Now that I am gainfully employed (woohoo!) I want to buy a road bike to replace my painfully slow hybrid....when is the best time to look for deals? And should I focus solely on bricks and mortar dealers such as Contes or go online?
if you know yoru size bicycle and accurately pick one out with using geometry tables and such then online will always be cheaper than a brick and mortar store hands down.
but if you really need to get fit for a bike and see them in person then brick and mortar usually have saless sometime in sept or october to clear out last year's models so you could find a deal there. antoehr good time to look is middle of the winter as this is the slow time for most shops so you might be able to get a deal then also.
It depends what you mean by online. If you mean a brand new bike then realized that some of those bike come unassembled or partially assembled. This could mean something a simple as hooking up the wheels and tightening the handle bars or it could mean fully assembling it yourself. Unless you know or enjoy putting a bike together then this could be a hassle. You can bring it to a bike shop and have them put it together for you but that might negate whatever savings you had online.
Whatever you decide, make sure that you ride the bike model at a shop first to know how it fits you. A 52 cm Cevelo may equate to a 54 cm Felt or some other sizes. I know that some people swear by the local bike shops like Conte or Bonzai. I purchased mine at Hudson Trail Outfitter on a layaway for about $500+ less that I would have gotten it at either of those stores. My bike also came with free lifetime tuneups and a rebate big enough to purchase a helmet.
I've been getting mailings touting toward-end-of-summer deals at shops like Performance and Spokes. At the former got a big price break on a carbon last July.
Speaking of Performance Bike shop, they have their house brand Scattante 660 on sale for $1100 (about $500 off regular) plus $200 in store credits. I just did my first Tri in NJ on my 15 year old road bike and am looking forward to doing more- including Nations next month-but at a recreational rather than hard core serious level. So, long way of saying I want a good bike but don't want to break the bank. The 660 has aluminum frame with split carbon fork and comes with Shimano Ultegras. Seems like a pretty good deal for what I'm looking for. Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
I got a Scattante CFR all carbon at Performance last summer for $1,300. It is nimble and quick and, with aerobars attached, comfortable for long-distance, rolling-hill rides.
Revolution Cycles in Arlington is having a sale as well that started on Friday. Not sure what sizes.
I got my tri bike on craigslist, and then spent the extra money to get it fit at Fitness Concepts. I got a great deal, so that is an option too but you have to be patient.
My only advice would be to get a bike fit before you buy anything. When I bought my road bike, I had no idea what it was supposed to 'feel' like and just went for the best deal I could find. Five years later, I was struggling with hip/back problems as a result of lots of miles with bad form. I finally got a fit last fall and have been pain-free all year for the first time in three years. It's the best few hundred bucks I spent on tri-related stuff...