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Old 03-31-10, 05:55 PM   #1
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I just changed bike shops.

I had special ordered 3 parts from the bike shop where I used to work: a tandem brake cable, a bushing to adapt a 31.8 derailleur to a 28.6 seat tube, and a pair of spiffy black leather handgrips. When I went to pick them up today the owner said the part number for the brake cable was wrong so he didn't order one and the derailleur bushing order was lost. The handgrips look cool but I'd rather have a rear brake so that I can ride the bike. This isn't a first for them. This winter I made 4 or 5 separate trips over 3 or 4 weeks to buy 2 folding Gatorskin tires and eventually paid full retail. I won't be bothering them with any more special orders.

On the spur of the moment I went to a different bike shop. Tandem brake cable AND a derailleur bushing were both in stock. Hopefully I'll be able to get my bike together tomorrow.

Guess which shop is getting my business for the foreseeable future? It's hard for me to convince the owners that time is as important as money. It's frustrating to me to not be able to ride my brand new bike for want of a rear brake cable, wait a week for it to come in, and be told they'll be glad to order one for me from a different supplier but it'll take another week.
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Old 03-31-10, 06:29 PM   #2
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I feel your pain. Last year after 12 weeks and three re-orders I fanally gave up on the local shop that sold us my wife's Sun X-1 and instead ordered her fender set myself from the Hostel Shoppe. I had them on her bike in less than one week. That means the Hostel Shoppe placed the order, recieved said order and shipped it to me, and I recieved the order in less than one week. The Hostel Shoppe is 1000 miles away from my home!

Both shops use the same supply house!

I'll never place an order with that LBS again. If it ain't in stock I'm out the door.

It's all about service!!!!
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Old 03-31-10, 06:45 PM   #3
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It's no wonder why some business go under.
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Old 03-31-10, 07:09 PM   #4
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I had special ordered 3 parts from the bike shop where I used to work: a tandem brake cable, a bushing to adapt a 31.8 derailleur to a 28.6 seat tube, and a pair of spiffy black leather handgrips. When I went to pick them up today the owner said the part number for the brake cable was wrong so he didn't order one and the derailleur bushing order was lost. The handgrips look cool but I'd rather have a rear brake so that I can ride the bike. This isn't a first for them. This winter I made 4 or 5 separate trips over 3 or 4 weeks to buy 2 folding Gatorskin tires and eventually paid full retail. I won't be bothering them with any more special orders.

On the spur of the moment I went to a different bike shop. Tandem brake cable AND a derailleur bushing were both in stock. Hopefully I'll be able to get my bike together tomorrow.

Guess which shop is getting my business for the foreseeable future? It's hard for me to convince the owners that time is as important as money. It's frustrating to me to not be able to ride my brand new bike for want of a rear brake cable, wait a week for it to come in, and be told they'll be glad to order one for me from a different supplier but it'll take another week.

I went into one shop looking for a part, they did not have, the guy (owner) went onto his computer, to his suppliers web site, found the part, and added it to his existing order. The supplier is in another city that has one day ground shipping, he said it would be in the next day. These days there isn't really any excuse for lost orders and problems getting stuff. Suppliers almost all have web ordering these days. Some suppliers are so open about things, that you go into the shop, order it, pre-pay the order. and it gets delivered right to your door. One company that supplies computer parts and equipment will even put the name of the shop on the shipping label (with their own return address).
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Old 03-31-10, 09:20 PM   #5
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I have had similar experience at one LBS. Order a "Dog Fang" and they said they will call. Well four weeks later and no call. I have been ordering from Harris lately. They have excellent product descriptions and tips. Most of these LBS only want to deal with new sales.
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Old 04-01-10, 04:42 AM   #6
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I can appreciate the frustration one feels when service is not forthcoming as quickly and as completely as one might wish. I too tend to get frustrated. Some time ago I learned a lesson about building a relationship with folks in small business, especially when they are in my own community. While one might say there is "no excuse" for poor service, I've found that there are many excuses, some of which one might be willing to accommodate if there is a strong relationship. We ordered a special paper for a project we were doing and when we checked on the order we found that it had not yet been placed. This was a week after we called in the order. I was frustrated, but I also had a 12 year relationship with the small shop where we placed the order. It turned out that the day we placed the order was the same day the owner's daughter was in a serious automobile accident later that afternoon, and the next day there was a fire at the owners' home. None of this information was shared with me. Rather, when we called to check on the order we were told that they were very sorry that they dropped the ball and if I was still willing to work with them they would place the order and personally deliver it as soon as it arrived. It wasn't until a neighbor asked if I read the articles in the paper about the accident and fire that I knew why they "dropped the ball." The point is that if I've truly built a relationship with the people at a local shop, I tend to be a bit more forgiving. This is not to say that Retro Grouch didn't give the shop ample opportunities. It is to say, that what we don't know is what we don't know.
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Old 04-01-10, 05:58 AM   #7
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Sometimes parts come from suppliers with minimum order sizes so unless there are more items required, shops will hold off on ordering until they can justify an order. Norco is one of those suppliers.

