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Thread: LBS VS Big Box

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    Photon-Ninja tjax's Avatar
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    LBS VS Big Box

    This week I have accomplished much to prepare for a cycling lifestyle.

    If you saw my previous thread I followed several suggestions. Including a stationary bike, which I tried for about an hour and things went fairly well.

    I went to Bicycle Village this week couple days in a row to try the different bikes. The staff was very friendly. When I told someone I knew about wanting to get a bike from there he was really offended I went to a "box store" instead of a smaller family owned bike shop. He said it's the general attitude of the biking community to avoid big box. Is this true? Is it bad form to go to a corporate store for my equipment? Will I be ousted if I do?

    Also for those curious I did try several different bikes I think im gonna go with a road. For some reason the hybrids seemed to have more "drag" if that makes sense.
    2013 Trek 1.2 Alpha Series

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    From another newbie, I don't think Bicycle Village looks like the type of store that I think of when I think "Big Box" - especially when it comes to bicycles.

    Looking at their website, Bicycle Village seems like the kind of store we have used as our LBS here in Southeastern PA for years - Bike Line. It seems to be a fairly small regional chain of shops.

    "Big Box" when it comes to bikes seems to mean Walmart, Target, Sears and K-Mart and possibly Dick's Sporting Goods or Sports Authority.

    Big Box general merchandise retailers who have lower cost/cheap brand bikes and provide little to now after the service support.

    Bicycle Village definitely looks like something more than "mom and pop" - as Bike Line is here - but wouldn't qualify at Big Box in my book.

    Ted

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    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Usually, mostly, big box stores sell "inferior" bikes and the people who work there don't really understand cycling or bicycles. There are exceptions, of course, but mostly, they are crappy bikes, poorly adjusted, and forget about any type of after-purchase service or help. Bikes from a LBS are more expensive, for sure, but you get a whole lot more. The bikes are generally a much higher quality, they are usually properly set up, the shop will do at least a rudimentary fit to your body size/riding style, and they are there for your after-purchase service needs and accessory purchases. This is a good example of "you get what you pay for".

    Depending on how handy you are mechanically with bicycles, you can purchase a decent quality bike from a myriad of on-line retailers. You'll have to put the thing together yourself and make most final adjustments, however, you'll save a few coin. Not the best route to take if you don't understand bicycles very well. And, by purchasing on-line, you have to know exactly what you want and need. That is another advantage of a LBS...the staff will be fairly knowledgeable about determining your wants and needs, then helping you fulfill that within your budget.

    p.s. Have you considered buying used?
    Deut 6:5

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    Photon-Ninja tjax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    Usually, mostly, big box stores sell "inferior" bikes and the people who work there don't really understand cycling or bicycles. There are exceptions, of course, but mostly, they are crappy bikes, poorly adjusted, and forget about any type of after-purchase service or help. Bikes from a LBS are more expensive, for sure, but you get a whole lot more. The bikes are generally a much higher quality, they are usually properly set up, the shop will do at least a rudimentary fit to your body size/riding style, and they are there for your after-purchase service needs and accessory purchases. This is a good example of "you get what you pay for".

    Depending on how handy you are mechanically with bicycles, you can purchase a decent quality bike from a myriad of on-line retailers. You'll have to put the thing together yourself and make most final adjustments, however, you'll save a few coin. Not the best route to take if you don't understand bicycles very well. And, by purchasing on-line, you have to know exactly what you want and need. That is another advantage of a LBS...the staff will be fairly knowledgeable about determining your wants and needs, then helping you fulfill that within your budget.

    p.s. Have you considered buying used?

    I have considered used, but all the stuff I see on Craigslist is very overpriced or junk, and some overpriced junk, and I haven't found something reasonable yet.
    2013 Trek 1.2 Alpha Series

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    Yeah, my understanding too: "Big Box"= Walmart, Target, Kmart, Dicks, etc... Any pure-bicycle shop (irrespective of size), constitutes your LBS--with the idea being that it be local
    "I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjax View Post
    This week I have accomplished much to prepare for a cycling lifestyle.

