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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 01-22-09, 10:40 PM   #1
vegipowrd
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LBS vs Intertubes

Good shops that can help out with the track (or tark) goods are not the easiest to come by. I'm lucky enough to live 2 blocks from my favorite shop in town. I feel like I get great advise, but when it comes time to order things I need (this happens a lot for fixed parts and some tools) it takes forever and often costs more than it would on internet storefronts.

Am I just paying the "good advice tax"? What do you do when your bro at the LBS doesn't have what you need, but you know he'll get you the right thing? What do you do when you find out you could have got it quicker and cheaper by yourself?
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Old 01-22-09, 10:41 PM   #2
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for me the time frame it takes to get whatever is the deal breaker
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Old 01-22-09, 10:46 PM   #3
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If I went to my LBS alot for advice and such then I would order a couple things from them every now and then but I would buy the majority of my stuff online still because there is always better deals online
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Old 01-22-09, 10:56 PM   #4
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Get your expensive upgrades on-line, then pay them to help with installation; I learn a ton when I chat with my lbs owner while he works. It's also helpful to meet them half-way (buy crank arms online and bb at the shop). Keep going back for basics (tubes, tires, tools, patches) or anything small enough that the delivery cost of ordering online is almost the same as buying from the shop. As a rule, if the lbs helps me learn about something (for example, if they walk me through the different computers they have in stock and discuss which one would be best for me) I'll buy it from them. The extra cost of a bicycle shop is for their customer service, hence why there is nothing worse the a dick bike shop. There was a big discussion started on here recently by a dude who got sized at the lbs and told the person sizing him that he would be buying his bike on-line, and then was surprised when the person basically told him to piss off.

Basically, you can't put a price on a good lbs, and I find that they're pretty understanding when you pick up certain things online. So long as you aren't taking advantage of them, I don't think it should be a problem.
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Old 01-22-09, 11:19 PM   #5
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Get your expensive upgrades on-line, then pay them to help with installation; I learn a ton when I chat with my lbs owner while he works. It's also helpful to meet them half-way (buy crank arms online and bb at the shop). Keep going back for basics (tubes, tires, tools, patches) or anything small enough that the delivery cost of ordering online is almost the same as buying from the shop. As a rule, if the lbs helps me learn about something (for example, if they walk me through the different computers they have in stock and discuss which one would be best for me) I'll buy it from them. The extra cost of a bicycle shop is for their customer service, hence why there is nothing worse the a dick bike shop. There was a big discussion started on here recently by a dude who got sized at the lbs and told the person sizing him that he would be buying his bike on-line, and then was surprised when the person basically told him to piss off.

Basically, you can't put a price on a good lbs, and I find that they're pretty understanding when you pick up certain things online. So long as you aren't taking advantage of them, I don't think it should be a problem.
I 100% agree with this.
At what point (if any) do you think a shop might be taking advantage of a person. I just paid about $55 to order this tool that Ben's has for $42. I did actually get to touch a few tools before we ordered stuff. That is worth something that nashbar can't claim. One case isn't annoying, but at what point do you look elsewhere?
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Old 01-22-09, 11:50 PM   #6
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Just for kicks, I just went to Ben's and added that exact product to my shopping cart and began checking out-- the minimum charge for delivery on that is $9.10, thus you actually only lost about four bucks by sticking with your lbs, which really isn't all that bad if they helped you pick it out, etc.

And I do think the bike shops take advantage of customers ALL the time, so you do have to be weary. My lbs is tough because the staff is half awesome and half total ****. Once I was there and got myself a new (smaller) chainring, and I noticed halfway home that they had given me a 3/32" ring, when I'm running a 1/8" chain and kog. It was the owner who serviced my bike that day, and I know he has tons of experience, so it was a flagrant dick move that made for an awkward and annoying situation.

