How to buy a boutique brand bike?

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  • How to buy a boutique brand bike?
  • timwillows
    Member

    I an curious about buying something exotic (Yeti, Ibis, Santa Cruz) but cannot even find examples to look at let alone test ride. How do people do this, do they just buy blind?

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    I start with the geometry of the bike I currently ride. It’s a good starting point and factor in its intended use.

    aP
    Member

    Yes.
    I’ve only test ridden 2 bikes since 1990.

    Premier Icon postierich
    Subscriber

    are them brands above classed as boutique 😯

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Exotic?

    What area are you in I’d be surprised if there’s not a dealer of a least one of those brands as they’ve fairly common.

    timwillows
    Member

    Portsmouth,
    Cycleworks claims to do Yeti, but none in the shop and assistant claims they don’t do them any more. Somewhere in Poole (1hr) but neve seen anything in stock….

    slackalice
    Member

    Pedal & Spoke in Peaslake for Santa Cruz

    P&S also do Yeti now.

    ajr
    Member

    Ventana Mountain Bikes USA hand built in California. There are only four people in the factory. http://www.riversidecyclecentre.co.uk

    pinetree
    Member

    Try emailing the distributors of the brands. They’ll be able to recommend a shop/demo day etc…

    Premier Icon johnikgriff
    Subscriber

    Oneplanetadventure at Llandegla sell all 3 of those and have there own demo fleet for some of then. Also have demo days with all manufactures on the same day.

    Job done πŸ™‚

    kiwiem
    Member

    BW Cycling in Bristol do Santa Cruz and have demos.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    They’re all made in Taiwan. πŸ˜€
    Just like On-One & Boardman.

    The higher prices charged are due to the greed of the manufacturers and the gullibility of the customers

    Trimix
    Member

    Rusty Spanner speaks the truth πŸ™‚

    Nothing quite like riding a boutique bikes says your a sucker for marketing !

    Trimix
    Member

    But hey, dont let that stop you spending money and kickstarting the economy πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Nothing quite like riding a boutique bikes says your a sucker for marketing !

    Really? Is that the case with anything more than a Β£50 Apollo? πŸ™„

    spikyjames
    Member

    Mountain Trax near Reading do all of those brands and currently have all as demo bikes

    http://www.mountain-trax.com/page/6/Demo_Bikes

    It’ll probably take about an hour and a half from Pompey to get there.

    Premier Icon DaveRambo
    Subscriber

    There are many shops that have all those as demo bikes – they aren’t really boutique any more – maybe 5 years ago but not any more.

    I bought my Yeti 5 years ago and the LBS arranged for Stu the Yeti rep to drop on one Friday and we went for a short ride.

    I wouldn’t buy any of these without a test ride – you might have to travel to get one but I see that as a good excuse to ride more. Any shop that sells them should be able to able to get a demo for you. If they can’t/won’t then find somewhere else. Many rent them for the day and refund the rental if you buy.

    DanW
    Member

    You need to move somewhere posher πŸ˜€ Lots of places do SC in particular. I guess most people buy Yeti’s and so on as frames only so LBS’s will probably be reluctant to have a few built up on the off chance someone actually wants that spec. Most LBS’s should be able to get a test bike in as others have suggested

    I think most people would call them overpriced rather than boutique. Secondhand is a great way to get a decent frame for much more reasonable value. You can always just mail order a frame for a fondle then return it if it doesn’t light your fire.

    I’ve never test ridden a bike before buying either. Test rides can be a bit misleading with how someone has set up the suspension/ positioning on contact points/ spec variation etc. The same frame might ride very differently with you own preferred parts and slight adjustments to bar position/ saddle position/ suspension set up over a period of weeks for example. I have a rough idea what geometry I’d like, what practicalities I could or couldn’t live with on a frame, ride characteristics that keep cropping up on reviews, price, weight, etc I’m looking for and usually that only gives a few options.

    What frames were you thinking about?

