Ideally, every bike shop would be a center of triathlon education, but some shop employees can come off as snobbish and exclusive. Geoff Nenninger, general manager at Colorado Multisport in Boulder, Colo., says, “Some shop guys have an inferiority complex and feel they have to prove they’re worth something, so they put down the customer’s lack of knowledge.” However, you can turn a gristly salesperson into a fountain of information by asking the right questions. Next time you’re looking to buy a bike, arm yourself with the following questions so you’ll be sure to walk out of the shop with the right bike.
What fits me?
The importance of bike fit is undisputed, but Nenninger says oftentimes several bikes can match a rider’s ideal fit. “Everybody talks about fit being so important, but people need to ask why a certain bike fits,” says the veteran fitter. “Does changing the stem or handlebar open more options? It’s very rare that only one bike will fit you.”
Will this bike keep me happy for years?
Your bike fit may change as you gain experience and fitness, especially if you’re new to the sport. Before purchasing a bike, make sure its fit can be adjusted in all directions should you decide to change your position. Components and wheels can be upgraded, but swapping frames is like getting a new bike.
What part of a bike should I prioritize?
You will need to determine the features you’re willing to spend on and those that are less important. Ask the salesperson which bikes prioritize speed, durability, ride quality or any other features that are important to you.
What do you think?
“If you’re intimidated or stuck on a decision, turn it around and ask the sales guy what he would do,” says Nenninger. “You’ll probably get good advice, make them feel good and put them on your side.”