Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

New to Cycling, Buying a new bike at REI

Notices
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 Cycling, Buying a new bike at REI

Old 11-26-11, 11:53 AM
  #1  
dukecrew09
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
New to Cycling, Buying a new bike at REI

Hello all,

I'm looking to get into cycling for the first time, and I have accumulated about $800 in REI giftcards, so I'm looking to buy a bike from there. I don't know a whole lot about the components, and the salesman there wasn't too helpful. The store nearby has a number of 2011 models on sale, but I'm not sure whether it's worth it to buy a $500-$600 model or to go a level up and buy one for about $900. The models/prices they have are as follows:

GT Series 3 ($890)
Marin Portofino ($640)
GT Series 4 ($660)
Novara Divano ($590)
Novara Strada ($900)
Cannondale Synapse 7 - 2012 model ($929)

Does anyone have any recommendations as far as what bike(s) might be best? I'd have to purchase pedals, etc in addition to the listed prices, and I'm not looking to spend too much beyond my gift cards, but I'm willing to pay a bit more if a bike is particularly good. Please let me know if there's any other information that would helpful, I really appreciate any advice!
dukecrew09 is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 12:11 PM
  #2  
bermanfb28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Keene NH
Posts: 196

Bikes: Tarmac/Sram Red/Zipps

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
not sure about those bikes but make sure you are getting the correct size frame. if the salesmen is crappy and you need to buy the bike at rei make sure you do your own research of what size is correct. It might be good to check out a good local bike shop that does fittings just let them know what your situation is that you need to buy a bike at rei but you want to know what size you are. They will probably help out just to establish a relationship. just my .02
bermanfb28 is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 12:48 PM
  #3  
sqharaway
Senior Member
 
sqharaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NorCal
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Whenever I visit my parents I ride around on my dad's Novara Strata with Shimano 105 components. It obviously has a lot different geometry than my race bike, and it's not as stiff as a full carbon bike, but I'm also always pretty pleased with it. The only thing I don't really like is it's triple crank, but that's likely personal preference anyway.

Overall, the Strata is not a bad choice at all.
sqharaway is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 12:55 PM
  #4  
DGlenday
Senior Member
 
DGlenday's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 1,248

Bikes: Cannondale, Trek

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
I'll be the first to say it: It depends on what you want to use the bike for.

But in general:

Originally Posted by dukecrew09 View Post
Cannondale Synapse 7 - 2012 model ($929)
...
...I'm willing to pay a bit more if a bike is particularly good.
Best bike of the bunch, from a "name-brand" manufacturer.

Last edited by DGlenday; 11-28-11 at 11:03 PM.
DGlenday is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 01:15 PM
  #5  
adamgoldberg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 56
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Last year I purchased my first bike from REI ... and though I'm a big fan of the store (and the coop, for that matter), some advice:

1. Make sure it's the right size. Don't believe what the salesman says, unless you're sure he knows what he's talking about (it's not a bike shop, there's lots of employees around that don't really know bikes).
2. Make sure they recheck the assembly before you take it. After they give it back, make sure they've actually checked everything. (In my case, they hadn't).
3. Ride it around the block. If anything feels or sounds funny, take it back and make them check everything again. (Hindsight is 20/20).
adamgoldberg is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 01:24 PM
  #6  
sqharaway
Senior Member
 
sqharaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NorCal
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
I'll be the first to say it: It depends on what you want to use the bike for.

Cannondale Synapse 7 - 2012 model ($929)

Best bike of the bunch, from a "name-brand" manufacturer.
Are you planning on racing or recreational cycling?

The Cannondale comes with Sora components, the Strada with 105. I'd still say go with the Strada.
sqharaway is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 01:45 PM
  #7  
dukecrew09
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm aiming for recreational riding, at least for now. I'm a first time cyclist, like I said, so what's mainly important to me is that the bike is durable and holds up well.
dukecrew09 is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 01:57 PM
  #8  
surgeonstone
Senior Member
 
surgeonstone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: South Bend IN
Posts: 11,212

Bikes: 1976 FRESCHI, 2004 Crumpton.

