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  1. #1
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    Buying Surly in Germany vs USA

    Thanks in large part to MTBR threads especially the MonsterCross one, I've settled on making a CrossCheck my new do-it-all bike. This summer I'm moving to southwest Germany, near Basel, Switzerland and France. I see there are dealers nearby.

    My question is, should I purchase here and fly it over with the rest of the boxes, or wait to buy there? I'll be looking for two bikes - one for me and one for the wife. Neither would be stock completes because I want different components. Does anyone have any insight into the question? The nearest dealer in Germany appears to be Das LebensRad in Freiburg (45 minutes away).

  2. #2
    "Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
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    Do your homework on the exchange rate, taxes, shipping costs, etc...do the math.
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  3. #3
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    Yes, that part is pretty easy to figure out. I guess my question is more accurately about how easy it is to buy a bike in Germany, Surly frame availability, ease of working with bike shops, etc. Probably just something I'd have to experience, posted in the off-chance there's someone with experience on both fronts.

    I'll probably end up taking shipping to be safe - I don't want to be stuck bike-less for months if it becomes hard to figure out.

  4. #4
    "Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
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    It's not a third world country of course. The only way you'll know is to call those shops and ask if they have a QBP account. Just like any other bike shop, just a bit further away. Buying a bike/frame from the local shop is a great way to get to know them and establish a relationship in a new country.
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  5. #5
    mwv
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    There is a list of Sury Dealers in Germany on the Surly website.

    Just contact them
    Dealers | Surly Bikes

  6. #6
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    While not a third-world country by any means, I can't count on finding an English speaker. I guess there's only one way to find out since the local dealer doesn't have a website listed (I think that's a phone number there). My concern was more about the language (I'm working on it, but no way in shape to order a custom bike - I can barely say the word for bike in German!), plus as an American brand not sure how Surly is supported. However there are a lot of Surly dealers over there so that's probably not an issue.

    Thanks kkjellquist - you've made the best argument I've heard for buying over there! I like the idea of meeting people through the shop. Even if it's not as easy or cheap as buying here and shipping, it's probably better in the long run. Thanks!

  7. #7
    mwv
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    Quote Originally Posted by vonlein View Post
    While not a third-world country by any means, I can't count on finding an English speaker. I guess there's only one way to find out since the local dealer doesn't have a website listed (I think that's a phone number there). My concern was more about the language (I'm working on it, but no way in shape to order a custom bike - I can barely say the word for bike in German!), plus as an American brand not sure how Surly is supported. However there are a lot of Surly dealers over there so that's probably not an issue.

    Thanks kkjellquist - you've made the best argument I've heard for buying over there! I like the idea of meeting people through the shop. Even if it's not as easy or cheap as buying here and shipping, it's probably better in the long run. Thanks!
    All Germans speak English, seriously.

  8. #8
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    I spent a week there last fall and heard differently, but it's definitely true that it'll be a lot easier to find English speakers there than non-English speakers here. It's all part of the adventure I guess. Thanks.

    Now the only downside to buying there is having to wait another few months to get my Surly!

  9. #9
    "Ride Lots" Eddy Merckx
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwv View Post
    All Germans speak English, seriously.
    ^^ this ^^

    I spent time in Sweden in 1998 and EVERYONE under 50 spoke English. Now, if you are moving to a rural part of German that may be different, but I would suspect anyone owning a fairly modern bike shop will speak English.
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  10. #10
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    We are moving to a fairly small rural farming town (pop. well under 10k) but Freiburg is a much larger university town (where the nearest Surly dealer is). I'm probably worrying needlessly. This article made me smile: spiegel.de/international/0,1518,410295,00.html

    Thanks guys! Big help to think through this.

  11. #11
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    why don't you email them so you'll know if they stock surly frames

    it might be on a special order basis and you'll end up waiting a couple of months for the frames

    also, bike components are a little more expensive over there, so you might want to bring some smaller, easy to carry items
    biker boy

  12. #12
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    Cosmic Sports is the distributor for Surly in Germany.
    Singlespeed.nl ships a lot of Surlys throughout Europe, too.
    Ride more!

  13. #13
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    The closest Surly shop doesn't have a listed website or email (just address and phone) or I would have contacted them already. I still may try the phone or take my chances.

    Thanks for the distributor/online sales info! It looks like singlespeed.nl has the CrossCheck frames in stock so that's a good backup.

  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    Hi, I'm really from the third world (Italy) and I just finished to build a new karate monkey (fantastic bike!)
    I bought the frame and most of the other components from bike-components.de. All went really fine, never needed to make a call, a few emails were enough.
    I think the only downside could be the vs $, take a look into their website to figure out the prices...

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the personal experience feedback madbike! I'm glad you're enjoying your Karate Monkey.

    After the last couple of posts I looked into costs - once I factor in some of the bits I have I can save plenty of money buying here and shipping. The Cross Check frame alone is nearly half price here compared to in euros with 19% tax. Plus, unless there are gotchas I haven't seen yet, I found out I should be able to check bikes on the plane for about $100-150 each.

    Given that I don't a large budget, and that I don't want to be bike-less for a while after the move as I have so many other things to deal with, I'm settling back to shipping bikes over. Especially since I stumbled on a used frame deal I couldn't pass up and I'm starting a Karate Monkey build of my own

  17. #17
    Another Retro Grouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by vonlein View Post
    ... Freiburg is a much larger university town (where the nearest Surly dealer is).....
    I've been to Freiburg, they'll know you're American just looking at you and start with English (they'll assume you don't speak but 10 words of German, which is true for 99.9% of the Americans they meet).

    If you know two languages, you're bilingual, three languages is trilingual, what do you call someone that only speaks one language?......


















    ....American

  18. #18
    mwv
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    I've been to Freiburg, they'll know you're American just looking at you and start with English (they'll assume you don't speak but 10 words of German, which is true for 99.9% of the Americans they meet).

    If you know two languages, you're bilingual, three languages is trilingual, what do you call someone that only speaks one language?......


















    ....American
    I was going to jokingly answer American before I scrolled down......and realized it was actually a joke

  19. #19
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    I think its much easier (and cheaper) to bring the bike from the states. There are only a few shops that have Surlys directly available (one of them is here in Berlin and they as well stock only a few sizes - in the best case). The cheaper online-dealers might have exactly the frame youre looking for - or it might take months as it happened to several guys I know!
    The guy from the Netherlands is very nice and theres another cool shop in Switzerland, but in Zrich.

    The reason Im posting this: Im very much thinking about buying a troll and Im really really trying to find out if I can wait till Im in the states the next time (and yes, maybe a new colour). Its really much easier and cheaper to buy these frames (and much of the other nice bike stuff) when Im there. The other way round makes not too much sense. Youll learn to know enough people anyway - and yes, they speak English but it might sound strange

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