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purchasing your bike ::: LBS vs online retailers? Need help.(7 posts)

purchasing your bike ::: LBS vs online retailers? Need help.globalhelipimp
Jun 11, 2003 6:32 PM
Please don't jump on me for asking, but I've really been looking into a bike on ebay or another online retailer due to the price differences. The road bikes in my LBS are basically $1,000+ and online I could find that same bike for $600-700 boxed (not including shipping or tax).

I've been looking into the Trek 1000 and some bikes by Fuji. I really am a newbie to the road bike scene, and to the general biking scene as well. Like many before me, I started off of a Huffy and have graduated last summer to a Trek 4900.

I really want to purchase a bike SOON to start logging mileage, but I don't have the money to spend 1k at my LBS. I would really like to get some 105 shimano components and even maybe a CF fork, as well as pedals and shoes.

I've never road biked in my life, and need to know whether I should start off on a begginer bike or purchase a bike upwards of $1,000.

Road biking is something I'm going to stick with, and I'd like to do it right the first time around! Please help me out with suggestions and comments, even criticisms! Let me know you're past experiences, how you've purchased your bikes in the past, and the outcomes of them.

If the general consensus it that I should purchase my bike at my LBS, then I will definitely look into that possibility to all my ability.

Thank you veryyyyyyy, very much.


ps- to those of you that responded to my other post, I'm going to my LBS tomorrow to check out bikes (again).
On-line puchasing difficult for most brandspitt83
Jun 12, 2003 4:10 AM
You're not going to buy Trek, Specialized, C-dale or any major brand bikes on-line as new. These are purchased from authorized dealers only in their stores. If a dealer violated that agreement, they would lose their franchise. Hence, you're not going to find these.

What you will find are "secondary market" bikes, things like iron-horse, builds of house brands, motobecane, others.

As a newbie; unless you've got e friend who REALLY knows how to size and what to spec, you shouldn't go the on-line route.

IMO: You're going to wind up not liking what you buy. It won't fit or will fall out of adjustment quickly w/o service support. You'll buy a frame size with no thought to top-tube length or seat tube angle.

Same goes for used; unless you really know what's right, you especially shouldn't buy a product whose quality is unknown let alone the above concerns.

I'll likely get flamed by some readers of this board who will call this opinion heresy. Bring it on. I feel that until you've bought 2 or so bikes and really understand all the nuances about them, you're better off finding a reputable LBS and developing a relationship there.
Pay for a fitting at the LBS, then find the best deal you can.dzrider
Jun 12, 2003 4:13 AM
Many shops will put some or all of the cost toward a purchase at their shop. If you find a bike there that works very well for you, I'd get it there, unless the price difference is huge. If you're new, you will most likely have to go back there some day and say "Fix it."
pay for a fittingtarwheel
Jun 12, 2003 4:44 AM
If you're going to buy on-line, pay for a fitting at a reputable bike shop. It's well worth the money. If you decide to buy from the shop, most will deduct the fitting cost from the price of the bike.

I've bought 3 used bikes/frames on line, and 2 new ones. Here's my advice to you. If the difference in price is only a couple hundred bucks, buy from your local bike shop, particularly if you are considering used. If you buy a used bike, even if it fits (which is a big assumption), you will probably have to spend a couple hundred bucks on stuff like new tires, a different saddle, stem, cassette and perhaps a chain and tires. Most bike shops will swap out these components on a new bike to achieve proper fit -- plus most shops will provide free service for a while.

If money is really an issue, or you can't find a bike that fits at a local shop, then buy on-line -- paying close attention to size, geometry and other issues. When I first got back into cycling several years ago, I bought a lightly used Bianchi with Ultegra group for about $900, about $500-600 less than a comparable bike from the LBS. However, I ended up buying a new cassette, stem and saddle -- and the bike still didn't fit me right because the fork steerer had been cut too short for me. After that, I paid to have a fitting done. However, I couldn't find a bike with a geometry that suited me in any local shops without going custom, so I ordered a new bike on line that fit just right. I later ordered a new frame on-line and swapped all the Ultegra gear from the Bianchi to it. I've now got 2 bikes that fit me fine for about what it would have cost me to buy one custom bike.

During this period, I also bought a couple used frames on line that turned out to have crash damage. In both cases I returned the frames, but it was a hassle and I was lucky the sellers were honest enough to refund my money. Buying used can be a risky proposition unless you ask the seller a lot of questions, get them to send you lots of photos, and are very sure about the size and geometry you need.
If you want to do it rightfiltersweep
Jun 12, 2003 4:56 AM
I'm confused- you want to do it right the first time around, but you are a first time buyer and you are looking at used?

You want a carbon fork and 105?

When I was new to biking, I didn't grasp that there actually was a profound difference between a $500 bike and a $1000+ bike. I thought the sales staff were trying to over sell their product. I didn't really understand road fit either.

A Trek 1000 will NOT be a CF fork or 105 components. You will need about an extra $200 for shoes and pedals for any bike.

I have been scouring ebay for a bike for my wife that was 105 with a CF fork. I found most bikes were selling used on ebay for very close to what they sell for NEW. Also, factor in $40-60 for shipping, add the risk factor of the condition being misrepresented, or some bozo that didn't know Ultegra from Sora, or what the size actually was, or shipping damage, or being completely ripped off. I'd pay a few hundred for a lifetime warranty, and a local shop to back up the purchase. The margin between new and used is just a few hundred because people go nuts on ebay. (People want the bike NOW and if they "lose" the auction, they need to wait until the right size and maybe color comes up again).

As a new rider, you probably will need shop support even more than an old salt- and most shops won't charge you anything for minor adjustments (that will vex you if you are new to all this).

If you really want to have your cake and eat it too, find a place with a great return policy (like one month at least) and buy your entry level bike. If it doesn't meet your needs, return it or trade up to something that does. It is easier than reselling it on ebay!

There are a lot of anti-LBS posts around here. If you find the right shopm, they can be your best friend. Also, the prices are always THAT outrageous. Especially if you consider how much money people waste trying to save money. Guessing at shoe size for an online purchase and guessing wrong won't save anyone any money!
The return policy is the best idea I've readpitt83
Jun 12, 2003 5:13 AM
I never thought about it, but my LBS offers 30 days to like your bike. I've never had to use that, but DUH! If it doesn't fit, you don't like the way it shifts, whatever, you get full credit to make it right.

I know mine won't give you cash and let you out the door, but they'll make good. They keep a customer and you're happy and will send more $ their way.
Jun 12, 2003 5:51 AM
I used this policy to swap an entry-level bike for one with "a CF fork and 105" a few years ago. Actually, something like 35 days elapsed, but the shop was totally cool with things. Of course, the trade brought an additional $1000 into the shop.