Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Buying from a shop or the internet

andyjrandyjr Posts: 635
edited January 2011 in Road beginners
Hi, looking for a bit of advice; am looking to buy my first road bike (budget of £500) and so far like the look of the Specialized Allez 16, Trek 1.1 & Giant Defy 3.5 which I have seen in shops around where i live.

However looking on various internet sits, it's possible to pick up the same/something potentially better than the above for cheaper/the same price; the issue with this is any building and adjustments over the first few weeks which may be required as the shops I have been to offer 2/3 free services and said that if I had any problems then just come in with the bike & they'll try & sort them.

As it's my first bike, am I better off buying from a shop forpeace of mind or buying and sorting it out myself?

Any thoughts welcomed. Cheers

Posts

  • carl_pcarl_p Posts: 989
    It's vital that not only do you like the look of the bike in the metal, but it actually fits you. This means being able to at least sit on the bike and perhaps go for a test ride. You won't be able to do that over the internet, so I would recommend you buy from your LBS.

    I would then learn how to maintain the bike yourself so you are in the position to fit any upgrades/replacement parts yourself. This then gives you the option of benefiting from potentially cheaper internet prices vs LBS in the future.

    Good luck!
    Specialized Venge S Works
    Cannondale Synapse
    Enigma Etape
    Genesis Flyer Single Speed


    Turn the corner, rub my eyes and hope the world will last...
  • Get it from your LBS (local bike shop)

    Not only will you get the fit right, but by doing do you'll get the help of the guys/girls in there and be able to go back should there be any problems.

    Most bikes will need some adjustment after about 6 weeks as cables stretch, indexing will possibly move slightly, and unless you know what you're doing, their help will be invaluable. That relationship will continue and the more you go in there, the more help and advice you'll get. While I DO buy some stuff from the internet, I do get a lot from my LBS, purely because I WANT to and am prepared to pay a little bit more to have what I want there and then. I now get at least 5% off every time I go on there.

    In short, at least buy your bike from the shop, even if you get everything else from the t'internet!
    Limited Edition Boardman Team Carbon No. 448
    Boardman MTB Team
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    What Carl_P said really- for this first one it might be best to stick to a bricks and mortar shop. If you buy another later you might be in a better position to buy online.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    With your budget I'd look at a used bike, I got a barely used 1200 quid bike for 400 when I bought mine. Lots of folk buy them with good intentions then never use them.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    For a 1st bike, I do recommend you go to a good bike shop and get one from there. Any good shop will give you a test ride and make sure the chosen bike fits you for size and reach and comfort.

    Some manufacturers only deal online ie Canyon but do now have a UK backed support service, but why would you buy one if you don't know what a canyon feels like and if you like it? Wiggle deal online but their 'Focus' models do come with a 30 day test ride which is very reassuring.

    But the majority of bike brands you can browse in your LBS and choose which one you fancy, but what I wouldn't do is just pick one, don't worry about your size or how it feels without a test ride and then regret it a couple of weeks later. That isn't how to buy a bike imo. You would be surprised how many new riders do just this.
  • saunaboysaunaboy Posts: 116
    I'm prob in a good position to comment - I bought my first road bike in summer & resisted temptation of a better online option & used my LBS. It's paid off - two free services so far, one for the inevitable cable stretch, second to fit new pedals & look at a noisy bottom bracket. Both times I've chatted to mechanic for 30 mins & come away feeling inspired after talking to someone who obv loves what they do.
  • andyjrandyjr Posts: 635
    Cheers for the thoughts guys, appreciated. With a bit of luck some bike shop round me will be getting a fist full of pounds off me on the weekend
  • I was in the same situation as you about 5 months ago, £500ish budget, first bike, didnt even really know what I wanted! I am an engineer so would have had no problem building a bike out of a box over the net, but thats not what I opted to do!
    I had a chat with the guy in my LBS and we came to the conclusion that the Giant defy 3.5 was a good first bike for me (I love it), It was £525, I could have got the same bike online for £450 at the time but decided to pay up and pay my LBS the full price! I am glad I did though because the level of service I get is amazing, it got the 200 mile cable service done free of course, I qualify for 10% off anything I buy, when I bought my pedals and shoes he spent a good bit of time with me making sure the cleats were positioned correctly, and of course he will deal with any warranty issues should they arise, that would just be a hastle over the net! OK so I paid £75 more than what I could have gotten the bike for but the level of service and expertise that extra money got me is worth every penny, and even now if passing he gives the bike a quick once over, chain condition tyre pressures etc!

