Shopping for a new bike is incredibly fun but at the same time aggravating. The fantasization portion is the best. Each time you come across a potential choice, a zillion miles of mental film footage runs in your head, featuring you on the new ride rinsing it out. While the dreaming is fun, it also creates a problem if you cannot separate your utopian visions from the reality of what you are really capable of, and more importantly, what you really NEED in a new bike. Often, the most expensive high tech super mega mobile is not the most PRACTICAL choice. When I worked as a bicycle salesman, practicality was the central focus of my selling technique. I didn’t oversell you. I didn’t send you out the door an a carbon framed 19lb time trial bike if you expressed your needs to be more of the “wanna ride once or twice a month on the local bike path with my kids” type. It took years to develop my sales technique to where I could get at the root of what you REALLY wanted to use a bike for…and often, the thing that closed the sale was that I put people on a bike that cost less than they were originally THOUGHT they had to spend. You might think this was bad for the shop….after all, we should always try to make as much money as possible right? Well, honestly, new bikes were not the real bread and butter at our store…and probably isn’t in most shops. Percentage wise, inner tubes are routinely marked up over 200% from what they wholesale at, where new bikes weren’t even bringing in 30% of what they cost. Also, the cheaper bikes in a manufacturers line usually net a higher percentage than the flagships. Parts and accessories ran the gamut percentage-wise between these two categories. Tires are a pretty good markup. So are grips, brake/shifting cables + housing, water bottle cages and water bottles. Things like seat posts, handlebars, saddles, derailleurs, chains, and replacement wheels all fall into a category of not quite as much markup as the more disposable parts. I don’t know if it is like this at ALL shops, but we made MOST of our money on repair labor charges.
BUT we are getting away from the topic here.
To summarize my conundrum, right now I am bike shopping, and entertaining visions of occasional dirt jumping sessions, while in reality my riding will be much more of the cross country variety. No problem right? I need to not worry about the dirt jumping dreamtime that won’t really happen and get a trail bike. But therein lies another CLASSIC problem…do I go full suspension or hardtail? UGH, this is a tough one to narrow down. I’ve never had suspension of any kind, so EITHER choice is going to be an improvement over the tooth rattling the GT Talera gives me every time I hit a root on the trail. That being said, it IS a bike, not a Cadillac, andI expect to get jostled around a bit during a ride. A hardtail will be LIGHTER, and also will be more practical for non trail use, which I do fairly often. I’ll still have the ol’ Talera for scooting around town though, so multi surface use isn’t THAT big a factor.
Yesteday I rode a couple of bikes, and to my suprise, the one I liked BEST was from a company that I never envisioned myself being that into. The Mongoose Otero Super…
BUT, I am also into (the idea of) this Gary Fisher, which is sort of a cross between a dirt jumper and a XC trail bike. Unfortunately, I haven’t ridden the Fisher, and the local dealer only has something close to it that I can ride, not the actual bike.
No matter what, I’d like to make a choice and a buy SOON.