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Old 03-24-12, 08:08 AM   #1
lilolme
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LBS or mail order... but hear my case first.

Ok, So I am all for supporting my LBS. The area I'm in could use all the local support it can get. (I'm living in Joplin, Mo... big tornado last year, 1/3 of the area gone. Currently rebuilding. I was lucky and out of town at an old Hardcore punk show; I now have the right to say "D.R.I. saved my life" how sad is that if you know of the band...) anyways getting back to my actual topic here now: I'm in the market for a new bike and I feel compelled to buy local but can't fully convince myself it's worth it.

I'm not going to present the age old question of what bike should I get. I allready know that. Well, almost know that. Eitherway it's not my question. My question is should I buy from the LBS or mail order. See heres my dilemma:

There are two shops in the area. One is out of the question due to the fact 1) they don't carry what I want. Which I feel justifies my reasoning enough. If I really wanted more justification to avoid the shop how bout when they told me "Surley's are good bikes but you can't get them warrentied easily in the states becasue there just so rare and not many people carry them." then they go on to to show me there "popular" line of Red Line bikes. Nothing against red line but really come on now. How do you say that about Surley and then try to sell me Red Line. I have other issues with this shop but this thread isn't to be about only them...

So across town now, at the other shop. First off, this is the shop I use for my current bike the few times I'm stomped and can't fix something or I need a part etc. Shop guys are all nice and I don't feel lied to. They have a 2011 GT Peace Tour. I was unfamiliar with this bike. I mean I know GT, but not the Peace Tour... or any of the GT line as of late. Heres the catch tho. The price on the GT is 925$, (or it was 975$ I don't remember honestly) That seems high for it. All be it all I got to go off of is few old internet posts about it. As far as I can tell the msrp is only 850$.

So basically I need to know if thats worth it? Cuz to me it seems like a higher than normal price on a last years canceled model. I mean true I'll get "life time adjustments" which I do on my own anyways. I'm supporting locally. Tho, I all ready do my part for my community. Course more never hurts... just feels like a kick in the butt to pay that high of price.

So can you convince me to pay extra at LBS or should I go Nashbar and/or Performance. I don't care what bike you think I should get only what purchasing route I should take.
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Old 03-24-12, 08:31 AM   #2
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If the MSRP is 850$ and they are selling it for 925$ ask them why and what is included for the extra 75$. The peace tour seems like a nice bike and is likely made in a similar factory as the LHT.

If the price of tune-ups isn't really worth it then go ahead and order on-line. Mail-order bikes usually require some assembly and I'm assuming your time is worth something, so factor that into it too, and if you buy a bike that comes with "life time adjustments" why would you plan on doing the work yourself? My car came with a bunch of free oil changes... I used them all instead of changing my own oil, even though I'm more than capable of doing it. I like my LBS and I'd buy a new bike from them.

Also, if you do go with mail-order, try to keep the "I do my part for the community" rhetoric to a minimum, there is something to be said for putting your money where your mouth is. That's just my opinion though, you're free to disagree.
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Old 03-24-12, 08:43 AM   #3
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As a bike shop employee here is my take on it. If the shop has always had your back and honestly provides great service go with them. If their mechanics are not worth a damn and they seem to not care about service do not feel guilty buying online. I would ask why it is being sold for more than MSRP, they could have changed something for the better (it really does happen some times) If they stand behind selling it above MSRP without a good reason why that would be a big red flag to me.

Also just about every shop in the country CAN order Surly, they probably just did not WANT to. Also bad mouthing another brands bikes is always bad practice, most companies out there make a great product if you are trying to make up lies to sell your stuff I would stay the hell away from that shop and never give them a dime, those are the guys that give LBS a bad name.
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Old 03-24-12, 08:48 AM   #4
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You've already evaluated the pros and cons. If the LBS can meet your needs for a few extra dollars, why not use them? As you noted, Joplin
needs the commerce and by buying locally, you'll have done your bit.
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Old 03-24-12, 09:41 AM   #5
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Ok, so when I saw the bike I fell in love with it. It's a nice looking ride. When at the shop talking about it seemed like a good deal. It has some things I really like that I didn't expect on it. On the flip side it has some downfalls. At the time I saw it I knew nothing about it. Only what was said at the shop. Which not much was said other than what I could see for myself: "yep, thats a GT. it's steel and has disc brakes." It's not much of a "touring" shop, actaully I'm not really sure what they are steered towards... but none the less a good group of guys there willing to help and not bike snobbish. I'm not complaining about this shop at all. What I'm getting at is I was unawre of the over pricing of it at the moment. I know shops cant compete with the I-net. It's just once I got home I started researching the net. I found the msrp being 850$ when it first came out. I also found multiple post of people getting them from other shops for around 600$ give or take(some lower some higher. Nothing as much as I'd be paying. Currently performance is asking 850$ so thats probably the best I have to go off of I guess) Knowing that now I guess I'm just asking myself (and others) if the (what appears to be) inflated local price sounds right? All be it I didn't ask if they changed anything on it. So maybe they did... I'll have to go back and stop bothering the forum till I figure it out. Guess where I'm heading later today. Thanks for the replys guys!