In this day and age, shops don't want to be taking on excess inventory and some don't like being up front about the issue.

I am not sayying that is the case here, but you never know.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:20 AM   #8
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Given that it is generally simpler and easier and often less expensive to order your own parts online, one of the few advantages a local shop can offer is good service. When a shop consistently falls short on that feature, it is hard to justify giving them your business.

I have a long and good relationship with the shop I use. The owners and the shop manager are friends of mine and we ride together and work on bike advocacy projects together. We have very open discussions on business decisions. I try to always buy any new bikes I get from them and buy as many parts and services as I can for maintaining my bikes and for building up or upgrading old bikes. I usually get all my incidentals like tubes, lubes, cables, housing etc. from them. When they can give me a reasonable price on components, I get them from them, but if I find really great bargains online for items I need, they know I will go that way. It makes no sense for them to cut their profit to the bone just so I can pay more than I could otherwise.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:23 AM   #9
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Will come to the defense of LBS in general. Let's face it Quality controls the parts market for most of these guys. If an odd ball part is not in stock they have to put together an order that makes sense for shipping costs. I needed a crown race that did not cost much but no one had it in stock so I was glad to wait several weeks to get the part with my guys spring order.

The other thing that is going to impact this subject is the apparent stack up of container ships waiting to get offloaded. Most of the stuff comes from Taiwan and I would not be surprised if someone like Quality does not have the item in stock the delay will be even longer.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:56 AM   #10
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whatever the issues are - I try not to burn any bridges. I use a few different shops cuz each has their own unique benefit(s). Here's 5 I can think of right now.

A) close to home, relatively cheap, very quick at the beginning of the season - even doing some repairs while I wait
B) has parts for old bikes always in stock. don't ridicule my bike(s)
C) close to work. expensive but they've given me some free stuff and provided TONS of free info without getting pissed I didn't buy a bike. great mechanics and were able to overhaul 2 BBs where another shop just "tightened" one of the BBs (which would later disintegrate).
D) wicked cheap parts; accessories and wheels. great mechanic (owner) that has great hands and can true a wheel while I wait
E) big variety of clothing with some great sales and has a test counter for lighting

So ... depending on what I need, I have a few options ...
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Old 04-01-10, 11:31 AM   #11
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Like rumrunn6, I also use several different shops for several reasons.

Shop "M" is where I bought my TreK MTB several years ago. I get free tune ups for life on the Trekand quite often, after a ride, I'lldrop it off and pick it up a day or two later . This is a small chain of 3 shops, owned by the same groupof owners, but for some unknown reason, have different price points on the same products. Each shop gave me a different cost for the Trek, which made no sense to me.

Shop "G" is an older established shop that always seems to have that oddball Raliegh or Sturmey Archer part I need for my vintage Raleigh 3 speed bikes. The service manager is quite knowledgeble on the old Raleighs.

Shop "P" is a smaller, relatively new 1 owner shop where I'll go for quick personalized service for something I can't do. I've been giving him more of my business lately because he takes the time to give me that personalized service.

