LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) – In the market for a new bicycle? Go to a shop that offers great service, because prices for new bicycles don’t vary much from store to store, according to a report by Bay Area Consumers’ Checkbook.

“The bike manufacturers have done a really good job of basically eliminating price competitiveness among stores,” according to Kevin Brassler, Consumers’ Checkbook executive editor.

Brassler said that’s all the more reason for consumers to shop at a place with good service and where you can get really good advice.

“The best shops will really talk with you at length about how you ride, what length you ride and what it is you want,” Brassler told ConsumerWatch.

Livermore Cyclery got high ratings for service in Consumers’ Checkbook survey of more than 70 Bay Area bicycle shops.

Manager Carolyn Pask said it’s critical for anyone considering a new bicycle to get “something that feels right for your body type.”

Pask said it’s critical that bike be fitted correctly.

“I wince every time I see someone going down the road with their seat either too high or too low,” she told ConsumerWatch. “You want to get equal weight distribution between the palms, the seat and the feet while you’re peddling. You want to make it the most comfortable ride possible.”

And while bicycle prices may not range much from store to store, Brassler said the cost of accessories and service can vary widely.

“Some stores charge as much as three times as their competitors,” he said.

So, he said it may pay to ask the store to price match. Brassler said the absolute cheapest place to buy accessories is usually on-line, because on-line retailers will sometimes sell accessories below cost or get special discounts. But he said online isn’t always the best place to buy, especially if you want to reward good service.

“If you have a really good relationship with the salesman, give them some credit and at least consider buying accessories from them,” said Brassler.

Click here to see Consumers’ Checkbook’s guide to bike buying.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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