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LBS stock/size issues

AndyMaloneAndyMalone Posts: 55
edited January 2012 in Road buying advice

Went round three local shops yesterday and was frustrated to find that they carried very few smaller sizes in stock to try.

They all said they could order them in (with a deposit) and generally said that if it didn't fit they could move the deposit onto something that does (except one who said if we order it you have to take it) which is fine except that as this is my first bike I want to actually try 3 or 4 different models (from different stockists) before making a decision.

I'm short (5'4" ish) but with fairly long arms and legs proportionately so I'm generally hovering around the 49-52cm mark depending on frame, etc... which is the smaller end but still within their standard ranges. Just very annoying that they don't seem to cater for the shorter rider even just by having a single test frame in.

To be fair to one shop (a Specialized stockist) they said if I was interested in the Allez range they would order in the two frame variants that I'm hovering between and then they would spend time trying and fitting them and then just put the one I don't have on the shelves. Due to this alone it's almost making up my mind to buy a Specialized from them without trying the others.

I just wondered what others experience was? I'm just not willing to put down a deposit in 3 or 4 shops to then go through the hassle of negotiating it back if I don't like the bike.



  • Another connected point is that one of the main reasons for buying from the LBS (see previous posts) was to gain the support and customer service that I wouldn't get if I bought via a cheaper but faceless online retailer.

    Given the circumstances I'm now considering if actually it's worth taking the punt and saving a few hundred quid by buying the bike online and then paying for a bike fit to get the setup right (if I size up the frame properly in the first instance).
  • My own buying experience thus far suggests that cycle manufacturing/retailing is back in the stone age with regards to logistics.

    Whilst it is probably not possible to have every size of every bike from every manufacturer that any particular shop stocks actually on the premises it surely shouldn't be so difficult in this day and age to be able to 'call off' stock at the drop of a hat.

    My frustrations have been:

    Shops that advertise a 'huge range' on their websites giving you the impression that they have heaps of bikes in stock. You visit and they haven't. What they mean is they can order from a big range although orders can sometimes take weeks to fulfil.

    Manufacturers who cannot seem to keep bikes in production eg Cube. The 2011 bikes have more or less disappeared but the 2012 bikes have not arrived. And Specialised who cannot supply a Secteur until March and Trek whose supply chain seems to have fallen over.

    Not sure whose to blame, manufacturers, retailers, both?
  • Not sure where you live but perhaps it might be worth trying a medium size chain.

    Eg. when I bought my secteur back in oct from Leisure Lakes in Bury there were able to order in from any of their other shops (with a deposit that was fully refundable). IIRC they have 6 shops in varying bits of England.

    Whilst it's hardly conclusive the first bike I looked at was a 52cm frame so it would suggest they carry some smaller frame sizes in stock.

    Happy shopping and good luck.
  • It does seem a little cumbersome, perhaps because the unit price is so much higher than a lot of other shops they have to be very tight on stock control/over ordering?

    Anyway, none of that makes me (the buyer) any closer to spending my money.

    I can see a normal local bike shop sometimes not having stock to cover all ranges (especially the extreme frame sizes) but something that shocked me most was going into a Specialzed specific concept store and them having about 30-40 bikes and not having a single model at any price point in 49cm. It actually suprises me more that they managed to not have one in, surely if it's the manufacturers shop then they should have one of everything even just a show/test bikes? Frustrating.
  • AndyMalone wrote:
    Anyway, none of that makes me (the buyer) any closer to spending my money. .

    Too right Andy.

    Here's an example of *iss poor supply chain.

    Specialised - one of the worlds major bike manufacturers.

    Secteur - one of their biggest selling models.

    Secteur Comp - top spec' for the Secteur but at £1200 hardly esoteric bike porn.

    54cm - along with 56cm probably biggest selling frame size.

    Evans - pretty big cycle chain.


    Can't get a 54cm Secteur Comp till March earliest. Go figure?


    Not suggesting Evans is the bad guy in this but maybe if they had had a few on the sales floor across the chain they would have been able to supply me sooner.
  • luv2rideluv2ride Posts: 2,367
    I sympathise as, being a decidely average "medium" build I've rarely found it an issue - most LBS' seem to carry 54cm or 56cm frames as standard IME, as they must be their biggest unit shifters.

    That said, when the October sales really get under way (that's when the manufacturers tend to heavily discount that years stock to make room for the imminent-to-launch new year models) you will probably find that you're able to snag a much better bargain given they tend to have plenty of the slightly less popular smaller and bigger frame sizes.

    This might not help too much now, but if you get sorted out with a bike and really take a shine to the sport you may be grateful when it's time to upgrade at your leisure...if you're after your first road bike, Cycling Plus recently gave the Spesh Allez close to top marks in a group test so that would be a pretty safe bet (apologies though if you're not new to the sport, and just want to get sorted with anew ride in the right size!)
    Titus Silk Road Ti rigid 29er - Scott Solace 10 disc - Kinesis Crosslight Pro6 disc - Scott CR1 SL - Pinnacle Arkose X 650b - Pinnacle Arkose singlespeed - Specialized Singlecross...& an Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 4 string...
  • Thanks, I am completely new to this which is why it's been a bit more annoying. Not actually knowing what I'm looking for has made it harder in my search. Unfortunately I found a couple of potential deals just before Christmas but didn't have the cash to move on them, now the 2011 stock in my sizes are pretty much all gone.

    I'm heavily leaning towards the Spec Allez though, just looking over a few reviews and comments on the forum they seem pretty popular, plus with my LBS being a Specialized specialist it means the support/spares will be easy to come by (my local bike club gets a 10% discount all year there as well which is a bonus).
  • CrankbrotherCrankbrother Posts: 1,695
    Support/spares for a Specialzed? ... That'd be the frame and possibly the fork then ... Everything else will have better varients available ...

    Don't be fooled into thinking that just because that's what a shop stocks it's a good idea to buy ... Theshop that like to think of itself as everones LBS in Edinburgh has the idea of stocking around 50% of everything it sells in Specialized ... Hardly conducive to customer choice (eg. saddles, no Fizik or Selle Itlia instore, 70% Specialized) ...

    Don't get me wrong, my first road bike was a Spesh and itvwas an amazing bike, but limiting yourself towhat a particular shop sells isn't gonna help ...

    Also don't buy the bike unless the shop has onesize bigger/smaller for you to try ... That way you know you have the right size ...

    I was sold a 52cm ctc Spesh (I am 5'6") by said LBS, a 52cm Cannondale is measured ctt and was a better fit but now i ride a 50 cm ctt Cannondale ... So essentially was sold a bike 2 sizes to big for me ... Don't be fooled into thinking an LBS is the best solution, it depends on stock, staff on the day and sales targets ... One bought you can't return it for being too big/small ... I'd find the best deal for the bike you like and any money saved can be spent on getting stems, bars, cranks etc the right length ...
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