Author Topic: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride  (Read 2503 times)

nereo

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Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« on: May 22, 2021, 04:54:32 AM »
[mostly a rant]

I need want a new bicycle, and after a prolonged period of limited income I finally have a firehose of cash and feel comfortable dropping some cash on a new around-town commuter.  I’m even open to something I’m normally opposed - paying a bit more for a new ride from a shop. 

My old/current ride has suffered from 8+ years of daily commuting which included heavy salt loads.  Every component from the seat to the shifters, the cables to the cogs are in need of replacement, and TBH it isn’t worth it (I’ve already replaced the derailleur, tires, chain and cables in the past - I can do most bike repairs myself).

BUT COVID!. Last year bike stock was painfully low, and this year it doesnt look much better.  I took a brief turn into an independent bike shop near me and they didn’t have a single model that would fit me (I’m 6’5”) - normally they’d have close to 200 bikes on the floor, it looked like they were moving locations: i counted just 23 of various types.  We chatted about stripping down a couple of higher end bikes, swapping out components and handlebars but in the end the cost and result just didn’t add up.

Online searches aren’t any better - larger frames from the major manufacturers are all sold out or on severe backorder. Places like REI that normally stock decent models are similarly out of stock. And I want to test-ride before I buy.

My normal backup - Craigslist and FB Marketplace are similarly barren. A few times I’ve seen bikes which might work pop up only to be told (hours after the post went up) that it’s already been claimed.  Most sellers realize just how slim the supply is an bikes in need of a lot of TLC and repairs are selling for almost as much as new models.

I know... first world problems here.  But I’m just frustrated at my inability to find my next bike.

Malcat

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 07:29:54 AM »
Be diligent with used listings.

I bought two bikes used, one last year and one a few weeks ago, and both for excellent prices because the sellers had no clue about the current market and just wanted them gone.

I checked the listings every day, multiple times a day, and when sending a message would always say "I can come right now to get it" and also "I will not haggle on the price", so that it was clear that I was serious and that I would have a chance at being the first person to see it.

Most bikes here, if they're decently priced, will be sold within 1-3 hours of listing. I just listed my 5 year old Rocky Mountain for $200 less than I bought it, and I actually had multiple people offering over my asking price to steal it from the first person who was booked to see it. It was sold within 45 minutes of listing.

I had a ton of messages, but I initially only responded to the first guy who said "that's a great price, I really want this bike, I can come get it right now".

nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2021, 07:36:22 AM »
Be diligent with used listings.

I bought two bikes used, one last year and one a few weeks ago, and both for excellent prices because the sellers had no clue about the current market and just wanted them gone.

I checked the listings every day, multiple times a day, and when sending a message would always say "I can come right now to get it" and also "I will not haggle on the price", so that it was clear that I was serious and that I would have a chance at being the first person to see it.

Most bikes here, if they're decently priced, will be sold within 1-3 hours of listing. I just listed my 5 year old Rocky Mountain for $200 less than I bought it, and I actually had multiple people offering over my asking price to steal it from the first person who was booked to see it. It was sold within 45 minutes of listing.

I had a ton of messages, but I initially only responded to the first guy who said "that's a great price, I really want this bike, I can come get it right now".

This is basically what I’m trying to do (not haggle, offer to come pick it up today, cash in hand...)
But to give you an idea I’ve been checking the listings daily for about 12 month now. I’m in a dense market and I only encounter one that might fit about one per month or so. Most of  those are either pieces of junk stored in a barn for decades or waaaaay out of my price range (eg cyclocross racers)

Malcat

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2021, 08:00:37 AM »
Be diligent with used listings.

I bought two bikes used, one last year and one a few weeks ago, and both for excellent prices because the sellers had no clue about the current market and just wanted them gone.

I checked the listings every day, multiple times a day, and when sending a message would always say "I can come right now to get it" and also "I will not haggle on the price", so that it was clear that I was serious and that I would have a chance at being the first person to see it.

Most bikes here, if they're decently priced, will be sold within 1-3 hours of listing. I just listed my 5 year old Rocky Mountain for $200 less than I bought it, and I actually had multiple people offering over my asking price to steal it from the first person who was booked to see it. It was sold within 45 minutes of listing.

