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Thread: Prices

  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Prices

    Everyone (well, not everyone) knows you should get your bike at a bike store, not a discount store. It's also accepted that you should find a bike store staffed with people of character, after all, it could become a menage a trois, or "love triangle:"
    you, your bicycle and the people at the bike shop.

    But just as things start to get cozy in the relationship, you start finding out that you don't have to pay $3 for patch kits, $2 each for CO2 cartridges, or $10 for a chain tool.

    Doesn't this undermine trust in a relationship? Is this something we just accept, like the faults of a spouse? I am not ready to accept it yet.

    If I feel like it, I will "cheat" on my bike shop. I will go anywhere I have to to beat unreasonable prices, as long as quality doesn't suffer. And so far, I've done well.

  2. #2
    Ich bin ein Lowlander! toolfreak's Avatar
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    Some components i bought at the LBS are much cheaper on the "net", but i try to get equal with it.
    For example; at my bikeshop HS-33 costs about 225$, on the internet 175$, here`s the difference to large so i purchase the brakes on the net.
    It`s nice supporting the LBS, but it has to be fair on both sides and not only yours!
    Mark







    Dancevalley 2th of august 2003 -> JXL, Laidback luke, Sasha, John Digweed, Monica Krusse.....and on!

  3. #3
    Just Follow Your Feet! AlphaGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark
    If I feel like it, I will "cheat" on my bike shop.
    OOOOhh! I feel like such a ****!

    I'm in the same category of looking for a better deal on the add-ons. But my thinking is that if I'm buying a maintenance item or something I want setup correctly like a bike computer, I will pay a little extra...If I'm buying shorts or a lock, and I can save a few bucks, why not?
    Recumbents rock!

  4. #4
    hyperactive ferret LightBoy's Avatar
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    This is a curious phenomenon, and one that I have no experience with. As a shop employee, I can not only get a stellar price, but I can also maintain my nice, warm-fuzzy relationship with the aforementioned shop. This is a happy arangement for both me and my employer, as all the money they feed me more likely than not will be immedieately pluged back into the shop. Perhaps this is why they hired me. They know that I am a hopeless gear head, and rather weak willed when it comes to new toys, and they, not I, will profit from my employment there. I can almost justify it by telling myself that I'd buy it all anyway, but now I get a good price. Almost.

    In any case, employee discounts are still cool. We should all be so lucky.

  5. #5
    hyperactive ferret LightBoy's Avatar
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    I just reread my last post, and realized that it sounds a lot like bragging. Though not my intention, I suppose it sort of was. I doubt it will weigh too heavily on my conscience, but still...

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    I wish I could get an employee type discount...I'd be bragging all the time.

    Going back to the LBS vs Mailorder debate...I bought my bike from an LBS and take it back there for maintenance issues. Also, if they have a part that is closely priced to what I can get from a mail order place I'll buy it from the bike shop. But if I need a part and there is a BIG price difference than I'll get it from the mail order place. Do I feel guilty, no...as much as I like to help out my LBS I also have to look out for my best interest.

  7. #7
    I'm newly in love Campag Fetish Boy's Avatar
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    Funnily enough I work in a so called Discount Bike Shop - Halfords in the UK. I've been there 8 years, and from day one I've been saying to head office that we need to be in a position to at least order decent stuff in, I've always been told no it won't sell etc....

    They finally relented and my store has some of the best sales figures in the company (450 stores). This is because I bend rules and order stuff in which I know will sell. The knock on effect is that more "Enthusiast Bikers" come in and spend more money .

    The way I look at it now is that when I started working there I wouldn't have bought anything from there, now I will and do.

    I still use LBS/Internet/Mail Order supplies based on price.
    Sold!! To the lady with the blonde hair and skimpy underwear

  8. #8
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by toolfreak
    It`s nice supporting the LBS, but it has to be fair on both sides and not only yours!
    That's the way I see it, too, Mark. I would like to buy everything from my bike dealer who's been good to me, but charging twice or three times what I might have to pay elsewhere is no longer being good to me.

