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Question about recent LBS purchase experience and bike fit.(17 posts)

Question about recent LBS purchase experience and bike fit.NewRoadBiker
Aug 20, 2001 6:19 PM
I have a question about a recent experience in purchasing my first road bike from my LBS that I'd be interested in some feedback on. First some info. This is my first road bike. I've been mountain biking for a few years and recently starting riding my MTB on-road doing 10-15 mile loops and found I really enjoyed it and wanted to get out and do some longer rides and tours as I improved. I did some research online and decided that since getting a good fit in a road bike seemed to be so important I would purchase through my LBS instead of ordering online. After riding half a dozen bikes I decided on a Giant OCR 1, which I got last week for $1109. I was pleased with the attitude of the people working at the bike store and their helpfulness, they seemed very helpful and friendly, but after I purchased the bike I expected a little more in setting up the bike to fit me than they did...this is where I need the feedback.

So here's the deal...when I first went in to check out bikes I was helped by one individual who works there. I asked him about fitting the bike and he said "We'll take care of you, no problem." I didn't ask for any details about the fitting process since I'd read some info on the net and had a vague idea. When I went back to get the bike a few days later, the owner of the store waited on me and sold me the bike. So here's what he did to adjust the bike to me. He had me sit on the bike while he held the front tire in place and balanced me and just took a quick look and asked how it felt?! When I mentioned that I couldn't reach the controls well when I was low in the bars, he moved the seat forward and rotated the bars down a little and then told me to take it for a ride to check it out...he never bothered to watch me ride to see how things looked or put me on a trainer. That was it!? I'm a bit perplexed! I could have done all of that myself and ordered a better bike online for the same price. The bike feels ok to me, but the reality of it is I don't know for sure how it's supposed to feel since this is my first road bike. Also, I thought that the fitting process was a bit more comprehensive! So here's the question: What should I have expected them to do after I dropped a grand on a new bike? What types of measurements and adjustments should they have done to custom fit the bike to me? Any advice on what I should do now?

Now I know that $1109 isn't a lot of money to spend on a road bike in general, but for me it was and had I known that this was what they were to do to fit it to me I would have ordered a better bike online instead of the LBS and gotten a book on bike maintenance to do my own repairs.


Knoxville, TN.
re: Question about recent LBS purchase experience and bike fit.VictorChan
Aug 20, 2001 6:31 PM
They should have you sitting on a trainer with stem and seatpost adjustments. Your knees should be bend little when fully extended. The stem lenght should be adjusted (replacing it with a shorter one or to turn it upside down) so that you won't lean too far forward. I believe you should have few inches clearance ontop of the top tube. When in the drop, your elbows should be very close to your knee. They should have all this checked out before giving the bike to you though. Also, they should have you ridding the bike outside while one of the tech person watching your form. That was my experience with my LBS though.
Talk to the managerRich Clark
Aug 20, 2001 6:43 PM
Even bike shops hire inexperienced people who don't have much investment in the customer.

Yes, they should put you and the bike on a trainer to get the basic adjustments dialed in -- saddle height and fore/aft position (which are interactive; change one and you have to change the other); saddle angle; stem extension; bar height (stem rise); hand position on the hoods and in the drops.

It may be more productive to do a basic setup and let you do a few rides before doing a more detailed one, especially if this is your first road bike. They can do a better job after you've achieved a little more experience with the basic feel of the bike.

But make sure it's clearly understood directly between you and the manager that you expect detailed fitting to be part of the transaction, and you don't consider the purchase final until it's done.

Unfortunately, it was the owner of the store who did this...NewRoadBiker
Aug 20, 2001 6:52 PM
...should I go back in and insist that they fit the bike properly or would it be better off to chalk this up to experience and go to another store and pay to have the bike fit...I'd be interested in your opinion. Thanks!

Knoxville, TN.
Unfortunately, it was the owner of the store who did this...Rich Clark
Aug 20, 2001 7:57 PM
I think you should go back and say something like "I've been assuming that after a few rides to get a sense of what's right and what's wrong, I can come back and you'll give me a thorough and detailed fitting, spending as much time as it takes and swapping parts as needed. Should I make an appointment now?"

If they give you any static, consider a different bike shop. It's not to late to give them back the bike and cancel the transaction.

I say this because it's my opinion that ongoing support and service is what sets bike shops apart from mass merchandisers, and if you don't believe you'll get that service there's no reason to give a shop your business. $1000 *is* a lot of money to spend on a bike, and you deserve full service.

Unfortunately, it was the owner of the store who did this...NewRoadBiker
Aug 21, 2001 6:54 AM
Hi Rich,
Thanks much for the reply. I think I'll use your approach...this sounds like good advice. Hopefully they'll be willing to do it right.
Thanks again! :o)

Unfortunately, it was the owner of the store who did this...casati_rider
Aug 20, 2001 8:01 PM
Hi Darren,
Sorry about your first road bike buying experience, but I wouldn't blow off the LBS yet or spend money on another shop. The OCR is a very good bike for the price, but you would pretty much be stuck with the components that came with the bike. They only come in 3 frame sizes, so if the frame fits you can make the other adjustments. The stem is an adjustable one so I doubt if an LBS would change it. Even with the LBS doing a great fit, you will find that you will end up doing your own tweaking. My bike was a custom fit, but it still took a couple of months of small adjustments to really tune it in for the feel I like. That's what I would recommend, if the bike doesn't feel bad and the fit feels close, start making small adjustments yourself. All you really need is a couple of allen wrenches. For more information about fit try this url and go to the bike fit page.
Unfortunately, it was the owner of the store who did this...John Evans
Aug 21, 2001 5:01 AM
Which LBS in K-town?

