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Old 02-04-12, 03:08 PM   #1
CardiacKid
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Why I shop on the Web

A new bike shop opened about a mile from my house about a year ago. I was in no hurry to visit it since it has "werks" in it's name. Well, today I received the new wheels for my Centurion DSI. Unfortunately, I forgot to order rim tape. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the new LBW (local bike werks). They had a lot of nice new bikes that didn't interest me so I made a beeline to the counter. I told the guy behind the counter I needed some narrow rim tape. He had no idea what I was talking about. He went into the back and I could hear him asking the mechanic if they had such a thing. It was worth the ten dollars I had to pay for it, just for the laughs. Of course, they only had the wide tape, but I can live with the ten extra grams.
I doubt I will be going back soon, but it might be fun to see what they do if I go ask for a pin for a cottered crank.
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Old 02-04-12, 03:27 PM   #2
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I would love a good LBS. Unfortunately I don't so my garage is my lbs with a box of new tubes, new bartape, tubular glue and rimtape etc etc.
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Old 02-04-12, 03:34 PM   #3
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i don't support any bike shops in toronto really. The two time i took my bike to a shop, they butchered it. The only one i support is Urbane cyclist, they still carry and stock a lot of products that suit older style road bikes and their service is good, they always know what i'm talking about.

i do enjoy buying everything online as well and off these mb's it's much easier to deal with.
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Old 02-04-12, 03:36 PM   #4
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I'm sure a lot of the time these ebay stores and online mail order companies have no clue what the stuff they are selling do are for either, just enter the description the catalog says!
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Old 02-04-12, 03:59 PM   #5
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I think my first online bike part purchase was just after a LBS owner was extremely rude to me just because had the gall to ask him if he had replacement pads for my early 70's Campy brakes.
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Old 02-04-12, 04:27 PM   #6
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I don't trust anyone else to work on my bikes and I have all the tools I need to blueprint/align a frame, as well as any tool that I need to perform whatever mechanical work, or I'll buy whatever new tools I might need. The online parts houses also give me a wider variety of parts selection.

I use to guide others to a good shop in the area but I was constantly having to fix repairs that they had paid for, so now when someone asks where to take their bike for repair, I just tell them "my garage".
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Old 02-04-12, 05:00 PM   #7
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I don't trust anyone else to work on my bikes and I have all the tools I need to blueprint/align a frame, as well as any tool that I need to perform whatever mechanical work, or I'll buy whatever new tools I might need. The online parts houses also give me a wider variety of parts selection.

I use to guide others to a good shop in the area but I was constantly having to fix repairs that they had paid for, so now when someone asks where to take their bike for repair, I just tell them "my garage".
I wish I had someone like you in my area!
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Old 02-04-12, 05:20 PM   #8
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A few years ago when I was in college I had to take my bike to the shop because a school employee accidentally ran into me on a golf cart and wrecked my fork. They told me it wouldn't take long to get a new fork and the school said they would pay, so I didn't think much of it. Dropped it off on a Friday, they it would be done Monday. I called the next Wednesday (they assured me they'd call me as soon as it was done) to see what was up. I got a bunch of excuses about how it was a busy weekend, threaded forks for a 60 CM bike are hard to come by, etc. They told me it would be done by Monday. This kept happening over and over. It was exactly one month before I got it back, and I think the only reason why they finished it was because I threatened to come get my bike and take it up to the next town with a bike shop. This bike was my only mode of transportation and they knew it. Not only that, but the new fork was aluminum, made for a 700c bike with recessed brakes, and had no eyelets. My bike is steel with 27" rims, nutted brakes, and fenders are a necessity. The worst part came when I picked it up. The owner and head mechanic said to me "Yeah, we actually found this fork in the back of the shop yesterday. Should have looked there earlier, ha ha." It took all my willpower to keep myself from going apesh!t there in the shop. He was the only bike shop in town and knew it.

