Two Spoke Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been trying to find a bike on craigslist in my area--but there are few listings that have what I'm looking for & are the right size. So I'm considering:
A) Build a bike from parts online
B) Buy a complete bike off of ebay

I'm not sure which is cheaper/better. I already have most of the tools for working on bikes after replacing my drivetrain on my last bike that got stolen. (Man, that was painful--stolen right after completion.)

Since I can't try out any of these online bikes before buying them--I suppose I just have to make the leap. I used some online calculators (ebicycles) to get a rough idea of my best size--but how accurate are these?

Any other comments, recommendations, or words of wisdom would be appreciated...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
ok. First of all let me say that I have only ever bought One bike from a bike shop.(and Ive owned dozens) All the others were mail order sight unseen etc. Its no big whoop to buy from ebay, bikes direct or anywhere else IF you know all your body measurements, and you know how high your saddle is from the ground, how high your handlebars are from the ground, and how far you want to reach from the saddle to the bars. Simple. BUT you have to KNOW. and this usually is a process of trial and error. I have bikes in different sizes but 2 things remain the same: the saddle height and the reach. Even from roadbike to mountain bike to time trial bike the measurements are all perty close. Not much different than buying the right size running shoe, just a little more to it.
 

·
American Expatriate
Joined
·
248 Posts
Here in Camada we have a store called MEC and you can order from them online and if the fit isn't proper you can return the item to one of their stores. I have not done this yet but I can imagine that it would be a pretty good policy.

Cheers,

Brian J.
 

·
Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
Joined
·
4,311 Posts
What I have found all 50cm bikes are not the same Efect TT on mine it is 535cm with a stand over of 30.67 in. when I look up outher 50cm bikes the TT might be longer the stand over taller, so I look at an outher size and thay don't come to what I want eather. So here I sit without my Titanium bike from bikes direct caus I ant spending $2,000 bucks and then it don't fit.
My ¢¢
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Go to a bike shop. Ride everything.

Sennecacyclist. I am sorry but I really hope you are not serious about, someone using a bike shop in order to figure out what to buy and then to go home and purchase it online. Bike shops exist on a very thin profit especially on new bike sales . Their biggest profit comes from repairs and that requires manpower and of course payroll. To take up their time knowing that you are not going to give them your business and are actually going to use their help so that you can support their biggest competitor is just not fair. I am a long time customer and advocate of my local bike shop (L.B.S.), and this relationship has proven time and again to be of great benefit to us both. Any good bike shop will repay your loyalty many times over, with quality service, advice and the best deals they can reasonably give on parts, clothes and yes new bikes. They will also usually have a stash of good used parts on hand for those times when the cash strapped need a little extra help. Any good bike shop will give you a size-able discount on any related gear you need when you purchase a new bike from them. And of course if you want a truly good fit when purchasing a new bike, there is no better way to do it then by buying from professionals, who understand all the many aspects of bike fitting especially when it comes to the bikes that they sell. Also when your bike arrives they will work with you to help you set it up for the best possible fit and if need be swap anything that doesn't work for you, ie. stem, seat handlebars, etc. Many times what I have done when shopping for new parts, clothes or accessories is do my research online ( often at the big two online purveyors and this costs them nothing), and then gone to my L.B.S. and made the purchase, only to discover that the deal they gave me was as good if not better then the online price and that is without shipping charge.
Yikes I can't keep anything simple. My apologies to anyone who actually gets through all this dribble and to sennecacyclist if I am misinterpreting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Your lucky to have a good bike shop like that near you. I couldnt afford to use a bike shop for the amount of riding and quality of bikes I have now. I watch people pay twice or more what they could buy a bike for online if they only had a little knowledge. And if you are going to be in this sport for 50 or 60 years you SHOULD know everything there is to know. To be fair, I work on computerized automated machinery far more complicated than a bicycle, so this is no big whoop to me. I understand most people dont have a clue and I suggest that they go to a bike shop. Personally, myself and all the guys Ive ridden and raced with over the years bought few bikes at a bike shop. Many of them were used. Most of them we built ourselves, even when all you had were catalogs and no internet. Its all part of the total experience of being a cyclist.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
There are probably as many online bikes sold each day as there are being sold at LBS's! And almost 98% of all expensive custom bikes are ordered online!! And like another poster said, saddle height and bar reach is the key; I have 8 bikes that range from 55cm to 58cm and they all fit perfectly...AFTER I personally spend about a week adjusting the height, seat's forward or aft, and stem (I've only had to buy one stem).