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 918 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Do not buy from REI, they and the salespeople know next to nothing about bikes. Having suffered through many, many years of a poorly fit bike I suggest you go to a reputable bike show that knows how to fit you for what you want to do. The extra cash for a proper fit will be the best money you spent.
surgeonstone is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 02:05 PM
  #9  
Pug
High Modulus
 
Pug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, NJ
Posts: 663

Bikes: Cervelo R3, Ridley X-Night

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Not sure about your REI, but the head mechanic at mine is excellent. He's also a former pro mountain bike racer. If I were buying a bike there, I would insist that he take a look at my fit on it.
Pug is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 05:40 PM
  #10  
myrridin
Banned.
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,325
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Pug View Post
Not sure about your REI, but the head mechanic at mine is excellent. He's also a former pro mountain bike racer. If I were buying a bike there, I would insist that he take a look at my fit on it.
+1 Both of my local REI's have provided great service, knowledgeable mechanics, and their return policy can not be beat. None of that is true of the big local "bike shop" for me.
myrridin is offline  
Old 11-26-11, 06:55 PM
  #11  
halfspeed
Senior Member
 
halfspeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: SE Minnesota
Posts: 12,275

Bikes: are better than yours.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The Strada is the best bang for the buck, but if you really have to watch your budget, get the GT series 4 or the Divano. That said, if you really get hooked on cycling, you'll wish you had gotten the Strada if you get one of the others. Maybe Santa can help you with pedals, shorts, a patch kit and a helmet.
__________________
Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.
halfspeed is offline  
Old 11-28-11, 09:54 PM
  #12  
roadraccer
Senior Member
 
roadraccer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Newport, CA
Posts: 138
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If your knowledge isn't much on bikes then don't but one from them as they're pretty much a department store with employees that know very little about bikes. All they really know how to do is to sell you on their REI membership program!
roadraccer is offline  
Old 11-28-11, 10:02 PM
  #13  
Caliwild
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 719
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 186 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 24 Posts
REI is fantastic... their bike department isn't the greatest but they have some decent stuff. From your list, I'd definitely go with the Cannondale. The Sora components are plenty for a new rider and you can always upgrade down the line. Not a fan of their Novara bikes... If you can find something decent on their outlet site, that may be worthwhile.
Caliwild is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 04:58 AM
  #14  
a1penguin
Senior Member
 
a1penguin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 3,190
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 11 Posts
Find some bike nerds at work or in your circle of friends. Ask them if your local REI bike shop is any good. Ask them for recommendations or help. There's probably a lot of variability in shop quality from REI to REI. It's a chain store and they do no rely on the bike shop to stay in business.

It might help to know what kind of riding you think you'll be doing. Tooling around town doing errands, road riding, unpaved paths, commuting, 2-3 mile rides, 50 mile rides? I remember when bikes came in three varieties: road, mountain and crappy one speeds. Now there are so many different types of bikes. I don't think you'll find a lot of good high performance road bikes at REI, but if you want a bike with relaxed geometry there are probably some OK choices at REI.
a1penguin is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 08:01 AM
  #15  
Debusama
Senior Member
 
Debusama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 684

Bikes: Elephant custom road bike, 08 Redline D440, Motobecane Fantom cross Uno.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was considering The GT series 3 a few years ago. I read quite a few positive reviews about it. It was also the previous year's model on sale for $650 and the last one in my size. While I was reading reviews, someone else bought the bike. $890 isn't such a deep price cut though. I think REI will do another round of discounts sometime in December. If course, you'll run the risk that someone else will buy your bike, but it might be worth waiting for. Don't lock yourself into REI either, they rarely have the best deals in town. There is no reason you can't get last years model aluminum/Tiagra road bike for less than $890.
Debusama is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 10:13 AM
  #16  
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 621 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 31 Posts
All LBS are not created equal nor are all REI bike departments. Without specific knowledge about a suitable LBS I'd chose REI because they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you decided you've made a mistake on a purchase they will give you all your money back. In addition REI has a 20% off all bicycles in March.
BigAura is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 11:11 AM
  #17  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 21,994
Mentioned: 74 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14668 Post(s)
Liked 5,615 Times in 3,215 Posts
Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
+1 Both of my local REI's have provided great service, knowledgeable mechanics, and their return policy can not be beat. None of that is true of the big local "bike shop" for me.
I had a Novara Element for a while, a cyclocross bike. Someone else bought it new, and, after a couple years, returned it for a full refund. Their mechanics tuned things up, replaced what needed to be replaced, and they sold it to me for about half what it cost new at a "scratch and dent" sale.