I had a ton of messages, but I initially only responded to the first guy who said "that's a great price, I really want this bike, I can come get it right now".

This is basically what I’m trying to do (not haggle, offer to come pick it up today, cash in hand...)
But to give you an idea I’ve been checking the listings daily for about 12 month now. I’m in a dense market and I only encounter one that might fit about one per month or so. Most of  those are either pieces of junk stored in a barn for decades or waaaaay out of my price range (eg cyclocross racers)

Yep, it sucks.

I'm in a pretty dense market too, that's why I had people literally begging me to not sell my bike to my first buyer, and offering $200 over asking.

I totally get it, it's tough out there right now.

HenryDavid

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2021, 08:57:07 AM »
We wanted a specific e-bike, so we cast the net wide. Really wide.

Drove 2.5 hours out of town once we found the right one, AND a seller whose communications seemed to indicate good faith.
Ended up with a great deal on a sweet bike in perfect condition.

Spent lots of time beforehand, though, telling ourselves "if the bike isn't right at least we've had a long country drive for the first time in a year."
Also went for a walk in an interesting river valley full of turtles, after the buy.

Good luck to everyone looking for bikes. Bikes are good.

Dave1442397

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2021, 09:30:13 AM »
I had a Trek Emonda on order last July, and they said it would show up in October. My bike shop called in August and said they were told that the entire Trek shipment had been pre-sold on the West coast, so nothing would be coming my way until at least December, if even then.

I ended up going with the Project One version - a lot more money than I originally wanted to spend, but I did get exactly what I wanted, and won't be spending anything on upgrades. That bike arrived in November, so my old bike (that I'm having a hard time finding parts for) is now on the trainer.


nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2021, 10:23:40 AM »
I had a Trek Emonda on order last July, and they said it would show up in October. My bike shop called in August and said they were told that the entire Trek shipment had been pre-sold on the West coast, so nothing would be coming my way until at least December, if even then.

I ended up going with the Project One version - a lot more money than I originally wanted to spend, but I did get exactly what I wanted, and won't be spending anything on upgrades. That bike arrived in November, so my old bike (that I'm having a hard time finding parts for) is now on the trainer.

One of the bikes I’ve been considering is listed as “shipping in July’.  When I spoke to the mech he was skeptical, telling me “last month they said June, before that it was April - meanwhile we haven’t gotten any shipments of any size this year”.  Perpetual back order.

Project One isn’t in my price range for this kind of bike

Weisass

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2021, 11:08:26 AM »
I had been expecting a backlog on ordering a bike, so I started looking at terns hsd expecting it wouldn’t be available until august. Lucked out with a demo bike from a local shop, and $600 off list for the minor wear. All to say, it depends on what you are looking for?

megaschnauzer

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 06:17:30 AM »
my local shop is full of bikes. i'm in florida so that might be a deal breaker.

nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2021, 06:24:51 AM »
my local shop is full of bikes. i'm in florida so that might be a deal breaker.

Interesting to hear - that's the firsts locale where bikes don't seem to be in short supply.  Too far for me, though (northern New England).  thanks though...

TravelStache

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2021, 07:14:12 AM »
Not sure what price point you are looking at, but check out the outlet store on Canyon's website.  They offer demo bikes and bikes with some cosmetic defects for a discount.  It looks like they currently have a few XL and 2XL bikes in stock. 

nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2021, 09:40:19 AM »
Not sure what price point you are looking at, but check out the outlet store on Canyon's website.  They offer demo bikes and bikes with some cosmetic defects for a discount.  It looks like they currently have a few XL and 2XL bikes in stock.

Thanks!  Looks like they might have one bike in stock with a 2XL. 
I've never ridden a Canyon before.  Might be the time...

PDXTabs

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2021, 09:52:54 AM »
It sucks right now. I'm used to getting whatever parts I want, living in Portland with Universal Cycles.

I'd, personally, fix up the old bike while looking for a 64cm Surly. Probably a Midnight Special, maybe a Straggler.

