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Buying Stock Bike - What is the Proper Protocol?(9 posts)

Buying Stock Bike - What is the Proper Protocol?Fez
Jun 6, 2003 8:37 AM
When buying a mass-produced bike like a Giant, Specialized, Cannondale or Trek, what is the proper protocol on what components can be swapped out at no extra charge?

The most common fit items would be the stem length, bar width, crank length, and possibly cassette cogs.

Do the manufacturers have a bunch of identical extras in different sizes that they will allow the bike shop to swap the correct fitting part so the customer gets a perfect fit? Or is it up to the customer and shop to decide on whether they will make the swap or not and how much to charge.

The O.E. stem, bars and saddle are usually unique and not available on the aftermarket, so I could understand the bike shop being reluctant to take those back unless the manufacturer would allow an exchange.

I've never found a stock bike that had all the parts that fit perfectly, so unless the bike is on sale for a blowout price, I actually find it cheaper to get a frameset and add a custom build kit.
related to the Litespeed topicfiltersweep
Jun 6, 2003 9:04 AM
A LBS around here offered to buy back any part of a Trek at dealer cost, but turn around and charge full MSRP PLUS labor for the part swap. In other words, it would be a few hundred to switch from a triple to a double, even though Shimano triple kits cost more. Same story for the stem, etc... I went to a different shop and built a bike up from scratch.

Most volume dealers regard "fit" as raising or lowering the seat.
I'd find a new shop....newridr
Jun 6, 2003 9:17 AM
Sounds much like my local LBS. They were charging way over MSRP on all their bikes. All their accessories have a $5 markup as well. In looking to buy a $2k+ bike, I told them that their prices were a joke and that I could do better by just walking in the door of any other bike shop in the area. The owner told me that he was willing to meet the price at the other shop. I took my biz elsewhere and the other shop got a $2k sale and a new customer for life.

Hey filter, you don't happen to live in the Summit/Stirling NJ area do you? Sounds like we both might be talking about the same shop.
re: Buying Stock Bike - What is the Proper Protocol?geeker
Jun 6, 2003 9:04 AM
Excellent questions! I've always wondered about this (kind of inhibits looking at major brands). And one more thing: how about swapping out the wheelset? I'd rather not have the trick low-spoke wheels that seem to come on most boxed road bikes these days, and would prefer 32/36 spoke conventional wheels.
that is interesting...Fez
Jun 6, 2003 9:36 AM
Can you imagine buying something like a Cannondale R2000 and asking them to knock off $800 MSRP for the stock Ksyrium SL wheelset?

You could then replace it with a strong set of $250-$300 Dura Ace Open Pro 32 spoke wheels.

I doubt the shop would go for it, but its an interesting idea.

But if you are talking about a bike that comes with something mid-end like a Bontrager Racelite, Shimano m540, or Cosmos, then I don't see why you couldn't make it an even swap.
I wanted a bike without wheelsfiltersweep
Jun 6, 2003 9:42 AM
The same OEM wheels that they tell you are a $600 set (yeah, right), they turned around and offered me $150 off the entire price of the bike to buy it without. At that price, I'd be better off selling them on ebay. I wasn't trying to be cheap- I just didn't want their crap wheels.

How many people really want a set of OEM wheels? Not to mention that many high end bikes are completely UNDER-SPECed on wheelsets. Standard OPs aren't high enough zoot to move bikes, either- though they at least make a useable extra set. Did anyone EVER upgrade by buying new, paying full retail for Rolfs, Bontragers, or anything with Coda hubs?

All in all, I purchased a frameset at a competitor and had it built up by the shop at a very reasonable cost- without wheels- with my exact choice of components (including crank length, stem, bars, etc...).

OEM builds (like Litespeed in the post below) are a very slippery proposition. If the manufacturer indeed does receive deep discounts on components, or has the cost tightly controlled through in-house "brands" like Coda or Icon, or even Bontrager these days (the brands most people aren't drawn to in the after-market parts world), then how much are these parts actually worth if you DON'T want them.

In other words, if they give you $8 to swap out the Bontrager stem and charge you $100+ for the high zoot stem, maybe you just outed the maker as actually selling you an $8 stem on a $2000+ bike?

I'm exaggerating to make a point, but buying a mass market bike at a reasonable price, there are bound to be countless corners that have been cut in "invisible parts." Conversely, marketing forces dictate that they sell full DA bikes at unreasonably inflated prices (when you compare actual price differences between kits).
Probably depends on the shop.Tower
Jun 6, 2003 10:29 AM
My LBS switched out my stem for a shorter 3T and swapped out the cheap LeMond seatpost for a Thomson Elite, for no charge. Probably saved me $100.
Differences between "pro" and "family" shops.dzrider
Jun 6, 2003 10:43 AM
The "pro" shops in our area seem to swap stuff out more easily than the "family" shops. I suspect, though I have no experience to back it up, that if you wanted to swap out the saddle for something really wide with springs and marshmallow padding, it would be easier at a "family" shop.
re: Buying Stock Bike - What is the Proper Protocol?slide13
Jun 6, 2003 11:50 AM
I work at a LBS and it's all up to the shop. The manufacturer doesn't help us with the swapping in any way. If somebody wants a different stem length, we have to buy the stem they want (if we don't have it) and take the one they don't into stock. Sometimes not a problem, othertimes we don't really want the item either. Usually depends on the bike being purchased as to how much we'll allow.

Even Giant, with their aero carbon seatposts that only allow a tiny bit of adjustment, leaving you to buy a new post to get a proper fit, doesn't help us with part swapping. If somebody needs a different length post then it's all up to us to find a solution. This case is especially difficult because we don't want to bring into stock an expensive carbon post that will only work for a small percentage of riders.

We will usually be pretty agreable to swapping stems out, for something of equal value. With seats, we'll give you a credit based on what is stock and you can pick out anything you want after that. As for crank arms, I'm not sure. It has never come up at my shop, that might be a tough one for us to do. If somebody wants to switch from double to triple of vice versa, it depends on the group. We always have a couple Ultegra groups on hand for that reason, but if it's another groupo it gets a little tougher.

That's my experience.