John Evans
Rockwood, TN
Unfortunately, it was the owner of the store who did this...NewRoadBiker
Aug 21, 2001 6:49 AM
Hi John,
Send me a private email or give me a call tonight (384-5280) and I can let you know...I don't want to post it to the board.

re: Question about recent LBS purchase experience and bike fit.badabill
Aug 20, 2001 7:09 PM
The OCR1 is one of the new compact frame designs. Because they make only a few frame sizes they are highly adjustable. I would check knee adj. first. Slight bend at bottom of stroke, plumb line from knee to pedal shaft at front of stroke. A good place to start with stem adj is level with seat.You might have to change the stem if reach is a problem. Ride the bike and see if you are comfortable. With the compact frame design it is pretty tough to get the wrong size frame, but adjustments can take more time. Go back to the shop if you cant get it right yourself.
First LBS experiencefiltersweep
Aug 20, 2001 7:14 PM
My first LBS experience was similar, and being a MBer and new to roadbikes, I didn't want to look like an idiot- and the guy that helped me was a mountain biker (where bikes are sized large, medium, small, etc... not all that exact, if you know what I mean)- so I had a poor setup- but I learned. I'd go back, tell them right up front that you didn't really know what was going on, and ask for a proper set-up, which I'm sure they would be happy to do.

Part of the issue is that they don't know your experience level, and they maybe didn't want to patronize you by making assumptions. An experienced road biker can detail every minute aspect of set-up adjustments that need to take place, or more likely they take it home and set it up themselves. The key is really to communicate your needs, what you don't know, and ask a ton of questions... and not worry about your pride. I know I looked like an idiot test riding a bike in my work clothes with ties around my pant legs more than once while checking out bikes on my lunch break...
First LBS experienceNewRoadBiker
Aug 21, 2001 7:01 AM
Thanks for the reply! :o) I went in to the store with that "I don't know anything" about road bikes attitude and was very up front about it and asked lots of silly questions so it was clear I was a complete novice...I'm not into the act like I know more than I do thing. I ordered the flight deck computer for the bike and I'm planning to have them install it when it comes in. I'll use that opportunity to press them further about setting the bike up to fit me better. Thanks again for the reply! :o)

I think you hit the nail on the head,Mike K
Aug 21, 2001 7:02 AM
Great post - never assume that the LBS knows what you want or that the LBS will or will not do certain things on your behalf.
As a newbie you are almost always better off to buy from an LBS. Even just a small test ride is far better than any "plug in your height and inseam here" sizing system on the web.
Since you've already delt with the owner, go back and ask to speak to him and ask for a propert fit. If he balks or refuses go to the competition.
take it back and demand your money! nmnm
Aug 21, 2001 4:53 AM
re: Question about recent LBS purchase experience and bike fit.Tsculler
Aug 21, 2001 9:01 AM
I recently purchased a new Trek roadbike and the LBS was awesome.
The guy spent an hour fitting me on the bike... saddle height, fore aft position, etc... and then he took me outside so he could watch me ride for awhile... and then he tweaked again inside. And he made it VERY clear that I'm welcome to come back anytime for more tweaking if something doesn't feel right, even before the free tuneup. This is the kind of LBS that really rocks... they really care about the enjoyment of the sport as well as making a buck. If you live in Vegas check out Peloton Sports on Buffalo.
Bike biz realities...TJeanloz
Aug 21, 2001 11:15 AM
There are some realities of the bike business, and every business for that matter, that people don't often see. Your perspective is that you laid out $1,100, and that's a lot of money, and you expect a certain level of services for that money. We can all agree that the best way to fit somebody to a bike is a session either on a trainer or on a size-cycle machine. Bike shops in my area charge between $100 and $250 for this service to a customer who has a bike and needs it to fit better. For new bike purchasers, the shop generally does the service a little differently. My own shop's policy was that "full fits" (a session on a trainer) were included on every bike >$1500, also for customers who were 'difficult' fits (women under 5'2"; men over 6'4" etc.). But it just wasn't cost effective to do a full fit for an average person on a <$1500 bike. And that's what it comes down to: it's too expensive to do, especially at this time of year, when the full fit requires a salesperson (and it's usually the most experienced salesperson) to be off the floor not selling for an hour.

On an $1100 bike, the gross margin is ~$350. After paying the bills, employees et. al. there's not a lot left over to throw in freebies like extensive fitting services. We all agree that we'd love to be able to do the fits, but to get a fit that the customer is satisfied with costs too much to make it profitable. I'd recommend taking it back in January and saying: "I have these issues with how this bike fits- pain in my neck/shoulders/back." Then the shop has some information, and some time to help you.
You are assed out!!Trollman
Aug 21, 2001 11:36 AM
Your fault for not speaking up and saying something at the time of purchase.

Why start whining now?

Why are you asking us?

Get a backbone and quit your sniveling!!

Enough on this stupid subject.