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Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?(79 posts)

Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 8:41 AM
Hey folks, I wanted to get a general consensus on what should be expected from a local bike store that sold my wife the what I now believe is the wrong bike. We told the store that we were relatively new cyclists, and would commonly do short, very hilly rides and races. We put in any where from 30 to 80 miles a week in very hilly areas around the East Bay, SF.

Anyway, the LBS had no trouble selling my wife her first road bike with a double chain ring (campy daytona double w/ 10 cassette in the rear). I recently learned that typically only truly advanced riders use a double chainring on very hilly rides; the rest of the world benefits from a third chainring, especially a beginner/novice rider. Is this true? Isn't this why we support the LBS... to get experienced opinions/knowledge if we are new to the sport? I've heard from several sources that beginning riders in hilly areas should definitely be put on a triple chainring.

Let me know what I should expect, if anything, from the bike store. I plan on approaching them regarding this. Her bike is still new, about 80 miles on it. Its an alumunim bianchi xl reparto corse that we got on sale. Should we ask/demand a triple group set, new bike, etc....????

what does your wife think?mr_spin
Jul 2, 2002 8:51 AM
There are a surprising number of "truly advanced" riders on the road today if only they use double rings. I don't know where you heard that but it is absolutely untrue.

Instead of doing research to figure out if you bought the wrong bike, have you actually asked your wife what she thinks? For most people a double is fine. Get her a 27 cassette if she wants lower gears. Or, my first road bike had Shimano RSX cranks, which had 36/46 rings.

Your information about the "rest of the world" is wrong. So don't think you can insist that the LBS exchange the bike. Ask them nicely, explain the situation, and maybe they will cut you a deal or suggest alternatives.
I think the double helped mePhatMatt
Jul 2, 2002 8:57 AM
I had a triple on my first bike. Now I have a double, I am by no means in great shape. However I did notice that I ride better on the double. I would just shift into the triple and over spin and kill my self. I never improved instead of getting stronger I would just spin real fast. Like Mr. spin said what dose she think. Is she having problems on the hills? I have been to you fair city and those are some steep damn hills. I am in Salt Lake so I just have a few canyons. If anything talk to them and just remember that you will catch more flies with honey instead of vinegar.

what does your wife think?curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 9:00 AM
My wife hates the bike now because of the gears. We are in a triathlon with a very hilly ride in a few weeks, and she would rather ride her mtn bike.

I realize double rings are as common as triples. That is why I didn't think twice about my wife buying a double. I had no experience on what a double is like riding up a steep hill. But, is it common for beginner riders who do hills to ride a double ring? Should the LBS have know not to sell this type of rider a double?

I just want to have a well rounded perspective before approaching the bike store. thanks....
what does your wife think?PhatMatt
Jul 2, 2002 9:08 AM
My wife is a novice so we ended up getting her a MTB for the time being. I still get yelled at for tring to get her to shift . I just let her ride her own style. Your case is a little different. Like some one said whent he word races comes into play most racers will not ride a triple. I ride with a really good female climber (she kicks teh shit out of me when ever it get steep) and she loves the triple. If your wife is talking about riding the MTB for a Tri. I think I would probably go back to the shop and see about the Tripple. I am not sure on the campy side of things but with Shimano it would require a different set of cranks BB and may even require a long cage rear derailer. After all the worst that could happen by asking is that they could say no.
if you are actually racinglonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 9:17 AM
... and this is a very racer-centric opinion, BUT - if you are doing actual organized mass-start racing or triathlons, then your wife won't be able to adequately keep up in competition on a triple anyway. You are talking racing right, not just organized recreational rides (centuries?).

I am female, I am a road racer, and I use an 11-27 cassette with a 39/53 double on hilly stuff. I live in Boulder, Colorado; we have some hills here.

There are quite a few gals that I've known who came into road racing with triple gearing. Every one of them ditched the triple after a couple months. Why? Because they found they couldn't use the granny if they wanted to stay with the field, the middle ring was usually something too big (like a 42), and the shifting was less reliable up front (throwing the chain at the base of a climb really sucks, lemme tell you). The longer chain and derailleur cages of a triple add complexity. When you're racing you don't have time to babysit your shifts - you lose far too much momentum if you have to soft-pedal for a partial stroke while waiting for the front mech to activate.

I also agree with the poster who said don't blame the LBS for what you initially told them. Definitely don't go into the LBS loaded for bear. YOU were the one who told them you were racing, so they sold you a racing bike. I am a former LBS sales / wrench and (in the absence of better info) would have done the same thing.
Jul 2, 2002 9:26 AM
Did you build this yourself? I liek my 12-27 but miss the 11 on the decents.
Wheels / Campylonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 9:52 AM
This is the benefit of using the Wheels cassettes for a Campy drivetrain using Shimano cassette bodies. I don't think Campy makes an 11-27 10-speed. Wheels makes them stock. The actual cogset runs 11/12/13/14/15/17/19/21/24/27

It's nice to be able to get away with big-ringing stuff like momentum rollers (or the "sucker climb" at last Saturday's Andy Finch road race) in the 53/24. You can attack down the descent in the 11, preserve your momentum with good cadence in the big ring, then wind it up on the last pitch in the 53/ 21 or 24 if you feel like it.

