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Old 03-17-09, 07:44 PM   #1
Bendico
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Service, Price or both?

Ok folks I am looking to buy two bikes for me and the other half. I have been to the Trek store about an hour twenty minutes from my house. I have also been to a LBS that can get the same bikes for me as they are a Trek dealer that is only 20 minutes from the house. Here is my issue do you buy from the Trek store because they are the major distributor in the area and can give some discounts when you first buy the bikes and accessories but if something happens you have that longer drive for service or do you pay a little bit more and go with the local guy that is going to give you great service as long as his shop is there? Oh yea by the way this is a family owned shop that has been around for the last 30 years or so.

We will be buying all the stuff we need to get started biking again as we have nothing. I order a hitch today from E-trailers that should be here by Friday and than off to a shop to get the two Trek 7300 and all the goodies we need to start riding. I mean this is more than I thought but not out of our budget for the rack, bikes, trunks and racks, helmets, water bottle, and saddles that a geometric correct for the back end.

Another thing is that my son and daughter in law will be buying bikes also and a trunk mount rack to get started biking also. I am thinking he wants a Trek 7200 and she is getting a Gary Fisher Wingra. They will most likely buy from the same store so we can try and get a better deal also.

Any thought or ideas would be of great help here as we are all newly returning to the sport of biking.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:11 PM   #2
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Assuming the price difference isn't ridiculous, I would opt for the local guy.
But use this extra cost to your advantage. TELL him you could have saved a few bucks but prefer his service and his style, and look forward to shopping more.
Decent shop owners love hearing this, and won't forget it. People gravitate toward where they're appreciated and you'll get your money back over time. It's human nature.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:24 PM   #3
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Assuming the price difference isn't ridiculous, I would opt for the local guy.
But use this extra cost to your advantage. TELL him you could have saved a few bucks but prefer his service and his style, and look forward to shopping more.
Decent shop owners love hearing this, and won't forget it. People gravitate toward where they're appreciated and you'll get your money back over time. It's human nature.
+1
MNBikeguy said it so well I can't really add much.

If you get that 'good feeling' when you walk in your local shop, you won't be sorry for spending a few extra bucks.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:48 PM   #4
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I'll second MNBikeguy's response. I picked the LBS where I bought my trike based on service and the attitude of the owner and his employees. That LBS (Fairfield Cyclery) was the only one where I was greeted cheerfully. And even though I told them I was just looking and not buying, they were happy to offer test rides in their parking lot. The allure of a low price wears off very quickly, compared to the long term pleasure of great service. It also helps the LBS too, in the long run - since I was so happy with my trike, that's where we went to get my wife's trike too.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:03 PM   #5
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For me it depends on the difference in price and what you can afford. When I returned to cycling and decided last year that it was time to get serious, I went to "every store in town" (actually several towns). We have a Performance Bicycle Store and their prices were dramatically less than the other LBSs. I found I could buy a level or 2 higher bike for hundreds less than the other LBSs. They have been OK on service (they have a couple of good mechanics but you may need to push to get them to help you) but I've bought 3 bikes and saved easily $1,000 by going with Performance. In my economic bracket, the savings are critical to my ability to ride better bikes.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:22 PM   #6
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What MNBikeguy said.

Good service will keep paying off for long after you've forgotten about a few dollars difference in the bike price. This is more important the less experienced you are.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:58 PM   #7
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You said the local guy is "a little bit more," implying it's not a big difference. I'd go local if it's truly local.

But you might also try *gently* letting him know you're considering going out of town and asking whether he could sweeten the deal a bit with a discount on the accessories you need to outfit the new bike.

I think he could also look at whether there are any 2008 models available from Trek that he could let you have at a discount.
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Old 03-17-09, 10:10 PM   #8
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I always pay more and buy at our local 5 minutes away LBS ! They been there since 1946 my first schwinn Stingray came from there and every bike I have had since I was 6 yrs old ! Iam 53 and IMHO its worth it . No parts required is normaly no charge adjust this and that NO CHARGE and they know bikes . Pay the few extra bucks get to know them it a pay off in more ways than a few $$$$..

The name of my LBS is Al Petri And Sons Lincoln Park Michigan around same family since 1946 ...

NO I am not a owner just a happy satisfied customer for 47 yrs
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Old 03-17-09, 10:48 PM   #9
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I will pay a bit more for service. I like knowing the people I am doing business with and it is best when they know me as well. I also like having a dealer within walking distance. I can drop my bike off and walk home or hang out at the shop depending on the day.
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Old 03-18-09, 07:27 AM   #10
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Not a difficult decision.

EVERYTHING hinges on the particular individuals that you do business with. If you are confident that you've found the right people, listen to their recommendations and you'll never go wrong.

