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Old 01-03-05, 06:34 PM   #1
thechrisproject
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I called to see if they had Nokian studded tires. They did. The mechanic didn't seem to know much about the tires in question (he got the width wrong, didn't know the name, etc), but that's understandable. They have a lot of tires there. He quoted me 40 something as a price, which was crazy low. I'm not the wildest about this store... I always feel pressured when I go in there. But it was much better to buy them at an LBS, save shipping, get them right away, support the local economy, etc. I go in and find the tires. I look at the price and say, "You quoted me a lot lower on the phone. This is still okay, but you said lower." He didn't say that. That's fine, I drop it immediately.

At $58, they're not that much more expensive than they are at peterwhitecycles.com, and there's all the aforementioned reasons to shop local, so I'm definitely getting them there. I ask the guy a little later if the people on the floor work on commission. I think he didn't like that. I told him that I often feel pressured in their store. He said that people that have only been riding for a few years may feel that way. His opinion was that he was knowledgable and admittedly opinionated and that he didn't mind being pushy sometimes. "People may wonder why I'm being pushy, but I commute to work when it's 9 degrees out and they'll be thanking me later when they're better equipped." It was an awkward conversation at best, so I thanked him and paid for my tires.

I think this is the feeling that keeps many beginning cyclists from getting into it too much. They feel as if the people that work at shops and the people that race, or have been riding for a long time are elitists. If a shop keeper/owner bullies you into buying something rather than explaining to you clearly why you need it, then you're going to be resentful, even if you did make a good purchase.

</rant>
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Old 01-03-05, 07:29 PM   #2
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Agreed. So the new people will buy their bikes as Wal-Mart, and your LBS guy will complain about that. Even the hardcore, racer-bike-geek, greasy-fingernailed, been-working-in-bikeshops-for 20-years folks need to know how to listen to customers and make them feel comfortable. And not just newbies off the street customers, but (and especially) dedicated customers like you. You could have easily bought your tires elsewhere, and they'd be out $120. It's too bad, really. Alot of LBS still have a long way to go if they want to survive. Somehow some of them have a fear of selling out if they are nice to people, welcoming, sweep the floor every once in a while, and practice just a wee bit of common-sense business.

Yes, I used to work in several of them. Only one is still around; the others bit the dust a long time ago.

I guess this is a rant, too.
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Old 01-03-05, 07:52 PM   #3
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I think the LBS people and many of us (cyclists need to remember) that those 200 dollar comfort bikes are what allows the bike shop to order the new groupo or carbon fiber frame that we go in and drowl over but never buy. Like the LBS guy saying hes pushy because hes better equiping people, and I am sure he is well intentioned. However there is no need to sell people more than they need, if someone comes in for a rack for their cruiser so they can strap a jacket on when they ride the bike path don't sell them a $60 Jandd sell them a twenty dollar no name.

I worked at the LBS all summer and I went in with hopes of spending my weekends selling people road bikes, discussing the virtues of the new shimano parts, reccomending mtb tires best suited for the local conditions; you know be able to share my opinion and the knowledge I have. I quickly realized that's not what its about, its selling comfort bikes and beach cruisers, changing flat tires, doing tune ups on people's old bikes they dusted off because of the nice weather. But this is what pays the bills, a lot more 200-300 dollar bikes are sold in a week than 2,000 road bikes. I think some shops and employees forget this and this is where the attitude may stem from. I actually kind of like those casual users the best, they are thrilled when they get that bike back and you know they are going to have a blast riding the bike, even if its only for the summer.
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Old 01-03-05, 08:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sbeatonNJ
I think the LBS people and many of us (cyclists need to remember) that those 200 dollar comfort bikes are what allows the bike shop to order the new groupo or carbon fiber frame that we go in and drowl over but never buy. Like the LBS guy saying hes pushy because hes better equiping people, and I am sure he is well intentioned. However there is no need to sell people more than they need, if someone comes in for a rack for their cruiser so they can strap a jacket on when they ride the bike path don't sell them a $60 Jandd sell them a twenty dollar no name.

