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New to riding, going to get a road bike. Is it worth paying extra at LBS vs ebay?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

New to riding, going to get a road bike. Is it worth paying extra at LBS vs ebay?

Old 08-19-10, 11:58 PM
  #1  
lukin
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New to riding, going to get a road bike. Is it worth paying extra at LBS vs ebay?

I stopped by a local shop and they helped fit me/give me ideas etc. They recommended I spend 800-1000 (I was planning on 600-700) instead of buying low and upgrading over time.

Seems everything on ebay is about half the MSRP, so I could get a nicer bike for cheaper. But then the question is how much am I going to spend at a local shop to help fit me to it and get other parts?
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Old 08-19-10, 11:59 PM
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If the LBS is full of nice people buy there, build a relationship, If they're a good shop your commitment to them will bring kickbacks.
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Old 08-20-10, 01:03 AM
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my LBS looks me down when i walk in and not really giving me a good service at all even they don't have much customer, so internet that is...
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Old 08-20-10, 01:06 AM
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I hate my LBS! But if it is your first time buying a bike, I think you should but it from LBS because of the fitting and you might need to change our parts that they can help you with.
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Old 08-20-10, 06:59 AM
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If you are new and aren't committed to biking, go for a used bike off craigslist, atleast you can look at and ride the bike first and not have to deal with the possibility of a damaged bike during shipping!
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Old 08-20-10, 07:11 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by paste_me View Post
I hate my LBS! But if it is your first time buying a bike, I think you should but it from LBS because of the fitting and you might need to change our parts that they can help you with.
Originally Posted by cheungupdt View Post
my LBS looks me down when i walk in and not really giving me a good service at all even they don't have much customer, so internet that is...
If you're not getting good service from your LBS? Then find a new LBS. Don't waste your time.

As for the OP, personally I wouldn't get my first bike online unless you're really sure about fit and sizing.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:15 AM
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It all depends on the LBS.

I've got three that I've used in my area and they are all different. The one I'll use for repairs ( and bike fit) doesn't really carry any products I prefer, I'll buy gloves, tubes and stuff from another but the store I've bought a couple of bikes from (they had some older stock they were dealing on that I liked) doesn't have a clue about fitting a bike. I would, if asked recommend either of the first two to a newbie in my area looking for a bike.

I think fit is really important and you should focus on finding out how good the LBS is at that.

The suggestion of a used bike has some merit because you can generally ride the bike, at least.

The shop you spoke with may be actually trying to put you on a quality bike. A good bike is more fun, the components less apt to give you problems that discourage riding. Also if you spend the money on a nice bike you get a pride of ownership and you'll want to ride it more.

Hang around and browse. Pay attention to the clientele in the shop. Find out about local clubs and see if you can talk to anyone for buying advice from local shops.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:21 AM
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My take on it is as follows. Any brick and mortar store is going to charge more than an online retailer. However as a new rider, what you need is knowledge and service. That is what a GOOD LBS supplies. Bicycles need to be fit properly, and need some maintenance and tuning. If you can’t do this yourself, then you need a shop to do it for you. If you form a good relationship with a shop you will likely get better service down the road. Shops are also often the link to group rides, racing teams, etc. I ride a weekly training ride from my LBS. Several times per year the owner opens the shop back up after the ride and supplies Pizza and drinks, and we all watch videos of TDF. Same shop, the owner holds a sat morning beginner ride every week to help and encourage new riders through the local cycling club. Point is, a GOOD LBS is more than just a place to buy a bike.
At some point in your riding career, you will know enough to evaluate items online and make good choices. Then by all means do that if you chose. For consumables like cycling shorts, gu, online retailers work better because you have more choices. For instance, I know that I like Sugoi bib shorts, either evolution or RS. It is unlikely that I can get them locally so I always mail order.
Not every shop is a good shop. Don’t pick a shop just because it is the closest one.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by lukin View Post
But then the question is how much am I going to spend at a local shop to help fit me to it and get other parts?
This would probably end up costing what you'd spend at the LBS anyway. Plus good seller/customer relationships can deliver real value over time. But that depends on the owner/manager at the LBS and your own personality. Tip: Do find out who's who in the shop. Don't be shy. Ask for the owner and introduce yourself. Tell 'em what your looking for and ask for the best person to help you. See what happens.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:31 AM
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Go to the LBS. Look for one that sells last year's models at full prices until June, adds surcharges to MSRP on accessories, is too busy to give you attention in the high riding season. That's a successful business model that needs to be supported.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:36 AM
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The biggest problem for a newbie is finding a good lbs. Many don't do much more than size you based on standover height and will say anything to sell you something off the floor instead of what you really need. Ideally, you should bring a knowledgeable friend to help you determine who's good and who's fos.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:44 AM
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You should just buy whatever they have and want to sell you, your size vs. bike size doesn't matter. If you take the bike it makes it easier for them to vacuum.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:46 AM
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Id ask around and try to find a good LBS. Unless one is mechanical and knows what they are looking for Id stay away from sales over the internet.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by eric_anderson View Post
My take on it is as follows. Any brick and mortar store is going to charge more than an online retailer. However as a new rider, what you need is knowledge and service. That is what a GOOD LBS supplies. Bicycles need to be fit properly, and need some maintenance and tuning. If you can’t do this yourself, then you need a shop to do it for you. If you form a good relationship with a shop you will likely get better service down the road. Shops are also often the link to group rides, racing teams, etc. I ride a weekly training ride from my LBS. Several times per year the owner opens the shop back up after the ride and supplies Pizza and drinks, and we all watch videos of TDF. Same shop, the owner holds a sat morning beginner ride every week to help and encourage new riders through the local cycling club. Point is, a GOOD LBS is more than just a place to buy a bike.
At some point in your riding career, you will know enough to evaluate items online and make good choices. Then by all means do that if you chose. For consumables like cycling shorts, gu, online retailers work better because you have more choices. For instance, I know that I like Sugoi bib shorts, either evolution or RS. It is unlikely that I can get them locally so I always mail order.
Not every shop is a good shop. Don’t pick a shop just because it is the closest one.
+1...I don't think I could have said it better myself.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:51 AM
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Never shop eBay. If you do, you're just giving Meg Whitman more advert money to run for governor. Vote for Jerry, then everbybody will have to drive electric vehicles, and in the next brown out, you can take all the lanes, cuz the cars won't be there hassling you.

