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Old 02-14-12, 01:44 PM   #1
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About that LBS? ? ? ?

Many of us have found out that finding the right LBS is almost more important than choosing the bike. This seems to confuse new comers so what is it about your LBS that makes it right for you?

Reason for this is to put newcomers on the right track so they can get good service and supply of the correct ancillaries for cycling from the shop of their choice.

I may be looking for a new one myself shortly as mine may be one of the hits of the recession we are having over here.

So why is your LBS so special?
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Old 02-14-12, 01:54 PM   #2
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I appreciate mine (Yucaipa Bicycle Center, Yucaipa CA) because they're professional without being snooty, very personable, have very reasonable prices for parts and service, and don't stick their nose in the air if someone walks in w/o wearing racing clothing. I've seen them give the same great service to "pro" riders and a lower-middle income guy buying a tiny bike for his kid.
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Old 02-14-12, 01:55 PM   #3
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Personal attention always wins the day in my book. I spent over an hour trying on shoes to get the proper fit. Different manufacturers, styles, price points and sizes. I was surprise how differently shoe of the same size fit from different manufacturers. In the end I was surrounded by boxes, and shoes out of boxes. But the shoes I did get fit great.
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Old 02-14-12, 02:57 PM   #4
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Before buying my last bike, I walked into one of our LBS and started the conversation with "I'm not buying anything today". An hour and a half later I was still getting lots of questions answered and was narrowing in on the bike I eventually did buy (yes, I bought it there, but not that day).

Another LBS around here gives a much different experience with trying to actually get two or three words together seems like a waste of time. As a result, I travel the extra miles to get to the one that actually seems to love bikes and care about their customers.
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Old 02-14-12, 03:10 PM   #5
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1) Offering advice when they know I'm not right!! The customer is NOT always right.
2) Good prices. When I buy something that is marked 19.99 the total is usually LESS than that amount even after tax!
3) Good services without breaking the bank.
4) They talk in every-day talk. Not snooty. Not condescending. Not anything.
5) They ride with us.
6)The mechanic used to ride dirt bikes with us and can put things in perspective about bicycles

They carry quality lines of bikes that are cost-effective. Trek, Specialized, Fuji, Redline. No Cannondale but hey, they can't be perfect

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Old 02-14-12, 03:12 PM   #6
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I don't know if my LBS is "special" but the owner is very supportive of cycling in the area. He actively supports a local club by giving club members a 10% discount and he financially supports an annual ride that raises funds for local food banks. He also is a member of the club, leads "beginners rides" and lends a hand at the annual ride.
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Old 02-14-12, 03:23 PM   #7
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Well, this is a different sort of direction, but I'm my own bike shop. Sorting out and fixing problems is much more interesting than watching tv.

If I need anything, I usually get it online.
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Old 02-14-12, 03:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
This seems to confuse new comers so what is it about your LBS that makes it right for you?
They have the little stuff like tires, tubes, air valve adapters, bar tape.....the stuff I dont want to buy online.
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Old 02-14-12, 04:07 PM   #9
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I rarely/ever buy anything online any more. Used to think it was cool but that has faded for me. I just see the damage it does to the local economy.
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Old 02-14-12, 04:17 PM   #10
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Sussex, is a long way from here , not that Brits have not visited the Oregon Coast.
The LBS here try s to take care of the passers thru,
though the other 9 months of the year wet and cool, dont make stocking
high end spares real likely, but they try to fix what is broken.

something about maritime mechanics , goal is getting back to tie up to the dock.
sometimes a creative kludge will work fine, functionally,though inelegant.
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Old 02-14-12, 04:21 PM   #11
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I chose my LBS because the other one in town sucks.
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Old 02-14-12, 04:42 PM   #12
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Nothing special about my LBS other than they have a pretty wide selection and most are way out of my price range.

That price range is just above a department store bike, but even then I know what components are the lowest and which are the upper end of the lower grade, again in my price range.

I prefer to do all my own wrench turning and I've done it for many years so I can make a "cheap" bike perform to it's maximum potential which for me is satisfactory for my needs and budget.

I've bought two bikes over the years from the shop and both times I ended up making the fine tuning adjustments that the bike shop for some reason just didn't take the effort to get it right the first time, which is what they are supposed to do without being reminded.

I know, I should have complained but I would rather do my own work and know it's done right.

My last bike I bought on line and tuned it again myself, and I'm satisfied with what I bought and will probably do it again from now on.

Three new bikes in 20 years, I don't think they are going to miss me! LOL!
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Old 02-14-12, 05:37 PM   #13
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My dad chose his LBS because the young lady selling bikes was a classical music student at the local university. After discussing composers and musicians, Dad chose the bike she recommended.
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Old 02-14-12, 05:56 PM   #14
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They built my bikes. When I walk through the door with a broken bike, they put it on a stand and fix it on the spot. They do excellent work. They listen when I describe what I want to do, they ask questions and offer advice.
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Old 02-14-12, 06:09 PM   #15
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My dad chose his LBS because the young lady selling bikes was a classical music student at the local university. After discussing composers and musicians, Dad chose the bike she recommended.
Yeah, bikes and classical music go together. Especially operatic music. Something Italian about riding a bike. Or even German.