I worked at the LBS all summer and I went in with hopes of spending my weekends selling people road bikes, discussing the virtues of the new shimano parts, reccomending mtb tires best suited for the local conditions; you know be able to share my opinion and the knowledge I have. I quickly realized that's not what its about, its selling comfort bikes and beach cruisers, changing flat tires, doing tune ups on people's old bikes they dusted off because of the nice weather. But this is what pays the bills, a lot more 200-300 dollar bikes are sold in a week than 2,000 road bikes. I think some shops and employees forget this and this is where the attitude may stem from. I actually kind of like those casual users the best, they are thrilled when they get that bike back and you know they are going to have a blast riding the bike, even if its only for the summer.
Well spoken!

Nearly all of the local LBS's I went to had excellent service! I can see how some can be pushy though.
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Old 01-03-05, 09:54 PM   #5
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The first LBS I went into no one was of any help. They didn't seem like they even wanted to sell me anything. Maybe it was because it was before Christmas.

The 2nd one sold me 2 bikes. The guy figured I wanted a set of Hybrids so he talked them up like they were the best thing since sliced bread. I didn't buy them the first time I went in but the guy told me to ask for him when I do buy them because they make commissions. I ended up returning my hybrid for a trek 1000 at LBS # 1 (chain store).

The 3rd LBS (same chain different store) is wonderful. I ended up buying my first pair of cycling shorts and subsequently gloves and jersey elsewhere based on the advice and genuine-ness of the salesperson/manager who talked with me for over 30 minutes regarding many things related to the sport. He even invited me to ride with him and their group on weekends.
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Old 01-03-05, 10:14 PM   #6
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Good for you, some of them are in dire need of being offended.
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Old 01-03-05, 11:38 PM   #7
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I was asking a salesman at an LBS about steel frames while a friend of mine was riding a comfort bike she was thinking of buying.

I was asking questions about bikes not to far in price from the one I bought in March 2004 ($1200.00).

He said there was only one he knew of in that range (Speciallized) but here, look at this Trek CF. Will ride better than what you are asking about. Besides this is the average price of a bike we sell here ($2500.00).

Does he really expect me to believe he sells more $2500.00 dollar bikes that the $250.00 comfort bikes like my friend was looking at??
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Old 01-03-05, 11:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlfitt
I was asking a salesman at an LBS about steel frames while a friend of mine was riding a comfort bike she was thinking of buying.

I was asking questions about bikes not to far in price from the one I bought in March 2004 ($1200.00).

He said there was only one he knew of in that range (Speciallized) but here, look at this Trek CF. Will ride better than what you are asking about. Besides this is the average price of a bike we sell here ($2500.00).

Does he really expect me to believe he sells more $2500.00 dollar bikes that the $250.00 comfort bikes like my friend was looking at??
If he does than he's a bigger fool than some.
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Old 01-04-05, 03:13 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=thechrisproject They feel as if the people that work at shops and the people that race, or have been riding for a long time are elitists. If a shop keeper/owner bullies you into buying something rather than explaining to you clearly why you need it, then you're going to be resentful, even if you did make a good purchase.</rant>[/QUOTE]


Come on! You are generalizing after talking about exactly one guy! I once met a person from Madison who was a jerk. Does that mean that everyone who lives in Madison acts that way?
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Old 01-04-05, 04:15 AM   #10
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The guy was dishonest, you think he's pushy, he charges a higher price for the tire than the competition, and he just seems to rub you the wrong way.

Yet, you *still* bought the tire from him!

My own thinking is that when he denied saying he had quoted you a lower price, it would have been time to buy the tire somewhere else.

It's your money-- he should be trying to *earn* your business. If he's not doing that, buy the tire somewhere else. Let him go through all of this deliberation as to why you left, and so on.

These are bike shops. There's nothing they sell that you can't buy somewhere else. Especially with all of the online outlets.
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Old 01-04-05, 06:06 AM   #11
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My LBS frequently talks me down from more expensive options. That's why I trust them. It's a small shop, the owner, one wrench who's been there awhile, and a rotating cast of others. I trust the owner and the long-term wrench, but the other's aren't as helpful. The owner and long term guy know that I need solid components, but not racing-level stuff. They also are willing to teach me what I need to know to handle more stuff myself.

Recently, I broke the bracket that held my pump to my bike. They looked up the price, then, instead of making me wait for an order, took a bracket off of a pump on the shelf. I walked out of there with a bracket, and they said they'd put the one they ordered on the one on the floor. You don't get that kind of service on the internet.