I kind of disagree with Noel suggesting that if you find a bike that fits you at an LBS and then buy a different bike online by using the size you found that fit at an LBS. As Noel said, an LBS doesn't make their money on the sale of the bike they make it by selling parts and repairs...ok, then simply take the bike to them for repairs and buy parts from them, they make their profit off of you where they would have anyway had you bought the bike from them. Also LBS's have a limited selection of bikes, you may not like any of their offerings, or their charging to much, so get it online if you find what you want. Now if I go to an LBS and they help me with some other product that I need then I'll buy it; but I went to all of my towns LBS's looking for a helmet and none fitted, so I got a brand off the internet that no one carries and it fits, sometimes you have no choice even after they helped you.

Since you now know your frame size then feel free to shop online without feeling guilty. Speaking of online shops have you taken a gander at BikeDirect.com selection? They have really decent bikes at great prices.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,223 Posts
I don't argue that you can get some good prices online. Yet for any rider that needs to ask what they need, online is probably not the way to go. Unless you are certain on how to fit yourself, it can be a big problem. Having mechanical knowledge helps, but how many of us are pro bike wrenches??? I have dealt with machinery in many forms from cameras to airplanes. I had to fix my own bike as a kid or ride (or not ride it ) the way it happen to be. Very few of us look at bike problems all day every day and the guy that does usually does a better job of setting it up. Modern shifting and parts are so different that much of that experience is not really that helpful. I, like most of us sooner or later figure it out, but it can be time consuming and very frustrating.

The mark up you pay on the bike at a local bike shop is the price of the knowledge they bring to the table. They deserve to eat and if you have that high priced bike cut a tire down on a Friday afternoon with great riding weather forecast for the weekend, having the local guy there to sell you a replacement saves the weekend. Good luck on getting anything shipped late Friday afternoon and getting it to you before Monday. More often than not someone that gets a less expensive bike or a used one somewhere is going to need some work done it that well might cause any initial savings to evaporate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
...I couldnt afford to use a bike shop...
It costs absolutely nothing to use a bike shop in the manner you recommended to bicyclotic. "Go to a bike shop. Ride everything." :p (Oh, I see you've removed that from your post...)

I agree with Noel that it is ethically questionable to test ride bikes from the LBS with the intention of buying elsewhere.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
It costs absolutely nothing to use a bike shop in the manner you recommended to bicyclotic. "Go to a bike shop. Ride everything." :p (Oh, I see you've removed that from your post...)

I agree with Noel that it is ethically questionable to test ride bikes from the LBS with the intention of buying elsewhere.
Unethical? Perhaps, but what if he rode a several bikes and didn't like anything he rode enough to pull the trigger?

Also you can use fitting guides provided by the online stores, you don't have to ride a bunch of bikes to determine what size of bike you need. So to say (not you another poster) that you can't find a bike online to fit properly is totally absurd. Like I mentioned before, even very expensive custom built bikes are ordered online, and if people spend that kind of money without fear about fit then I think the average rider can buy a production sized bike and not be worried anymore then going to an LBS and buying a production size bike there. Even after buying a production sized bike from an LBS the LBS will push to sell you a pro fitting (unnecessary in my opinion), if you think you need a pro fit you can take an online bike in and do the same thing.

And to say an LBS won't eat is a sob story, they eat just fine, if they couldn't they would be out of business.

EDIT: by the way, people buy cars all the time by test driving cars at various dealers, so according to your rational one should never buy a car from a different dealer after test driving a vehicle from the first dealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
Unethical? Perhaps, but what if he rode a several bikes and didn't like anything he rode enough to pull the trigger?

Also you can use fitting guides provided by the online stores, you don't have to ride a bunch of bikes to determine what size of bike you need. So to say (not you another poster) that you can't find a bike online to fit properly is totally absurd. Like I mentioned before, even very expensive custom built bikes are ordered online, and if people spend that kind of money without fear about fit then I think the average rider can buy a production sized bike and not be worried anymore then going to an LBS and buying a production size bike there. Even after buying a production sized bike from an LBS the LBS will push to sell you a pro fitting (unnecessary in my opinion), if you think you need a pro fit you can take an online bike in and do the same thing.

