Back from the LBS… (wow)

Iso Zone bars with Satellite grips

Iso Zone bars with Satellite grips

OK, so I visited my LBS today – and I’ve kept the name out since I was miffed at their treatment of me since I’d paid for the bike, but here it is: North Rim Adventures in Chico. I bought the bike from Alex with some help from Kat. The owner, or who I’m guessing is the owner, was also there and even while I was preparing to spend money on the bike, largely ignored me. No one fitted me. They only pulled bikes for me to test when I pointed them out.

Alex was and is, great. He initially tried to point me toward the ‘comfort’ bikes, but as my list showed, I wasn’t having any of that. He’s great – when it comes to selling bikes. He seems to know nothing about the components or upgradability or which tires are best – basically, not much other than selling the bike. Perhaps the shop has so much work that the owner asks them not to upsell stuff. Lord knows they didn’t try to do it while I was buying. I had to suggest fenders (absolute necessity where we live), a small underseat bag and even the saddle, though he did try to help with that. Since then, I’ve asked about tubes, tires and the wheel and drivetrain upgrades and I get zilch, nada, nothing. Quotes for possible replacement wheels take hours and there’s always some catch to ordering them. Like yesterday – ‘we can get these for you but we can’t even order them till the 28th’. OK.

Kat put me on the DS line when I asked about something dual purpose after a MTB test ride and finding Alex missing. She’s never helped again and yesterday, in full view, was reading a blog (of all things!) on the checkout computer and when I cleared my throat to get her attention so I could pay my ticket, she held up a finger and said, ‘just a second’. WTF?

Yeah, I had a ticket. I got to talk to the mech who basically said my bike is not worth upgrading. So I had him replace the tires with my new Schwalbes. They didn’t even have thornproof tubes in stock! Every time I have wanted something – except clothes, they have racks of clothes – the item is ‘coming next week’ but ‘not in stock’. Hey, do you have quick release racks? Yes, but not in stock. Do you have the usb rechargeable Niterider tail light. Yes, but it will be here next week. Do you have the xxxx saddle? Not in stock. I’m going to replace my tires – do you have thicker tubes? Not in stock. JESUS!

So he replaced my tires, tuned my rear-d which he said was still breaking in and said my brakes were fine. O…K….

So from now on, I’m only going there if I need to use my card. Otherwise, I’m shopping online or at my ‘real’ local bike store: Paradise Bikes.

I do want to issue a disclaimer here: their assertion that my bike was not worth upgrading was somewhat (reluctantly) echoed by ‘The Bike Shop’ owners in Redding. I called there after my frustration with North Rim. The owner spent 40 minutes on the phone, going through catalogs and talking to me about my ideas. He kept trying to steer me away from upgrades so I asked him ‘is my bike too low-end to upgrade?’ and he said, well, not too low end, but you’ll end up spending as much as the bike was initially for the upgrades. So? But anyway, at least one other place told me the same thing.

If you don’t have a $1400 carbon frame, you’re supposed to leave your $9 rear derailleur on the bike, damnit! We DO NOT want you upgrading to a, say, $59 derailleur. You could upgrade the entire bike’s components for around $400! But, as stock pieces, we only offer that on $2500 bikes and you paid one-fifth of that. So you aren’t getting the new stuff – live with it. (At least, that’s what I imagine they’d say if pressed – and honest!)

I’m not bike mech and don’t want to learn on my only ride. Least, not yet. I might buy a cheapo and work on that to learn. Oh wait. I have a cheapo (in the eyes of those who are the bike gods). I could get the Deore 9sp driveline for: $40 rear-d, $50 front-d, $50 chain, $150 both front shifters, $100 front crankset and $30-50 rear cassette. So, without the brakes, not bad. About $450 total. Or close to what I paid. And I gain…1 extra gear (9 vs 8sp) and …Deore labling. Probably a bit nicer, snappier shifts. Not much else. And I wouldn’t get any of it back in resale…

Aw, screw it. I like my new tires. Going for a 20 miler today – first ever.

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