That said, one of the rotating wrenches sold me a 13-25 cassette to replace my worn 12-25. I'm learning repairs as I go, so I didn't know to ask what my options were. If he had asked what I needed, he probably would have sold me an 11-23 because I spend so much time in the smaller gears. I figured this out after about a month, which is too late to return anything. The newer guy also was reluctant to talk to me about how to replace the cassette myself.

I am also learning what not to buy from the LBS. Some of the mark ups are more than 100% of what I can get online. I won't spend $25 for a PC-59 chain when I can get it for $11 online.
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Old 01-04-05, 06:09 AM   #12
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I'm a newbie who recently bought a reasonably priced comfort bike from an LBS, and so far I'm loving it since it suits my current needs well. (Though I can see many other bikes in my future too, now ) Happily, the salesman was neither pushy nor condescending. I told him what sort of riding I wanted to start with, and he showed me various types of bikes in my price range, explaining the differences in layman's terms and helping make sure I got a good fit. So, my first experience with an LBS was pretty good. I guess those guys know what butters the bread: make a newbie happy and you might end up with a hardcore enthusiast down the road, one willing to plunk down thousands on bikes and gear.
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Old 01-04-05, 07:04 AM   #13
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I learned to beware of the LBS as soon as I started spending serious $ on bikes, the hard way. I wanted my first roadie to be a touring bike, but at that point I was too green to know exactly how a touring bike and your average racing oriented roadie differed. So I explain to the main salesperson at my local LBS what I want, and what my price range is. So he steers me towards the compact frame roadies, and I ask him about tire clearance;
"Oh, people who do long tours never use anything bigger than 700x25(!)" he says.
Like I said, this was my first non-MTB, so I had no idea this was horsecrap.
"Can you mount a rack and fenders on it?"
"Sure, no problem!"
So I end up buying an alumininum, compact frame roadie with no clearance or eyelets for fenders/tires. A nice bike, but not a tourer. I went back in for fenders, the guy sells me the fenders, while he's looking right at my bike, and he swears they'll work. I get 'em home, they don't have enough clearance. The bolt on the seatpost broke, about a month after I got it, while it was still under warranty, this same guy tries to charge me for it.Anyway, this turned into a very expensive mistake, and if he would have just tried to help me with the initial purchase of the bike instead of trying to get rid of what he had a lot of,(they got new models in a couple weeks later,) I would've spent less and been much happier.
Suffice it to say, I rarely go into this LBS anymore, and if I do, I don't deal with that sack of **** anymore. Sorry, it just felt good to tell that story!
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Old 01-04-05, 07:35 AM   #14
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One honesty test is to notice how frequently the LBS tries to talks you down to a less expensive product. Sometimes a more expensive produce is worth it, but not always. A competent, honest LBS will give you good advice.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 01-04-05 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 01-04-05, 07:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechrisproject
"People may wonder why I'm being pushy, but I commute to work when it's 9 degrees out and they'll be thanking me later when they're better equipped." </rant>
OOh, like 9 degrees is really that cold, and he rides to work....BFD
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Old 01-04-05, 08:46 AM   #16
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RetroGrouuch, i met a guy from Madison and he was a jerk as well. lets piss about it everytime someone from Wisconsin posts
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Old 01-04-05, 08:47 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=Retro Grouch]
Quote:
Originally Posted by thechrisproject They feel as if the people that work at shops and the people that race, or have been riding for a long time are elitists. If a shop keeper/owner bullies you into buying something rather than explaining to you clearly why you need it, then you're going to be resentful, even if you did make a good purchase.</rant>[/QUOTE


Come on! You are generalizing after talking about exactly one guy! I once met a person from Madison who was a jerk. Does that mean that everyone who lives in Madison acts that way?
No, I'm saying that "many beginning cyclists" generalize, which is true.

My opinion of that particular shop is based on just about every interaction I've had there. There are shops in town that I like better, this one just happens to be really close to my house, and they had the tires I wanted in stock.
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Old 01-04-05, 08:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
My LBS frequently talks me down from more expensive options. That's why I trust them. It's a small shop, the owner, one wrench who's been there awhile, and a rotating cast of others. I trust the owner and the long-term wrench, but the other's aren't as helpful. The owner and long term guy know that I need solid components, but not racing-level stuff. They also are willing to teach me what I need to know to handle more stuff myself.