You could build a Mavic M-10 cassette this way, but IME the shifting on the Mavic cogs pretty much sucks because the spacing is something like 1mm off. My Mavic 12-25 has been relegated to the 'cross bike.

I like my 11 too. I'm not a great climber but I can keep up okay when push comes to shove. On subsequent descents or rollers, the 11 and my sprinter bulk means I can soundly punish the featherweights as they deserve ;)
Wheels / CampyPhatMatt
Jul 2, 2002 10:08 AM
I am running Shimano all around. Do you know is it possible to get a similar cog set for a 9 speed? I here you on the climbs all though I am getting better. My friends still punish me uphill. I exact my revange on the flats and sprints.
no 11-27 stock in Shimano, BUT -lonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 12:03 PM
you can easily "customize" one with a little help from Sheldon Brown:
no 11-27 stock in Shimano, BUT -PhatMatt
Jul 2, 2002 12:31 PM
Saved by the LFR. As she ride off into the sunset a mighty Hi--Ho Colnago is heard. And she is gone.

Who was that masked woman?

8-) nmlonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 1:05 PM
no 16 for racing? (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 10:29 AM
different cassettes for different courseslonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 11:32 AM
In addition to the 11/27 I have the following 10-speed cassettes in my arsenal:

12/23: 12/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/21/23 (a 16 AND an 18! - ain't 10-speed grand!). This is my "crit block".

12/25: 12/13/14/15/16/17/19/21/23/25 - my jack of all trades that I use for training, intermediate road races and most everything else.

12/25 Mavic M-10 custom build: 12/14/15/16/17/18/19/21/23/25 - I use this mostly on the 'cross bike because the 13 isn't good for much and it's nice to have the close ranges in the part of the block I actually use.

11/21: 11/12/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/21 - my TT specific "straight block"

someone commented not long ago that it's not merely sick that I have so many cassettes, but that I also know the ranges of them all to each individual cog...
I think you're sick too, but now I know how my cassette's set upLeisure
Jul 2, 2002 10:55 PM
Jul 2, 2002 9:28 AM
If there was any mention that the bicycle would be used for racing, especially triathlons, most salespeople would rule out a triple unless you specifically requested one.

And that's as it should be.
can averge 'racers' get by w/11-23 in super hills?curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 9:46 AM
Can even average racers get by with 11-23 cassette and on a 39 chainring in super hilly areas? Maybe, but would you sell that to a 'novice' triathlete with little experience on a road bike?
Jul 2, 2002 9:52 AM
I've never seen a race where you could ride anything smaller than a 39/23 and not be dropped. With the exception of Mount Washington, and a couple of other particularly nasty climbs.

To a 'novice' triathlete, I would sell a bike with a 39/23 in every case, unless they specifically told me they wanted something different. Or if they said: "I'm planning to do this 1 triathlon, but it's not something I really care about or want to do well in."

Otherwise, you run equal risk of them coming back and saying: "you sold me a triple and you KNOW that no self-respecting racer wants a triple, were you listening to me..."
I've heard that pros use a 25 for Mt. EvansColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 10:34 AM
Though I imagine if they actually used it much they'd get dropped pretty fast.
Also the Boulder to Breck' race,TJeanloz
Jul 3, 2002 4:57 AM
Whatever that's being called this week; most pros come into the shop two days before trying to beg, borrow, or steal a 26t cog for the race- but I assure you that that race is more brutal than anything a novice triathlete is doing.
depends what you mean by average and super hillyColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 10:33 AM
sure most cat 1-2 racers should be able to go up most hills with a 23. MOST people living in a hilly/mountainous area can't though without really mashing the gears. unless she is doing LOTS of climbing the 23 should be fine. personally i use both a 12-25 and 13-26 cassettes here in Colorado--I don't do a lot of racing though--the occasional road race and hill climb is about it.
Jul 3, 2002 8:30 AM
My bike shop did, and I thank them for it. I was ready to buy my first bike as an adult-- a road bike to do my first triathlon in Texas hill country. (I hadn't ridden since childhood.) The bike that fit me was equipped with 53-39 in front and 12-23 cassette. If I weren't happy with the bike, they would work with me to make it right, or I could get complete credit towards a different bike.

Our hills are not quite the same as Bay Area hills, but there are some approaching 20% grades. I had to walk some hills at first. I cursed and questioned whether I shouldn't have gotten that triple, but then I saw women who could really climb with doubles. I have gotten a lot stronger, and I continue to be a stronger rider than my friends who started with me who have triple gearing. (And my knees are fine.)

