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Old 04-15-08, 04:33 PM   #1
Trucker_JDub
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Where does your wallet and LBS loyalty part ways?

How much mark up will you pay at a LBS to keep a good relationship with them? I am wondering because I just bought a Park chain cleaner for 38.95.

I was looking for something this afternoon on Performance and they have the exact same set up for 23.99 (23.95 on Nashbar) not on sale. Do I feel ripped off? Not as long as it continues to work as well as it did on my MTB. It was well worth the $40.

But how much mark up will you put up with before you say forget this and order online? I under stand a LBS needs to turn a profit and I'm not disputing that.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:36 PM   #2
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How much mark up will you pay at a LBS to keep a good relationship with them? I am wondering because I just bought a Park chain cleaner for 38.95.

But how much mark up will you put up with before you say forget this and order online? I under stand a LBS needs to turn a profit and I'm not disputing that.
I usually buy all of my small items at the LBS, (items under $100) , anything over that I shop for the best price online.
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Old 04-15-08, 04:58 PM   #3
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Don't forget shipping charges on things you buy on the internet. You may or may not get away without paying sales tax on internet purchases, but you gotta figure the total cost.
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Old 04-15-08, 06:38 PM   #4
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Which DOSE do you mean? By context I think #4.
DOSE1 a: the measured quantity of a therapeutic agent to be taken at one time b: the quantity of radiation administered or absorbed
2: a portion of a substance added during a process
3: an amount of something likened to a prescribed or measured quantity of medicine
4: a gonorrheal infection
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Old 04-15-08, 06:57 PM   #5
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i never go anywhere else besides my local bike shop. if they don't have an item they offer to order it for me at pretty much wholesale price. the superb service i get there far outweighs money.

the shop is ran by one older lady. the shop is kinda in the middle of nowhere (think stereotypical thoughts about seemingly endless miles of farmland in Wisconsin... get the picture?) they don't get a ton of business, a lot of her inventory is kinda old too. but I've bought all my bikes there since i was a little kid. she repairs them free of charge, and offers free tuneups for life. i would feel absolutely terrible going somewhere else for any of my biking needs. she sold me my last bike with no markup and gives me a few bucks off every time i shop. i've also reffered alot of people to her shop maybe that part of it.

anyway, LBS no matter what
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Old 04-15-08, 07:18 PM   #6
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when they want to charge me $200 more than the shipped cost for a custom wheelset from an online vendor.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:53 PM   #7
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I have a little formula:

Does the shop have it in?
Yes? I buy it there. The reason I buy in shop is to see and try, ask questions and get feedback.

If the product isn't in the store, then the big reasons for the markup the store has (and the reason I even went into the store!) are gone: no interactive, hands-on experience, no buying right away - basically, the store has been reduced to a mail-order /w markup.

Still, the situation can be varying: sometimes the cost of shipping the product isn't attractive. And sometimes, the shop is able to bring the product in within a day or two whereas an internet purchase would require weeks - but on the flip side, sometimes the shop takes weeks too, depending on who they have to order from. I always inquire about the time it'll take them to bring it in, and check how that compares to the 'net, then decide.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:56 PM   #8
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Don't forget shipping charges on things you buy on the internet. You may or may not get away without paying sales tax on internet purchases, but you gotta figure the total cost.
+1 on this. I've had lots of discussions with friends who brag that they got something six bucks cheaper online, but it doesn't seem to occur to them that they spent seven bucks for shipping and had to wait five days.
I buy tubes, patch kits, bar tape and small stuff like that locally when I can find it, which I often can't--I like cotton bar tape, for instance, and the one local shop that still carries it has only black. For something like a wheel, say $150 or $200, I'll at least ask locally. I might go $20 more on a $200 purchase.
When I bought my Atlantis ($950 for frame and fork four years ago, now $1400, I think), I went around to our four top local shops and told them what I was looking for: room for big tires, handlebars level with the saddle, triple crank etc. Only one of them even bothered to TRY to find something, and the bike they came up with was 3cm too small ("We'll put on a long seat post") and geared too high. I ordered from Rivendell, got exactly what I wanted in two days and I've never regretted it.
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Old 04-15-08, 10:03 PM   #9
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I've never bought anything online. But I have found great deals on bike parts at place like Supergo and Performance. Once in a while a good deal at the LBS. I've found a Velocity Deep V for $25, DA rear derailleur 9 speed for $64 no tax, I bought 2
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Old 04-16-08, 07:04 AM   #10
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I have been buying a few things on-line. Mostly closeouts or 50% or better discounts. I have purchased Pearl Izumi Kodiak jerseys from Colorado Cyclist two years in a row and 50% discounts. Got a Princeton Tec SW3 at CC for 55% off on closeout. Everything else is LBS because they do give me great service and helpful advice.
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Old 04-16-08, 07:19 AM   #11
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If it's something that has to fit me (helmet, shoes) or has to be fitted to me (cleats) or fitted to the bike (fenders) or a whole bike itself, I go to the LBS.

If it's in-stock or I can't find it online and have to special order it, I go to the LBS.

