Should I buy my bike from a small local bike shop or from local REI shop?



americandream

New Member
Dec 28, 2011
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[COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]I found a nice looking bike at REI but I found nice bikes at my local bike shop too. I would say that the bike from REI would be equal to or better than the bikes at the local bike shop. The bike at REI would likely be cheaper.[/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]When I went to my local bike shop they told me that if I buy a bike from them than it gets serviced for free for 2-years. So, I guess if I have any issues than I can get them to do the adjustments. I'm pretty good at doing mechanical work myself so I'm not sure if I'd really need them. Maybe make adjustments when I first buy the bike but I wouldn't see myself finding it absolutely necessary to have them service my bike every now and then. I probably wouldn't bring it in unless there's a problem.[/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]Does REI offer anything similar in terms of servicing my bike? Will they make the adjustments I need when I'm buying the bike?[/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]The local bike shop told me that their service fee is expensive like $60 so it makes sense to buy from them for the free service. Would it be more worth it to buy a bike from them or get the better deal from REI?[/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]I could also get a FUJI from another local bike shop for a bit of a better price but not sure if he offers a free service and not sure if the bike would be as good.[/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]What do you all think?[/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]thanks a lot[/COLOR]
 

GSound

New Member
Dec 28, 2011
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I've been to about 6-7 bike shops today as a newbie...one of them was REI and a BUNCH of locals. The REI guys were knowledgeable and passionate and did offer a maintenance plan as well as a discount for joining their club.

However, I'll most likely go with the local shops as they were offering prices on solid bikes for way cheaper than REI. They all had end of year sales going on that even beat the internet by a $100 or $200. Plus, since there's a strong biking culture here in Marin county, they are super competitive in their pricing and selection, but really don't carry the 100% same bikes between each other - which is a cool local vibe, but a lot of legwork. They all offered similar maintenance packages. I say go to a few stores, mention your price range, and see what they can do. Be sure to write down prices and model numbers for web research :)
 

CyclinYooper

New Member
Jan 9, 2011
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I would test-ride all of the bikes (at REI and your local bike shops), and choose the bike you like first. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think free tune-ups should be a huge factor in your decision. I've found maintenance to be a tiny expense next to upgrades, etc. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

Don't get me wrong, I love REI. But, I'm not sure what kind of fitting services they offer. For example, when I purchased a bike at Performance Bicycle (also local for me), they fit me for saddle height and fore/aft position only ... and even that they did poorly. I guess my point is that you might check to see what they offer. If you purchase a bike from a LBS, fitting will probably be included with the purchase. However, if you buy a bike at REI, they don't fit the bike well, and then you need to go get fit at another place, you're probably going to be out another $100.

Again, for all I know REI may be wonderful at fitting bikes ... I haven't purchased one there, so I'm ignorant. If you know some else that's purchased a bike locally, maybe ask them?

Scott
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
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REI is an outstanding Co-Op that stands behind the products that they sell. Generally the sales associates use the products that they sell so they are knowledgeable.
REI is one of the company I work for customers. Several times throughout the year they visit our site and see our products being produced and take place in actual demonstrations.
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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I agree with Cyclin Yooper. Let the bike, not the maintenance package be your guide. It is much better to have to pay a little for your maintenance because you love to ride the bike so much that you are wearing things out than to never use a great maintenance package because you don't really like the bike that you got with it so you never ride. And if you are mechanically inclined, you will probably end up doing most if not all of your own maintenance. Technologically, bicycles are pretty simple, straight forward machines and there are all kinds of books and online resources out there for people who want to do it all themselves. And although there are some special tools that may be needed, the cost of one or two shop tune ups will pay for most of the ones that you really would need.
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
12,596
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Originally Posted by kdelong .

