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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for negotiating a better deal when buying a new bike?

    I'm looking at my first bike purchase from a LBS, in the $400-$550 range (still undecided, so this question is prep work). Not a huge purchase to them, no doubt, but big to me. Can you guys give me any tips on how to get more for my money? Here are a few things I've thought of:
    --when are 2012 models out, and when can I expect them to be more willing to move existing models?
    --if they have a 2010 model "in back" what would be a reasonable % discount off MSRP?
    --is it better to try to get them to throw in accessories or something instead of a price cut? if so, what might that look like?

    I live in a smaller town that has 4 small bike shops that each carry different brands. Almost all of their prices are at MSRP. Would also consider going to a bigger city for more selection, but ideally it would be nice to keep the business here.

    I'll take any other suggestions too. Thanks!

    ML
    Last edited by Mysterious Lady; 06-14-11 at 07:30 AM.
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  2. #2
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    Figure out what you're comfortable asking for, and ask for it in that order. Be reasonable - it's not as if people are getting rich owning bike shops.

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    Could you give me an example? I'm lacking a creative mind this morning.
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  4. #4
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    First off, test ride a bunch in your price range. I would suggest from the two stores that you are most comfortable with the staff. Get the bikes in question out for a few mile loop so you can get a feel for them. Once you have it narrowed down to a few bikes then you can search online for some competitive pricing. Obviously the markup in an LBS will be a little more than online, but they will generally throw in LBS perks like at least one tuneup and answering questions.

    I would walk away from anything that is a "today only" special unless you have had a chance to ride it and be comfortable with the fit.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that the best deals are on accessories. Try to negotiate 35% off of accessories and clothing that you buy at the same time.

  6. #6
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    When you're done stop by the supermarket and the gas station and ask them for a 10% discount too.

    You're at the bottom of the pricing pool where there's next to no margin.

  7. #7
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mysterious Lady View Post
    --when are 2012 models out, and when can I expect them to be more willing to move existing models?
    --if they have a 2010 model "in back" what would be a reasonable % discount off MSRP?
    --is it better to try to get them to throw in accessories or something instead of a price cut? if so, what might that look like?
    -- 2012 models will hit the shelves around Nov 2011.
    -- If they have a 2010 model in stock, the price will already be discounted.
    -- Yes. Pump or patch kit w/tire levers or gloves.

    The profit margin on bikes is VERY SMALL. If you start asking for discounts on bikes and everything else, they will remember you (not in a good way) every time you stop by the shop. You don't want that.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

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    OK, thanks everyone for your feedback. I appreciate your insights and recommendations. This is really helpful!

    I'm sorry if this came across the wrong way. I mean, I *do* want to support my LBS and not buy online or go way out of the way just to save a few bucks. I really do. I'm still learning about this market. I hear people make comments about getting a great price, or getting a bunch of tune-ups thrown in or accessories or whatever, and I just... well, ya, I guess I am being cheap because I'm trying to get as much as I (reasonably) can for the money I have. Is that cheap... or frugal? But I LOVE having 4 shops in our little town, so I want to support them too....
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Right around the time the shop has to calculate their unsold inventory taxes..

    or Wait till it's the end of the season, and demand falls off , late fall ..

    and, clearance, something new has been preseason ordered to replace it..

    at the Interbike in Vegas or other,Trade Shows ..

    [ NB, There's one for Europe too, in Germany.]

    normally Point of purchase, 10% discount on accessories is common, year round.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-14-11 at 07:17 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member crazy_lazy_bear's Avatar
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    The old adage "You have to spend money to save money" holds true here. Before your LBS offers you any discount, they want to be sure that they have a repeat, not one-time customer. I have dropped tons of dough at my LBS. When I purchased my 2010 road bike at their spring sale this year, they gave me a $50 discount; and I thought that was very generous. Sometimes the perks of being a repeat customer come after the sale. If you are a frequent customer, you might get free tune-ups once or twice a year. It's as billyymc said, "it's not as if people are getting rich owning bike shops". This economy sucks for everyone. Another idea is if your LBS has a facebook page, twitter account, etc.; you might want to post something on their wall. Or mention them in your tweets to your friends. Free marketing means a lot to a small business owner.
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  11. #11
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    ML - like everything, it depends a lot ont he bike too...my LBS has a Hardrock that's been on the floor for a couple yeras. It's pretty out of date with the current model, and I'imsure they'd love to move it and would take a great offer on it. If you want a bike that's selling like crazy, less incentive for them to discount. Most bike shops have a pretty relaxed vibe, and most won't get offended if you try to haggle a bit...they realize it's a big purchase for most people.

    Good luck.

  12. #12
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    see if they have any demo bikes or something preowned that another customer traded on an upgrade. I almost bought a MTB this spring on one of those... it was a lightly demo'd (pavement only) Specialized and it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30% off of MSRP.

    When I bought my road bike (Felt F5) I bought a leftover and was given a 33% "discount" Not sure if that is low, typical, or high but it was enough for me to open up my wallet...

  13. #13
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    It never hurts to ask, but most shops are just keeping the doors open with their prices.

    Also, most major brands do not allow online sales of their current models, and doing so may invalidate the warranty to you... a major PITA to save a few $$.

