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The ethics of shopping for a new bike

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The ethics of shopping for a new bike

Old 02-03-15, 11:02 PM
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edik
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The ethics of shopping for a new bike

I'm in the market. I have my budget and I have a (vague) idea of what I want. So I go to bike shops (there are a bunch of them on LA's Westside) and look and talk, and ask questions. But I must confess that I feel a little uneasy because here I am, taking somebody's time and using somebody's knowledge and expertise and then I just walk out of the store - because I still have not made up my mind. And sometimes I think I see disappointment and frustration on the face of that store owner/salesperson who just spent his time only to see a buyer walk out. So, what is a right/fair/ethical way to shop? Should I inform the owner/sales person that I'm just shopping and most likely won't buy today?
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Old 02-03-15, 11:41 PM
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There is nothing wrong with shopping and comparing from one store to another. What I would have a problem with is taking thier time and then buying it on line to save 50 or even 100 bucks. If we all did that there would be no local shops where you get to actually touch and ride before you buy. I think the local shops can add value when you build a relationship with them.
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Old 02-03-15, 11:42 PM
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BobbyG
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I never make a big purchase on the first visit. They are competing to meet your wishes and needs, and if more than one store has what you want, then they are competing on price and service. What if you were really impressed with the knowledge and/or service at one shop but they didn't have the bike you wanted or the price you expected. You may end up relying on them for service and accesories...and in that case taking their time ends up benefiting them. You could say you're not buying today, and if they become less than helpful or turn a cold shoulder, they are not the shop for you.
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Old 02-04-15, 05:33 AM
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I've worked the floor in a local LBS betimes. One of my drumbeats to the new sales folk [and occasionally to the owners] is that we're not selling bikes n' stuff, we're selling a relationship with the shop. I'll talk to folks as long as they're willing to interact on the subject of bikes.
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Old 02-04-15, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by edik View Post
Should I inform the owner/sales person that I'm just shopping and most likely won't buy today?
Yes, of course. That should be your first line ... as it should be with any large purchase you're not entirely certain about.


Recently, we went wash machine shopping. I went around to several shops, told them up front that I was not sure what I wanted, but that I wanted to look at the machines and ask a few questions. They were happy to let me have a look and answer my questions. It helped that I had done some online research first so that I had quick, definite questions, and didn't waste their time. And I thanked them very much for their help. After investigating all the possibilities, we bought one from one of the places.

We're doing the same thing with some exercise equipment now. We know we want a Concept 2D rowing machine, that's a given ... but we weren't sure about the treadmill. So I did some online research and then we went around to the two main places in town that sell this sort of equipment. We informed them that we were on an information hunt and, because of the online research we had done, were able to ask a series of informed questions quickly and efficiently. And again, we thanked them very much for their help.

Buying a bicycle is no different from buying a wash machine or treadmill.

First, determine what you want it for. That helped in our discussion about a treadmill ... we both use the treadmill at the gym, we could conceivably be using it for up to about 3 hours a day, and we want to be able to run at a brisk pace. That narrowed the search down immediately. That also helped when we were on the hunt for the wash machine ... I'm allergic to dust mites, therefore I wanted a wash machine large enough to wash blankets, but we were a bit restricted in space, so we couldn't go with the largest machines out there. That narrowed down our search. Same with buying a bicycle ... what do you want it for? Do you want to ride singletrack? Do you want to commute to work over nicely paved roads? Do you want to get into road racing? Do you want to tour? Knowing what you want the bicycle for will help narrow your search ... and will help the salespeople give you more informed answers.

Second, do some research online. Make lists of features you want. Jot down specific questions you have. Then when you go to a shop, you can start the conversation with something along the lines of, "I'm here today to ask some questions".
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Old 02-04-15, 10:48 AM
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If you were going into shops with the idea of trying out their bikes, with the intnetion of later buying online, that would be one thing- but if you're genuinely going in to explore their product offerings with the intent of eventually buying from one of those shops...nothing wrong with that. That's what they are there for- to get you to try and buy the products they offer. Having demonstrators and salesmen and a showroom, is a part of what their mark-up price is for.
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Old 02-04-15, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RISKDR1 View Post
There is nothing wrong with shopping and comparing from one store to another. What I would have a problem with is taking thier time and then buying it on line to save 50 or even 100 bucks. If we all did that there would be no local shops where you get to actually touch and ride before you buy. I think the local shops can add value when you build a relationship with them.
I'll never buy a bike on line again - I learned my lesson the hard way. I have a great bike, Kona Dr. Fine that I got on line at a discount. As I said, it's a great bike, but mismatched for me and I don't feel comfortable riding it (my shoulders and wrists hurt as well as my neck) and I find myself riding my daughter's il cheapo bike more often than my own - because her Specialized Creek feels good.
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Old 02-04-15, 02:23 PM
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when ever I bike shop I go to several shops, compare brands and test ride several...I then attempt to negotiate the price on the ones I like the best...its called shopping...I am upfront and honest, if they want to sell a bike and the business that follows they will take the time and answer my questions, if not, so be it....
the last bike purchase a few months back I narrowed my selection to either a venge or a propel...the shop with the venge would not budge on the price and I bought the propel...
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Old 02-04-15, 03:01 PM
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Dont feel bad at all. Sales people DO NOT make a sale every time they talk to some one. They understand that or at least they should.

The second bit of free advice dont buy in the heat of want. Do look around and and make a cool logical reasoned decision on the bike that fits your needs.
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Old 02-04-15, 03:46 PM
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Picking your favorite shop in the long run is more important than the brand name on the bike .

due in no small extent by the actual manufacturers supplying the many Brands of Various Importers, are just a Handful in number.
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