All three shops are with in several miles of each other. In fact, shop "P" is in the same building that was home to shop "G" for many years. There's also a pretty good chance that one of these shops is the one referred to by the original poster Retro Grouch since they are al in his neck of the woods.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:31 PM   #12
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All three shops are with in several miles of each other. In fact, shop "P" is in the same building that was home to shop "G" for many years. There's also a pretty good chance that one of these shops is the one referred to by the original poster Retro Grouch since they are al in his neck of the woods.
You've got it: "M" is out and "G" is in - at least until Ken finds a way to disappoint me. I've never so much as seen the inside of "P".
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Old 04-02-10, 05:38 PM   #13
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When I was operating my bike shop, my policy was, if you want me to order in, and you can wait till the day after I do my weekly order, shipping was free. If your order totals $300 or more, you'll get it next day,shipping is free. If you need it now, I can have it for tomorrow if I can get the order in by 3:00 pm, you pay shipping. I believe that's fair.
Of course, all of this assumes the distributor has it in stock, but nowadays, you can find that out without even making a phone call.
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Old 04-02-10, 09:29 PM   #14
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On last week's visit to my LBS you can add another woe to the LBS business. The bike mfgs. have almost no 2010 bikes in inventory for you or me to order.

The story he is getting is they could not obtain financing to build and carry inventory. Also hearing the 2011 line will be introduced earlier than normal to try to make up for lost ground.
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Old 04-02-10, 09:49 PM   #15
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I never burn bridges with LBS's. If they don't have the part I need now, they might just have a part I might need later. I try to order at least some of my parts from each of the LBS's I regularly use. If they don't get a portion of my business, then they will probably go out of business. They have helped me out many times on short notice. Unfortunately, there are times when I do order parts on line, because the cost is significantly less or they are unable to source what I need. One example of this was an order for a suspension seat post to fit a 26.0 mm seat tube. I gave the LBS the first shot at getting it, but they couldn't obtain one that size. After a week, I said I'd found a source and they should stop looking. They appreciated that I gave them the opportunity, before looking on line. I am fortunate, though to live in the neighborhood of some exceptional shops like Harris Cyclery, and BIkesNotBombs for Vintage parts. I am wary of shops that only carry the latest road bikes or MB/DH and NOT (at least some) commuter oriented stuff- it's a dead give-away for High ticket/ low service. If they have a mix of bike types and accessories for the commuter, then they are usually in the business of helping you out!
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Old 04-04-10, 09:34 AM   #16
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Having lived most of my life in Calgary's boom and bust economy, I saw many bike shops spring up and then die due to poor service and a cavalier attitude. One of them was owned by a club-mate of mine, and he just couldn't be bothered to get in a pair of track hubs I wanted - from the time I ordered them in early March until the time I finally gave up in late September, it was one excuse after another. Since I thought I had a relationship with that shop, I hung in there, until another trackie working at another shop told me I should have been able to get them within a few weeks. Track riding just wasn't personally important to shop owner #1, so he couldn't be bothered. Surprise - he was out of business in the next recession. Same with the shady shop owner who tried too hard to convince me that a heavy road bike with no tubing sticker was made of Columbus Sl.
Poor bike shops can limp along for years in large cities with steady economies. In a boom and bust kind of place, they get weeded out every few years. I agree about shops that only carry high-end race bikes. They seem to be much more snooty and only interested in sales.
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Old 04-04-10, 01:20 PM   #17
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We live on $25,000 a year so to afford the upgrades and upkeep on two bicycles, we have to sometimes buy "extra items", clothes, accessories, from one of the "chain bike store" (Performance). They have the best deal's on clothes, they may not be "top o' the line" but we HAVE to draw the line on spending somewhere. Our LBS has GREAT clothes but there's VERY pricey, we give the LBS 95% of our business cause they treat us VERY well. Still, I've told them, they just can't compete with the "chain bike store" on some items we NEED to bicycle in some level of comfort and they seem to understand and still treat us at a excellent level. I've not had good experiances with buying stuff on-line so I kinda stay away from that, at least by using different shop's the money is staying closer to home.
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Old 04-05-10, 10:42 AM   #18
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I really do try to order parts from one of the two local shops that I think are worth the trouble.

It usually ends up in my getting frustrated and wondering why I bothered.

I ordered a Record 36 tooth chainring from a local shop here - 3 weeks ago.


Placed the order on Saturday, went into the shop and spoke with one of the people from the shop floor, watched him write it in the book; along with my name and phone number. This in spite of the fact that I knew I would be paying more than if I just ordered from TotalCycling.

