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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 04-18-05, 05:27 PM   #1
onlythebest
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?what was your WORST LBS experience?

so if you've been riding a track/fixed for awhile now as i have, you've been on the receiving end of some pretty serious anti-fixed gear lbs shops. it's hard for me to say why this is and i don't quite understand it (shoudln't they be happy we're giving them money?) but ill just have to chalk it up to abrasive human behavior. in any case, i was in my lbs today and i was treated with such an attitude problem i had to walk out and now i'm super pissed.

so come on fellas and ladies, make me feel better and tell me a story about your WORST anti-fixed gear story. ever had an lbs worker say something to you that just threw you offguard? any roadies ever try to actually run you off the road?

lay it on me
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Old 04-18-05, 05:40 PM   #2
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Two local shops, one that's gotten far better and another that still sucks hard.

When I first bought my frame -- with semi horizontal drops -- I went to a few shops in DC to check on pricing, see who could help me out, etc. At a shop in Dupont on P St. I was told my bike was essentially a fad and why would I ever want to do such a thing. Having been back recently to get a seat post, the shop hasn't gotten much better. They serve to sell comfort bikes that will gather dust in the garage.

At CityBikes, another shop I went to in Adams Morgan, the mechanic told me there was no way my bike would ever be a fixed gear. I asked him about proper gear ratios, the eno hub, hacking off the drops and welding track ends, etc. No can do. Can't help you.

****ers, the lot of them. However, I do have to admit CityBikes has gotten far better and I haven't seen that punk of a bike mechanic there in a while.

Last edited by econobot; 04-18-05 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 04-18-05, 05:43 PM   #3
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where do you live? my shops love my bikes.. the mechanics always seem to appreciate a bike nerd.. and what better way to wave the nerd flag but ride a track bike on the street..and youre prob. the first customer theyve had that knows the difference between a 120 annd 130 back hub..after a saturday of hybrids with faulty kickstands.. i feel they welcome me like a beer on a hot day..
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Old 04-18-05, 05:56 PM   #4
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The mechanics almost always come out from the shop to stare at my bike at pretty much all the shops here. Helps me avoid having to deal with salespeople, which is good, because I'm almost always in looking for a specific part that they'll probably have to order anyways...
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Old 04-18-05, 06:05 PM   #5
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One of my local shops (the one closest to me) wont help at all with my singlespeed. There is another one (15min drive away) that is helpful though. When I was first setting up my singlespeed, I went and asked one of the mechanics for help....well it turned out he rides a singlespeed too.
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Old 04-18-05, 06:05 PM   #6
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I was in a shop in town, you know the dirty/used bike shop. This was about 5 years ago and I was building my first SS. It was an old rockhopper. I told the guys what I was doing and asked if he had any useful info. His first and only comment was " a single speed mtb? Why in the h*ll would you want that?" I calmly laughed and told I was clearly in the wrong store and left.

Less than a year later I walked into the same store and saw 2 Bianchi b.a.s.s 's. I asked the guy about them and he was telling me how cool they are. I wanted to remind him of our last conversation but I held my tongue.
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Old 04-18-05, 06:42 PM   #7
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Not really a ss/fixed specific story... But, I went to get some brake pads for my ss, the good old fat road pads for some centerpull Dia Compe calipers. They only had real skinny pads for cantilever$ and some disk brake pad$. When I asked the guy for the old road pads, he just kept pointing at the canti pad$. I told him I had caliper style brakes, and he said, "You mean cantilever." I said "No, caliper." He said he had never heard of caliper brakes, only cantilever. I don't know if he was messing with me or what, but I have never been back, not even for a tube.
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Old 04-18-05, 06:50 PM   #8
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About a Year and a half ago, I was going shop to shop in Philly pricing track frames to try and build up a nice bike. I went to Via and spoke with curtis and some of the other people in the shop and they were very helpful, before than I went to Frankenstein Bike Works.... worst experience. I walked around the little dirty shop for a while while the owner just stared at his laptop computer. Finally when he looked up I asked him about any frames to build up a track bike and he started shouting about "why the hell would you want to do that" I turned around to walk out the door and he started shouting again.... "come back in April, I will have Alpha frames, I will be the premere place to buy these frames in the city" I just kept walking. When I told this story to other shop owners in the city they said "that is no suprise, that guy is nuts" I think those Alpha frames are ugly as hell anyway.
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Old 04-18-05, 07:00 PM   #9
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On the other side of a bad LBS expierence: I work at a bike shop and about a week ago I had a guy ask me for a spoke wrench. I told him "sure, what guage spokes?", he did not know so I suggested one for multiple guages. He got really mad "I only got one bike, I'm going to REI!" and stormed out.
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Old 04-18-05, 07:06 PM   #10
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posted this in another thread from a craigslist posting about the Freewheel bike shop on valencia (not hayes) in SF. Talk about a friggin horror story of an encounter. worth a read:

