my experience buying a bike


New Member
Jun 10, 2005

If anyone is interested, here is the story of buying my first "decent" bike. I had a Kmart bike, which bit the dust after a few rides, so I decided to get an entry level mountain bike or comfort bike. I did lots of research and took suggestions from good folks like you. I narrowed it down to 2 bikes, the Jamis citizen or the Gary Fisher Advance. I decided on the Advance, so I went to my local bike shop where I had already test ridden the bike. They had told me on my first trip they could have the bike by the middle of the following week. When I returned for my second test run and decided I wanted the Advance the salesman pushed another bike which I didn't want and ultimately refused. He told me my Advance would take 2 weeks (maybe he said that to influence me to get the other bike). Long story short, 2 weeks became 2 months and still no bike and they never called as they promised to do. I contacted the company directly and they refused to help in any way.

Soooo, I called my 2 most local Jamis dealers and I found a citizen at one of the shops for $30 less than the other shop had it for. I visited the shop and the shop owner seemed sincere and eager to make me a happy customer. While there I tried out a Cross Country and decided to order that instead of the Citizen. The price was $299. The owner asked me to call him on Monday so he could confirm the company had the bike and could ship it. I did so and he promised to call me when it came in. He didn't call so I called the shop and another person told me it was in. I drove down to get the bike. The thumb shifter was damaged and when I asked the male employ would he replace it he said emphatically, "NO!". He said I shouldn't complain about that after the huge discount I received on the bike. He said the price the owner was giving me was $60 off the regular price and I should be able to overlook the damaged shifter for that. I told him that even if I was given a discount I shouldn't be given a second quality bike. He was not apologetic and tryed to make me feel I had no right to be upset. I was very turned off by his attitude and told him that I was not going to accept the bike. I called the owner on his cell phone expecting him to be upset at what had happened at his shop, only to find out he had caused the damaged. He told me he would not fix the shifter for me that he would just doctor it and sell it to someone else. Bottom line: they were hoping I would not notice the damage and take the bike anyway. Bad business.

I ended up going to a bike shop close to my home and buying a Haro, which was one of my original considerations. I had stopped in there previously and found them to be friendly and professional. I explained the problems I had been having and that I was on a budget. I got the the bike I had look at 3 months prior for $30 off, plus a water bottle. I told the clerk (by the way it is a family-owned shop) that I would do more road riding than trails and he offered to put a less knobby tire on. The crank on the color bike I wanted had been scuffed during a test ride and he replaced it with a new one (the bikes have a total of three inspections before they go home with you). When people say that price isn't the most important, service is, listen. It is true. I spent only $19 more for my Haro bike than the above mentioned bike would have cost and the service was excellent. The service is always the difference. I felt like a valued customer when I came in and when I left. If in Chattanooga, TN go to East Ridge Bicycles for great service!
I had a similar experience looking for prescription cycling sunglasses recently. I think it is just a problem in general with customer service.

I was told by three places that they couldn't possibly order the pair of glasses that I wanted and that because I have a small face they only had this one pair that would fit, take it or leave it. It was such a relief to finally find a shop where the sales person was willing to listen to what I wanted instead of telling me what I had to do and was helpful and knowledgeable. He even fixed the pair of glasses I was wearing (they are nickel titanium - "memory metal" and have never sat straight on my face - the place I originally bought them told me they could not be bent to fit my non-level ears as they just spring back)

The best thing to do is support the shops you like - tell other people (This forum is probably a great place to give them a nod -I whole heartedly recommend Davis Optical in Seattle's U-district for glasses!) and shop there whenever you can. It depends on what I am buying and how much more it will cost, but I will sometimes buy something at a more expensive store if I think I am getting stellar customer service.
karlb65 said:
If in Chattanooga, TN go to East Ridge Bicycles for great service!

Pretty much the only people I will do biz with. I tried River City Bikes and was treated as scum for asking for a fender. He asked me what I was going to put it on. Hmmmm........? I wanted to say something other than a 06 Ellsworth. He said Why? I left without another word. I got the rig from East Ridge Bikes and now will never go anywhere else with it.
That is a horribe way to treat customers. I'm amazed at how specialized shops like these can stay in business with horrible customer service. If I was set to buy a new bike, I want it right now. Waiting 3 months to get a bike would have been ubsurd. Have fun with your new bike.