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  1. #1
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    Question 2012 bikesdirect bikes - Vent Noir or Fens?

    So, I've been looking (or watching, rather) bikesdirect.com for something in my budget (+/- $800 US) and I would like a Motobecane Grand Sprint, but they're are either sold out or don't have my size (56cm). I would like a bike soon.. sooner than later and have been looking at the 2012 Windsor Fens and 2012 Motobecane Vent Noir.

    Links: Moto: Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Motobecane Vent Noir
    Fens: Save up to 60% off Shimano equipped Road Bikes - Windsor Fens Shimano Equipped Bicycles Save up to 60% off List price

    I have researched and researched, and I'm 5' 10.5" and measured myself to be about a 56cm frame. I have been having trouble 100% understanding components so I wanted to ask for advice: which bike seems a better set up?

    From what I've read, the 105 components are of better quality.

    vent noir
    frame | semi-compact al
    fork | kinesis straightblade 12k cf 1.125"
    crank | fsa veru al 50/39/30T
    bottom braket | square taper chromo spindle
    pedals | clipless
    front derail | FD-4603 Tiagra 31.8mm
    rear derail | NEW Shim RD-5700A-L 105 GS
    shifter | |Tiagra st-4603
    cassette | cs-4600 tiagra 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30T
    chain | kmc x10sl superlight narrow
    hubs | XRP Pro
    spokes | stainless
    rims | XRP PRO, 6061T6 dbl wall
    tires | continental ultrasport 700c
    brakes | tektro R520 49mm
    brake lever | tiagra st-4603
    head | cane creek threadless 1.125"
    handlebar | Ritchey Biomax alum 31.8mm
    stem | Ritchey Comp 4axis

    fens
    frame | al
    fork | kinesis sarbon fiber 1.125"
    crank | FAS vero al 50/39/30t
    bottom bracket | sealed cartridge bearing ST
    pedals | clipless
    front derail | 105 / 5700 for triple
    rear derail | 105 / 5700 for triple
    shifter | 105 STI 10sp ST5700
    cassette | 105 HG5700 12-25T
    chain | CN5700 HG
    hubs | Formula Alum for 10sp
    spokes | stainless
    rims | Alex DA22 Alum
    tires | Michelin Dynamic 700x23
    brakes | Tektro R530
    brake lever | 105 ST5700
    head | Threadless sealed ball baring
    handlebar | Ritchey Comp 6061 Ergo
    stem | Ritchey Comp Threadless 1.125"

    I understand it might not be as easy to just post specs, but I wanted to get someone's opinion of what's a better deal. They are both priced at $799 but the Fens has a $100 discount for who knows how much longer. Is the $699 price for 105 parts better? Does everything add up to be a decent bike?

    This is what I want, but IDK when/if they'll have my size...plus 2 extra weeks until I can buy this bike.(Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - 2011 Motobecane Grand Sprint)

    I saw they still have 54cm left. I might have to remeasure myself tonight to see if the 54 will fit. Otherwise, what is my best option between the two? And I have not ruled out buying a used bike from Craigslist, however, I would like to be a new bike that if there's any defects, I can send it back.

    Thanks!
    Goblox

    tl;dr - Can't choose between 2012 Fens or Vent Noir. Grand Sprint not available/in my size as of today. Don't want to wait.
    Last edited by Goblox; 08-07-2012 at 03:44 PM. Reason: title was vague

  2. #2
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    The Vent Noir looks like it might be a little more relaxed due to a taller head tube. Hard to tell as the Fens doesn't list head tube height. But 17cm head tube with a 56cm top tube is neither racy nor super upright.

    The gearing should be noted. Vent Noir has a 12-30 whereas the Fens has a 12-25. That Grand Sprint you linked to has a slightly longer top tube in the same size but more importantly a massively stupid big cassette at 11-32 on a compact crank. The triple with a 12-30 would be a MUCH better option than a compact with an 11-32. The 12-30 with triple actually is a lower gear than the 11-32 with a compact and you get better gearing and you'll have a better ride. Even better, unless you plan on climbing a lot of hills or mountains, a triple with 12-25 is actually a really nice combo. You only have one less lower gear with the 12-25 compared to the 12-30 and much tighter gearing.

    105 is better than Tiagra but I'd go based on riding position. Go with the Vent Noir if you want a little more upright and the Fens if you don't mind leaning forward a bit more. If this doesn't matter, go for the Vent if you are thinking you need every bottom gear possible (even just one more) or the Fens if you want a tighter cassette with more single tooth jumps. On the flip side, you can always swap out the cassette later at extra cost but you can't change the frame geo...

