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The Art of Dickering(57 posts)

The Art of DickeringKristin
Apr 30, 2001 9:57 AM
I was gonna wait to start this post, but based on some of the answers regarding the bars, its a good time to dig in.

How do I know if I got my money's worth at the LBS? They charged me for every little thing (except saddle) and didn't offer me a complete fit. Plus, I felt rushed out the door. I was afraid to ask for more because I was already over budget.

I had explained my goals--not racing. Since the guy's an experienced team mechanic, I trusted his judgement. To say the bike is set up aggressively would be an understatement. I haven't measured the drop, but it's significant. The bars are WAY below the seat. It's rather comical in retrospect. You prob. don't see many Alle's on the race course.

So, how should one negotiate with an LBS? What's reasonable to expect when you purchase a bike in the $1000 range? Should I have gotten fit? Should I go back and demand more, or just take what I got, learn from it and move on? Do most LBS's charge you for every little item when you are buying a whole bike from them? I guess I expected more, but because I am so new to this, I felt too foolish to ask for it.
re: the worst they can say is...Akirasho
Apr 30, 2001 10:10 AM
No.

As far as fit is concerned, it's one of my pet peeves and I think it's necessary, especially if the shop is equipped to do so. If you purchased the bike, it should have been part of the deal.

And, the bike is small potatoes compared to accessories bought after the sale. A good rapport with the customer will return far greater margins when you come back for tires, lubes, gloves, shorts, etc. so it behooves the shop to keep you happy.

As far as dickering... I often enter into negotiations with two angles in mind... one is the full retail with lots of little perks... or the discount with no perks... course, I don't tell the shop this... I dangle the carrot and judge which way I should go by their response.

As for what a shop charges... it's subjective. Lots of freebies may be freebies to the shop themselves... and easy to unload... on the other hand, the $1000 price tag may have built in costs to cover said freebies. I know one local owner who gives out so much shit with such relatively good deals that I wonder what really goes on in the shop's basement after hours. All that extra stuff keeps loyal customers paying full retail on all other accessories they buy... and they buy a lot.

Be the bike.
Oh yeah...I forgot to mention chipped paintKristin
Apr 30, 2001 10:13 AM
on the bottom bracket. I noticed it, but wasn't sure if this is something one normally would request a discount for. I certainly wouldn't pay full price for a new car with a scratch in it. Again, I didn't really say anything. Should I have?
go back and ask to have the bike fitted correctlyDave Hickey
Apr 30, 2001 12:20 PM
Kristin, You should run not walk(I'd suggest ride, but your bike doesn't fit) back to your LBS. If you spend $500 or $5000, You deserve to have a properly fitted bike. There have been many posts regarding the "added value" a LBS provides. If your LBS wants to keep a customer, they should adjust your bike to fit. Also if you have any hesitation asking them, please email me. I will be glad to call them on your behalf
It is a buyer's market...vram
Apr 30, 2001 12:30 PM
considering what Internet retailing is doing to the LBS, the buyer should be king/queen and should be treated as such by the LBS. First off, it is common practice to ask and get a 10% discount on a complete bike. If LBS isn't willing to give discount request firmly about free upgrades--especially on things like saddle, pedal, stem, seatpost, etc. I assume the LBS is giving you free tune-ups for at least one year--this is standard practice.

Regarding fit--many shops have a fitkit and will reimburse the fee if you purchase a bike from them. Go back to the LBS and ask them if they have a fitkit--if yes, get yourself fitted, gratis. If they don't have fitkit, go in and talk about the problems you've outlined above regarding fit. Ask them to fix it--if it needs a different stem, they should swap without a murmur.