EDIT - and get on your local Facebook Bicycle Sales group. Some really good stuff pops up in mine. I got a mint Trek 1000 for $150 during peak pandemic. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 10:03:14 AM by PDXTabs »

col_hati82

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2021, 05:48:35 AM »
I had been expecting a backlog on ordering a bike, so I started looking at terns hsd expecting it wouldn’t be available until august. Lucked out with a demo bike from a local shop, and $600 off list for the minor wear. All to say, it depends on what you are looking for?

Those Tern HSDs look really nice. How do they compare to a Vektron?
I‘ve been riding a Vektron for the last 1.5 years and it‘s a great bike to ride in the city and get stuff done but I might need to transport more at some point in the future.

Captain Cactus

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2021, 09:52:30 AM »
I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to get to a bike shop that had what I was looking for...in February.  I knew waiting would only deplete the stock.  I got the Specialized Diverge Sport.  Gravel bike. Smoothest ride, love it.

Just Joe

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2021, 11:06:35 AM »
On the bright side, your old bike is worth something for resale...

Have bike thefts picked up in the cities? Just curious.

In normal times people steal bikes that are worth less than they are now. What has the inflated markets done to bike safety?

nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2021, 02:46:03 PM »
On the bright side, your old bike is worth something for resale...

Have bike thefts picked up in the cities? Just curious.

In normal times people steal bikes that are worth less than they are now. What has the inflated markets done to bike safety?

Not sure my bike is worth all that much even in this inflated market.  Basically every component has hit the end of its lifecycle (the driving reason why I'm looking for a new ride rather than my normal cheap-skate practice of repairing and replacing).  I could get some cash for the frame, but given the shortage of components ...

re: bike theft - interesting question.  IME there are two factors which are most important in preventing your bike from getting stolen: 1) having a bike that's harder than normal to steal (i.e. using appropriate locks, high-visibility areas) and 2) having a bike which is below average in value to surrounding bikes.
Except in very high-theft areas, you normally are ok if you aren't riding the fanciest bike and you make sure it's harder than many others to steal.  Thieves target value, yes, but they prioritize ease.


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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2021, 06:39:33 PM »
Speaking of bike theft being up, don't forget to check pawn stores!

Might not get the bike of your dreams, but maybe something to hold you over until the good stock goes back up in a year or two.

Dave1442397

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2021, 06:52:12 AM »
Have bike thefts picked up in the cities? Just curious.

In normal times people steal bikes that are worth less than they are now. What has the inflated markets done to bike safety?

We got a warning from our local PD to keep garage doors closed due to a recent uptick in bike thefts.

I've also seen a lot of posts from the Lake Tahoe area complaining of bikes being stolen from vehicles, both in driveways and at shopping centers, etc.


GuitarStv

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2021, 07:17:38 AM »
If you can, just wait a year or two.  I'd expect that the covid bike boom will lead to an oversupply/bust and then it'll be very cheap to pick up used ones on the market.

nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2021, 08:19:36 AM »
If you can, just wait a year or two.  I'd expect that the covid bike boom will lead to an oversupply/bust and then it'll be very cheap to pick up used ones on the market.
Honestly, that was my plan last year when every bike shop within an hour of me sold out of every adult bike. I figured by 2021 the demand works drop and supply would ramp up and all those one-offs who bought a bike because they couldn’t go to the gym until recently would be listing them on Craigslist or marketplace.  Sadly, not yet...

GuitarStv

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2021, 08:31:12 AM »
If you can, just wait a year or two.  I'd expect that the covid bike boom will lead to an oversupply/bust and then it'll be very cheap to pick up used ones on the market.
Honestly, that was my plan last year when every bike shop within an hour of me sold out of every adult bike. I figured by 2021 the demand works drop and supply would ramp up and all those one-offs who bought a bike because they couldn’t go to the gym until recently would be listing them on Craigslist or marketplace.  Sadly, not yet...

Nah.  You need to wait until everyone is forced back to the office and nobody has time to ride their new bikes . . . then about 6-8 months after this.  I'd guess next spring - summer.

Captain Cactus

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2021, 05:33:42 PM »
Not to derail the conversation, but I’m hoping this has a similar effect on vacation homes in my desired location.  Once everyone “except me” is forced back into the corporate HQ they hopefully come to the conclusion that it’s not worth holding on to those expensive condos any longer, and we’ll see more inventory come back on the market.  Condos used to languish for sale for many months or even years...now they go within days.

