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Want to buy at LBS, but...

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Want to buy at LBS, but...

Old 08-06-07, 07:17 PM
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Smorgasbord42
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Want to buy at LBS, but...

I live in an area with a good number of bike stores. There's one that carries the brand I want and they're very helpful and low pressure. They provide free yearly tune-ups for the life of the bike if you buy it there. They claim their tune-ups are thorough and worth the $100 they charge for non-purchased-from-them bikes. I'm looking at bikes in the $3.5K to $5K range, btw. They know what they're doing from fit to fixing.

I test rode a bike they had on special there. They took the time to get me up on the bike on a trainer (I brought my own clipless pedals, btw), and adjusted seat height, seat fore/aft (with a plumb bob), seat angle, changed spacers under the stem, and swapped the stem - all to fit the bike to me for a good test ride. While it was a nice bike, it didn't really fit me, so I'm going with a different bike that I have NOT test ridden there because they didn't have my size in stock. I rode it at another dealer that I didn't like at all.

This bike I've decided on as specced from the manufacturer isn't quite what I want. The good LBS dealer is willing to swap the sprocket to a wider range and change the derailleur to a medium cage (don't know how much more they'll want for that just yet, probably $125). They do swap stems for free on a routine basis, even months after you've bought the bike, as a fit item. But, the big item for me is that they won't swap the crankset (it's a Campy Chorus-equipped bike but the crankset as shipped is an FSA Omega). They will swap wheels, but they admitted they won't give me much for the Campy Scirocco wheels that come with the bike.

There a big online dealer that will custom build any components you want onto the bike. For less money, this dealer will do the sprocket, derailleur, and Campy Chorus UT crank (same upgraded wheels, too). They appear very knowledgeable as well.

Part of me wants to buy mail order to get the real Campy crank and save a couple hundred bucks. Part of me wants to buy at a good LBS, but they are unwilling to give me any trade-in on the existing crank. Sorry for the lame post, but I could use some advice.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:22 PM
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do business with the LBS and sell the crank on ebay?
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Old 08-06-07, 07:26 PM
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In the end, the money is yours to spend as you like. If getting the bike exactly as you want it is more important than free service from the lbs, buy online. If establishing a positive relationship with the shop holds more appeal, buy the bike and upgrades from them. Personally, I'd sooner buy the bike I want, rather than the bike someone else thinks I should have.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:26 PM
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Dealers will generally only give you their cost on parts. Wheels are easy enough to sell, but a crankset that's been installed isn't. Having said that, The Campy UT cranks are well worth it over FSA. My guess is they're being honest enough with you based on the local market and their profit margin. Perhaps you need to return the favor.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:29 PM
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Yeah. This shop has shown you what they do for their customers, with that intensive fitting, and the adjustments they're willing to do. It sounds like they deserve it, and you deserve them. I've never regretted any of my LBS purchases. I've never had an online sale I was completely satisfied with though. There's always something that isn't quite right.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:41 PM
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With all the LBS has/will do for you they deserve your business. An extra $100-200 or so won't make a difference a few years from now. If you are not especially handy the yearly tuneups are well worth it. Not to mention if you need a quick fix for a same day ride. That said I just picked up a Carbon Bianchi on ebay for a great price. But I didn't spend hours in a shop having them fit a bike to me with all different parts and go elsewhere. When I brought the bike in for a shorter stem they took good care of me since I spend a lot of money there on other items including tuneups to my old bike. They also respect I didn't "use them" for test rides and fit and THEN buy elsewhere.
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Old 08-06-07, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
Dealers will generally only give you their cost on parts. Wheels are easy enough to sell, but a crankset that's been installed isn't. Having said that, The Campy UT cranks are well worth it over FSA. My guess is they're being honest enough with you based on the local market and their profit margin. Perhaps you need to return the favor.

+1... Dr. Tran is right!!!
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Old 08-06-07, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Pugsly View Post
do business with the LBS and sell the crank on ebay?
Do this!
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Old 08-06-07, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pugsly View Post
do business with the LBS and sell the crank on ebay?
I thought of that, but it's costly (which is why I think the LBS won't do it). The Chorus crank is at least $350 with BB cups, while the FSA is at most $175 new. My guess is that I'll be lucky to get $50 for the FSA crank and it may never sell (there were none sold on eBay in recent listings). So, that's at least $300 if the LBS will do the install work for free to get me as a customer. Even so, that will mean I'm looking at about $500 additional for equivalently spec'ed bikes. That's a lot to swallow.

I appreciate the tone of the replies, btw, in recognizing that I'm not shopping locally just to buy online. I knew about the bike I'm going to purchase before I visited the local dealer, and I did not ride it there. I rode it at another local dealer and was not impressed with the experience.

The way I feel about the situation is that I have two dealers who are each are putting their best (but different) foot forward to gain me as a customer. The small local dealer is offering service, while the big mail order dealer is offering custom configurations. I've spent time with both dealers. For instance, I have been on the phone for 30-45 minutes with the mail order dealer (which is longer than the demo ride mini-fitting took). So, each dealer has something invested in me, and I do feel bad that one of them will lose out. Of course, if I buy mail order, the local dealer will get to charge me for a fitting and subsequent issues that I can't deal with myself. They may end up making more money off me as a non-purchasing-customer, and I'll end up with the bike I really want.

