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Thread: LBS deals vs. Bikes Direct / Nashbar?

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    Default LBS deals vs. Bikes Direct / Nashbar?

    Is it possible to get a road bike with Shimano 105 or SRAM Apex components for around $1000 or less at any of the local bike shops in Arlington and Alexandria? Maybe this Fall when newer stuff comes out? Every time I've checked out a new bike shop and tell them my price point, they show me ~$1000 bikes with Claris or Sora.

    I want to support LBS, but it's tough when I see 105 and Ultegra on Bikes Direct for less than $1000. Am I much better off just ordering from BD or Nashbar at this price point? Thanks in advance!

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    Soooo....I may be a solitary voice here, but I don't buy bikes in shops anymore. Maybe if I was buying a high end bike where there's not going to be much in the way of online discounts, but my last few bike purchases have all been in the $1000 range. And as you point out, your dollars just go so much further when buying online, particularly at that price point. My last bike, for example, was a GT gravel bike with SRAM Rival 1 HRD. Ostensibly, the bike retailed for ~$1700. If I could've found it in a shop, I suppose I could've gotten it for cheaper than that, but I bought it online from Jenson USA and it was like $1100. The bike before that was a Fuji with 105 components that had a similar retail and a similar purchase price. I got that one from Performance bike and did an in-store pickup. Performance has some crazy deals online, with the bonus of doing the local pickup and getting 10% rebate if you're a member. I wouldn't call that a plug for Performance, since I would never use them as an LBS, but for complete bikes, they're generally one of the first places I look for deals.

    So yeah, if you are capable of putting the bike together yourself, the only real reason to NOT buy online is the LBS support issue, and I'm pretty "meh" on that point. Personally, I'd avoid BD and Nashbar, but Jenson, Performance, Wiggle, etc...I wouldn't hesitate.

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    I believe Performance and Nashbar are the same company. I prefer BD over Nashbar because I think they put more grease in their hubs.

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    I have heard that BD bikes will sometimes be advertised as having a particular groupset, but there may be one or two of the components that don't match the gruppo. I haven't experienced it myself, so I don't know if it's actually true; if others that have actual experience with it can refute this, please do. I did buy from BD once, but it was a bike for my kid, and I wasn't picky about the groupset. I will say the bike came with a carbon fork that I was not expecting to get.

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    I have two frames from nashbar and one bike from bikesdirect. Online and/or manufacturer direct is the way to go for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I believe Performance and Nashbar are the same company. I prefer BD over Nashbar because I think they put more grease in their hubs.
    Yeah, that's a fraction of a cent more value right there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I believe Performance and Nashbar are the same company. I prefer BD over Nashbar because I think they put more grease in their hubs.
    I think you're right. I guess I'd clarify by saying Performance sells more mainstream brands like Fuji, GT, Ridley. I'd probably hesitate to buy a "Nashbar" bike (I had a Nashbar fixed gear that was...fine) for warranty and QC issues...not that I'd expect to have issues, but I'm willing to pay a little more for a name brand just for the (admittedly not fully rational) peace of mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkel View Post
    I have heard that BD bikes will sometimes be advertised as having a particular groupset, but there may be one or two of the components that don't match the gruppo. I haven't experienced it myself, so I don't know if it's actually true; if others that have actual experience with it can refute this, please do. I did buy from BD once, but it was a bike for my kid, and I wasn't picky about the groupset. I will say the bike came with a carbon fork that I was not expecting to get.
    This is true...you have to read through the specs pretty carefully to figure out what's what. Usually the crank and rear derailleur are where you get downgraded for some reason.

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    Note that "mainstream" bike brands do the same thing with mixing groupset components, though usually the lower-pricepoint groups (e.g. 105). Usually the crankset gets swapped out for something like an FSA, Truvativ, Oval, etc.

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    From my experience Nashbar carbon bikes are on par with ordering a carbon frame direct from China if maybe a little more conservative in spec.

    Yeah, in terms of value, it is hard to do better han online. I don't buy bikes complete anymore, but my last complete bike (also my first adult bike) was from Performance and I'd go back there or to BD if I wanted a good deal on a complete bike.

    It's sad, because the LBS does good things for the cycling community. But they can't compete with consumer-direct pricing -- or gray-market component pricing. Maybe they need to change and charge for the values they provide (like charging membership to participate in their group rides) rather than try to rely primarily on bike sales. But that is another topic. There was always be people who do find value in free tune-up and the other support you get when buying from people instead of the consumer-direct brands.

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