  3. #3
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    Or, you could get a Jamis Satellite Sport for $700.00 from a local bike shop, and then you wouldn't have to pay shipping, for the bike to be assembled, and maybe not even for the fitting.

    And are you positive that bike's going to be the right size? Absolutely positive?

    Have you had a chance to test-ride? Every bike is different in person.

    Plus, Jamis is a great company and the bikes are high quality. (The one I linked to is steel. Love love love steel. Smooth ride...The Jamis Ventura would be similar in construction to the ones you are looking at, but steel is higher quality).

    JM2C.
    Last edited by aureliajulia; 08-07-2012 at 04:52 PM.

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    riverc0il: Thank you for explaining some of the gears for me. This def helps me lead toward the Fens because it's not very hilly where I'll be riding mostly and I prefer the less "relaxed" position while riding.

    aureliajulia: After looking at the Jamis site, I feel like I'm getting more bike (component wise) in my price range in the Fens. I may be looking at this wrong b/c if I were to buy the Jamis from a LBS I'm aware that I would be properly measured and covered by the LBS (assuming they're a decent shop). And I do like their Ventura.

    I thank you both for replying and weighing in. I'm currently leaning toward the Fens

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblox View Post
    ... I'm 5' 10.5" and measured myself to be about a 56cm frame.

    I wanted to get someone's opinion of what's a better deal.

    I saw they still have 54cm left. I might have to remeasure myself tonight to see if the 54 will fit.

    I have not ruled out buying a used bike from Craigslist, however, I would like to be a new bike that if there's any defects, I can send it back.
    In your budget, you can find a bike at a LBS and take the guesswork out of sizing yourself, which (based on the bold statement) I suspect you are guessing at. And FWIW I've seen cyclists your height riding bikes between 52cm and 58 for a variety of reasons (bike sizing varies, rider proportions/ fitness/ flexibility differ, personal preferences in bike set up differ...)

    Also, don't forget the hidden costs of buying online. One received, the bike has to have final assembly done, the drivetrain tuned, and the bike fitted to you (but sizing has to be right for that to go well). Who's going to perform all these? If your LBS, there'll be a charge, so calculate that into your online savings. And if you guess wrong on sizing, you'll be faced with 'making the bike fit' (which is a bad scenario) or sending it back - at your expense.

    As far as buying new online and 'sending it back' if there's some defect, it doesn't work quite that simply. First, BD will likely ask for pics, then (at your expense) you'll send the bike back for assessment. From there, it's BD's prerogative on just how the warranty claim is processed. If they decide it was 'user error', you'll probably be offered another bike at a reduced price.

    True story: My SO purchased a Specialized Vita from a LBS and the freewheel basically self destructed on her first ride. I brought the wheelset to the LBS, explained what happened and the mechanic pointed to comparable wheelsets up against a wall and said to pick one and they'd process the claim with Spec separately to get us back on the road. I brought the wheelset home, installed them on the bike and all was well.

    Try that scenario buying online.

  6. #6
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    I was going to tell you to take a look at the Gravity Liberty X since that is what I ride and love the Sram drivetrain, but its currently sold out too.

    Also, check Bike Island if you don't mind a few scratches in exchange for saving some extra cash.

    They currently have an Ultegra equipped bike in a 56 for $800. The only catch is that it has scuffed cranks and dropouts. BikeIsland.com - Bicycle Parts, Accessories and Clothing at Affordable Prices with Free Shipping
    Last edited by RaptorTC; 08-07-2012 at 06:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aureliajulia View Post
    Or, you could get a Jamis Satellite Sport for $700.00 from a local bike shop, and then you wouldn't have to pay shipping, for the bike to be assembled, and maybe not even for the fitting.
    The guy is shopping for an AL bike and you recommend steel. Right.

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    In your budget, you can find a bike at a LBS and take the guesswork out of sizing yourself, which (based on the bold statement) I suspect you are guessing at.
    An LBS WILL take the guess work out of sizing but NOT at the same budget. 105 LBS bikes generally are around $1000+. If the OP does a tune at the shop, he adds $50 to his price which means the LBS bike is 1/3 more than the BD bike. Will the BD bike be a perfect fit if the OP is guessing? Maybe, maybe not. But it will probably be close and ridable and maybe a stem will need to get swapped out and it is still cheaper. That bike even comes with pedals (junk pedals but as a starter bike, that is still an expense that can be avoided.

    Look, if someone wants to buy AL instead of steel and they want to buy online instead of from the LBS to get a great value for their money, that is their choice. Address their question, don't question what and why they are doing it. That just isn't helpful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverc0il View Post
    An LBS WILL take the guess work out of sizing but NOT at the same budget. 105 LBS bikes generally are around $1000+. If the OP does a tune at the shop, he adds $50 to his price which means the LBS bike is 1/3 more than the BD bike. Will the BD bike be a perfect fit if the OP is guessing? Maybe, maybe not. But it will probably be close and ridable and maybe a stem will need to get swapped out and it is still cheaper. That bike even comes with pedals (junk pedals but as a starter bike, that is still an expense that can be avoided.