One last thing about the first shop I mentioned; They didn't "bad talk" exactly but still just with what they were saying was not right. I did work at a shop back in high school days I know how it is... er was. Isn't QBP like one of the biggest distributors? Hard to warrenty my a$$.
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Old 03-24-12, 09:51 AM   #6
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Dirty Rotten Imbeciles? I had no idea they were still around. Cool!
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Old 03-24-12, 10:01 AM   #7
lilolme
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Yeah! Dirty Rotten Imbeciles... Last year in St. Louis w/ Broken Class (?)... I had no Idea they could play there whole catalog in one show. I miss the old shows I went to... good times
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Old 03-24-12, 12:08 PM   #8
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Asking price and selling price are often not the same number.

Make 'em an offer!
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Old 03-24-12, 12:21 PM   #9
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75 bucks seems like a small price to pay to get local service, and to help your community. I feel the same way about over paying at the LBS but $75 doesn't seem extreme to me.
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Old 03-24-12, 12:29 PM   #10
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Buy local. Befriend the folks at the shop and get to know them. If their skills are lacking, maybe you can help nudge them in the right direction.
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Old 03-24-12, 12:42 PM   #11
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i buy 99% of my gear on line dont feel one bit guilty about it either, i can get exactly what i want on line and most of the time at a very good price, i buy gear from chainreaction if theres a problem they will change it no bother only thing you pay for return postage but so far any on line shopping has been spot on..
mind you its always good to never fall out entirly with the guys in your local bike shop you never know the day as the man said.
so whats the story on this band were you any good.
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Old 03-24-12, 12:44 PM   #12
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Tough call.

I would go in to whatever shop isnt full of bike shop D*ckheads and tell them what you want (assuming you know).

Say: "look, I can buy this surly LHT (or whatever) online for Xx dollars, but Id rather support you guys. How close to that deal can you get? I understand you have overhead costs too..."

If they want to make the sale, they'll be straight with you- They may not be able to match the offer of performance online, but if they can get close, and they are good guys, support your locals. This is my motto even though I dont need them for anything (mechanical, parts, tools etc.)

That said, in a shop full of d*cks, I tell them they just lost a sale. Had to do that the other day to a dude giving me attitude about spokes I needed to buy (telling me I couldnt do what I wanted to do, and had done before)... Went to the onLineBS, ordered exactly what i needed, got it a few days later for less money and no attitude, built the wheel.

I dont support LBS' as a charity case, they have to deserve to exist. Unfortunately many don't meet this criteria to an able cyclist and mechanic.
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Old 03-24-12, 02:38 PM   #13
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Retail salespeople will sell you what they have in inventory. Want to ride in the dirt? Buy this X. Want to tour? Buy this X.

Nothing beats taking the time to learn about what you need online and then buying it from an online retailer. That way you'll get exactly what you want - size, color, etc all at the lowest price. Rarely does buying what you don't need at a higher price warrant patronizing a "bricks and mortar" operation.

I even buy my glasses online - even though I have a complicated prescription. Optical store clerks rarely know the first thing about optics and all they want to do is sell me a fashionable frame with thin lenses. They have no understanding that anything other than perfectly round frames add to thickness and thin lenses degrade peripheral vision. And their eyes glaze over whenever I try to explain why I'm not going for their "expert" opinion.

Sure go to a retail outlet if you don't care what you are buying or if you don't have time to learn about what you are buying.
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Old 03-24-12, 05:43 PM   #14
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1) I didn't think you could buy a complete Surly online anymore? Just frames AFAIK.
2) I understand the economics of wanting to sell what you have in inventory and already paid for, but if someone comes to your shop asking for a Surly and you can order a Surly, why give up the sale? I've never understood that. That is a cake sale and you always have the other bike on the floor for another buyer that either really wants it or is just more impulsive and wants to ride out on a bike.
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Old 03-24-12, 06:50 PM   #15
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Do some general research on the internet (and in person if you can) on touring bicycles and what sort of options you can get on a touring bicycle.