But back to the subject: there is nothing "local" about my LBS. The shop I've got the best relationship with is R&E in Seattle, and I live in Vancouver, BC, about 200 km away. But I like them because:

1. They know way more about bikes than I do, and I thought I knew a lot.
2. They don't go in for fads or bleeding-edge technology. They'll sell you what you ask for, even if they don't recommend, but they usually end up being right.
3. They have a solid philosophy that I largely share about the bike market, and about technology, trends and fashions, and although they tend to be on the conservative side, this approach avoids mistakes and disappointment.
4. They built my bike. In fact, the guy who built my bike (the fixie) is arguably one of the best in the world at designing and building tandems (Dennis Bushnell).

The reason I had them build my fixie is because after my previous fixie broke, I determined that I could trust nobody in British Columbia to fix it (no, I'm not impressed with the way Brodie builds road bikes), so I sent R&E an email with a bunch of questions. Now typically, you send ANY company a list of questions, and they'll maybe answer one and ignore or gloss over the others. Well, the guy who responded from R&E answered EVERY question in detail. This impressed me so much that I had them build me a new frame. And then when I picked it up, they assembled it for free with the parts I had brought. And when I brought it back in a year later to get some frame repairs and adjustments done, they did that and repainted the back section (it's coupled) for free. Their motto is "don't buy a bike, buy the shop."

So there's my plug for R&E in Seattle.

Luis
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Old 02-14-12, 07:00 PM   #16
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So why is your LBS so special?
Why that's easy. It always comes down to people. I want people who show me a degree of respect and I want to deal with people who can talk intelligently about the kind of riding that I do.
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Old 02-14-12, 07:37 PM   #17
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I bought a bike from an LBS who gave me a really good deal. Problem was, they couldn't fix it, they couldn't set it up correctly out-of-the-box. After about 6-8 return trips, sometimes leaving it for a week or more, I finally took it to another LBS. They fixed the problem. Guess which one I will return to?
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Old 02-14-12, 08:02 PM   #18
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Excellent service by knowledgeable and attentive staff,nice selection of bikes and gear, and they respect and value their female cycling customers--they host a couple of Women Specific nights each year!
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Old 02-14-12, 08:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
Yeah, bikes and classical music go together. Especially operatic music. Something Italian about riding a bike. Or even German.

But back to the subject: there is nothing "local" about my LBS. The shop I've got the best relationship with is R&E in Seattle, and I live in Vancouver, BC, about 200 km away. But I like them because:

1. They know way more about bikes than I do, and I thought I knew a lot.
2. They don't go in for fads or bleeding-edge technology. They'll sell you what you ask for, even if they don't recommend, but they usually end up being right.
3. They have a solid philosophy that I largely share about the bike market, and about technology, trends and fashions, and although they tend to be on the conservative side, this approach avoids mistakes and disappointment.
4. They built my bike. In fact, the guy who built my bike (the fixie) is arguably one of the best in the world at designing and building tandems (Dennis Bushnell).

The reason I had them build my fixie is because after my previous fixie broke, I determined that I could trust nobody in British Columbia to fix it (no, I'm not impressed with the way Brodie builds road bikes), so I sent R&E an email with a bunch of questions. Now typically, you send ANY company a list of questions, and they'll maybe answer one and ignore or gloss over the others. Well, the guy who responded from R&E answered EVERY question in detail. This impressed me so much that I had them build me a new frame. And then when I picked it up, they assembled it for free with the parts I had brought. And when I brought it back in a year later to get some frame repairs and adjustments done, they did that and repainted the back section (it's coupled) for free. Their motto is "don't buy a bike, buy the shop."

So there's my plug for R&E in Seattle.

Luis
When my twenty-three-year-old tandem broke, someone recommended that I get in touch with R+E to see about a repair. (A previous repair had been done by the original builder and it took him a year to get it back to me.) Dan at R+E answered every question I had and then some. They did an outstanding repair that should have been expensive but turned out to be quite cheap because they came up with a brilliant solution. While they were at it they added a bit of reinforcement to the weak area and did a very attractive paint job and got my bike back to me in one week. After many emails and a couple of in-person chats (hey, it's only a train ride away), I am sold on R+E. I really like their attitude towards what are appropriate components; they're the first shop that I have ever been to that totally shares my views in this regard. They are currently sitting on the drawings for a tandem they are going to build for my wife and me. We would have had it built already, but my wife had a few unexpected medical issues (all resolved now) that has forced us to put this off for a bit. Anyone who is even remotely considering a custom bike should definitely check in with R+E.

