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Old 02-01-10, 08:35 PM   #1
no1mad
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What do you look for in a LBS?

-Do you pick on location- closer to home or work?
-Brands?
-The vibe the shop gives off- roadie, mtb, fixie?
-How hot the sales staff looks?
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Old 02-01-10, 08:50 PM   #2
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Aside from being reasonably close, none of the other criteria even factor in.

Mine are:

1. Do they know WTF they're doing?
2. Do they have products I want to buy at reasonable prices?
3. Are they reasonably friendly?
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Old 02-01-10, 10:48 PM   #3
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Shop does nothing for me, I even build my own wheels, and better so price is the only factor I consider!
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Old 02-01-10, 10:50 PM   #4
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The LBS is a non-factor in this area - ridiculous pricing and completely clueless on service and support...
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Old 02-02-10, 04:03 AM   #5
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1. Service
2. Brands
3. Fair pricing
4. Reputation
5. Industry Affiliations
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Old 02-02-10, 10:47 AM   #6
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1.) Quality of the work they do.
2.) Price they charge to do this quality of work.
3.) General atmosphere and attitude. (see extended note below)
4.) Stock. If I wanted a part ordered I can do that myself via the internet. I like to see and feel something before I buy it so stocking lots of 'stuff' in the shop is a plus for me.

More about #3-

When I go to the bike shop, in addition to whatever I'm there directly for, I like to have an opportunity to "talk bikes" with someone else who knows what I'm talking about. Maybe this is unfair of me? When go to the grocery store, I don't expect the stock boy to chat me up about the different sodium levels in the canned soups or discuss when they might be getting their first shipment of 2010 Yukon Gold potatoes in stock. Bike shops just seem different. I assume the people working there do it because they love bikes and it's not "just a paycheck".

I recently moved here MD from TN and before I left there was a shop in Knoxville that called Fountain City Peddler. I loved this shop because even though I never spent a lot of money there, it was a fun place to hang out. The owner and the other mechanic were always cool to pop in a trials DVD for you to watch or let you go test-ride a bike even if they knew you probably couldn't afford to buy it. I had to drive past at least 2 other bike shops to get to FCP but it always seemed worth it to give those guys what little business I was bringing to a shop since they were always so nice to me. It was the kind of place you looked forward to going and you never hesitated to refer a friend to.

Fast forward to today- There is only one bike shop in Laurel and although the mechanics there do quality work, it just doesn't have the same vibe. I never look forward to going in there because the staff isn't conversational, they simply answer my questions and go back to what they were doing. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, it is not a bad bike shop; it just feels kind of cold and consumerist like shopping at a big chain store. It's hard to get pumped about "supporting your LBS" when shopping there doesn't feel very 'local'.

More about #4-

Stuff like Saddles, Handlebars, helmets, etc.
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Old 02-02-10, 12:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
4.) Stock. If I wanted a part ordered I can do that myself via the internet. I like to see and feel something before I buy it so stocking lots of 'stuff' in the shop is a plus for me.
I guess that would be a tough one as most shops can't afford to have stock sitting on the shelves but understandable issue. I went into a shop to buy a Deep V rim. Not in stock so the shop wanted to sell it to me for $70 PLUS the cost of shipping since they had to order it and it wasn't an item the regularly get in their shipments. So after taxes and shipping, what, I'm paying $90????

I ordered online for $62 from Jenson after taxes! Picked it up from the warehouse myself
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Old 02-02-10, 01:51 PM   #8
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1. Price is the major point when buying something from a shop, if they are close to the internet price I will buy it from the shop.
2. I expect that someone selling me a product should be as knowledgeable or more knowledgeable as I am about the products.
3. Treat me as a paying customer, you never know I may buy something.
4. have a shop owner or manager that has authority to lower prices on site.
5. friendly shop help.
6. shop that go the little extra. I have had some out of town shops let me use their shop to fix my bike. I did offer to pay for shop time.
7. I don't like shops that try to sell me something that I am not looking for. This rarely ever happens unless it is one of my friends goofing with me.

At one shop when I was buying spokes to rebuild a wheel, I asked him to check and verify the spoke lenghts were correct and he said why should he do that if I wasn't paying him to build the wheel. I simply told him that if he didn't I would buy the spokes somewhere else that would verify spoke length. Needless to say I don't shop there anymore.

I was looking for a touring bike, went to the surly dealer to try a LHT, I wasn't given the time of day. I decided that if I got a bike from that shop, I should assume that would be the type of service that I would get. I didn't buy a surly, ended up with a Jamis. This happened last fall when sales were tapering off. There is never a second chance to make a first impression.

