This weekend I took a plunge and plopped some money down on a shiny new bike. My Saturday post was the impetus that led to some in depth research to develop an understanding of what I was looking for and what I was willing to spend. So after writing that post Friday night I stayed up way later than I should have (4 AM) reading about bikes and gears and parts and whatever else my mind latched onto. I realized the next morning that a visit to my local bike shop was in order. I was uncertain if my future triathlon bike would be found, but I was hoping to be able to further understand what I was trying to purchase.
But before venturing to my local bike shop I visited their website to look at inventory and financing options. I wanted to have a little knowledge regarding what I was looking for before venturing into the store. I realized that my assumptions might be totally wrong, but I like working from what I know and understand. So I found a couple of possible matches based on the following criteria :
- Parts and components seemed to be a big deal – Shimano Tiagra at a minimum even though 105 might be better.
- Aluminum Frame was a must, keep cost down and it would hold my large weight better.
- road bike – obviously
- Was not sure about the wheels but I knew I was going to have to ask about this and other matters regarding to my bigger ‘Clydesdale’ build.
That was my basic list of what I thought were the important parts of buying the bike.
I also found the shop was having some really good sales and was offering 6 months same as cash. I know from experience I am very disciplined when it come to purchasing items this way. So I figured my max limit would be 1500$ as that would make my payments at a goal of paying it off in the allotted time 250$ or less per month. Realize that money would also have to include gear and essentials as well and if I was below my limit, that would be good also.
So armed with this list I went to my local Performance Bike shop and hesitantly walked up to the sales representative to get a dialog going about bikes and possibly purchasing. First thing established was I would need a 60 to 61 inch frame. Secondly I told him my budget and range. Thirdly I asked about the fact I am a big guy and how can I get a bike to last with someone my size. Luckily for me he has dealt with people heavier than me and recommended a tire with more spokes, like in the range of 32 and crossed (might have terminology wrong). While naturally lighter people were getting rid of weight and going fewer spokes, I would need more.
Three hours later and after looking at several different bikes and component combinations I had decided on a couple of things:
- I definitely did not want Shimano Sora components, especially the shifters. I honestly do not understand who designed these or what they were thinking.
- Some Tiagra parts were ok, but I preferred the feel of the 105 shifters and derailers to the Tiagra components.
- Aluminum butted frame was a good way to go.
- 32 spoke wheels, definitely
If you have never shopped for a middle end or just above beginner level road bike, you would be amazed how many combinations these bikes come in. Also, you would not believe this, but few of the bikes in the price range and above included pedals. The trick was finding one that had most of the components I wanted within my price limit that I could alter if something was not included.
After a very patient non-commissioned sales representative spent all this time with me it came down to two bikes, both with a great sales price sticker. One was at the upper end but needed nothing additional, the GT Series 2; the other was the Fuji Roubaix performance exclusive model which if you compare to Fuji’s listed base had some nice 105 upgrades, seat upgrades and crankset upgrades. Turns out the GT was not available in my size so I went with the Fuji Roubaix Performance exclusive. (The specs can be found on the associated link page). Unfortunately they had to order it from the warehouse so I have to wait a week or so for it to come in.
This model comes with the desired light wheels Clydesdales do not need so I figured I would have to trade out the wheels and sell them to get the money back to buy new wheels. I did not have to worry about this as the manager said they would buy the wheels so I would not have sell them. The representative checking me out under his breath kept saying how generous the offer amount was.
With the bike chosen I then had to get approved for the financing. That was quick and hassle free. I was approved way above my limit and while tempting to go and get something a little more, I like being under my budget before buying some additional things I would need. I also got their club membership as it gives you 10% points to use later on all purchases and I planned to use this to once again keep the over all number down. So besides buying the bike I also payed for a two year maintenance plan as it costs the same as a tune up and comes with 2 tune ups and 2 lube and chain service. Then I grabbed the following gear:
All that is left is a helmet, multi tool,pump, cages and flat fix repair which I will buy with my points (130 bucks worth of points). All together it costed me 1300$. Not too bad at all. Now I just have to wait for it to come in and the doctor to give me an all clear. I might also have to cave in and get at least some padded shorts and maybe a jersey. I will admit I have gotten some great advice here and I think I made a good decision. I still am looking for sites that can give me more information about bikes and riding as I still feel compelled to learn this stuff. I am now searching for local rides and I am ready for some hard lessons using clipless pedals as I have read elsewhere and on using gears. Til next time.