What makes Chain Reaction the best place to buy a road bike?

A customer asked something interesting the other day...he was buying a $2000 TREK road bike from us, and somewhat surprised that part of the process involved taking a bunch of his measurements so we could fit the bike properly to him.  His first road bike, purchased elsewhere, hadn't involved such details, and he assumed that the reason we went to all this trouble was because it was such an expensive bike.

Do you really score points with a customer buying an expensive bike by telling him that, no, we aren't treating him any more special than we do someone buying a $500 road bike?  That we take measurements on all customers buying road bikes, regardless of price?  The truth is always the best policy, and besides, our best salespeople are customers who have already purchased bikes from us, and we'll do our very best to live up to their recommendations!

Other reasons to buy from Chain Reaction include such a vast selection of road bikes (over 200 in stock at any one time!) that we don't have to try and match a bike to a rider...we can match the rider to a bike!  Whether you're male or female, short torso or arms so long your knuckles scrape the ground, need a wide-range triple for mountains or an all-out racer, chances are we have it in stock, right now, today, etc.   And without any pressure to try and "off" a limited selection of inventory on you, chances are much greater that you're going to end up with exactly the right bike for you at Chain Reaction than elsewhere. 

Below are a few of the things that we do for you when you buy from Chain Reaction-

It's all about you.  Everybody starts somewhere, and everyone's dreams are different. You're not going to come into Chain Reaction and be intimidated by some die-hard salesperson who thinks you're nothing unless you can climb a nasty hill in your big chainring and ride 100 miles without breaking a sweat.  Our staff enjoys helping you live your dream, and still remembers when 12 miles was a long ride.  We want you to enjoy cycling as much as we do, whether it's a family ride at Bayfront Park or a gnarly 100-miler.

Are you looking for a bike for rides around town, your first metric century (60 miles), or a Triathlon?  All are equally-important missions to us!  And we're not going to tell you "Hey, don't worry about feeling uncomfortable right now, you'll get used to it."  Road bikes aren't about adapting you to the bike, it's about selecting and adapting the right bike to you.

Fit-Kit measurement system
.  People come in different sizes, and height is just a small part of that story.  Proportions (torso, arms, legs) vary greatly from person to person, and using the New England Cycling Academy's Fit-Kit system is an integral part of selling road bikes at Chain Reaction.   But the Fit-Kit is just the beginning; we check you out afterward to make sure you're comfortable, because people have different degrees of flexibility.  Fitting isn't a one-time thing either; if you come back to us after you've had the bike for a while and tell us you love the bike, but you're getting this pain in the shoulders (just an example, it could be any discomfort) we'll check you out and install a different stem at no charge.

Saddles.  If the stock saddle bothers you, you tell us where, and we'll make an intelligent recommendation.  People are different and no one saddle is perfect for everyone. Tip:  For women, most of the real problems have been at the front of the saddle, and the "solution" for many has been to angle the saddle down at the front.  This is not a good idea!  It trades one problem for another, since a nosed-down seat slides your body into the handlebar, creating a situation where you're actually pushing yourself back from the bars, causing a lot of stress and sometimes pain in the neck & shoulder area.  A better solution is to find a seat that doesn't need to be angled downward.  It's also important to realize that many saddle discomfort issues are related to how the bike has been set up for you.  If you're too stretched out, you're going to be putting too much pressure across the front of the saddle, where neither you nor the saddle have much padding.

Stems.  Stock road bikes tend to be set up with too long a reach from the seat to handlebar, and after selling about three zillion, we've discovered that, on average, certain bike sizes are more often sold to people requiring certain lengths stems.  So when we build up brand new, unsold bikes, we typically install a different length stem than came from the manufacturer (virtually always shorter!).  But just because we have a stem that works for the "average" person on a bike on the floor doesn't mean it works for you.  Once we define what you need, it's usually easy for us to set you up comfortably, choosing from our huge stock of stems.  We have maybe 500 stems in stock...tall ones with a short forward reach, short ones with a long forward reach, and just about everything in-between.  

Tires.  We've got high-quality tires in all manner of widths.   If you're a sturdier rider (OK, heavy), then you'll get fewer flats with a slightly-wider tire.  Your wheels will also last longer, since a wider tire cushions impact better.  Most people are well-served by the stock tires, but for those who aren't, we have the options in-stock and ready to go. Tip: Run full rated tire pressure at all times and you'll get far fewer flats!  If you need to soften up the ride, go to a wider tire, not lower pressure.   Lower pressure results in dramatically-increased likelihood of compression flats (caused by the tire bottoming out on the tube when you hit a bump).  Full pressure also means much lower rolling resistance, so you get up to cruising speed more quickly, and stay there more easily!

