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  1. #1
    Senior Member tallteacher's Avatar
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    How much leeway do shops have on MSRP?

    I finally sold my motorcycle and have $2k MAX to spend, needing a pair of shoes as well...luckily a friend is giving me a pair of bibs and one jersey to get me started and using my mtb helmet (yeah not as cool, but its already paid for)

    Two bikes I am most considering for the moment, based on reviews and nearness to a dealer

    CAAD10 5 msrp $1730 msrp, in a 63
    Synapse alloy 5 $1550 in a 61

    With everyone's experience in here, how much wiggle room to LBS' have in the price? I will be paying cash, so I am hoping that helps increase the wiggle room....
    I have the choice of 3 dealers, one about 30 miles away, and 2 in the 55-60 mile range...I live in the middle of nowhere...

    My 1st dilemma- the furthest of the bike shops gives life time tuneups, very knowledgeable staff...just not as convenient, although we do go to bakersfield a couple times a month to visit inlaws, and have the largest inventory

    the closest - great customer service previously, but hard to find bikes in my size to test ride...no one has a caad in 63 in stock, which leads to my 2nd dilemma

    finding bikes in my size to test ride
    (I am 6'5)

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Markup on bicycles is a lot less than accessories which can come with a 2 to 3 times markup over cost... it will depend on the shop and what kind of prices they are getting from their distributor on how much wiggle room they have and if you are looking at a 2013 model there won't be as much wiggle as there is on a 2012.

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    This is a little out of date--my shop-owning buddy sold out 10 years ago--but at least back then, he didn't have much room to deal. The margin on bikes is small, and independent dealers are squashed by the big stores. He used to buy five or 10 bikes at a time. We got an REI store in town, and maybe REI buys 500 at a time. Walmart might buy 50,000, so they have a lot more leverage. He sometimes saw things for sale in the big box places cheaper than he could buy them wholesale.
    As for the height issue, DO NOT be seduced into buying a bike that's too small. I'm 6'4", and I rode for years on 62 or even 60cm bikes because that's what shops had in stock ("We'll put on a longer seat post"). When I bought my Atlantis, the Rivendell sizing guide said I needed a 65. I was dubious, but it made a huge difference.
    Last edited by Velo Dog; 01-27-13 at 11:33 AM.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    As we say , when the people comment on the Inventory.. the Bank Owns Everything but my personal bicycle.

    After 18 years as a Trek Dealer , they ship on a rotating credit account ..

    sales margin pays wages, overhead, and the bank loans.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tallteacher's Avatar
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    OK i was just curious about markup...i know bigger stores probably get better deals due to buying in larger qty, but it appears that the markup on bikes isnt as much as things like jewelry or cars..thanks

    @Velo - I am not so much worried about being sold a bike too small, Im more worried about being able to test ride one in my size...If I measure out to a 63 Cdale but can only test ride a 61, do I ride the 61 to get a feel and order the right size or make sure i ride the right size to begin with....

  6. #6
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Part of that depends on the brand. At least a couple brands forbid dealers to sell for anything other than MSRP. Cannondale doesn't go quite that far but the dealership agreement forbids selling mail-order last time I checked. So you'll have to find a shop with your size in stock (or have it ordered in) and buy there - or look for another brand.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    This is a little out of date--my shop-owning buddy sold out 10 years ago--but at least back then, he didn't have much room to deal. The margin on bikes is small, and independent dealers are squashed by the big stores. He used to buy five or 10 bikes at a time. We got an REI store in town, and maybe REI buys 500 at a time. Walmart might buy 50,000, so they have a lot more leverage. He sometimes saw things for sale in the big box places cheaper than he could buy them wholesale.
    As for the height issue, DO NOT be seduced into buying a bike that's too small. I'm 6'4", and I rode for years on 62 or even 60cm bikes because that's what shops had in stock ("We'll put on a longer seat post"). When I bought my Atlantis, the Rivendell sizing guide said I needed a 65. I was dubious, but it made a huge difference.
    With all respect, encouraging someone who is looking at a CAAD to take Grant's sizing philosophy into account is not particularly helpful.