Locally, I also have a nice little shop that I go to (Wheelworks). They do everything they can to get me back on the road ASAP when something happens. Last year I purchased a rim that turned out to be defective and they gave me a loaner wheel while we waited for the replacement to come in. When I pick up small stuff on the way home from a ride they often just wave off any payment, which is nice. They're too small to stock everything I need, but they always get things ordered quickly from sources that have them in stock and their mechanics are first rate.

Wheelworks opened its doors about the same time I moved to this area. I initially didn't go to them because they also sold motor scooters and that made me question their commitment to bikes. That bigotry cost me a lot of woe. I even had a bike stolen by one of the other shops in town before I finally went into Wheelworks.
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Old 02-14-12, 08:13 PM   #20
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Special? Well, it's the only one in the area, but it's still special: Honesty and integrity, which results in trust. When I traded in my old bike, he asked "What did I say I'd give you for that comfort bike?". I told him what he said, "$200 to $250". He gave me the higher amount without even looking at the bike. He trusts me, and I trust him and his staff. Can't do better than that.
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Old 02-14-12, 08:51 PM   #21
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Special? Well, it's the only one in the area, but it's still special: Honesty and integrity, which results in trust. When I traded in my old bike, he asked "What did I say I'd give you for that comfort bike?". I told him what he said, "$200 to $250". He gave me the higher amount without even looking at the bike. He trusts me, and I trust him and his staff. Can't do better than that.
That's my LBS when I'm at the permanent residence. Agree in all regards with the above.

Up here in the hills, I have three LBSs I frequent. One for parts. One for service and some parts. Another for clothing and endurolytes. The owner of the service LBS is an outstanding mechanic. As often as not, he will perform repairs on the spot and teach me about what he is doing. I bought the Cannondale from him.
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Old 02-15-12, 02:33 AM   #22
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Why that's easy. It always comes down to people. I want people who show me a degree of respect and I want to deal with people who can talk intelligently about the kind of riding that I do.
Agreed. Very important component of the LBS experience. The owner (age 60) of my LBS and his mechanic (age 25) ride with customers every week on a variety of club events and "Hey, you want to go ride tomorrow" rides. Both have invited me to go riding with them numerous times and often I have. I consider them friends and always enjoy going into the shop and just talking with them.
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Old 02-15-12, 07:14 AM   #23
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I use Cycle Sports of Pensacola http://www.cyclesportsbicycles.com/ because of the knowledge and courtesy that is in every one of the employees. They are well stocked with a range of bicycles for each brand they carry (Cannondale, Specialized, Schwinn, Masi and Jamis) at each price point. Vintage frames are hanging waiting for someone that does the C&V thing and a lot of parts are available. Road, triathalon, comfort or off road are all there waiting for you to test out.

Every accessory, part and piece of clothing you can ever want or need. Their 2 mechanics are first rate, one guy my age and a young 20+ ace, both super wrenches that take pride in professional work, as they well should. They will both come out and answer any question, no matter how innocuous. The 2 guys at the counter put on Park aprons and turn wrenches for someone that comes in needing a quick fix or installation. They give honest estimates on time to complete more in depth repairs and cost is reasonable. If something doesn't work as advertised they will tell you and probably sell you what will at the lower price, when they can.

My last N+1 was here and they held open the doors far past closing time to let me test ride the models I had chosen and then fit me properly. Tom, the manager will stop and chat when he isn't over his head with walk-ins. Good selection of various endurance supplements and those tasty Clif bars on the counter. I drive 30+ miles to shop there and it is well worth the time to do so. Even my wife who rides a Trek is sold on their service and community activities. A great local place to do bicycles.

Bill
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Old 02-15-12, 07:18 AM   #24
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1) Offering advice when they know I'm not right!! The customer is NOT always right.
2) Good prices. When I buy something that is marked 19.99 the total is usually LESS than that amount even after tax!
3) Good services without breaking the bank.
4) They talk in every-day talk. Not snooty. Not condescending. Not anything.
5) They ride with us.
6)The mechanic used to ride dirt bikes with us and can put things in perspective about bicycles
This, plus the staff, an endless pot of coffee and cold beer in the refrigerator after a hot dusty summer MTB group ride.
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Old 02-15-12, 07:22 AM   #25
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I use Creekside Bikes because they recognize that I have absolutely no goals for anything in bicycling besides simply enjoying my ride, I don't mind riding a 12-year-old steel bike, I can live with minor defects in the bike - although they are always careful to point out what it would take to make the bike "perfect" and I generally only have "safety items" fixed, and that I know to fix everything to "new standards" would cost more than a new bike, that I am a total klutz when it comes to bicycle repair and it would be a disaster, and that I will bring them a "token" present at XMAS.

This is a 2 man shop, and I often see the owner on the trails, and he NEVER fails to recognize me.

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