Before you purchase a bike, it is a good idea to be armed with the prices the competition is charging for a similar set-up and let the LBS know that you know what the good deals are going for. It is just like buying a car from a car salesman. Knowledge is power.
re: The Art of DickeringPsyDoc
Apr 30, 2001 12:38 PM
I think you will be wiser when you are ready to purchase your next bike. In retrospect, I got hosed on my first "real" bike purchase. I found a bike that I liked, the LBS let me take it for a spin in the parking lot (he would not let me go any farther), and said that the bike fit me great, so I bought it. The 58cm bike was a bit large for me, but I figured the LBS guy knew what he was talking about. That event served as a learning experience and the next time around I was more prepared than before.

I think the LBS should have set up the bike to your specific preferences and done a more complete fit. You may want to go back and tell them that the handlebars are too low and that it is not comfortable, if that's true. I cannot recall if your bike has the threadless or threaded headset, but if it has he threadless system the LBS may be less likely to swap out a fork. But, perhaps the LBS would let you try out different stems until you find the one that gives you less saddle-to-handlebar drop; based on what you have said, I think they should have done a better job here.

When I buy a bike, I have the expectation that the place I purchase the bike from will throw in water bottles and cages and I typically do not push for more. Some places will give you a 10-20% discount on all items for a period of time after your bike purchase. Come to think of it, this is probably a good think to negotiate for in the future.

As for the paint chip(s), I do not know what to tell you. Eventually, you are going to end up with chips if you have a painted bike. The painted bikes I have had always chipped at the BB from installing new BB cartridges. I stopped taking my bike in for service to one particular LBS, because when the bike came back there was always a new scratch or chip. But, I think this is the nature of the beast. I like to believe that mechanics take the necessary precautions when working on a bike to reduce the likelihood of scratches or chips...whether they do or not is irrelevant...I just like to believe it. Yeah, the color of the sky is a bit different in my world. Let us know what the LBS does for you.
Go back to your shop ...bianchi boy
Apr 30, 2001 12:42 PM
My LBS will work with any purchaser of a new bike to make sure it fits. They will substitute stems (or even forks, if necessary) and saddles to make sure it fits. Sometimes you might have to pay a little more, for example, if you decided you want a more expensive saddle.

I would really press them on the 4" drop for bars. That sounds like way too much for the typical recreational rider and is even more than many racers use. I bought a used bike in the fall with a much greater drop (3.5") than I was used to and subsequently experienced all sorts of problems with numbness in my hands from too much weight and pressure. It sounds like you could be headed in that direction if you're not careful. My LBS, even tho I didn't buy the used bike from them, has been very patient and helpful with me in getting my new used bike to fit me. I bought a new stem from them, and when that didn't give me enough rise, they swapped me two different times until we got it right. The last time they charged me a nominal labor fee, which I think was entirely justified.

I have used my LBS for service for many years, and bought several mountain bikes from them, so I have given them plenty of business in the past. But they have still gone beyond the call of duty in helping me fit my used bike, and I would expect at least as much service and attention if I had bought a new bike from them.

One other thing, if your new bike has a threaded stem, you might just need a simple adjustment of the stem to raise it higher. However, if it is threadless, you may need them to add more spacers and/or a stem with more rise. If they cut the fork steerer tube real short, you may need to talk to them about providing you a different fork (which they may be able to swap from another bike). The problem with threadless stems is that they can't be raised and lowered like the threaded ones.
re: The Art of DickeringDinosaur
Apr 30, 2001 12:49 PM
You bring out a point that is often overlooked. Fit and geometry are paramount over frame material and brand of bike. Most LBS's don't do a good job with fitting. They are more concerned about making a sale. It sounds like your bike isn't set up correctly. You need to educate yourself. Consider buying this book "Zinn & The Art Of Road Bike Maintenance". It has a section about proper bike fit. It could also be that you did not duplicate the set up of your old bike and your body is having difficulty adapting. Don't despair, it takes a while to get everything dialed in, maybe a couple of weeks or months.
Usually high end bike shops work with your for a proper fitting, sometimes you pay for what you get. For what it's worth I did the same thing, learn by making mistakes>>>>>>>>>never the same mistake twice.......heck you are young, you have light years ahead of you, messing around with your bike is half the art of cycing...Eddy Merckx was always messing with his seat height...Remember if you make a change, do it in very small 1-2MM increments, too big a change can result in injury. I was off two months because I make a big change in my seat position in the middle of a ride and tweaked my lower back...
Don't be a bonehead like me, cycling is a science when it comes to fit.
re: The Art of DickeringTiger
Apr 30, 2001 1:00 PM
Realistically, what specialty shop would you go to for clothing that wouldn't make sure you got the right size? Imagine going into a shoe store (a good one) to buy your first pair of shoes and they didn't try to determine what size you wear, or what type of shoes you wanted (sneakers, dress shoes, casual.)

