Flooded with options, could use advice

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by cugrad, May 9, 2007.

  1. cugrad

    cugrad New Member

    May 8, 2007
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    Hi everyone,

    I am looking to purchase my first bike in years, an entry level road/touring bike. I currently lift weights and do a bit of cardio, but I need to do more cardio and have a bum knee that will not hold up to running. I'm a committed weight-lifter, so I don't think I will be someone that rides for two weeks then quits. I'm thinking of roughly 10-15 mile rides twice a week plus a longer ride on the weekend. I am 6'2, 200lbs (which apparently is heavy for you road bike guys) and was sized for a 58cm frame.

    I was expecting to spend ~$300, and was quickly shocked to see that that budget would simply not do. So I am looking to save as much money as I can, but I do accept that I am going to have to spend more than I really want.

    I live in a small-ish city, so my choices of LBS's are limited. So far I have visited three LBS's, and am already feeling deluged with options.

    1) LBS A, a Lemond Etape for $630. Comes with a free year of tune-ups. The guy will give me $5 towards swapping a seat, which I will probably have to do (I am concerned with finding a very comfortable seat that won't cause important equipment to cease functioning).
    2) LBS B, a Specialized Sequoia for $770. Comes with a lifetime of tune-ups, but to be honest I'll probably be moving in a few years anyway. I really liked the slightly more upright ride, especially since I have minor niggling lower back issues (tore a muscle back there doing hack squats three years ago). Will credit me $30 for the seat swap. Very helpful guys, genuinely interested. Said they would put me on the trainer to make sure the bike was fitted exactly right, put me on their butt-o-meter (whatever that is) to make sure I got the right seat, etc.
    3) LBS C, a Specialized Allez Sport for $700 including tax (apparently its last year's model). However, it is a 56.5cm frame. I got on it for a bit and it didn't seem too small, but then I'm sure I'm not a great judge. No tune-ups, can't say I felt too confident in receiving good post-sales support.
    4) Bikes-direct.com. Looking at perhaps a Dawes Lightning 1000. I figure between myself and a few serious bike-riding friends we can do a decent job of putting it together. Plus it sounds like fun. Worst case scenario, I can probably find a LBS to put it together.
    5) JensonUSA.com. I live two hours away, so I could visit the Ontario, CA store. Anyone have any experience dealing with them on-site? I could get the same Lemond Etape for $496, unless someone sees a much better deal for only a few more bucks.
    6) Craigslist/Ebay. Haven't seen too much out there, maybe I just don't know what I'm looking for. The fact I need a 58cm frame seems to really cut down my choices.
    7) Target GMC Denali for $200-$250. I have no doubt its a crappy bike, but maybe it'd be passable for a year or two?

    Being new to bikes, I'm a little flooded with choices atm. Can anyone offer any advice to at least help me narrow things down? I like the service at LBS A and B, but it goes against my nature to pay retail, especially when I'm sure their markup is 50%-100%. I feel like the idiot who walks into a car dealership and thinks the price on the sticker is the actual price and pays it (ignoring those high demand vehicles that you actually have to pay MSRP or more on). I can't help but wonder if a cheaper source + paying for some labor now and then would come out cheaper, especially since I will most likely only be in the area another year or two.

    Thanks in advance for any advice guys.

  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2006
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    As for choosing a bike, ride a bunch of them and pick the one that you like best. Also, have the bike shop put on the saddle that you want to use when you test ride it. I am surprised that they are giving you so little for the saddle exchange. Check out the price of the saddle that the bike comes with and the price of the saddle that you want. Do not pay more than $5.00 over the difference if your saddle costs more than the bike's original saddle. Any bike shop that won't change out a saddle for $5.00 on a new bike doesn't want to sell it very badly.

    Don't get lured into buying a bike because the LBS is offering free tune-ups. Instead, take what you are saving and invest in The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair from Rodale Press and a small set of tools. The book can be found in any major book store. Bicycles are so easy to maintain that it is ridiculous to pay someone else to do it unless you really do not have two or three hours a year to commit to it. I would take my wheels to the bike shop to be trued, if they need it, as a trueing stands tend to be a little more expensive and learning the ropes can tend to take a lot of time.
    It sounds like LBS B is going to do you better than the others, but see if they can't reduce the price a little by dropping the lifetime tune-ups.
  3. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

    Jul 10, 2006
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    you can find a NEW road bike on ebay for your original budget price (actually a bit less...). I bought one and have put on over 600 miles on it with no problems... let me know if you want more info...

    additional info: I didn't notice that the dawes was in your list. That is the bike that I have from a seller named "chicabike". I got it for around 240.00 (which includes the shipping...) and I love the bike.

    as far as the target denali, its a low end bike and you would probably want to change the components on it so you don't really save much by buying it over the dawes.