• 07-28-2015
    Shuffleman
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GearDaddy View Post
    No doubt there is some serious sticker-shock when I go into LBSs these days. It's pretty ridiculous to see the majority to road bikes priced at 2K or above.

    But one thing that has changed quite a bit is that there are alternative means online to find new/used road bikes and components that did not exist before. Ebay, craigslist, and the myriad of online bike resources has changed the game. Perhaps this has something to do with why the Mom & Pop LBSs have steadily disappeared, and larger chain operations have taken over. It seems the only LBS business model that works is to cater to the boutique high-end shoppers (or those that don't know where else to look).

    The last new bike I purchased was in the 90's, where I paid $1500 for a Kona Explosif MTB. Since then Ebay has been my friend, and I've purchased frames, wheels, and components and built every bike. I'm sure LBSs don't like the fact that people like me are only going to the LBS for miscellaneous accessories.

    Much of what you say is based on location. If I am in Jacksonville, where I work, there are many LBS, REI, Bikes Direct and Performance. You can fine road bikes at any price in each of these places. REI, BD and Performance all stock a lot of road bikes but most of them top off at about $2500. The bulk of their stock is in the $750-$1500 range. The LBS have more cruiser, hybrid and mtb stock than road stock. They too range in prices but rarely do you see the higher end road bikes in stock. The town that I live in is a suburb of the city and it has 1 LBS that sells Trek and Giant. They stock more mtb and hybrid than they do road bikes. They know their customer base and do a great job catering to it. They do stock some road bikes but they are the $750-$1200 range. Again, they know their customer base. A good shop will definitely cater to their base but still be able to take care of others. I am 6'02 and I have always had trouble finding a bike in my size to test in town. It is hard to blame the shops for this as they know their market which is probably in the 54cm-56cm range.
    As for the sport dying in certain areas, I am not sure about that either. Even in my small town of 5400 there are plenty of riders. I think in our entire county there are only 45000 people. We typically get 6-20 riders on Sat. mornings depending on the weather. I will also see many other throughout the day riding.
  • 07-28-2015
    CBus660R
    In my neck of the woods (Columbus, OH metro area) the local bike shops lean toward road bikes more than MTBs. With either one, it's mostly basic to mid range bikes. If you want anything higher end than a mechanical Ultegra road bike, you're gonna need to order it. Plenty of 105 options around, even at the end of the year as inventory dwindles waiting on the '16s to hit the floor.
  • 07-28-2015
    crit_boy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CBus660R View Post
    In my neck of the woods (Columbus, OH metro area) the local bike shops lean toward road bikes more than MTBs. With either one, it's mostly basic to mid range bikes. If you want anything higher end than a mechanical Ultegra road bike, you're gonna need to order it. Plenty of 105 options around, even at the end of the year as inventory dwindles waiting on the '16s to hit the floor.

    Try TriTech Multisport.
  • 07-28-2015
    CBus660R
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Try TriTech Multisport.

    I haven't been there in a few years. The last time I was there, they had some nice stuff on the floor.
  • 07-28-2015
    ColaJacket
    Have you tried the Performance Bikes in Bloomfield Hills or Novi?

    They may not have the specific brand that you're looking for (PB's main brand is Fuji), but it seems a little shortsighted to pick one brand out without road testing it. I picked about 5-6 brands out, road tested them, and then picked among the ones that fit best.

    GH
  • 07-28-2015
    spade2you
    It would seem that a lot of race bikes are jumping in price as of lately. The days of a really nice $2k race frame seem to be declining.
  • 07-28-2015
    RoadLight
    Greetings,

    This has been an interesting discussion---thanks to all who contributed.

    I'd like to share my story, but it's a little long. So I'll summarize first: Road biking is healthy in western Michigan where I live and we have a number of annual century rides. One, the Apple Cider Century out of Three Oaks, MI, is nationally famous and hosts between 5,000 and 6,000 riders. I ride 140 miles per week on a major road near "the" lake and see many cyclists on road bikes.

    But that doesn't mean that our local bike shops (LBS) are doing a big business. I believe there are a number of reasons for this. Some are definitely driven away because of the high prices---a good road bike is expensive for middle income folks. But some of the LBS's have shot themselves in the foot with their disdain of the novice and their poor service.