It would be different if you were buying a bike from Wal-Mart. But this shop specializes in high-end bicycles, and a proper fit is something you should expect from any store like that...
My LBS...Bruno S
Apr 30, 2001 1:09 PM
My LBS told me I could ride the bike with the stock stem for up to a month and still be able to bring it back for an exchange if it did not fit properly. I paid 1000 for the bike plus other 200 in accesories. A stem change is the least they should do.

BTW, raise the handlebars. It takes a while to be able to have the handle bars so low and be confortable. Put them almost leveled with the seat. You will have better control, see better and be more confortable for your back and arms.
do you mean to say (gulp)...ET
Apr 30, 2001 1:13 PM
all that research (and all those questions to us :-)) was for nought? We had many lengthy discussions with you about seat and handlebar differential, among other things. Interesting that overanalyzing somehow brought you the exact result you feared most. Maybe just getting on the damned thing and taking a few long test rides would've worked been a better guide. (BTW, what size did you get?)

If what you say is true and it really doesn't fit, I would try and return it (you can argue to the LBS that they didn't fit you right); if you have to swallow some minor costs (e.g. tires), just do it.

On the bright side, you can return to being the without-a-bike legend you were on this board. :-) Hope things work out.
say it ain't soKristin
Apr 30, 2001 1:35 PM
ET... you are partially correct. Unfortunately, my brains always exit stage left when I lack the upper hand in a sale. The research helped me a ton. I didn't end up buying a Trek 1000 did I?

I purchased the 53 frame. Its a good fit--I think just setup poorly for me. The only part of the fit that I'm concerned about is perhaps being a little long on the bike. When I'm on the hoods, I look down and can see the hubs. I might benefit from a slightly longer stem.
Hmmmm....Lazy
Apr 30, 2001 2:05 PM
If I'm reading you correctly, and you are seeing the hub in front of the handlebar this might get interesting. Here's why: if you raise the handlebars, you will be bringing the handlebars closer to you as well as up due to the angle of the head tube. In my "amatuer maintenance guy from across the country" opinion, I would recommend the following:

1. Make sure your seat is positioned correctly (fore-aft) using the plumb bob and all.

2. Find an LBS that has a good return policy and will let you try out a few different stems, or at least will work with you. Get one that will raise your bars to be even with your seat, and move your bars to the correct position (fore-aft). This may take some tricky math, and I'm not sure if there is an LBS that will let you do this.

Good luck.
OK, it ain't soET
Apr 30, 2001 2:21 PM
I'm almost sure you said that when you took this bike for a spin, the hub was obscured when you were in the hoods (not that it has to be exactly; it's just a ballpark measurement). What happened to change that? Do you see the hub over the bars or under them, and by around how much perceptually? Are you now complaining about the horizontal rather than the vertical reach?