    Also, the shops themselves generally have a 'service warranty,' so if anything goes wrong in the first year or two of owning the bike they will (try to) take care of it for you. Most also offer some after sales tune-ups or service, and shipping a bike back to an online retailer for a tune up is usually inconvenient or expensive.

    You are free to buy a bike wherever you want, just be sure to factor in the whole cost of ownership, and with online bikes this can be more than the ticket price.

  14. #14
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    My girlfriend got 10% off a very popular hybrid model that they can't seem to keep in stock.

    We were very nice and explained to them that she's just starting out both work-wise and at biking and doesn't want to spend that much.

    You get what you pay for in most instances. The service/ tuneups and knowledge the LBS can impart on you will save you countless hours and make biking that much more enjoyable.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Exactly, the LBS that I go to has to service plans a gold plan that comes with bikes with the cost of the bike, and a platinum that one has to pay more for. They both have the same basic perks, and the platinum has more.

    Also if you do a large percentage of business with a particular LBS you might want to consider asking them for some of their business cards so that you can hand them out when talking with others.

    I do that myself, as I am always talking about the shop.
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  16. #16
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    Is that the star trek enterprise, or a broken fishing rod?
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  17. #17
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    -- 2012 models will hit the shelves around Nov 2011.
    -- If they have a 2010 model in stock, the price will already be discounted.
    -- Yes. Pump or patch kit w/tire levers or gloves.

    The profit margin on bikes is VERY SMALL. If you start asking for discounts on bikes and everything else, they will remember you (not in a good way) every time you stop by the shop. You don't want that.
    We have 2012 Treks (3500's) starting to trickle in already. Same bike as 2011, different colors, higher price.

    Not a big profit margin on a bike under $500. After you pay a mechanic to assemble it, have a salesperson (or the same mechanic if the shop is small) wait on the customer, throw in a kickstand, and give free adjustments or a tune up after the sale, the shop is only making a few bucks on the sale. If the store didn't get free freight on shipping and the sales staff has an indecisive customer that takes several hours to pick something then they're probably in the hole on the sale.
    There's always room for one more bike!

  18. #18
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    Whether or not to ask for a discount depends partly on the part of the country you live in and the specific shop. Some mark stuff up figuring people are going to want to dicker a little bit. Other places what's on the sticker is what it sells for. If you do want to dicker the best time locally where I live is probably December. Snow is on the ground and they don't want the year end inventory.
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    If you want to negotiate, always go for accessories rather than the bike. The profit margins are higher on accessories. Pump, helmet, lock, luggage rack, mudguards, lights, spare inner tube, patch kit, tyre levers.

  20. #20
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    A friend saved $80.00 when he bought a two year old model (trek 7200) from a local shop. It was a large bike, and he's a big guy, so it worked out fine for him. I'm sure the store was glad to move it out. bk

  21. #21
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    This has been so helpful -- thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and examples. I visited an out-of-area shop this week that has a double-sided sign displaying their "terms" of sale including an unlimited 2-yr service package, 10-15% off most accessories and half off kickstands and water bottles. Nice to have it spelled out so clearly! Wish they weren't 90 minutes away from me because that 2-yr service plan is pretty sweet! I haven't found another shop yet that is so clear and upfront.
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  22. #22
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    If you want to negotiate, always go for accessories rather than the bike.

    I bought a high-end Trek for my wife and all the shops I tried quoted the same discounted price. Evidently, this is the max discount Trek allows. However, one shop threw in 10% of the bike price in free stuff. We got hundreds of dollars stuff including a Node II computer, a hitch bike rack, etc..

  23. #23
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    One of the stores here in San Francisco has 2010s 25% off and 2009 and older up to 40% off. I got a very nice deal on a 2009 this way. The shop is an outlet for Marin so discounts like this might not be realistic for independent shops.
    Last edited by jsdavis; 06-19-11 at 06:25 PM.

  24. #24
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    Threaten to take your business to Performance if they don't give you a 50% discount off everything in the store, plus all of the cash in the register.

  25. #25
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    Satisfaction. It is just a word, but describes what all parties 'want' in a transaction. Use the word; I think it might help. Ask the salesman if the deal is something he'd 'like', do [they will probably say 'yes' of course, except it at least stabs at the guy's honesty]. Describe in detail what you 'want', and then don't be afraid to tell what your 'budget' is. Sales people, especially in the bike world, are mostly 'decent' folk, who LIKE to see people go away 'satisfied', getting what they want. It really is a pretty good community for the most part. Of course, this means doing 'research'. KNOWLEDGE is by far, the biggest weapon you can have in ANY transaction. When do the 2012 models come out anyway? Remind the LBS people how much business you will CONTINUE to do with them IF...again...you go away 'satisfied'...and finally, DON't be afraid to express 'disatisfaction'...for any reason. Usually, it is only a matter of misunderstanding. it is easy to say..."hmm...I don't feel satisfied'...and then, find the 'reason'.

    The sales guy, if reputable [and of course, there are scalywags in all realms of life]...if 'reputable', will go extra lengths in explaining things, or 'getting' you satisfied, whatever the case.

    Ah well...easier to write than "DO", i realize. Good luck. Marketplaces should be about SATISFACTION...for everyone.

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