from the back that's the appropriate size. I also expect they don't sell the show room bike until it's the last one.
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Old 05-31-12, 11:09 PM
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Absolutely no harm in saying you want that model, but do they have a brand new one in the back. If it's their last one, then you have to decide, but generally with bikes, the current year floor models have no discount just because they're floor models. On the other hand, if they're last year, or have ANY visible damage (scratches, scuffs, etc.) you'd expect a discount.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:33 AM
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Interesting. This is the first time I've seen this question. There are some good answers in the thread. I like to think that the bike I purchase doesn't have hundreds of miles on it from test rides. But how much does it matter? Does the bike look like it has a lot of miles on it? Lots of crud in the cassette? Dirty chain? Scuff marks or soiled bar tape? Scratches on the frame? I look at it this way. If the bike as 5 or 10 miles on it, I'll be getting a bike that passes the "assembled correctly" test.

My LBS ordered a bike for me because they didn't have the size/color I wanted. They decided that size/color would be sellable if I didn't want the bike, so they did not ask for a down payment. When it arrived, they told me to take it out for a long ride to make sure I wanted it. I probably put on 5 miles since I rode it far enough to find something other than flat roads.

You could ask your LBS how many test ride miles are on the bike. They might know how long it has been on the floor.
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Old 06-01-12, 04:04 AM
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In my area, from what I've seen, the test rides that people take are around the block type of rides. Are there shops where test rides routinely stretch into many miles long?
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Old 06-01-12, 09:42 AM
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ya, they usually test ride bikes at some of my local shops for 20-30 minutes.

Thank you guys for your input, at first I was very intimidated by asking for it, but I don't feel so bad now. I will do it politely, as to not annoy the owner (who I have been dealing with in picking out the bike). I don't think it should be a problem, and I will let him know that there is no need to put a rush on it.
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Old 06-01-12, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by troyWI View Post
I will let him know that there is no need to put a rush on it.
I wouldn't worry about that either.

The mantra for retailing is: "Money now." He'll want to get your final payment as quickly as he can. He'll probably be in a bigger hurry to get that bike assembled than you will.
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Old 06-02-12, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
In my area, from what I've seen, the test rides that people take are around the block type of rides. Are there shops where test rides routinely stretch into many miles long?
I imagine it has much to do with the rider. The last bike I bought, a recumbent, the store owner had directed me to the neighborhood behind the bike store. He was surprised to find out that I had gone all the way through the neighborhood to the next main street. I wanted to see if I felt comfortable on a recumbent near traffic.

But at an earlier time, I had tried another recumbent from the same store. I never made it out of the parking lot. I didn't need to to know that I didn't like the bike.

I didn't pull the trigger at either of the test rides. That happened via emails when I was on a trip 1700 miles away.
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