Actually, maybe it ain't so, because I don't understand something. You claimed there was a 4-inch height differential between seat and handlebar. Please re-measure carefully and repeatedly the way I said to in another post. I don't think it can be so. According to both cbike and bullteksports, DeBernardi measures its frame sizes c-c. The size 53 will have around a 54.3 seat tube, and that combined with the 73 or 74 seat tube angle (cbike says 74 and bulltek says 73!) gives around 52 cm from top of tt to bb (the math doesn't lie), and then add the standard 27 or so bbh to give a standover of around 79 cm, absolutely perfect for your inseam of, I believe you said, 82 or 83. In fact, so perfect it could be a custom. There's just no way you'll get 4 inches of drop for such a close-fitting standover.
PSET
Apr 30, 2001 2:27 PM
Also tell us how many cm of spacers you have under your stem (they usually come in whole- and half-cm sizes). I can't believe they would've cut the steerer for you and put in, say, just one cm.
OkayKristin
Apr 30, 2001 2:55 PM
I'll measure it tonight--at least 5 times--and let you know. Perhaps I'll crawl back here tomorrow with egg on my face cuz its only a 2cm drop. It looks like a whole lot more than that though. I'm 99% sure there is only one 1cm spacer. Its threaded, btw.

I do believe the hub was mostly skewed on the test ride. It was something I looked for on every ride. Also, I was assured after sitting on both the Lemond and DB (shop sells both names) that the DB fit better. I trusted that opinion. Since I took it home and started riding, the hub appears about 1 inch infront of the bars when on the hoods, and it's skewed when I'm on the bars.

During the initial test ride, he fit me with the plumbline on platforms. But when he cut out my shoes and installed the cleats, he didn't remeasure anything. I also swapped seats. Perhaps he didn't set it up in the same place--pushing me forward too far.
Kristin, are you sure that your threaded quill simply wasn'tbill
Apr 30, 2001 3:44 PM
tight enough and maybe you bounced it around a little out riding? When you say it's skewed, you suggest that it's just out of whack.
If it's threaded, no need to worry about cutting forks and such. You just need to go back for a little adjustment. You may need a new stem of a different size or angle, but it may simply have slipped a bit. I'm sure that this is within the shop's ability to deal. Don't sweat it until the guy says no way.
Also, don't bother too much with the way that it looks. Hub position relative to bars is a real rough gauge and may have nothing to do with your ideal position, although it does sound as if you're way too low (four inches!). What you describe in terms of your hands and upper body aching certainly is consistent with too small of a cockpit, but give the guy a chance. Are you sure that, while you were in there, you weren't telling him how stretched out you feel? (I know, I know; there I go blaming the victim. But, you know, I've seen it happen.)
hmmm... don't think so.Kristin
Apr 30, 2001 4:05 PM
The stem was skewed this weekend when a friend crowded me into the side of a bridge. Good friend. This was technically a crash and my stem was centered just fine until then. And it was plenty tight--I needed said friends assistance to losten it for me.

It would be typical--after all this--to find out I bought a bike too small. I definately didn't tell him it was too long. He put me on both a Lemond and the DB and made stated that the DB was a better fit. I mentioned that I liked having a little more "space" on the Lemond. But buying a bike that was one the verge of not fitting seemed to risky.
wait wait. you're saying that you had a little brush withbill
Apr 30, 2001 4:12 PM
concrete, you loosened the stem to reorient it, and now your stem is too low? How about just loosening it up again and lifting it a little? See what that does for you?
While you're at it, make sure that the seatpost and saddle haven't moved. A little brush with concrete can explain away a lot of fit issues. I may be a cynical bastard, but I'm thinking that maybe you just bushwacked your bike a bit.
no no...it was all wood -- I have the splinters to proove itKristin
May 1, 2001 10:31 AM
I'm positive the stem did not drop when I straightened it. The seat is marked and has not dropped either. The bike never fell, it just grazed the side of the brige, untrued the wheel and threw the brakes off a bit. And I barely loosened the stem at all. And the drop hasn't changed since I bought the bike. I'm sure of this.
can't waitET
Apr 30, 2001 3:45 PM
Funny you initially were concerned that you couldn't find a short enough top tube, and now it sounds like you need a longer stem! Kristin, what are we going to do with you? :-) What size stem do you have? If need be, they should provide a stem swap for free.

