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Update to my "New bike hunt frustration" rant..............(26 posts)

Update to my "New bike hunt frustration" rant..............Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 5:02 AM
......of Oct 31st.

Mike Tea "New bike hunt frustration." 11/4/03 6:41am

Your opinions seemed to have been divided between "you gotta be joking" and "we deserve no less" when I expected bike dealers to have at least ONE bike in stock of what they are rep'ing so that prospective buyers could at least see, if not test ride them.

The frustration and search are over and my faith has been restored in the LBS (albeit 40 miles away). I made the trip to Central Cycle in Hamilton Ontario Canada yesterday. Ex top Canadian racer (70s/80s) Brian Chewter owns the store (he won a criterium I organized in '76) and is a very knowledgable and obliging chap.

He stocked two of the three bikes I was interested in - an Argon18 Platinum with DuraAce and a Marinoni Vectra (both carbon fiber) with Campagnolo Chorus. He had maybe eight Argons in stock and about four frames - of varying models.

The Platinum was there in all its DuraAce glory - and my size too! The Marinoni was sitting next to it decked out in Chorus.

Heck if I didn't want the DuraAce gruppo he was willing to swap it all out for whatever else I wanted.

To cut a long story short, I had all my setup measurements AND a steel tape with me and the Argon was dead on with a tweak of the saddle height. We slapped on my pedals, pumped the tires and I was off around the city on a test ride. Naww I didn't sprint up Beckett Drive in the big ring as the world champs racers did 3 weeks ago. Marvellous!

Back at the shop the saddle was swapped for something nicer for my bum, the deal was made and after a nice chat with Brian where I even showed him some racing pics of himself from back in the 70s I was off to The Bar on Locke for a burger and a beer with buddy Bob.

So - bike shops DO exsist that are willing to stock product (over "we can order one sir IF you make a deposit and NO you can't ride it") and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make the process a happy one. The others don't get past the phonecall stage with me.

Thanks to all who replied to the earlier post.

Mike Tea.

Ps - one of my other potential choices - Tyler's Cervelo 2.5 - no-one, not even the factory in Toronto (or should I say the office), could give any indication of a delivery date for their bike. Everyone was taking deposits before placing orders.
re: Congratshudsonite
Nov 5, 2003 5:20 AM
Congrats on your new ride. You will love the Argon. Nice bikes.

It can be very tough to buy high-end bikes in Canada. In Montreal, at least we have Guru, Marinoni, DeVinci and Argon in the city (made here). No problem with getting these quality rides. This is probably the reason you see so many of them on the road.

Congrats again and post a picture when you have a chance.
Yes..........Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 5:38 AM
.....I happened to be in Montreal from the 22nd to the 28th visiting our son in Outremont - about 5 minutes from Gervais Rioux' store (Argon maker). He didn't have much for sale and was expecting the '04s in this week.

I phoned Marinoni but couldn't find the time to make the drive.

I was in Cycles Regis on VanHorne too, just a 4-block stroll from my son's place - some nice stuff in there!
Yes some good stuffhudsonite
Nov 5, 2003 6:14 AM
Cycles Regis does have some very nice stuff. They are a little bit expensive though and the customer service needs improvement. But they are trying to become one of the top stores in Montreal for high end frames.

I went to the store in the first week of August to purchase a frame/bike. They did not have my size in stock and I wanted to make sure it fit before buying it. No problem they said, they would get a demo bike in for me to try. Well after three months, a number of visits and phone calls, no demo bike and no purchase. They lost a sale and I lost a new ride. Very frustrating. But I believe they are trying. It is only a matter of time before they become a top notch Euro type cycling store.

A trip out to Marinioni would have been good. They make some really nice bikes. They have been around for so long now, they have become 'THE' high end frame builder of choice for Montreal riders. On large group rides (1000+) you will see more of their frames then any other company. It is probably one of the few NA cities where TREK is not the dominant brand.