"Heads up everyone. If you have a set of these and you purchased them from Freewheel double check the lock ring on it. They have been selling them with English threaded lockrings. The Mavics take french threaded lockrings. This will void your warranty as well as ruin the threading on your hub. I would return them for a new set. Carlos has said they have sold a bunch with the wrong lock rings.


I bought a set from him and he sold them to me with surly lockrings. While i was installing my cog i luckily noticed that the threading was different. I then went to return the lockrings and was told that wasn't the case.

Quote from carlos when i returned mine. "it's hard to screw on you just have to force it on". Freewheel clearly does not know what the heck they are talking about. I then told him that was not the case and he called mavic and they confirmed they require french threaded lockrings.

I then ordered mine through freewheel and he has teh gall to try to charge me a couple of extra dollars saying that the mavic lockrings were better quality. This after selling me the wrong lockrings and making me wast 2 hours of my day to deal with it. Any good vendor would have immediately apologized and then said don't worry about it. I then politley told him that i would not pay him any more money and he would do an equal swap.

He then offered me one of the lockrings on a pista concept he was selling that has the ellipses. My friend who was with me sees him pull the lockring off a wheelset that was not on the pista. He comes back and gives me this very poorly manufactered and cheap lookcing lockring saying how much of a favor he is doing me by pulling it off the pista which he did not do. i take it and go homne and try to install it and it snaps.

I go back in the two weeks later still with the actual lockrings not delivered to Freewheel. I tell him just give me the refund for teh incorrect ones he sold mea as i ordered my mavic lockrings on line. He says ok but he was trying to decide on whether he was going to charge me for the one he gave me already. At this point i'm pissed and tell him no he's not b/c the lockring he gave me was a piece of **** and it had been coming up on 3 weeks and i still can't use my rear wheel.

He finally consesnts. and after my mavic lockrings come in the mail the mavic lockrings are totally different then the one Carlos tried to pawn off on me(the one that broke).

Bottom line: Carlos at Freewheel is a ballfaced liar. Dude looked me straight in the eye and knowingly gave me the incorrect lockring trying to passit off as a mavic one.

Warning to all cyclers stay the hell away from Freewheel. I've seen a number of posts in CL complainging about them but not quite as bad as my experience. They are overpriced and they know nothing about bikes. I gave them a chance as i try to support my local vendors but Carlos is an ******* with no business or bike sense."
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Old 04-18-05, 07:08 PM   #11
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yea i worked in a bike shop all through high school... there are horror stories from both sides of the cash register.. you gotta realize the mechanics are beat down by idiots.. over and over and over again.. be patiant and nice and earn their respect as someone who knows whats up..but without being that annoying "i want to talk your ear off about bikes" guy.. and youll be getting free BB installations in the middle of a saturday like i did last week..oh.. and never ever ask to borrow tools.. that is uncouth.. like, tacky, ya know?
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Old 04-18-05, 07:41 PM   #12
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LBS are weird places. Ben's and Cory's in Milwaukee has always been great to me, as has Boston bike.
but it has always been my experience that it takes time to like "prove" yourself to a LBS before they'll take you seriously, especially when you're dealing with fixies.
Like if you know nothing about bikes or everything about bikes they'll usually be nice to you but if it's anything between those two extremes it's all just attitude.
International in boston, I've found to be the worst. No specific stories worth telling, just general attitude when buying even simple items like brake cable.
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Old 04-18-05, 08:12 PM   #13
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I've got a general bad experience story for you.

