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  1. #1
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    Do the high end bikes sell ok at most bike shops

    I'm wondering....does the high-end bike sell relatively well in general? Or does it take quite a while? I'm taking about bikes 3500 and up. Something like a top of the line BMC or Cervelo. No real purpose of asking, just kind of curious as to how easy or hard it is for a bike shop to move an expensive bike costing more than some people's cars.

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    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Well, it's been 10 years since I worked at a bike shop, but when I did, the high end bikes didn't sell all that well. We had a Merlin Titanium with full Record that sat on the racks for a good 2 years. I think its price tag was a little over $3000. Eventually sold as a close-out model for $2000.

    We also had a fancy Cannondale downhill only (one chainring... BIG) with a price tag for $4699. The funny thing was after 3 months on the shelf, the manager told us he'd go as low as $3700 since our cost was like $3200, but he didn't care if it sold because it attracted people to come gawk at it. The next week, some guy with more money than brains walked in and said "I want a bike nobody else on my block will have". The salesman showed him the Cannondale on its special display podium and the guy swiped his gold card. No negotiations, no discounts on accessories, no questions asked. The salesman got a bonus commision for that one.
    Last edited by urbanknight; 05-23-07 at 11:45 PM.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

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    All depends on the customer. You get a DR with money to burn that wants to have an expensive bike like his DR friends will drop cash no problem. I've also had low end 2-300 dollar customers that are the biggest PITA customers. Engineers are the worst of all though.

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    It depends on the area. I live in NC. LBSs within a short distance focus on late model aluminum and carbon bikes. The one that has a brand that makes steel road bikes,hybrids and mountains,only has the cruisers.the other LBS has lots of cruisers as well. It's a costal area and flat. Not one titaniumis to be found,strange.A city up north, 50 or so miles,it's LBS has a few mid-range bikes,he complains he doesn't move them. Actually a couple of others within an hour's drive have very little hi-end also. In NYS and NJ,near NYC,in the affluent areas,they would run-out of the nicest bikes by June,every year.Lately,now that they have more LBSs there,it's changed a bit,all still sell well. A store I worked at,had bikes in one large room as a tennant of the folkes I worked for. I didn't "work" there but I WAS there,every day for years. The actual town was decidedly lower-middle to lower-class at the time. That shop had Bianchis that they just couldn't sell but could barely keep-up with repairs and stocking sub-$200 bikes in the '80s

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4791
    All depends on the customer. You get a DR with money to burn that wants to have an expensive bike like his DR friends will drop cash no problem. I've also had low end 2-300 dollar customers that are the biggest PITA customers. Engineers are the worst of all though.
    yeah. calculating, quantitative and constantly evaluating. we s*ck.

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    One thing high-end bikes do is put the mid-range bike prices in context. $1999 doesn't look like so much next the the $4500 drooler. IMO it's always good to have a couple on the racks, even if they don't sell well.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    One thing high-end bikes do is put the mid-range bike prices in context. $1999 doesn't look like so much next the the $4500 drooler. IMO it's always good to have a couple on the racks, even if they don't sell well.
    +1
    It doesn't hurt to be prepared for the occassional impulse-buyer with dispensable cash either.

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    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Here in Manhattan, i've seen people walk into bike shops and say "So, i want a road bike, what's the best one you have?" and walk out with a full Dura-Ace'd Merlin 15 minutes later.

    I think that's why most bike shops here won't give me the time of day.. they can sniff it out within seconds by the way i start looking the bikes over - i know my stuff, plus i'm cheap, and they hate that.

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    Senior Member capwater's Avatar
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    The shop I ride for sells a fair amount of BMCs and Cervelos. Dude came out on a swank new big dollar BMC with full DA last night while I rode a Raleigh Tiagra 9 speed beater backup (I'm building up a Giant TCR). Guess who got dropped mid-way through our team ride? It's all about the engine, baby!!!

    Biking is inherently a rich man's sport. Clothes alone can kill your budget. Crash one CF frame in a crit (like I did 3 weeks ago) and you'll be financially crushed. Thus, someone coming into our LBS and dropping $5,000 isn't all that surprising. Sure, he doesn't sell as many bikes as Performance, but the audience is far more narrow. But, it's a pricey inventory to keep on the floor. Most bikes have a steep markup. The $3000 bike probably cost the dealer about $2100 or so.