By last week I was starting to wonder so went into the shop and enquired. Although the order was written in the "special order" book, it seems no one actually looks a the book to see if they need to order anything. ????????

Had I not gone in to inquire, I would never know.

So, 3 weeks later. no chainring.

Had I ordered from TotalCycling it would be on my bike right now.

I now don't have enough time to get it, and get it on the bike in time for the event I wanted it for.

Am I pi$$ed? yup.
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Old 04-05-10, 11:12 AM   #19
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One of the frustrations I have with one of the shops I frequent is that they do not have firm pricing for parts you order, it's"about $X"or "between
$X and $Y". I call and get a price from one person and if the price seems reasonable I place the order. When I go to pick up the order, I'm given a different price from someone else. After a bit of discussion, they will either sell for the quoted price or I just tell them I don't want the part.
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Old 04-05-10, 01:33 PM   #20
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Whie I was putting together my first ride, and old peugoet I spent much money and time at the local bike shop. After fitting the bike with new tires (kevlar), cables, brake handles, seat, computer, crank, pedals, and of course for the new pedals had to have new shoes I was in need of one last piece. Stopped into the shop on a Saturday when the owner had some kids working the business while he was out to lunch. Of course the kids didnt know where to find the piece i needed since it was in one of the goody boxes in the shop. The owner was walking toward me asking what I needed meanwhile there were a few people waiting for help with bike purchases. This is the point where the kid said and I quote "hey john you take care of the real customers ill get this one." Thats when I saw red, after spending aprox 600.00 putting my ride together and all parts were purchased from this shop. I turned around marched the kid into the shop and explained to him he could explain to his boss why I wasnt coming back to the shop again, ever. I quickly told the owner not to look for me in his shop again and left. You cant treat people that way when there is another shop about a half mile down the road. Needless to say the kid doesnt work there anymore but I still wont go back.
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Old 04-05-10, 03:42 PM   #21
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One of the frustrations I have with one of the shops I frequent is that they do not have firm pricing for parts you order, it's"about $X"or "between $X and $Y".
That's shop "M" isn't it? While paying for my handgrips during my last visit there the head mechanic asked what kind of discount (the owner) gives me. Answer: "It's different every time."
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Old 04-05-10, 04:02 PM   #22
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"hey john you take care of the real customers ill get this one."
I can understand your reaction but I wouldn't take it so personally. He probably just hasn't lived long enough to learn diplomacy.

I'm a substitute school bus driver. Every single day I get asked at least once "Are you a real bus driver or just a substitute?" Sometimes even parents ask if I'm "just a substitute". I answer that I'm an extraordinary bus driver. If the worker had said the same thing in my presence I would have responded that I'm an extraordinary customer.

I frequently encounter a similar situation in restaurants. Bussers ask if I'm "done yet" or "still working" with my salad plate. A better way to ask is: "Have you finished enjoying your salad?"

They don't teach that in school so the only way kids can learn this important skill is from people like you and me.

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Old 04-05-10, 05:16 PM   #23
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That's shop "M" isn't it? While paying for my handgrips during my last visit there the head mechanic asked what kind of discount (the owner) gives me. Answer: "It's different every time."
I was actually referring to shop "G"in this case, but each of the three shop"M" stores gave me a different price for the Trek 3700 when I was shopping for a new MTB.
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Old 04-05-10, 10:06 PM   #24
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Just to confuse the issue a bit......

We stopped in at one of the two LBS's that I despise ( it's nearby) and they actually had the part I wanted in stock. I could have gotten it mail order for any where from $22 to $25 plus shipping. Instead I paid $17 plus tax locally. I was suprised.

I don't like the shop any better because of it, but I did save better than $10 plus gas and time.

Like has been said by many, don't burn your bridges....just quietly move on. It's always good to have many available sources for parts.
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Old 04-05-10, 10:50 PM   #25
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When I was operating my bike shop, my policy was, if you want me to order in, and you can wait till the day after I do my weekly order, shipping was free. If your order totals $300 or more, you'll get it next day,shipping is free. If you need it now, I can have it for tomorrow if I can get the order in by 3:00 pm, you pay shipping. I believe that's fair.
Of course, all of this assumes the distributor has it in stock, but nowadays, you can find that out without even making a phone call.
CG Bikes by any chance??
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