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Old 09-02-09, 04:05 PM   #1
Rainier22
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Where do you get your stuff?

Like anyone else, I love to support local businesses. I've been in three different bike shops in my new city now (I just moved). It seems like a far cry from what you'd expect. Just today I heard one of the employees at a bike shop say replacing a tube in a customer's bike would be $6 for labor! Also, I have a really hard time finding what I'm looking for; when I find it, it's always extremely expensive stuff! I can't say for sure if they are overcharging or if they only offer the top of the line stuff, but it seems I have to go online to find anything in my price range. It's tough to find a tire under $40.

I'm curious where you guys get your bike stuff and what you think of different places. Maybe I'm just being too much of a cheapskate. But the tires I put on my first pickup were cheaper than the tires at the bike shops around here. No, they aren't great tires .
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Old 09-02-09, 04:11 PM   #2
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6 bucks to replace a tube. I don't think that's too bad. In fact, it's probably cheap. Time is money.

As for stuff, a mix of internet and LBS. Usually looking for the best price, but sometimes I'm at the LBS or need something in a hurry. There are a few A-hole salesman in the LBS's I frequent, but by and large it's a bunch of pretty cool people I like doing business with.
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Old 09-02-09, 04:48 PM   #3
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I stick with my LBS for small stuff or stuff I need quick (tubes, tire levers, bar tape, etc). Anything substantial I go online. Ie: tires, no matter how much i like them, I can't see spending $70 on a Conti GP4000 when I can get it for $40 online, especially when I do all my work myself.
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Old 09-02-09, 06:01 PM   #4
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Local bike shop 1 mile from my house.
REI, which is about 15 miles away.
Richardson Bike Mart, which is the BIG lbs about 15 miles away.
Niagara Cycles, online retailer that has an excellent selection of low-end goods.
Nashbar.
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Old 09-02-09, 06:15 PM   #5
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I use a combination of LBS (and for me that covers a lot of shops in my travels) and ordering online. Most shops do not stock the stuff I need and buy; so Velo-Orange, Harris Cyclery, Clever Cycles, WorkCycles NL and Niagara get a fair amount of my business. FWIW most of my bikes are vintage and I am a commuting/touring/utility type rider.

After the credit card fiasco with Nashbar they have gone to the bottom of my places to shop list. I do purchase the occasional item from REI. I prefer to use the LBS, but sometimes don't have the week plus to wait for something to be ordered in.

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Old 09-02-09, 06:22 PM   #6
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Local bike shop 1 mile from my house.
REI, which is about 15 miles away.
Richardson Bike Mart, which is the BIG lbs about 15 miles away.
Niagara Cycles, online retailer that has an excellent selection of low-end goods.
Nashbar.
I'm fairly new to the scene, and I just checked out Nashbar and Niagra Cycles. I've been trying to find some tires, and man - I'm really impressed, especially by Niagra.
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Old 09-02-09, 06:33 PM   #7
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I use my LBS for the stuff I want to see and touch before I buy. I also use them for everything that I don't want to install or build up myself, like forks and such.

Once a year I put in a big order at Nashbar for routine maintenance items--tubes, chains, lube, brake pads, cables (but I get the housing at the LBS), Bike Lust, and so on.

Tires I order online as needed since no LBS in town stocks the ones I like.
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Old 09-02-09, 09:11 PM   #8
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I get my goods from a combination of places (REI, Bikestation, Nashbar, Performance and the LBS). I am all about a good deal.
If the shop is charging $6 to change a tube which includes a tube, that is not a bad deal. I have paid that for one and have changed it myself.
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Old 09-02-09, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Just today I heard one of the employees at a bike shop say replacing a tube in a customer's bike would be $6 for labor!
Huh? What does 6 bucks get you these day anyway? Two coffees and two doughnuts, or so? A sandwich? It's not much. Change the tubes yourself them, if it's such a trifle, not worth a penny. For some reason the LBS flat repair rates tend to be discussed on here with regularity. There are always people who think that 6 bucks is outrageously much to change a tube, and yet think the job is way too messy and unpleasant to just do it themselves. Does not compute.

Quote:
Also, I have a really hard time finding what I'm looking for; when I find it, it's always extremely expensive stuff! I can't say for sure if they are overcharging or if they only offer the top of the line stuff, but it seems I have to go online to find anything in my price range. It's tough to find a tire under $40.
It's a matter of the bike shop's target audience, the type of stuff they carry and yes, mark-up, of course. The web will just always be cheaper. However, I rarely use the web myself, unfortunately, since there isn't nearly as much selection in Canadian online stores, and I don't want to deal with customs and fees and conversion rates. Plus, I want to have my stuff when I pay for it; not a few days later. And I can find $12 tires in local stores (not that I'd necessarily get those ones).

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I'm curious where you guys get your bike stuff and what you think of different places.
I tend to go to LBSs. I am paying extra, but that's for speed and convenience, plus I like to support local businesses. Plus everything's just more expensive in Canada (except for PB Superflashes, oddly enough). We're used to it...
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Old 09-03-09, 11:45 AM   #10
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For some reason the LBS flat repair rates tend to be discussed on here with regularity.(
I think its because people perceive flats to be an inconvenience. Back in my shop days we encountered alot of resistence when it came to fixing flats and broken chains.
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Old 09-03-09, 02:31 PM   #11
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I use my LBS for everything- but I am lucky in that they do look after me. Occasionally- I look online for the more expensive gear that I am looking for and then go back to the LBS to see if they can get it. If the LBS is way out on pricing- I tell them what I can get it for online and they often come near the price. One example was a particulat light I wanted. 320 normal retail and I could get it online for around 280. A good saving but I would have to pay postage. Mentioned the price to the LBS and they said they could get near it. Agreed that they should get it for me and they ordered it. week later I went in to pay for it and the LBS charged me 255.