The only way I got my sweet bike was by driving a long distance and buying several months before I could actually use it...beat the crowds, so to speak.

TomTX

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2021, 06:54:58 PM »
my local shop is full of bikes. i'm in florida so that might be a deal breaker.

Interesting to hear - that's the firsts locale where bikes don't seem to be in short supply.  Too far for me, though (northern New England).  thanks though...

The new Pedego place near me has plenty of stock onsite. Of course, that's a fairly niche style.

Captain Cactus

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2021, 08:01:28 AM »
my local shop is full of bikes. i'm in florida so that might be a deal breaker.

Interesting to hear - that's the firsts locale where bikes don't seem to be in short supply.  Too far for me, though (northern New England).  thanks though...

The new Pedego place near me has plenty of stock onsite. Of course, that's a fairly niche style.

Northern New England?  Google Landry’s Bike Shops

nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2021, 08:20:55 AM »
my local shop is full of bikes. i'm in florida so that might be a deal breaker.

Interesting to hear - that's the firsts locale where bikes don't seem to be in short supply.  Too far for me, though (northern New England).  thanks though...

The new Pedego place near me has plenty of stock onsite. Of course, that's a fairly niche style.

Northern New England?  Google Landry’s Bike Shops

Yeah, I'm familiar with them, but the Boston metro area isn't exactly close (3 hours or so).  Might give them some calls to see what they have in stock.

The new Pedego place near me has plenty of stock onsite. Of course, that's a fairly niche style.
Not interested in eBikes, but good to know.
 
FWIW I'm mostly just venting my 1st-world problems in this thread.  As for bikes my search is for something in "the middle" of performance bicycles - not entry-level but not race-quality $3k+ either. And certainly no BSOs.  Price-point for MSRP seems to be around the $1k mark.  The challenge for me is the two things I won't compromise on are an XL frame (I'm 6'5") and disc brakes.  I don't want a MTB or anything with suspension, nor anything with too relaxed (e.g. 'cruiser') or too forward (e.g. true road-bikes) geometry -- I already have my 15 year old CAAD which I love for longer rides.  This bike is meant to get me around town, on 1 - 8 mile trips: a daily commuter.  Models I've considered (but can't find in stock):  Quick4/5/6; FX 4/5, Roadlite 5/6, Sirrus X3, Fastroad, etc. 

It seems that's where the hole in the market is right now with supply - still a number of $3k race bikes with Ultregra/DuraAce components, and a few entry-level clunky frames with Claris parts.


megaschnauzer

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2021, 06:40:50 AM »
i'm 6'-5" also and getting a bike to fit me was a small challenge. i ended up getting a salsa fargo that i use as a commuter/touring/exploring bike. those 55mm tires make the commute pleasurable and are great for getting out in the woods. the bike fits me really well. my biggest gripe is the bike is not that attractive.

Bateaux

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2021, 10:52:16 PM »
I'm 6'4" and 52.  Looking for a touring rig.  Debating Salsa Marrakesh and Surly LHT (disc brakes).  What y'all think?  I'd like to be able to handle road and gravel.  Loaded and unloaded.

PDXTabs

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2021, 01:15:38 AM »
I'm 6'4" and 52.  Looking for a touring rig.  Debating Salsa Marrakesh and Surly LHT (disc brakes).  What y'all think?  I'd like to be able to handle road and gravel.  Loaded and unloaded.

I don't think that you can go wrong with either of those. I'm a Surly fanboy, but that Salsa looks good too. Maybe sit down with both spec sheets and decide what you value more.

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2021, 06:47:22 AM »
I'm 6'4" and 52.  Looking for a touring rig.  Debating Salsa Marrakesh and Surly LHT (disc brakes).  What y'all think?  I'd like to be able to handle road and gravel.  Loaded and unloaded.
Sounds like the Surly Bridge Club was designed just for you.

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2021, 01:29:58 PM »
Two more strike-outs

Went to two different bike shops and they didn’t have a single XL rigid frame that wasn’t an entry-level cruiser. 
Just for the hell of it I did test-ride the one cyclocross bike in the store that would fit me.  Man, I want one of those!!  But it won’t meet my needs for this bike and at $2400 is waaaay over my budget right now.