    Look, if someone wants to buy AL instead of steel and they want to buy online instead of from the LBS to get a great value for their money, that is their choice. Address their question, don't question what and why they are doing it. That just isn't helpful.
    As long as the dialogue is constructive and within RBR's TOS, what's helpful to another member is a matter of opinion. And this being a forum, you, me, the OP and others are free to offer alternate opinions/ thoughts/ ideas. Just by the fact that the OP has posted in a public forum gives us that right. And IMO your attempt at stifling those opinions is less constructive than anyone offering them.

    That said, I disagree with much of your post and you miss many of the details I've offered in mine. The added expense of buying online isn't JUST about a $50 tune up. The bike has to be assembled, tuned and fitted, and no shop I know of provides those services for $50. For the remainder of the pitfalls of buying online, I refer you to my previous post. It's all there.

    As to fit, the OP is obviously guessing at his sizing requirements and no 'new stem' is going to transform an ill sized bike to a well fitting one, no matter who provides that service. And IME an ill fitting bike isn't going to get ridden much, so no 'great deal' there.

    As to options based on price range, I never said the OP could buy a new 105 equipped bike from a LBS, but with a budget of $800 +/- that he posted initially, he could easily find a new entry level and probably closeout/ previous years Tiagra equipped bike, get the value added services a LBS offers and end up with a bike that performs and fits as it should - with no guesswork.
    Last edited by PJ352; 08-08-2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: correction..

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    The bike has to be assembled, tuned and fitted
    I have mechanical knowledge so assembly wont be difficult. Also, I called my LBS today and they said that an adjustment would be $35 after its assembled.

    I'm honestly not sure if they'll fit it, but I'll ask when I bring it to them. If I need any additional parts, I don't mind purchasing them.

    @RaptorTC Thanks for the link. I checked Bike Island and keep watching Craigslist. If I buy used, I'll probably get something from Craigslist so I can inspect it and ride it before purchasing.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblox View Post
    I have mechanical knowledge so assembly wont be difficult. Also, I called my LBS today and they said that an adjustment would be $35 after its assembled.

    I'm honestly not sure if they'll fit it, but I'll ask when I bring it to them. If I need any additional parts, I don't mind purchasing them.
    Sounds good. As long as you go into this knowing what it entails and how to avoid the pitfalls, the odds of faring well improve.

    Since pinning down your sizing requirements seem to be an issue for you, what I suggest you do is tell your LBS your plans and ask that they do a standard fitting. It may cost you ~$50, but once it's done and you note the year, make, model and frame size of the test bike, you can then compare the geo numbers (not the frame size) to online bikes of interest. The closer the number are to the test bike, the closer your fit will be and you can then order with more confidence.

    BTW, it's important to get sizing right, because the end result (fit) will be noticeably better. Conversely, get sizing wrong and the fitter will be forced to make some unnecessary compromises - something to avoid if at all possible.

    HTH....

  11. #11
    AKA: Sheila Muirenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverc0il View Post
    The guy is shopping for an AL bike and you recommend steel. Right.

    Steel is far better than aluminum. It's good advice. Componentry isn't just about Tiagra vs 105, it's about the frameset. The most important component on a bike is the frameset.

    FYI, I owned a Chicago Steel Schwinn Le Tour (road bike) from about 1980-1988. That was from age 10-18. I rode RAGBRAI's V111-X1 on that bike. And it was smoother, much smoother than the two full carbon roadies I own now. One of which is a Cannondale Synapse with 105 drivetrain and Flightdeck shifters, the other a brand new Pinarello with SRAM Force/Rival.

    My advice is still the Jamis Satellite Sport or one up, the Jamis Satellite. I've tested both, and wanted both. At the time, I didn't need a new bike and didn't have the spare cash.

    I may still get one.

    To OP: I've had experience with bike shops not sizing me correctly, and not fitting me the way they were supposed to. If all goes perfectly, you may get lucky with your plan and end up with a good fitting bike. But I think you need to shop for the LBS before you consider what bike to get. When you find the right shop, look at their bikes and buy from them. Especially the first time out.

    At this point in your riding life, fit is far more important than any of the components. You'll go faster and have a better ride on a lower grade bike that fits than a higher level one that doesn't. So you pay for expertise rather than something a little more shiny.
    Last edited by aureliajulia; 08-08-2012 at 07:48 PM.

