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Old 10-20-03, 04:07 PM   #1
dafydd
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Do LBSs count anymore?

I keep reading posts, and everyone keeps recommending Nashbar or Performance over the local guys.

I know there are great deals to be found on these sites; I was looking at a pair of shoes that Nashbar was selling at almost half the cost of what our shop pays wholesale. But there's something to be said about buying at the Local Bike Shop. First, it's Local; you're supporting your neighbors, friends, etc. Second, online discount houses don't give advice; they'll sell you whatever you ask for, whether or not if it'll work on your bike. Third, after shipping costs, sometimes those deals aren't deals anymore. Forth, it's just nice going to a non-virtual spot and hanging out with like-minded bikedorks. (Heck, somebody in one post referred going to Peter White for Nokians! He's a small independent, I love his site, he's has great information and products, but any LBS with a Quality Bicycle Product account can get those tires!)

I know there's a lot of DIY, thrifty (NOT cheap per se!) bike nuts out there, who are simply trying to get the best ride out of their buck; I can't blame them. But it would be nice to see more general or even specific referrals to LBSs when possible.
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Old 10-20-03, 04:29 PM   #2
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Too bad you're in Philly. I'd let you come hangout in my shop, and give you a decent discount too.
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Old 10-20-03, 04:32 PM   #3
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Funny, I was just in Upstate NY, would've made the trip if I'd know, forget the discount!
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Old 10-20-03, 04:59 PM   #4
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Upstate NY is still 9 hours from here. But maybe next time.
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Old 10-20-03, 05:38 PM   #5
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Just bought some Speedplay X2s for $10 less than nashbar at the LBS.
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Old 10-20-03, 05:53 PM   #6
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I try to buy the bikes and components at the local store, but I can't bear paying $60+ for jersey's and shorts I can find new on ebay for $10-$20. I do like the idea of supporting a local store because they're the ones that are much more active in your community getting cyclists out there.
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Old 10-20-03, 07:47 PM   #7
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I definitely support my LBS- but sometimes, I cannot afford to buy everything from them. However, I buy as much as possible, then order the rest online. For every $100 I spend on cycling stuff, at least 30% of it is spent at my LBS.

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Old 10-20-03, 09:21 PM   #8
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I only buy from my LBS point blank. I think I've only ever bought one item on line. Mind you, I have a pretty good LBS. They know their stuff exceptionally well, and I regularly get discounts there anyway.
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Old 10-21-03, 12:21 AM   #9
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There is one aspect that seem to favour the large mail-order shops: end of line discounts. That being said, local stores (bike shops or other stores) save on shipping costs and offer a valuable service.

Or should I say: local shops should offer valuable service?
I remember visiting an otherwise good LBS, looking for shoes. The guy tells me: "They are there, grab what you want and come back!"... At another shop, they offered to compare the various brands and models and help me select a pair that fits; guess who got my money?
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Old 10-21-03, 12:32 AM   #10
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The LBS that I frequent here in L.A. is very aware of prices on-line. They know I compare prices and usually ask me what others are selling an item for. They regularly meet these on-line merchant's prices. And the good thing is that they can pretty much get what I want from local distributors the very next day.

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Old 10-21-03, 12:36 AM   #11
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I only buy from LBS's

I fully support LBS's because they don't only get you the parts, they have friendly people who attends to your needs, may it be just a simple question or a whole tune-up.

Yes, components may be a bit more expensive, but what is 1-$2... I think its worth it. They also have to eat, right?
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Old 10-21-03, 12:44 AM   #12
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I go to Performance mostly because my local Performance store has a top notch mechanic.If he were not there, my loyalty to Performance would be considerable less.
I hate a day in the future when there will be no LBS, or any other independent store for all that.... However, Performance does seem to have decent prices... Their bike offering could be greater. Limited number of brands names.
Actually, my closest Performance is not, but sort of has a small shop feel about it. Since I have a trusted mechanic nearby, I tend to buy very little of my cycling needs over the Internet or through catalogues.
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Old 10-21-03, 05:03 AM   #13
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I have attempted to support my LBS, but after 2 or 3 instances of poor service and unkept promises, I am struggling to go back.

Unfortunately they are the only LBS within 40 minutes of my house. It defintely isn't cheap to drive 70 miles round trip for a tube. I have found a couple of good bike shops, but they 1-1/2 hours away.

