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LBS employees vs. online opinions

Old 07-22-10, 04:00 PM
  #1  
rudi
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LBS employees vs. online opinions

I'm totally new to this cycling world and looking to get into a SS for my commute.

I've been doing research every day for weeks into various SS / fixie options, and I've noticed a frustrating incongruence between info I find ONLINE and info I get from basically all LBS employees.

For instance: I've gathered on here and through my own research on the specs of the Schwinn Madison that it is actually a decent bike with decent components. Maybe I'm off but it seems that most everyone on here who has owned one has really liked it.

But whenever I have mentioned "Schwinn Madison" to a LBS employee (and I've done so to around 6-7 different stores), they basically cringe... frame is heavy, crappy steel, Schwinn is dept. store crap, etc. Are the LBS employees uninformed? Biased to sell their own product, surely, but I got similar opinions from a store that carried Maddys... and yet they will turn around and recommend a Rush Hour, which as far as I can tell (though I may be way off) is largely equivalent in frame quality but just has a higher price-tag.

I have a definite tendency to research (over-research?) every product purchase I make, and I'm finding it hard to settle on a bike due to so many goddamn varying opinions. Aluminum, Cro-Moly, Reynolds 5__ steel, butted / double-butted / lugged / ****-all... As a newb, this is just so much goddamn information. Should I tend to go with a LBS employee's advice or with my own attempts at research?
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Old 07-22-10, 04:02 PM
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I think you should ride one for yourself, then YOU be the judge. Think less of the components and get something you'll enjoy riding.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:07 PM
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rudi
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I know. That is what I should do, and I wouldn't buy something I didn't like riding.

BUT... my tendency to over-research is just hard to overcome! I seriously like... research grocery purchases while I'm walking down the aisle at Raley's. SILK SOYMILK VS. SOY DREAM!!?!?!?
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Old 07-22-10, 04:11 PM
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Anyone who says that the Schwinn Madison is not a good choice for a FIRST (this is the operative concept here) fixed gear is an idiot. They just want to sell you a nicer bike, obviously. Test ride all the bikes you want within a certain price range, and buy the one you like most. Within the same price range, quality does not differ too much. Besides, you're likely to be replacing a lot of parts if you get into the hobby of customising your bike.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:12 PM
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with my experience, LBS workers, generally, are tools. Some are nice and impartial, but for the most part, they are super opinionated. FOr example, lets take the madison. The bike will function like you want it to, it wont break, and its fairly priced. Therefore, I'd say its a decent bike. On the other hand, LBS employees sometimes think everything is "garbage" if it isnt top of the line. And even top of the line isnt good unless its at the top of the top of the line. Think about it. They are around bikes 8 hours a day. Thats alot of time to develope opinions and make sure they are heard.

Nevertheless, there are some LBS that I like. And I think there is a BF member, Scrod, who is a wrench at a shop on the east coast. He almost always has something informative, smart and sexy to say. Unless you ask him about Crosstop levers on Profile Air wings.

Doing research is good though. Thats how I graduated college.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:20 PM
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I think your lbs sucks.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:20 PM
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Here I am!

Yes, I'm a LBS wrench here in MA and I ride a Madison. Even my co-workers - who are supposed to know more stuff about bikes than the average bear - sneer and giggle about my Schwinn. I've heard all the "dept store" bull**** comments and don't give a crap because my bike is pretty ****ing awesome and suits my needs perfectly. Yup, it's heavy. Big deal. It's also solid as a complete mother****er. The majority of typical 'bike shop workers' are indeed tools who only know (or think they know) things about the brand of bikes they sell...and only the brand of bikes they sell. More often than not, even that it laughable at best.

I'm with xkillemall16 - your LBS sucks. Buy a Madison.

Last edited by Scrodzilla; 07-22-10 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wmgreene85 View Post
Unless you ask him about Crosstop levers on Profile Air wings.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:59 PM
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i'm riding my 3rd fixed gear bike right now which i'm totally in love with.
however, if i could start over, i would've gotten a directbikes $300 bike first. it's a super great bike and super cheap. this way, i could start testing how how i like to ride and what i really want in my next frame.

when you start off with a schwinn madison, it's not really a bad bike, however for the ride quality and price, you'd be better off with a directbike, unless you are pretty set on how the madison looks.
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Old 07-22-10, 05:13 PM
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Hmmm that's strange, my lbs loves the schwinn madison!
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dude u need that trixie tool its the best tool ever it even comes with a bottle opener ! dude all the messengers reccomended it to me and evr since i got it im basically a mechaninc now and all the bike shops want me.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:14 PM
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A tremendous amount of what you are seeing is outright snobbery. Who gives a crap what you can spend, or have spent on your bike. Buy what fits, and what you can afford. The Madison is a perfectly respectable bike.

If the lbs employees;
a) didn't get a commission for selling a more expensive bike, or
b) didn't get significant discounts on the pricier bikes they themselves ride,
they would probably happily choose the Madison

If, after a year or so, you want to personalize things, just get some different components, and powdercoat the frame. Nobody will know what it started out as, likely not even the lbs you bought it from.

BTW, this is coming from a guy with over $30k in bikes, at last count, but whose favorite daily ride is a "lowly" IRO Angus with some individualized stuff on it.