  12. #12
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    90% of the bike from BikesDirect is assembled. If you can turn an allen wrench, then you can put the remainder of it together easily.

    The drivetrain on my BD bike needed to adjusting at all. So don't worry about having to take it to a LBS for final tuning.

    And there is not tax (unless you live in the same state) and no shipping fees for a BD bike.

    Just amke sure to properly measure yourself according to their website for the particular bike and then you WILL be absolutely sure. Then all your need to do is get the seat set up correctly.

    And, i had to laugh at the "steel frame" recommendation almost as much as what their website said about the Jamis:

    "Nothing rides like steel, which magically smooths roads, adds some spring to your pedaling, and makes those miles magically disappear." - LOL!! Ha ha ha ha hahhhhhhhh!!!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Klim View Post
    90% of the bike from BikesDirect is assembled. If you can turn an allen wrench, then you can put the remainder of it together easily.

    The drivetrain on my BD bike needed to adjusting at all. So don't worry about having to take it to a LBS for final tuning.

    And there is not tax (unless you live in the same state) and no shipping fees for a BD bike.

    Just amke sure to properly measure yourself according to their website for the particular bike and then you WILL be absolutely sure. Then all your need to do is get the seat set up correctly.

    And, i had to laugh at the "steel frame" recommendation almost as much as what their website said about the Jamis:

    "Nothing rides like steel, which magically smooths roads, adds some spring to your pedaling, and makes those miles magically disappear." - LOL!! Ha ha ha ha hahhhhhhhh!!!!
    Take away the series of assumptions and oversimplifications and this post would be nothing at all.

    The OP has posted that he has some mechanical knowledge, so taken at his word final assembly isn't a problem, but that's not to say that just because your bike came out of the box tuned, all will. I've read where some BD bikes arrived damaged, so does that mean ALL BD bikes do? Not hardly.

    Re: your tax/ shipping fees comment, no one ever said there were any. I posted that IF the bike needed to be returned, shipping is on the OP's dime.

    Re: your comments "Just amke sure to properly measure yourself according to their website for the particular bike and then you WILL be absolutely sure. Then all your need to do is get the seat set up correctly".

    I would respond, overall, a cavalier approach to sizing and fit. No one's going to be sure of much basing an order on BD's sizing chart (with overlap to cover themselves) that only uses height as a determining factor. And considering there are three key fit related saddle adjustments (height/ tilt/ fore, aft) that profoundly affect the riders comfort/ efficiency on the bike, IMO your statement is an oversimplification, at best.

    Lastly, if ad copy amuses you so, tell me the BD model you purchased and I'll go to their website, cut and paste some of their ad copy and post here. I know it makes me chuckle.

    OP: re sizing, I'll refer you back to my previous post. Opt for a standard LBS fittng on a test bike to determine your sizing requirements to better your odds of getting a well fitting bike.

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    BD pros and cons

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    The OP has posted that he has some mechanical knowledge, so taken at his word final assembly isn't a problem, but that's not to say that just because your bike came out of the box tuned, all will. I've read where some BD bikes arrived damaged, so does that mean ALL BD bikes do? Not hardly.
    I recently walked my daughter and son-in-law through the purchase of BD bikes. I walked them through the sizing, component selection, and assembly over the phone. They are fairly novice and so needed some outside expertise. I'm pretty sure they saved significant $$ compared to a bike shop but I surely would not have recommended they go this route without that outside help.

    The bikes arrived in fine shape, went together well, and needed minimal adjustment all of which I coached via the phone and video chats. After riding not that many miles, one of the bikes had it's rear wheel go out of true. Fortunately I was there at the time - when I went to touch up the wheel I found several loose spokes (NDS) and improper dish of the wheel. Easily fixed by someone with the skills but it would have been some $$ at the bike shop otherwise.

    I think BD is a fine way to buy a bike if you have the skills and knowledge or know someone who does. Otherwise you could be in for some "complications" that might wipe out your savings. From what the OP has said, I am leery about his prospects with a mail-order bike. It all could turn out fine or there could be issues that he would be challenged to deal with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    I recently walked my daughter and son-in-law through the purchase of BD bikes. I walked them through the sizing, component selection, and assembly over the phone. They are fairly novice and so needed some outside expertise. I'm pretty sure they saved significant $$ compared to a bike shop but I surely would not have recommended they go this route without that outside help.

    The bikes arrived in fine shape, went together well, and needed minimal adjustment all of which I coached via the phone and video chats. After riding not that many miles, one of the bikes had it's rear wheel go out of true. Fortunately I was there at the time - when I went to touch up the wheel I found several loose spokes (NDS) and improper dish of the wheel. Easily fixed by someone with the skills but it would have been some $$ at the bike shop otherwise.