  9. #9
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LightBoy
    I just reread my last post, and realized that it sounds a lot like bragging.
    To me it just sounded like a description of a fortunate situation. I'm glad you have a job you can enjoy, and some side benefits. If only more people could be that happy!

  10. #10
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Campag Fetish Boy
    [B]They finally relented and my store has some of the best sales figures in the company (450 stores). This is because I bend rules and order stuff in which I know will sell. The knock on effect is that more "Enthusiast Bikers" come in and spend more money .
    Excellent!

  11. #11
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    I go from one LBS to another, until I found the item price to my budget, then I buy the merchandize
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

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    Senior Member mwmw's Avatar
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    Wait for the sales. One big LBS has a "50% off everything" weekend every 3-4 months. Another has "30-70% off everything" week at least a couple of times a year. It does kinda make you wonder what their regular margins are.

  13. #13
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    I know, and I usually do my buying spree during the winter, that way I got to haggle a lot on these LBS, they tend to sell items at cost sometimes,
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  14. #14
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    I will shop around 3 or 4 LBS's in the area, and only purchase on the internet if i can save more then 10 - 20%. If i can purchase a new toy for $60 at the LBS or $50 on line, i'll spend the extra $10 and the LBS.

    I have also noticed that my fav LBS regulary gives me discounts on just about everything i purchase, just the other day i purchased $59 Fox riding shorts, but the LBS owner gave them to me for $50 even, as "im such a good customer"

    The place i purchased me first "real" mountain bike just went under last year, i think it had something to do with them able to have 50% off sales every spring. If i know there making 50% margin on price they normal have, theres no way im going to support that. I love cycling, but im not going to pay $1500 for a $1000 bike i can pick up down the road, ouch!

    Lightboy, i was offered a job at my LBS, i refused as there was no way i could afford working in a bike shop. The pay is higher then what i currently make, but i would be bringing home a lot less cash, and alot more gear i dont need Plus the hours sucked, i cant wake up before 1am

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    Silly wabbits...

    Bike shops don't make money selling BIKES(at least not much anyways), the money comes from selling parts and accesories. That's where the bigger margins are.

    No one opens a shop with the idea of becoming the next Bill Gates. If your LBS guy drives a BMW chances are there are "outside forces"(e.g. family money, previous career savings) at work. Most LBS owners are bike geeks, just like you and me! They generally have a passion for the sport and want to be a part of the cycling community. When was the last time you saw Supergo or Pricepoint sponsor a local tour, ride, or race(unless you live near one and then I suppose *they* ARE your LBS)?

    It's a common misperception that all mailorder is always cheaper than the LBS. I can flip through any number of catalogs(Performance, Nashbar, CC, Excel) and see that our prices are the SAME and sometimes lower on "regularly priced" items. Our customers pay tax, but skip the shipping charges.
    They can try stuff on, have items installed, pull stuff out of the box and actually touch the goods before laying down cold hard cash.

    Perhaps the biggest reasons to patronize your local LBS are the intangible ones. If your LBS is a good one, be good to it. Many of our customers just like to come hang out and talk "bike". They often ask for advice before making a purchase. They like to share race/crash/vacation pictures and stories with us. They use our parking lot as a place to meet for group rides. We pump up their flat tires, sell them Clif bars "on credit", and refill their water bottles if they stop in during a ride.

    There have been times in my cycling-life when I have NOT had an LBS job. I still went to bike shops, asked for advice, went on group rides and plunked down full-retail(knowing what cost was)because I understood that the owner still had rent/utilites/salaries/taxes to pay.

    Sorry to write a book, obviously I feel passionately about the subject. I do think there ARE appropriate times to use mailorder(clearance items that are below "cost", items that are not available locally), but generally I'll choose to keep my money "local".