    Bobby
    getting faster, fitter, and skinnier by the day!
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,448
    For a first bike, size, fit and setup are by far the most important thing and you will definitely benefit from going to a really good bike shop that has some expertise in fitting people to bikes. Unfortunately some shops are a lot better than others at this, so it's worth looking around and doing some research.

    Once you have been cycling for a while and have some reference points it can make more sense to buy online, but only if you know your ideal setup and fully understand bike geometry (e.g. how seat tube angle and top tube length interact to affect reach, etc).
  • +1..LBS.It's easier to get any issues sorted if needs be and most shops will price match now.
    I got my 2011 Allez cheaper at my LBS that it was anywhere on the 'net. :D
    As said I also buy the "non-risky" and consumable bits off of the 'net...
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    unixnerd wrote:
    With your budget I'd look at a used bike, I got a barely used 1200 quid bike for 400 when I bought mine. Lots of folk buy them with good intentions then never use them.

    same why buy new ?
    you could get two to three times the spec second hand if you are prepared to wait and search with that budget , i looked around a lot and all you got for that money new was basic censored in bike shops i thought , and all i got from bike shops was complete waffle as soon as they realised i was buying a first bike , no service at all just sales talk , you dont need a bike shop to buy a bike , do some research about what spec you want .
    i upped my budget in the end and went to dave hinde , did it all over the phone the guy was brilliant , he took the measurements over the phone for size , perfect fit
  • top_bhoytop_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    But the majority of bike brands you can browse in your LBS and choose which one you fancy, but what I wouldn't do is just pick one, don't worry about your size or how it feels without a test ride and then regret it a couple of weeks later. That isn't how to buy a bike imo. You would be surprised how many new riders do just this.

    Just as there are LBS out there directing riders into making the wrong choice simply for a sale.....

    Make sure that you visit as many LBS as you can and if possible, some feedback from others.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    Top_Bhoy wrote:
    But the majority of bike brands you can browse in your LBS and choose which one you fancy, but what I wouldn't do is just pick one, don't worry about your size or how it feels without a test ride and then regret it a couple of weeks later. That isn't how to buy a bike imo. You would be surprised how many new riders do just this.

    Just as there are LBS out there directing riders into making the wrong choice simply for a sale.....

    Make sure that you visit as many LBS as you can and if possible, some feedback from others.
    +1 yes absolutely .......
  • I visited 4 different LBSs before I ordered my bike (they didn't have the correct frame size in stock). I COULD have gotten the info from an LBS and ordered online, and saved quite a bit, but I knew I would need the help of the LBS sooner than later.

    so +1 for the LBS!
  • andyjrandyjr Posts: 635
    Cheers all, been to 5 shops, but am off back to a couple on the weekend as they didn't have the right frame size in stock & more testing is required
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    all i can say is their must be a lot of differing standards amongst lbs then , every one i visited had the attitude of this guy knows nothing , lets sell him what we have ,
    frankly i was disgusted at the attitude and service of them .
    but what came through the most was the out right lies about what spec was classed as beginner , middle range or top ,
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    The trick is to find a good LBS preferably independent and not in a chain ie Halfords or Evans although the service does vary amongst these of course.
  • reacher wrote:
    all i can say is their must be a lot of differing standards amongst lbs then , every one i visited had the attitude of this guy knows nothing , lets sell him what we have ,
    frankly i was disgusted at the attitude and service of them .
    but what came through the most was the out right lies about what spec was classed as beginner , middle range or top ,

    Very surprised at that, you should name and shame them if thats the case!
    What exactly do you class as a LBS? I dont count big chain stores myself but I guess if you live in a big town or city you might have a different opinion of what an LBS is! Mine is a tiny shop in the town I live in and has been there for years, the guy has sold, serviced and worked on bikes all his life, its what he does, he's not a salesman he just knows bikes! When I bought my bike he had it in large but his opinion was that I needed a medium/large and had to order me one so getting rid of stock wasn't on his mind! I personally wouldn't quibble over a few quid on internet prices compared to the service I get!
    getting faster, fitter, and skinnier by the day!
  • With your budget I'd look at a used bike, I got a barely used 1200 quid bike for 400 when I bought mine. Lots of folk buy them with good intentions then never use them.

