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  1. #1
    Banned. exas's Avatar
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    are bike stores expensive or what?

    i got by a bike store today and the accessories and stuff they got is expensive, lets compare that to a store like mec --> www.mec.ca which is way cheaper

    now why do bike shops feel the need to charge an extra 30% to 300% on top of the price of the same thing at mec, are they saying that i should never buy seats or lights or locks etc at their store. when i give them money should i feel sorry for them and feel that i should supporting them with my money instead of giving it away to a corporation who can sell the same stuff at much lower prices?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I don't ask questions. I just buy at MEC.


    That said, I will look at the stuff in my LBS, and if I happen to see something for a good price, I might pick it up. On the odd occasion, I've gotten a pretty good deal.

  3. #3
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exas
    i got by a bike store today and the accessories and stuff they got is expensive, lets compare that to a store like mec --> www.mec.ca which is way cheaper

    now why do bike shops feel the need to charge an extra 30% to 300% on top of the price of the same thing at mec, are they saying that i should never buy seats or lights or locks etc at their store. when i give them money should i feel sorry for them and feel that i should supporting them with my money instead of giving it away to a corporation who can sell the same stuff at much lower prices?
    It's even worse here in Australia, I have seen 1,000% markups.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tapeworm21's Avatar
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    They gotta eat. If the store is paying $20 for something and selling it at $90, ok... they're getting ridiculous. But the bike business isn't easy and they gotta eat. Support your local bike shop. I work at a bike shop that I don't particularly like and I honestly shop elsewhere, even though I can get discount prices at work.

  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The larger bike stores are there and they do have a major failing in that they have a fixed pricing policy and that is Full Retail.They do have some good deals on bikes occasionally but as other bike shops can get the same prices- it is still not often a good deal. Where the Bike stores do have an advantage is that they do carry the range of products so you can see the choices available.

    Local bike shops are mostly struggling for business but they do have a definite + over the Bike stores in that they have the Knowledge of the products they stock. They can also cater to your needs and repair bikes and fix parts with a skill that most stores lack.

    Now if you want cheap prices then you have to shop online. No good if you want a new bike and you want to sort sizing or test ride- but if it is an LX rear derailler at half the price then shop online. Bike stores do have a definite advantage for me. I can go to them and look at the range of bikes they carry. I am thinking of one in particular in the UK and they carry all the major manufacturers bikes- Trek. Kona Cannondale, Bianchi, Specialised and a smattering of a few of the smaller manufacturers. They are great for looking at the different bikes to aid a decision before buying. Then if you are cheeky enough- you can also get a test ride to sort the model you want and the size required. Then you go away to think about it and go the your LBS to see if they can better the price- Or go on line and see how cheap you can get it.

    I have a very good relationship with My LBS. So much so that I rarely use anyone else. If I go on line to check something out- then I go back to them to see if they can get anywhere near the price. Or I go on line- sort the item(s) I would like to look at and go to the LBS for advice. As an example I was looking at high cost lights last year. Sorted a couple I liked the look of and asked for advice from the LBS. They knew the products and advised me against one of them due to their customers having had a few problems. The light I wanted was still going to cost $550 and that was online- They not only Matched the price- They bettered it and had it in within a week.

    Your local bike shops Rule- But use the big stores to sort out what you want.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    It is very hard for small independent companies to compete with large chains/conglomerates/corporations because the big guys have a lot more capital and can deal in very large volumes with a small margin and still make a go of it. That's why all the mom and pop shops, neighborhood hardware stores, etc. have mostly gone out of business. I think that's a shame. I would rather support small, independent businesses and pay a little more because they're run by guys kinda like me instead of rich corporate suits.
    In this age of mindless consumerism, of atomized populations living in boxes, working in boxes, and traveling in boxes, almost always alone, with only the electronic voices of their new feudal lords to guide them through life, the bicycle becomes an instrument of gentle revolution. --Richard Risemberg

  7. #7
    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    It is very hard for small independent companies to compete with large chains/conglomerates/corporations because the big guys have a lot more capital and can deal in very large volumes with a small margin and still make a go of it. That's why all the mom and pop shops, neighborhood hardware stores, etc. have mostly gone out of business. I think that's a shame. I would rather support small, independent businesses and pay a little more because they're run by guys kinda like me instead of rich corporate suits.
    I'll just add to that by saying that much more of the money that goes to your LBS (or other locally owned stores) stays in your community. The employees live in your community; When the roof leaks they call your neighbor with a roofing company; when it's tax time, the local cpa gets the call; etc...buying local does more for your community than using national/international chains or internet.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    I occasionally shop at the LBS and I pick items that are reasnoblay priced and I didn't have to wait days like ordering on line. I find online stores to be much cheaper plus the offer free shipping and don't charge taxes. That alone makes a big saving on your purchase. In fact I bought my bike from an online store and I saved $$$ plus the LBS didn't have the bike I wanted in stock at the time. So there are pros and cons shopping at the LBS.

