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So I Go Into a Local Fixie Store

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

So I Go Into a Local Fixie Store

Old 10-21-08, 03:05 PM
  #1  
MitchellH
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So I Go Into a Local Fixie Store

Figuring that surely they would have a "demo" bike that this roadie could try for a day or two. You'd have thought that I asked the guy if I could borrow his wife.

I mean, there is no way I can get a feel for riding a fixed gear bike by riding one in the parking lot for 10 minutes.

I went to another LBS, same deal. The guy finally referred me to his mechanic who is a fixie rider and he said he would lend me one that he was building. Nice guy.

I never figured it would be such an ordeal...
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Old 10-21-08, 03:12 PM
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You never figured it would be such an ordeal to get a bicycle shop to lend you a bicycle for a day or two? You ever ask a car dealership the same question? Or a motorcycle shop? Or just about ANY business?

It's not a bicycle library, dude.
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Old 10-21-08, 03:12 PM
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Why don't you go to Performance and try one out there?
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Old 10-21-08, 03:15 PM
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lololol@op
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Old 10-21-08, 03:21 PM
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Seriously. I work at a LBS and we don't "demo" new bikes of any kind. We have a demo saddle program so you can try out a saddle to see if you like it before you buy but I've never been in a shop that offered to let people take a new bike home for a couple days to test out. Not saying you're crazy for asking but I'm not sure exactly what you were expecting. No offense, but where did you grow up, Mayberry? In this day and age of identity theft and the sheer numbers of just plain old bike thieves, most shops aren't going to take a risk losing hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars without a deposit or collateral.. Unless you are just really tight with your LBS salespeople and mechanics. On that note, maybe you should try buttering them up with a case of beer or something. I know I sure go the extra mile for customers who take care of their mechanic (myself or my fellow lube monkeys).
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Old 10-21-08, 03:40 PM
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What kind of greens are you smoking? I'm interested.
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Old 10-21-08, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by radiocontrolhea View Post
What kind of greens are you smoking? I'm interested.
Group buy? Maybe he could demo us a few pounds before we commit.
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Old 10-21-08, 03:53 PM
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My LBS will rent a bike for a day. It is spendy - $50-75, but better than buying a crap bike.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pirate View Post
Group buy? Maybe he could demo us a few pounds before we commit.
I'm definitely in this. Sign me up!
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Old 10-21-08, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
You never figured it would be such an ordeal to get a bicycle shop to lend you a bicycle for a day or two? You ever ask a car dealership the same question? Or a motorcycle shop? Or just about ANY business?

It's not a bicycle library, dude.
There are car dealers that will let you take a car home overnight and try it out.

Bike shops could do the same if it wasn't for the average mentality of "new"-crazed consumers - (a credit card and a license should be sufficient). Unfortunately, and this is certainly true in the US, people have been conditioned to think an object that is barely used is of nearly 30-50% less value than its right-off-the-production-line counterpart. People are afforded the luxury of having OCD-like traits about scratches and dirt. In places where appearance trumps functionality, you'll always find colder shoulders.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:31 PM
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Every LBS I've been to has let me try out their bikes for 10-15 minutes if I left a CC with them, but I've never even considered asking to borrow a bike overnight or anything. That seems more than a little audacious to me.

And if the car dealers you're speaking of sell anything under the $100k mark, I'd be extraordinarily surprised.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:37 PM
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Never heard of such a thing in my life.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:45 PM
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Take a 'Learn to Ride' course at your local velodrome. They have rentals there.
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Old 10-21-08, 04:54 PM
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Some bike shops will let you return a bike within a week or so after you've paid for one but nothing like what the OP wants. Either go rent one or find local riders in your area you could make friends with who will let you try out a bike.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by burglnar View Post
Seriously. I work at a LBS and we don't "demo" new bikes of any kind. We have a demo saddle program so you can try out a saddle to see if you like it before you buy but I've never been in a shop that offered to let people take a new bike home for a couple days to test out. Not saying you're crazy for asking but I'm not sure exactly what you were expecting. No offense, but where did you grow up, Mayberry? In this day and age of identity theft and the sheer numbers of just plain old bike thieves, most shops aren't going to take a risk losing hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars without a deposit or collateral.. Unless you are just really tight with your LBS salespeople and mechanics. On that note, maybe you should try buttering them up with a case of beer or something. I know I sure go the extra mile for customers who take care of their mechanic (myself or my fellow lube monkeys).
I test ride bikes by leaving my credit card at the shop before I ride out the door. But the LBS's all know me well enough by now that I could probably ride one for a couple of hours even without leaving the card. (they probably have my number on speed dial anyways. )

