Living near High Park Toronto, there's a lot of snob, and non-snob bike shops around.
Some are good and just 'feel' snob but it's just because they kick butt.
I may have visited one of those today in Racer Sportif.
This is an excellent Sales Shop. They understand value, but if that's not what you're after - you'll pay a pretty penny for whatever you're actually looking for. Meaning - GREAT SALES, but not on what you want. Knowing that I went in with an open mind to be persuaded by price and there were two items that stuck out.
Colnago CLX - $2190, 105 mix, FSA cranks, junk Cane Creek Brakes but a HOT frame!
Scott CR1 Team - $2190 105 Groupo - solid build.
Mark Cavendish - likely the greatest sprinter of our time, at least the 'current' time rides a Scott frame... I had a CR1 LTD in 2004 before they were available on the general market and it was FAST. Like Fast Freddy Fast! And yet when I switched to a Kestrel Talon SL, I was FASTER because it fit me better. It was a little heavier, a little more aero, but signifigantly more comfortable. (psst - there's a lesson there folks). It was still tempting because Racer Sportif was having their never ending "Great Scott Sale".
Colnago makes a beautifully comfortable frame, and I've kind of always wanted one, but just never made the leap for one reason for another - but THIS was a bike I could have. It was in my price range, the component group was 'tolerable' and left lots of room for upgrades - but the frame was just SOOOO sexy!
As I was deliberating, mostly in my head with a little pacing, the atmosphere became a little pushy. Before I could pass by the bike a third time the "oh there's not many left, give us your credit card and we'll hold it on a 10% deposit" began. This was the complete opposite of the first bike shop I visited and made me feel a little uncomfortable. The prices WERE really good so usually I could justify a bit of salesmanship and pushiness.
History however came into play at this point to possibly cloud my judgement. While I'm not usually one to carry a grudge, this shop struck a sore spot with me in 2007. I had dropped off my bike to get a quick "Pre Race Tune-Up" that was listed as $50. When my girlfriend went to pick up my bike, she ended up paying $125, the price of the invoice. I called and asked what happened, and they said the wheels were out of true and it needed a new brake cable.
Did they call to ask about performing additional services? Was there a waiver to sign saying they could increase the bike exponentially as they saw fit?
I had a sweet set of Reynolds DV's that I was regluing prepping for the race, which is why my crappiest wheels were ON the bike.
Even though the Colnago is the sweetest deal I've seen in Toronto -they still won't get my $$$.
However - if you can rock what they got on sale - you'll leave feeling like you won!