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  1. #1
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    Salsa Colossal: How Stupid is it to Buy a Bike Without Riding it First?

    Here's my scenario. I feel in love with the 2013 Salsa Colossal 2 a while ago. I want a steel road bike with disk brakes. Bingo. Plus I love that blue color. I finally have the funds to purchase it and found a great deal online. However it's such an obscure bike that I can't find it anywhere locally to test one out. I am 5'-5" and female. It seems like the 53cm would fit me, but how can I really know without riding it, you know? The geometry seems at least fairly similar (as much as you can compare the two) to the crappy mountain bike I own right now.

    I would use it mostly for commuting my 32 mile round trip to work (I don't like or need racks/fenders so no worries there) and road rides on the weekend of 20-50 miles.

    I have two options here.

    1. Drive 4.5 hours one way to Minneapolis to a shop that actually carries the exact bike in the right size. I ride it, I like it, I buy it. Price would be around $1700 with sales tax. They include a fitting with the bike, but I'm not sure how extensive the fitting is. The website says it's a $100 value.

    2. I buy the bike online for $1370 and have it shipped to my awesome LBS. They would assemble it for $80 and they do super quality work. Then I go to another LBS that does an extensive fitting, complete with video, etc, etc. Takes 3 hours - it's very thorough. Costs $275 with free 1/2 hour tweaking sessions if you're not happy. Total for this option would be $1725 with I assume a better fit. I save money in gas, miles on my car, my time, etc.

    What's the smartest option? What would you do?

  2. #2
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    If you drive to the dealer that has the bike, you can ride and try before you decide... The Colossal is a nice riding bike - I normally ride a 54cm in about everything, but ride a 55cm in the Salsa.... Wouldn't have known which to get if I hadn't jumped on one. Either way is a reasonable option, but if it doesn't fit you well, you're out a few hundred likely...
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  3. #3
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    If you don't already own a road bike, or know what measurements work for you, make the road trip.

  4. #4
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    I agree with the last two commenters. I'm 5'7 and fall right in between the 53cm and 55cm Colossal. Thankfully, a local bike shop owner has a 55cm colossal that he let me demo. I tried it out and it would have worked for me, but I felt like it was just a tad too big for me so I opted for the 53cm. Both the standover heights and top tube lengths on the two bikes work for my body, but the 53cm I think would fair slightly better for me.

    If you don't have much experience working with your fit on a road bike, then having the bike fitted to you would be nice. Although, I would never spend $275 for the "all inclusive" bike fit. Don't they offer cheaper fits? Really, if you go with the basic fitting of proper stem length, seat post height, and saddle placement, that shouldn't cost you too much and yet it will do wonders in your comfort on the bike plus save you a lot of dough.

    Either way, you won't go wrong with such a sweet bike. Mine was just ordered and will be arriving in a few days.

  5. #5
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    I'm 5'7 with short legs and a long torso and bought mine sight unseen. Salsa dealers in my area are very rare. I know of 1 in the whole state and they don't even stock the Colossal. I used the geometry listed on the website and compared it with my other road bike and ended up with a 55. I also ordered mine online and brought to my favorite shop for a final build and to check the fit. No step swap. We just got the seatpost, bars and seat set and it's been great.

    I understand the risk but you have to factor in the value of your time. If it had been a disaster I would have sold the bike and lost a couple of hundred dollars, the bike was heavily discounted to begin with so even half retail wouldn't be bad. That still would have been less than the cost of the day it would have to taken to travel and try the bike. Had it been full retail I wouldn't have done but for the $1360 I paid for the bike it made sense to take a chance and I am so glad it worked.
    He who dares....wins!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    I understand the risk but you have to factor in the value of your time. If it had been a disaster I would have sold the bike and lost a couple of hundred dollars, the bike was heavily discounted to begin with so even half retail wouldn't be bad. That still would have been less than the cost of the day it would have to taken to travel and try the bike. Had it been full retail I wouldn't have done but for the $1360 I paid for the bike it made sense to take a chance and I am so glad it worked.
    This is sort of where my thoughts are at the moment. Spending an entire weekend to go test ride a bike I am 99% sure I want just seems like a waste of time. Of course, I could be eating those words once I actually have the bike if I buy it without riding it first and I don't like it.

    I just sort of wonder what the chances are that I ride it and hate it. I have a pretty low end mountain bike right now that I put slicks on and put in 2500 miles on last year. I mean, anything has to be an upgrade to that.

  7. #7
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    Do the drive to the Cities. While your there, plan to visit QBP (home of Salsa) in Bloomington; very fun group, and maybe you can talk them out of a few extra stickers. Take in a show at the Guthrie and do all those things you cant do where ever it is you live in Wisconsin (a fine place, by the way).

    Its hard to imagine not liking the bike, but I suppose it could happen. Hard to imagine not having a good time in the Cities, but that could happen too. Its just really unlikely. This could be an adventure.

  8. #8
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    Drive to Mpls and go to Kramarczuk's for good eastern European food. Then do whatever with the bike.

