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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am ideally situated roughly an hour away from several cities that have one or more bike shops. I have been making the rounds to look at different brands carried by different stores.

None of the bike shops in my range offer trade or consignment, and therefore do not have used bikes on hand to compare with the used bikes you see available online. It seems like you can get a lot more for your money buying a used bike online as long are you are:

1.)Willing to forgo the privilege of applying the first scratch yourself

2.)At least somewhat flexible as to what you want.

3.)Tolerant of the risk inherent in purchasing a used bike.

I think the risks can be mitigated with careful research. I am not that worried about wear and tear from typical use. My biggest issue would be either waiting for the right bike or being flexible as to exactly what components I want.

I want to buy local, and by local I mean preferably support the guy in my town, provided that I decide to go with Felt.

My main motivation for this, frankly, is I want to have an LBS owner and mechanic in my corner. I don't know diddly squat about working on bikes beyond the basic get-home-after-a-flat stuff. I may in the future decide that this hobby extends from riding to actually tinkering with my own bikes, but in my mind those are two separate hobbies and I only have time for one. I want to spend my free time riding, not turning wrenches. Therefore I want a good mechanic that I can trust to go the extra mile to make sure my bike is not only functioning correctly but at the top end of acceptable.

I also want to support the local bike shop etc., etc. I'd hate to see them go under. I can still support them by buying accessories, clothes, etc., but realistically this is a second-tier motivation.

My fear would be that by buying a bike online to save a couple bucks I would create maintenance issues where the LBS guys are less than enthusiastic about working on my bike. This is not to say that they wouldn't do a decent job with whatever I asked them to do, but I don't see this being a situation where they would necessarily advocate for me as an uninformed consumer.

I also have concerns with determining if the guy working on my bike is actually a great bike mechanic or just an open-minded amateur.

What do you guys think?
 

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1.) I am a big proponent of buying used. I have found that I can buy a bike anywhere from 1-3 years old and pay 25-40% of what the bike was new, or to put it another way, SAVE 60-75% off retail. A new bike is only new until you throw your leg over it.

2.) Bicycles are very simple machines. Most adjustments can be made at home much faster than the time it takes to deliver the bike to the bike shop and drive back home. Buy and follow Lennard Zinn's "The Art of Road Bike Maintenance". A bike often reacts different to the loads placed on it on the road vs in a mechanic's stand. Shifting may need to be adjusted on the road to account for those loads vs what sounded good to the mechanic working on it in the stand. Best to know how to do that yourself.

Just my .02
 

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A shop makes a lot of its income on maintenance. A smart owner will ensure any bike is serviced well, regardless of where it was purchased. If they don't do a good job because you didn't buy it there, they'll soon be out of business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
1.) I am a big proponent of buying used. I have found that I can buy a bike anywhere from 1-3 years old and pay 25-40% of what the bike was new, or to put it another way, SAVE 60-75% off retail. A new bike is only new until you throw your leg over it.

2.) Bicycles are very simple machines. Most adjustments can be made at home much faster than the time it takes to deliver the bike to the bike shop and drive back home. Buy and follow Lennard Zinn's "The Art of Road Bike Maintenance". A bike often reacts different to the loads placed on it on the road vs in a mechanic's stand. Shifting may need to be adjusted on the road to account for those loads vs what sounded good to the mechanic working on it in the stand. Best to know how to do that yourself.

Just my .02
Everything in this post makes perfect sense. Thanks. It is only my rabid lack of mechanical skills pushing me away from doing it myself.
 

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I’m a big fan of dealing locally and especially with bike shops.. First and foremost; the owners have real skin in the game and they want another satisfied customer, it’s great for business!! Do they make profit,, yes and most of the time it’s well deserved. Dealing locally also enhances the neighborhood, brings in more business and provides locals jobs. Additionally, a great LBS will ensure that the bike is fitted to you, will correct issues identified during the warranty period, perform maintenance when needed. A great LBS provides a place to shop for all of the accessories, clothes, shoes, helmets, lights bags, bar tape, pumps, co2 cartridges and pedals to name a few items, sponsors a few weekly rides/events, is active in the community and other good stuff.. In short,, I’m a huge fan of local shops!!! So yes, by local but if you have concerns, ask the owner.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m a big fan of dealing locally and especially with bike shops.. First and foremost; the owners have real skin in the game and they want another satisfied customer, it’s great for business!!Do they make profit,, yes and most of the time it’s well deserved. Dealing locally also enhances the neighborhood, brings in more business and provides locals jobs. Additionally, a great LBS will ensure that the bike is fitted to you, will correct issues identified during the warranty period, perform maintenance when needed. A great LBS provides a place to shop for all of the accessories, clothes, shoes, helmets, lights bags, bar tape, pumps, co2 cartridges and pedals to name a few items, sponsors a few weekly rides/events, is active in the community and other good stuff.. In short,, I’m a huge fan of local shops!!! So yes, by local but if you have concerns, ask the owner.
Excellent opposing view. Now I'm confused lol. thanks.
 

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I bought local and even paid full price. In addition to lifetime basic tune ups I've bought myself a lot of knowledge if I ever need it.