Not sure where I was going, other than to vent.
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Old 02-04-12, 05:34 PM   #9
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I wish I had someone like you in my area!
You do. Several probably I am always willing to help a bf member. I might make you help though.
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Old 02-04-12, 05:37 PM   #10
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If you're going to be C&V, it's best to have your own parts, tools, & know-how. There are odd-ball tools and expansive ones you might only need once- or just tough problems. In those cases you need a C&V friendly shop. I have 6 shops in a 15 mile radius, but only one is truly vintage friendly, and he charges the most! He's got parts you won't find on the web, more importantly, the knowledge from experience.
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Old 02-04-12, 05:47 PM   #11
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We're lucky to have a bunch of good shops around here, my favorite is just a couple miles down the road and they're friendly, knowledgeable and seem to always have whatever I need right in stock.
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Old 02-04-12, 06:17 PM   #12
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We've got two. One in this town and one in the next town over. The owners are twin brothers. For a long time I thought it was the same guy.
They usually have what I want or can get it. Sometimes reality strikes and we just have to admit that my obscure old bikes require a broader database. But they're old enough to remember my bikes.
I needed an axle for a 72 Continental a while back and I called and got the counter kid. When I got there he said, "oh yeah, you're the guy with the really old Schwinn". The owner and I both had a good laugh at him. I curtly informed him that '72 was not really old.
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Old 02-05-12, 05:36 AM   #13
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I like my 3 local LBS's, but they seem to be leading the way out of the deprecession by price inflation .
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Old 02-05-12, 05:53 AM   #14
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Newer bike shops aren't equipted to deal with older bikes and quite frankly, thats the way it is with everything. C&V is dead inventory which means dead money for shops which means going out of buisness. Odds are the shop owner and employees were mere youngsters or perhaps born after what many consider to be the end of the C&V era. They grew up with STI/Ergo levers, carbon frames and Lance Armstrong.

I understand and accept that it's unrealistic for the local Checy dealership to know how to tune the Rochestor carb on my car.
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Old 02-05-12, 05:58 AM   #15
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We're lucky to have a bunch of good shops around here, my favorite is just a couple miles down the road and they're friendly, knowledgeable and seem to always have whatever I need right in stock.
Steve's got it right here. The Twin Cities are bicycle happy and we have great shops scattered throughout the cities.

I rode yesterday and stopped by a favorite shop of mine in Minneapolis. The place was hopping in February.

Seriously busy.

They are a great "high-end" shop, yet employees take the time to chat for a moment and figure out what I need. Very good mechanics as well.

There is another shop in Minneapolis that actually stocks items like nos Campy brake lever hoods, and certainly knows how to install them w/o ripping or tearing them.

Actually, I can think of a half dozen shops here that could easily handle my classic racing bikes.

I guess we shouldn't take this for granted.
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Old 02-05-12, 06:08 AM   #16
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The last time I trusted my "LBS" was after they trued my rear wheel. 3 weeks later I took it back and they said "you need a new wheel". That was 15 years ago. I turn my own spanners now. It is too hard to build a relationship with a bike shop. Even the old school ones near where I live, those who have sold custom frames for decades, sell me incorrect parts and treat me with arrogance and contempt. I love the level playing field that is the internet and have no sympathy for those that do not survive. Sorry but rationalism is a passion of mine.
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Old 02-05-12, 07:14 AM   #17
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I curtly informed him that '72 was not really old.
I hate to say this, but a 40 year old bike is indeed really old....Just remember what your reaction would have been in '72 if you saw a '32 Ford pulling up.

The sad facts are: 1) our bikes ARE old, and 2) some of US are older than we'd like to admit......
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Old 02-05-12, 07:54 AM   #18
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I'm always surprised that the LBS's around me usually have what I am looking for. They also will do some simple repairs or tasks for next to nothing and sometimes free. Freewheel removal is one job that comes to mind. I needed a freewheel removed and a spoke replaced. My shop thats just a block away from my house charged me $3. Thats it. Other times I have gone there because I dont have a 7mm allen key for those pesky french stems. No charge to use it. Makes up for the $8 innertubes and $5 brake cables.

Support your local bike shop. Its a great place to shop!
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Old 02-05-12, 07:56 AM   #19
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The guys at the local bike shop here don't have a clue. But they're friendly enough. I go there for stuff like brake cables, tubes and such. Anything C&V though, forget it. But, 20 miles away there's a shop that understands. He has an early 70's Holdsworth and an early 60's Frejus track bike hanging in his shop, among others. Still, he's into selling modern bikes and parts and service. There's no money in C&V bits for a local shop. I would trust him with one of my bikes, but I still do all my work myself.
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Old 02-05-12, 08:18 AM   #20
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Newer bike shops aren't equipted to deal with older bikes and quite frankly, thats the way it is with everything. C&V is dead inventory which means dead money for shops which means going out of business. Odds are the shop owner and employees were mere youngsters or perhaps born after what many consider to be the end of the C&V era. They grew up with STI/Ergo levers, carbon frames and Lance Armstrong.
+1 I look around my own workshop at the variety of inventory it takes to keep me going. And this is for just a small niche of the bicycle business. It would be very difficult for a local shop to keep what I keep in inventory, and have inventory for the MTB riders, and inventory for the cruisers, hybrids, modern bikes, Italian bikes, and so on. Then add to it the oddball tools.

