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My bike is obsolete and can't be fixed any more.

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My bike is obsolete and can't be fixed any more.

Old 07-10-15, 06:19 AM
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My bike is obsolete and can't be fixed any more.

I was out on a ride last week and an older gentleman was admiring my bike. He told me he had a Condor track bike that he used to ride everywhere, and would still ride it but the tubular tires were shot and he didn't want to change the rims and couldn't get new wheels that fit the frame. WTF? thought I. But no, that's what the bike shop told him. They told him the hub spacing on old bikes is different from what they sell now.

And yesterday I was talking to a young guy, early 20's, who has an early 90's Bianchi that he can't get parts for. That's what the bike shop told him. WTF?

And that's just anecdotes from the last week. I can't tell you how many times I've had people tell me something like this. That is, I have this old bike I love but the bike shop can't get parts for it.

Do the bike shops really believe that? Are they really unable to work on bikes they didn't sell, or do they just have a "sell him a new one!" policy? Whatever it is, it's a disservice to the customer, and I can't imagine it does the industry any good in the long run.

Do you encounter this as well? I admit, I worked in a couple bike shops when I was young, but now I avoid them. I'll only go into a shop in an emergency, needing the most basic stuff, like an inner tube, a cable, a pair of grips, or maybe a chain. Possibly a couple spokes. For anything more complicated than that, I don't trust them. And sometimes I feel kinda bad about this, get to thinking I should patronize the local shop instead of placing an order to Niagara or Nashbar. But I get over it.
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Old 07-10-15, 06:37 AM
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I'd see it first hand when I was working in a shop just last year. Some of the younger guys had that aspect on older bikes. I would be like flies over poo when I saw someone come in with an older road bike. Most of the time they would just be like "Henry they're all yours". Lol. Plus I could actually help them and not push them towards something new.

It sucks but happens quite a bit. I think I see it more where shops rely on sales of newer bikes over service more. Now the other shop I lived down the street from was willing to work on everything as he sold new and used parts and bikes. He was also a one person shop so more likely to take anything on that came through the door. He was honest and I bought alot from him even when I could get things at cost from the shop.
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Old 07-10-15, 06:43 AM
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Yes, I've experienced similar. Went into a shop for the first time and while talking with the young and eager salesperson, he informed me that his shop "Only recommends 10 speed drivetrains because 9 speed is becoming obsolete and getting parts will soon be next to impossible." I didn't bother to argue, just moved on.
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Old 07-10-15, 06:53 AM
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I worked in a bike shop over 25 years ago and probably gave similar bad advice, being the poorly trained and poorly paid worker that I was. I don't think that's changed. But what I wonder is why these youngsters carry any authority, i.e., why would those riders you encountered, @rhm, believe those shop employees in the first place?
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Old 07-10-15, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
But what I wonder is why these youngsters carry any authority, i.e., why would those riders you encountered, @rhm, believe those shop employees in the first place?
As rhetorical questions go, that's a pretty good one! But it is, alas, a rhetorical question.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:08 AM
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When I was working at the bike shop, it wasn't so much the employees telling the customer their bike was obsolete as it was the customer's friends telling them it was "junk". We actually got excited when someone brought something old and cool in (which was rare).
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Old 07-10-15, 07:08 AM
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My perspective is that the same "trust" exisits in a number of markets, cars, plumbing, etc. Where else can an uninformed person turn? A bike shop is the best place to go for bike related questions, right? There are still a lot of people who don't even think of exploring what they don't know and don't think of using google.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
he informed me that his shop "Only recommends 10 speed drivetrains because 9 speed is becoming obsolete and getting parts will soon be next to impossible." I didn't bother to argue, just moved on.
The big question, is what level of hardware are they talking about, for road bikes, if Shimano, 8 & 9 speed are easily sourceable with Claris & Sora, 10 speed may become a problem, with only Tiagra left, as everything else has moved to has moved to 11 speed.

What will be an issue is shifters if say you were currently running Dura Ace 7700, unless you drop to Sora, or find some NOS, getting replacement parts will now be very difficult.