For example I plan on stopping by in the next few days to get some insight on finding climbs in our flat area. Probably wouldn't feel right doing that if I hadn't bought a bike from the place.
 

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I'm not a proponent of either approach. Both have advantages. But from what you have said about yourself, I strongly advise you to buy from a shop you can trust. You clearly have no confidence in your mechanical skills, and more important you have little or no interest in learning to work on bikes. There's nothing at all wrong with that; it's a valid choice. But a person with that attitude should not buy a used bike, IMHO. You can get more bike for a given amount by buying used, but it's false economy unless you can evaluate the condition of the bike and work on it yourself.

Find a shop that seems like they know what they're doing, and buy there. That's my advice.
 

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Unfortunately I buy most of my stuf on line mostly because the shops don't carry what I need.

I needed some Stans tape to convert my wheel to tubeless. No one had it in stock. I needed two tubeless tires, out of luck also.
 

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You can get the best deals when you purchase a used bike from a crack head.
 

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It's your money, so how you choose to spend it depends on what you value. There is not right or wrong on whether you should buy new, used, online or LBS. There is value to everything you pay for and it's up to you to judge whether you want to:

1. Pay for the piece of mind that the bike is new, through the QA/QC of manufacturer and has a warranty to back it up.
2. Pay to support your local bike store and pay for the service and advice they provide in purchasing a bike
3. Risk that a used bike may have been in an accident or not maintained well (note risk can be mitigated by good assessment from mechanic)
4. Risk mechanical/frame damage from online purchases you can't see and get assessed.

Just like anything else, nothing is free and you get what you paid for.
 

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This is total blasphemy to some here, but I always buy NEW from a LBS. Every bike I have was purchased new from the LBS. Like the OP, I can do basic maintenance like fixing flats, installing new tubes/tires, adjusting brakes, etc... but I leave the complicated stuff up to the LBS.
 

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You guys who are responding about buying accessories and components online, that's not really the issue he was asking about. He's comparing buying new from a shop with buying a used bike from a private seller. That's not really buying "online" even if you find the listing on Craig's List. I suppose ebay is a hybrid, but you REALLY have to know what you're doing to buy a used bike that's not local.

Nearly all of us here buy some stuff on line, if for no other reason than the inventory issues jtompilot cited. But that's not what OP was asking about.

You can get the best deals when you purchase a used bike from a crack head.
I'll bet that's true, especially if you don't mind using the euphemism "used" in place of "stolen".

The fixed-gear bike that I commute to work on is built around a frame I got for $5 at a garage sale. It did require a little work. That's at the other end of the spectrum from buying new at a shop. If you don't want to learn to wrench, buy new.
 

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Go to the bike shop to try on shoes and clothing then shop online. This will save you tons of cash. Over time this will force the local bike shops to reduce their inflated price.
 

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Three out of four of my bikes were from LBSes. Fourth was the cheapest, through Bikes Direct, and it's been going strong for about 7 years (granted, it's a singlespeed.)

Had the brakes installed at the LBS and the rack/panniers/tires/tubes/bell were purchased there as well. So no guilt about buying online.

John can do maintenace at home, but he buys the parts locally, and what he can't do goes through the LBS.

You guys who are responding about buying accessories and components online, that's not really the issue he was asking about. He's comparing buying new from a shop with buying a used bike from a private seller

Oh. Well, nothing to see here, move along................
 

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Some bike sellers are great, some suck. The dividing line between good and suck is not if they are on-line or a bike shop.

For example I'd trust Competitive Cyclist over pretty much any bike shop I'm familiar with. Having to mail a bike is not fun but neither is a dealing with a sleezy bike shop for a warranty issue.
There are great bike shops out there. But it's really pie in the sky to think they are all good honest businesses doing well by the community and all that just like it's wrong to think all on-line businesses are faceless companies with no human touch. And visa versa off course.
Buy a bike from a place you can trust regardless of where/what that is.
 

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There is nothing wrong with buying local or buying on line. I am good friends with my lbs owner. I ride with him every sat. I have purchased my mtb and my sons mtb from him. I am not a fan of Giant or Trek and that is what he carries. My two road bikes, I bought the frames and parts on line. They do not carry the brands that I like so I have no choice. I buy anything that I can from him though. It is tough for some things because they do not stock much in the way of clothes or shoes. I use them for all my service even though I can do it myself.
Shop owners do not care where you buy your bike. Clearly they would prefer it to come from them but they will work on any bike that comes in the store. They would be crazy not to. I do not know where this urban legend started but it is not true. Shop owners, like car dealers, will work on any bike. It is all the same revenue. In the perfect world we could use the lbs for everything. It is not possible though because they simply cant stock everything like Performance can. Even Performance has its limitations when it comes to products. Try getting Assos or some higher end clothes there. In my town and the surrounding town, it is on-line if you want those types of things.
 

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For example I plan on stopping by in the next few days to get some insight on finding climbs in our flat area. Probably wouldn't feel right doing that if I hadn't bought a bike from the place.
Strava will tell you that in about 5 secs. Far less hassle for you and them.
 
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