Recently, I broke the bracket that held my pump to my bike. They looked up the price, then, instead of making me wait for an order, took a bracket off of a pump on the shelf. I walked out of there with a bracket, and they said they'd put the one they ordered on the one on the floor. You don't get that kind of service on the internet.

That said, one of the rotating wrenches sold me a 13-25 cassette to replace my worn 12-25. I'm learning repairs as I go, so I didn't know to ask what my options were. If he had asked what I needed, he probably would have sold me an 11-23 because I spend so much time in the smaller gears. I figured this out after about a month, which is too late to return anything. The newer guy also was reluctant to talk to me about how to replace the cassette myself.

I am also learning what not to buy from the LBS. Some of the mark ups are more than 100% of what I can get online. I won't spend $25 for a PC-59 chain when I can get it for $11 online.
The shop I normally go to will do this. They're not really salespeople at all. I think they just sell stuff to pay the bills, but they really just like fixing bikes. They don't treat me like an idiot and are happy to explain things to me rather than just tell me what's best for me.
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Old 01-04-05, 08:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merriwether
The guy was dishonest, you think he's pushy, he charges a higher price for the tire than the competition, and he just seems to rub you the wrong way.

Yet, you *still* bought the tire from him!

My own thinking is that when he denied saying he had quoted you a lower price, it would have been time to buy the tire somewhere else.

It's your money-- he should be trying to *earn* your business. If he's not doing that, buy the tire somewhere else. Let him go through all of this deliberation as to why you left, and so on.

These are bike shops. There's nothing they sell that you can't buy somewhere else. Especially with all of the online outlets.
You've got a point there. The only reason I bought the tires there was convenience. They had them in stock and they are right down the street.
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Old 01-04-05, 10:08 AM   #20
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As a new rider I must chime in.

Bike stores make me feel uncomfortable. There are only a few within a 100 mile radius of my house. One guy cut me a deal because a friend that was with me works with his company. Yet I still do not feel comfortable talking to him. Maybe it's the matter of fact tone that he uses. Whatever it is puts me on edge and pushes me to buying stuff online.

I get the same vibe from this bikeforums webpage. I do get some honest help, but I see a lot of jackasses that are rude and forget that everyone was new at some point.
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Old 01-04-05, 10:29 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timhines
As a new rider I must chime in.

Bike stores make me feel uncomfortable. There are only a few within a 100 mile radius of my house. One guy cut me a deal because a friend that was with me works with his company. Yet I still do not feel comfortable talking to him. Maybe it's the matter of fact tone that he uses. Whatever it is puts me on edge and pushes me to buying stuff online.

I get the same vibe from this bikeforums webpage. I do get some honest help, but I see a lot of jackasses that are rude and forget that everyone was new at some point.
Some cyclists are snobs? Who'd of thunk it. Fortunately, we can just scroll over the posts of people who get too arrogant or snippy (personally, I've NEVER been arrogant or snippy).

I'd take a matter-of-fact as a compliment and sign of respect. But maybe you and I mean something different by the phrase "matter of fact." Never be afraid to ask questions at the LBS. They charge HUGE mark ups. You should buy online if the quality of LBS advice isn't worth the mark up.
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Old 01-04-05, 10:51 AM   #22
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Yeah I should have put in there that I have been able to dodge most of the grumps on the board.

Being from the south, my idea of being "matter of fact" is probably different than yours!

We live in a world of generalizations though, so there are no surprises here.
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Old 01-04-05, 10:56 AM   #23
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I've found LBS's around my house pretty useless except for having one-off parts installed. (BB's, Cranks, etc). I don't own the specialty tools to do those installs, so I have my LBS do them. Other than that, I pretty much service my own bikes. Why pay someone to do the simple remedial tasks, when you can do it yourself?

-Matt
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Old 01-04-05, 12:18 PM   #24
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"They charge HUGE mark ups"

I guess we better start doing that.
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Old 01-04-05, 12:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
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"They charge HUGE mark ups"

I guess we better start doing that.
We've had this discussion before. A mark up is fine, but it must be earned. $25 for a chain I can buy elsewhere for $11 is a mark up I won't pay. But rest assured, my LBS gets plenty of business from me.
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