  9. #9
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    I have had great deals on bike clothing at the LBS. I think they may buy left over stock from the wholesaler at the end of the year. I dont worry buying last year's style as my body is out of style by nearly 50 years. When you factor in shipping costs and brokerage fees there isnt much difference between LBS and on line.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by exas

    now why do bike shops feel the need to charge an extra 30% to 300% on top of the price of the same thing at mec?
    I think the answer is because somebody is willing to pay it and also that is what a lot of them need to charge to stay afloat. See the plight of the local hardware store here in America.

  11. #11
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulpes
    It is very hard for small independent companies to compete with large chains/conglomerates/corporations because the big guys have a lot more capital and can deal in very large volumes with a small margin and still make a go of it. That's why all the mom and pop shops, neighborhood hardware stores, etc. have mostly gone out of business. I think that's a shame. I would rather support small, independent businesses and pay a little more because they're run by guys kinda like me instead of rich corporate suits.
    i agree..although, i've been in far too many LBSs where i'm not even certain they want me in there. my thought is that you gotta offer SOMETHING. if you can't win on price or volume or selection then you gotta win on service.

  12. #12
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    If my LBS stocks it, I'll buy it there. It's worth it to me to have them available if I need a quick turnaround, a special tool, or some information. Yeah, I could ask for cheaper prices (and probably get them), but I figure if the LBS isn't profitable, they'll close. THEN where would I go? I treat them right - they treat me right. If money were a big issue, I couldn't afford to be quite so generous, but at this point, access to the "triple-c" (close, convenient, & competent) LBS is more important than the fourth "c" (cheap).

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    The high end stores that sell top , top end bikes for like Triathletes can be outrageous. But, you can find mid priced mom and pop stores that sell mid range bikes. My pattern is. I buy and have my bike reparied as a regular at shops I find reasonable and that I trust because reliable reasonable service is a must. When it comes to accessories, I somewhat loose my loyalty to smaller stores and go to like Performance.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    i agree..although, i've been in far too many LBSs where i'm not even certain they want me in there.
    Yup - as a female commuter cyclist on a tight budget, I am ALL too familiar with that experience. Excuse me for not handing over $1000 for a new bike when I came in for tires for my "obsolete" Raleigh... (Another LBS was just lovely about said bike - as they should be, seeing as it still had their sticker on it from 1984!)

    Thing is, I'm a gadget freak, and if a shop treats me right they can count on a steady stream of small to medium size purchases. I'm also turning into the resident bike expert in my social circle - which is pretty amusing - but I can influence the purchases of a good dozen people, all of whom have more money than I do.

  15. #15
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buglady
    I'm also turning into the resident bike expert in my social circle - which is pretty amusing - but I can influence the purchases of a good dozen people, all of whom have more money than I do.
    yeah, me too! it's amazing...just by having the repuation of enjoying cycling, people constantly ask me what they should buy and where they should go, etc.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    yeah, me too! it's amazing...just by having the repuation of enjoying cycling, people constantly ask me what they should buy and where they should go, etc.
    I think in my case it's that they think I'm a superwoman for riding the MS Bike Tour (160 km) last weekend - of course, none of them have met Machka! I suspect they'd all die of shock

    I've promised to take one friend bike shopping on Saturday, and from there I will proceed to my sister's house to check her bike over and lure her out for a gentle ride . Another couple of friends have expressed interest in being taken out for a ride as well - they are not confident as cyclists and say they'd feel better with someone to check their bikes over and demonstrate road riding skills. They base their assessment of my skills on the fact I haven't died on my commute yet

    Also ended up chatting with a co-worker about "needs" versus "wants" for longer distance cycling - he is interested in doing some light touring but was worried about the price tag. Sent him to MEC...

  17. #17
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buglady
    Yup - as a female commuter cyclist on a tight budget, I am ALL too familiar with that experience. Excuse me for not handing over $1000 for a new bike when I came in for tires for my "obsolete" Raleigh... (Another LBS was just lovely about said bike - as they should be, seeing as it still had their sticker on it from 1984!)