    I think BD is a fine way to buy a bike if you have the skills and knowledge or know someone who does. Otherwise you could be in for some "complications" that might wipe out your savings. From what the OP has said, I am leery about his prospects with a mail-order bike. It all could turn out fine or there could be issues that he would be challenged to deal with.
    Thanks for sharing. I think the OP (and possibly others in similar situations) needs to get different perspectives on this and you provided one.

    IMO the irony of BD (and other online retailers) is that the folks best equipped to buy from them are experienced cyclists/ wrenches. But the ones most drawn to them (primarily due to their perceived value for the money) are noobs - not so well equipped to handle some of the problems they can encounter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    just because your bike came out of the box tuned, all will. I've read where some BD bikes arrived damaged, so does that mean ALL BD bikes do? Not hardly.
    With the saving in cost, I would take that small chance, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    Re: your tax/ shipping fees comment, no one ever said there were any. I posted that IF the bike needed to be returned, shipping is on the OP's dime.
    Post # 3: "Or, you could get a Jamis Satellite Sport for $700.00 from a local bike shop, and then you wouldn't have to pay shipping... "
    And on the return shipping, again, I would take a chance, again.
    Even for the few times you may need to return items from multiple purchases, you still end up saving money.
    And on the tax, I'm just saying...

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    I would respond, overall, a cavalier approach to sizing and fit. No one's going to be sure of much basing an order on BD's sizing chart (with overlap to cover themselves) that only uses height as a determining factor. And considering there are three key fit related saddle adjustments (height/ tilt/ fore, aft) that profoundly affect the riders comfort/ efficiency on the bike, IMO your statement is an oversimplification, at best.
    Once you're in the ball park with getting the correct size, you only need to tweak it or at most, purchase a few inexpensive items like a stem. People who are hardcore aren't going to buy a BD bike anyway, and won't know to much what their missing by not have their bike set up with everything adjusted to the exact millimeter and tenth of a degree. I can easily hop on my buddies bike and ride it for 20 miles without needing to do any adjustments. It's not perfect, but good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    Lastly, if ad copy amuses you so, tell me the BD model you purchased and I'll go to their website, cut and paste some of their ad copy and post here. I know it makes me chuckle.
    LOL! BD's ads sure are tacky! LOL!! But no one was agreeing with their ads. I copied and pasted because someone was agreeing with Jamis's "steel is better than aluminum" statement.

    My point is that the OP obviously wants to save money yet still make sure he is getting the best value for his $$. People who are hardcore in their hobby almost always tell their friends (asking for advice on what to get) to spend more money on better stuff that won't make that much of a difference.

    Someone says their budget is $200 on a set of speakers. Hardcore audio guys says "For only a $100 more you can get..." I've read a number of times where someone says "It's only $200 more for a MUCH better bike! I wouldn't think twice of spending an extra 200!" Yeah, if the bike is $4000! But but for a $700 bike up to $900, that is a much higher percentage! Over 20%. May as well say, instead of having a $700 budge, that your budge it $500!

    Another example is telling your buddy to spend $6000 on a set of stereo speakers instead of $5000. He's not going to hear any difference, even if the more expensive one is better to me and I can hear the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Klim View Post

    Even for the few times you may need to return items from multiple purchases, you still end up saving money.
    And on the tax, I'm just saying...


    .
    News flash.You still owe the tax. Items bought online or out-of-state fall under the self-reported tax clauses of most state tax codes. Basically, anything destined for use, storage, or consumption in you home state has to be reported on your state tax form.

    It's called a Use Tax.

    Someone else said you only have to pay the tax if it is purchased online and the vendor is in the same state. Wrong. The vendor is legally obligated to collect state tax from anyone purchasing in that same state. They are not obligated to collect tax from out-of-state purchases because it would be impossible for them to figure out all the sales taxes for all the different states and regions within states, and set up ways to pay them all. They'd be out of business with the complications. So the obligation falls on the buyer.

    The tax is still owed.


    You get away without paying, until you are audited. Then there is a nice paper trail, since even if you used paypal, there is a record. They can audit your bank records. Then not only will you have to pay tax, you will have to pay fines and penalties and interest. Which usually total much more than the original tax.

    It's illegal and called tax evasion. They can do this for up to 7 years of online purchases. Look it up.