    There's no doubt that the Michigan economy affects us here. Our LBS in South Haven has trouble selling anything pricey (which in their market is any bike over $1,500). They stay alive by selling to the low end of the market with hybrids, beach combers, cruisers, mtb and a few fatties. They also have a very large rental business and they provide SAG support to the Lakeshore Harvest Country Bike Tour (our closest annual century ride). They're a Fuji dealer (among others) would love to sell more road bikes but there just isn't enough demand for the "good stuff".

    Another local bike shop is out of St. Joseph and reps for Trek (among others). They have a nice selection of road bikes. But they are quite expensive. They have a good reputation and have been in the area for two generations but my personal experience with them two years ago was very bad. They failed to properly service a bottom bracket and did not tell me that the races were badly scored and one of the bearings had worn completely flat on one side. They just slapped some fresh grease in it without replacing the bearings and screwed it back together. I'll never go to them for any kind of maintenance again.

    It forced me to become my own bike mechanic. I'm quite good now and have invested many hundreds of dollars into tools. I do almost all of the maintenance on my family's three road bikes. This has dramatically affected my view on buying a bike. Whereas before I would have been inclined to buy a new bike from an LBS, now I'm much more like Retro Grouch and would rather keep the old stuff working longer and, when necessary, buy used from eBay. And I'll only buy what I can maintain, myself.

    --------------------read on if you want more details----------------------

    I've pedaled 2,324 miles this season so far. I'm 58 and started serious road biking in 2013 because an injury forced me to give up running. I'm a big guy (6' 2", 205 lbs) and a former bodybuilder. But my friends hardly recognize me. My solid lats and big "guns" have morphed into monster quads and a "girly man" cycling upper body. It's amusing to think about the dramatic tranformation that my physique has undergone but I love riding fast through miles and miles on open country highway.

    A friend gave me an old quad-butted steel-frame Fuji road bike from 1985 a few years earlier and I thought I'd dust it off and give it a try. My wife received a similar vintage Fuji and we were both soon bitten with the road bike bug.

    I took my '85 Fuji to the LBS in St. Joe to have the axles and bottom bracket lubed---I figured it had probably been a decade or more since the bike had been ridden much. They said the axles were "dry" and charged me $75 to lube them and the bottom bracket (BB). The LBS is a Trek shop and seems fairly high-end. While their main showroom has a mix of medium-priced mtb, beach combers, hybrids and road bikes, the real excitement is in their custom road bike room. My first impression was very favorable but I was shocked at the prices. Being new to cycling, I had no idea that top-quality road bikes cost so much. And, at my age, there is no way I can hold some of the anatomical positions for long that are necessary to ride them.

    The high prices forced me to decide to do my own bike maintenance. So I purchased a couple of different editions of the Park Tool's "Big Blue Book" and Zinn's "Road Bike Maintenance". I lubed and replaced wheel bearings in my wife's Fuji and discovered her bottom bracket races were badly scored. So I located a new Suntour Grease Guard BB of the correct size on eBay, bought it and installed it. I was having some trouble with my BB and discovered badly scored races, too. One ball bearing was worn flat on one side. Judging by the pitting and rust, the problem was not new and the LBS who serviced it for me a few months earlier had just slapped some new grease into the BB and never replaced the bearings or informed me of its true condition.

    As a result of their poor work, the St. Joe LBS will never do any maintenance for me again and it pushed me to acquire the tools necessary to do almost all of my own maintenance. About the only thing I can't do yet is wheel truing---but I will because I've now got a lot of wheels to care for.

    Last year, after completing my second 2014 century, I noticed a micro fracture at the top of one of my Fuji's seat stays. And a shift cable guide was separating from the frame (the braze was coming apart). I ended the season unsure what to do. Should I buy a new bike? Should I have the frame repaired? Should I buy a used bike?

    I decided to do two: (1) have the frame professionally repaired, and (2) buy a used bike.

    Phase 1 -- After much research and communication with a variety of qualified framemakers, I settled on Assenmacher Bicycle Company (Swartz Creek, MI---located between Lansing and Detroit). They not only repaired the seat stay, they reinforced both of them. And they added an extra pair of bottle cage mounts to the seat tube and a set of rack mounts to the seat stays. The work was top-notch and the final paint job was gorgeous (a two-tone metallic pearl white with metallic blue). I just finished reassembling the bike and it's amazing!

    Phase 2 -- I purchased my first "modern" road bike used via eBay. It is a 58 cm Team Fuji full carbon from 2008 with a SRAM Force drivetrain and brakes. It has a carbon Ritchey handlebar and Shimano Ultregra wheels. It weighs almost 10 lbs less than my '85 Fuji (and I thought the steel frame was "light"). This bike has been a "revelation" of sorts. It took my average speed of 19 mph for my 35 mile daily training circuit (4 times per week) up to 21 mph. And it introduced me to index shifting (albeit, the SRAM version).