Gearing.  We stock rear gear cassettes in every size available, and one of the first things we do when new options arrive is to "test the limits" and see what will...and won't...work.  It's our desire that your new bike perform exceptionally and that modifications to gearing (for example, going to a far wider range than the gear-changing system is designed for) don't cause you trouble.  Tip: Always make sure your bike can shift into the large front/large back sprocket combination.  Bikes are sometimes set up with wide gear ranges and short-cage derailleurs, a combination that will not allow you to shift into this combination without ripping the derailleur out of the frame, which is a very costly problem!  Some people (and shops) rationalize that this is a gear you wouldn't normally ride in (it's called a "cross" gear and can be quite noisy), but if it's a hot day, and the hill is steep, you just might not look back and notice you're still in the large front chainring when you reach for that next-lower gear on the back...and before you know it, your frame & derailleur are both damaged and your ride is over!

Free minor adjustments for as long as you own your Chain Reaction bike.  Need a gear adjusted or a wheel trued slightly?  Bring it in and we'll make adjustments to your bike and any parts we've installed, it on the spot, at no charge (added for clarification 1/21/15- our free adjustments do not apply to equipment you've purchased elsewhere).  Why?  Because we want your bike to decorate you, not your garage.  Besides, while we're touching up your bike, you're cruising the store buying stuff.  It's what we call a symbiotic relationship. Our definition of a free minor adjustment is any minor gear, brake or wheel adjustment that we can do quickly while you wait.  If you've got several things that you've let pile up, you're going to have to leave it for a normal service, which you'll pay for.  (Please note that past your initial 30-60 day tune-up, which is free, future tune-ups are available at a discounted price.  But if you bring in your bike often enough for small adjustments, you might go a very long time without needing a standard tune-up!).

Also, you'll benefit from our continued sense of "ownership" of your bike, long after you've purchased it.  If it's one of our bikes, and it does something it's not supposed to, we take care of it.  We even turn down profitable service opportunities on bikes we haven't sold because of our obligation to keep the bike you purchased from us on the road!

We donate $$$ towards your non-profit ride pledges.  Whether it's the MS, Team in Training (Leukemia Society) or Aids Lifecycle event, we donate 5% of your purchases from the prior 12 months to the ride, to be used for your pledge.  Doesn't matter if it's a bicycle, parts, labor, on-sale items, whatever.  No restrictions.  The donation (usually on-line) is made out to the sponsoring organization, with your name attached.  Everybody wins!

Save $$$.  Because the most expensive bike you can buy is the one that sits un-used in the garage.  A bicycle is too expensive to be something that you ride a few times and decide you don't enjoy cycling, because something's not quite right (whether it be fit, something mechanical, the wrong type of bike for how you ride, etc).  We go out of our way to keep that from happening.  

We will do everything possible to make sure you get an appropriate bike, that's comfortable to ride, and keep it running.  We're here for the long haul (this is our 24th year), and look forward to seeing you out on the road many years from now.  Your bike is an investment, and we're here to make it pay off for you.

But what if you don't live near Chain Reaction? When shopping for a bike, keep in mind you're also shopping for a bike shop.  Ask yourself if they understand your needs, or seem to be pitching today's special?  How do they assure that the bike fits you?  And, very importantly, ask yourself if the shop is the sort of place you'll feel comfortable bringing the bike back to if something's not quite right (One of our informal mottos is- "We won't run away if you bring your bike in the door in two pieces.  We might cringe, but we won't run away!).  Keep in mind that these items are far more important than a $50 difference in price, since the most expensive bike you can buy is the one you don't use because it's not quite right.

We've also got an on-line article that will help you evaluate any road bike, from any store, on a test ride.  Definitely something to check out, no matter where you live or what bike you're looking at.

Last updated 01/21/15 Hit Counter since 05/06/05


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1451 El Camino Redwood City, CA 94063 (650) 366-7130
2310 Homestead (Foothill Crossing), Los Altos, CA 94024 (408) 735-8735

www.ChainReaction.com & www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

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Web Author: Mike Jacoubowsky, Chain Reaction Bicycles
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Chain Reaction sells bicycles & accessories from Trek, Gary Fisher, BikeFriday,Shimano, Pearl Izumi, Continental, Descente,
Sidi, Giro, Blackburn, Speedplay, Oakley, Saris, NiteRider, Bontrager, Torelli, Look, DeFeet, Rock N Roll, Hammer, Cytomax,
Powerbar, Fox, Clif Bar, CamelBak, Chris King, Profile Design, Craft, X-Lab and many more!