My girlfriend had two bikes and decided to pay off some bills by putting her cruiser on consignment at Spin Cycle here in town. They were planning on taking 30% and calling us when it sold. I already hated the shop due to the fact that there are simply better options in town, so I never went in and checked on the bike. After a few months I decided to drop in to ask if there had been any interest in the bike. It had sold months before that, but they just hadn't gotten around to letting us know. The guy pretty much has the attitude that we're hassling him for money that he doesen't have to give us. So finally the guy writes my gf a check. Then dum dum dum THE CHECK BOUNCES! I settled it by pointing out his mistake on a Saturday in front of quite a few customers then demand cash.

Three other stores in town always treat me, as a fixie, right. Mr goodbike, Recycled bikes, and Bikes and More. In fact each of them have at least one employee that rides single/fixed.
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Old 04-18-05, 09:41 PM   #14
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yeah so i go into back bay bikes in boston the other day to check out some bags and some mechanic was like, "whos lagnster is this? you are riding fixed with brakes, you are cheating." he persisted to give me s#*t about it so i left. i dont understand people sometimes. i go into a store to buy something they they act like ****** bags cuasing me to leave and then they dont make the sale. i go else where now.
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Old 04-18-05, 09:49 PM   #15
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i've only been to back bay bikes once for a pretty minor non-fixie related question and didn't get too much attitude. but yeah, harassing the customers just seems like a bad business decision.
boston/cambridge bikes are both great places.
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Old 04-19-05, 01:07 AM   #16
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i was building a ss with an old road frame with horizontal dropouts, brought it to pittsburgh pro bicycles in the squirrel hill neighborhood of pgh. the mechanic is helping me out with something on the bike. they're all about it and then the manager comes back and tells me that it's never gonna work, it's a stupid idea, and says i need a frame with a derailler hanger cause without a surly singulator tensioner thingie the wheel will be pulled off center every time i pedal hard. obviously this makes no sense. then he tells me i also need a frame with those screws coming out of the back of the dropouts (you know to assist with centering the wheel on old road frames). he says those are chain tensioners too (which they're not) and my frame is useless.

then the mechanics find me a set of bars in the basement complete with brakes and stem, but they have dry rotted hoods. the manager wants $30 for them. we make it a deal as long as he orders me new hoods (they're non aero). dumb*ss orders aero hoods and tries to tell me i just need to cut the tops off. i ask him to order the right ones and he tell's me i'll have to pay for them. forget it.

i sold the hoods on ebay. still riding on the dry rotted ones but that's ok. bike rides great. no alignment issues. and i don't shop at pgh pro bikes anymore. but i don't live there anymore either.
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Old 04-19-05, 09:25 AM   #17
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pittsburgh pro bicycles sucks. every experience i've had there has been horrible, except when some employee swapped a stripped crank arm for me in the middle of the store on busy saturday while nursing a hernia. too bad i never saw the dude again. kyranicks and gatto are much better options.

i went into my not so local bs (any thing more local is far worse) to have some work done on my stupid french bb. i walk into the store with my fg and the first thing they say is "let me guess, you need gears". i couldn't read whether they were joking or not. generally they are really helpful and have some old track frames hanging on the wall, so i guess they just have poor joke delivery.
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Old 04-19-05, 09:49 AM   #18
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It's not so terrible, but I think the most eye-rolling moment was the time I went into Cambridge Bikes and spent 15 minutes explaining to Kip, the owner, what a half-link was and demonstrating that they do exist by locating them in his catalog. The wrench who was up front at the time basically said yeah, he knew what they were but that there was no point in stocking them because they're only useful when you're already doing something wrong--flat out false, by the way, as my two bikes with horizontal dropouts will testify...sometimes it just has to be done.

