Old 01-06-17, 07:12 PM
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Local Bike Shops -Disappointing Performance

I am a fairly new entry back into the bike world having started biking again end of last summer. I was really making gains when the cold weather set in - so for x-mas my wife got me a Road Machine. I picked up a nice older Trek 1000 to put on it and figured I would try ZWift. So last week I visit 4 local bike stores one afternoon figuring I would pick up the ANT+ Speed and Cadence Sensor for the rear chainstay so I can give Zwift a try. Not one of the four had a ANT+ Speed and Cadence Sensor in stock - several told me they could get one in two weeks. Two weeks? I can have it in two days (or less) if I want to pay overnight shipping - what kind of a business model are these shops running - don't stock it and expect you to wait two weeks for them to get it? I don't think that is going to fly today.

So yesterday I called a large bike shop about 15 miles out of town and asked if they had one. They said they did - my wife was going to be nearby the shop today so I asked them to hold it for her. My wife is not a bike person so she had no idea what I wanted. When she gets home she asked why it was so expensive - I said $60 is reasonable. She shows me the receipt they charged her $120. When I looked at the box it was a full ANT+ Computer system with a Trek Internal Mount Sensor which is worthless for the old Trek 1000. When I look at the box further. The box is marked $99. I call them and explain that they sold me an entire computer system and they charged me $20 more than what was on the box. Plus it is an internal sensor which would not work in my old Trek frame. He explained he could not do anything over the phone. I told him I guess I would have to make a special trip after work on Monday to return it.

So no ZWift this weekend thanks to the failure of any of 5 local bike stores to come through on a basic
ANT+ Speed & Candence sensor worth less than $60 for the rear chainstay.

What is especially ironic about all this is the local bike club is always pushing the membership to buy from the local bike shops; and I was trying to do just that. But 4 of the 5 did not have a simple ANT+ Speed and Cadence Sensor for the chainstays. Were talking a $50-60 item - if it were $500 I could see not wanting to tie up inventory $. I am a CPA/MBA so I understand $s. But not stocking a basic $50-60 Speed & Cadence Sensor which I expect some folks would be purchasing from time to time - especially in the winter with the indoor cycling websites. I don't know if store 5 actually has it or not - but I find it bad business practice to charge someone $120 for an item when the box is clearly marked $20 less. What kind of business does that - do they know their inventory? did they think we would not notice?

Looking back I guess I should have ordered the Speed and Cadence Sensor from one of the popular on-line bike shops - it would have been here to my house easily by today - probably for less money. Certainly with much less frustration. And I would be up on Zwift tonight. Instead no trying Zwift for a few more days and I have to run 25 miles out of my way on Monday evening to return the bike computer that I was charge $120 for when the box is marked $99.

I guess I will just order it on-line tonight and have it by Wednesday next week. Not taking any more chances with the bike shop #5 actually having the right item.

But my take away is that I don't see any real value in the local bike shops if they don't stock basic items - offering a two week order time. The on-line shops have a much larger selection of components/tires/accessories than any one local bike shop, you can get it much quicker than 2 weeks, it comes right to your home, and you can probably save a significant amount of money. Maybe I will feel differently tomorrow - but I kind of doubt it - this $60 sensor experience really has left a bad taste in my mouth for our local shops.

Have any of you had a similar experience with the local bike shops?
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