If I need advice, or need to hold it in my hands before I buy (like to see which size seat bag will hold my stuff), I go to the LBS.

Otherwise, I order online.
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Old 04-16-08, 08:24 AM   #12
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I have a little formula:

Does the shop have it in?
Yes? I buy it there. The reason I buy in shop is to see and try, ask questions and get feedback.

If the product isn't in the store, then the big reasons for the markup the store has (and the reason I even went into the store!) are gone: no interactive, hands-on experience, no buying right away - basically, the store has been reduced to a mail-order /w markup.
Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of bike shops that will get you anything you want, but don't stock much.

I am willing to pay the higher retail cost associated with brick-and-mortar businesses if I can inspect what I want before I purchase it and if I can get good advice there. I'm not willing to pay that price if they're just going to take an order (usually non-refundable) I can place myself online.

And, at least here in New York, there are some local shops whose markups are completely out of line. Chelsea Bicycles comes to mind. They've got just about anything you might want in stock, but their prices are simply nuts. And I've gotten some seriously bad advice there.
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Old 04-16-08, 11:20 AM   #13
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I find it depends on who's working that day. If it's the hardcore road racers or the fixed-gear guys, I don't buy, because they simply have no way to relate to what I want and can't give me any advice. On the other hand, I now know which mechanics like classic bikes at four LBSs, and if I go in and see them working, I usually buy something.

(I had a nice surprise at one shop yesterday - they are usually way high-end for me, but I was on my way by and stopped to see if they had Powergrip pedals - ended up having the best conversation with a mechanic I hadn't met before. He admired my Raleigh, which is a sure way to get me to like you, and had some useful suggestions for a DIY solution for Powergrips, since they no longer carried those).
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Old 04-16-08, 12:32 PM   #14
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For me, it just boils down to convenience. With my busy work schedule I don't have time to run over to my LBS, even for small items.
I order 90% of stuff on-line and have them delivered to my place of business.
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Old 04-16-08, 12:40 PM   #15
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I hate hate hate shopping at any of the LBS's around me. All the parts they have are usually behind the counter, or back in the store room. It's impossible to compare. I have no way of knowing what brand is better, what the difference is or if they even have something in stock that will fit my need.

The clerks seem less than interested in actually walking me through the purchase, which would be the only reason I would shop at the LBS. I pretty much got fed up with me going in and asking, "do you have x part?". 10 minutes later they come out from the stockroom with only one part, and it's always the most expensive one. Then I ask, "do you have any other manufacturers in stock, you know to compare the two, or three?", which is usually followed by a big sigh and a roll of the eyes on the clerk's part followed by another 10 minute wait. Then they come out with two parts, it's followed by largely incomprehensible grunts and mumbles to any of my questions.

And god forbid if you call a part by the wrong name, or show any level of proficiency with bike knowledge below your average olympic racer or tour de francer. I guess they think you are some kind of bike luddite if you can't immediate recite your bike's top tube length or type of bottom bracket off the top of your head. (Of course I am a bike luddite, but I don't expect to be treated as one when I go to the people with knowledge).

Online I can search for parts from several online dealers, and more importantly, compare user reviews, search for the best prices (including shipping costs), alternate options, etc, all from the comfort of my home.

I learned how to tune (and eventually build) my own bike using online resources after several attempts at getting several problems fixed with my old bike at an LBS were ignored.

Until the LBS's in my area train their employees to offer a higher level of customer service (which would be the only reason to justify the higher prices), I'll stick to online shopping.
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Old 04-16-08, 12:52 PM   #16
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I have made several purchases from Nashbar. If I'm not in a hurry for the part, I'll save a few bucks.

There is a Performance Bike along my commute. They are open until 9:00pm and have the same prices as they do online. That is where I buy most of my stuff.

However, they don't always have what I need and there is another shop within a few miles of my house. I go there when I need to. My next, (and first, brand new) bicycle purchase will be from this shop, as well.
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Old 04-16-08, 12:59 PM   #17
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Accessories often can be purchased at high volume stores cheaper. Yet, small stores where you are thought of as a regular is where I find you get excellant repair at reasonable prices. Example. Just this week I replaced four brake pads on one of my commuters. I did the same about a year ago. / A year ago, I on the spur of the moment , in a rush ; paid 48 euros to replace for brake pads at a large mega store. / Just this Tuesday, I paid 27 euros to replace the same four brake pads. Plus the mechanic did an overall adjustment of the brake and shifters. / I very much like my small shops where they know my name.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:06 PM   #18
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I am semi-displeased with my LBS. They give everyone a coupon for 20% the entire next purchase for accessories. When I bought my helmet, lock, fenders & a few lil things, I expected the entire purchase 20% off, but they only gave me 1 item on the discount. I spoke to the guy who runs it & he didn't seem to care too much.

With that said, if I need it that day or if I'm not comfortable installing it myself (ie, fenders or replacement for a blown tire) I'll buy it locally.

If I can find an item for less online, & won't waste all savings on shipping, I'll buy online & save my money.

If I can't find it online for cheaper then the LBS, I'll go to the LBS.