I like to support my local bike shop, where there are some good people and excellent mechanics. They're also pricey, and sell very high end stuff. Great place to buy a bike if you know exactly what you're looking for, and if you want a Cervelo or Look or something. REI is a great place for a new cyclist to buy a bike, though. Their return policy means peace of mind; if it isn't for you, or if you make a huge mistake picking a bike out, you always have the option to bring it back.

That said, my REI has a part time fitter. He gave me a free "mini-fit," taking some measurements, and helping me figure out what frame size I need, before I bought. You should see if your store has someone who does bike fittings, and who knows what (s)he's talking about.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 11:31 AM
  #18  
pgjackson
Senior Member
 
pgjackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gulf Breeze, FL
Posts: 4,038

Bikes: Rossetti Vertigo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 156 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 48 Posts
Don't know about those other bikes, but $1000 for a Sora Cannondale is a rip-off. You can get a similar bike at Performance Bike for about $500-600. Keep in mind REI is not a bike store. It's basically an expensive WalMart for outdoor activity gear. But since you have the REI gift cards, might as well use them. My advice is to shop REI online. You might find better deals that at the actual store. For $800-1000, you should be looking at 105 equipped bikes, not Sora.
pgjackson is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 11:38 AM
  #19  
Stefan.
Senior Member
 
Stefan.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Eugene Oregon
Posts: 59

Bikes: 2007 f3 13 pinarello

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sell the giftcards, use the money to purchase a used bike on craigslist or ebay. This is where you truly get the most bang for the buck.
Stefan. is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 12:22 PM
  #20  
StephenH
Uber Goober
 
StephenH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
Posts: 11,759
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 189 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 26 Posts
Here in my area, there are two REI's and one of them has a much better bike department than the other. On the other hand, the REI up in Fort Collins would shift things around regionally, so they didn't have much bike stuff at this time of year. Anyway, check online, and if there's another REI within driving range, check stock there as well. (I assume you can order a bike from REI and have it shipped to the store, even if it's not in stock at the store?)
__________________
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
StephenH is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 01:00 PM
  #21  
teterider
On the Move
 
teterider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,219

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
There are some screwy answers here based on the information you gave. I really don't think your looking to pawn off REI gift cards and search for months on craigslist for the right used bike, which will then immediately need a tune-up.

Clearly you have a $900 gift in your hands and want a good bike at REI where it is very convenient to purchase, and lets not forget their great satisfaction return policy.
You want a good road bike for the money that must come from REI with what you have. OK, so let's help you here.

First, no matter what people will tell you here there are better deals elsewhere. However you have basically $900 off a bike so that is the best deal.

Second, if the sales guy you had wasn't good, go back and get someone else working at the time. You may get a good person and answer all your questions. If you have an avid road cyclist friend that can give sound advice then bring them along.

The Cannondale Synapse 7 is a good choice but people here will have a hard time recommending spending $900 on Shimano Sora components. They work fine, but the big issue is the shifters use a cheaper mechanism and clunkier operation method. All the components above Sora use the same system but just get lighter and a bit smoother as you move up the component hierarchy.