Threaded and not carbon? Then you can add more spacers. While some derogate "stackers", many bikes (including the Lemond) come off the shelf with 4 cms of spacers; nothing wrong with that, especially for a stock bike. (My 57 Lemond has, as best as I can measure it, a 2.8" seat/handlebar differential.) Threaded can handle even more spacers. If you really have just one spacer, adding will give you back over an inch. An angled stem can add yet more height. My money's still riding on you having a perfect-fitting frame size. While you're at it, try and measure the bike's standover, and be sure to measure from the very top part of the top tube cylinder (first-timers have a tendency to underdo it).
No NumbersKristin
May 1, 2001 10:42 AM
sorry. I did measure everything. But it was never my intention to try to get you to fit this bike for me. I asked basic questions...why do my hands hurt? How should I ride on the hoods? Should I pursue help from the LBS that sold me this bike? and I recieved the basic answers. Drop is too low, cockpit perhaps too small and yes, pursue it with the LBS. Thats what I'm gonna do.

I do appreciate the help, but you seem frustrated, and that wasn't my intention. Thanks for everything...really! But I can handle it from here.
upper hand?simstress
Apr 30, 2001 3:41 PM
Kristin - Bummer that you're not completely satisfied with your ride. Hopefully all will be straightened out.

What do you mean by "lack the upper hand in a sale"? Do you owe this shop any favors? Why do you feel you were not in command of this purchase?
Vicarious disappointmentBrian C.
Apr 30, 2001 1:19 PM
It was fun observing you going through the process. And now this.
Some folks on this board will be replying with some sound advice for you.
Print it out and take it with you to the shop to back up your just demands.
Measured response.bill
Apr 30, 2001 1:40 PM
Actually, Kristin, your post contains probably too few details for others to support you either in feeling better about what's gone on or to tell you that you've been hosed. IMHO.
When you say that the bars are below the saddle, what do you mean exactly? Are you saying that the tops literally are way below the horizontal line of the saddle? How many inches or cm? Anything more than a couple of inches for a beginner probably would seem to be too much; then again, maybe the guy believes that you're flexible enough to grow into it. If you're not comfortable, you're not comfortable, but there is such a thing as the fit being okay but your just needing to grow used to the stance.
What do you mean by not offering you a complete fit? He didn't seat you on the bike, maybe on a trainer, and look at where everything was going? Or do you mean something else?
As for extras, well, he's gotta make his money somewhere. Now, don't take this the wrong way, but I suspect that you took some of the shop's time making this decision. He may have given you a lot of attention, etc. on the front end thinking that, lordy, lordy, he's got to make this up somewhere. How much stuff are we talking about? If you got a saddle gratis, you know, the bottle cages are very small potatoes. Maybe he could have made it seem more fair, but maybe he's also sending you a signal that he's worth something, too. From what I understand, it ain't easy making money in the bike biz.
That said, he's in the service business. Either he would like to know that you're really not happy, or he doesn't care enough about your coming back to make you happy. The only way you'll ever find out is to go back and voice your concerns. Without accusations. Maybe he did it just right but you've got some buyers remorse. Maybe he needs to do better.
re: The Art of DickeringDug
Apr 30, 2001 2:45 PM
The time to negotiate with a shop is NOT after the sale. It sure seems like many customers expect LBS's to 'give away' a lot. When was the last time you got a free gallon of milk because you bought $100 worth of groceries?? I've worked in bike shops for eons and - at best - we barely make ends meet. If the LBS did'nt fit you properly, shame on them, but I suspect the bike fits you and it just needs some tweaking. They ALL do. The bars are "way" below.... means absolutley nothing to anyone who knows anything about proper fit. Judging from your previous posts, any road bike, no matter how it is set up is going to feel aggresive. In a somewhat amusing way, you are neurotic. I truly pity the LBS.
1st its her bike, then her knee, now her bars are too low.Blimpy
Apr 30, 2001 3:55 PM
Whats next? This is fun. ET has probably spent a good six hours getting her the right bike, size and fit!!!
I learned a lesson tooET
