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  1. #1
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    Bike Shops (Bike Snobs)

    Why is it that certain bike shops treat you as though you are an idiot, and that they are better than anyone else? I mean while I was looking for my bike, I went to about 5 bike shops. 2 of them I could even get someone to talk to me. and the other 2 kept trying to sell me a more expensive bike than I wanted or could afford, and then they got the Bike Snob attitude going. The one shop that treated me like a customer got my business, they answered my questions, offered me a test ride, and sold me my Fuji, They have since gotten my business for all my other biking needs.

    Just for sake of aurgument, I was typically dressed in slacks or jeans, a Polo shirt and nice shoes and about 30lbs overweight when I went into these stores. The Trek dealers seemed to be the worst, I was looking at the 3700 and they kepp pushing a 4xxx something. I asked the guy if they could order me a 3700 and his response was it wasn't worth his time. I guess unless you are buying a $1000 or more bike these shops just don't need you.

    No wonder Wallyworld gets so many bike sales

    Sorry just had to vent

  2. #2
    Still can't climb
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    Sometimes they change their attitude when you seem to know and talk about the products knowledgeably but some are just so aloof as soon as they see a bigger person. When I was starting out couple of years ago I was a bit fatter and even though I was asking about specific products and details they just couldn't wait for me to leave so I did.

    I went back to that shop last weekend because my usual LBS was out of stock and they treated me much more courteously..could it be I lost weight? I'm still a clyde but only by 2 lbs now and maybe they thought this guy might get on a bike occassionally. Pretty stupid attitude. They obviously didn't remember me but I remembered and handed over my money through gritted teeth.

    Lucky my regular is much nicer.

  3. #3
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    You say there's (at least) 5 bike shops that you can go to, so I'm guessing there's gotta be some competition for customers. If it's "not worth his time" to order you or other customers the bike they want, then that shop has got to be losing business to the other 4.
    I don't go to shops that treat me 2nd rate based on my size or what I ride. When I first moved to Redmond, I had that problem with Redmond Cycle. I brought my 16 year old Stumpjumper in and asked about some parts. The guy "helping" me said that they don't deal with anything that old. Seriously... I was there to spend money, and he so much as told me "we don't need your business." OK. So I took my business elsewhere and didn't go back for 2 years, until I took a longshot at finding a part for a restoration I was working on. Again, a 17 year old part I was looking for. This time, the mechanic went in back and dug around in a box until he found the bolt I needed (and gave it to me for free.)
    I guess they realized that in a town full of bike shops, they can't treat people like dirt and only cater to the $10K boutique bike crowd.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  4. #4
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coasting View Post
    Sometimes they change their attitude when you seem to know and talk about the products knowledgeably but some are just so aloof as soon as they see a bigger person. When I was starting out couple of years ago I was a bit fatter and even though I was asking about specific products and details they just couldn't wait for me to leave so I did.

    I went back to that shop last weekend because my usual LBS was out of stock and they treated me much more courteously..could it be I lost weight? I'm still a clyde but only by 2 lbs now and maybe they thought this guy might get on a bike occassionally. Pretty stupid attitude. They obviously didn't remember me but I remembered and handed over my money through gritted teeth.

    Lucky my regular is much nicer.
    ONLY BY 2LBS?

    * planning his exit strategy *

  5. #5
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    there are actually about 20 bike shops in the DFW area, 2 of these dealers I was talking about are part of a chain in North Dallas Suburbs, I went into there other store today to find something at lunch (Cause they are the closest to my work) and I could not get any help Literally, but when I left the store without being helped the guy came over to where I was looking to make sure I didn't walk out with something. Mind you I am not in a suit but I am driving a 08 Nissan Titan and look professional. That clinched my ever doing business with this chain. I will drive the extra milage to the LBS that has treated me like they value my business, even though I am going to have to have them special order this, I just don't want my money going to such snobs.

  6. #6
    Still can't climb
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
    ONLY BY 2LBS?

    * planning his exit strategy *
    Oh those last 2 are impossible. I've been here before last year then gained another 8 lbs over winter. Anyway, I'm not leaving clydes forum..the road forum is too scary

  7. #7
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    The guy "helping" me said that they don't deal with anything that old. Seriously... I was there to spend money, and he so much as told me "we don't need your business."

    This time, the mechanic went in back and dug around in a box until he found the bolt I needed (and gave it to me for free.)
    I guess they realized that in a town full of bike shops, they can't treat people like dirt and only cater to the $10K boutique bike crowd.
    I've found that in some of the bigger shops what really matters is the individual shop employee. Some people are just jerks and some people are pretty awesome. When going into a shop I don't know I look for the person that looks up and smiles before they do anything else. If I start talking shop I look for the person that can crack a decent joke or laughs when I make one, the one that looks like they ride their bike for the love of it, not because they feel riding a $10K bike makes them better than other people.

    While that's all well and good if you can find a small shop with people who are all like that... go there!