I'm all for helping the local economy, especially when it's the only shop in a 60 mile radius, but if they can't honor their own coupons, I'll save myself a few bucks when I can.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:53 PM   #19
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Part of the reason I started this thread is because I'm going to be buying a custom set of wheels and after being in my LBS armed with some experience of what things cost from 'window' shopping online I'm afraid to ask what he (1 man shop, owner/operator) would charge for the build. I'm gaining a better relationship with him. I even brought up my weight and he was EXTREMELY supportive and let me know that I wasn't even the biggest guy that comes into the shop.

I guess I'm starting to feel some sort of loyalty to him and I almost feel bad about going some wear else for the more expencive thinks. If I had a lot of money I wouldn't care but I don't so when I buy more expencive things it important for me to try and get the best deal I can find.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:02 PM   #20
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I hate hate hate shopping at any of the LBS's around me. All the parts they have are usually behind the counter, or back in the store room. It's impossible to compare. I have no way of knowing what brand is better, what the difference is or if they even have something in stock that will fit my need.

The clerks seem less than interested in actually walking me through the purchase, which would be the only reason I would shop at the LBS. I pretty much got fed up with me going in and asking, "do you have x part?". 10 minutes later they come out from the stockroom with only one part, and it's always the most expensive one. Then I ask, "do you have any other manufacturers in stock, you know to compare the two, or three?", which is usually followed by a big sigh and a roll of the eyes on the clerk's part followed by another 10 minute wait. Then they come out with two parts, it's followed by largely incomprehensible grunts and mumbles to any of my questions.

And god forbid if you call a part by the wrong name, or show any level of proficiency with bike knowledge below your average olympic racer or tour de francer. I guess they think you are some kind of bike luddite if you can't immediate recite your bike's top tube length or type of bottom bracket off the top of your head. (Of course I am a bike luddite, but I don't expect to be treated as one when I go to the people with knowledge).

Online I can search for parts from several online dealers, and more importantly, compare user reviews, search for the best prices (including shipping costs), alternate options, etc, all from the comfort of my home.

I learned how to tune (and eventually build) my own bike using online resources after several attempts at getting several problems fixed with my old bike at an LBS were ignored.

Until the LBS's in my area train their employees to offer a higher level of customer service (which would be the only reason to justify the higher prices), I'll stick to online shopping.
+1
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Old 04-16-08, 04:13 PM   #21
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"Performance Bike ... have the same prices as they do online"

Actually, not quite. . . I just ran a pair of pedals back to the shop 'cause it was cheaper on line. They were happy to honor the on-line price -- zero hassle, no attitude. They said that sometimes the in-store prices are lower, too. Pays to check.

I'll echo the notion of things that I want to try on or that I need to see.

I might extend that to wheels, since that's what OP is asking on -- if they don't arrive stressed and re-trued, you're back at the local shop if you haven't got your own truing stand. You might even wangle a one-year tune up on wheels from an LBS, so if price is about equal, consider there's some "down the road" service to some parts -- like wheels -- that you mayn't be able to tackle at home.

P.S. Weight's no issue -- consider there's folks doing bike courier work in other countries who routinely carry hundreds of pounds. Just get wheels that are right for task. I ran "tandem" 40-spokers for touring. Bomb-proof!
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Old 04-16-08, 04:24 PM   #22
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Depends on what I am after...

Most of the stuff I buy isn't available too many places (old stuff for Raleighs) so it comes from where ever I can find it.

Newer items will come from the LBS if they have them in stock, or from smaller online retailers like: Wallingford, Velo-Orange, Clever Cycles, etc. They all carry the type of stuff I buy and the LBS usually takes longer to get it in than it does to have it shipped. I have purchased from all of the above and have had excellent service.

New bikes so far have all come from one LBS, but just ordered another one from the LBS where I am at the moment.

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Old 04-16-08, 11:30 PM   #23
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the only lbs in my area caters to roadies mostl. Im a broke college student living car free with a 18 year old hybrid. I will go out of my way to save a few bucks, and it doesnt make sense for me to pay extra money to have someone make me feel like I need to completely rebuild my bike for it to be acceptable. I got my bike used so it has quite a bit of wear on it that makes it look like I have not taken care of the bike, this gets me the idiot who doesnt know how to care for a bike treatment. I would much rather sit in the comfort of my own home and compare prices and specs with reviews, then ride the 6 miles to the lbs to find out they are out of stock or only have the top of the line in stock.
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Old 04-16-08, 11:31 PM   #24
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How much mark up will you pay at a LBS to keep a good relationship with them? I am wondering because I just bought a Park chain cleaner for 38.95.

I was looking for something this afternoon on Performance and they have the exact same set up for 23.99 (23.95 on Nashbar) not on sale. Do I feel ripped off? Not as long as it continues to work as well as it did on my MTB. It was well worth the $40.

But how much mark up will you put up with before you say forget this and order online? I under stand a LBS needs to turn a profit and I'm not disputing that.
How much is shipping?

FWIW I usually go to the LBS for parts which they have in stock because they very often meet or beat online prices.
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Old 04-16-08, 11:50 PM   #25
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purchase from the LBS probably 90% of the time and mailorder the remaining 10%.
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