    Even in the states where this requirement has not (yet) been included on it's tax form, the tax is still owed. Of course, if you live in Oregon or a state that has no sales tax, or an exemption for Use Tax, then yes, you don't have to pay.
    Last edited by aureliajulia; 08-10-2012 at 04:06 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Klim View Post
    Even for the few times you may need to return items from multiple purchases, you still end up saving money.
    Because you minimize the hidden costs of buying online, it stands to reason you believe this. As I and others have pointed out, there's a level of post purchase support that the buyer needs, and either taps a friend/ relative that's 'in the know' or their LBS - and the latter's services aren't going to be free. The likely result? A narrowing gap in savings between an LBS and online purchase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Klim View Post
    Once you're in the ball park with getting the correct size, you only need to tweak it or at most, purchase a few inexpensive items like a stem. People who are hardcore aren't going to buy a BD bike anyway, and won't know to much what their missing by not have their bike set up with everything adjusted to the exact millimeter and tenth of a degree. I can easily hop on my buddies bike and ride it for 20 miles without needing to do any adjustments. It's not perfect, but good enough.
    I don't know where to begin with this one....
    How does one get the correct size? From a BD chart? That's far from a guarantee of success. But you're generally correct that getting the right size (and geo) will get a rider close in fit, requiring tweaks. However, I disagree that one has to be hardcore to notice a few mm's difference in fit. When I install a stem a few mm's too long on my bike, my anatomy doesn't much care how hardcore I am, but I know my lower back aches.

    Re: the bold statement, try that same bike on an appreciably longer ride. I suspect you'd hold a different opinion. That's where the discomfort of a bad fit and the benefits of a good fit come into play.

    Also disagree that hardcore cyclists don't buy BD bikes. The stats may tilt in your favor, but I know of several long standing members here on RBR who are avid cyclists that have, and give a balanced viewpoint of the advantages/ disadvantages. For them, the disadvantages are minimized, because most know how to wrench and know their sizing/ fit requirements, so know what to look for in geo. Noobs, seldom know either, thus my recommendation that the OP (and others in similar situations) opt for a standard fitting (~$50) at their LBS, which betters their odds of getting sizing right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Klim View Post
    LOL! BD's ads sure are tacky! LOL!! But no one was agreeing with their ads. I copied and pasted because someone was agreeing with Jamis's "steel is better than aluminum" statement.
    Well, ok. But IIRC the poster also recommended a Jamis Ventura, which is alu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Klim View Post
    My point is that the OP obviously wants to save money yet still make sure he is getting the best value for his $$. People who are hardcore in their hobby almost always tell their friends (asking for advice on what to get) to spend more money on better stuff that won't make that much of a difference.
    I'm not telling the OP to spend more, I (and some others) are providing information that will hopefully result in him making a more educated purchasing decision, either course he takes. I'm going on the premise that he'll ultimately buy online, so am providing a method of purchasing that (I believe) will better the odds of getting him the most value for the money - a bike that fits well.

  19. #19
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    A little input from me-
    My brother is around your height (5'9.5") and he has a Vent Noir in the 56cm size. It's a great bike, it's given him many thousands of trouble free miles and it actually looks very nice in person. Yes, the Tiagra shifters on the Moto are a downgrade from the 105 shifters on the Fens, but the XRP wheels you get with the Vent Noir are IMO better than the Alex rims on the Fens, and if you really care you can find a used pair of 105 shifters on Ebay for less than the price of a wheel upgrade.

  20. #20
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    Smile

    Goblox: I ordered a Windsor Fens this week; awaiting its delivery. So I can't yet comment on its quality, but it specs out really well for the 699 price (except for the wheels and tires, which I am expecting to replace, but that seems to be a common issue with many bikes.)

    I'm comfortable assembling and adjusting it, so unless it weighs as much as a cow I'll be happy with a great deal over a brand name from an LBS. And the LBS's I spoke with were cool with working on a BD bike if I ever need it. Glad to give them my service business.

    I also tested Specialized Secteur with 105s: loved it but 1700 bucks, and couldn't find the Apex model anywhere locally. Still for 699 I think I got a "comparable" bike from BD. Not better, but a good deal for the money.

    Tested a Giant Defy 5 at LBS priced at 650. Also a nice bike, but with bottom-end Shimanos. Would it work for me? Probably in my situation yes. I know that avid cyclists and frequent RBR posters would rag on these components, but for some people they would work fine.

    Which is the essence of most of the responses to purchase questions that I see here on RBR. Everybody seems to have a strong opinion. Taken in totality, the result is that the answer to just about all our questions (and I'm a noob learning this stuff as I get back into cycling) is that it depends.

    It depends on lots of variables that are unique to each person's situation. The advice in the RBR forums is great. Priceless in fact. I searched and found posts about all the bike models I was considering. (Except this post didn't show up on my searches. Oops, it might have affected my decision, but in the end I decided I'd prefer a curved carbon fork over the straight forks on the Motos.) Valuable pros and cons for each, and ultimately made up my mind to go with the Windsor Fens from BD because it looked "just about right" for my needs, I can assemble a bike and adjust most things by myself, I'm not planning on entering any races but just want to get out and challenge myself and get fit.