The other thing to be careful about with shops is that when they replace your components, they tend not to give you back the part you're replacing. They act as if they magically turned your old stem (or what-have-you) into a brand new one, and you usually have to remind them that you'd like to keep the old parts. I think once you take a stand a few times, they just remember not to **** with you, and the better you get to know them, the more you sympathize with their situation.
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Old 01-23-09, 01:13 AM   #7
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My LBS will price check, you guys might want to ask if they do the same. I think for the most part they want to sell to you, sure they may not make as much but they are getting something.
But then again I am in Corvallis and there are 4 bike shops on one street.
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Old 01-23-09, 01:37 AM   #8
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I love my LBS because they typically have stuff like used, takeoff parts or NOS stuff laying around that really helps out. I bought two sets of brand new 2006 Veloce brakesets for less than it would cost to buy a Tektro or anything nicer online. I also once spotted a box of used cranksets with a few Shimano 600s inside, when I asked, they didn't know what they'd be worth (we decided on $15 I believe). I got some rad handlebars at another shop when I was living in a different city this past summer. I loved that shop too, they played the Tour De France on a bigscreen for a while.

I really shouldn't tell anyone this, but a lot of shops will often let you use their tools if they trust you and you are a repeat customer. I never expect to be allowed behind the counter, but when I am, I know I want to buy my stuff from that store.
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Old 01-23-09, 07:51 AM   #9
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The good thing about the city is if my "Tier 1" shop doesn't have something, I can trickle down and try 3 or 4 "Tier 2" shops, which will usually have it, and then one of the many of the "Tier 3" shops might have what I need. After that, I'll order it.
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Old 01-23-09, 02:39 PM   #10
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My LBS will price check, you guys might want to ask if they do the same. I think for the most part they want to sell to you, sure they may not make as much but they are getting something.
But then again I am in Corvallis and there are 4 bike shops on one street.
I tried asking for a price check one time, they gave me this big lecture on how they're the little guy and they're taking a loss by selling it already. It was on a road morph pump, the MSRP on the box was $40.00,and they were trying to charge $65. Haven't gone to that shop since...
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Old 01-23-09, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Guvna View Post
Once I was there and got myself a new (smaller) chainring, and I noticed halfway home that they had given me a 3/32" ring, when I'm running a 1/8" chain and kog. It was the owner who serviced my bike that day, and I know he has tons of experience, so it was a flagrant dick move that made for an awkward and annoying situation.
someone with tons of experience knows that a 3/32" chainring works perfectly well with a 1/8" chain and cog. i'm sure he would've taken the time to explain that to you if you had just asked instead of calling him a dick on the internet.

as for ordering stuff online, some shop employees are really understanding about it, and some are really touchy. it's ok to ask, and if they start going into a shpiel about how evil it is to buy stuff online just politely excuse yourself and make a note of it.

when you find someone who understands the economic reality of things, seek out their advice. but ask quietly and when no one else is around, i know in my shop you'll sometimes get one answer when the owner's listening and another when he's not

edit: oh yeah, as to price differences. stuff's more expensive in a shop. getting upset or trying to argue about it will NOT make things cheaper. even friendly haggling rarely works these days. if it's not worth the convenience, immediate satisfaction, advice and good will from the shop to pay shop price, don't pay shop price.

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Old 01-23-09, 03:45 PM   #12
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someone with tons of experience knows that a 3/32" chainring works perfectly well with a 1/8" chain and cog. i'm sure he would've taken the time to explain that to you if you had just asked instead of calling him a dick on the internet.
It also would have been nice to get a heads up before paying for it and finding my bike to be significantly noisier than before I had brought it to the shop.
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Old 01-23-09, 04:01 PM   #13
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I really shouldn't tell anyone this, but a lot of shops will often let you use their tools if they trust you and you are a repeat customer. I never expect to be allowed behind the counter, but when I am, I know I want to buy my stuff from that store.
When I was visiting my parents for Christmas, i rode over to the local shop near their house to buy a light/get my tires topped off because I left my pump school. I'd been in there maybe twice before that and talked to the one guy briefly and when I asked about pumping up the tires he let me behind the counter to do it and i just hung out and talked bikes with them for about an hour. Dude even offered to trade the shirt he was wearing for the Black Flag shirt I was wearing. I really like that store and I'm going to make it a point to stop there whenever I'm in Dayton.

The store I go to in Athens is great too. They've let me use a few tools before and showed me how to do a few things. When I first started going there, I kind of thought the owner was a ***** but I think that's because the first time I went in there I had no idea what I was doing and I sounded like an idiot trying to get a tube for my old mountain bike. Although I no longer hold that opinion of her, I prefer to deal with the other 2 guys that work there because they just seem much friendlier.
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