Last edited by Eclectus; 08-20-10 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by kbtommy View Post
If you're not getting good service from your LBS? Then find a new LBS. Don't waste your time.

As for the OP, personally I wouldn't get my first bike online unless you're really sure about fit and sizing.
This. Tommy is 100% correct. Also OP you are much better off buying your upgrades NOW rather than later. Have you ever priced full group sets?
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Old 08-20-10, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
Never shop eBay. If you do, you're just giving Meg Whitman more advert money to run for governor.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:27 AM
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What eric says. Plus a local LBS will be easier to work with if there is any warranty issues on the bike.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by eric_anderson View Post
Not every shop is a good shop. Don’t pick a shop just because it is the closest one.[/SIZE][/FONT]
All of that was good, but this in particular rung true with me. In the beginning, I assumed they were all the same. Wow, was I wrong. My first shop... and the bike that I got from it... were both a bust. Now I have three shops that I frequent. None of them are the original one.

But you should be shopping for a shop just as much as you're shopping for a bike.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:38 AM
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if its a good lbs then yes, its worth it... if not, save your money, get the ebay bike and learn to turn the wrench yourself... just my .02
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Old 08-20-10, 08:55 AM
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If you buy from the Internet and the bike doen't fit or there is a problem with it, you own it. Your local bike shop can exchange parts or even replace a bike. Your LBS will usually adjust the bike for free for as long as you own it.
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Old 08-20-10, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbon Unit View Post
If you buy from the Internet and the bike doen't fit or there is a problem with it, you own it. Your local bike shop can exchange parts or even replace a bike. Your LBS will usually adjust the bike for free for as long as you own it.
not to start an argument, but most (not all) e-tailers have return policies... but you pay shipping... if you buy used of course on ebay/CL you're stuck with it, but you can resell it on ebay/CL... often not as bad as some people make it out to be, but there are options out there and you should always always always spend the time and do your research up front so you don't have to send things back... I've personally never had to send any 'net purchases back, but I'm also one of those 'research it for a while then research it again' types so i don't have those problems... you can protect yourself if you shop smart... I'm not tryin to take anything away from a good LBS, they certainly have their place, a healthy mix of the two is where most people need to be...
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Old 08-20-10, 09:10 AM
  #23  
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The guy I talked to said he had been riding 20+ years and when I said REI sized me at a 52 he said now way and I would be a 54. He sat me on a bike and said when I look down to the bar it should block my view of the brakes I think it was. He also said that the stand over height didn't matter. Seemed pretty confident in what he was talking about.

One of the bikes he suggested if I wasn't going to spend over 800 was a Giant Aluxx 6000. I suppose I could spend 800+ but would they give me free fitting etc? Is there any bargaining on price or is the price usually set in stone?
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Old 08-20-10, 09:42 AM
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LBS FTW! Build the relationships, support a local business (even if it's a chain), educate yourself through any offerings they have (the ones around here have all kinds of classes/tutorials, plus riding groups, maps, tips, meet ups, etc), and use their knowledge of everything from fit to performance to equipment to make your experience better.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:00 AM
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I think giving your LBS some business is mutually beneficial. You WILL need them eventually and if they are friendly and helpful you should patronize them with your $$. Even if you don’t buy a bike from them, buy other stuff.

Having said that, it’s hard to ignore the online retailers for bicycles because their prices are significantly less for the same components but with a non-brand name frame. Bikes Direct is a perfect example, but there are others such as Nuevation, Bikehard, etc.

If this is going to be your first road bike, give your LBS the business because you will need their advice and a proper fitting. You will also get a bike that should be in perfect working order. Finally, you can buy all the other stuff you need like clip-on shoes and pedals that the LBS will install for you. Listen to the advice of your LBS and go for the slightly higher level of bicycle (800-1000 range) as opposed to your original range (600-700) because they are right. There is a noticeable jump in performance due to better components in the $1000 level. Been there done that myself and I’m glad I made the jump immediately. But that’s entirely up to your wallet.

As for buying a bicycle online, I believe that only more experienced riders should consider buying their 2nd or 3rd bike from the online retailers like Bikes Direct because by then, they will know exactly what they want. I believe you need a better knowledge of components, frame design/material, fit, etc., to make such an informed decision online. Experienced riders will hopefully also know the basics of wrenching on their bikes because mail order bikes will need you to wrench here and there and make minor tune ups. Finally, the additional knowledge and experience will also allow you to make a better judgement of whether you are better off getting more bike for less $$ onine, or if you will get a better overall value & satisfaction by buying from your LBS and paying more for a brand name but with live, human help, advice, and fitment, along with multiple test rides.
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