May 1, 2001 6:10 AM
I'm retiring.
I think we might have scared her away. I hope not. It makes....Blimpy
May 1, 2001 9:27 AM
for good reading. Kinda funny.
Cut her some slackBrian C.
Apr 30, 2001 4:10 PM
It can be intimidating buying your first big-time road bike, especially when there's a bunch of 'Freds' hanging out at the shop.
From one who know.
Are you the "fred" @ the shop or the first time buyer??Curious
Apr 30, 2001 4:14 PM
nm
First-time buyer.Brian C.
Apr 30, 2001 4:21 PM
At This Point, There Is Only One Solution....Greg Taylor
Apr 30, 2001 6:38 PM
We need a picture of your bike and how it is set up, if only to settle a few bets and quiet the less charitable among us...
Ya, send a pic, its tough doing all this blind!Blimpy
May 1, 2001 9:29 AM
nm
With the Chicago skyline in the background (nm)Brian C.
May 1, 2001 10:18 AM
m2¢coonass
Apr 30, 2001 7:38 PM
never buy anything (home, car, stereo, bike, etc.) without knowing WHAT you will be getting for your $$$$$. Now that the LBS has your money, what leverage do you have?? One thing you forgot to mention, is did you get a detailed receipt for the bike??? In the event (God forbid) of the bike's geometry being 're-designed' by an accident, you will have proof that the replacement value does exceed their 'estimated value' of $350. Would you have bought a pair of shoes without knowing anymore than if your foot would fit inside?? A $10,000 bike is not going to be a pleasure to you if IT DOES NOT FIT YOU!!! Your next frame should be an ANVIL...(good prices for a custom frame)Sorry, but you did ask.
re: The Art of DickeringLLSmith
Apr 30, 2001 7:41 PM
Have you talked with your LBS yet? If not why don't you take your bike in and tell them whats bothering you. I think they would be more than happy to work with you on the fit. Twenty miles on your third or fourth(??) ride with a little discomfort isn't too bad. Good Luck, Larry Smith
I agree w/ LLbianchi boy
Apr 30, 2001 9:07 PM
I'm sure your LBS will straighten this out for you. Since you said you have a threaded stem, it's probably just a simple matter of raising the stem, lining it up right and tightening it down good. It takes a while to get any new bike dialed in. I'm still fiddling with the seat and bars on my bike 6 months after I got it, little by little until I get it right.
resonable expectationsfuzzybunnies
Apr 30, 2001 9:23 PM
there's no reason why the shop should give you a discount on the bike unless it was last years model. The thing to look for was how did they price the accesories. Basically there should have been a little off practically everything you purchased with the bike. When we sell a bike you get any additional bottles and cages for 6.00 a set(normally 7.98 a cage 3.50 a large bottle), shoes could be an extra 10-20 percent off. If you swap out any parts such as the seat it sould be an even swap unless you're getting an expensive one and than you should recieve 10-15 dollars credit for the stock seat. Same with stems, pedals, and the like. Basically you should recieve the retail value or close to, of the item you're swapping out for the new one. The options to swap out things like a stem should last a while unless you've already damaged it in you're "crash". If you buy a bike in the 1000 or above range they should also offer some discounts for a little while after. Also did you get a free tune up with it, usually at least a 30 day tune up. Hope this helps. TTFN
And the answer is......DINOSAUR
Apr 30, 2001 9:32 PM
You can't learn all there is to know about bicycles on a forum. Ask a question and you are subject to overload. The best way to learn is to ride the bejesus out of your bike and read everything you can get your hands on regarding bicycles. You will learn from your mistakes. You have to willing to experiment and take chances. You are your best teacher. To be a cyclist you have to be self-sufficient. You have to be your own coach, trainer, motivator and mechanic. That's the great thing about cycling. Most cyclist are independent loners who spend the majority of their ride time alone. You have to depend on you and no one else. Everything comes with time.
And the answer is......LLSmith
May 1, 2001 4:52 AM
"Well Said Dino" you hit the nail right on the head.
More Info Above...Kristin
May 1, 2001 10:18 AM
Wow, its true that you make friends and enemies everywhere you go. After re-reading my post, I feel badly. I didn't mean to give the impression that I'm disappointed with the bike or the shop. I'm not at all. I was concerned I might not have gotten a fair shake. It sounds, though, like I paid reasonable prices--and that's what I wanted to know.