Some of the original Argons were actually made my Marinoni, not the carbon bikes, but the steel/alu ones. From my understanding, they are both getting their carbon frames from the same company in Asia. Canadian design, asian frames. At least for now, it looks like the traditional frame builders are getting their carbon frame sets from Taiwan. Hopefully this will change when they tap into the Montreal aerospace sector and build up the expertise of working with composites.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to our fine city.
Yes some good stuffMike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 8:33 AM
"A trip out to Marinioni would have been good. They make some really nice bikes. They have been around for so long now, they have become 'THE' high end frame builder of choice for Montreal riders

I got my first Marinoni in '78 and raced/trained on it for many years. My son now has it. It's been painted a few times (at Marinoni) and it still looks like new - if not a little outdated.

Taiwan has many top CF factories and supply much of the bike industry with everything from rims to stems.
congrats eMTea, ya big..._rt_
Nov 5, 2003 5:57 AM

enjoy the new ride.

What do you expect?pmf1
Nov 5, 2003 9:10 AM
The costs of stocking several sizes of different models of bikes (not to mention different component variations) would be prohibitive. Try buying a bike in most shops in Italy (bike heaven). They have zero inventory. Everything is done to order there.

And could you blame them for wanting a deposit? Suppose you ran the shop and some guy wanted to order a $4000 bike? I'd want some committment. Otherwise, you could well be stuck holding the bag -- and a very expensive hard to move piece of merchandise.

Even if you do find the bike you want to try, is the stem exactly the right length? Are the bars the right size? And after a spin around the parking lot, or even an hour ride if the shop is really nice, do you think you'll experience all the nuances of the bike?

The last three bikes I've bought were all sight unseen. I never test road any of them. Two were mail order and one was bought as a frame set while on vacation and later shipped to my house. I fit fine on stock bikes as most guys do. I know my size, the stem size I need and what size handlebars I want. Any decent higher end bike you buy is not going to suck. None of mine have.

If you want to ride it before you buy it, welcome to the world of cheap mtn bikes. That's where the money is made anyway.

Chances are extremely high that you will be happy with what you get, regardless of whther you take a spin around the parking lot before paying for it.
wow. who peed in your coffee this morning?_rt_
Nov 5, 2003 10:02 AM
Mike Tea just posted saying he found a shop that stocked what he wanted and he got to ride it. He bought a new, high end bike & is thrilled with the LBS, the service he got, and the bike he bought.

if you'd wanted to rant about not getting any of this and that he shouldn't expect it you're too late. that thread was posted earlier this week:
Mike Tea "New bike hunt frustration." 11/4/03 6:41am

sheesh, say 'congrats' & 'enjoy your new ride' and let the guy bask in his happiness.

wow. who peed in your coffee this morning?pmf1
Nov 5, 2003 10:15 AM
Maybe I should have prefaced it by telling him he was lucky he found what he did, because its not the norm and for good reason.

I still maintain that you can't really form an opinion about a bike until you spend a lot of time on it. The more years I ride and the more bikes I go through, the more I'm convinced there is not a huge difference in them.

And yeah, I'm a little grumpy. Try having a 4 month old kid at home and see if it doesn't make you a little grumpy. I see it that I have a right to be grumpy, dammit, so don't piss me off.
i've heard 2 mo. olds are worse..._rt_
Nov 5, 2003 10:35 AM

while i agree with you that it's tough to form an opinion until you've spent significant time on a specific bike, a quick test ride (or even just sitting on the bike) can tell you whether or not there's any hope of tweaking the bike to fit. one 56 cm frame is not going to be the same as any other because of difference in geometry. and if you're like me and have freakish proportions, it's hard to justify dropping a bundle of cash on something that could potentially end up on ebay in 6 weeks.

OTOH, having worked in a shop i also know that most shops can't afford to have a bunch of high end bikes sitting in their inventory. the profit on those bikes is limited and they don't move out of inventory at nearly the same speed as the $500 bikes.

all that said, MT's been riding bikes longer than i've been alive (and i'm over 30) so if he feels he needs to test ride a bike, i'm pretty sure he's got good reason.

good luck with the new baby!

