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luttrell1606 said:
I live in the Seattle area and am looking for a reputable bike shop in the area. I am a beginner rider and looking for the right bike and advice.
There are a lot of good bike shops in the area.

First find a bike shop that will give you a free fitting if you purchase a bike from them. Open the phone book and start calling the shops. If they don't measure and fit you if you buy a bike, call the next shop on the list. Some guys have enough experience to be pretty close just by looking at you. Then once you are on the bike, they can look at your position and make some adjustments from there.
Second, decide on your budget and just tell the shop your budget (Make sure to leave some room in your budget to purchase shoes, pedals, saddle bag, an extra tube, pump, helmet, glasses and clothes for cycling.)
Third, tell them what type of riding you plan on doing in the next few years. If they salesman is using jargon you don't understand, tell them and ask them to explain what they are telling you will actually mean once you are riding the bike.
Fourth, remeber that wheels are most important, frame second and components third except for a saddle that is comfortable for you is of the utmost importance. Be willing to spend more on wheels, then frame then components. You can always upgrade componenets as they wear out. You might purchase a stock frame but upgrade the wheels if the shop will give you trade in value. This is always a good option.
Fifth. Test ride is not so important because you can't tell much in a short test ride except you can decide if you like shimano or campy levers more. One may feel noticeably more comfortable with one ot the other or you might not notice any difference. Color and looks of a bike are important. If you don't like the looks of compact or some other bike, tell the salesman and move on to one that is more appealing. If you like the way the bike looks and the color, you are going to be happier about the purchase.
Sixth. Once you have decided on a bike, make sure they fit you on the bike and watch you pedal and make any initial adjustments before you leave out the door. Remember, this is only a starting point and you might have to come back and make some more minor adjustments. You might even need to make a saddle change once you start putting some miles on.
Seventh. Now you have the bike. Now what, is it going to gather dust or are you going to actually ride the thing. Finding a good group to ride with is a plus and there are many good bike clubs around town. Also, cycleu.com offers some good beginning bike classes at Sand Point that I highly recommend.

Good Luck and let us know what you end up buying.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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All sorts of shops in the area.

Depending on what you are after, I'd go to Recycled Cycles in the U district or Free Range Cycles in the center of the universe. Don't let the name fool you...Recycled has new bikes too. Everyone at Recycled knows bikes.

Believe it or not, REI has a VERY knowledgeable bike department at the flagship store downtown. Everyone there rides a ton; they know what they're doing. Combine that with their customer service, and they get a lot on my business.

Gregg's is the big name in town, and they are OK, but the staff ranges from very solid to newbie. I would say my experience there is mixed, but they do stock a bunch of stuff. I've seen them really push expensive stuff to casual or beginners to the point that I thought it was silly.

For high-end but real-world stuff Elliot Bay Bicycles is fantastic. You owe yourself a visit just to stare at the collection, and I'd encourage you to support them in some way. They are the only shop in the area who I would let press a headset and cut my Cinelli fork.

If I could only pick two REI and Recycled will do.
 
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