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
    While that's all well and good if you can find a small shop with people who are all like that... go there!
    The crazy thing is, the shop where all that happened is a small shop. I think that's why over the course of 2 years they changed their attitude and their product range. When I first went there, it was all Orbea and Pinarello racing bikes, Santa Cruz downhillers, and a wall full of Rolf wheels. Now there's a lot of $300-$700 bikes and much more appeal to the everyday cyclist, not just the local racers and people with a few grand to drop on a new set of Topolinos.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  9. #9
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    I have experienced the same type of thing around here. I have a couple shops that I feel have treated me very well, a few that are just okay, and a couple shops who's doorways I no longer darken because of the serivce or lack of service I have recieved from them.

    My best advice is to just keep looking until you find a shop that is a good "fit" for you. If you do not have the benefit of 6-7 bike shops in town then I guess its time to move someplace that does.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bearonabike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Now there's a lot of $300-$700 bikes and much more appeal to the everyday cyclist, not just the local racers and people with a few grand to drop on a new set of Topolinos.
    It's amazing how starvation can change someone's perspective.
    Cycling - It isn't about the bike, its about the ride.

  11. #11
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Blacktri, I know I've been in Richardson Bike Mart two or three times; one time I had about 7 different people ask if they could help me, other times maybe 1- I think it just depended on how busy they were, not so much on me. And the store down by the Arboretum seemed worse that way than the main store.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  12. #12
    Read, Ride, Repeat ModelT's Avatar
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    My first bike, when I got back into it, was used.
    I brought it in a few times for busted spokes/wheel truing.

    When I shopped for a new bike, they knew I was credible.

  13. #13
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    StephanH, LOL I would have thought it was Richardson Bike Mart as well, but it wasn't it was another chain that is in Coppell, and Flower Mound:-) of course that may explain it.
    If I can give cudo's to a great small shop in Denton called "the Bicycle Path" is an outstanding place, small but thier people are top notch in taking care of the customer.

  14. #14
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    I believe it has more to do with how you carry yourself and what you say than it does with your appearance. When I go into a bike store I already know what I am looking for. When I walk in I make eye contact with whoever is working there and say "how are you doing". They usually say "good, what can I help you with". Then I say "I'm looking for X bike", or "I need X part". I'm 6'1" 305lbs and have never had a problem.

    Randy

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    some people that think they have been riding before biking became a trend have a seat post up their ass.

  16. #16
    2wicky
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    unfortunately most bike shops will try to screw you if you don't know the language

  17. #17
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    Evidently I've got a really good shop near me. I visited a few times while I was looking and they were always nice and had a reasonably priced good selection of aftermarket stuff too. When i went to buy I couldn't get close to the bikesdirect stuff locally so I bought a Windsor Knight for $799 shipped and put it together last night and promptly took it in for a tuneup today.

    As I was expecting to get some crap for not buying locally I just went in and explained that I didn't buy it from them and that I just wanted to pay for a tune and was met with open arms. He said they didn't care where you bought it from and they'd gladly adjust and check it out for me. He told me that with it being new it didn't need a full tune up, but a check up and adjustment would get the wheels trued up and everything gone over.

    He seemed genuinely interested in the bike too and was a little shocked when I told him the price. They were all really cool to me and I'll be giving them all of my business for aftermarket goodies. As a matter of fact, they were so cool I grabbed a cycloputer off the shelf and asked if they'd mount it for me and he said no problem and tied it to the bike. It will all be ready Thursday for me.

    I'm really happy with them. I just wish I could have afforded to buy a bike from them.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaLegba View Post
    unfortunately most bike shops will try to screw you if you don't know the language
    Thats so true. The best way I have found to judge a new bike shop is to go in and say I'm thinking about getting a bike. If they try to sell you a four year old model for this years price walk out the door and never go back. Ive had it happen before.

    Randy

  19. #19
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacktri99 View Post
    Why is it that certain bike shops treat you as though you are an idiot, and that they are better than anyone else? I mean while I was looking for my bike, I went to about 5 bike shops. 2 of them I could even get someone to talk to me. and the other 2 kept trying to sell me a more expensive bike than I wanted or could afford, and then they got the Bike Snob attitude going. The one shop that treated me like a customer got my business, they answered my questions, offered me a test ride, and sold me my Fuji, They have since gotten my business for all my other biking needs.

    Just for sake of aurgument, I was typically dressed in slacks or jeans, a Polo shirt and nice shoes and about 30lbs overweight when I went into these stores. The Trek dealers seemed to be the worst, I was looking at the 3700 and they kepp pushing a 4xxx something. I asked the guy if they could order me a 3700 and his response was it wasn't worth his time. I guess unless you are buying a $1000 or more bike these shops just don't need you.

    No wonder Wallyworld gets so many bike sales

    Sorry just had to vent
    A good dealer will ask about budget, and see what they have within that budget, now sometimes they can recommend something that is a little over your budget, but is a much better deal. Mind you, if your looking for a particular model, it doesn't really take much to order it in, in the proper size, after all, the money of a person who is 30lbs overweight is just as good, as that of the person who isn't. Some bike shops forget that the bike is often less then half the total amount that person will spend in the first year or two, and if the bike shop accommodates the buyer, they will return.

