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Thread: Loyalty to LBS

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    Loyalty to LBS

    I have done business with bike shop A for the past four years. During that time I have bought four bikes (three for myself and one for my wife.) as well as numerous accesories. They have given me an account so if I am low on cash there's never a problem. The owner says " You can take it now, I know you're good for it."
    Now...there is a bike that I really like at bike shop B and it is a brand that bike shop A does not carry. Am I over reacting to think I should feel guilty about buying a bike from another shop?

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    el padre
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    First thought,, see what your LBS is willing to do for you on getting this 'bike of your dreams'... I would hope that they would be willing to help you get one or understand that there is compitition out there.

    Second thought, there is competition out there and if there is someting that you really like that your place does not have then they have to realize that you CAN like something that they do not have.............

    third thought,,,, you are going to get some more answers from a lot of people on this forum..................peace

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Shops don't make a living selling bikes, it's the accessories and maintenance.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

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    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Tough call. Does one of the lines your LBS carries have a similar bike or one that can be made more like this floozy who has caught your eye?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Ask the shop that has extended you credit if they can somehow obtain that bicycle for you via their channels. Heck, the other shop might be willing to sell it to your preferred shop wholesale because it allows them to "move" another bike, assuming they're located far enough apart.

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    I went through this a couple of years ago with an LBS where I'd shopped for 10 years, run by a guy who was a friend in addition to being the owner. I wanted a fairly laid-back road bike with a triple chainring, and I wanted to be able to get the handlebars up about level with the saddle. I explained what I was looking for to one of his mechanics first--the typical 19-year-old racer with 6 percent body fat--and he tried to talk me out of it. So i went back a couple of days later and told Jim, and he was sort of lukewarm: "Well, if you think that's what you want, we can probably find something..."
    I was going to spend a lot of money, for me (~$2000), and I'd waited a long time, until I got two kids through college. I figured it might be my last bike, and I was determined to get exactly what I wanted. I ended up ordering an Atlantis from Rivendell, and explained to my guy that I'd given him a couple of chances without any success. No hard feelings, I love the bike and we're still friends. Might have helped that he's also a friend of Riv owner Grant Petersen...

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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    I just bought a bike from bike shop # 2 even though I have been treated great by bike shop # 1 all along. the decision was totally based on # 2 selling a brand of bike that # 1 did not carry and for which I could not find a functional equivalent at # 1. (I bought a steel framed Jamis) .

    I think everybody has to make a living and spreading it around can be a good thing. Bike shop # 2 is a lot smaller than # 1 so I also figured they needed the business at least as much or maybe more than # 1. Don't feel guilty about sharing your business, it's what makes the world go round and round, and you might make another set of great friends along the way.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  8. #8
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I have a good Trek dealer who sold me my first bike and they still do the maintenance, and they have been given several opportunities to sell me a Pilot or something else.

    I have a good Specilized dealer who has taken care of all my Craigslist bikes, and they have been given several opportunities to sell me a Specialized or even a Bianchi, which they carry. Great wrenches and they're less than a mile away.

    I have a good feeling about another dealer who carries Giants and have given them a few opportunities to fit me in an OCR 3.

    They all know about each other; I've heard them refer people to one another; it's really about who has the bike that YOU want that fits YOU.

    I suppose you could ask Shop A if they'd order the bike for you even though they don't carry it. When / if they say no, you could tell them that you're going to buy it from B, because that's the bike you want.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    I chose my shop based on the fact that they were a brand new business (which I was 14 years ago) and they acted like they wanted my business, despite my neophyte knowledge. The owner has raced and has wrenched for years...he sold me my first "real" road bike. I stop in at least once a week whether I need anything or not. I hope he makes a million bucks...he's a good and honest guy.

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    I wish I had this problem. The only bike shop in my town just closed. It's where I bought my Giant and did all my business. I'm not sure he was the best mechanic in the world, but he was good to me and felt my bike was his bike.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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    Bad Company dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Slim
    . . . and felt my bike was his bike.
    How often did he ride it off to lunch?