In their defense, though, Cambridge and Boston Bikes are generally fine stores even if there's a little of the usual bike shop attitude with some of the wrenches.

On the positive side, I've gotta give it up for Broadway Bicycle School. If you're looking for where to go and not where not to go, go with Broadway. They're unpretensious, their prices are as reasonable as anywhere, they carry a lot of quality off-brand stuff to save a buck, and will help you if you don't know what you're doing. You're not gonna find that sparkling new Serotta there but the clientele they cater to don't generally drop thousands of dollars on a bicycle.
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Old 04-19-05, 07:32 PM   #19
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There are two shops in Fayetteville NC - I had just moved here and was looking for a shop to call my own. The first time I went to "The Bicycle Shop", the dude behind the counter acted like I was doing him a favor by coming in the store to look around and perhaps buys something. He was such a jacka$$. I thought, I will not come back here - even if they sell all the brands of bikes I like. I started going to Hawleys's. Total different atmosphere. Very relaxing, helpful. They want people to come and hang out. They even set up an area (couches and chairs) with coffee etc so you can just hang out. Kenny the master mechanic is a good guy and has helped me out with all my bikes. Two fixies, a road bike, and a mountain bike. They like them all, they don't care what you ride. In fact, they don't sell any of the brands I ride, but they still don't care. So I will gladly spend my money there vice the other place. BTW, I have probably spend $6000 there in the year I have been in town.

I went back to the other shop about six months ago because I was thinking about a new MTB - they only had one model in stock - it was too large - but they tried to sell it to me anyway. Jacka$$. Never again.

Unfortunately - I will be moving to DC in a few weeks, and I will again look for a shop - anyone know any good ones near Vienna, VA?
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Old 04-19-05, 07:52 PM   #20
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Another story from the inside: I work at a bike shop in TO, and this guy comes in and asks for a 5S crank. I told him I was unfamiliar with the 5S, and asked who made it. He rolled his eyes, and said, it's a basic 5S crank, do you have one or not?. I was major confused, so I asked him to describe it. He tells me it's the part that the thing that the peddles attach to. Sure sounds like he wants a crank arm. He rolls his eyes some more, and by this point he likely thinks Im just some bike shop hack. As it turns out, he wanted an axle for a cup and bearing BB. I told him it was called a BB axel and not a crank, and found him one. As I hand it to him he asks "Is this a 5S crank?". "No it's not"
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Old 04-19-05, 08:17 PM   #21
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My bike is starting to be a hassle. I just had a fixed built not knowing that horizontal drops are so important. The man who owns the shop knows alot but I think he might be out of date. He talked me into getting a chain tensioner since the Eno would take a month to get in and I wanted the bike done quickly. So my first long ride on the bike and my B.B. fell apart, like a piece came off from it that can't be put on by any tool, something done in the factory. I took the bike back on the weekend to where I had it built but had to leave it there and go back to college. I've been calling my parents about getting the bike back and my dad just told me that the guy said it was only a loose bolt... I know this problem couldn't be fixed without a whole new bb. I decided to ditch the tensioner and bought an Eno from eBay, only took a few days to get it.