Incidentally, give them some information to work with. Tell them about the accessory deal the Trek folks are offering and see how close they'll come to matching it. I'm betting that you'll get the best of both.
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Old 03-18-09, 10:28 AM   #11
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I'd buy from the local guy that way you save the cost of the fuel and such from not having to drive as far for service and repairs,thus having more money in the bike budget for the bling and goodies.Not forgetting 1 hour each way is two hours not on your bike!
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Old 03-18-09, 11:00 AM   #12
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So, by now you get the gist of all of these posts.... buy local for service.
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Old 03-18-09, 11:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bendico View Post
Ok folks I am looking to buy two bikes for me and the other half. I have been to the Trek store ... I have also been to a LBS that can get the same bikes...
We will be buying all the stuff we need to get started biking again as we have nothing...
Another thing is that my son and daughter in law will be buying bikes also and a trunk mount rack to get started biking also. I am thinking he wants a Trek 7200 and she is getting a Gary Fisher Wingra. They will most likely buy from the same store so we can try and get a better deal also.
Any thought or ideas would be of great help here as we are all newly returning to the sport of biking.
Given that you prolly won't be doing the service on the bikes yourself - and since its always good to have a new bike looked over a few times in the first few months of ownership, to take care of small issues and tighten loose stuff, properly.
I would always opt for the 'best service' facility, and that may mean 'proximity' is also important; since driving a few miles to have a last minute fix-it done rather than having to go an hour out of your way is an important consideration.

Developing a 'relationship' with the key, longterm guys at 'your' shop (which ever you decide that might be...) is important for those special considerations and last minute issues and needs.

We're luck out here, in that ALL of the LBS in the Santa Barbara area are quite good. I have no qualms in using any of them (as long as I keep a good 'eye' on their work, and by letting them know that they can't schlock-job me and get away with it...).
YMMV
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Old 03-18-09, 02:33 PM   #14
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Well thanks a bunch everyone for the quick replies to the post. I am going to go with the local guy as he is the better choice in my opinion also. I thought about what the whole saving a few and great service over night and I am going for the service. I figure the same thing in the long run it should pay off. I know everything else I have approached that way has always worked out. Once I get the bikes I will post some pic here on the forum..
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Old 03-18-09, 05:28 PM   #15
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There are actually THREE things to consider: (1) Service, (2) Price and (3) Setup. IMHO Setup might be even more important than the first two.

I bought my last bike from a local bike shop. This must be my fifth bike in the last fifteen years but it was the first time that I have had a professional setup. The dealer insisted on it! I didn't know what I was missing.
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Old 03-18-09, 05:51 PM   #16
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An hour and twenty minutes! No way I would consider going there at any price. Mail order would be OK -- heck, I get stuff from St. John's street cycles in the UK. Bike stuff is so crazy cheap compared to car and airplane stuff that I am totally price-insensitive.
Go with the good, local shop you like. Great service, family owned -- why go anywhere else?

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Old 03-18-09, 07:00 PM   #17
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If you are looking at Trek 7300's, then the price difference between the two options is what? About $50 a bike?

If it is anywhere near that small of a difference, I would opt for the local LBS. Easily worth that amount.

Did you try the tactic of telling the local store what the price was at the Trek store to see if he would get closer to it? Here in Madison, there are two Trek LBS that undercut Trek's pricing at their company stores.
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Old 03-18-09, 07:42 PM   #18
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Went into the LBS last weekend for the first time she gave me a price was close to Trek store at that time. Then we went back to the Trek store to test ride the 7300's as LBS had none in stock and the salesmen there knows that were are looking for two bike for us and 2 more for my son and daughter in law. He told me that if we all buy our bikes at the same time he will to go another 3% off bike and 10% on all items I buy from them. Right now I am up to a little over $2000 for what we want to get started with and this price includes bikes, accessories, helmets, and a hitch mount rack Saris T-Rex Pro. My son and his other half our only getting bikes Gary Fisher Wingra and I think the son is getting either the Trek 7200 or 7300 and a Thule trunk mount rack with a few minor accessories and helmets.
This weekend I am going back to the LBS and going to order the bikes and accessories from them.

BUT now I have another question is the component upgrade on the Trek 7500 worth the extra money or should I just stick with the 7300 and do a component upgrade down the road in the next few years or maybe even a new bike in say a two years or so?

Last edited by Bendico; 03-18-09 at 07:44 PM. Reason: forgot something in post
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Old 03-18-09, 08:30 PM   #19
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Right now I am up to a little over $2000 for what we want to get started with and this price includes bikes, accessories, helmets, and a hitch mount rack Saris T-Rex Pro. My son and his other half our only getting bikes Gary Fisher Wingra and I think the son is getting either the Trek 7200 or 7300 and a Thule trunk mount rack with a few minor accessories and helmets.
Well! That's a big buy of accessories and gear. That would add up. Your typical hybrid sale doesn't usually include another grand of accessories and gear.
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Old 03-18-09, 08:47 PM   #20
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BUT now I have another question is the component upgrade on the Trek 7500 worth the extra money or should I just stick with the 7300 and do a component upgrade down the road in the next few years or maybe even a new bike in say a two years or so?
Comparing these models from year to year is such a moving target. And the prices are climbing so fast. I considered purchasing a 7500 in the Spring of 2007. Took two test rides. Going price at that time was in the high $500's. Can't believe it now carries a list of $929.