My favorite bike shop from 25 years ago would talk frames, components and materials to make sure that I got what I wanted.
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Old 02-02-10, 02:04 PM   #9
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- no attitude
- friendly
- know what they're doing
- reasonable prices

A.
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Old 02-02-10, 02:48 PM   #10
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I do my own work, and often re-build and refurbish old bikes for re-sale. So, I'm always looking for odd, old parts or rebuilding supplies like cables, bearings, and brake parts.

I do not like to walk into a store where some 15-year-old kid is behind the counter and acts like he can just barely be bothered to wait on you.

I like friendly, knowledgable service and a decent attitude.
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Old 02-02-10, 02:58 PM   #11
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Staff personality is probably the biggest problem I have with a lot of shops. There's some sort of bike industry pandemic with stuffy jerks and pushy sales guys. Too many bike shops have really poor sales and customer service.

Secondly, decent prices. I'm willing to pay more to see something in a shop, know what i'm buying, get support on it, that's why I like bike shops. The product experience before leaving the door, the test ride, figuring out whether you like things and being able to see them in person. But if your (example) is 200% of the price it's available online for, meh. I'm not buying it from you. There are reasonable limits.

I completely agree with HandsomeRyan: I don't want to bother making the trip into a shop if they don't have the product in question. Usually when they don't have it they really don't know anything about it aside from what the catalogue tells them, which is typically very little. Meanwhile online, product reviews and information abound, prices are cheap, and selection is supreme.

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Old 02-02-10, 03:15 PM   #12
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Do they promote getting people on bikes, or making a sale first?
Attitude -- positive or arrogant?
Selection of merchandise -- high-end stuff only, or do they try to hit some price points?

Location matters, but it's not a deal-breaker.
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Old 02-02-10, 03:56 PM   #13
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Staff personality is probably the biggest problem I have with a lot of shops. There's some sort of bike industry pandemic with stuffy jerks and pushy sales guys. Too many bike shops have really poor sales and customer service.
It's come to the point where I actually avoid the LBS due of the mentioned above reasons. The wife and used to love to browse the shops. Not so much anymore for such reasons. Seems that most shops are filled with unknowledgeable staff members. About 2 months ago, I enter a shop. Right away the guy asks what I need. I reply, "a Continental Grand Prix 4000 Black Chili Compound tire". He says, A BLACK WHAT!, I never heard of a black whatever you're talking about!"...Keep in mind, this is a high end local bike shop rec'd by several racers. So I say the only thing that I know he will understand, " show me where the tires are". ...I pick it out and make the purchase while his jaw hangs in amazement with the tire.

Later I go to another HIGH END SHOP! A rather bright intelligent looking guy asks if I need help. Looks can be deceiving, I guess haha! I mention that I was looking at slicks for the mtb, something along the lines of a "One and a half" or "One and a quarter". His response, "what the hell is a One and a half ?". SO I explain, well a One and a half is 1.5 in numerical form, so a one and quarter is probably a 1.25, isn't it?

His response is that the tires have nothing to do with numbers! He says it's all "BIKE LONGO". If I need a tire, you say, "I need a one point five" or "I need a One point two five", then again he says it has noting to do with numbers...........................WTF!..Keep in mind, another high end bike shop! Needless to say, we have a long heated debate and discussion about numberical values related to bike parts and components. So next time I need a 135mm hub from that shop, I will say, " I need a one three five hub" bwahahahaha!

At anotherr HIGH END shop, I see customer asking a salesperson about the wheels on the bike. He says he would actually like something in the style of the two spokes close to eachother shaped in a star pattern. Shop dude says, " I know what you are talking about but I don't know the name". Then the customer goes on to say that he also liked the look of the wheels that had one spoke just straight out from the hub. Shop guy, same, "I know what you are talking about but I don't know what they are called"!

I'm near so I just say, "paired spoke technology is the paired spokes star pattern and the other is known as a radial laced wheel". Shop dude just says, "hunh, oh thanks!".

Needless to say, the "SHOP SERVICE" the consumer pays for seems rather useless in my case. But hey, maybe I've spent too much time on the bike forums and reading Sheldon Brown which means I'm too smart for the LBS now! hahaha!

So you figure the least can do is be friendly to the customers. Shop attitude doesn't make a difference to me though. I just go in and get what I need. " I need a hub that says u-l-t-e-g-r-a on it please, thank you , bye"

Tire size 2.1 has nothing to do with numbers according to the high end professional staff member at the local high end race shop. I might be just as dumb as I look but when I place the calipers on this tire, it measures "two inches one hundred thousandths of an inch" (2.100) .

It is sad that the shops have such attitude and don't know squat. The guys that do know their stuff are usually the friendly ones. We can do without the others.




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Old 02-02-10, 05:57 PM   #14
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At one bike shop I was told I'm not supposed to be shifting while going uphill and some other utter nonsense I can't recall right now.

And yeah "we don't have that but can order it for you" might have worked 10+ years ago before amazon.com became a household name.

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Old 02-02-10, 06:02 PM   #15
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Aside from being reasonably close, none of the other criteria even factor in.

