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  1. #1
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    Local bike shop SUCKS, need a screw

    So this was from another thread but I figured I'd break it out instead and post here.


    Quote Originally Posted by 20inchesoflove View Post
    as a mechanic, this makes me laugh a little, as i see scenarios like this weekly, trust your LBS with you service needs please. it keeps us in business and keeps your bike running properly. keep riding and have fun
    LBS? Is that like a LHBS?

    Anyway, my "LBS" cross-threaded a screw, so my bike computer will never torque down properly; I pulled and reseated the screw, but the female part is damaged so even a new screw isn't going to go all the way through. The kickstand isn't torqued properly and slides all around; I guess I'll torque that. Also I just torqued down everything on my rack, because it all came loose, because they apparently failed to put a bolt in the right (drive train) side of the rack mount (or didn't torque it down) and the rack has been wobbling and loosening everything.

    I've been learning to tune up my own bike recently. They didn't toe my brakes properly, or balance them (one side was contacting WAY before the other on BOTH brakes), and I just had the bike re-adjusted too.. they also re-adjusted it such that you needed to sink the bike handle all the way down to get firm braking force, rather than half-way to get decently firm and more as needed. The front derailleur needs a second little push to nudge up to a larger gear (it's indexed), a new development since they re-adjusted it. The rear derailleur seems actually correct.

    I'm going to find another LBS. Maybe I can go to REI, they have a mechanic shop there. For the moment, my multi-tool does everything I need except break a chain (I'll need to carry this), clean my chain, and replace pedals (used a 15mm open wrench). I'm learning, slowly; got my rear wheel off (that's how I found the rack mounting error) and put in Stop Flats2 tire liners (not interested in the Slime ones) myself, finally; what a pain. Test ride is fine, save for severe concerns about that rear rack.

    Anyway, right now I need to go figure out how to get a replacement bolt for a rear rack that's only secured on one side. Guess it's off to the hardware store. I was going to go back to them and ask for a screw, but I think I'm going to just ignore that bike shop now... and to think I gave them $50 for a "Service plan" to do all my tune-ups (2) and drive train cleanings (2) for the next 2 years. Now I get to pick between wasting my money or wasting my time.
    Own: 2010 GT Tachyon 3.0
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  2. #2
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    I've been in the bike business for 40+ years as a retail shop employee, then in my own business as a manufacturer and wholesaler, and I'm always to read a post like yours.

    Sadly the skill and caring level of bike shops has declined materially over those years, and the service you got isn't rare at all these days. But just as there are sloppy uncaring shops, there are great ones with knowledgeable, caring staff. The trick is sorting them out.

    Sadly, poor shops spoil things for everybody by tarnishing the image of all shops. Meanwhile, in case you're not sure your bike likely requires a 5x.8mm screw for the rack/fender eye. While your there buy extras preferably in stainless steel.
    FB
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Sadly the skill and caring level of bike shops has declined materially over those years, and the service you got isn't rare at all these days. But just as there are sloppy uncaring shops, there are great ones with knowledgeable, caring staff. The trick is sorting them out.
    Oh trust me, I know. The level of everything has declined; everyone became car salesmen. Bike salesmen are no-knowledge plebs with no clue what they're selling you or how to size a bike. They work on commission and try to push crap--I told mine I was looking for a commuter (I was eying the GT I bought before I talked to a salesman) in the $400-$500 range and he immediately pulled down the $800 bike and started insisting that I need disc brakes. I would love disc brakes... in the range I'm looking to pay, without crap-ifying the rest of the parts in exchange.

    There was a time when businesses were staffed by people with requirements like knowledge and customer service ability, not mindless minimum-wage con artists.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Meanwhile, in case you're not sure your bike likely requires a 5x.8mm screw for the rack/fender eye. While your there buy extras preferably in stainless steel.

    Another bike shop told me it was probably the same screw as the water bottle cage and I might be able to pop that in there temporarily, but that screw didn't fit (I tried, I happen to have replaced them with longer ones while adding a bike pump under the water bottle cage). They seem to have better service thus far, but it's also a smaller shop, and only 4 miles away, so I'll be there tomorrow for a new screw. I'll be going to them from now on probably, since they seem to still provide decent service; hopefully they're technically knowledgeable as well, and a little more careful than the other one.

    None of these bike shops have bike racks out front!
    Last edited by bluefoxicy; 04-23-11 at 04:09 PM.
    Own: 2010 GT Tachyon 3.0
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  4. #4
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I am sooo glad I do not service your car.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    I am sooo glad I do not service your car.
    Me too; my auto-mechanic's actually pretty good, I'm not in the market for another one. If my mechanic misadjusted my brakes, I would find a new one (I actually do my own brakes, though).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post

    None of these bike shops have bike racks out front!
    I don't know where in Baltimore you're located, but the folks at Light Street Bikes used to be great. They might still be, but I haven't been there in 4 years or so. (and they don't sell my oil!!!).