    Yes I worry that by not going with a "brand name" from an LBS people will point and laugh at me on the bike paths. But I'm happy that I got a good bike at a great deal (even factoring in replacing the tires and possibly a tuneup at the LBS.) And at the very least, the BD bike will last me long enough to decide if I want to upgrade to a brand name after I learn a little more about what kind of geometry, components, gear ratios, frame, etc., I want because frankly I have little clue at this point and no amount of talking to an LBS or RBR forums will answer that -- I need to ride a road bike for awhile and then I'll know.

    (Been trudging up and down the local hills on a heavy steel Diamondback flat bar hybrid in one size too small. It's a workout and sometimes the hills make me cry, but I've dropped 15 lbs in 6 weeks so the benefits of pedaling the heavy frame are worth it to get me back into fighting shape. That's one advantage of a steel frame IMO!)

    riverc0il: Nice response. Good info. Thanks!

    Now I'll open a post about what tires to get to replace the cheapos on the BD bike and hopefully the discussion won't get ugly!

    Thanks all!

  21. #21
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    I had ordered the 54cm Fens and it fits great! **EDIT: I was originally fitted on a 54cm Scott s40 Speedster**

    The frame has a little aero touch to it that you cant see in the pictures and overall, the bike looks awesome. My wheels came in pretty true and my derailleurs needed a little bit of adjustment, but worked for an initial test ride.

    Went for a 20mi ride today and noticed the seat isn't super comfortable, so that'll be the next thing I replace. I'm not a fan of having to lug around an extra pair of shoes for when I get to my destination, so I bought a pair of the Power Grips pedals and they're amazing.

    Braking is great. Everything fit well and was simple to put together. I'd highly recommend this bike to any of my friends. It's really light (in comparison to other bikes I've owned and rode) and gets attention. Of course people who know a lot about bikes frown on the stickers on the side, but idgaf about stickers. When I say how much I paid for it people respond with "really!?"

    I didn't realize (but should have known) the tires had no air in them and I didn't have a pump. I suggest you get one that can fill presta valves before the bike comes. I brought to my LBS to get air put in the tires and the guy kinda gave a smirk when he picked it up to put it on the stand. When filling it with air, he said "What the hell?" but never said anything to me about it.

    Don't be surprised if the elitists give you flack about it. I'm 100% confident that my next purchase will be through bikesdirect.com.

    I hope you enjoy your Fens too, SixThree!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblox View Post
    I didn't realize (but should have known) the tires had no air in them and I didn't have a pump. I suggest you get one that can fill presta valves before the bike comes.
    I made this mistake too. Totally forgot about the presta fitting too! I just went to my LBS and bought a pump with the presta fitting since I'll need it frequently.

  23. #23
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    My Fens arrived and is great

    My Fens arrived yesterday, right on time, packed well. It all went together perfectly. Everything in good condition. Very light bike. Very fast. Excellent Shimano 105 shifters.

    I got the 62cm size; I'm 6'3" and 220 lbs. I found the 110mm Ritchie stem to be too long for me. On my maiden ride (18 miles) my hands were numb and shoulders aching. I felt like I was leaning way over the front wheel. So I'm going to swap out the stem for an 80mm and see how that goes. That's the hazard of buying online and the reason so many peeps in these forums recommend buying from an LBS where you can test drive the exact bike you'll buy. Online, you pays your money and takes your chances.

    I also ordered better tires and will have my LBS put them on and adjust all the cables. (I could do this but they'll do it faster.) The stock tires (Michelin) are not "bad" as far as I can tell, but since I'm over 200 lbs and plan to do some long touring with this bike (and no races) I figure that some puncture-resistant 700x28's with tread will meet my needs better.

    The seat is acceptable. Well-shaped and padded. Every rider has his/her own preferences for seats so I'm not surprised that bike makers don't include more expensive seats, since many riders will replace them anyway.

    My bike came with 2-bolt pedals and cleats. Perfect since I have a new pair of Serfas MTB shoes. No problems at all setting these up and I made it out and back 18 miles (in traffic too) without falling. The no-name pedals that came with the bike seem to be fine and I'd leave them on except I already ordered some dual pedals from nashbar so I can ride with or without my bike shoes.

    Ritchey handlebar is fine. A bit snug in the drops for my taste but I'll have to try them for awhile before I pass judgement. Going from a flat-bar hybrid to a roadie my hands need to be retrained to work the drop-bar shifters and brakes. A few times I wanted to brake but ended up shifting gears!