One mechanic talked to me for about 20 minutes and seemed to know everyone and everywhere in the region.  “Have you talked to this shop?  What about Caleb in __.  If we can find it, he’ll probably swap out all the components for next to nothing”.

The hunt continues...

Bateaux

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2021, 08:18:44 PM »
Two more strike-outs

Went to two different bike shops and they didn’t have a single XL rigid frame that wasn’t an entry-level cruiser. 
Just for the hell of it I did test-ride the one cyclocross bike in the store that would fit me.  Man, I want one of those!!  But it won’t meet my needs for this bike and at $2400 is waaaay over my budget right now.

One mechanic talked to me for about 20 minutes and seemed to know everyone and everywhere in the region.  “Have you talked to this shop?  What about Caleb in __.  If we can find it, he’ll probably swap out all the components for next to nothing”.

The hunt continues...

I'd love to test ride before purchasing but you don't often find XL in a shop.

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2021, 09:53:43 PM »

I'd love to test ride before purchasing but you don't often find XL in a shop.

I called around to all the bike shops when I was looking for a 63cm +bike and none of the shops had them in stock. Only one place, a small surly dealer, stepped back and said "woah, i should probably have one just in case if somebody else asks. What frame were you interested in? No pressure, no deposit. If you don't buy it it'll be our huge demo bike."

I moved across town but still drive back to that place for components and moderate /complex service work. Great folks.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2021, 07:40:39 AM »
Have you tried a slightly smaller frame with a long seat post and longer stem?  Often that works well.

Bike sizing always struck me as weird because the only measurement that really matters on a frame is top tube length.  As long as you can get the top tube length + stem to match the reach that you want you can make almost any frame fit.

jac941

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2021, 05:28:12 PM »
Have you tried a slightly smaller frame with a long seat post and longer stem?  Often that works well.

Bike sizing always struck me as weird because the only measurement that really matters on a frame is top tube length.  As long as you can get the top tube length + stem to match the reach that you want you can make almost any frame fit.

I agree with you at some level, but standover height is super important too. Though it sounds like the OP could stand over any bike. I like a longer effective top tube so have trouble finding bikes where I have good clearance over the top tube.


nereo

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2021, 12:14:49 PM »
https://www.canyon.com/en-us/outlet/fitness-bikes/roadlite-6/50023727.html

Yeah, I’ve been giving the Canyons a good hard look.  Seems like they are about 8-10 weeks out from shipping, which at least is better than most everywhere else I’ve found.  I do wonder if that’s a “real” 8-10 weeks or if it’ll be perpetually pushed back.  Two bike-shop owners I’ve talked to tell me they’ve been waiting since Feb for delivery of most models, only to have it delayed and delayed and delayed yet again.


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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2021, 02:52:24 PM »
I ran into this same problem wanting to get an e-bike last year.  Anything I liked was delayed, and I didn't want a bike that wasn't going to arrive until late summer, on my final month or two of the season of riding.   So I just decided to drop the idea last year and get a bike near the end of February when availability was good and got exactly what I wanted (in stock).   It's a good thing, because if I had waited until now, I would be waiting until later in the summer again.

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Re: Bikes! My frustrating search for a new 2-wheel ride
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2021, 03:24:10 PM »
I ran into this same problem wanting to get an e-bike last year.  Anything I liked was delayed, and I didn't want a bike that wasn't going to arrive until late summer, on my final month or two of the season of riding.   So I just decided to drop the idea last year and get a bike near the end of February when availability was good and got exactly what I wanted (in stock).   It's a good thing, because if I had waited until now, I would be waiting until later in the summer again.

Same. It’s actually been a two year hunt for me, though this year is more focused than last. I had the best of intentions of buying early, but then my house flooded and we wound up moving and by the time i started looking it was too late. They start salting the roads on mid October, which is when I switch to my beater bike, so mid August almost feels to late to pay for a new ride. Hoping that all the demand for Covid bound new bikers leads to a glut of gently used nice bikes in a year or so. Who knows…