    Also there two reasons that many shops don't have racks out front. one is local ordinances which prohibit a business for putting goods or the like out on the sidewalk. The other has to do with cyclists who assume that a shop assumes liability for any thefts from a rack they provide. When I was in retail, we were fined by the city for our rack, but what ended it was being sued (and losing) when an unlocked bike was stolen from our rack. This was in NYC no less where I'd assume folks would know better.
    FB
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  7. #7
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    Ah, I haven't been to Light Street. There's a Mount Washington shop in Fell's Point and Mt Washington, which is my next stop (the Fell's Point one, Mt Washington is far); Light Street Bikes; and then outside the city there's Performance Bike Shop. Mt Washington Bikes seems to be mountain biking oriented as a company; I think the current owner is a mountain biker (the previous owner was my current boss, apparently).
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  8. #8
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    It can happen to any business. First a dedicated honest guy starts a bike shop. He is knowledgeable and skilled and the business becomes well known and he makes a good living. Then he retires and sells the business. The guy who buys it doesn't care less about bikes but has a college degree in economics. He hires a punk to do the work on the bikes and waits for the money to roll in. Sadly the punk ruins the business within a year. But if you go to the shop not realizing that the old guy left, you will have problems.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    (99% of bike making went to low wage counties ,
    because so many people keep wanting more for less

    maybe because the owners of their companies

    drove their wages down , and they blame the
    prices being too high, rather than look at their
    own scrooges exploiting their labor,
    and setting the workers off against each others.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jeepr's Avatar
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    I think you should talk to the owner of your old shop. Sad, but maybe they don't know what's going on with their employees.

    This time of year I have seen new hires start and they are not up to speed on everything. Someone should be quality checking every repair and installation they do until they are proven. Now if one of their seasoned mechanics worked on your bike that's a different story.

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    How much money do you think the guy at the LBS makes? Entry level position as an assembler? Senior Mechanic? Service Manager?

    This industry cannot attract or retain anybody that has the experience or knowledge required to fix most bikes, the wage simply tells them to use their skills in other industries and make 3x - 4x out of the gate. Top quality service shop/employees are the exception not the rule.

    Every skilled mechanic that I've worked with were in two groups. People who are going to school in a technical field (engineering) and really like bikes and has the motivation to work for low pay. Or they have been working in the industry for 5-10+ years and don't know how to do anything.

    Every idiot customer that walks into the store thinks they can do a better job than you can. This is probably true most of the time. Unfortunately this also means any mechanic who can half ass a bike assembly gets hired by pretty much any shop in town. Thus leading to the abundance of 'my LBS service sucks' threads.

    It's a common complaint and it's not going to go away anytime soon until bike mechanics in general ups their professionalism and pay.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  12. #12
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    I think the problem is that 80% of bike mechanic jobs are really not that difficult or skillful at all. Mostly it's just turning an allen wrench or changing a flat tube. It's somewhat similar with car mechanics, but car's are much more popular and common, so car mechanics will always be able to find people to pay high prices, and there are a lot more specialized jobs. It's not like being a doctor or a lawyer where you are in a regulated profession that requires years of education. So you are always going to have people willing to do it cheaply, and that means you are not going to have well qualified people sticking around to do it for low wage.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It does require a lot of memory of arcane details of various manufacturers products over time.

    rare thing , the likes of a Sheldon Brown , thanks to marriage, the Wife,
    a full University Professor of Mathematics, as I understand,
    covered a lot of the income requirements of the relationship, and family
    so the bike shop job didn't have to cover the Mortgage on its own.

  14. #14
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    I think that is ife now

    I recently was in a hurry on a snow-melt day, headed to work, and stopped by the LBS to buy and have fenders installed. They didn't even use all the hardware (luckily, I asked, and got the extra bits at the time). The next day, the rear fender got out of skew and rubbed on the tire. I had to redo it, correctly, with all the hardware. It required a bit of a longer screw, in the rear, to accept all the fender hardware (needed to hold fender in place). It wasn't a big deal; the LBS should have figured that one out and adjusted accordingly...especially since they charge so much for labor. I'll briefly touch on my wife's experience (before we met). A LBS sold her a bike, saying she easily could later put a rack on it. The next season she went back for this. They told her the bike wouldn't take a rack and weren't sure they could put one on, but they could try (no guarantees - but she'd still get to pay for the part and labor).

    If you know something about bikes, I think it is just better to do the work yourself. You can take your time and no one is going to care about your bike more than you. At the same time, I know there are many others that now a lot more about bikes then me. However, I think it pretty unlikely I'll get the benefit of that knowledge with most LBS encounters.

    It isn't just bicycles either, but car repairs, visits to the physician, computer service, home renovations, etc. I'm not that old (so maybe it has always been this way) but have been getting a little older...now, almost everything seems so half-assed.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by vins0010 View Post
    A LBS sold her a bike, saying she easily could later put a rack on it. The next season she went back for this. They told her the bike wouldn't take a rack and weren't sure they could put one on, but they could try (no guarantees - but she'd still get to pay for the part and labor).
    They could have been talking about a Shimano rack, then they'd be telling the truth.

  16. #16
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Every skilled mechanic that I've worked with were in two groups. People who are going to school in a technical field (engineering) and really like bikes and has the motivation to work for low pay. Or they have been working in the industry for 5-10+ years and don't know how to do anything.
    No wonder we're so busy. We're neither.

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