Author Topic: Where to pick up a new bike?  (Read 2895 times)

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Offline Tieke

Where to pick up a new bike?
« on: May 30, 2009, 12:16:20 pm »
Hi everybody,

First of all, thanks for everything I've read so far, this forum and the website have been a great help in planning my upcoming trip to the USA. That said, I wish my own first post wasn't a question but something constructive. Sorry 'bout that, I'll make up for it if any of you guys ever need to know something about cycling in Europe!

So, here's the deal: I'm coming to the USA to do a solo biking trip and since my current touring bike (a Koga Miyata Randonneur) is showing heavy wear from years of service, I've decided to buy a new bike when I get to your country. The plan is to start the journey somewhere in the east. Considering airports, Boston, New York and Pittsburgh are the 3 options. From what I've understood so far, Boston looks like a good choice because there seems to be a cycle friendly environment over there. I can take 2 relaxed cycling days to do the 100-200 miles before final tuning, I really want to have the bike serviced properly before I take off. However, I've read about REI stores who offer tuning in a different store as the one you picked your bike up in. I'm not sure if they're any good however, those types of stores are usually run by people without any background in cycling sports where I come from, and they don't always have decent bikes to start with.

So that's my dilemma: what bike to pick up where. Are any of you from one of those cities and can you recommend a shop?
In terms of distance it's not important which city I pick, though if one is considerably more expensive then that's something to take into account. My money has to last 3 months.
The finished (racks, pedals,..) bike can cost about $1500 and I don't care about brands, as long as it'll take me to the west and rides smooth (duh). I'm gonna have to buy some other supplies and a new tent so preferably, I'd buy it all in one go, but that's not really important.

I had planned to just go and walk by some stores (already looked some up on the net but most websites are inadequate or non existent) to check out my options, but I would feel better coming prepared in this regard.

Thanks in advance!

Offline Rep

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009, 09:48:54 pm »
Look at REI as an option.  They have stores all over and provide both quality touring bikes and equipment.
Bicycling, Brewing & Backgammon...What a life.

Offline Tieke

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 11:41:04 am »
Alright, if they're good I will look them up when I'm there. Thank you.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2009, 12:17:17 pm »
There are ongoing debates on what bike (in your price range) to buy.  I think showing at an REI and expecting them to have a bike on hand that fits you could be a recipe for disappointment.  Maybe I am too anal. 

What you might do is research what bike you like.  There are lots of forum threads on this topic, so feel free to benefit from the research of others.  Past winner include the Surley LHT, Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, and one the REI house branded bikes.

When you reach some conclusions, the bike manufacturer's web sites should be able to give you some dealers.  Start making phone calls, and see who has the bike you want in your size.  Touring bikes are a smaller segment of the U.S. bike market,  so you might have to make arrangements to get one ordered.

It is still worth going to REI, as they will have some other stuff that you need.  I upgraded my tent last season.  I bought a Big Agnes Seed House from REI.  I have broad shoulders, so many of the other solo tent don't fit me.  I had gone into REI looking to buy an MSR Hubba, but it was too narrow.  REI did not have the Big Agnes on hand, it had to be ordered. 

If you wanted to fly into Detroit, I could recommend a couple of bike shops for you.  Someone on this list should be able to recommend a good bike shop on the East coast for you.

Danno

Offline aggie

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2009, 12:37:29 pm »
It would be a good idea to contact a bike store before arriving.  As was said earlier touring cycles are a very small part of the market.  When I was looking for a touring bike I went to about 15 stores before I found one that actually had one in stock (wrong size).  If you decide on a bike from REI you can order it online and have it delivered to the store for you to pick up.  This will insure you have the bike you want in the size you want at the time you need it.  You can then shop at the store for any other items you may need.  You may need to order a front rack and fenders at the same time you order the bike (if you plan on front panniers) as few stores stock them.

Offline DaveB

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 09:01:05 pm »
As previously noted, don't show up cold and expect any shop anywhere to have both the type and size bike you want in stock. 

REI, because of their mail-order business and multiple retail shops is a good bet to have exactly what you need IF you contact them IN ADVANCE and make arrangements for it to be at the specific REI store you will go to.

Another possibility in the Boston area is Harris Cyclery in West Newton, Mass (a Boston suburb). Harris was the shop the esteemed Sheldon Brown worked in and they are a very well equipped and well stocked store with the ability to get almost anything you want.  But, be sure to contact them in advance too. 

Getting a couple of longish rides in before starting out is a good idea as the selling shop could do any adjusting you need before you are too far away. 

After than, any shop can adjust any bike but they won't do it at no cost if you didn't buy it from them.  If you haven't developed at least a medium level of bike mechanic's skill, now would be a good time to start learning.  One thing you will discover about the US is that there are a lot of really open spaces so being fairly self-sufficient is a great asset. 

Offline Tieke

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2009, 09:58:00 am »
Hey everyone,

you're all absolutly right of course, I'm used to plenty of touring bikes being in stock here but that's an insane luxury. I have contacted some bike shops and there are some options (even some good ones!). I haven't contacted Harris Cyclery as I hadn't found them on the net, but which tour cyclist doesn't know Sheldon Brown, even here in Europe! Thanks for the tip, I'll give them a call as well!

My flight is booked for Boston, I'm sure I can find what I need over there. I've planned to cycle around a couple of days, get used to the time difference, adjust the bike, goggle in awe at your country, etc etc. But thank you for the offer of a Detroit list paddleboy!

I've had a lot of practise on my gradually disintegrating Koga Miyata on other trips, so I'm confident I can tackle most common mechanical problems. Keeping fingers crossed that the truly important bits, like -for example- my frame, stay intact.

Thanks again!

Offline DaveB

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2009, 09:29:40 am »
Here is the web site for Harris Cyclery:  http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/

It gives their shop location, e-mail, phone and other needed info. 

Offline Tieke

Re: Where to pick up a new bike?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 07:14:55 am »
Got 'em, thanks Dave!