Last edited by krusty; 07-22-10 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:48 PM
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i am a bikeshop mechanic/salesman and i see nothing wrong with the schwinn madison. chromo frame, flip flop hub, looks like everything you would need if just starting out. but i will say this, if its bought from a department store it is probably ****. since schwinn did go bankrupt and was bought about by another company and has been sold to department stores, chances are your lbs might think that you are getting a department store bike when you mention the name schwinn. but clearly the madison is not comparable to anything you would buy in a department store so i would say its a good investment
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Old 07-22-10, 07:33 PM
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I love my spray painted schwinn madison .
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Old 07-22-10, 08:00 PM
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You know every time I think of schwinn's I think of this:

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Old 07-22-10, 08:23 PM
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A perfect example of the mentality being touched upon in this thread is the case of a friend of mine coming in to the shop so I could install a new headset on his Windsor 'The Hour'. The shop - being primarily a Fuji dealer - is mostly staffed with dudes who like to talk **** on anything that isn't a Fuji. It was exceptionally funny listening to their remarks about the quality of my friend's "online blue-light special" and knowing all the while they were talking about a rebranded Fuji 'Classic Track'.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
A perfect example of the mentality being touched upon in this thread is the case of a friend of mine coming in to the shop so I could install a new headset on his Windsor 'The Hour'. The shop - being primarily a Fuji dealer - is mostly staffed with dudes who like to talk **** on anything that isn't a Fuji. It was exceptionally funny listening to their remarks about the quality of my friend's "online blue-light special" and knowing all the while they were talking about a rebranded Fuji 'Classic Track'.

haha! Speaking of that, I saw a windsor 'the hour' on the streets of ann arbor, it was kind of a cream color, I really liked the way it looked.

Last edited by cg1985; 07-22-10 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:28 PM
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Funny how people remember the most current legacy of schwinn... and do not know how schwinn has two model lines; the high end where the madison lives along with the carbon schwinn's and the dept store garbage.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:39 PM
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Exactly. I cringe when I see those department store "Schwinns". Part of the reason I l dig my Madison so much is that my very first bike was a Schwinn Stingray handed down by my uncle and it makes me feel all nostalgic.

Fun fact: The fork on a Schwinn Madison is the exact same steel fork that Leader uses.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by happypills View Post
Funny how people remember the most current legacy of schwinn... and do not know how schwinn has two model lines; the high end where the madison lives along with the carbon schwinn's and the dept store garbage.
exactly what i was trying to say
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Old 07-22-10, 08:45 PM
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I'm an lbs employee as well and like the madison.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:07 PM
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yea I see this a lot at shops too, I know a kid who got treated really rudely at a LBS because he came in with a Madi... There are 3 shops here I go to often and 1 I go to if the non suck people are working... I wish I could go into any LBS and not have to deal with BS...
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Old 07-22-10, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
A perfect example of the mentality being touched upon in this thread is the case of a friend of mine coming in to the shop so I could install a new headset on his Windsor 'The Hour'. The shop - being primarily a Fuji dealer - is mostly staffed with dudes who like to talk **** on anything that isn't a Fuji. It was exceptionally funny listening to their remarks about the quality of my friend's "online blue-light special" and knowing all the while they were talking about a rebranded Fuji 'Classic Track'.
I wish I had known that, it would have swayed me over to the Windsor Hour. My impression of the Madison and the LBS also sells Giant Bowery '72's for the same price, they both are fine and reliable bikes. The bikes I have, all Fuji's until this one (Vilano) but I like the value and quality a Fuji is. The Madison, I have yet to see one in a department store and after having actually touched and felt one, it's on par with any other SS/FG that I've seen for same money and on up to $ 875 when doing similar research you are experiencing. Solid & reliable, the Madison seems to be something that would serve well for as long as you want the bike.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:08 PM
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Oh and btw yes they are nice bikes, little heavy for my taste but very nice and well equipped.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:10 PM
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cg1985, you beat me to it! I ****in love that movie. Actually, if I owned a schwinn, I'd love to get a custom decal on the downtube in the same font / color as the Schwinn logo saying "You think that's a Schwinn"!

And speaking of... I went ahead and tested out a black 09 Maddy today... and I really dug it. I found the ride to be remarkably smooth... even springy maybe. That was my inexperienced impression of it anyhow. Maybe I'll be able to get that custom decal after all...

And Scrod... how heavy is your Madison? What about stock? I've researched enough in this forum to know ur the maddy man... (and that you look like Troy Sanders from Mastodon)
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Old 07-22-10, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rudi View Post
I have a definite tendency to research (over-research?) every product purchase I make, and I'm finding it hard to settle on a bike due to so many goddamn varying opinions. Aluminum, Cro-Moly, Reynolds 5__ steel, butted / double-butted / lugged / ****-all... As a newb, this is just so much goddamn information. Should I tend to go with a LBS employee's advice or with my own attempts at research?
Buy the bike that chooses you.



I know that sounds like some emo BS. But, when I was searching for a guitar the very best advice I got was the first advice I got which was, "Go to guitar center and pick up every guitar in the store. Buy the one that feels right." I went an did just that...well half of that. I tried every guitar at Guitar Center and I found a Gibson Les Paul....but didn't buy it. I bought a low end PRS because that's the brand that Carlos Santana and uses. Then I bought a Mexican Strat, because that's what Clapton uses. But, I could never stop picking up my (then) roommate's Les Paul. 2 years and 8 guitar later (from trades or whatnot) I finally bought a Gibson Les Paul Studio and was never happier. I shoulda just went with my gut.

I totally over-think things, too. It takes me a few days to buy anything over $200. The more $ the longer I think and over-think.

The point is, finding the perfect bike will probably be a journey. One way is to make a short list of all of the bikes that meet your criteria (price, features, etc...) then put a few on the list that are just above your price range, then go with the one that thrills you. You won't be disappointed.

As a buddy of mine a long time ago said when he upgraded from a dull Nissan Altima to an Integra Type R (when they FIRST came out...the white ones). He said, "Man, my car payment is $150 more than my Altima...and I don't mind one bit because this car is so much fun!"

That's what it's all about, right?
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