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    Extra Medium Member redtires's Avatar
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    Ditto old and new, plus it depends on what type of reputation the shop has. When I worked a big chain store, it was 100 cheap to mid level bikes for every one high-end bike we actually had in the shop. But, after quitting there and working for a friend of mine in a small lbs with a reputation amongst racers, plus it's own club....stark contrast. Yeah, we had plenty of Hardrock's, but we were chock full of top of the line Bianchi and Torelli bikes and frames, titanium and carbon parts, super hot wheels, and tri and time trial stuff. We knew our stuff, and all the customers knew we did too, so coming to us was often a no brainer.

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    I used to own a large shop, and we sold lots of high end bikes. We had a good reputation, and it took a while to build it up.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    One thing high-end bikes do is put the mid-range bike prices in context. $1999 doesn't look like so much next the the $4500 drooler. IMO it's always good to have a couple on the racks, even if they don't sell well.
    This also helps when the customer has his "financial broker" with him when shopping for a bike. "No, honey, I don't plan on paying $4,500 for a bike, I'm gonna get this "cheap" one for $1,999."

  13. #13
    shedding fat dgasmd's Avatar
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    In most shops around the country not only do they not sell well, but they don't even have them in stock. I live in South Florida, where millionaires, multi-million dollar houses, and $300-500K bentleys/Ferrari/Lambos are dime a dozen. Still, I am yet to see more than a bike that really cost $3500 sitting in the floor of anyshop around here. Sure, some shops will have a bike with a $4K sticker on it, but it ususally tends to be a $2500 bike way overpriced. The unsuspecting/uneducated buyer wouldn't know that though.

    I have been seriously considering buying a Pinarello Paris with Campy record, etc. or comparable and I am yet to see anything that comes even remotely comparable sitting in a shop around here.
    Arguing with ignorant people is an exercise in futility. They will bring you down to their level and once there they will beat you with their overwhelming experience.

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    [QUOTE=coinstar2k]I used to own a large shop, and we sold lots of high end bikes. We had a good reputation, and it took a while to build it up.


    True but look at it this way. How many potential buyers are there for a $8500 BMC Pro Machine? Even though lots of expensive bikes are sold it would be fair to say that more inexpensive bikes go out the door of almost every LBS. I would think if a shop even in a medium size city sold high end bikes only they would have a rough time staying in biz.

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    "True but look at it this way. How many potential buyers are there for a $8500 BMC Pro Machine? Even though lots of expensive bikes are sold it would be fair to say that more inexpensive bikes go out the door of almost every LBS. I would think if a shop even in a medium size city sold high end bikes only they would have a rough time staying in biz."

    Makes sense. You want to bag a world class trout, probably better not to wade into the Love Canal, though who knows the niagara has fish. There certainly are stores that specialize in high end bikes, it helps if the owner really believes in them not just pimps them as part of the marketing budget. If you put top quality components on a custom frame you don't really have to lie about it, but it won't work in the wrong comunity. The kind of furniture that sells in Orange County is not necesarilly going to be the same thing as in Philly.

  16. #16
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    We have everything from $200 "hi-ten" hybrids to $5000 full-carbon Dura-Ace road bikes where I work. Don't think we've sold any of the top range road bikes this year.

    Whether a customer is looking for the $200 bike or the $5000 bike, they get the same treatment from me - my full attention and service. We make more money (total) on the cheap bikes anyway, so if anything, they should get the better treatment!

  17. #17
    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4791
    Engineers are the worst of all though.
    That would be me. Sorry about the headache/pain in the proerbial ass, but at least I never regretted any bike I bought. That was before I build my own. Then I stopped buying anything at LBS completely. Not a PITA anymore, but not bringing any money to the LBS either.

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    Sir Fallalot wroomwroomoops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmw
    yeah. calculating, quantitative and constantly evaluating. we s*ck.
    Hell yeah

  19. #19
    Senior Member mlh122's Avatar
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    I think high end stuff often doesn't meet the sales of entry/mid level stuff in many areas. In all the LBSs i've shopped in, i've seen people making purchases of bikes, usually entry level or mid level, it's pretty rare to see someone buy a high end bike. But I think it evens out because there is usually a higher margin on the higher end bike. When I worked at a custom build computer store we sold entry level computers to families and students several a day. We also had high end gamer machines and record studio machines, movie editing machines, graphic design machines, often going for around $5000. They would sit there for months (which really sucks in the computer industry). They often just sat there for display purposes. Every now and then a musician trying to start his own home studio or a 3d rendering student or just a rich kid gamer freak with too much money would come in and they would just be giddy that we could set them up with something according to their needs compared to the universal fit computers at the big box stores.

