Shop local when buying a new bike

Back in 2013, I bought myself a road bike. It’s a Bianchi Via Nirone 7 C2C and it was the first road bike I’d had since my teenage years when I had a 21-speed “racer” (complete with shifters on the down tube).

My Bianchi has served me well but, after nearly 12000km I’m starting to notice some hairline cracks in the paint, a bit of corrosion on the chainstay – and I recently had to cut out one of the upgrades I’d made as the carbon fibre seat post had bonded itself to the inside of the aluminium alloy seat tube.

I’d been saving up for a new bike for a while (promising myself that I could have a new bike when I lost some weight…) but I decided to retire the Bianchi (or at least just use it for Zwifting) and get something new (maybe I can lose some weight by riding more now I have the new bike).

For a long while, I was tempted by a Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2. Canyon make some lovely bikes but they are mail-order only (unless you can visit them in Germany). Not having distributors reduces the price, but it also increases the risk of buying the wrong size, etc. added to which, recent experience (buying a frame from Planet X for my son) showed me that sometimes you get what you pay for.

I also feel guilty every time I shop at Wiggle – we’ll miss our local bike shops (LBS) when they are gone and I’ve relied on a few for parts at short notice recently (including Corley Cycles and Chaineys in Milton Keynes). But, just like buying from Amazon instead of a high street store, sometimes the economics mean it just makes sense. Even so, with a new bike purchase, I wasn’t entirely comfortable buying online.

I looked at some of the other mainstream brands too (how about a Trek Domane?). But what about the price difference?

Well, there were a few things to take into account there:

  • Online sizing tools are good, but not perfect and the Canyon would need a bike fit before I could be sure I was ordering the right size. Corley Cycles included not only the sizing fit but also an advanced bike fit with the new bike.
  • Then, membership of my local cycling club got me a further discount (10%).
  • At this point, we’re getting close to pretty much the same price.
  • Chuck in some bottles, cages, and a lot of advice – plus I’m helping to keep my LBS in business and I decided that I’d rather have the “purchase from a shop” experience.

So, I’m now the proud owner of the new Specialized Roubaix Comp (2020 edition). Sure, the lightweight endurance bike with electronic shifting became a lightweight endurance bike with mechanical shifting and front suspension instead but my conscience is clear – and it is pretty damned awesome.

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