If the service were better locally they would get more business.
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Old 10-21-03, 09:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fixer
The LBS that I frequent here in L.A. is very aware of prices on-line. They know I compare prices and usually ask me what others are selling an item for. They regularly meet these on-line merchant's prices. And the good thing is that they can pretty much get what I want from local distributors the very next day.
So share the wealth! Where do you go? I can always use another bike shop to check out on my trips to LA.

And please don't tell me it's somewhere in the Valley or Palmdale or someplace like that.

- Jeff
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Old 10-21-03, 09:34 AM   #15
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All of this support your LBS stuff is BS. For a store (whether it is an LBS vs. an internet purchase, or a hardware store vs. Home Depot, or a small town department store vs. Wal-Mart) to get my hard earned cash they need to add value. To me, adding value may mean having a big selection or more knowledge or better service or lower cost.

This summer I decided to purchase a road bike. I wanted to spend $1000-$1200, and wanted a bike with 105 components. I have 5 bike shops within 20 miles of my home. I went to all of them several times over the last few months, looking to test ride various bikes that met my requirements. You know how many bikes I tested so far – 0. Four out of the 5 shops had a small selection of road bikes (ranging from 3-10 total bikes). None met my requirements and / or size. I asked about fitting and test riding, they all said (guessed) I’d take a 52 (which matches the online guides). They said I could test ride anything they have, but what good would it be to test a Sora bike when I wanted 105, or a 56 when I need a 52? The 5th store did have a good selection of bikes, but their prices were above MSRP. They had one bike that met my requirements, but the price was $150 above what I’ve seen from non-local bike shops for the identical bike, and absolutely was not negotiable. I guess I could have test ridden a bike there and purchased elsewhere, but that is not my style.

Last year, the bottom bracket loosened up and a wheel was out of true on my current bike. I decided to have the LBS do the work rather then purchasing the appropriate tools and doing it myself. They trued the wheel correctly but they tightened the BB so tight that the bearings were binding. So I ended up buying the tools and fixing it myself.

Last week, I needed a minor part and I stopped by another bike shop. They had 4 customers and one employee working (with two others were on break or something, they knew customers were waiting and did nothing to help them). It took me 15 minutes to buy a $2 part. The two customers before me left before being helped.

So what value have any of these shop added to earn my support? Not much. As for the new bike, if I wanted to guess at the best fit rather then test riding the actual bike, why should I pay significantly more at an LBS verses an online store?

I’m done with my rant now, I’ll go back to lurking for awhile.
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Old 10-21-03, 09:44 AM   #16
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dafydd, do you have a favorite bike shop in the area?
i try to buy stuff from local shops, unfortunatly the shop closest to me and the one where i got my bike i dont like much. the owner has treated me like a jerk from the day he got my down payment on. now the bike with his name on it (local builder) will be geting tune ups in someone elses shop. and i'm still looking for a shop i like.
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Old 10-21-03, 10:32 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dafydd

I know there are great deals to be found on these sites; I was looking at a pair of shoes that Nashbar was selling at almost half the cost of what our shop pays wholesale. But there's something to be said about buying at the Local Bike Shop. First, it's Local; you're supporting your neighbors, friends, etc. Second, online discount houses don't give advice; they'll sell you whatever you ask for, whether or not if it'll work on your bike. Third, after shipping costs, sometimes those deals aren't deals anymore. Forth, it's just nice going to a non-virtual spot and hanging out with like-minded bikedorks.
I agree with you. The same thing is happening with music online stores,which make it hard for smaller local music shops to compete.

But for those of us who spend part of the time living in the sticks (where there isn't any LBS) online bike stores are a necessity.

Regards.
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Old 10-21-03, 10:39 AM   #18
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Its your money.Shop for the best deal,lbs and online.Its not our fault that lbs cant compete,thats business.
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Old 10-21-03, 10:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toki
So share the wealth! Where do you go? I can always use another bike shop to check out on my trips to LA.

And please don't tell me it's somewhere in the Valley or Palmdale or someplace like that.

- Jeff
I regularly go to Budget Pro Bikes in the Eagle Rock/Glendale area, very close to the Rose Bowl. Floor space is 50/50 road/mtb. Oscar, an ex-bike-mechanic turned shop owner is very helpful acquiring whatever you need. Two of my recent major purchases there were a Cinelli Olympic track frame and a Bob-Yak cargo trailer. Like any other smaller items, he met low online prices on these items......no problem. Got my frame the very next morning. The trailer took only 3 days.

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Old 10-21-03, 01:33 PM   #20
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I support my LBS. However, if it is a matter of saving a significant amount of money, I will buy online. I did buy a rear derailleur from the LBS for $65 when I could have gotten it online for $40. But when placing a big order, I'd rather buy online where I can save over $100.