Now in one of those hot bicycle towns like Portland, OR and so on, there is enough business out there to support it. We do have one guy locally that has a variety of vintage stuff, his "shop" is more like a junkyard, and his prices are high (although I have bought a few items from him).

I still remember the biggest local shop telling me that there was no reason to have parts for anything over five years old, as anything older was obsolete......
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Old 02-05-12, 08:56 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=markk900;13811335]I hate to say this, but a 40 year old bike is indeed really old.QUOTE]

I guess the point was that the shop owner and I are older than that and the kid obviously wasn't. On the bright side, he had the part I was looking for.
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Old 02-05-12, 09:34 AM   #22
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I guess the point was that the shop owner and I are older than that and the kid obviously wasn't. On the bright side, he had the part I was looking for.
Good to hear....I am also older than that, so I was merely pointing out that the definition of "old" is dependent on your own references....to us, 40+ is nothing; to the 25 year old anything more that 20 years old is probably old; to the enthusiast who may be in their 80s and collects bikes from the 40s, a 1972 Schwinn might be considered "new fangled"....

I am lucky in that the local "cool" shop is part junkyard, part new bike dealer, and even though most of the staff weren't born when most of my bikes were new they are really enthusiastic about all bikes: low riders, bmx, mtb, c&v.....its a great place to hang out.
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Old 02-05-12, 09:41 AM   #23
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I'm lucky -
A University "river" town and we have the one LBS that's been in the same location since the mid-1970s, and they give 10% discount for local club members. They have two good "older" experienced mechanics, knowledgeable staff and they hoard old parts in an organized way and sell them real checp to C&V guys like me.. (Trinket stuff they usually try to give me for free and I usually make them take something for it as I don't want to be a moocher) - They also take trades and have a nice selection of used bikes at reasonable prices and often have a C&V on the floor. In fact I've scored some really nice deals there in the past.

There is also a newer "eclectic" shop in the historic downtown and they are pretty cool people and have the bike brands and parts that appeal to the newer "hip" cyclists. as well as some appreciation for C&V bikes as being hip and artsy.
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Old 02-05-12, 10:10 AM   #24
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There is no LBS where I live, but I visit about 5 on a regular basis in my territory.

A small fleet of local cyclists get their work done in my garage, because I've never charged for my pitiful ability.

For my preference of bikes, you have to build the relationships first, then hope someone you know has what you need.

I probably spend $100-$150 a year more than I'd spend on line for disposables, small parts, etc, because I try to buy locally, especially at a shop that has a lot of older parts if you give him the time to look for them. Recently, some of you benefitted from that, and I look forward to another trip to his attic.

I can definitely relate to the rim tape, generally with the part-timers who work at those shops. I asked for a Dropout Saver once, and was sold a single-chainring bolt. No biggie, a chance for the guy to learn, and we looked up Dropout Savers in the book, and he laughed as hard as anyone. I can also relate to the fork issue, and have had that happen, along with "we can't tension those wheels, there are stress cracks around the spokes," (there were not) and "here are your wheels, trued, repacked, tensioned, and that'll be $88) when they were not touched by anyone.

That stuff bothers me for a short time, but what bothers me is the thought that if I were truly a rider-only, like many are, what would be my cost of repairs/maintenance vs. what is really necessary?
No different from auto repair, carpet cleaning, etc.

People.
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Old 02-05-12, 11:01 AM   #25
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I work in a shop, and the owner is 5-6 years younger than me. To him anything older than 6-7 years is "old". I keep them based in reality though, and their jaws drop when I guess the year of some bikes, point out a "death stem", etc. I started dong my own work years ago, like 03 or so? I took a brand new coaster brake beach cruiser in to a good shop in Houston, with a racket in the rear hub while coasting. Not only did they not fix it, but I don't think they even worked on it at all? I found the problem and fixed it in minutes. The outer bearing on the drive side had a bent cage. which is the first thing you see upon tearing down a CB hub. Of course I was charged $25 plus tax for the labor. After that the only thing I would get done at a bike shop was freewheel removal. Once I got a collection of those going, I only went in for parts. Now that I work in a shop, I just pick the stuff out of a catalog, and order it myself.,,,,BD

Just a secret though? Most bike parts cost half of what you pay over the counter.....
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