    Strangely enough customers tend to be more dealer loyal then brand loyal, so dealers that forget that, are likely to not be in business for long. For chains, where you are ill treated by a store, write the company, they are often very interested to hear, because customers tend to tar all stores with the same brush.

  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacktri99 View Post
    Just for sake of aurgument, I was typically dressed in slacks or jeans, a Polo shirt and nice shoes and about 30lbs overweight when I went into these stores. The Trek dealers seemed to be the worst, I was looking at the 3700 and they kepp pushing a 4xxx something. I asked the guy if they could order me a 3700 and his response was it wasn't worth his time. I guess unless you are buying a $1000 or more bike these shops just don't need you.

    No wonder Wallyworld gets so many bike sales

    Sorry just had to vent
    What you have to realize is that a Trek 3700 is a very low end bike. The profit margin on a $330 bike is probably less then 10%...and the shop will have to pay freight. That's asking a lot for $33! Ordering one special may not even be an option since the run on the 2008 have probably been made and the inventory set.

    Additionally, a 4300 is only $420 and is a much better bike for that extra $100. You'll outgrow both bikes but you'll outgrow the 3700 a lot faster. Then, you're going to have to pay more then the extra $100 for a better bike. In the end, you'll probably end up paying $750 because you'll buy the 4300 anyway. I can see the LBS's logic.

    I also disagree with the other opinions that shops are out to screw you. Most every shop I've been in is helpful...there are exceptions...and have fair prices on their merchandise. A mom and pop shop can't compete with on-line retailers but often their prices are close enough to make using them a wise choice. After all, you end up paying shipping for those 'deals' on-line and often the shipping is enough to make the 'deal' seem not so good. Paying $8 shipping to save $4 doesn't make much sense, does it?

    In the end, a shop that treats its customers poorly won't stay in business for long.
    Stuart Black
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  21. #21
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I wasn't guessing that RBM was the shop you mentioned, just used it for an example. I've bought some stuff there and also from REI.

    I live not too far from Don Johle's Bike World here in Garland. I haven't bought major items there, but they're always friendly and helpful and knowledgeable. Think I got my helmet and some handlebars and some bearings and a few other items there.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  22. #22
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    I just bought my first roadbike from a local chain store (Scheels All Sports) and they were overly helpful. I even asked them if a guy my size, 6'2" 260 with a belly, could ride a bike with narrow tires. "No problem just watch the tire pressure" he said with a smile. I even bought a leftover closeout model.

  23. #23
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    CYCcommute,
    While I totally agree with what you said about profit margins, I was under a hard budget, I am sure that they were just trying to be helpful by recommending a nicer bike however It was not an option, If the bike shop had just stated that then I could have tried to work around or to offer to help pay shipping so that the shop did not lose money, you see I also know that in a chain business or any business that the profit margins are built around these kinds of issues. But you always give the customer the option, cause guess what? I will not recommend this shop to anyone. Even though they have Trek bikes, so does many others.

  24. #24
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hartness53 View Post
    I just bought my first roadbike from a local chain store (Scheels All Sports) and they were overly helpful. I even asked them if a guy my size, 6'2" 260 with a belly, could ride a bike with narrow tires. "No problem just watch the tire pressure" he said with a smile. I even bought a leftover closeout model.
    I bought my first Schwinn 10spd from Scheels when they were a hardware store in my home town.

  25. #25
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hartness53 View Post
    I just bought my first roadbike from a local chain store (Scheels All Sports) and they were overly helpful. I even asked them if a guy my size, 6'2" 260 with a belly, could ride a bike with narrow tires. "No problem just watch the tire pressure" he said with a smile. I even bought a leftover closeout model.
    The local shops here are all great, for the most part. But Scheels, I hate to say, is my favorite. Partially because I work about a half mile away from it, and can walk the MUP to the store over my lunch hour if need be, but also because they've always given me outstanding service. They're the shop that sold me my favorite bike - Specialized Hardrock - and get this.. they DOWNsold me. I was looking at those, Stumpjumpers and Rockhoppers. It all came down to Rockhopper vs Hardrock.. and they sold me on the Hardrock because "it's just so much more tough".

    1500+ miles later, I'll agree with them. Sure, it's getting pretty sloppy about holding in gear, and it needs me to get off my behind and put the new set of Nimbus Armadillos I bought for it on it.. but otherwise it's been totally rock-solid. So rock solid that I've promoted it to commuter duty, ready to tackle the rough streets on my daily grind.

    Another shop, Cycle Works, is also very awesome. Great staff, and they'll bend over backwards for the customer. I bought my Trek 7.3 FX there and while I had numerous problems with the rear wheel, none of those problems were really their fault. BUT they did what it took to make them right, rebuilding the wheel twice, etc etc etc.

    Monkey Wrench in Lincoln is also very good, great guys that definitely know their stuff.

    Anyway.. summary is that there are good, there are bad. I've been into one bad, and won't go back, but I guess I'm just lucky?

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