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Long break, now back and a bit overwhelmed...

484 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DWM
I grew up in Germany and used to be on my MTB alot. I loved being in the woods all morning or doing the small time weekend warrior races. I quit when I moved here ten years ago, since I was on my own for the first time and had no money for this great sport anymore.

Now, ten years later and fifty pounds heavier :eek: , I'm doing much better financially and decided to get back on the bike.

I never had an FS setup, but am pretty much set on going that route now. I've narrowed it down to the Cannondale Scalpel 4 or 5, the Trek Fuel EX 7 or 8 and the Specialized FSR Comp or Elite.
I'm leaning heavily towards the C-dale. Any input from people that own either of these would be appreciated, though I know that it's very much a personal preference thing.

We have two shops here in my area and I went to both. Only one carries the C-dales and the other does so no more because of some stink about C-dale having sold out or some such...
The bad thing is that the dealer that does not sell the C-dales is my preferred one, since it's bigger and most importantly, they seem to really be into the sport and all excited to talk bikes with you, while the other store is more bleh...

I'm dragging on... My dilemmas are these. I really want to buy from my preferred store since I feel that they have earned my business with awesome customer service, but they do not carry the C-dales so it will limit my choices and they do not take part in Trek's special deal program that's going on right now.

How do you guys feel about this. What's the general consensus about being supportive to the LBS, even if it means shelling out nearly $400 more on a bike than you could if you drove about 2 hours to a store that can give you the lower prices.

Thanks so much for any help...

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Well, you have to get the bike that fits you best. If your preferred shop doesn't carry it they can't feel hurt. If they truly care about cycling they understand that you have to buy the bike you like best. Try to support them some other way, such as buying the accessories you need there.
I don't have a ready answer for you, but I will throw another consideration into the mix: Maintenance.

If you plan on maintaining the bike yourself, it doesn't really matter who you purchase from. On the other hand, if you don't feel that you have the mechanical skills to maintain your bike, or simply lack the time or inclination, then purchasing from a quality nearby shop may be the way to go. Now, in theory, you could by from shop A that's 2 hours away and have it serviced by shop B that's closer, but it's been my experience that that doesn't always work, especially when there's warranty work involved.

I would place a lot of stock in the enthusiasm and vibe that you get from the shops. If you get a "bleh" vibe from the shop, then I'd avoid them.

Another thing to do is to ask about shops in your local forum on this site. Folks are usually more than willing to relate their experiences, both good and bad.
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If you live outside a major metro area it forces you to travel outside your area to make major purchases. For $400 or more I am definitely drving some distance to make my purchase. Your selection of bikes is interesting because the Scalpel is a race XC bike, the EX-8 is XC, and the FSR is a budget Stumpjumper IMO.

I like your selection of the Scalpel because I think a light fast bike makes a lot of sense for someone who is maybe a couple pounds overweight and getting back into biking. I think the other comparable bikes should be the Giant Anthem, and Specialized Epic. The Fuel EX-8 because of the current discount being offered by Trek and any other dealer discount is pretty attractive.
Thanks for the replies guys.
I will indeed do most of the maintenance myself. It has been quite a few year since I last worked on a bike, but I'm sure I'll be able to remember or relearn everything I need to know.

As for the selection of bikes, all 3 of those have good reviews to back them up and they are all in pretty much the same price range. What's funny is that the one you see as the race bike of the 3 (I agree with this) is the one with the cheapest price tag, heh.

Thanks again for the helpful replies guys!

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