I agree with Cyclin Yooper. Let the bike, not the maintenance package be your guide. It is much better to have to pay a little for your maintenance because you love to ride the bike so much that you are wearing things out than to never use a great maintenance package because you don't really like the bike that you got with it so you never ride. And if you are mechanically inclined, you will probably end up doing most if not all of your own maintenance. Technologically, bicycles are pretty simple, straight forward machines and there are all kinds of books and online resources out there for people who want to do it all themselves. And although there are some special tools that may be needed, the cost of one or two shop tune ups will pay for most of the ones that you really would need.
+1.
 

doctorold

Member
Dec 14, 2010
345
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North Carolina
The selection at REI can leave a little to be desired, depending on what you want. The biggest positive for buying there is you can ride it as long as you want and if at some point you don't like it, you can take it back and get something different. That's the way it is with all their merchandise. I stopped in at the REI in Denver and they had a sale, selling all the stuff that had been returned by customers, some of which had been used to death. It's amazing. But on a whole, I would buy from the LBS more times than not.
 

chaos123

New Member
Jan 3, 2012
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My suggestion is that you'd better buy the bike from local bike shop, because you can ride the new bike as an examination. Also service on local bike shop is available for free for 2 years, but I'm not sure REI will offer you the same service for 2 years. Even the price for bike in REI is cheaper, it is not safe to buy bike online. But bike accessory is ok. I prefer to buy bike accessory online, because price for bike accessory is cheaper than the local bike shop, you can first find the accessory and remember its ID number, then search online, you will find the best price for accessory you need!! I hope this information will help you!
 

An old Guy

Active Member
Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by americandream .

[COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]When I went to my local bike shop they told me that if I buy a bike from them than it gets serviced for free for 2-years. [/COLOR] [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]The local bike shop told me that their service fee is expensive like $60 so it makes sense to buy from them for the free service. [/COLOR]
Most bicycles don't need any kind of servicing. Ask the bike shop how much they will deduct from the bike price if you do not want the free servicing.

The purpose of "free" srvicing is to get you into the shop. Once there you might buy something.

---

It is a 10 minute drive to the closest bike shop. That is 20 minutes of time I could be using to "service" my bike or ride. So free servicing is a waste of my time.
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
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Someday, your bike could actually need "servicing". "Servicing" could encompass many different things. Some folks learn to work on their own bikes (something I recommend learning to do), and some folks want nothing to do with servicing their own bikes. For the latter, free service is definitely a bonus. For someone new who might be interested in learning to wrench on their own bike, the free service could also be good in that many bike shops will allow you to watch, ask questions, and learn about wrenching on bikes. I'd go as far as to say that it's likely most shops will allow this.

With that said, REI is a fine company. Joining their co-op will see you getting a check at the end of each year, a check whose amount is based on how much you purchased during the year. Their return policies are at least generous, and I've not heard anything bad about their bike service work.

Iffin' it were me, I'd likely buy at the LBS, instead of REI. Building a rapport with an LBS can have some great benefits for you:
  • discounts (quite often the case)
  • quick servicing or repair of bikes (great for those times when something goes wrong and you need a quick fix)
  • ordering of parts not normally carried (REI is very unlikely to special order something that they normally don't carry)

Also, hot LBS girls dress more tastily than hot REI girls.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
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While REI may have a limited selection of models to chose from, if REI has a bike which strikes your fancy, then you should probably buy it ... I would.

I'm sure that REI can service the bike if you can't ... or, they will surely direct you to an appropriate shop.

  • since the components on most bikes use non-user-serviceable cartridge bearings, if a new bike is set up properly then it will require very little servicing which you can't do during the first two years that it is typically ridden ...
  • if you are planning to put 3000+ miles per year on your bike, then you will want to know how to do almost everything on your bike to preclude being without the bike for a couple of days
  • the particulars about making adjustments on most components on most bikes is freely available on the Internet ([COLOR= #808080]e.g.,[/COLOR] www.parktool.com) and beyond an appropriate pump to put air in your tires you will probably find that for most of the adjustments you need to make you will simply need a set of Metric Allen Wrenches ([COLOR= #808080]Allen Wrenches with separate, long shafts are recommended[/COLOR]) AND/OR you can buy-or-borrow a book like ZINN AND THE ART OF ROAD BIKE MAINTENANCE ... REI will probably sell the bike specific tools that you may eventually-or-never need to use at no more than the bike shop would sell the same tool for, BTW.

Some-if-not-all REI's have relatively inexpensive clinics where you will apparently learn most of what you need to know to keep your bike rolling and thereby not be dependent on a bike shop except for major work ([COLOR= #808080]e.g, rebuilding a suspension fork ... maybe they have an advanced clinic which covers that, too!?![/COLOR]).