    Trimix
    Member

    I bet there is someone on here with the type of bike you are interested in who would meet up for a ride if you ask.

    Some people seem to be able ride anything, others are really sensitive to set-up, geometery etc.

    I would test ride and bear in mind that you really need to ensure the geometry and size is correct for you and the type of riding you want.

    Things like bars, stem, saddle, tyres etc will make a difference but they are cheap to swop. Unlike finding you have the wrong size frame, or its shite at climbs for example.

    Why do you want a boutique bike ? Why not just buy a bike that rides really well, after all thats what they are for. Or do you just want to look cool in the car park πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Swinnertons at Cannock Chase do Yeti & Santa Cruz. They have a hire fleet. My mates hired out Yeti’s, & one went on to buy the SB66 he hired, the other hired & then bought a Bronson.
    Me, I hired a Krampus. πŸ™‚
    And I was a very happy bunny.

    Ventana might be boutique but try selling one on afterwards…
    The two I’ve had took a while to sell & went for half what a ropey old Halifax Cabinet d’ File goes for.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Or do you just want to look cool in the car park

    to look cool in the car park you would have the latest hyped bike, not something where people wonder what it is…

    But another advantage is that you are out of the mainstream, so if you are susceptible to peer group pressure you will be less affected with one of these rarer bikes.

    Trimix
    Member

    So basically make sure you buy a 26 inch wheeled bike then πŸ™‚

    Superficial
    Member

    A lot of the ’boutique’ bikes around at the moment have quite particular quirks, I’m thinking:
    Yeti ASR-5 – very aggressive geometry on a shortish travel frame, firm ride, low BB
    SB66 – Quite a firm start of stroke (I.e. it apparently feels very firm unless you’re riding hard)
    Santa Cruz Bronson – sounds like it has quite quirky geometry. No one seems to admit they don’t like the Β£8k superbike they just bought but there are enough mumblings on forums to worry me.
    Santa Cruz *Anything VPP* – the suspension is very effective but some people don’t like the “magic carpet” ride.
    Ibis Mojo – Again, slightly weird geometry

    Whereas big-name brands are, sensibly, much more middle-of-road from what I can see. Of course, choice is good and if you know what ‘quirks’ you want then there’s probably a bike out there for you. Anyway, I wouldn’t buy one of the above bikes without testing first.

    timwillows
    Member

    Kind of agree, hence why I started by saying I was curious about them. The no brainer option is a T129 works, but will it be ‘special’?

    DanW
    Member

    Based on personal experience I wouldn’t buy Santa Cruz again. They are far more common and mainstream than they used to be and it seemed to attract random people taking the piss πŸ˜€

    The recurrent classic was “oh look there’s another one… I wonder where they are giving them away”. It’s a good way to get chatting to people you bump in to mid ride πŸ˜€

    One guy stopped me around Afan and said with all sincerity “Oh, is that one of those new Saracen’s? I’ve heard they are starting to make some really great bikes and they seem pretty popular and good value! I replied “erm, it’s a Santa Cruz”… “Oh, well that’s not quite so interesting” was his reply πŸ˜€ His genuine disappointment it wasn’t a Saracen was worth every hard earned penny

    If you want something rare buy a Marin. They’ve gone the opposite way to SC from every man and his dog having one to now hardly any seeming to sell.

    Trimix
    Member

    +1 Superficial.

    Big brands have more money to spend on R&D getting it right.

    Let your riding do the talking, not your bike.

    Sui
    Member

    Show me the Knolly…. I’ve asked the distributor, but in case anyone in Surrey has an Endorphin or Chilcotin can I have a go please ?

    Trimix- recommends big brand, rides a Transition πŸ˜‰

    gee
    Member

    If you want something boutique it has to be titanium… But then you can’t get a decent ti full sus bike… Money no object I’d have a Moots but that doesn’t help you!

    There seem to be an awful lot of broken full sus frames around and a a lot of those seem to be Santa Cruz. If I was buying a full sus, which will inevitably break, it’d be from a brand like Specialized with excellent warranty support.