    Thanks for listening(and no I don't shop at Wal-Mart. Don't get me started on Wal-Mart...)

  16. #16
    It's the fight in the man Rich's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Campag Fetish Boy
    Funnily enough I work in a so called Discount Bike Shop - Halfords in the UK. I've been there 8 years, and from day one I've been saying to head office that we need to be in a position to at least order decent stuff in, I've always been told no it won't sell etc....

    Hi CFB,

    I'm really impressed with Halfords newer better specced image, they have some really cool stuff, and a nice new Downhill Team to boot!!!

    I think I'd go for the cheaper option everytime, be it internet, or LBS....sorry, that's me 2p's worth.

    Rich
    Making New Zealand a safer place :)

  17. #17
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I have had several bike shops bend over backwards for me. That seems to be the norm for the folks who work in them. Bike shops seem to be the last place left on earth where people don't seem to care as much about making a buck as they do helping me.

    BUT...

    It's obvious to me that cycling is considered a sport that well-to-do people spend their spare cash on, rather than a necessary means of transportation. Anyone who can afford a $1000 bike, $100 helmet, $300 in clothing, etc. and rides only half the year can also afford the prices. More power to them, I wish I could, but that's not me. In fact, I am probably in the minority on these forums in the respect that I can barely afford to cycle at all.

    I had a friend go looking for a bike. The LBS rep treated him like he didn't matter. To the bike shop, he probably didn't, because he couldn't afford the prices (yet.) So there are two sides to the coin.

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    Pete,
    Sorry to hear that your friend was not treated with the respect he deserved. I hope he does not give up on cycling and will possibly look for another bike shop.

    My motto is "everybody's money is green"; whether they are looking at one of our $70 used bikes or a $200 BMX bike or a $2000 race bike. Every customer deserves to be treated well.

    About shops: they vary widely. My last shop was in an affluent area in a large city. Most of our customers were well-heeled "enthusiasts". We sold lots of $$$ road bikes to people doing "charity rides" and local triathlons.

    The shop I am in now is on a busy street in a small town. Our customer base is more varied. I have to say I love it. We have many customers who do not drive cars; whether for financial reasons, medical limitations, or loss of driving privleges(hey! where'd the spell-check go???). We also are close to three schools, so we get the 'after school' crowd.

    The goal(as it should be for ANY small business)is to make sure that each customer leaves feeling satisfied.

    I think it's sad that bikes are only considered "toys" and "recreation" in our culture. I too use my bike as transportation, so I know that feeling you get when motorists are looking at you like some kind of freak or non-human("I drive-therefore I am"?).

    I'm wordy today. Better get out the bike and ride to the libray and the post office and...

    Ever make up errands just so you can spend more time on your bike?

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    Originally posted by poptart
    Better get out the bike and ride to the libray and the post office and...

    Ever make up errands just so you can spend more time on your bike?
    Enjoy your time on the bike and think of us poor souls stuck in cubicles.

  20. #20
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by poptart
    I think it's sad that bikes are only considered "toys" and "recreation" in our culture. I too use my bike as transportation, so I know that feeling you get when motorists are looking at you like some kind of freak or non-human("I drive-therefore I am"?)

    Ever make up errands just so you can spend more time on your bike?
    Good post, Poptart.

    I would like to see more bike shops treat cycling as a valid form of getting around, even encourage it. They might be suprised at the extra business. Look at Henry Ford. He transformed the automobile from a luxury item into a common person's vehicle. The expanded customer base made him rich.

    There's no reason XXX-marts have to dominate the low-income bike market with their dangerous machines. Anyway, I've seen $400 bikes sold at XXX-marts! None for me, thanks!

    Maybe if they invented an "ACME Instant Bicycle: just add a drop of water and, voila! Completely assembled!"

  21. #21
    hyperactive ferret LightBoy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by poptart

    Ever make up errands just so you can spend more time on your bike?
    Don't we all? My first class this morning was less than a block away, but I left early so I could take the senic route along the river. Sure it was an extra two miles, but...well, you know.