The thing that threw me off the most is when I told him I wanted a brake on the front and he said I should put it on the back.
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Old 04-19-05, 08:43 PM   #22
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Went to an LBS one time and asked what they could do about setting me up a front brake and a BMX brake lever. He says, I have to sell you the set left and right since that's how they are sold. I walk over to his catalog and point out that they sell in singles, he tells me sorry and asks me to pick some stuff out that I want. I say I just need something cheap to stop the bike, even a used caliper from a bike i nthe downstairs shop would be fine. then he says, well you would want something cheap and inexpensive like Shimano Ultegra. I walked out the door.
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Old 04-19-05, 08:58 PM   #23
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living in boston, i've had 2 ****ty encounters, both with back bay bikes, one of which was today

the first one was a while back, i dont remember why i was in there, i think it might have been for a brake cable, and the mechanic was tuning a langster, so i noted that they had them in stock (this was when the first batch was almost sold out) and some other ******* mechanic starts talking **** about how the langster was too much bike for me to handle, and i could never ride it, or some **** like that, i couldn't believe they treated customers like that

today i went there to order wheels for my road bike, since back bay is our sponsor bike shop, so i get a 25% discount on parts. i went to the mechanic area asking about ordering wheels, and no one even really notices. finally the one mechanic shows me a $550 wheelset, and i told him i wanted a different set, and wanted to order them. he then proceeded to say the $550 set was the only ones they carried, and if i wanted anything else i would have to go online to the mavic website, "they have all the wheels and pictures, nice big pictures" was what i was told, as if i didn't already know what i wanted. i finally found the manager, and after telling him i didnt want the $550 set like 5 times, because he was trying to sell them to me as well, i finally got my wheels ordered. i was so close to just up and leaving, but the discount is the only thing that makes it worth it.

later today i went to cambridge bikes, best shop in the area for fixie stuff in my opinion. i ended up getting the mark v pro IRO frame, and a bunch of components i needed to put it together, as well as superior service and they actually sold me the best budget parts for my price range, instead of insisting i buy the more expensive models. I think i'm gonna go there more often for future purchases

PS slangjang you are cheating with back brakes, haha, j/k
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Old 04-19-05, 09:36 PM   #24
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My worst experience was with the shop closest to my house. I went in on a lunchhour on a day I was working from home.
I stated I wanted a longer seatpost and was directed to the basement where the mechanics are. I went down and looked around trying to make eye contact with one of the three guys there. Two were talking loudly about their sex lives and the third was staring at the floor.
I asked the the third about a seatpost and he said he was not aloud to talk to me, only the other two were.
I waited several minutes, but they would not acknowledge me.
As I left, the owner at the till asked me if I had found what I needed.
I looked him in the eyes and said ' No. One of your guys is not allowed to talk to me and the other two won't because they are only interested about where their d*cks were last night.'
The store is full of families looking for 'yuppiemobiles'. The owner jumped a foot. I wonder if service has improved. I may never know.
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Old 04-20-05, 08:12 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcaptain
I've got a general bad experience story for you.

My girlfriend had two bikes and decided to pay off some bills by putting her cruiser on consignment at Spin Cycle here in town. They were planning on taking 30% and calling us when it sold. I already hated the shop due to the fact that there are simply better options in town, so I never went in and checked on the bike. After a few months I decided to drop in to ask if there had been any interest in the bike. It had sold months before that, but they just hadn't gotten around to letting us know. The guy pretty much has the attitude that we're hassling him for money that he doesen't have to give us. So finally the guy writes my gf a check. Then dum dum dum THE CHECK BOUNCES! I settled it by pointing out his mistake on a Saturday in front of quite a few customers then demand cash.

Three other stores in town always treat me, as a fixie, right. Mr goodbike, Recycled bikes, and Bikes and More. In fact each of them have at least one employee that rides single/fixed.
i think chain reaction is the best store in gainesville mainly because everytime i have gone in there they are very friendly and talk to you instead of trying to sell you something. everyone seems to like recycled bikes but i honestly think that is the worst shop in town. if you don't know anything about bikes they will try to rip you off instead of helping you out and they just kinda treat you like an idiot if you aren't "hip".

this didn't happen to me but a friend in tampa went into university cycles and asked if they were able to order any fixed gear bikes and the people at the shop told him that they don't exist...idiots?
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