    I will post pics and my full review in the appropriate section of RBR forum in the next few days. All in all, I am very pleased with the bike and would recommend this model to others. In my ride today on the local bike paths and stopping at my LBS, the bike got several "nice bike" compliments. That was a nice surprise.

    I will admit that I liked the Specialized Secteur's feel just a little better than my Fens. Not a lot, but it was a slightly sweeter ride and probably a smidge lighter. However, a comparably equipped Secteur was 500 to 1,000 bucks more. Basically twice the price I paid for the Fens. If the fit of mine improves with a new, shorter stem (about 25 bucks on ebay) then I will never look back and regret the purchase.

    Thanks to the other posters here on RBR whose comments helped me through the purchase decision process. Hope this helps anyone considering the Windsor Fens from BD.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixThree View Post
    My Fens arrived yesterday, right on time, packed well. It all went together perfectly. Everything in good condition. Very light bike. Very fast. Excellent Shimano 105 shifters.

    I got the 62cm size; I'm 6'3" and 220 lbs. I found the 110mm Ritchie stem to be too long for me. On my maiden ride (18 miles) my hands were numb and shoulders aching. I felt like I was leaning way over the front wheel. So I'm going to swap out the stem for an 80mm and see how that goes. That's the hazard of buying online and the reason so many peeps in these forums recommend buying from an LBS where you can test drive the exact bike you'll buy. Online, you pays your money and takes your chances.

    I also ordered better tires and will have my LBS put them on and adjust all the cables. (I could do this but they'll do it faster.) The stock tires (Michelin) are not "bad" as far as I can tell, but since I'm over 200 lbs and plan to do some long touring with this bike (and no races) I figure that some puncture-resistant 700x28's with tread will meet my needs better.

    The seat is acceptable. Well-shaped and padded. Every rider has his/her own preferences for seats so I'm not surprised that bike makers don't include more expensive seats, since many riders will replace them anyway.

    My bike came with 2-bolt pedals and cleats. Perfect since I have a new pair of Serfas MTB shoes. No problems at all setting these up and I made it out and back 18 miles (in traffic too) without falling. The no-name pedals that came with the bike seem to be fine and I'd leave them on except I already ordered some dual pedals from nashbar so I can ride with or without my bike shoes.

    Ritchey handlebar is fine. A bit snug in the drops for my taste but I'll have to try them for awhile before I pass judgement. Going from a flat-bar hybrid to a roadie my hands need to be retrained to work the drop-bar shifters and brakes. A few times I wanted to brake but ended up shifting gears!

    I will post pics and my full review in the appropriate section of RBR forum in the next few days. All in all, I am very pleased with the bike and would recommend this model to others. In my ride today on the local bike paths and stopping at my LBS, the bike got several "nice bike" compliments. That was a nice surprise.

    I will admit that I liked the Specialized Secteur's feel just a little better than my Fens. Not a lot, but it was a slightly sweeter ride and probably a smidge lighter. However, a comparably equipped Secteur was 500 to 1,000 bucks more. Basically twice the price I paid for the Fens. If the fit of mine improves with a new, shorter stem (about 25 bucks on ebay) then I will never look back and regret the purchase.

    Thanks to the other posters here on RBR whose comments helped me through the purchase decision process. Hope this helps anyone considering the Windsor Fens from BD.
    Put your new tires on yourself. You'll need the skill when you get a flat, so this is great forced practice. You'll be glad you did.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixThree View Post
    My Fens arrived yesterday...

    I got the 62cm size; I'm 6'3" and 220 lbs. I found the 110mm Ritchie stem to be too long for me. On my maiden ride (18 miles) my hands were numb and shoulders aching. I felt like I was leaning way over the front wheel. So I'm going to swap out the stem for an 80mm and see how that goes. That's the hazard of buying online and the reason so many peeps in these forums recommend buying from an LBS where you can test drive the exact bike you'll buy. Online, you pays your money and takes your chances.
    This may be an indicator that sizing is off, but isn't necessarily the case. Too much forward weight could also be caused by adjusting the saddle too far forward, which moves rider weight forward, oftentimes resulting in arm/ hand discomfort. Based on your shoulder discomfort, I agree that reach is too long - at least during your acclimation (to the road riding position) phase.

    My suggestion is to (first) get saddle adjustments right, then look at reach requirements. To do this, set saddle height first, then tilt (level), then KOPS (knee over pedal spindle). It's not all that difficult, but since you're tapping your LBS for tire installation and drivetrain tuning, you may want to opt for a standard fitting as well. If you want to go the do-it-yourself route, post and we'll offer some guidance.

    Lastly, congrats on the bike. There's no rule against posting BD pics here, so when time permits, feel free.

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