I'm planning to do some all-day hilly rides this summer, so I'm going to get 12-25 and 12-27 cassettes to swap out as needed. It's no more trouble than putting on or removing my aerobars in preparation for a time trial.
I grew up in the East Bay...Brooks
Jul 2, 2002 9:32 AM
and except for Marin Ave in Berkeley, all hills could be overcome with a double chain ring. I did not race, just liked tooling around on a bike. I thought toe clips were the greatest thing since sliced bread, rode with regular sneakers. Went up Mt Diablo a few times that way as well. 30 years later, and living in the mountains, I still use a double (39x53 in front 12-27 in rear). I've ridden with a triple, and though I can spin faster on the climbs, I also go slower. In a triathlon or any other race, using a triple generally gets you dropped.

My two cents for what it's worth (you get what you pay for).
It is not the number of chainrings, it is the gear range.MB1
Jul 2, 2002 8:54 AM
She likely needs a bike with a wide gear range. One way to get this is to use a triple chainring setup. Another useful way to get a wide gear range is to have a large range of gears on the cassette.

In the real world either one works well-although we will debate the issue (and many others) to death here.

I looked on the Bianchi website-those Reparto Corse bikes don't have much of a gear range on them stock. They are racy but very nice bikes.

Go back to the shop. Nicely explain your concerns to the owner or manager. See what they have to say and work with them. It wouldn't hurt to mention in passing several other expected purchases that they could expect if they do right by you.
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?pinarello
Jul 2, 2002 8:55 AM
Can you give us the chainring(s) ratio ie.39/53 and the cass. ratio ie. 11/21. Then we might be better judges for you curt. Catapult.
Maybe you shouldn't have used the word "races"?Pecos
Jul 2, 2002 8:56 AM
No, bike shop did nothing wrong.Alex-in-Evanston
Jul 2, 2002 9:05 AM
Double chainrings are pretty universal, not just for the advanced. Since the triple is the more marginal choice, I think they're justified in having assumed she'd want the double.

Also, as a sale bike, swapping parts is generally more complex. I would expect to pay retail for the upgrade. Depending on the condition of your existing drivetrain, it is not certain that they would accept it back as new.

All this being said, a 10spd double should give you plenty of options. I think the best course would be to see what cassette (rear gear cluster) you have, and if it is a racing gear ration (smallest gear 23), ask to swap for an easier set of gears (smallest gear 29).

One man's opinion.

I disagree--they gave pretty specific information, and...cory
Jul 2, 2002 9:16 AM
...they got a bike that's not suited to what she's going to do. The 53-39 gearing on most doubles may be "universal," but it's just about useless for many riders. How many of us, even longtime cyclists, can turn the smallest three cogs when the chain is on the 53?
At best, I think the shop didn't listen when they explained what they wanted. At worst, they may have taken advantage of a new, not-particularly-knowledgeable customer to sell a bike they hadn't been able to get rid of (so it was on sale). It's bad for cycling and ultimately bad for the shop, especially if the gup cops a "Well, she has to get in shape" attitude about it. They should suit the bike to the customer, not force the rider to fit the bike.
Yeah, why should the customer accept ANY responsibility?grzy
Jul 2, 2002 9:58 AM
It's always some one elses fault these days and my lawyer can beat up your lawyer.

It's pretty typical for people to walk into a shop with visions of grandeur only to be stopped dead in their tracks on the SF Bay Area hills. Fact of the matter is not many people "race" with a triple. Probably the biggest factor is the attitude of the HUSBAND. He seems to be denying any responsibility in the whole situation. It really doesn't do the shop much good to sell the "wrong" bike to someone if they want to stay in business. I agree that maybe the LBS should have been a bit more adamant that newbies really do need low gearing, but these days a guy walking in with the money to buy two bikes is going to get what he wants - even if he's clueless about what is right for them. How is it that the shop managed to sell him the "right" bike and her the "wrong" bike - did they not like her or something?
me, irresponsible...never? look, i'll take your post in a ...curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 10:19 AM
...good light. I agree with your points, and I dont like that people often take no responsibility for their actions and especially when they take adavantage of the law to avoid punishment, etc.

but your few assumptions are wrong. my wife bought the bike. It fit her well, was (almost--other than the gearing) just what she needed. it was considerably on sale, making it all the better. I didn't buy a bike at this shop b/c they didn't have exactly what I was looking for. My wife didn't even want to go into the store that day, but the right bike was there and at a fair discount.

I am partly responsible, and that's why I'm making this post... to figure out what should/can be done. maybe if i was more 'responsible,' I'd throw more money at the problem and fix it right away without an understanding of the situation, since that's what 'i did in the first place.'

I went into what i thought was a trusted store, and wanted an experienced perspective on one detail of the bike, double versus triple, and I didnt get so much as a concern from the the salesperson. that is what i believe is the problem with the scenario.

--cluesless curtis
But people all have very different needs.elviento
Jul 2, 2002 10:33 AM
People have different preferences on gearing. Some want extremely low gears, some spin out a 11T. Have you met someone who swears by single speed mountain bikes?

A preference like this is highly personal and it's up to the customer to point that out. How is the store supposed to know?

You said that only truly advanced riders use double. Since triple on road bike only came into being about a decade ago, then all cyclists that rode before then are truly advanced?