But I was in the shop the other day and a customer wanted a new chain fitted.They gave him the fitting free as he was a valued customer- but it was a good quality expensive chain fitted.

I don't bother with online shops now as The LBS treat me right. But I do let them know if I can get it cheaper online.
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Old 09-03-09, 02:47 PM   #12
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I have three LBS's that I've tried this summer, one I only use in a pinch, one I really like but my work hours tend to conflict with their store hours, and the last one I've found to be too commercial. Walmart has a more knowledgable sales staff than they do. Plus, they screwed me. I bought a headlight with rechargeable batteries from them on close out and when I got it home the batteries were dead and wouldn't take a charge. Because it was a close out, they wouldn't take the defective product back, nor compensate me for the cost of replacement batteries.

There is also an LL Bean outlet down the street from where I work that has a bike shop. I've bought some stuff from them, but they have a limited selection. The nice thing about Bean is that they have a 100% satisfaction gurantee on everything that they sell, so if you're not satisfied with any product, you can take it back with no hassles.

I haven't shopped on-line, but I'm going to start because none of the local places have a adequate selection of quality lights.
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Old 09-03-09, 03:33 PM   #13
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I would like to use the LBS but it seems that every time I need something, they don't seem to have it. I hate driving around looking for stuff and getting frustrated by the lack of selection.

Therefore I do my buying of stuff on line. Today I bought a rear derailler and a chain from separate vendors on Ebay. I don't know the names of the places I bought from and frankly I don't care. Awesome prices IMO and I didn't have to get out of my chair.

I think that this internet thing will catch on
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Old 09-04-09, 04:41 PM   #14
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I try to go to my lbs...but ebay and local forums can get my $$$ also. I get a bit of a discount for being a bit of a regular. On more than one occasion the bike mech has told me to shop online to save some $$$...very honest shop. Just wondering....will they come to do a mobile flat fix for $6 my flats usually happen on the road not at the shop.
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Old 09-04-09, 09:31 PM   #15
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I think its because people perceive flats to be an inconvenience.
Well, of course it's an inconvenience. What's your point?

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Back in my shop days we encountered alot of resistence when it came to fixing flats and broken chains.
What sort of resistance? From whom?
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Old 09-04-09, 09:48 PM   #16
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See the Positive Experiences with Cycling-Related Businesses thread ... it's a sticky:
POSITIVE experiences with cycling-related businesses

I will use a bicycle shop if they've got something I want for a good price ... but at the moment my nearest LBS is probably about 50 or 60 km away, and the nearest decent one is probably more like 100 km away ... so I don't get there very often. Generally I find online places are less expensive and much more convenient ... the post office is only about 10 km away.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:37 AM   #17
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Looking at my stuff, I remember that it's come from at least seven different LBSs, three or four online sources, and Craigslist. Bikes came from one LBS, via CL, and BF. Helmets, clothing, and other trinkets (lube, tubes, tools, lights, etc) have come from everywhere.

I just get it where I find it.
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Old 09-05-09, 01:34 PM   #18
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One thing I never buy online is clothing. Helmets and gloves are a paricular No-No. Gloves have to have the padding in the right place and Helmets do vary in fit. Even shorts or bibs and I will even try on 3 of the same size of the pair I want. There will be one pair that fits better.
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Old 09-05-09, 05:59 PM   #19
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Once one becomes semi-pro in doing your own work on your bicycle, and maybe your friend's bicycles, your LBS becomes relegated to being a part's bin for things like a patch-kit and an inner-tube. If I can find something I need for $3.00 online, I see no reason to spend $6.00 at the LBS. If this makes you feel guilty, you could always take $3.00 and stuff it in your LBS's tip-jar.

Of course, regarding guilt, it helps if your LBS are blithering idiots and crooks. I am blessed to have an LBS that should be burned to the ground. But I've found another shop that does deserve my business. And they are top-notch mechanics. They do a lot of restorative work on older bikes for resale. Examining their collection - which is quite extensive - convinced me that they are very, very good.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:09 PM   #20
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I love a good bike shop. To me, the best ones always have the same guys doubling as mechanics and salesmen. I hate shops that have dedicated salesmen who never touch a wrench. Those guys just bug me for some reason....like used car salesmen.
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Old 09-05-09, 09:58 PM   #21
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New LBS within riding distance from my house. I give them all the business I can and they're good mechanics.
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Old 09-06-09, 05:27 AM   #22
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I get my stuff where I can find what I am looking for.
I got my ride at the LBS, most everything else came from other sources--online, yard sales, ect.
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Old 09-06-09, 11:01 AM   #23
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Just today I heard one of the employees at a bike shop say replacing a tube in a customer's bike would be $6 for labor!...Maybe I'm just being too much of a cheapskate.
Think about how many flats you'd have to fix in a day subtracting an overhead of around 65% to get equivalent to your paycheck.

Just to live at subsistence level (here it's $14/hr) at a rounded $2/flat, that's 56 repairs per 8-hour day.
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Old 09-06-09, 01:31 PM   #24
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All my bikes are vintage, and none of the shops around here carry components I can use on my bikes. I do buy consumables (chains, rubber) at the LBS, though.
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