    In the three years that I've been road biking (2013-2015) I've learned a tremendous amount. It's like I've been in school for three years studying continuously. I monitor some of the European cycling news outlets (like GCN). And, if I could afford it, I wouldn't hesitate to spend the big bucks on a Ridley Helium. I now recognize the value and worth of a high-end road bike and would love to use some of that great gear.

    I've had to make some unusual concessions in order to do the kind of distance training that I do. For one thing, I had to add an extender to my steering tube to raise my handlebars to a position that I can hold for 100 miles without hurting my neck. I added aerobars so I can support my upper body on my elbows instead of my wrists for long rides. Plus, it helps a lot with the wind that frequently blows in this area. Even though I can't tuck down into a proper aero position, I use a Giro Air Attack Shield helmet because it helps, is quieter in the wind and provides superior eye protection. I use Shimano PD-A530 pedals because I can use mtb cleats which allow me to wear a shoe with a walkable sole (looks like a jogging shoe) in case I need to walk a few miles after a breakdown. And the pedals can be flipped and used with street shoes.

    If I could ever afford that Ridley Helium, I'd want an electronic drivetrain. Why? Because it would be extremely helpful (and safer) if I could shift from the aerobars as well as the handlebars. And I would try to get disc brakes because I've trained enough in rain to know how shoddy rim brakes are in bad weather.

    I get a lot of puzzled looks from other cyclists in my area---I guess they don't know what to make of me. I'm way older than most of them---but I'm also faster than 90% of them. I've got this wackadoodle steering tube extender which gives me at an uncommon angle as I lean on my aerbars. And I wear that goofy Giro Air Attack helmet. I get the same funny looks from the bike shops---especially when they see my noseless "The Seat" from Ergo.

    I guess you could say that I've bent road biking to fit an "old guy" and I love it. It's too bad more LBS's don't understand me, empathize and try to serve me. If the good gear wasn't so expensive and I could trust the quality of LBS service, they'd get my business.

    Kind regards, RoadLight
  • 07-28-2015
    Icetech
    Roch, it sounds like you live near me and i ride the Orchard trails a few times a week (from powell road to richmond and back). I got my road bike from Fraser cycle.. they had plenty in stock and knew their stuff.. don't know if you tried them..
  • 07-28-2015
    tmacdon
    On the contrary - Roadbikes are not dead in MI... Yes maybe they are becoming hard to find and some bike shops, mainly because some of the new 1's coming out can easily become cost prohibitive, but they are here... D&D Bikes in Westland and Novi handle the Trek brand and will order any of the bikes they don't have on hand for you. Performance Bike has 3 locations in Metro-Detroit, and carry a broad range of Roadbikes... Roadbikes are here, they are not dead! Jump on Edward Hines Drive any given day and you will see Roadbikes vs Mountainbikes 5 to 1. Get on Hines on the weekend and the ratio will climb 10 to 1! Myself, I actually ride a Waterford Roadbike that I had custom built 20 years ago (very expensive at that time), that people think is brand new when they see it. If you are seriously looking for Roadbikes in MI, the best time to look is at the end of Fall, going in to Winter - At that time the dealers who have Roadbikes will be closing them out, making them more affordable for all...
  • 07-28-2015
    Oldteen
    Agree 100% that the cost of decent road bikes has been skyrocketing & we all reach our $$$ limits. My then top end Cdale Synapse Carbon 1 had MSRP ~$4500US in 2006, inc full DA groupo and Ksyrium SSC SL (remember those?) wheelset. It's still my climbing bike 'cause it weights ~15.5# (actual, no pedals or cages) & would cost me about double that for similarly light bike today.
    And my 'speed' bike (or 'less-slow' bike at my age) is still an '07 Tarmac w/Ultegra groupo.
    So I guess I'm also frozen at circa '07. And I doubt the 'old' bike is what is keeping from pulling for the 'A' group :(
  • 07-28-2015
    CBus660R
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Oldteen View Post
    Agree 100% that the cost of decent road bikes has been skyrocketing & we all reach our $$$ limits. My then top end Cdale Synapse Carbon 1 had MSRP ~$4500US in 2006, inc full DA groupo and Ksyrium SSC SL (remember those?) wheelset. It's still my climbing bike 'cause it weights ~15.5# (actual, no pedals or cages) & would cost me about double that for similarly light bike today.
    (