Outside of the standard component differences, like derailluers, shifters, brakes, there are two other big differences. Primary one are the wheels, the Bontrager SSR is a definite step up. And then the crankset is also nicer.

Hard to say which is better for you. If you were going to stick with these bikes for years, then getting upgrades across the board on the 7500 could well be worth it. But if you think you might switch bikes in a year or two, then it may not be worth the investment. Don't know your disposable income situation either.
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Old 03-18-09, 10:15 PM   #21
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Buy two bikes at each place?
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Old 03-18-09, 10:32 PM   #22
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Help the local guy, for a couple of reasons.
First, he's local. If he's been there 30 years, he'll probably stick. I wouldn't even hassle him about the price--he knows what other stores charge, and he'd match it if he could. He probably buys bikes by the two, while the larger store buys them by the dozen or hundred, and he makes up for it by giving good service. You'll spend more on gas getting to and from the other place than you're likely to save.
If you buy from him and he disappears, it's not a catastrophe. Service on a bike isn't that big a deal. If you have a colossal failure on warranty, either dealer will fix it, and otherwise almost nothing can go wrong that you can't take care of in your garage. I'm only an average mechanic, and I've built my last two bikes from the ground up and torn down and rebuilt every bike in the family (seven of them) at one time or another. It's not rocket surgery.
You call your wife "the other half?" If I did that...well, never mind. I wouldn't do that.
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Old 03-18-09, 10:41 PM   #23
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...BUT now I have another question is the component upgrade on the Trek 7500 worth the extra money or should I just stick with the 7300 and do a component upgrade down the road in the next few years or maybe even a new bike in say a two years or so?
not sure if the 7500 package is really worth almost a grand...
but
7500 wheels are MUCH better than the 7300 and will make a difference, when you get tires other than those inverts crapsters which they put on both bikes... Maybe get the LBS to swap them out for something decent - no charge?
Deore componentry is a big step over whats on the 7300, and with a small amount of care and cleaning, will be very serviceable and ride nicely for many years.
I can say from 1st hand that the Shimano M445 crankset, although a little weighty, is bulletproof and a 1st rate precision performer - certainly outstrips the one on the 7300.
Deore LX rear derailleur is again solid. I have one I've been abusing all winter on my MTB and it just comes back askin for more 'rough luv'!
Overall the 7500 seems quite a bit better package, although if I compare it to MTB models - the equivalent component equipped hardtail would prolly retail more around $800.
But that's MTB, and right now Hybrids are sellin off the racks...
If you can get a price concession (and maybe get a tire swap) the 7500 would be lithe compared to the more Draughthorse nature of the 7300.
Anything from Schwalbe in 32mm is gonna be great - they tend to lean more to strong service, on and off-road with good performance.
If you're gonna not be real demanding on tire durability (meaning no expeditions through Outer Mongolia) the Continentals, Veloflex, Vredestein, Specialized and Panaracers all have some great performance tires in 32mm. Even trek has some good tires in that size range - just not those invert 35mm stones.
For a bike like the 7500 (even the 7300) a performance 32mm or even 28mm tire will make a world of riding difference - plush enough to be comfy, yet sporty and fast under acceleration - a joy to ride.
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Old 03-19-09, 07:54 PM   #24
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Neither. I only buy used as the deals in the used market are compelling. I cannot imagine buying a new bike. The last time I bought a new one was 1975....

But if I was buying new, I would focus on the service first, then price.

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Old 03-22-09, 01:55 PM   #25
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Well I put the hitch on the car today and the LBS has giving me an outstanding deal on the bike, rack and all accessories. Bikes are like $140 off MSRP and rack is also $100 off MSRP and all accessories I buy same day are going to be discounted a nice amount. I guess because we are buying four bike with all the bells and chimes is one of the reasons and another reason is this guy does a good racing bike / touring bike business from what I get see a guy yesterday drop a $5000 for racing bike. Then he ordered rims as much as I was spending on my wifes bike.

Biggest thing is that they are very friendly and willing to help alot with the sale to keep me in a budget and not selling me something I don't need where Trek store just keeps saying need this and need that but not telling me what discount I would get on anything but accessories and that was only 10%. Such as I was going to get the saddles that have the split down the middle for the blood flow issue. He said wait till we are fitted to the bikes and recommended that we ride with the saddles that Trek puts on the bike for a while till the first check up in 30 days to see if we are having any issues. If we are then we can get different saddles then and he will give us money back for the ones on the that come with the bike and refit us with the new saddles.

Told him I would be riding the Rail to Trails and doing some fishing at the same time he suggested that I get a pair of pannier bags to carry all my gear and fishing vest. Other big guy shop just said get a bigger trunk for both bikes. Oh yea the bikes we are getting are for me a Trek 7500, the wife is getting aTrek 7300, my son is going with a Trek 7300, and the daughter in law is going with the 7.2FX not sure if its a unisex or WSD yet will order them this week. I can't wait to get out on the road and trail and have some fun. I am hoping to make the trip to work by mid summer of 4 mile each day maybe too.

In the end the LBS is giving me best of everything and has earned my business and respect to make a lasting friendship and customer.
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