    If you saw my previous thread I followed several suggestions. Including a stationary bike, which I tried for about an hour and things went fairly well.

    I went to Bicycle Village this week couple days in a row to try the different bikes. The staff was very friendly. When I told someone I knew about wanting to get a bike from there he was really offended I went to a "box store" instead of a smaller family owned bike shop. He said it's the general attitude of the biking community to avoid big box. Is this true? Is it bad form to go to a corporate store for my equipment? Will I be ousted if I do?

    Also for those curious I did try several different bikes I think im gonna go with a road. For some reason the hybrids seemed to have more "drag" if that makes sense.
    Typically, you are more 'heads-up'/upright on a hybrid. The saddle is at or below the bars, while a road bike is usually at or above the bars. Handlebars on the hybrids tend to come from the realm of the mtb, which are a lot wider than drop bars.

    You should suggest to your friend that he do a bit of research on the definition of the term Big Box Store here. National retailer such as Wally World are Big Box and sell Bike Shaped Objects. Also, a Corporate owned LBS is typically an exclusive dealer for the brand owns them- you won't find Specialized in a Trek Concept store, for example. Bicycle Village may have multiple locations, but I would hardly call them a Corporate outfit or even a chain.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin8r View Post
    Yeah, my understanding too: "Big Box"= Walmart, Target, Kmart, Dicks, etc... Any pure-bicycle shop (irrespective of size), constitutes your LBS--with the idea being that it be local
    I would give you a cookie for this answer, but the kids got into my private stash
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  8. #8
    Senior Member clarkbre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjax View Post
    . He said it's the general attitude of the biking community to avoid big box. Is this true?
    Yes, no, & maybe. It all depends on who you ask. Personally, I would avoid Target, Walmart, Sears, Etc. like the plague simply because none of the employees talk the bicycle talk. A place like Bicycle Village (while huge) is still in business to sell and cater to the bicycling community.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjax View Post
    Is it bad form to go to a corporate store for my equipment?
    No, it's no worse than to buy a Ford or Nike. Remember, those companies started out very small and grew. They also provided a good product at a fair price. Why should you support a company that marks something up that you can get elsewhere for less? And, you are still supporting a company in your community. The person selling you the bike might be coming in to your business to buy something as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjax View Post
    Will I be ousted if I do?
    If you are, feel lucky that you don't have to hang out with those types of people...they help create the stereotypes...

    I guess it all comes down to attitude and preception. I find the bigger, corporate bicycle shop (Performance Bike) by my house to have a much more friendly staff, reasonably priced parts, and a good selection. There are two other small LBS that I still support regularly as well because they sell products with a better warranty. I've bought wheelsets through a small LBS because they include retruing and tensioning for the first 300 miles. The LBS that don't get my business (and usually take great offense to "corporate") create a niche customer base who are self proclaimed elite cyclists. These guys laugh at anything with less than a 10 speed cassette, or a frame made of metalic material....you get the idea.

    The shops I frequent cater to me...an average guy who enjoys riding but also values his $$$.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjax View Post
    For some reason the hybrids seemed to have more "drag" if that makes sense.
    Makes total sense. You actually see a lot of people start on a hybrid, get into cycling, and end up going with a road bike...I am a perfect example of that. However, while I love my road bike for it's smooth performance, the hybrid is my do-it-all bike. It's a grocery getter, rain bike, kids' trailer hauler, evening ride bike. The road bike is my work out machine. I love them both for those reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat94 View Post
    Looking at their website, Bicycle Village seems like the kind of store we have used as our LBS here in Southeastern PA for years - Bike Line. It seems to be a fairly small regional chain of shops.
    Haven't found a Bike Line I would step foot in for anything other than commodity items like tubes since the Bike Line that once was Bike Tech at 13th & Locust closed. I remember when employees at the now-closed 10th & Arch St. location would smoke pot in the alley behind the shop.

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