    I'm sure the wheels aren't as great, but the current Super Six with mech Dura Ace list for $5420. That's not a huge jump in price in 9 years. They don't list a Synapse with DA, so that's why I went with the Super Six. The big jump comes from the Di stuff which didn't exist 5 years ago to compare old vs. new. An Ultegra Synapse list at $3140.
  • 07-28-2015
    robt57
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    The Trek I purchased in 1995 was next to the top-of-the-line road bike, the Dura Ace equipped 5500 OCLV. A new Domane 5.9 with Ultegra is over $5100, that's a big jump, even if you consider inflation. Granted, I'm not factoring in advances in performance over 20 years. However, I can't help feeling taken advantage of by the market when it comes to my wallet.


    Well... retail on the 5500 in 95 was $2999.00, add in 20 year with an internet inflation calculator and we get 4700.00ish. Seems reasonably synonymous relatively speaking.
  • 07-28-2015
    Oldteen
    I stand corrected on the "double" cost est for similar weight. I was thinking more "top end " now vs '06 "top end" when that Carbon 1 was $$$ in the Cdale line. Agree intro of Di has been a major $$ factor.
    But that $4400 in '06 for my DA Synapse would 'only' be inflation-adjusted $5200 today.
    CPI Inflation Calculator
    ...so the Super Six DA at $5400+ with lesser wheels (and other cost-saving spec parts) may not be a "huge" jump but still outpacing inflation. And a BIG chunk of change to still get dropped by the A group ;)
  • 07-28-2015
    Stumpjumper FSR
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rochrunner View Post
    That's the shop that is strictly triathlon now as far as what they carry in stock. At the prices they get for those bikes the profit margin is probably huge and I know my try friends don't care what they spend on their sport!

    I can't believe Fraser doesn't have any road bikes, their still an S-Works Dealer, are they not? Sounds like you are just upset that the mom and pop shops you visited in Macomb County didn't have what you were looking for. You have to realize that their clientele is geared towards novice riders who utilize the multi use trails, not road cyclist.
  • 07-28-2015
    Mapei
    Good road bikes have always been expensive. True high end road bikes have always been more expensive. I've been goggle eyed over prices since I first discovered the genre back in the early 1970's. $250 bucks for just a frame & fork? Components extra? Saddle extra? Will I ever be able to afford the stuff I lust after?

    Except perhaps in the Lance Armstrong era, high end machines have always been rare in the bicycle stores around me, too. It's the way of the world.
  • 07-29-2015
    jerryci
    No, Marc. He's NOT kind of correct. Certain neighborhoods might have little to no demand for road bikes, but there is a great demand in much of the country. In fact, on the West Coast, there is a groundswell of demand at all price points. To sugar-coat it, anyone who says otherwise is simply sheltered and ignorant.
  • 07-29-2015
    rochrunner
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stumpjumper FSR View Post
    I can't believe Fraser doesn't have any road bikes, their still an S-Works Dealer, are they not? Sounds like you are just upset that the mom and pop shops you visited in Macomb County didn't have what you were looking for. You have to realize that their clientele is geared towards novice riders who utilize the multi use trails, not road cyclist.

    Fraser is where I bought my Synapse a few years ago and I really like their shop. But over the phone the other day I was told definitively that they don't carry road bikes on the floor any longer -- just tri bikes. Yes they are an S-works dealer and would be glad to order you one.
  • 07-29-2015
    Superdave3T
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rochrunner View Post
    Fraser is where I bought my Synapse a few years ago and I really like their shop. But over the phone the other day I was told definitively that they don't carry road bikes on the floor any longer -- just tri bikes. Yes they are an S-works dealer and would be glad to order you one.

    Wow.
    -SD
  • 07-29-2015
    Superdave3T
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rochrunner View Post
    That's a direct quote from a nearby LBS when I asked him why he and nobody else around here seem to carry any road bikes on the floor so I could at least look at what I'm thinking of buying before I have to pay in advance to order one with no refunds allowed. OK, in this immediate area on the northern edge of the Detroit Metro area we have miles and miles of very nice, interconnected rail-trails paved and unpaved plus parks with open trail systems and the volume sellers are obviously going to be of the MTB/hybrid/comfort/cruiser variety. And I'll admit that I don't often ride my road bike right from home since it takes a few miles to get away from the local congestion and busy roads.