You buy a bike and then decide you have special needs, you can just cough up the cash and make the upgrade. Simple as that. Stop whining.
elviento ... so people without experience are screwed??curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 11:41 AM
the difference between you and my wife is that you have experience to know what you want. she was looking for advice since she had little experience. the store knew this and did not even suggest that she may want to think about easier gearing.

good thing you aren't in the business of selling bikes. actually i should give you the info on the bike shop where I bought; i'm sure they'd hire you right away.
she did say she wanted to raceColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 1:26 PM
I'd have sold her a double as well. There are plenty of beginners without a triple that do just fine and modern 10 speed cassettes come in a pretty good selection of gears. I think this is becoming a bigger issue than it needs to be, but as I was taught...if you gotta complain do it to someone who can make a difference. Nobody here can fix the "problem" so I suggest you talk to the bike shop.
would you have sold her a double with 11-23 cassette?curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 1:31 PM
i think that is truly my question. it is much more an issue of what cassette is paired with the double or what the overall gearing is...
Jul 2, 2002 1:49 PM
a 11x23 is a good general purpose racing cassette. If she was not in good shape or wanted to do a lot of hill climbs then I'd have suggested a 12x25 or even a 13x26. Probably not the 13x29 though since you'd be missing some good racing gears with it--even in a 10 speed.
it seems to me...JBurton
Jul 2, 2002 1:29 PM
that you got a good bike at a very sizable discount (as you said) that fits her. The frame is really what matters. If the frame is good and fits, then that is great! Keep the double. Buy a triple and when your wife is stronger, put the double back on. Or, do like the other posts say and get a new cassette. I think what elviento is trying to say is that very few people get a bike that is exactly right from the get go. In addition, the bike will need to change as the person's abilities change. A longer stem or less rise, for instance, is a common modification as abilities improve...sometimes in a single season. Hell, I know guys who have a different setup to build base fitness (more rise until the back gets loose, lower gears until the legs get stronger, etc.), versus the racing season. You have not wasted your money by any means, and putting money into new gearing won't be wasted either. In fact, it will allow your wife's bike to be many things...she can use it to tour, or race, or ride for fun...if you have spare parts to swap out. If the bike shop does all this stuff for you for basically no charge, you have found yourself an exceptional shop to which you should be grateful. But if they don't, then buy the parts and keep the old ones. Simple. I know that my girlfriend is as thick-headed as they come when she gets an idea in her head about equipment (almost as thick headed as me), and I understand that you are between a rock and a hard place here. Take heart! Tell her it is a great, great bike and that you can make it exactly how she wants it...even when how she wants it changes...and it will.
I happen to haveelviento
Jul 2, 2002 4:15 PM
a good job at a firm that is the industry leader in customer service, so I will pass on your career advise.

If it takes your wife herself 3 weeks to figure out what her needs are, how is a bike salesman supposed to tell what she needs??? If I were running a shop and someone comes in and tells me she wants to do triathlons and some races, I'd definitely recommend a double even if I want to move my triple inventory.

Even experienced riders discover/change their preferences and needs over time, crank length, stem length, bar height, gear ratio, pedal style, Q factor, saddle angle, ... you name it. The right thing to do is to make the proper change and go riding, rather than blaming and playing victim.

I think your wife has a much healthier attitude on this matter. You really should learn from her.
Yeah, why should the customer accept ANY responsibility?gwendolynofthemountain
Jul 2, 2002 3:26 PM
At one point it was probably the right bike, then he went online or read some lame articles stating that triples are better, then he convinced his wife she should have a triple and that it's the LBS' fault for not having read his mind or the articles he read.

Could it be a sexist thing, why isn't she online asking for advice? why didn't she buy the bike? do you think she can't keep up with you? is she riding enough? is he racing up the hills to prove his manliness, leaving her behind? if you ride with someone, ride with them, or go on your own. maybe she's staying behind because she's tired of your attitude????

yeah, sounds to me like he bought the wrong bike. I say neither of them should be on bike, especially in the Bay Area. There is nothing you can't do on a double. stop bithcing and ride!!!!
Not sure of your legal rights, but I'D sure be p!ssedretro
Jul 2, 2002 9:05 AM
This is an example of why people hate bike shops--it sounds like they sold you what they had in stock, something that may have been around awhile (so it was on sale) without really thinking about what you needed. Nothing wrong with the bike; it's just not suited to her needs. If you talk to them and the guy rolls his eyes and says something about her needing to get in shape, knock him down...
I'd take it back, non-confrontationally, and explain in a reasonable tone that you told them what you wanted it for, you depended on their professional advice, and they either misled you or didn't have the expertise to help you.
I've bought my last few bikes either used or online, so I have no idea what shops are doing these days to make customers happy, but I do think you have a legitimate complaint. If the bike looks new, you might be able to get them to fix you up with something more suitable.
Having said that, though, if she's serious about cycling and likes it, she may get to a point, and fairly soon, when she can ride comfortably with a double. But I've been riding for 30 years, and I still use a triple.
I am sure there were many factors that havent't been ..Pecos
Jul 2, 2002 9:13 AM
discussed yet such as how much they were will to spend, her size and the sizes available industry wide. I know this is rather late in the season for aquiring certain sizes, especially small frames for smallish women. MFG's don't make a lot of these sizes and stop after a certain point in the production chain. We don't know some of the details neccessary to give an informed opinion.
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 9:09 AM
The crankset is 39/53 and the cassette is a 11-23. Any more opinions????
Jul 2, 2002 9:18 AM
Switch the cassette. It will make a world of difference, for $80 or so (Dura Ace). If that doesn't work, try the triple.
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?AaronL
Jul 2, 2002 9:24 AM
First, yeah, a lot of road bikes now come with triples, but there have been millions sold over the last 30 years without triples to recreational riders. So, I don't think the bike shop "wronged" your wife with the sale.

