bike shopping is hard - lbs or net?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by wilburleft, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. wilburleft

    wilburleft New Member

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    The last bike I had that I really liked the perfomance was an all aluminum Trek (1000 or 1200?) with indexed shifters on the down or top tube..can't remember, that was too big for me. That thing felt stiff, firm, shifted crisp and clean. I do remember it being harsh, but I didn't mind that price for the performance, in fact that harshness supported my idea that no effort was wasted. I embraced the harshness. But it got stolen about 11 yrs ago. I yearn for that feeling again.

    I've never ridden a carbon bike, but thinking about getting used or new one through the net because it's way cheaper than the lbs. My question is this...since I really liked that crisp harsh all alum feeling, will I be disappointed by the carbon feel? I'd hate to unload all my pesos on a beautiful carbon masterpiece only to find that it doesn't get me off. Why would lbs let me test ride a carbon bike if I probably won't buy from them? People buy expensive used and new road bikes all the time on ebay and other places. Seems like a gamble, but I guess you can always unload it if it doesn't meet your needs.

    Thoughts on subect(s)?
     
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  2. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I think it's pretty pointless--and risky--to buy a bike without test riding it. You can't tell if a bike is going to work for you just by reading specs. Likewise, you can't tell how a bike is going to work just by seeing what material it's made of.

    Test ride a bunch of bikes to see what makes you grin. Don't get in a hurry just to buy a bike.
     
  3. keydates

    keydates New Member

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    I suppose you could try bikes at your local bike shop(s) and buy the one you like off the internet...assuming it's cheaper there. Of course, many bike shops offer free minor adjustments for a bike purchased from the shop, so...yes.
     
  4. Gee3

    Gee3 New Member

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    I was thinking the same thing when I was bike shopping for my first bike earlier this year. I'll test ride everything and buy the one I like online for cheaper. But as I went to numerous shops I felt that if something were to go wrong with the bike I would get better service from my LBS if I buy locally. I was right. I ended up buying a bike locally and the key was that they "fit" me to the bike for free. They measured, checked angles, height and so on so that I fit the bike perfectly. You can't get that online. Plus I have free tune ups/maintenance check ups to go along with it. You can't be that kind of customer service.

    I vote of LBS.

    Also, be sure to test ride everything. I really liked the the Lemond bikes and heard good things about Felt and Cannondale's Synapse series online. But when I rode them i didn't like them. For me it came down to the Specialized and the Giant. They felt the best to me as each person is different and so will their feel and preferences. I ended up with the Specialized as it seemed to be the best bang for the buck.

    Good luck on your purchase.
     
  5. graf zeppelin

    graf zeppelin New Member

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    Its a dilemma to be sure. Test ride all the things you are able, but in the end you wont be able to test ride even 1/3 of the different carbon frames available. Some feel wooden, some feel spongy, and some feel just right. Which feel what way are in part related to your preferences, but also the quality of the frame builder and the carbon used. If you find that bike that simply makes you grin, count yourself lucky and go for that. It is indeed nice to work through your LBS.

    For my own part, I have gambled twice and been very very happy. Neither were a blind gamble though. First time I was shopping for a carbon frame and test rode some at my LBS that simply didnt hit the mark for me. Researched and read reviews and settled on LOOK. Found a model year close out deal online too good to be true, in my size (I was extremely careful here and had a fitting done vs the frame's geometry), and just went for it. Spent around half what I would have from an LBS and would have had to have had it ordered and built from my LBS anyway just to test ride it anyway, so it seemed to me the best thing to do. It was, at least in that case. Higher end carbon is a dream, but I may have simply gotten lucky as well - but it was an informed decision combined with a small leap of faith.

    The most important thing, as someone else said, is dont rush it. Read a lot, test a lot, wait and browse for a really good deal. If you dont find it, wait some more. Get opinions on the frame in question. See what your LBS will do about getting in the frame you wish to test ride even if they dont have it on the floor. Maybe plan a road trip to a shop that has the model on the floor to test ride if you wish to remove even more aspects of a gamble. Be sure to compare the new frame's geometry to your current frame's geometry and how that might affect the parts you'll swap over. If its your first frame purchase though, I lean towards advising you to work through an LBS.

    Best of luck and happy shopping. :cool:
     
  6. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I hate to sound this terse, but if you really have to ask the question ... then it's LBS all the way.
     
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