Mine are:

1. Do they know WTF they're doing?
2. Do they have products I want to buy at reasonable prices?
3. Are they reasonably friendly?
That about sums it up. I have no problem if they don't stock everything I want, but at least have some things other than stuff that has the highest profit margin or only appeals to a certain group of cyclists.

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Old 02-02-10, 07:06 PM   #16
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My priorities in selecting a LBS are :

1. good customer service and repair service
2. knowledgeable (but no attitude and must be willing to educating the customer)
3. have a good selection
4. reasonable on the prices
5. goes that extra mile...

My local LBS has been great. I have developed a great relationship with the owner and his family. At different times without asking he has given me discounts on purchases both big and small. When I wanted him to order a speed senor and it took long for the supplier to get it to him, he gave it to me when it came in. The employees at the LBS have been very helpful and make by biking experience more enjoyable.
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Old 02-03-10, 08:38 AM   #17
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Nice, knowledgeable, honest staff. My old lbs(closed their east side shop) had just that in their main mech. This guy rode, raced and generally loved bikes. He didn't try to sell me the lightest and most expensive parts, just the best value and most durable. He would even search for deals and tell me to get something off the net if his price was a bit high. I had him rebuild my old bike's drivetrain and a set of wheels. If anything was in need of adjustment it would be done and cash refused. I never was a high dollar customer but I was a regular and was made to feel comfortable. When the old mech grew up and went back to school he was replaced with someone with the same attitude. Too bad they are so far away now.
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Old 02-03-10, 09:21 AM   #18
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i buy almost all of my parts online, even with shipping it comes out a lot cheaper than at the LBS. exceptions: tubes, chains, maintenance parts, etc. I could probably save a few bucks buying online but if I am buying a tube, its because I need one and dont want to wait for it to be shipped. convenience goes a long way for maintenance parts. I bought my bike on CL.

that said, when I am not buying online, I shop 99% exclusively at one LBS, i chose them based on their attitude. they dont have the elitist attitude that if you dont ride a $3000 bike and have all of the fanciest gear, you aren't worth their trouble. they have always been helpful and willing to offer tips and advice, even before i ever spent a dollar with them. When the time comes for me to buy a new bike, I won't hesitate to go back to them.
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Old 02-03-10, 09:38 AM   #19
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I use a few

- one is close to my house; I like supporting a business in my little town; the guys know their bike and can fix stuff pretty well and pretty quickly
- one is close to work; they are expensive but they are generous; informative; friendly and never judgmental
- one is near the old office and has old parts and dudes who know how to work on old bikes. they are also never judgmental regardless of what contraption I bring them

- non have any female staff which would certainly be a selling point
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Old 02-03-10, 10:21 AM   #20
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I commute 40 miles (1 by bike, 39 by train) to work at my (semi-L) LBS. It's important to find a shop that has the same ideas that you do about bikes, and particularly maintenance. Before I was a longtime bike shop employee I was a longtime bike shop customer, and had one primary criteria for choosing a shop for service:

"Fix it" rather than "Replace it"

If a shop right off the bat tells you your bike is too old, too cheap, too weird, too neon, or whatever, and they won't work on it, avoid that shop. Any shop with a good service department has at least one mechanic who knows enough about older bikes to fix just about anything. Letting you know that a repair is not going to be cost effective is alright, as long as they let you know they're still willing to work on your bike. There are shops out there that don't have the experience, only know new bikes that they sell, and just aren't interested in anything else.

As far as choosing a shop to buy your parts from, you'll always get the best advice from a shop coming from this point of view. That matters more than whether you can get a tire for three bucks cheaper online in my experience, which includes selling tires online.
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Old 02-03-10, 09:18 PM   #21
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One more thing about our LBS really turns me off is their policy of No Service on bikes they did not sell ...

You can guess the brand of bike they sell exclusively ... TR*K ... Here is their recent promo:

Quote:
BICYCLE MAINTENANCE SPECIAL
Right now is a great time to bring your bike for a General Check (similar to a tune-up for your car).

A General Check/Tune-up costs between $75-$129, depending upon type of bike. Any parts required are extra, and additional labor charges apply to installation of items like gear cables and brake pads. (If you wait until spring, you could find our shop backed up a month for repairs. Take advantage of our 2-5 day turnaround during the winter!)

It's possible that our 2-5 day turnaround could become greater, depending upon response to this offer and the weather (a few days of decent weather can bring in a lot of bikes for repair).
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Old 02-04-10, 06:22 AM   #22
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One more thing about our LBS really turns me off is their policy of No Service on bikes they did not sell ...

You can guess the brand of bike they sell exclusively ... TR*K ... Here is their recent promo:
I've never seen a shop like that. Since shops make a good chunk of their money from service and repairs this just doesn't make any sense.

Adam
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