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Planning to get my first bike. Which is a better place to buy? REI or Performance? Also, I see some family operated LBS around where I live...

Thanks!
 

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I would say family owned LBS > REI >> Performance.

Also: Welcome!
 

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Performance always seemed to have a wide range of models, although REI carries good quality bikes. Performance runs some excellent sales, like right now 20% off. And $50 off an order $199 & up.
 

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REI has a one year return period. I've known people who have ridden their REI bike for almost a year and returned it.
Typically a new rider would either want an upgrade or want to quit within a year, but that's just my hunch. Either way you could return the bike.
 

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Based on my experience, I'd go LBS -> Performance -> REI.

Around here, REI is terrible for things like sizing bikes. I don't think they even offer any kind of fitting service at all, and I've heard nothing but bad things about their service.

Of course performance isn't a lot better, but for me, are one notch above. If nothing else the bikes there are generally a better value, especially if you get it during the double points promo. You can use the points to get accessories, shoes/pedals/helmet/saddlebag, etc...

For me, the locally owned LBS is the best option. They generally cost a little more, but you (usually) get a better buying experience from them.
 

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With REI, everything depends on who's in charge of the bicycle section of a particular store. This means that some REIs are fine for bikes, some are just OK and some fall into the the avoid-at-all-costs category.

Of course, there are variations between Performance stores and LBSs as well. But they don't seem to as extreme as the ones you see with REI. And often, you can turn an initially bad experience into a good one by just talking to a different sales person.
 

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I've been dealing with performance for seven years.If your spending money they have time for you if not no.I have got one return phone call from them after dozens of calls to them in the past about different issues.I have learned if I have an issue with something,i return it,THEY DON'T HAVE CUSTOMER SERVICE.Good luck
 

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Go shop all of them -- Performance, REI, a couple LBS. I think Performance has good bang for the buck, but the people I see working at those stores in my area don't ride bikes, or know much about them. So if you know what you want, Performance can be a good deal. REI has always struck me as mostly entry level stuff. I know a couple people who have bought bikes there and been happy with the bike and the customer service. Again, it probably matters who is working there. A LBS should have the best selection, and customer service, but also the highest prices. You don't need to buy a bike from a LBS to use their service department. Shop around.
 
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