Purchasing a bike

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Anonymous's picture

Greeting fellow cyclists, I’m looking to purchase a new bike this year and narrowed it down to two online companies, supergo.com for the Scattante R-650, and bikesdirect.com for the Motobecane Grand Sprint. Both bikes are Aluminum and Ultegra equipped going for around $1,000. Does anyone have a opinion on the bikes or companies? Or offer alternatives.

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous's picture
Art (not verified)
Don't do it!


There are many potential pitfalls in buying a bike online. You don't even get to sit on the bike let alone take a test ride. What if the stem is too short or the handlebars can't be raised high enough? Are you sure you know what size you need? What is the warranty on the frame? How will the online site support you if you have problems?

The Scattante R-650 has a mix of Ultegra, 105, and Tiagra components. It also has an ""integrated headset"" which means the headset races are part of the frame. If the headset fails, you can't just replace it with any old headset. Will Scattante be supporting this bike 3 or 4 years from now? Also, the low spoke count ""paired spoke"" wheels look cool, but are not user serviceable.

Motobecane WAS a respected French bike company. They sold the rights to the name, and the bikes are now made in China I believe.

For about $1000 to $1200 you can get a good bike at a real bike shop. You might want to look at the LeMonds, Treks, Jamis, Gunnar, etc. For the extra money you will get a name brand bike with a good warranty. And the shop will help you select an appropriate bike and get you fitted properly. If the stem is wrong size for you, they will swap it out. If you have a problem down the road, they can help you out with service or warranty issues.

Just my $0.02.


Anonymous's picture
rick (not verified)
Same Scenario


its like I am stariing at a posting I put up myself. I too am looking to buy a real good road bike for the first time and I have been looking at the same 2 bikes.

As for the Motobecane, I have to agree with a few others. It's name has changed ownership and I wish t the response I got from the people at bikesdirect.com could have been more informative.

But at Supergo, I called and got some great customer service with questions about the bike and they seem to be very knowledgable. I also found some reviews on their bikes and all have been very good for Supergo and the bike in particular. Plus, size wise, you can always return the bike. Sure its a pain in the ass, but you have that option.

Good Luck

Anonymous's picture
Goon Koch (not verified)

"If you know what you want, then you know what you want, but I would try to steer any rider away from bargain basement aluminum frames. Also, many bikes at this pricepoint will cut corners on components that are not obvious (bottom bracket, hubs, rims, headset etc.) but may have an impact on the quality and durability of your ride.

The traditional approach for serious riders with a limited budget is to buy the best frame they can afford and to replace components as they wear out, or when you can afford them.

Check out www.gvhbikes.com for great values on frames in ALL sizes. You can choose your component group and the bike is built to your spec, with hand-buit wheels. I believe Gus' offerings to be among the best values out there. For around $1200 you can have a Cannondale with Campy Veloce or Shimano 105 group and no skimping. Check the frame inventory for what's available in your size.

Yes, Local Bike Shops deserve to be supported, but not everyone can find the elusive combination of good service and the right product. For example, I have a great relationship with one of my LBS's, but his line of high-end road bikes does not strike my fancy. Another shop has great bikes, but the manager subscribes inflexibly to a fitting philosophy with which I do not agree.

Bottom line: I'm not made of money either, you don't HAVE to go to a shop, but I really believe that any rider is better served with a quality frame, good bearings and hand-built wheels. You can try to save up-front, but you may end up having to spend eventually, and you still won't have the bike you want. We're just talking reliability and function here, not status, prestige or ""raceworthyness"" (whatever that is).

(disclaimer: no connection to gvhbikes)"

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)
Thanks for the inputs

"Thanks to all that replied, you have given me some food for thought. Just to give you some background, I have been riding for over 15 years in NYC and in that time have purchased a half dozen bike from LBS, but after the initial purchase, I do 90% of the maintanance and repair from changing cables, replacing components to rebuilding wheels. Of the few time I did bring my bikes in for repairs, the result were not any better had I taken the time and done them myself. As to proper bike ""fitting"", the LBS salespeople knowledge of fitting is what written in the ""How to Buy a Bike for Dummy"" book, not that there's anything wrong with that, but the final fit needs to be done by the rider for personal riding comfort and style. In addition going the mail order route, you would get better components and save on sales tax compared to purchasing at retail LBS."

Anonymous's picture
Shymember OK (not verified)
I concur ...

... with Art. Plus it's nice to have several bike shops around for repairs, emergencies. If everyone went on-line, the shops would dwindle. For accessories, I buy on-line only if the cost is a lot better than the LBS.

Anonymous's picture
Jon (not verified)

"I'm with Art, too.

Support your LBS - and make sure you get properly fit.

Plus, you're probably going to need service on that bike, too, and if you have a good relationship with your LBS (ie, if you bought your bike there), they'll take a stronger interest than if you go in and say, ""I bought this bike on the internet, and I've had nothing but trouble."")

Your LBS definitely has something in the price range you discussed - and it'll be a nice bike. Jon Dindas, a great NYCCer and A-Sig alum, works at Sid's Bikes on E 34th between 2nd and 3rd. Go see him (or anyone there) and they'll help you out. Or any other LBS..."

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Devil's advocate

I disagree. Jon Dindas and one or two others aside, I have gotten bad advice, bad attitude, and downright ignorance in almost every bike shop I have ever walked into in NYC.

Disclaimer - I built two of the three bikes I own, everything except the wheels. The third was built by a mechanic who knows his stuff but I have since replaced everything on it by myself with the exception of cutting the steerer tube on a new fork. Still, it's necessary to prove myself to most LBS employees - why do I need this? (None of your damn business). You should buy that. (No, I don't want it and it's not what I asked you for anyway). No, that won't work. (Bullshit. Go ride this bike and then tell me it doesn't work).

If you know what you want, buy it. If your LBS doesn't want to work on it find a different LBS that will - it's a service industry, let 'em provide the freekin' service.

None of the above is meant to imply that I don't support my LBS - nothing could be further from the truth. I use several, as often as I possibly can.

Anonymous's picture
Art (not verified)
How to tell a good shop from a bad shop

"There's some truth to what Evan says. Some bike shops are not worth patronizing. But it's not too hard to sort out the good from the bad.

How can you tell? The good ones will patiently answer your questions, ask about the type of riding you plan to do, etc. Then they will suggest a few different bikes within your price range and explain the differences. Finally, they will spend a good amount of time fitting you and setting up the bike. If necessary, they will order the correct size frame from the manufacturer.

The bad ones tend to steer you to a bike that they're overstocked on. They'll have you straddle the top tube and say, ""Yeah, looks fine.""

A buyer should visit several shops before making a bike purchase. The biggest ones aren't always the best. And price isn't always the most important factor.

Evan, I've built three of my five bikes myself (including the wheels). I've been riding a long time, and I know exactly what I want in a bike. I've ordered lots of components online. Still, I would never buy a complete bike that way. For a first time road bike buyer, there is no substitute for the advice and expertise of a good bike shop.



Anonymous's picture
Out of Towner (not verified)
The world beyond the internet & NYC...

Lots of good bike shops in NYC ... otherwise hop on the MetroNorth for a 30 minute ride to High Caliper in White Plains and ask for Harlan. Their prices are competitive with other shops and the service EXCEPTIONAL (they used to change components and make adjustments on your bike free for a year and probably still do!).See their website for their philosophy of retailing!

Anonymous's picture
Andy McCullough (not verified)

Any ideas on the best trainer?

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