I don't mind spending the extra few bucks at the LBS, but they are not a charity. I'm not going to just throw money at them.
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Old 10-21-03, 03:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dafydd
I keep reading posts, and everyone keeps recommending Nashbar or Performance over the local guys.

I know there are great deals to be found on these sites; I was looking at a pair of shoes that Nashbar was selling at almost half the cost of what our shop pays wholesale. But there's something to be said about buying at the Local Bike Shop. First, it's Local; you're supporting your neighbors, friends, etc. Second, online discount houses don't give advice; they'll sell you whatever you ask for, whether or not if it'll work on your bike. Third, after shipping costs, sometimes those deals aren't deals anymore. Forth, it's just nice going to a non-virtual spot and hanging out with like-minded bikedorks. (Heck, somebody in one post referred going to Peter White for Nokians! He's a small independent, I love his site, he's has great information and products, but any LBS with a Quality Bicycle Product account can get those tires!)

I know there's a lot of DIY, thrifty (NOT cheap per se!) bike nuts out there, who are simply trying to get the best ride out of their buck; I can't blame them. But it would be nice to see more general or even specific referrals to LBSs when possible.
Right on! Unless I get a super-duper, one-of-a-kind, world-stopping, heart-pounding deal, I buy from my LBS. Those guys are fantastic, from the owner down to the young high school kids, who are great wrenches and know darn near everything there is to know about bikes and accessories. They have given me freebies, discounts, and always have time to talk to me about bikes, parts, how to fix various problems, etc.

You cannot get from Nashbar. The point about the deals not being so great is well taken. I looked into ordering shoes and pedals from Total Cycling, but after customs charges and shipping, the difference wasn't worth the trouble. Besides, I am tactile and like to touch and/or try on the things I am buying.
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Old 10-21-03, 07:07 PM   #22
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I Thank everyone for their replies, but I think I perhaps mis-spoke as to what I meant. I'm not exactly knocking online retailers; mail-order has had a long and important part in keeping rural people connected with the world. I'm sure that many/most of us do frequent LBSs, but nobody mentions the prices that they have! If a shop treats you right and has fair prices, let us know. I don't think bad-mouthing is generally needed, people will sort out who's good and bad in their area. But people don't always seem aware who's good in their backyard. If someone in your area has a question regarding a product and you know a local source, mention it to them.

I work at a LBS, so of course I'm partial to my workplace; I'm not going to mention it, this is not an advert. If you're local to Philly you can probably figure it out by what I ride.

For those of you who have a "business is business" attitude, it must be nice having a career path that's never going to be outmoded, outsourced, downsized, etc. Your land must floweth with Starbucks and Amstel Light.
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Old 10-21-03, 07:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dafydd
I Thank everyone for their replies, but I think I perhaps mis-spoke as to what I meant. I'm not exactly knocking online retailers; mail-order has had a long and important part in keeping rural people connected with the world. I'm sure that many/most of us do frequent LBSs, but nobody mentions the prices that they have! If a shop treats you right and has fair prices, let us know. I don't think bad-mouthing is generally needed, people will sort out who's good and bad in their area. But people don't always seem aware who's good in their backyard. If someone in your area has a question regarding a product and you know a local source, mention it to them.

I work at a LBS, so of course I'm partial to my workplace; I'm not going to mention it, this is not an advert. If you're local to Philly you can probably figure it out by what I ride.

For those of you who have a "business is business" attitude, it must be nice having a career path that's never going to be outmoded, outsourced, downsized, etc. Your land must floweth with Starbucks and Amstel Light.
Whats the floweth with starbucks and amstel light about?I'm a small business owner and we compete because for one thing own prices are keep down.I would say our prices have gone up,or maybe 8-10% over the last 10 years.
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Old 10-21-03, 07:29 PM   #24
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I apologize for the comment; I don't know you and such remarks are undeserved, and frankly, the remark probably only makes sense to me. I am a little passionate about "bottom line" thinking (hence thread), and let my passions get in the way of rational, cordial discourse.

As a small business owner, you obviously understand economies of scale. However, just because a small local business cannot monetarily compete with a wholesaler who sells direct, does not mean that that they provide an invaluable service. I suppose one could even say that the occassional premium you pay at the LBS is the price for locality.
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Old 10-21-03, 07:43 PM   #25
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I am lucky enough to be close to a shop that is the best of both worlds. They price match any of the mail/e-commerce stuff no questions asked and they will gladly exchnge it if it does not work without all the shipping hassles of mail order.
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