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Thread: local bike shops -- how to choose

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenbelt View Post
    Jamis Coda Sport (essentially a steel road bike with flat bars for city bike use)
    My LBSs (LBS's?) sell tons of these bikes. I should say the bike shops near me because I don't love either one, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway the Jamis is a great bike. I just recommended it to my neighbor who's sentencing himself to the suburbs but wants to keep bike commuting into the city.

  2. #22
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    ^^ The Jamis Coda Sport is on my shortlist right now, since I too have a small budget. Seems to me the component level in the $500 - $800 range is fairly similar, so I'm thinking I'll stay on the bottom end of that to start with and then maybe next year when I'm a stronger rider and have more of an idea of what I want I'll be ready for something in the $1200 range. That's my 2 cents, anyway

    One of my friends who lives in DC just got the Coda Comp and loves it.

  3. #23
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    I worked at a number of local bike shops back in the 90's and have a pretty solid idea of things on the mechanic side of things:

    REI at Bailey's Crossroads - Prices tend to be a bit high except during their attic sales, service is good, and the mechanics are excellent. I never worked there but kinda wish I had.
    Bikenetic on W Broad St in Falls Church (just off the W&OD at West St) - Me like. Close to house. Got me a shifter.
    Papillon Cycles on Columbia Pike at Walter Reed - These guys rock socks. Bailey is a freaking legend and deserves to be. Weld on some dropouts, try to find someone else who will. This was my first job and I think these guys are still the best service shop in Arlington.
    Spokes Etc on Quaker Lane in Alexandria (just north of Rte 7) - Great all around shop. Good sales, slightly high in terms of price, but great selection. Massive mechanic area and great wrenches. Ricky has been working as a mechanic there for more than a decade now - they also treat their people right.
    Bike Pro Shop on Duke St in Alexandria and on M St in Georgetown at the Key Bridge - Have Cannondale - will ride?
    Hudson Trail Offitters in Pentagon Row - I hated working here, overpriced, management tended to not give a damn, bike sales were bad.
    Bike Club on Washington St (Lee Highway) in Falls Church - You can crack a beer with them, not sure about the service though.
    Big Wheel (Lee Highway) Falls Church - You would be better off taking your business elsewhere. The major brands, read Trek, Specialized, etc... won't work with them. That should be enough of a hint to stay away.

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    I think that a use case might be helpful- if you have a short commute (under 10 miles) and want something just to kick around on there is nothing wrong with a hybrid. If you have a longer commute or want to do longer weekend rides then a road bike might be in order. If you want to do longer rides AND the towpath AND some light dirt trails then Greenbelt's versatile suggestions are fantastic.

    My only issue with "hybrids" is the weight from cheesy components and unnecessary suspension forks- a lighter bike is usually more fun and easier to ride. FWIW I was on the D&D Espresso ride several years ago (it's a often huge 50-70 mile Sunday winter ride) and mid-way along a 50ish guy on a mid-range 700cc hybrid joined the paceline and held with it for probably 40 miles. At the end of the day it's not the bike, it's the rider.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by KelOnWheels View Post
    ^^ The Jamis Coda Sport is on my shortlist right now, since I too have a small budget. Seems to me the component level in the $500 - $800 range is fairly similar, so I'm thinking I'll stay on the bottom end of that to start with and then maybe next year when I'm a stronger rider and have more of an idea of what I want I'll be ready for something in the $1200 range. That's my 2 cents, anyway

    One of my friends who lives in DC just got the Coda Comp and loves it.
    I owned one...it was good for urban commuting and I wouldn't recommend against it (but I eventually felt the drop bar itch, so I sold it). However, my wife has a Fuji Absolute 2.0 (2010 model?) that was cheaper, has better components (including disc brakes), and feels better put together than the Jamis did. Fuji may have modified the Absolute lineup and raised the prices this model year though, so you may need to check around and see if the comparison still works in Fuji's favor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pfunkallstar View Post
    REI at Bailey's Crossroads - Prices tend to be a bit high except during their attic sales, service is good, and the mechanics are excellent. I never worked there but kinda wish I had.
    I think that this one surprises people- I did w/e bike shop work at this REI years ago and was very impressed with the mechanics. At least at the time (early 2000's) they were sent to Barnett for multi-week training which is far from cheap. It's also telling that the owner and Ops manager of TBSFKAC (Freshbikes) both came from that REI.

    Freshbikes is my go-to, partially because of the above but also because of Greg (formerly at Bike Pro Shop in Georgetown). That said, they are often backlogged and are not cheap. Regardless, it's worth it for me as a owner of 4 Cannondales and their mountains of proprietary parts (in my case 3 Lefty's and two sets of hollowtech cranks) to go to a shop/mechanic that knows those bikes and those parts inside-out.

  7. #27
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    I know the woes of Cannondale proprietary parts. I still have an original Moto crank from my old CAAD4 team bike that was a BEAST - light, stiff, and awesome looking. The problem being that has a tendency to squeak with anything other than late-90's coda BBs - sad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnoftheDread View Post
    I don't know why cyclists denigrate hybrids so much. A lot of the trails and roads in the area are perfect for hybrids--bumpy and poorly paved, with frequent detours onto gravel, dirt, or grass. Flat bars are also useful for city riding. My back likes them too. Sure, a cyclocross would be great -- show me one in the $500 range in an LBS.

    Well, I don't understand why people redefine what is meant by a hybrid bike and then don't understand why people denigrate some other kind of bike.

    edit to add: I suppose that was a bit terse. Basically (IMO) the heritage of "hybrid bike" is "cheap, flat handlebars, no specific purpose, cheap/blingy 'comfort' additions like fluffy seat or useless suspension". As soon as you start talking about a bike that's designed to fill a particular role reasonably well, the term "hybrid" is useless and you need to use a more specific term that captures the intended role. Maybe it's not fair that "hybrid" has that kind of baggage, but it also isn't fair that a good number of people won't consider a bike that doesn't have flat bars because the industry has pushed slammed-down low/uncomfortable road racing bikes for so long. The first thing (again IMO) is to understand where and how you'll be riding, then start figuring out what kind of bike is good for that. And, unfortunately, it will probably involve going to a lot of different stores after extensive internet-based research because very, very, very few places have a good selection of multiple types of bikes from multiple manufacturers.
    Last edited by mstone; 07-17-2012 at 05:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    I owned one...it was good for urban commuting and I wouldn't recommend against it (but I eventually felt the drop bar itch, so I sold it). However, my wife has a Fuji Absolute 2.0 (2010 model?) that was cheaper, has better components (including disc brakes), and feels better put together than the Jamis did. Fuji may have modified the Absolute lineup and raised the prices this model year though, so you may need to check around and see if the comparison still works in Fuji's favor.
    The old Coda Sport is now equivalent to the Coda Comp or Elite (I forget which at the moment since I went outside at lunchtime and boiled my brain), the current Coda Sport is the entry-level model (MSRP $560) and looks equivalent to the current Fuji Absolute 3.0. I like steel though, so I'll probably go with Jamis.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyContinental View Post
    I think that a use case might be helpful- if you have a short commute (under 10 miles) and want something just to kick around on there is nothing wrong with a hybrid. If you have a longer commute or want to do longer weekend rides then a road bike might be in order. If you want to do longer rides AND the towpath AND some light dirt trails then Greenbelt's versatile suggestions are fantastic.
    What would you say to someone who wants to do a short commute, mostly short weekend rides, an occasional longer weekend ride, and who already has a mountain bike for dirt and gravel trails?

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