I wouldn't do that, though. The LBS runs the risk of you crashing or scratching the bike, or at the very least getting it real dirty. I'd never ask to have one overnight, they might lose a sale if the bike is out of the shop that long.

And yes, beer works wonders on bike shop workers. Pizza, too.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:17 PM
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OK, perhaps I wasn't clear. I didn't want to test a new bike, a used biked was what I had in mind. I mean, how would I know if I even liked to ride fixed gear bikes without an extended session?
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Old 10-21-08, 05:20 PM
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That said, I was more than willing to leave a cc number for the privilege of borrowing a used bike for a day. It would seem to me that a shop would have a lot more to gain by having a loaner program for newbies like me than not.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MitchellH View Post
That said, I was more than willing to leave a cc number for the privilege of borrowing a used bike for a day. It would seem to me that a shop would have a lot more to gain by having a loaner program for newbies like me than not.
I disagree. Shops have much more to gain by NOT having a "loaner program". If you ride a fixed gear bike for a few hours or so (which is realistically how much you would put into it in 24 hours) you will still feel uncomfortable and not convinced to buy one. Where as if they won't loan you a bike you will be more inclined just to pull the trigger and make the purchase.
Having a "loaner program" is not a good idea (from a financial perspective for the shop).
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Old 10-21-08, 05:43 PM
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Usually wouldn't get really comfortable with a bike until you can call it your own and have a few sessions on it.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:45 PM
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Your best bet is to find a little indie shop that specializes in fixed gear builds and/or vintage builds. We have a couple around my area and they're the only shops I'll really buy anything from. The main stream shops I find to be a turn-off... selling more and more expensive new bikes with crappier components than the year before.

A shop that specializes in building up old stuff can probably throw together a fixie out of used parts for fairly cheap. Maybe they won't let you take it home for the evening, but you can buy it and try it out a lot cheaper than if you go buy a new mass-marketed fixie.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:47 PM
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^(@666) Have you done a survey or something?

Last edited by ak1; 10-21-08 at 05:48 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 10-21-08, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ak1 View Post
^(@666) Have you done a survey or something?
It's common business sense. Give someone time to fully explore your product, and you give them the time to discover all it's flaws. This is generally something you want to happen AFTER you've already got their money.

Heartless? Maybe. But then so is the business world.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Raleigh531 View Post
The main stream shops I find to be a turn-off... selling more and more expensive new bikes with crappier components than the year before.
I agree, but thats because the economy has been going down the toilet, meaning less demand for new bikes and bike manufacturers cutting corners.
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Old 10-21-08, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MitchellH View Post
OK, perhaps I wasn't clear. I didn't want to test a new bike, a used biked was what I had in mind. I mean, how would I know if I even liked to ride fixed gear bikes without an extended session?
Believe me, fixed riding is unique that you'll find out if it's for you or not during the first minute. Either you get it or you don't. If you don't like it within the first minute, riding it for a day isn't going to make any difference.

Last edited by roadfix; 10-21-08 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Raleigh531 View Post
The main stream shops I find to be a turn-off... selling more and more expensive new bikes with crappier components than the year before.
That's why buying online's the better way. Bought my second bike online after buying my first in a store. Online bike was hundreds of dollars cheaper than the cheapest equivalent (lightweight aluminum road bike w/Sora shifters) at the bike stores in town. And after putting it together, it only cost $50 to have the brakes and gears professionally tuned.
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