From your initial research, make a list of what you want in a touring bicycle. (i.e. steel, braze-ons, a certain type of brakes, gearing, size, colour, etc. etc. etc.)

Do more detailed research of a variety of bicycle companies around the world, and see what they've got in touring bicycles and how much it would cost to get ahold of their touring bicycles. You'll likely come up with a list of 50 or 100 ... there's a lot more out there than you think.

Narrow down your search based on the list of what you want, availability, and price.

And then, buy the bicycle YOU want ... whether it is from the local shop or elsewhere. Get what YOU want.

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Rowan and I live in a small town with no bicycle shops, only a sporting goods shop where you might be able to pick up a few things if you were in dire need. So for us, it was either buy something in Melbourne, in some other part of Australia, or order something from overseas. We went with Thorn Club Tour frames (from the UK) and are building them up.
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Old 03-25-12, 02:43 AM   #16
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what else to consider?

what's your state sales tax? was the $925 out the door? what's the cost of
shipping from your online dealer? what about warranties? will your lbs take
care of any problems? if the stock bike isn't exactly what you want, will the
lbs trade out parts for free, or upgrade at cost? if you order online, how many
additional components will you need to buy? will the lbs fix/replace things
immediately, while the online guys have 4-week turnaround? will the online
guys make you send the bike (or parts) back at your expense, and charge
you shipping for a replacement? is it worth anything to you for someone else
to set up and adjust the bike?
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Old 03-25-12, 04:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
what else to consider?

what's your state sales tax? was the $925 out the door? what's the cost of
shipping from your online dealer? what about warranties? will your lbs take
care of any problems? if the stock bike isn't exactly what you want, will the
lbs trade out parts for free, or upgrade at cost? if you order online, how many
additional components will you need to buy? will the lbs fix/replace things
immediately, while the online guys have 4-week turnaround? will the online
guys make you send the bike (or parts) back at your expense, and charge
you shipping for a replacement? is it worth anything to you for someone else
to set up and adjust the bike?
All good points, I second those notions!
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Old 03-25-12, 07:35 AM   #18
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It's good to think of the welfare of others in your community, but you have to think of your own welfare too. When I was a poor college student I always looked for the best deal. If there had been an internet, I would have used it for bike stuff.

Now I have a little more wherewithal I try to spend my dollars at my local shop whenever I can. That doesn't mean I don't buy bike stuff online. I do, and I don't feel guilty about it. But I do make an effort to give as much business as possible to my local guy.

The good I see from purchasing locally is that 1) the proprietor of my local shop is a really good guy who consistently goes out of his way to give good deals, be helpful, he does really good work, etc. 2) His shop is located in my little town and it's really convenient to have him here. He went on hiatus and contemplated closing, and during those months I really missed his shop. I want him to stay open, if possible; and 3) the dollars I spend here go into the local tax base.

If he wasn't a really good guy; if it really wasn't a very good shop; if he was a rip-off artist with a bad attitude; then I wouldn't feel compelled to think of spending an extra nickel in his shop. I'd go internet shopping every time.
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Old 03-25-12, 09:57 AM   #19
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QBP if you want Their brands, is a quick turnaround, even if shop does not stock the built bikes..

Main brands here offer better terms to the Shop, QBP is 30 day net, or COD.

Out here , on the Major Touring route, People from around the world
already have their touring Kit assembled, by the time they arrive...

so thoughQBP's stuff,& 520s and Sojourns are available, customers are rare,
so they are not stocked.

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Old 03-25-12, 10:44 PM   #20
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GT bike lists crank as 30-42-52 and does not list cassette combination. Surly has crank that is 26-36-48 and a cassette that ranges from 11 to 34. The Surly has better gearing for touring. Also, if you get the GT, makes sure the disc brakes and rear rack don't interfere with each other.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:41 AM   #21
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LBS can do point of sale swaps.. take-offs, with some credit for re use value.
so stems,cassettes and the not as low as it could be granny gear
choice, in the box are variables.

Of course, no return shipping cost.

additional accesories usually a 10% break and

then installed,.. racks,mudguards , computer, pump, lock.