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    There is no ultimate bike. There will always be something else next year.

    Friendships need nurturing or they'll gradually wither away. Buying the bike from a competitor might not destroy your friendship but it will, for sure, put you into a different catagory.

    I think that you pretty much have to decide which you'd rather risk losing, the bike of your dreams or your friendship.

  13. #13
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Buy the bike at shop B and don't feel guilty. In this case, shop B has the product you want, and the other guys don't. My two cents.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

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    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    Buy the bike at shop B and don't feel guilty. In this case, shop B has the product you want, and the other guys don't. My two cents.
    I guess that's how I feel too. You'll probably buy any "bling" for your new bike at your favorite LBS anyway right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    So i went back a couple of days later and told Jim, and he was sort of lukewarm: "Well, if you think that's what you want, we can probably find something..."

    I was going to spend a lot of money, for me (~$2000),

    I figured it might be my last bike, and I was determined to get exactly what I wanted. I ended up ordering an Atlantis from Rivendell...
    I had the same experience, except I got a Rambouillet. That was two years and 12,000 miles ago, and I haven't regretted it for a moment. I barely even notice new bikes in a shop when I go in to get something. They seem so cheap and shiney and momentary to me now. I've gotten some snide remarks from shop rats at times when they see my Rivendell, but in truth, I would have had the same reaction when I was younger!

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    My relationship with my favorite LBS is one in which they know I will always go to them first. This has played out in a way very germane to your situation. I was looking for a bike that they did not carry. I talked with their head mechanic about why they didn't carry it and if they might consider it. For various reasons they made the decision not to carry that brand. I bought the bike at another shop and to maintain goodwill bought the accessories (saddle bag, spare tube, new mini-multi-tool, etc.) at my favorite LBS. They also know that they'll get all of my repair work, etc.

    It sounds like you've been a pretty good customer with this LBS. If they get completely bent out of shape, there's something wrong with the relationship you've got with them. I would never feel guilty about this. As a parallel, when I want Chinese food, I go to my favorite Chinese resturant, when I want pizza, I go to my favorite pizza shop. They're both food, but the one place doesn't serve what the other serves. Granted they would both like to have my busniess all of the time, but this is simply not realistic. Now what would really anger my LBS is if I bought a bike somewhere else that they do carry.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  17. #17
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I think it is more than fair for you to discuss the purchase with LBS A, tell them exactly what it is that you want in a bike and like about the other bike. If they can't meet your needs, then hey, you gave them the best shot you could. Tell them that if you could buy the bike from them, you would. It isn't your fault that they don't have the bike you want.

    If I had a great, long-standing relationship with a Ford auto dealer, but then decided that I truly craved a brand new Corvette, then should I not buy my Vette because my friend can't sell it to me? I don't see why that would be the right thing to do.

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    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    If I had a great, long-standing relationship with a Ford auto dealer, but then decided that I truly craved a brand new Corvette, then should I not buy my Vette because my friend can't sell it to me? I don't see why that would be the right thing to do.

    +1

    Years ago I had a 16 yr. relationship with a BMW motorcycle dealership but absolutely had to have a yellow Ducati SS I saw at a Honda/Ducati dealer. I got a price from the Ducati people and went to the BMW shop (as it turned out they were in the process of getting a Ducati franchise.) I told them that I wanted to buy that bike and asked if there was any chance they could get it and sell it to me. They said yes but wanted $700 more than the first shop. They wouldn't budge. The next day I bought it at the first shop. You act with integrity and then do what you have to do. At least, that's what I tell myself I try to do.

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    Your concern is valid. See my recent experience:
    I was in the market for a Treck-Madone. My LBS offered for $2,500 BUT did not want to let me use a demo for a few days. That was important to me since I had another high quality road bike and needed to see if the difference was significant enough.
    Another Bike store, in another state, let me have his demo for two weeks so I was able to really get used to it. He also offered it for $2,300. That was not the main reason for buying, it was the accommodation.

