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Buying a high-end bike online...Concerned..Need Help(22 posts)

Buying a high-end bike online...Concerned..Need Helpbikenj
Jul 17, 2003 12:22 PM
I've fallen in love with a sweet high-end Italian frame, but no one within a 6 hour drive carries it, and if they do, not in my size. So, I'm thinking about going through their web-site to place the order.

They have all the instructions about measuring for my perfect frame size and I'd even qualify my measurements with an LBS.

Regardless, what happens once I build it up and find that just maybe the frame geometry is off or ride quality isn't what I was looking for? I've read the reviews and everyone's interpretation is realtive to their experience. Meanwhile, I will have spent around $2,500-3,500.

Anybody else have concerns or issues about buying high-end frames online?

Please let me know.
re: Buying a high-end bike online...Concerned..Need HelpMy Dog Wally
Jul 17, 2003 12:26 PM
Unless I had a lot of personal (as opposed to second-hand) experience with the specific bike, there's not a chance in hell I'd do what you're contemplating. It's unbelievably risky. So if I had to drive six hours to another city, I'd do that long before I'd roll the dice with $3,000. You can match up all the frame geometry you want, but until you ride the actual bike, you don't know what you're getting.
Not me...PsyDoc
Jul 17, 2003 12:30 PM
...but I have been riding a pretty good while and I know what frame geometry suits me best and what toptube I need. I bought a Seven Axiom ti a year and a half ago and never test rode one. I built it up, and I have no complaints with the ride or fit.
go for itshamelessgearwhore
Jul 17, 2003 12:41 PM
What do you think, that the bike shop that's 7 hours away actually has one built up in every size or that they will build one up for you just so you can try it out? Think again. You'll probably drive there, they'll try and put you on some bike with similar geometry and you'll have to make your mind up from there. If you already have a formula that works for you, apply it to the new frame and order away. Even if you order it from that far away, you will be too far to reap the benefit of being able to duck back in for quickie adjustments, advise, stem swapping and such.
It dependsMR_GRUMPY
Jul 17, 2003 12:45 PM
If you are SURE that you know exactly what frame size you need, and are sure about the riding properties of the frame material is, go for it. Just don't cry about it later, if you screwed up.
well, if you don't mind flying or being herded like cattle...bigdeal
Jul 17, 2003 12:47 PM
Southwest airlines usually has good rates. I'm looking at the same for my next bike coming in the spring... Oddly enough even in the Bay Area (SF) it's hard to find the right bike in the right size.
what's the worst thing that could happen?gtx
Jul 17, 2003 12:55 PM
You buy the frame, decide after a while it doesn't fit or you don't like it, you sell the frame for half of retail and swap the parts to something else. No biggie, and in the meantime you've gotten the brand/bike out of your system and learned something. Test rides are overated in my opinion cause it takes a while to get a bike dialed in anyway. All my favorite bikes I bought sight unseen, whereas I've actually talked myself into bikes after test riding them that I didn't end up liking. Just make sure the shop has a good rep, and that they face/chase the frame and make sure it's straight--it is Italian after all. ;)
that's right. go for it. how bad could it be? I didn't fallbill
Jul 17, 2003 1:39 PM
in love with my Pegoretti until I had it like a year. It takes awhile, sometimes, to find the virtues of a bike. Sometimes, you like what you had just because you're used to it -- not going to figure that out on even a long test ride, leaving aside the fit issues. And, if you don't like it, sell it.
I've done it five times so far...NatC
Jul 17, 2003 1:43 PM
In fact I just dropped over $5K for two bikes in the last three months. The one I bought last week was a size too big, so I sent it back ($38 shipping). The mail order place, since they are big and reputable, are picking up the tab for the return shipping on the new frame and any parts that aren't quite the right size. I mail order all the time because I want specific parts or bikes, usually stuff that none of the LBS's stock.

It's no longer a scary thing for me, since I've never been burned too badly. I guess having to wait 8 weeks for one bike was the biggest problem I had. One could voice your same concerns for a full-custom made-for-you-and-only-you bike. "What if I don't like it?" "What if after all the measuring and questioning it's not what I expected?" A pal got burned by Serotta that way.
11 road bikes laterterry b
Jul 17, 2003 2:37 PM
and I've yet to buy one locally or with a test ride. however, you need to know what size you need in detail. If you do, and the bike fits, I'd be really surprised if you did not like it. In my experience, at the price point you're considering it's very unlikely that you won't end up with something you're happy with. I done it across all materials and many builders (4-US, 6-Italian and 1-Spanish) and I've never got one home that made me say, "gee, I really hate that bike."