And to say an LBS won't eat is a sob story, they eat just fine, if they couldn't they would be out of business.

EDIT: by the way, people buy cars all the time by test driving cars at various dealers, so according to your rational one should never buy a car from a different dealer after test driving a vehicle from the first dealer.
One should never buy a car. Car drivers are the number one killer of bicyclists.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Guess I'm lucky

Ok I guess I am lucky to have such an ethical and quality bike shop nearby ( by nearby I mean about 45 mins. away) My point about manpower costing is that if you take an employee away from productive work, ie. repairs or dealing with customers who actually intend to buy, then it does cost the bike shop money. I think maybe I am taking this a little too personally because I am thinking of my LBS, the owner of which has become a good friend over the years. I know that all shops are not created equal. There are plenty of examples of shops in my area, that I would prefer not to do business with and if given the choice between patronizing them or resorting to online shopping I would probably go with the best deal. The shop I do use would never try to sell me a pro-fit but they do spend a very long time helping to set up my bikes (no extra charge) wether it is when I buy a new one or am just changing my stem. One thing that I know is that a good bike shop is a haven for all who enjoy riding and a valuable resource that needs to be supported. Every new bike I have purchased in my adult life has been from the man who now owns my LBS. He sold me my first new bike when he managed a shop and every bike since I have purchased from the shop he now owns. I have gotten great deals every time and I know that my customer loyalty has paid off, both monetarily, and personally. I have to reiterate that a good shop rewards their regulars with the best service and deals possible so any extra money I might have paid for my bikes has been a worthwhile investment.
I have not investigated all the threads on the forums, so maybe a LBS "jeers and cheers" exists, but if not would anyone be interested? Ok sorry to run on. Anyone know how I could get work as a LBS lobbyist?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
Noel you use your LBS the same way I use mine. I go to my LBS for various supplies and never bought a bike from them, the same is true with the person buying a bike off the internet, so the LBS is actually going to make more money off of parts and supplies and labor then they will selling you bike anyways. I have no jeers against LBS's...except for one in my town which is unfortunately the largest one but they act like snobby jerks so I no longer do business with them since a new and far more friendlier but smaller LBS came to town.

But again it boils down to the nature of sales. A potential buyer walks onto a car dealers lot, a sales person takes his time to help them while another person enters the lot. The first person looks and looks and test drives a model or two and the other person leaves unattended, meanwhile the first person doesn't buy so he leaves. The sales rep made no money, because the first person left and the other he'll never know if he was was buyer. That's sales, it's true anywhere you go to buy something, TV's, real estate, etc, and even bicycles. It's just the nature of sales, get use to it, the LBS's have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
It's the buyer who goes to a retail venue to try on shoes or bikes or cars with the intent to buy elsewhere who I have trouble with. If you want try bikes at the local shop so you can decide what to order online, you should tell the salesman up front that you would like to test ride his bikes but you have no intention of buying one of them. As long as you're honest and up front about it, I suppose it's OK. Actually I think it stinks, but if you're honest and up front about it, it stinks a little less I guess.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
It's the buyer who goes to a retail venue to try on shoes or bikes or cars with the intent to buy elsewhere who I have trouble with. If you want try bikes at the local shop so you can decide what to order online, you should tell the salesman up front that you would like to test ride his bikes but you have no intention of buying one of them. As long as you're honest and up front about it, I suppose it's OK. Actually I think it stinks, but if you're honest and up front about it, it stinks a little less I guess.
Well people are doing the same thing with cars today. They go to a dealer, find a car they like, negotiate a price but feel they didn't a good enough price so they leave and order the car online for a better price. This is going on all over the place not just bicycles. It's a competitive world, and retail stores are at war with prices on the internet and thus far are losing. There has always been competition, how many stores went out of business because of Walmart? Best Buys is hurting because of internet sales, and people go into Best Buys have the sales rep show them a product and they leave and get it cheaper on the internet. Does that stink? yeah, but that's business. With bicycles though your not going to test ride a Trek for example and say gee I like this but I can get it cheaper on the internet because Trek doesn't sell them that way. So actually LBS's have it better then Best Buys because their bicycles usually can't be had for less on the internet.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top