I have to say, my advice would be the 2012 Cannondale Synapse 6 with brand new Shimano Tiagra 10 speed for $1099. Since it is a 2012 you can test ride what they have for sizes and they can order this bike for you. You end up only paying $200 plus tax out of pocket. Shimano Tiagra just went to 10-speed like all the other higher component groups and will work very well for you. It also has a compact double crank instead of the triple on the Synapse 7 and Novara Strada. The Synapse is a very well liked model, the Cannondale brand means the bike has more resale value, and quite frankly on paper it has more engineering and testing put into the frame. But I haven't ridden all the REI choices to say if that means anything for real.

For the REI choices and your needs, the Synapse 6 is a good value. The 2011 Strada is also a good value but is sold out so all they have left is it and they may not have your size.
If you end up really like road riding, the Tiagra components will keep up for a long time. With the Tiagra you will think higher components are really not that much better and you are happy with what you have (unless you come into extra money to spend in the future). With Sora you will realize higher components are much smoother and nicer to use and regret not having spent that $200 to get the Synapse 6 (or Strada) in the first place, because upgrading will cost so much more.
Also see when the 2012 Strada will be released because at the same price as the Synapse 6 but with Shimano 105, this may be a very good option for you.

Don't forget the expenses for other stuff too like helmet, pedals, shoes, clothes, etc. You could probably ask for some of this for Xmas.

Last edited by teterider; 11-29-11 at 01:23 PM.
teterider is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 01:00 PM
  #22  
pgjackson
Senior Member
 
pgjackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gulf Breeze, FL
Posts: 4,038

Bikes: Rossetti Vertigo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 156 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 48 Posts
Get the Norva Divano. You get essentially the same bike as the Cannondale but at half the price. Then you still have money left over for pedals, shoes, jerseys, shorts...ride the crap out of the bike. If you are still into the sport 6 months later, sell the Norva and upgrade to a full 105 bike in the $1000 range. By then you will know exactly what you like and don't like. You might even decide that you don't like cycling and you haven't invested a lot of money. But seriously, REI is about the most expensive place to buy a bike.
pgjackson is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 02:44 PM
  #23  
hyhuu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NoVA
Posts: 1,421

Bikes: Specialized Allez Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
It's interesting to hear some of the opinions on REI. Here in NoVA, REI sponsors many of the trail maintenance and clean up projects at the local parks, they also give out free clinics on basic bike riding and maintenance and other outdoor activities. It's founders climbs a mountain or two. People I know who work there are very into outdoor activities: climbing, hiking, biking, kayaking etc. I'm sure it's the same for Walmart or department stores employee.
hyhuu is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 04:54 PM
  #24  
pgjackson
Senior Member
 
pgjackson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gulf Breeze, FL
Posts: 4,038

Bikes: Rossetti Vertigo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 156 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 48 Posts
Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
It's interesting to hear some of the opinions on REI. Here in NoVA, REI sponsors many of the trail maintenance and clean up projects at the local parks, they also give out free clinics on basic bike riding and maintenance and other outdoor activities. It's founders climbs a mountain or two. People I know who work there are very into outdoor activities: climbing, hiking, biking, kayaking etc. I'm sure it's the same for Walmart or department stores employee.
Not sure what your point is, but when I see a full Sora bike for almost $1000...well, let's just say I refuse to shop there. If you want a nice bike for a decent price go to a real bike shop. My local REI in San Diego is a total zoo and the bike section is crammed way in the back and a total mess. Terrible selection of bikes and accessories and the stuff they do have is WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY overpriced.
pgjackson is offline  
Old 11-29-11, 05:50 PM
  #25  
halfspeed
Senior Member
 
halfspeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: SE Minnesota
Posts: 12,275

Bikes: are better than yours.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
Not sure what your point is, but when I see a full Sora bike for almost $1000...well, let's just say I refuse to shop there. If you want a nice bike for a decent price go to a real bike shop. My local REI in San Diego is a total zoo and the bike section is crammed way in the back and a total mess. Terrible selection of bikes and accessories and the stuff they do have is WAAAAAAAYYYYYYY overpriced.
Unless they are overpriced by about $800 for an entry level bike, that is totally irrelevant to this thread.
__________________
Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.
halfspeed is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.