I haven't called them yet. Perhaps I put the cart before the horse, but I wanted to get an opionion before calling. I was unsure if I should even approach them again, or wait 2 months and pay for a fit somewhere else. I just wasn't sure of the best direction to take.

So thanks for you thoughts on it. I'm not asking you guys to fit the bike for me. I'm only asking if I should expect more from this shop or not. They told me I have free repairs for one year, but I didn't assume that included, "Raise my handle bars cuz I don't like em this way."

Here is a pic just so you can see that I'm not insane. There is a 3.75" drop from the top of the seat to the bars. I suppose you could knock off .25" because its a gel saddle.

I can't get this pic to post... you can see it here:
http://community.webshots.com/photo/13459480/13459499sDNSXKNMnm
Looks as if you easily could raise the stem. Kind of hardbill
May 1, 2001 10:50 AM
to tell, but your saddle nose may be pointing a little up (which actually would relieve some stress on your upper body while stressing your, umm, nethers. Generous amount of seatpost exposed, but nothing out of the ordinary, so that, if that dimension is working, the frame probably fits okay and you can adjust whatever you need to adjust through a different stem.
Can't tell the stem size -- do you know what it is? 100? 110? 120? you can go as long as a 130 if you're uncomfortable. I think you can even get some stems in 140, but, if you have to go that long, you probably have a problem with top tube length.
I would think that your LBS would be quite distressed to learn that you were uncomfortable about going back and saying that you were uncomfortable. The one thing that nobody has said to you yet is suck it up and be uncomfortable, which is clearly the wrong answer.
As for whether you've been hosed, doesn't really sound like it, but I suppose you still have that opportunity, depending on what happens from here.
from the photo...ET
May 1, 2001 10:54 AM
you have a virtually horizontal stem. You could swap it for a slightly more angled one if necessary. Stem swaps within the first month of buying a bike are very common; most LBSs will tell you up front that you can swap if you need to, as that encourages you to buy the bike.

But before doing that, it also looks from the photo like you do indeed have just one spacer. Just get them to add a few more; there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, when buying a bike, it's better to start with more, and then if you later want it lower, you have room to take off a few.

Either or both of these measures will easily drop off an inch and even more if necessary. It still seems you may have got just about the best stock fit you possibly could have.