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-26-12 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 03-26-12, 10:08 AM   #22
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I've only bought two bikes new. One was a complete bike from a local store. One was a frame I built up from parts, 90% of which I got online. Because I like to do my own work, and had access to the tools I needed, the 2nd bike was the much more rewarding experience. I really like the guys at my LBS's, but they don't stock the kind of bikes I'm interested in. If I can't try it out first, there goes the main advantage of an LBS. If I'm doing my own work, there goes the 2nd biggest advantage. If they have to special order most of my parts and charge me a premium for doing it, and then I have to go back to the shop if there's a problem, it doesn't seem worthwhile. Like I said, I like the people there, but their business model revolves around selling fairly standard bikes to people who don't want to do their own work. When I have gone to them with repair issues, the turnaround time is about a week, which isn't great given that I'm a daily bike commuter. That is probably the biggest factor in my learning to do my own work. I'm glad they are there when I want to pick up a new chain or tube without waiting for the mailman, but I built my bike out of spare parts, old parts, ebay deals, and discount, online retailers. I would probably still be saving up for it otherwise.

Sometimes around here supporting your LBS sounds like a religion, but it's simple economics. What does your LBS provide, and how much is it worth? If your new bike is going to spend a fair amount of time at the shop, it's probably worthwhile to buy it locally, pay a little more, and cultivate a good relationship with the people who will be working on it. If you see that shop as a convenience, rather than a necessity, then you need to decide how much that convenience is worth. Personally I don't like to dicker over price, I don't like other people working on my bike, and given that a bike is my primary mode of transportation, it's generally easier when parts show up on my doorstep then when I have to fetch them. For me, the local shop is pricier, slower, and less convenient than handling things myself. I don't blame them, that's the nature of the way they run their business, and I hope business is going well, but I don't feel obligated to put money into a business model that puts me at a disadvantage.

But if it's all about feeling cheated, you need to make sure your numbers are right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilolme View Post
All be it all I got to go off of is few old internet posts about it. As far as I can tell the msrp is only 850$.
MSRP is an actual number, not one you can make up based on internet posts. If the manufacturer's website doesn't have it, you may not be be able to determine what that value is. Seems like what you'd find out on internet posts is Actual Retail Price. And if so, you'd want to know if they bought it at a bike shop or on-line, and if was set up the same as the bike you're looking at, and if it came with the same servicing deals. I don't know what your shop charges for tune ups, but around me, if I were in the habit of taking my bike in for tune-ups, $75 for lifetime tune ups would be a pretty good deal. On the other hand, when buying a bike of my own, and my wife's bike, we got significant discounts by buying last year's model. Maybe it's wrong to expect that, but that was my experience, so I'd have reservations about a shop that was charging a premium for a bike that has a more current model. If you don't trust them, then cultivating a relationship with them doesn't really seem worthwhile, but it sounds like this is a shop you already like and trust, so you might want to talk the price issue out with them.

It sounds like you're here asking for permission to shop on-line. You don't need permission. You just need to accept the fact that if you don't support your local shops, they may not be there in the future. If that's going to leave you in a lurch, you might want to head back to the shop even if it costs a little more. But if that's a situation you can live with, buy where you want. The bike shop is not a charity, so if they're not cultivating your business, maybe they don't need your business. But if you need their services, you might not want to cut them out of a sale, especially on a bike that you're only considering because you found it shopping in their store.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:18 AM   #23
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I personally don't understand how (and this post is just one of a hundred examples) people feel comfortable enough to come online, and present very lucid, and well thought out arguments, but seem to be unable, or unwilling to present them to the lbs owner.

I have found time after time that if I present what I have found online to the owner, that they will match it. Even if they say no, we both feel better that we tried, and the relationship is preserved.
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Old 03-26-12, 11:47 AM   #24
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Don't let your conscience bother you. An LBS makes most of it's money from repair work and not sales. You should buy the bike you want at a price that is resonable to you (where ever you find it, online or LBS) and not be swayed by some knucklehead trying to sell you something that's been sitting around the shop for months.

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Old 03-26-12, 05:32 PM   #25
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My $.02 would be to echo what others have said about the price. Ask if they'll deal at all and show them what you can get it for online. They may budge they may not. I buy a lot of stuff online and a lot of stuff at the LBS, depends on what I need and other factors. I needed a set of wheels for my Surly LHT I'm building and I decided to order them through my LBS instead of online because they took the time to advise me on what wheels were best for my needs (and I trust the mechanic/owner). There is always a trade off, but I'm willing to pay more sometimes to buy from the LBS, but there's also merit in supporting the good online retailers that stock things the LBS doesn't
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