A couple more years and free yardwork, right?pmf1
Nov 5, 2003 10:46 AM
Actually, he's a really good baby. Sleeps through the night since the 8-th week. Still kinda exhausting though. And I'm lucky to get in 150 miles a week. Thank god for commuting.

I don't know MT, but I do know a lot of people who think they can do silly things like test the stiffness of a BB by pressing their foot against it in the parking lot. A test of tire inflation at best.
Arrgghh!Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 6:22 PM
I don't know MT, but I do know a lot of people who think they can do silly things like test the stiffness of a BB by pressing their foot against it in the parking lot. A test of tire inflation at best.

I hope you didn't assume that about me! I ordered my first custom frame in '62 at the tender age of 14 and have been through the process many times. It's not often I buy a stock bike.

You're lucky. Even *I* don't sleep through the night. As I get older I get up to pee more.
if you train 'em right, you can have free yardwork..._rt_
Nov 6, 2003 5:49 AM
in the next 10 months! ;-P

ok, maybe not.

rt - thinking about taking up bike commuting this winter....
aw, come on, man!gtx
Nov 5, 2003 10:41 AM
Sleep is highly overrated. But it does get better--take it from a guy with a 5 month old. ;)

Anyway, MikeTea seems to be ignoring us. I guess he didn't appreciate our righteous indignation at his righteous indignation. Personally, I like Surly's marketing claim: "What will you notice on your first ride? Probably that it rides like a bike."
I'm not..............Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 6:26 PM
.....dragging out all my reasons again - that's why I gave the link to two "archives" ago. Bin there, done that.
I didn't answer..............Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 6:15 PM
....his question as yes, we went over all that stuff days ago didn't we rt? When it's MY money I'll do it MY way or not at all. Nutt'n wrong widdat is there? I ain't no kid who's gonna be intimidated by no shop keeper.
yeah! you tell 'em Mikey!_rt_
Nov 6, 2003 5:50 AM

You are MikeT..............................gtx
Nov 5, 2003 9:16 AM
I figured it out from the..........and of course the post where you recommended anti-sieze. ;) I used to post over at as Hank (also used to post over here at Hank before the logon stuff).

So seriously, what did you gain from this whole test ride adventure? I assume you knew it would fit and that the geometry would work for you, and bikes are so good these days I doubt there were gonna be any issues with a noodely bb or shuddering fork/front end (days of the Vitus are over). The main issue/question I would have about that bike couldn't be answered from a test ride--ie its long term durability and general crashworthiness. So did it really help to ride the thing or were you just looking for the warm and fuzzy? Perhaps it's the fact that I worked in shops for many years that makes me do everything I can to limit my contact with them--I'm perfectly happy to order online or via mail order.

Anyway, welcome to rbr! Hope you stick around.
You are MikeT..............................j-son
Nov 5, 2003 10:34 AM
"Perhaps it's the fact that I worked in shops for many years that makes me do everything I can to limit my contact with them--I'm perfectly happy to order online or via mail order."

I feel the same way . after 7 years working in a shop (92-99) I can barely step inside most.
Nov 5, 2003 10:43 AM
Yep, I hate it when I actually have to ask for anything--I'm always cringing, thinking...will they say something stupid, or something condescending, or something stupid AND condesceding? Because of course most guys who actually know anything tend to go out of their way NOT to talk to customers...
I have an Argon also..bikefreax
Nov 5, 2003 9:27 AM
I just received my new Platinum frame last week and just got it built. Man what a difference from my Litespeed Arenberg. I love this bike. How about you? What color did you get? I have the last years matt black model. Truly a dream.
Ok - the photo.Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 9:51 AM
Here he is -

They had a matt black frame in stock but it was too small :o(
Nov 5, 2003 10:07 AM
looks like a 'she' to me. almost said that in my email to ya. i like the red & black. lots of character.

Hey emtEE...moneyman
Nov 5, 2003 10:26 AM
Howdy! Nice ride. Not as bumpy as the 7 I'll bet.

Hey emtEE...Mike Tea
Nov 5, 2003 6:10 PM
Hi ya Matt !! Where the heck you been man?

Red bikes are faster anyway! nmTNRyder
Nov 5, 2003 8:30 PM