But, I do question the narrow cogset. 12-23 is pretty standard for very fit riders/racers. If she swaps that to a 27 or even a 29 she'll be very happy. A 39/29 combo is a pretty low gear I bet she would be just fine on 99% of the hills. BTW, I work in the east bay so I'm familiar with most of the climbs.

Just my $0.02
Easiest solution in your situation...Slowclimber
Jul 2, 2002 9:40 AM
First of all stay calm, write down your complaints and voice them in a calm and considerate manner.

Second, since you are running Campy Daytona 10 speed components you can put a 13-29 rear cassette on the bike which should give a very wide range of gearing and should be close to that achieved by a triple chainring bike.

If you voice your concerns with the shop owner/manager they should be able to give you a discount on the new cassette and it will be a cheap upgrade to your current bike.

My experince from riding with others is that I'm turning a similar gear with my 39/30 small gear as others with a 32/23 or 32/25 that they are running on their shimano triple drivetrains.

The biggest complaint with the large rear cassette is that you have larger gear spacing than with a triple. But you will save some weight and complexity with a double and a large cassette on the rear of the bike.

Anyway, just my opinion take it for the .02 that it's worth.
Depends......Len J
Jul 2, 2002 9:16 AM
on a number of things.

It's possible that they sold you what they had in stock.
It's also possible that they misunderstood her capability.
It's also possible that the person you dealt with is inexperienced.

I would go back and have a frank discussion with the shopowner and explain that what you have is not usable by your wife for the intended purpose. His reaction will tell you alot about the quality of the shop & wether or not you can trust them.

That being said, you do bear some responsibility in this. You wnt out to spend a considerable amount of money relying on an "unbiased" salesperson (That you didn't know), in a shop you weren't familiar with, to steer you to a particular bike. Would you buy a car this way?

There are several options to give her increased gearing in order of cost (Lowest to highest):
-New casette 13/29 should give her plenty of room
-New (Smaller) chainrings.
-Replace rear der with mountain der and larger casette 13/34
-repalce drivetrain with triple.

Good Luck & let us know how it goes.

Jul 2, 2002 9:25 AM
That is good input Len. I do bear responsibility in this. But I went to my favorite bike shop in the area...the one I trusted and liked most even though it was not the closest or largest store. I had done quite a bit of research, but one of the few things I was unsure of was the chainring issue. I specifically asked about this, and got a nonchalant response, so I didn't think again about it until my wife was dying on the hills. My wife has repeatedly tried local hilly rides, and just doesn't like the bike setup. She rode through some uncomfortability issues new to the road bike (stretching out more than a mtn bike), but she can't get over the gear issue.

Will a 13/29 help as much as a adding a triple. I guess I won't know exactly until I try it out. Mathematically, you should be able to compare the effort req'd of different gear combos (e.g. (front 39 x rear 29) < (front 33 x rear 23) or something like this...) Anyone know?

Try thisLen J
Jul 2, 2002 9:34 AM

Plug in different chainrings and casettes, select the gear units you want (I use MPH at a selected cadence) and compare results. You can get a pretty good idea that at 39X29 compared to 30X29 how much slower you go (& therefor how much easier it is).

gears: 39/53 and 11-23....curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 9:16 AM
i used the word 'race' when talking to the bike shop, but they knew i was talking triathlon race and that were were relative beginner/novices. they knew we weren't talking cryteriums or straight road races, not to say there would necessarily be different needs between thest types of 'races.'

the LBS also didn't even question whether my wife may or may not need a triple. A thoughtful, experienced shop person would have questioned this, especially with the hills in the area. A rider would have to be very advanced to get up hills in this area with a 80 rpm cadence using a double. This a main point of contention that I would have with them.

thanks folks,c
Aw, man--that gearing's COMPLETELY wrong for a newbieSilverback
Jul 2, 2002 9:27 AM
I'm sure some of the Serious Cyclists will disagree, but that gearing is FAR too high even for a lot of experienced riders. It's race gearing, with a 130-inch top gear she'll never use and a low that's about twice what it ought to be for a casual rider. It's not just a matter of getting in shape to ride it--she could ride for 10 years and never use that 53/11. I put 4,000 miles on last year, and I never saw that combination once.
One clue: When Greg Lemond used to train around Nevada City and Grass Valley in the Tour days, he used a 12-26. Unless your wife is stronger than Lemond in his prime, you've been misused.
How old is the sale??JBurton
Jul 2, 2002 9:19 AM
The chainring/bottombracket/front derailleur/shifter setup can be swapped...but it is not cheap. I don't think it matters how many miles are on the bike, so much as the time it has been out of the shop...not to mention the fact that it was probably on sale because it was last year's model. They may help you out with a triple setup, but they may not. I don't think that they are to blame with this. Most people use a double setup on a road bike...beginner or otherwise. So how were they to know? Besides, if she is racing or time-trialing, it will only make her stonger in the long run. That is a great bike.

