Process of buying a Mountian Bike - thoughs and questions

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  1. #1

    Process of buying a Mountian Bike - thoughs and questions

    As I just posted in another thread, I just bought a new MTB, Ghost Kato X 6 https://www.rei.com/product/897213/g...-275-bike-2016

    I'm 5'6" and as such I faced a difficult choice when it came to the bike size. My two "old" bikes are medium size, 17.5" and 17" Gary Fisher and Specialized Rockhopper. I'm comfortable on both, yet, when choosing my current bike, I really had trouble deciding on the actual size of the bike, once I made all the other decisions (FS vs hardtail, 27.5 vs 29, etc).
    Small or Medium ?



    It tried both, but a 10 minute ride in a parking lot really did not help me much. Both sizes felt OK, so I took the Medium. It wasn't until I took my new bike to the Blue Hills and rode on the trails that the realization hit me - I picked the wrong size!!
    In about 30 some minutes into the ride, I was pretty certain that I made a mistake. I was overly extended on the bike, so the reach from the saddle to the handlebars started to feel tiresome. On the steeper, more technical ascents, my weight was so far back that very little pressure was being applied to the front wheel and I had limited traction going up something that previously I could easily do on a much heavier bike.

    I took the bike back to the REI store and they politely exchanged it for the Small size. Yes, I did clean up the bike the best I could but some trail dirt and dust was still sticking to various parts of the drive train (chain, gears). So, yeah the bike did looked ridden. New and shiny but ridden. The REI folk could have given me difficulties about it, but they did not. Instead, they were very nice and accommodating. I was impressed by the high level of customer service.

    Just about all stores I went to around Boston during my pre purchase research, told me that all I could really do is try the bike just around the store. When I did bring up the possible scenario of perhaps changing sizes after the purchase, the terms like "restocking fee", "usage fee" and so on, would creep into the response. Seems like the onus of making the right choice is just on the customer.

    Since picking the right size for some riders may really depend on the bike's geometry and feel and there is no way to tell on how the bike will fit until you really ride it on some dirt, climb some single track and make a few descents. Yet, shops are really not keen on letting you do that and possible exchanges are looked upon as something they want to avoid. Thus, I'm impressed with my experience at REI.

    I'm just curious as to how others have dealt with similar situations.
    Live for today

  2. #2
    Cannonball's Avatar
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    REI rules everytime! I had a similar experience with a snowboard purchase from REI. Except that I rode mine for 5 days before returning it. No hassles whatsoever. Even though they are not the first shop I think of for bikes and snowboards, their customer service makes it hard to go anywhere else.

  3. #3
    buellski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumpsis View Post
    I'm just curious as to how others have dealt with similar situations.
    I demo'd a few brands of bikes to get an idea of what size I needed before making a decision. Some of the shops near me (Claremont Cycle Depot, Omer and Bobs) offer demos, and I also demo'd a couple up in Stowe. For the amount of money a decent, new bike costs today, I wouldn't buy one without trying it on a trail first. The EMS in Lebanon actually has access to a short single track trail that you can test ride their bikes on rather than just putting around in the parking lot.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bumpsis View Post
    It wasn't until I took my new bike to the Blue Hills and rode on the trails that the realization hit me - I picked the wrong size!!
    Yes, clearly you should have gotten 26" wheels, which is the one true mountain bike wheel size.
    "For example, I ski without a helmet and with bindings that basically don't release." - Highway Star

  5. #5
    NEMBA fest http://www.nembafest.com/ is a great place to shop for a new bike. Plenty of Demo bikes in all shapes and sizes and the ability to take it out on the premier trail network in New England.
    "If you ride your bike everyday...... Your going to be a better rider!"

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