On another note, I must say that even this post of yours trying to dispel our impressions seems to add to it. Maybe try to just be happy and ride for a while and not look back so much. To be honest, your frame is a very low-end purchase (~$350) by road bike standards, so your risk for this first go-around is minimal. Just ride and enjoy. Please!
how are you supposed to add spacers to a threaded unit???Blimpy
May 1, 2001 11:20 AM
Careful.
right; noticed later it was a quill (nm)ET
May 1, 2001 11:31 AM
.
You also definitely could roll those bars back toward youbill
May 1, 2001 10:55 AM
a bit, which should place the hoods more comfortably in your grasp. If you have to reach too far over the bars to get to the hoods, that's uncomfortable on your wrists even if the bar height and stem length are good.
I think we're too lateET
May 1, 2001 10:58 AM
Sounds like she's already decided to return it.
Where the heckKristin
May 1, 2001 11:11 AM
would you get an idea like that. I'm going back to the LBS and asking them to help me with the setup. If they refuse, then I'll find a qualified person (already know one) and pay for a fit and all the swaps myself. I have no intention of returning this bike.
I'll tell you whereET
May 1, 2001 11:28 AM
You seem very confrontational in your relationship with the LBS, as if you felt you expected to be burned and got burned and wished you didn't buy the bike. Most of us view a stem swap or adding spacers as a normal process with an LBS which sold you a bike. I don't think a fitting after the fact is going to help that much. Just swap stems and/or add spacers (from the photo it looks like yours is a quill; you should be able to raise it a lot more) and see how it feels. Can you tell me the bike's standover and the stem size? If you really feel the size is off, maybe they'll swap for you the next size up (54), which has a top tube .5 longer and a bit higher standover. And even if they won't and you think you made a mistake, it's only a $350 mistake; maybe you can sell them your "used" frame and get the next size up. Based on your previous comments, the 55, though, would be too big. But things keep changing with you, so who knows? A "fitting" is no guarantee either of an exact fit.
Dont listen to me...Blimpy
May 1, 2001 11:07 AM
Thats great that youre so thorough. DOnt worry about your purchase. So what if you lost out on $100 or so. THink of it as a learning experience. Next time youll be that much smarter. Any educational experience will usually have a cost. When your new at something you never do it as good as if you were experienced. That goes for buying bikes too. The stem does look low. Thats lower than mine and Im a cat2. Mines about 2.5 inches below. Just ride it and love it. You'll get used to everything. Set up your seat fore and aft setting, get your stem raised and ride!!
Interesting post-mortemBrian C.
May 1, 2001 11:51 AM
I might have a stem problem, too.
All of this has been instructive.
Thanks, guys.
You also definitely could roll those bars back toward youbill
May 1, 2001 11:53 AM
a bit, which should place the hoods more comfortably in your grasp. If you have to reach too far over the bars to get to the hoods, that's uncomfortable on your wrists even if the bar height and stem length are good.
hey, how did you that double "bill"ing?ET
May 1, 2001 12:02 PM
Rolling them back would make her reach shorter yet. I think she wants the reach higher and longer.

She started out months ago with the premise that she had a very short reach for her inseam, and now its seems like she's a natural Greg Lemond. :-)
well, there's reach and then there's reaching around. I wasbill
May 1, 2001 12:14 PM
thinking that some of the discomfort may not be reach itself as much as having to reach around the tops of the bars to get to the hoods. Been there, man. I felt some improvement in my upper arm stress when I went from a 100 to a 110, and then a BIG improvement by just rolling them back a couple of degrees. Probably the latter was more dramatic. The difference in reach of a cm is really minimal, but the difference between having a comfortably non-angled wrist and having to angle the wrists and reach down that much further to get to the hoods is considerable, making a too low stem that much lower.
You know, she coulda knocked the bars out of whack by hitting a bump while on the hoods, rotating them down and lowering the height of the hoods. While the bar height itself didn't change (the stem didn't smash down -- she said it was marked), if she spends most of the time on the hoods, the stance is going to feel too low.
As far as the double billing, uh, I don't know. I refreshed the window, and this happened. It's a miracle!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
GO BACK TO THE SHOP!DaveG
May 1, 2001 4:35 PM
Kristen, I have not been involved till now in your months of hand-wringing over a new bike. However, after reading this thread I can't understand why you don't just go back to the shop and tell them your not comfortable. You are going to great lengths to avoid asking for their help and you have no reason (unless there is something you're not telling us) to assume they will refuse. Instead, you willing to spend more money elsewhere to get a re-fit. Stems are relatively cheap they come in all manner of sizes and rise. Your problem can be fixed. If you are afraid of talking to them, bring along a more assertive friend for support. Stop messing around, get it fixed and start riding, TODAY!
GO BACK TO THE SHOP!steeveo
May 2, 2001 8:12 AM
HA HA HA HA HA! This girl is shucking us! There are so many internal inconsistencies in this story -- it unfolds like one of those layer on layer jokes. A crash materializes. Three dozen messages in, we find that the bike shop who supposedly hosed her is giving her free repairs for a year! And though she didn't get a fitting, the sales guy is running a plumb bob on her! Then we have a ludicrous photo where the stem is mashed all the way down to a position no human would ride in.

I love it. It's kinda brilliant, actually!