  8. #8
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    You may be handicapped in dealing by the limited number of shops in your area. This advice still may work for you or at least others checking out his thread. If you live in an area with access to several bike shops - make them compete for your business. First decide on exactly what brand and model of bike you want. Go to the manufacturer website to find all the dealers within a reasonable distance. Reasonable is by your definition. Less urban areas will require covering more geography. Call every dealer in your area, get the owner on the phone and tell them that you are looking for X brand and model. Ask if they carry that model. Then tell them you are buying that model and are calling several shops for prices. Best price wins. Money talks BS walks. You don't want to hear about their award winning service department or thirty years in business. Some dealers will tell you "We don't operate that way." Ok, you are eliminated thank you very much - dialtone - next! You will find dealers who want to play. And you will get very good pricing this way.

    I've bought everything from bikes to Motrhomes using this technique. It works! My current touring bike is an 04 Trek 520. There are 04 Trek 520s being offered on ebay and CR today for more than I paid in 04.

    It's not about how much the dealer paid - it is about how much they will sell it for. If you need to gear up tell the dealer this - they know they will make money on the accessories. They can afford to make less on the bike.
    Last edited by tom cotter; 01-29-13 at 02:29 PM.
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Finding one in your size will probably be an issue. Shops tend to stock based upon the owner/manager perceptions of what models and size ranges will likely move the quickest. If it is an 'odd' size, or one that doesn't 'fit' their average customer, they will less likely to keep one on hand- they don't want to pay taxes/interest on a product that they feel won't sell. So you might start inquiring about their 'special order' policies.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom cotter View Post
    You may be handicapped in dealing by the limited number of shops in your area. This advice still may work for you or at least others checking out his thread. If you live in an area with access to several bike shops - make them compete for your business. First decide on exactly what brand and model of bike you want. Go to the manufacturer website to find all the dealers within a reasonable distance. Reasonable is by your definition. Less urban areas will require covering more geography. Call every dealer in your area, get the owner on the phone and tell them that you are looking for X brand and model. Ask if they carry that model. Then tell them you are buying that model and are calling several shops for prices. Best price wins. Money talks BS walks. You don't want to hear about their award winning service department or thirty years in business. Some dealers will tell you "We don't operate that way." Ok, you are eliminated thank you very much - dialtone - next! You will find dealers who want to play. And you will get very good pricing this way.

    I've bought everything from bikes to Motrhomes using this technique. It works! My current touring bike is an 04 Trek 520. There are 04 Trek 520s being offered on ebay and CR today for more than I paid in 04.

    It's not about how much the dealer paid - it is about how much they will sell it for. If you need to gear up tell the dealer this - they know they will make money on the accessories. They can afford to make less on the bike.
    It's called inflation. The used market prices have mirrored the retail prices, as in they have both gone up since you bought your bike nearly a decade ago.

  11. #11
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    You can get good deals if you look for the 2012 model. My LBS was willing to sell me a carbon Cannondale Synapse 6 with SRAM Apex for $1400 - ask around for the older models and try those out. I don't have $1400, nor am I interested in a carbon bike, but that is a nice markdown.
    http://treadrightly.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
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    Part of that depends on the brand.

    We were offered substantial markdowns on some brands (Jamis was notable) and nothing but list on other brands. Never shopped for Cannondale.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Individual Store Managers make decisions on what the want to Move,
    even if not the standard Margin..

    Asking here about a decision of other individuals doesnt do anything
    but make people, at random, generalize , when It wont Count universally..

    Go get a raise in Your Job so you can buy stuff, you want, at what it costs to stock and sell it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member TiBikeGuy's Avatar
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    Instead of asking the shop for a discount on the MSRP, why not ask for freebies to be included with the bike purchase, like maybe lights, seatpouch, bottlecage, bottle or lock. I find that shops are willing to throw in some freebies when you buy a high ticket bike. The profit margin from the sale of the bike may help to cover their cost of the free item. Besides it helps them to move their inventory.

  15. #15
    Still spinnin'..... Stealthammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiBikeGuy View Post
    Instead of asking the shop for a discount on the MSRP, why not ask for freebies to be included with the bike purchase, like maybe lights, seatpouch, bottlecage, bottle or lock. I find that shops are willing to throw in some freebies when you buy a high ticket bike. The profit margin from the sale of the bike may help to cover their cost of the free item. Besides it helps them to move their inventory.
    +1

    From past experience with bike shops I have dealt with, they are much more likely to add in additional high-margin accessories rather than take a loss or even break even on the low-margin bike itself. Take a look at their clearance items in particular because often their motivation in marking them down is to reclaim needed shelf space.
    Just your average 'high-functioning' lunatic, capable of passing as 'normal' for short periods of time.....

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