One year ago I sold one brand of bike. That would be Trek. Today, I sell three adding Felt last year and now Raleigh. When I first opened the store about 5 years ago I wondered how a store could sell multiple brands. How can you push a bike when a competitors bike is right next to it on the floor?
Fact is bringing in another bike brand was the best thing I ever did for the store. No doubt giving a customer a choice has been a good thing. I realized that even tho Trek is an amazing bike manufacturer not everyone wanted one. It took some getting used to. You sell the bikes differently. You push the options instead of zeroing in on one bike. People like options.
Which lead to the question I get asked everyday. “Which bike is the best?”
Ive learned in the last year that that’s a trick question. I usually come back with “the one you like the best”.
Fact is, once on the top tier, all those bikes are pretty damn good. Is a Madone better than a Venge? Is a Felt AR better than both of those? Superfly vs Epic vs Edict? To you does “better” mean faster? Lighter? Better looking? Less money?
So the meaning of “better” means different things to different people. And now I have three manufacturers with three more “betters”. Case in point is the entry level road bikes. Right now I have one from all three on the floor. They all have Shimano Claris for driveline. So they are all the same but different. All within 50 bucks of each other. Take your pick.
In my area the big three are well represented. Specialized, Trek(of course) and Giant. All those bikes are great bikes. But they do have small differences comparing model to model. And its pretty much a personal decision on which bike. Cost and pricing between those bikes and others are very close. Dont think any bike manufacture does not know what the other has to offer. They know. They know very much so. And strive to be different but same at the same time. If one brand of bike is hundreds cheaper than the others in the same model level then its not the same bike. Your comparing apples to oranges.
So if you are open to any brand then the last factor in this equation is the dealer. You should buy local. You should be happy with the shop owner and the after sale service they provide. That is way more important than having a frame thats 95 grams lighter. You should not pick the store with the “best discount”. History shows the store who give stuff away generally has the worst after sales service. A price break for volume is not a bad thing, all stores can do it, but if you come across a store thats 70 miles away and is offering the same bike for hundreds (or more) less there’s a reason for that. And almost every time its not a good reason. A well run store holds its margins and then can afford the perks you deserve after sale.
So now I sell three brands and I will admit its in a trial stage for awhile. All three brands are strong in there own way. And now I just need to adjust my way of thinking. I learn stuff in this store everyday. And Ive learned in my previous business’s that if your not moving forward then your moving backward. There is no middle ground.
And that is whats on my mind today.
Along with going to Marquette in 6 days.