  22. #22
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Well, I bought my bike from my LBS, and I have spent quite a bit of money there on upgrade. I know I pay more for components through them, but they will install them. I could probably do some of the work myself, but I feel more comfortable letting more experienced hands do it better and faster.

    As a CPA who used to consult for small businesses, I can assure you that your LBS is not getting rich just because they charge prices that are a little higher. A small shop, even a largish shop, has very high fixed costs. Also, because they order from distributors in smaller quantities, they pay higher wholesale prices than chains or higher volume Internet retailers like Nashbar or Performance, etc.. I would venture to guess that the owners of most LBSs are NOT riding around in Mercedes and Lexus automobiles. They have to make some kind of profit just to stay in business.

    I buy what I can from my LBS. If they have something I need and it is at least reasonable, I will buy it from them. Even if the price is several dollars more than I can get it online, I will buy from the LBS for convenience. This afternoon, for instance, I plan to stop by to pick up a VistaLite setup at the same price Nashbar sells it for. On the other hand, I will not pay ANYONE $50-100 for shorts or jerseys. Sometimes I will get the LBS to special order something. But some less expensive items they probably don't make enough to even make it worth their while. So I basically try to balance my purchases, giving the LBS as much business as I can.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  23. #23
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark
    ...I am probably in the minority on these forums in the respect that I can barely afford to cycle at all.
    Well, it's at least a minority of two. If I'm lucky enough to get Social Security next year, at age 62.5 (how do they figure these things out?!), I'll still have less than twice what I make now: $619.99 a month, my retirement payment. That's IT. Rent, food, everything comes out of that.

    I could probably get some kind of a job. But my conviction is that I did not retire in order to get a job. I got completely fed up with the work world such as I knew it, after forty-plus years of it.

    So I squeeze by, I ride my bikes, which I acquired, like everything else, before I retired--and I will not be buying big-ticket items from my (very helpful) LBS or mail-order anytime soon.

  24. #24
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I've got an interesting opinion on this. As a shop employee, I don't find fault with people getting their stuff from mail-order. I can empathize with someone who wants an XTR remote shifter or whatever and can mail-order it for 30% less than what they can buy it from us, especially if it's not something we have in stock and we have to order it as well. What really pisses me off is when they bring in their parts to have us install them and then bi*ch when we charge them labor. The funny thing is that with the labor and shipping, it comes out to be the same price as if they bought it from us in the first place. How do people like this think we stay in business?

    This however was not my point on this subject. As a person who loves to work on bikes, I usually (prior to LBS employment) bought things mail-order, but purchased new bikes, frames, shoes...etc. at the shops. I also spread my money around at 3 or 4 of the LBS. I always wondered why no one was making me a good deal on a regular basis. Now that I work in a shop, I see first hand how important our regular customers are, I also have learned why the people who spread it around are "traitors". If you commit to one shop, they will take care of you. If you spread it around (including mail-order), they won't do you any favors. It's a decision you must make, do you want the deal right here right now, or do you want the long-term deal?

    I hope this makes sense, because as I read it, I'm not sure if my point comes across as well as it does in my head.

    Later Gator
    Boomer
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  25. #25
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by vfboomer
    If you commit to one shop, they will take care of you. If you spread it around (including mail-order), they won't do you any favors. It's a decision you must make, do you want the deal right here right now, or do you want the long-term deal?

    I hope this makes sense, because as I read it, I'm not sure if my point comes across as well as it does in my head.
    I think you expressed it well, and it's the same as what I figured out, though I don't, and didn't, work in a LBS.

    I'm not sure there's any one best solution to the situation. My bike dealer knows I've got things by mail-order from Performance and Nashbar, and he doesn't hold it against me and continues to be helpful and friendly. But I wouldn't blame him for taking the other attitude.

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