Last edited by Smorgasbord42; 08-06-07 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 08-07-07, 07:30 AM
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I would go to the dealer and explain the situation where you would be spending an additional $500 if you purchased the bike through them. Tell them you don't mind paying something extra for the service and to support the LBS but feel the 500 is too much and don't want to be forced to buy online. The shop seems reasonable and might figure something out to make it worth while for you.
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Old 08-07-07, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by geraldatwork View Post
I would go to the dealer and explain the situation where you would be spending an additional $500 if you purchased the bike through them. Tell them you don't mind paying something extra for the service and to support the LBS but feel the 500 is too much and don't want to be forced to buy online. The shop seems reasonable and might figure something out to make it worth while for you.
+1 - $500 is too much to not look at...say give them their BS $100 for their free service...and say maybe another $100 because you want to support the local guy...I am not going much past there though. And you are correct to assume you wont see much for the FSA cranks...they are speced because someone wants to make more money on the bike...get the Campy UT cranks for sure.

In the end be honest with the LBS...tell them you can get the same bike for $500 less and negotiate a deal...in the end if you aren't comfortable with the deal they offer walk away and feel good that you tried to support the local guy.
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Old 08-07-07, 07:54 AM
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I would deal with a LBS but it would require a plane flight...
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Old 08-07-07, 11:03 AM
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Order the bike you want and pay for your maintenance.
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Old 08-07-07, 11:17 AM
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I agree with the people who are saying to negotiate with the local guy based on the amount of money you figure it will cost you to get the exact configuration you want. Be sure to consider that if you upgrade to the crank you want, you really should be able to sell it for SOMETHING on ebay. I have no idea what, but it might reduce the cost differential a little bit.
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Old 08-07-07, 11:42 AM
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Bikes Direct Mike to the white coutesy phone please.
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Old 08-07-07, 09:12 PM
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OP - Where do you live?
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Old 08-16-07, 03:32 PM
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Happy ending

This story has a happy ending (except for my wallet):

Here's the tale: LBS got in the bike I was convinced I wanted (right frame size but different component spec), and gave me a call to come down and get fitted. So, I show up with my gear (pedals, etc.). We go through the fit process (with the bike on a trainer), but I couldn't get comfortable - we both knew it. Turns out I'm mostly legs, with a short torso and slightly long arms. On the 58cm Bianchi the bars were both too low and too far away. Swapped stems for shorter ones, more angled ones, even a short adjustable angle job. I was still leaning to heavily on the bars. Good thing I didn't mail order that bike!

LBS had a different model Bianchi in a 61cm size, which we then tried, but while the handlebars weren't too low, they were too far away, even with a really (90mm) short stem. Then the guy says, "You sure the Seven didn't fit - from the geometry specs it should be better." The Seven was that demo bike on sale I rode last time. So, we pull it down again, put all the spacers underneath a 100mm 6deg stem. On the trainer it feels pretty good - I can lift off the bars and pretty much hold my position, which I couldn't do on the other bikes.

I take it for a test spin, and it's way more comfortable and fun than the last time I rode it. I'm starting to notice the little things that aren't right - the seat isn't comfortable, the handlebar angle isn't quite right, etc., but that means the basic frame geometry is working for me.

Anyway, the bike is nicely equipped (Campy Chorus, Ritchey WCS stem/post) as is. I'm doing a wheel upgrade (to Mavic ES's on their recommendation since LBS says they're less stiff than the Fulcrum's, Campy, or Rolf wheels I wanted), swapping the 12/25 cassette for a 13/29, and installing a Garmin 305 edge computer. I pick it up later today.

So, I'm spending way more than I wanted, but getting something that fits. I'm totally not worthy of this bike, but maybe that'll make me train harder. And, I'm supporting a service-oriented LBS.

Last edited by Smorgasbord42; 08-16-07 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 08-16-07, 03:43 PM
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I love a happy ending!
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Old 08-16-07, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I love a happy ending!
Me too.
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Old 08-16-07, 04:54 PM
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Good deal for everyone. Seven, lets see some pics...
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Old 08-16-07, 07:47 PM
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What model Seven, frame material, etc? Give us some pictures!

BTW, now how much is the LBS worth?
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Old 08-18-07, 07:08 PM
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OK, here are the pics:









I am so not yet worthy of this bike, but the look of that filament wound carbon fiber alone gets to me every time the light catches it just right.
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Old 08-18-07, 09:44 PM
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You did the right thing. If you bought off the net, and had fit problems, gear problems, and all other problems associated with a bike built by god knows, cost to fix it would have racked up incredibly quickly, especially since your LBS would have disowned you.
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Old 08-18-07, 10:20 PM
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Good deal sounds like this was a win for everyone.
I have been debating some of the same issues.

This helps me to decide to go the the LBS.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:08 AM
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shogun17, the mail order place is quite reputable, and from my discussions with them I do not believe I would have had serious issues with the build. They're a good place - they do things like swap stems, prepaid both ways, for free to help you get the right fit. And my LBS would not have disowned me. They would gladly charge me their hourly rate to fix my bike. Many of the bikes they have in the shop in the back were not purchased from them (I know because they don't sell those brands). The LBS would just give me great service, make money off of it, get me telling my friends, and get my next purchase. That's what any smart business would do. Getting pissed at customers wouldn't help them.

As for mail order versus LBS, it depends on the companies involved. There are LBS's out here that don't appear to give great service, and if I had to choose between those and mail order the decision probably would have gone the other way.
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