    Sorry i ranted too long. in brief i think LBS sell many $300 bikes and make $50 on them and seldom sell a $3500 bike but it's all good because they made $500 on it. The key is to be there when it has depreciated enough where they have to mark it down to a $50 margin

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker4791
    Engineers are the worst of all though.
    Last weekend I made a bike shop clerk break out the calipers to measure the external width of a master link, which I subsequently bought for 75 cents. Unfortunately he couldn't answer all my questions about the link's specifications, but the other shop I went to couldn't answer my questions either and wanted $2.25 more for it.

    ...not that I go shopping around for 75 cent items. That would be a poor use of my time. I had planned on buying a fender and a light along with the link, but they would only sell the fenders in a pair (I only needed one) and after testing the various lights I decided to buy a different one (which I could get cheaper elsewhere). So I left with just the link.
    Last edited by makeinu; 06-01-07 at 02:44 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by registered usar
    I'm wondering....does the high-end bike sell relatively well in general? Or does it take quite a while? I'm taking about bikes 3500 and up. Something like a top of the line BMC or Cervelo. No real purpose of asking, just kind of curious as to how easy or hard it is for a bike shop to move an expensive bike costing more than some people's cars.
    Darn, and there for a second I thought you might have been our local Craigslist fence.



    Where I live, it's common for the yuppies to decide they want to 'get into cycling' and drop $3000+ on a bike, ride it 4 times, and sell it on Craigslist with a story about how they didn't have time to ride, weren't really into it, started their MBA, etc. This is why I'll never buy a new bike - why do that when I can get a bike at a 40% discount that's been ridden for all of 50 miles? So that's one consumer of the high-end bike - and that bike probably costs 1/30 as much as the cars they drive, so it's like a regular guy buying $200 bike.

    Of course, for others....that $3000 bike *is* their car.

  22. #22
    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    I think the term {high end** is relative. I know people that think a $200 bike is high end. Being retired I consider my LeMond Versaille high end as I have never bought a more expensive bike and bought it on impulse, love it.
    I ride about 100 miles a week and the LeMond is a better bike than I need. If I raced or rode more maybe a higher end bike would be justified.
    My local LBS's stock mostly mid level and entry level bikes, with a couple expensive ones I think so the customer has something to compare with.
    Treks, 79-710, 83-600, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-930, 1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  23. #23
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    I've been in three LBSs recently. One has very little new stuff out for sale. He's the local GT dealer and can get just about anything, but he tends to sell more parts, service, and older bikes than anything else. The other one down the road starts out with a Giant MTB that's maybe less than $300, and goes up to an Ellsworth road bike that's close to $3000. I can't convince myself to look at it too closely. They also sell lots of parts, and many of the local bike clubs come to them for service. They're not open on Saturday. The shop across town has alot of Cannondale and Trek, most starting around $400. They sell lots of jerseys and other clothing. They have a Schwinn sign out front, but I didn't see any bikes. There are two more shops that I've never visited. One sells Raleigh and the other sells Jamis.

  24. #24
    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Depends on the focus of the LBS.

    There is a local shop here that caters to the Tri and high end crowd (Cervelos, Kouta, QR, etc) that sells bikes like hotcakes to professionals who can afford to drop 3000 - 6000 without batting an eye. They have low end stock (heck, it's where I bought my bike!), but the high end stuff keeps them going. As for gear, they have a small inventory and almost no roadie clothing, but like any shop can order what you want.

  25. #25
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    I think this is why so many shops in my area coexist so well (well, that and the large population of a metro area). We have a couple of general shops in convenient locations, one that focuses on high end road bikes, a few that sell the general run-of-the-mill selection, a couple that are into high end mountainbikes, and one that focuses on lowriders, choppers, etc. If they all tried to sell one type, they'd put each other out of business.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

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