  9. #9
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    To me, it's worth the investment in time and money to test ride the bike you want, make sure it fits and and that you're happy with it. Determining the right size bike can sometimes be a tricky business. The best thing would be a test ride and take advantage of the fit the shop is offering. You can certainly call that shop and ask them what their fit entails.

  10. #10
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    Ive been looking at a Colossal and everything about the geometry and fitting says I should be on a 58. I tested a 58 and it felt ok, but then tested a 60 and it was perfect. Definitely ride it before you buy it

  11. #11
    PMC
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    If you’re thinking about hitting the Angry Catfish they do a really good job with fittings. You'll end up with a bike that fits and a spec sheet with all your measurements so you can use for future bikes or make sure if you change something out you're not messing up what worked.
    The coffee shop in the front has the best Americanos I've ever had and I'll stop in just for coffee. If you need a donut after your test ride The Bakers Wife on the same corner has the best cake donuts in the cities.
    Good luck with your decision.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMC View Post
    If you’re thinking about hitting the Angry Catfish they do a really good job with fittings. You'll end up with a bike that fits and a spec sheet with all your measurements so you can use for future bikes or make sure if you change something out you're not messing up what worked.
    The coffee shop in the front has the best Americanos I've ever had and I'll stop in just for coffee. If you need a donut after your test ride The Bakers Wife on the same corner has the best cake donuts in the cities.
    Good luck with your decision.
    .
    Oh, nice. I see that they have the bike in stock as well. I was planning on heading to Freewheel Bike West Bank if I went. Do you have a preference between the two?

  13. #13
    PMC
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    Quote Originally Posted by WiTrailRunner View Post
    Oh, nice. I see that they have the bike in stock as well. I was planning on heading to Freewheel Bike West Bank if I went. Do you have a preference between the two?
    They're both good shops and between my wife and myself we've bought bikes from both shops. Saying that I don't know anything about the fitters at Freewheel although I'm sure they're good.
    Stephen (who did my Warbird fit) at Angry Catfish is very good and takes the time needed to get you where you'd need to be on the bike. I'd call both and go with whoever you're more comfortable with as I don't think there is a wrong answer between the two.

  14. #14
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    Salsa Colossal: How Stupid is it to Buy a Bike Without Riding it First?

    Quote Originally Posted by PMC View Post
    They're both good shops and between my wife and myself we've bought bikes from both shops. Saying that I don't know anything about the fitters at Freewheel although I'm sure they're good.
    Stephen (who did my Warbird fit) at Angry Catfish is very good and takes the time needed to get you where you'd need to be on the bike. I'd call both and go with whoever you're more comfortable with as I don't think there is a wrong answer between the two.
    Stephen was at Freewheel West Bank for years before starting at the Catfish about a year ago.

    Both are great shops. The Catfish has a more high-end, boutique feel. I've bought bikes from both places. Between the two, I'd take the Catfish. Of course, you could visit both and see which place you like better. Less than 10 minutes apart by car.

  15. #15
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    I bought my Salsa sight unseen, because I had the same problem finding one locally that you're having.

    What I ended up doing was a ton of online research, but what really helped out was just calling the retailer that was selling it. The guy I spoke to put me on the phone with his son, who owned the bike I was looking at and happened to be the same size as me. Going by his advice, I bought the right size. Of course this was with a mtb, and my choice was between small or medium.

    I'm very tempted by that Colossal as well. Great price, and I love that blue! It's the same color as my Horsethief 2. Blue's my favorite color and I geek out about having a pair of matching bikes, haha.

    The Ti version is the one I'd really want though. It's dead sexy and nice and light. I fear the steel version would be on the heavy side.
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride

  16. #16
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    Does anyone know of any bikes with very similar geometry to the Colossal? I was thinking perhaps I could find something with the same general geometry and test ride it. I'm in Madison, Wisconsin, so we have plenty of bike stores here - just none that carry the Colossal.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WiTrailRunner View Post
    Does anyone know of any bikes with very similar geometry to the Colossal? I was thinking perhaps I could find something with the same general geometry and test ride it. I'm in Madison, Wisconsin, so we have plenty of bike stores here - just none that carry the Colossal.
    I don't know the details of the geometry but the bike that the Colossal most reminds me of is the Bianchi Impulso. I've heard the Bianchi Infinito is a higher end frame with a similar geometry but I've have not ridden one.

    Just remember though you are talking about carbon as opposed to steel and a completely different braking system. If you do go that route just focus on riding position and try to ignore everything else.
    He who dares....wins!

  18. #18
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    Angry Catfish is worth checking out.

  19. #19
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    So OP, what did you end up doing?
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride

  20. #20
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    I am heading up to Minneapolis to the Angry Catfish this weekend to ride the damn bike. I'll probably also ride a Vaya and an All City Macho Man Disc, since they also interest me, but my intentions are to buy the Colossal. I'll post pictures if I bring her home with me!

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