    On the other hand, there are a number of annual weekend road rides in this area and other events around the state where hundreds of roadies show up on their road bikes, yet finding any around here is a real challenge. At one time, I thought it would be nice to own a Trek, but couldn't find the particular model in any area store (and there are plenty around). The dealers all said they had no plans to stock it, and when I went directly to Trek they basically said that I was out of luck because they don't even carry that model on their demo trucks! Apparently they didn't want my business, so to heck with them.

    I recently settled on a Felt Z4 Disc as my #1 candidate, but ran into the same problems. The above-mentioned LBS was talking the road bike market down to the point where he was almost questioning why I would ever want one (losing any potential sale in the process). So my next call was to a dealer a bit farther away, but that used to be the closest road-friendly dealer. I bought my Synapse there about 5 years ago as well as a couple of pairs of bibs and other road-related items. But when I called, I found that they were fully into the triathlon business now and carried nothing but tri bikes on the floor. It's hard to believe that they'd just turn away from the general road riding population, but it was the same story: we won't stock it but would be glad to order you one.

    I did finally manage to find a dealer out-state near Lansing, about two hours away, who carries Felts and has had Z4s in stock. He is currently waiting for the 2016s to start arriving in a couple of months, so it looks like I'll be heading up there to do business.

    Hard to believe that buying an expensive bike would be such a frustrating experience!


    Glad you were able to find a Felt Dealer who can help. If you have any further questions about Felt, please let me know.
    -SD
  • 07-29-2015
    rochrunner
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SuperdaveFelt View Post
    Glad you were able to find a Felt Dealer who can help. If you have any further questions about Felt, please let me know.
    -SD

    Thanks, Dave. He sounds like he knows his stuff and I will be dropping by next week since it's on my way to a road riding event in Indiana.
  • 07-30-2015
    Stumpjumper FSR
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rochrunner View Post
    Fraser is where I bought my Synapse a few years ago and I really like their shop. But over the phone the other day I was told definitively that they don't carry road bikes on the floor any longer -- just tri bikes. Yes they are an S-works dealer and would be glad to order you one.

    Unbelievable!

    They used to be my dealer until I moved out of state a few years ago. Fraser was the best shop in the area catering to road cyclist, I even remember meeting Frankie Andreu there!
  • 07-30-2015
    docfuel
    Why not CX
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rochrunner View Post
    That's a direct quote from a nearby LBS when I asked him why he and nobody else around here seem to carry any road bikes on the floor so I could at least look at what I'm thinking of buying before I have to pay in advance to order one with no refunds allowed. OK, in this immediate area on the northern edge of the Detroit Metro area we have miles and miles of very nice, interconnected rail-trails paved and unpaved plus parks with open trail systems and the volume sellers are obviously going to be of the MTB/hybrid/comfort/cruiser variety. And I'll admit that I don't often ride my road bike right from home since it takes a few miles to get away from the local congestion and busy roads.

    On the other hand, there are a number of annual weekend road rides in this area and other events around the state where hundreds of roadies show up on their road bikes, yet finding any around here is a real challenge. At one time, I thought it would be nice to own a Trek, but couldn't find the particular model in any area store (and there are plenty around). The dealers all said they had no plans to stock it, and when I went directly to Trek they basically said that I was out of luck because they don't even carry that model on their demo trucks! Apparently they didn't want my business, so to heck with them.

    I recently settled on a Felt Z4 Disc as my #1 candidate, but ran into the same problems. The above-mentioned LBS was talking the road bike market down to the point where he was almost questioning why I would ever want one (losing any potential sale in the process). So my next call was to a dealer a bit farther away, but that used to be the closest road-friendly dealer. I bought my Synapse there about 5 years ago as well as a couple of pairs of bibs and other road-related items. But when I called, I found that they were fully into the triathlon business now and carried nothing but tri bikes on the floor. It's hard to believe that they'd just turn away from the general road riding population, but it was the same story: we won't stock it but would be glad to order you one.

    I did finally manage to find a dealer out-state near Lansing, about two hours away, who carries Felts and has had Z4s in stock. He is currently waiting for the 2016s to start arriving in a couple of months, so it looks like I'll be heading up there to do business.

    Hard to believe that buying an expensive bike would be such a frustrating experience!

    Unless I was doing road racing, particularly crits, I don't see the advantage of a road bike over a cyclocross bike. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have bought my road bike. I'd get a CX bike. It will do everything a road bike can and more. My brother bought a new expensive carbon road bike recently (despite my recommendations) and then happened onto a cyclocross bike on craigslist. Guess which one gets more road time?