    Thing is, I'm a gadget freak, and if a shop treats me right they can count on a steady stream of small to medium size purchases. I'm also turning into the resident bike expert in my social circle - which is pretty amusing - but I can influence the purchases of a good dozen people, all of whom have more money than I do.
    Yeah, shops insulting peoples' rides are shooting themselves in the foot. LBS's make more profit selling accessories and service than selling new machines. I go out of my way to deal with a mom and pop store rather than the high end shops full of young guys who can't recall anything beyond 2 model years ago. I ride a lot but I have absolutely zero interest in the latest XTR or Dura ace equipment or spending thousands to be 'with it.' If I was all that concerned about being on the cutting edge, I would have selected a cheaper hobby.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249
    Yeah, shops insulting peoples' rides are shooting themselves in the foot.
    I have no idea what the motivation is there, unless the sales guy thought he could intimidate me. That is usually not a good strategy

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Local bike shops are mostly struggling for business but they do have a definite + over the Bike stores in that they have the Knowledge of the products they stock. They can also cater to your needs and repair bikes and fix parts with a skill that most stores lack.
    NOT necessarily!! In fact, I'd be hard pressed to name an LBS I've frequented that actually fits that description.

    Most I've been in don't have much of a clue of what they've got in their own stores let alone what's available. Go to any LBS and ask the 15 year old behind the counter if they stock Bento bags ... see that blank look they give you!! And yet, my Bento box (which I picked up from an LBS that didn't realize they had them) is one of my Top 10 pieces of equipment. I'd recommend them to all cyclists!

    And when I bought Machak, I had him in several times for handlebar related issues. Every single time I told them to leave the handlebar height where it was, and to leave the cable length alone. Every single time they lowered my handlebars, and cut my cables. Every single time, grumbling and complaining, they had to take it to the back, raise my handle bars, re-run the cables, and re-wrap my handlebar tape. One skill I'd love to see in an LBS is the skill of LISTENING.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249
    Yeah, shops insulting peoples' rides are shooting themselves in the foot.
    In my second year of Randonneuring, I bought a Giant OCR3 from one of my LBSs. A couple weeks later, I brought the bicycle back to change the stem, because I decided I wanted a shorter stem. To sum up, here's what happened:

    1) They didn't recognize me or the bicycle, and questioned whether I had actually purchased the bicycle there, and whether they had told me they would be more than willing to make some changes to ensure the bicycle fit.

    2) Finally convinced, they changed the stem, but criticized my decision during the whole process.

    3) I asked about a "professional fitting" and they guy helping me (older guy, not a kid) told me that he read about bicycle fit in a book once, but thought it was all nonsense.

    4) He inquired what sort of cycling I did, and I told him, with the comment that I had a 400 km brevet coming up the next weekend. His response. "You're an idiot. You should just ride part of it, and fake the signatures on the card."

    Nice. I walked out and never darkened their door again.

  21. #21
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    I shop at an LBS whenever I can, but I won't spend a lot more money for something at an LBS then what I can find at a Web store either. The other day my LBS gave me the cold shoulder when I needed to buy some straps for my clip style pedals and said I should buy new clipless pedals and shoes instead and ride with the current times! So I left and bought my straps off the internet even though I know they could have ordered them for me.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    I shop at an LBS whenever I can, but I won't spend a lot more money for something at an LBS then what I can find at a Web store either. The other day my LBS gave me the cold shoulder when I needed to buy some straps for my clip style pedals and said I should buy new clipless pedals and shoes instead and ride with the current times! So I left and bought my straps off the internet even though I know they could have ordered them for me.
    Leather straps, right? Where did you get them?

  23. #23
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249
    Yeah, shops insulting peoples' rides are shooting themselves in the foot.
    I have worked in a shop for 12 years. For every time you have had a shop person insult your ride, I have had a hundred, NO a thousand, customers denigrate me because I have a dozen bikes worth thousands of dollars. Or the lovely backhanded comment of how great it is we choose to live the paupers life so they can have their bikes ready for the three week vacation at their private island(OK, that is an exaggeration )

    A bike is a bike, as long as it meets your needs. I know I have had people upset with me because I was trying to do my job and help them spend their money wisely.
    A fools errand, apparently, based on the number of bikes I have had to sell off because the customer refused to pay for the repaired bike, after it was clearly stated, prior to repair, what would be done and how much it would cost.
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  24. #24
    Erectible Member pedalMonger's Avatar
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    I've seen a lot of stuff at reasonable prices where I live in bike shops, but its a college town and fairly bike friendly to the locals too, there are bike lanes on many of the roads. Anyway, so since there is quite a few bike shops all within 5-10 miles or so of each other, they have to compete. The accessories are often priced pretty close to what I see online, so I don't mind spending a few extra bucks to support a local business. I still price compare online tho, if I find something I want at a huge discount I will order it online then. Maybe in the future I will ask the bike shop(s) if they are willing to price match if I find something drastically lower at a reliable online store

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Leather straps, right? Where did you get them?
    Sheldon Browns Harris Cyclery Shop. There are other places too but he posts here and the price was the same at other places so what the heck.

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