Try to persuade here to have fun with what she has. I know that when you put down a lot of money, any little thing that appears wrong can give you a sick feeling in the stomach. Any sense that you might have been "jipped" or have paid too much, or gotten the wrong service can make you hate the product or service provided, whether it is good in the long run or not. It happens most often with me and mechanics (car). It ususally takes me a few weeks to realize that the purchase, although a tiny bit flawed, was essentially a good one. Look at it this way, she has a great frame and a great grouppo that she can grow into and use for a long, long time. (BTW does Daytona even come in a triple?)
daytona or centaur?TomS
Jul 2, 2002 10:12 AM
Daytona was renamed to Centaur last year(?), I have a 2000 daytona 9speed with a triple on my road bike. It shifts well, I've never had the chain jump off. One thing I realized recently though, I usually stay in the middle ring for all but the steepest climbs, just out of habit - and that limits my lowend gear to 42/23 instead of the 39/23 I'd have on a double.

Anyway lists centaur 9sp with a triple, but 10sp only with a double:
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?queenb
Jul 2, 2002 9:20 AM
I also just bought my first road bike. Like your wife I was riding my mountain bike over very hilly terrain so I was used to lower gearing. I wouldn't have bought a bike without a triple on it. I think you should go back to the bike shop and very nicely explain that you're not happy with the double, and would like them to replace it with a triple at no charge to you. Explain to them that you feel you were misunderstood. I think any respectable bike shop will want to satisfy you. If they don't, I would let everyone know about it. Sometimes, negative word of mouth will do the trick. I know there is at least one shop in my area I would steer friends away from. Good Luck!
So who actually made the purchasing decision? (nm)Spoke Wrench
Jul 2, 2002 9:22 AM
We both made the decision.....the bike is now about 3 wks old...curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 9:39 AM
and the bike has been ridden on 2 or 3 decent rides of about 25 miles.

We mentioned racing, but made it clear we were doing tri's for the fun of it, and my wife was competitive but not looking to break the top 5 in her races or anything like that. We'd like to be top 10ers but don't have the time to train like it. We were basically ready to get off our mtn bikes and start keeping up with the rest of the athletes.

It sounds like the bike shop should have offered to swap out the 11-23 with a 12-29 or something comparable. I guess I'll go in nicely and explain and ask for a swapped cassette geared lower. Sound reasonable????
We both made the decision.....the bike is now about 3 wks old...grandemamou
Jul 2, 2002 10:29 AM
IMO the bikeshop didn't do anything wrong. They could have possibly asked better questions. But in my experience there are very few LBS that take the time to do it right. The service you got is pretty consistent with my experiences.

Changing the cassette would probably be the easiest solution. It does not require swapping out cranks/BB. Hope it works out.
Yes, that sounds reasonable.Leisure
Jul 2, 2002 11:30 PM
It's borderline whether or not you'll get your request met given the small but apparent mileage. Even if you have to buy the cassette though, it's not that much money (at the Centaur level, at least) and you'll still have the 11-23 cassette which could be useful in the future. But like everyone said, your fate was sealed when you said "race". It's not just because you said race, mind you. A lot of LBSs will sell according to the goals (and sometimes image) they think you are aspiring to. Sometimes it's intuitive foresight and other times it's catering to pretense. They toil with customers that say and honestly believe they want one thing only to learn after a few months they want to go with what the shop was originally suggesting. Or they'll learn that the Joneses will race on no less than 11-23 and come back wanting the same thing. When I purchased my first full suspension mountainbike I got the same treatment. I got a few things I didn't think I'd want, asked about it, and thought they were blowing me off a bit. I later found that for the most part, they were right, but not universally. I'm not the type to care about the Joneses and I took the toeclips off.
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?netso
Jul 2, 2002 9:30 AM
My wife has a double with 12-27 cassette. It has been no problem on hills. My wife is 57yo.
Calm down. Just go back to the store and ask nicelybill
Jul 2, 2002 10:09 AM
to swap out the cassette. Campy has a 13-26 that should be just peachy for someone in your wife's position. Even a 12-25 would be a noticeable difference.
11-23 is pretty aggressive gearing, and probably is too aggressive for a beginner, but I also think that that bike is spec'd with it, so that they gave you the bike as it is spec'd. You got a nice bike. A cassette is the least of your problems; it's a $70 fix, worst case. With only 80 miles on the cassette, they most likely will trade you one to your liking, stick the other one on the shelf, and sell it to someone else, and it won't cost you anything.
I do not for a minute think that you got taken. You asked for a racing bike, you got one. They may not have been thinking hard enough about the gearing, but that's worth a few demerits, not a broadside of righteous indignation.
Ask nicely; you may be surprised.
I would NOT be terribly concerned. Remember, you're talking about, at worst, a $70 problem; if you got a better than a $70 savings on the package, you're ahead of the game.
I had a triple, until one day I realized that I couldn't remember ever using it. Of course, I don't live in the hills, either, but I rode with an 11-23 for a long time (I finally added a 12-25 to the arsenal, because I realized that I used the 11 even less than I used the triple -- 53-11 is the real dog in the gearing for mere mortals). Most serious riders have more than one cassette, anyway.
As young Bart says, don't have a cow. It'll be okay.
Relax ...tarwheel
Jul 2, 2002 10:13 AM
Ask the bike shop to swap the current cassette to a 13-29. The 39/29 combination will give you nearly the same climbing gears as a triple. When I bought my last bike, I specifically got a Campy 10 speed so I could use the 13-29 cassette and avoid a triple. Triples can be a real hassle in getting and keeping them properly adjusted. Most people who have triples will tell you that they seldom use the small chainring, and when they do, they don't use the very lowest gears. With my bike in the 39/29 combination, I haven't found a hill yet that I couldn't spin up.
Don't you need a long cage derailer for the 13-29? nmbill
Jul 2, 2002 12:33 PM
no, he's got Campy, their mid cage = 29 max Tlonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 12:53 PM
Campy groups on OEM bikes typically have a mid-cage rear mech spec'd stock - even when you purchase the loose parts you will often get the mid unless you specifically ask for the short cage.
Std Derailleur & 13-29 works (I think)B2
Jul 2, 2002 9:35 PM
I don't have first hand experience and I can tell you that Campy doesn't recommend it, but I hear the 13/29 works fine with a standard derailleur.