    Where? I found that Ebay wasn't great for finding bargains. The bods came so close to what the bikes were new!! I don't think ebay produces the bargains it once did.

    Another vote for the LBS from me. Mine have been very helpful. They fitted my new pedals, helped my GF buy my xmas present (Shimano road shoes), sorted any niggles with the bike amoungst other things.

    Also they are very friendly and helpful and I have bought bits besides the bike from there too. I also find Evans in Hendon very good. Bought a few accessories from there and they had the opportunity to serll me a £70 helmet, but I ended up walking out witha £26 one based on their advice! :)

    OK, maybe not the best sales technique, but my helmet has been fine :)
    2010 Giant Defy 2 running SRAM Force and Shimano RS80/C24s with Continental 4 Seasons
    1999 Carrera Integer MTB
    2014 Planet X SLX
  • As above Ebay isn't what it used to be,people take for granted it's cheaper.
    There are 2009/10 same bikes going for more than I paid for my 2011.
    If you know what you want,make,style,size,etc,etc then perhaps a bargain can be had on Ebay,I would buy off of Ebay.
    Bikes shops are the same as everywhere else if you want proper service go to a small idependant not a chain store;mine wasn't in stock but they had either size each side of it but rather then sell me that they ordered me in the correct size.
    Halfords kept saying "that'll do" everytime I sat on something..they also threw a few "dunno's" in for good measure.
    :D
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,877
    reacher wrote:
    unixnerd wrote:
    With your budget I'd look at a used bike, I got a barely used 1200 quid bike for 400 when I bought mine. Lots of folk buy them with good intentions then never use them.

    same why buy new ?
    you could get two to three times the spec second hand if you are prepared to wait and search with that budget , i looked around a lot and all you got for that money new was basic censored in bike shops i thought , and all i got from bike shops was complete waffle as soon as they realised i was buying a first bike , no service at all just sales talk , you dont need a bike shop to buy a bike , do some research about what spec you want .
    i upped my budget in the end and went to dave hinde , did it all over the phone the guy was brilliant , he took the measurements over the phone for size , perfect fit

    That is the complete opposite to what a lot of people will have experienced! :shock:

    To be honest I would want to try the bikes for comfort rather than giving measurements over the phone for a first bike. Some (probably quite a lot) LBSs are limited in the stock that they can carry but in my experience they are generally very helpful and even if they don't have the bike you want in your size they will often have a different spec one that has the same geometry to try you on. There's one place I would never buy a bike though....
  • The trick is to find a good LBS preferably independent and not in a chain ie Halfords or Evans although the service does vary amongst these of course.

    this does indeed vary...I went to one LBS where I was there for a good 10-15 minutes without anyone even so much as saying "Hi", then I went to one of their other stores, a few cities over, and that's where I bought my bike. It's a chain of bike stores... so the ownership is the same, I would imagine.

    I asked for Entry level, and the guy not only brought me to their entry level bikes, but he brought me to some of the 2010 bikes they had left, which IMO were an awesome deal.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    what was most astonishing was the attitude that , you cant possibly know what you want as you have not ridden a bike before ,
    but i do agree a lot of bikes on e bay sell for the same or evan more than from bike shops , they do go through though if you can be patient and if you are on a bigger size evan better , collection only go for a song usualy ,
  • That's just being a poor salesman. Or maybe even a good salesman, depending. Ig I go in asking them for ___ and they can offer a cheaper alternative, that performs the same, or better, then that's pretty cool, but I suspect that's not what you experienced :lol:
Sign In or Register to comment.