Soooo, I walk into my local bike shop excited at the prospect of purchasing my first gravel bike, a Salsa Warbird (been saving my nickels and dimes the last three years). My excitement it short-lived as my LBS informs me that the Warbird is oversold and under supplied and it could be 8+ weeks before delivery.
My LBS says they have the new Trek Checkpoint in my size in stock. I check it out; it’s a sweet ride (well, actually, it’s fantastic!). I have no doubts it would more than suit my needs.
My dilemma. I already have two Trek bikes in my arsenal (a MTB and my commuter bike) and I like to, now and then, show my support for smaller companies with high quality products. I like to think that spreading my consumer dollars around helps to foster innovation and healthy competition.
My last bike purchase (a MTB) I only looked at companies like Ibis and Pivot. The downside to looking at smaller companies is that I had to look to “regional” bike shops to see the products; sometimes traveling over 120miles one-way.
What do y ‘all do? Do you stick with your LBS and the excellent but monolithic mainstream (Trek, Specialized) or do you try to mix things up now and then with smaller, excellent, companies? Do you think it helps to spur innovation and competition?
**Disclaimer: I think that Trek makes really great products! I am old enough to remember when they were the “little guy” and I would travel to purchase their products…..oh, the irony!
Since you have two bikes already, you could look for another bike that fits your list/ wants/ and budget. Run a Google search for reviews on your choices to find the pros and cons.
I had two Treks and can say “had” since both bikes were not durable. I switched to Salsa for a back up and made it my primary. I just bought my second Salsa; I wanted a fattie after riding my fatbike for a year and a half and the bike is built to last. If you have patience to wait, order your first choice. I prefer Salsa.
I try and stick with my LBS as much as I can, but last fall I was shopping for a new mountain bike after my last one, a trek superfly 9.6 bought from said LBS, cracked. I was looking for a hardtail with 140-160mm of suspension travel. This is something trek does not make, and this shop stocks trek exclusively. But, they went above and beyond and were able to get me an orange crush direct from orange; (I live in the U.S. so they’re hard to come by) this is the kind of service that keeps me going there.
I would also point out that waiting for the right bike can be worth it. I had to wait for over a month to get my orange crush, what with the owner of the shop working things out with orange and waiting for the bike to ship from England. This bike is the most fun bike I have ever had. If you’re completely, 100% sold on the warbird, suck it up and wait. If not, or if you really like the trek, go for that. Just make sure you’re getting the right bike; I know from experience that it can be an expensive mistake to make if you get the wrong one.
One last word of warning: I have had two trek mountain bikes, one carbon and one aluminum. Although it never gave me any issues, some of the welding on the aluminum bike was rather sloppy, but I also have an aluminum trek road bike and it has no such issues. The carbon mtb (the aforementioned superfly) turned out to be fragile. It cracked in a very minor crash, but this could just be because it is an xc bike, or just because it’s carbon, I don’t know. To me salsa bikes are at least more interesting than trek, who tend to be conservative with designs and geometry; this could just be because treks are more common around here. No matter how cool something is at first, once it becomes common it becomes boring, to be dropped in favor of the next cool niche product.
I’ve never ended up with the same bike brand twice, I like variety and want to make sure I’m not missing out on what someone else has to offer. Rent the trek and order the Salsa – good things are worth the wait ????