    Now my LBS is miffed and I can feel the change in attitude. No doubt they will get over it but "every action by us has a reaction".

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    Senior Member Thrifty1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    +1

    Years ago I had a 16 yr. relationship with a BMW motorcycle dealership but absolutely had to have a yellow Ducati SS I saw at a Honda/Ducati dealer. I got a price from the Ducati people and went to the BMW shop (as it turned out they were in the process of getting a Ducati franchise.) I told them that I wanted to buy that bike and asked if there was any chance they could get it and sell it to me. They said yes but wanted $700 more than the first shop. They wouldn't budge. The next day I bought it at the first shop. You act with integrity and then do what you have to do. At least, that's what I tell myself I try to do.
    You actually went from a Beemer to a Duck???
    How was the transition??

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Not a bike but I wanted to purchase a particular pair of suspension forks about 5 years ago- Told my LBS and they got them for me. They have an arrangement with a few other shops for bike spares on brands they are not agents for. So if they want a "Trek" specific part- they can get it. This will even go to major items like bikes.

    Talk to your shop and see if they can help. There may be a bike in a brand they do carry that is just as good or they might not be able to help. At least you have given them the chance to make a sale.
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    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrifty1
    You actually went from a Beemer to a Duck???
    How was the transition??
    Well, if you are a car guy, it's like going from a 7 series BMW to a Lotus. The Ducs I have had (two SS/SP's and a 998) were less expensive to buy, generally as reliable, comparable in service/repair costs and much, much more fun to ride. After 16 yrs. on a BMW, going to the Ducs was like learning to ride at a higher level. Maybe not everyone's experience but it was mine. I took each SS from CT to WY and I've done 500 mi. days on my 998. However, neither is a 2-up bike for very long. For 2-up distances my gf and I went in on an '04 Triumph Sprint RS, another really nice bike.

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    Senior Member Thrifty1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    Well, if you are a car guy, it's like going from a 7 series BMW to a Lotus. The Ducs I have had (two SS/SP's and a 998) were less expensive to buy, generally as reliable, comparable in service/repair costs and much, much more fun to ride. After 16 yrs. on a BMW, going to the Ducs was like learning to ride at a higher level. Maybe not everyone's experience but it was mine. I took each SS from CT to WY and I've done 500 mi. days on my 998. However, neither is a 2-up bike for very long. For 2-up distances my gf and I went in on an '04 Triumph Sprint RS, another really nice bike.
    Good show! The last BMW I owned was a 1962 R69S (white) and it was "nice" but I never could accept/like the "thunk" shifting or the kick starter being perpindicular to the bike/frame. My 1963 Alfa Romeo Velocce and 1968 Moto Guzzi really soured me for anything made in Italy.........the mechanics are "Unique" to be polite. When I seperated from the Air Force I was stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL and I had a job waiting at Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco......I rode my 1965 Honda 305 Super Hawk (CB-77).....4.5 days.....not one problem but would have preferred a LOT more power/comfort......like my 1964 Triumph T-120. The good ole days.....my distance riding now is via bicycle and I play with the oldies/antique British iron.
    I would die to have my 1959 BMW R-27 back.
    Last edited by Thrifty1; 04-12-07 at 06:19 PM.

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    My opinion is that once you build a relationship with the LBS owner and he understands your priorities if you still give your service work and parts business, no issue with buying a bike elsewhere. Even a medium size LBS can not carry every brand under the sun.

    My LBS knows I buy stuff in many places. I have purchased a complete bike and a frame with a build kit along with the Lord only knows how much other stuff from my LBS. I bought a frame off ebay and had my LBS face the bb and chase the threads. I think you build a biz on what you can get and do right by your customers. I have sent many potential customers to my LBS which I hope will come back to me when I need a favor of some kind.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    I sure hope the LBS makes it from accesssories and repairs. I got my Randonee from; you guessed it, REI. I'm not sensing any resentment, maybe because I'm getting it outfitted locally so far as possible.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

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