At least I hope so. I just ordered this setup based on the advice from a dealer in GB that says they have set up many bikes with standard derailleurs and 13/29 cassettes with no problem whatsover.

just dont shift into the big/big by accident (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 3, 2002 6:16 AM
tarwheels said it best, with all due respect, ignore the rest...miposy
Jul 2, 2002 3:52 PM
he or she is absolutely correct. i run a 29 rear on my campy 10-speed group and it is the correct one for a "part-time roady/commuter who rides with people faster than him on a regular basis."

lots of hills here in seattle, and i ride up most of them it seems just fine with my 29er. i am getting to the point where i might actually go with a lower gearing, but i sure will miss the 29.
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?elviento
Jul 2, 2002 10:21 AM
The bike shop did not do anything wrong. Triple on road bikes is non existent only until a decade ago.

Pedaling at 50rpm with 39x27 would be about 5-6 mph. And that's walking speed already. Sure you can spin at 100rpm on a hill but it doesn't make sense.
Not SoWalter
Jul 2, 2002 12:23 PM
Triples have been on roadbikes for alot longer than 10 years. I remember Schwinn LeTour "15 speeds" from the 1970s. That'd be a freewheel with 5 cogs in the back with the front triple for you youngsters. It's only recently that some have tried to associate "triple" with "racing."

I too think the best thing is to negotiate over a new cassette. It's your best chance to get some relief and should solve your wife's problems. Take that for what it's worth and remember I live in Fla where anything other than a straight block is kinda silly.
Jul 2, 2002 10:27 AM
is it flat where you live? you can get a medium cage der for the campy 10 and go up to a 29 tooth cog which should get most anyone up most hills. it'll also shift smoother than the triple. then again i'd imagine the LBS should swap you out witha triple if you really want. might cost you a few extra $ though.
Shop saw an opportunityAndante
Jul 2, 2002 12:54 PM
From my friends who work at bike shops, the best bike for a customer is the one they have in stock. Thus, rather than what your wife truely needed, she got the one they are trying to unload. Just a good sales practice, not a community service.
Try to get a cassette swap.
I think I can get a 13-29 for $60 from the shop.....curtybirdychopper
Jul 2, 2002 1:10 PM
I gave the shop a call and said they have a 13-29 in stock. I'll go with that and chalk it up to experience. I think her 39/52 and 13-29 will be a nice setup in the end.

Of course the true test will come after 15 minutes of real steeps and if she is still in a mood good enough to continue for another hour of ups and downs!

Thanks for all your input!
make sure you have the medium cage der firstColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 1:29 PM
You can probably get by with the short cage, but if you accidentally do the big/big combo you can fry your drivetrain.
Deal!Spoke Wrench
Jul 3, 2002 5:16 AM
That's probably their cost on that cassette, so it looks to me like they are trying to accomodate you. That gearing works out to be 36 gear/inches in the easiest gear, which is pretty low. By comparison, a typical Shimano triple will work out to be about 32 gear/inches.

You're also going to need a new chain to handle the larger cassette. If it was my bike, I'd keep the old cassette and chain together so I could swap them back to get the closer gear spacing for flatter rides.

Good luck!
80 miles on it?filtersweep
Jul 2, 2002 1:11 PM
..still new?