Get your fit details down and join the ranks of the risk takers. The reward of owning that special bike will make all the stomach aches worthwhile. However, if you feel that the risk is too great, then learn to be satisfied with a Lemond-Trek-Litespeed-Specialized-Cannondale. Good bikes all and designed for those that require hands on experience before plunking down the cash.
re: Buying a high-end bike online...Concerned..Need HelpLeroy
Jul 17, 2003 3:03 PM
Your post got me to thinking. Here's what has happened with me. I have bought 5 bikes since 2000 when I started back riding. I bought all of them over the internet without a test ride . I built up three of them; 2 from excel sports and 1 from gvh bikes. Since I started in 2000 I have not bought a bike based on a test ride. I have taken test rides at shops but didn't buy the bike [a bianchi and a look] or the brand and didn't buy that bike over the internet later. So I guess buying that way is ok to do. It's worked for me. All of mine fit fine and if I lost any of them I would replace them. I'd go ahead and get it - you'll save money and it's fun building them up. Good luck with it!!
A question to all you guys who've bought bunches of bikesmapei boy
Jul 17, 2003 4:38 PM
I have a question to all you guys who've bought bunches of bikes without testing them first. If you love the bikes you've bought sight-unseen so much, how come every year or so you have to buy another?
Good point nmTREKY
Jul 17, 2003 6:00 PM
because I really like bikes?terry b
Jul 17, 2003 6:44 PM
I've not yet bought one and concluded it didn't come up to expecations and therefore needed to buy another.

Rather, I like bikes a lot, I like the different technologies, I really like the different paint jobs and I'm really interested in how different things ride. All that plus I'm not afraid to spend money.

For me, there is no "dream bike." I keep finding ones that catch my eye and when they do, I buy them. So, there are multiple dream bikes. There will always be another one I can't live without.
Fair enough (nm)mapei boy
Jul 18, 2003 3:29 PM
A question to all you guys who've bought bunches of bikesrussw19
Jul 17, 2003 6:57 PM
And how do you really know if it fits? I've been on a bike that was too big.. at the time it felt comfortable... now that I am on a bike that actually fits me, I wouldn't go back to the one that was too big.

Also, I am pretty convinced that you will not save any money building a bike yourself unless you have a heck of a tool box and know what you are doing.

I know there are plenty of people on this board who are more than qualified to build their own bikes.. it's really not that hard... but it cracks me up to see people who may or may not really know what they are doing build their own bike that they just paid $4000 for in order to save a few dollars. I know the feeling of wanting to do it yourself.. you just dropped that kind of money on it and don't want someone else screwing it up, but take it to a shop that has a rep for knowing their stuff and let them tune your dream machine into the bike it is supposed to be... not the bike it could be. If I could afford a Ferrari, I wouldn't have it tuned by Mr. Goodwrench.

Sorry, just a couple random thoughts....

A good fit is probably plus or minus 2-3 cm. That leaves abill
Jul 18, 2003 10:33 AM
fair amount of wiggle room to work with using different stems, saddle position, etc. Good fit is critical, but the perfect frame is not, because there is no perfect size other than within 2-3 cm.
As far as building your own, I did it (a) because it wasn't that hard, and (b) to learn how the stuff works. There is nothing like the confidence you get in your bike knowing that you put it together, you went slow and did each move three times so that whatever you screwed up the first time you didn't screw up the last, and you know how it all works. You could fix a lot of stuff on the road if you had to, and now you don't have to go back to the shop for every little thing. You DEFINITELY don't do it save money -- it costs in the short term for sure.
Having a pro build is overrated. A friend had one of the best builders he knew build up his beautiful Pinarello -- the guy didn't torque the BB, and his loose BB ovalized the frame. My friend had cover -- he had someone to blame (which is the real reason to have someone else build up the bike), but it still sucked.
Don't *have* to. *Want* to.NatC
Jul 17, 2003 7:23 PM
For a change, you know.
LOL, good questionLC
Jul 17, 2003 8:47 PM
I got a bunch of bike and each bike is special to me. In fact they are so special I could not dare part with any of them and would only sell them if I absolutely had to. One did die a natural death in a race... or maybe more of blaze of glory as it ground into the asphault in a spectacular display of sparks and bright red blood!

I think it is wise to start off on a bike you can at least test ride to get a fit and then as you get more experience you can adjust your frame size from there and get it online. Without some sort of reference to go on it is too much of a shot in the dark.
Don't *have* to. *Want* to.NatC
Jul 18, 2003 4:34 AM
For a change, you know.
re: Buying a high-end bike online...Concerned..Need Helprussw19
Jul 17, 2003 6:58 PM
Not trying to sound like a dick, but if you aren't absolutely sure, and don't know exactly what you are doing.. don't do it.

But hey, it's your money... I can't tell you how to spend it. But it sounds like you are not 100% comfortable with buying online... maybe you shouldn't. If you screw up.. you may be stuck with a bike that doesn't fit. There may be ways to send it back, and you may be screwed, but why take a chance?

Like I said, it's your money, but $2,500 to $3,500 is an awful lot to be out if you can send it back.

A couple of pointsCrash
Jul 17, 2003 7:36 PM
I've bought two bikes though internet stores, but only after I had a professional fitting done and I knew exactly what frame dimensions would work for me. Ironically the two bikes I bought from LBS really didn't end up working out. Also, I've heard this before and I really believe that you don't know if you really like a frame until you have several miles (~500) on it. NO LBS is going to let you take a bike for that long of a test ride. Incidentally I now have over 100 miles on my Fondriest Carb Level that I just had built last Saturday and at this point couldn't be happier!