    GB

    Premier Icon LimboJimbo
    Subscriber

    The no brainer option is a T129 works, but will it be ‘special’?

    It’s all about perception innit. Rock up at a UK trail centre on a Whyte and it’s just another nice, capable, mainstream bike. I suspect if you turned up to a ride in Southern California on the same bike you would be niche-tastic.

    I reckon Whyte, Saracen et al. sell substantially less bikes globally than Yeti and Santa Cruz.

    Superficial
    Member

    +1 Superficial.

    Big brands have more money to spend on R&D getting it right.

    FWIW I wasn’t suggesting that boutique bikes are bad by any stretch – I love my Yeti ASR-5 and I genuinely can’t think of a bike I’d rather ride. But it’s quite an unusual frame and I’m sure there are people who don’t like or “get” it at all. My frame has a lot of nice finishing touches which make it lovely to look at and to work on. Someone has thought about every detail – which is worth it to me as I ride a lot and do all my own meching.

    Having said all of that – a Spesh / Giant / Trek is a much safer buy for sure, especially if you’re buying without testing.

    Superficial
    Member

    I suspect if you turned up to a ride in Southern California on [a Whyte] you would be niche-tastic.

    So true. In 2009, I owned a Commencal meta – at this time they were EVERYWHERE in the UK, and had started getting a reputation for breaking – I.e. not particularly desirable. I went to Canada that year and whenever I told people what I rode, everyone commented on how rare / boutique / cool they thought it was! They had no importer then, and a few people had ordered them from overseas at great expense – I guess a small Euro brand seems exotic to Canadians. IIRC my Meta frame (In Canada) would have cost approximately twice as much as a Santa Cruz Blur πŸ˜†

    DanW
    Member

    If you want something boutique it has to be titanium… But then you can’t get a decent ti full sus bike…

    Don’t tell me this isn’t awesome. I think this is probably my money no object dream bike and plenty boutique πŸ˜€ Funk La Ruta

    Hi Timwillows

    We, at Silverfish, are the UK distributor of Yeti (as well as a few other brands you might also want to take a look at πŸ™‚ )
    We have a network of dealers all across the country who should be able to look after you – they can be viewed on our website at http://www.silverfish-uk.com
    Most of these dealers run their own demo bikes however if they don’t have what you’re after we have a comprehensive fleet of bikes that we can supply to them as well as a dedicated demo / tech guy who attends around 20 demo events a year in our purpose built Zombie demo truck.

    Any queries just drop me a line richie @ silverfish-uk . com (take out all of the spaces).

    Cheers

    gee
    Member

    Dan – yes that’s pretty but I imagine rather flexy… Plus it has a Crackandfail fork.

    pete68
    Member

    @The op . Mountain trax aren’t a million miles from you. They do santa cruz and ibis brands with their own demo fleet. If you go to their website you can see what demo bikes they have and book your time. Swinley is akso close by

    Surely a “boutique” brand is one that doesn’t have a distributer. Don’t get me wrong, Santa Cruz, Yeti and Ibis make some cracking bikes, but are they boutique? I would say boutique is something like my Soul. Yeti, Santa Cruz, and Ibis are medium-sized brands IMO.

    I don’t believe big big companies lke Specialized and Giant neccessarily make great bikes. They have big R&D budgets, but they also have big marketing budgets. They make bikes to sell in volume, not to push the envelope.

    Ultimately do you want a bike to look boutique. Or simply be better than the off-the-shelf brands?

    coogan
    Member

    A Soul is boutique? I don’t think any bike brand is ’boutique’. Just bikes. Some cheaper, some more expensive.

    Fair point.

    Perhaps, rather than boutique why not buy British (not Raleigh). Since buying a Cotic and a Genesis I’ve realised who really do get what you pay for. OK, both made in Taiwain but money goes to British companies. In addition in both cases the bikes stand out whereever I ride them in the UK – does that make them boutique? What ever it makes them I love riding them. Which is surely the important bit.

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