Does your LBS have a "satisfaction guarantee" ? Mine did, and I used it last year (like a test ride is enough to make a decision). Ask about taking it back for an exchange. They already have your money. You might even get a better deal on an upgrade if they don't have a triple in the same model.

However, I'd stick with a double. If she indeed will be racing, that is what she will want... that is what "everybody else" will be riding.
13-26 rear cassette will solve your problem easilyLeroy
Jul 2, 2002 1:29 PM
The 39/26 feels just like the triple's bail-out gears. Buy a centaur 13/26 at excel sports or branford bike next day air. Try it, you'll see what I'm talking about. Then find another bike shop - one that can read your mind. Good luck.

Dave Loving
The "wife" speaksThe Wife
Jul 2, 2002 2:25 PM
So...I'm the wife here. My husband certainly caused a ruckus with this topic. First, let me say, I don't hold the LBS responsible at all. I bought the bike and LOVE it for everything except the really steep climbs. I have an upcoming triathlon which includes a 4-mile very steep climb, so I am a bit panicked...hence Curtis' email asking for advice. When I told him I wanted to do it on my MTB, he said there had to be a better solution!

I hated doing tri races on my MTB but I sure loved those granny gears! Triathlete friends who have made a similar transition to the 2-ring tell me that it will make me a stronger rider, but that I need to expect an adjustment period. Sounds like if we go back to the shop for a casette swap, I should be in good shape. (No pun intended.) They were very helpful and I DID tell them I wanted the bike for tri races (no, I am not a super-competitive elite athlete, but I do want to keep up with the pack). Thanks for all of the input. I really appreciate it!
ruckus = the norm herelonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2002 2:49 PM
Welcome to RBR, where ruckus happens :) What else would we do besides gripe at each other; heaven knows none of us actually get any WORK done during the day...

couple things: When you go to the shop make sure you know what the max capacity of your rear mech is (whether it is "short" or "mid" cage). I believe your bike *should* have the mid-cage on it because most OEM Campy bikes have the mid cage spec as the default. But it doesn't hurt to be sure.

Also, don't be afraid to get something like a 27 or 29 max cog to start out on with that new cassette. Just because I don't recommend racing on a triple (for reliability and other issues I stated above) doesn't mean you don't want a low bailout for steep hills.


another thing about hillsweiwentg
Jul 2, 2002 5:16 PM
I weigh around 120 lbs. and I live in Michigan, which is relatively flat - a good number of rollers, but no monster climbs. and when I started riding, which was not long ago, I got murdered on every one of those rollers.
now, of course, I can easily take those rollers. the hills are hard because you're new to this, and used to low gearing. my friend, who's a pretty good mountain biker, took up road biking 3 months ago, and is still struggling with hills - one of his complaints was also that the gearing was monstrously high.
just give yourself time, it'll get better. you'll be at the front of the pack before you know it ;)
re: Need opinion...LBS sold wrong bike to wife...what to do?empacher6seat
Jul 2, 2002 10:16 PM
I bought my first bike not knowing s*@#% about road gears. I'm stuck with a 42/53 double chain ring and 11-21 7 speed casset and some DAMN BIG HILLS!! The first few weeks hurt... but now there's not one hill I've found locally I can't climb. I might have to mash my gears, but I get to the top. There's actually this one hill that's like a 28% grade, around 500 meters long... my speed is like, 10 kph going up that sucker and my bike makes all these funky creaking sounds.

Anyways, my point is that you improve your riding SO much in the first month that if you just take some time and get used to the gears you should feel pretty comfortable with them.
Here is another answer....-JC-
Jul 3, 2002 12:08 AM
I don't think the bike shop did anything wrong. Perhaps they should have brought up gearing but in my opinion they didn't commit a cardinal sin.

Go back to the shop and talk to someone with a little pull. Explain that the gearing is just too big for your wife. Perhaps the sales(wo)man didn't under stand her needs or perhaps she didn't communicate them clearly. Ask them if it is possible to swap out the cassette for a 27 or a 29. Maybe they will do it for free, maybe you get it at cost and maybe they demand full price. In the last case you are free to find another shop or purchace online. I think going in ranting about how they sold your wife the wrong bike would be inappropriate.

Also your wife needs to understand that you cant hamster along in super low gears on the road they way you can on a mtb (unless you only ride alone). She has to learn to stand and turn over way harder gears on the road.

Good luck. I hope it all works out for you.

Thanks for all the replies and advice...curtybirdychopper
Jul 3, 2002 9:54 AM
I think things will work out, and I now know so much more about what gears people are running, what's typical of hillclimbers, what I might expect as our riding improves, etc. The title of my post was a little harsh and I dont really feel the bike shop screwed up; I probably just didn't talk to the right person on that particular day when the bike was purchased.

One reason I originally posted was that my neighbor thinks it is ridiculous to do some of the rides in the area with a double. This may be and probably is true with many stock cassettes. I guess what she doesn't realize is that a double is common and probably preferred when paired with lower gear cassette combos.

Thanks again. See ya on the road.