What won't be so much of an issue is chains and cassettes, as these are generally available, although getting high end 7/8 speed is now very difficult

For Campagnolo, 9 speed is just about dead, I'm running a Daytona groupset from 2000, if the shifters fail; it's sell of the parts and move to 10/11 speed from either Campag or Shimano (have tried to source some specific replacement parts for 15 year old Campag, and they just aren't made/available anymore)
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Old 07-10-15, 07:16 AM
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Having worked in a shop briefly, I would define it as "contributory negligence" on both sides. Shops don't want to have to source older parts/odd parts, diagnose problems because it takes more time than they can realistically charge for

Uninformed bike owners think "its an old bike and I don't want to spend and arm and a leg on it." but I want this old French stem/headset and Swiss thread bottom bracket replaced for $50.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:25 AM
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I think bike shops are dependent upon what they can buy from their suppliers, since if they need to replace something, they feel they need to replace with new. If new isn't something they know how to get, their answer is likely going to be just what rhm heard. An lbs that has some more resourceful owners/employees will find some way to go the extra mile, by at least informing the bike's owner of what alternatives they may have to simply accepting that something can't be had or done. I've been fortunate to be able to find the resourceful shops relatively nearby.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:34 AM
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All points well made and well taken.

Here is no different, as far as the larger metro areas. But, exceptions exist, and more than once I've answered the phone and it's been a bike shop asking if I have a certain part. That has evolved into them just telling the customer to call me or look on CL or eBay. I totally understand it, not sure I agree with shops not going the extra step to suggest options for older parts, repairs, etc in lieu of new bikes. That's the way it goes. A local shop here, Don's, tells the customer where to look for parts, who may have them, and then offers to do the repairs if they're found. He also has old parts, but time is money, it's a lot of looking for that one part. Many customers don't understand this.

Another trail off that same snail is the newbie, with a boyfriend/girlfriend/other who is already a "cyclist," guiding the novice away from an affordable, $350 excellent investment towards the newest greatest gotta have it that will sell for 1/2 MSRP, at best, if cycling success is not found immediately. (OK, OK, I hear you, like a run-on sentence makes a difference.)

We "convert" one at at time, I guess. At least when we "get to Rome," they'll already have steel bikes there.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:34 AM
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If the objective is to keep a bike on the road, a top notch shop has the mechanics that can fix it. Yes, it may cost more than the bike is worth, yes you may not be able to keep your tri-color, 600 groupo intact, but getting it back into riding condition can be accomplished. I've dealt with a local chain of bike shops here in the Raleigh area that have always been honest and have very capable mechanics, All Star Bikes. Sure they'd like to sell you a new bike, but if all you want is your ancient ride back on the road, they find a way. The only time I saw them stumped was a guy who brought in a broken Campy 8 speed shifter.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
If the objective is to keep a bike on the road, a top notch shop has the mechanics that can fix it. Yes, it may cost more than the bike is worth, yes you may not be able to keep your tri-color, 600 groupo intact, but getting it back into riding condition can be accomplished. I've dealt with a local chain of bike shops here in the Raleigh area that have always been honest and have very capable mechanics, All Star Bikes. Sure they'd like to sell you a new bike, but if all you want is your ancient ride back on the road, they find a way. The only time I saw them stumped was a guy who brought in a broken Campy 8 speed shifter.
Right on, Al.

All-Star was around when the old bikes were new, and that makes a difference to me.
What's cool is to go in there, and the young "kid" at the counter walks and talks like he's a member of BF C&V.

Then, he let's me test-ride the new carbon thing with the hydro discs and electronic Ultegra.....I almost wet my pants.

You walk out all fuzzy, because you've found a real bike shop. Right there in plain sight.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:41 AM
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The real problem is my body is obsolete and can't be fixed any more.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
Yes, I've experienced similar. Went into a shop for the first time and while talking with the young and eager salesperson, he informed me that his shop "Only recommends 10 speed drivetrains because 9 speed is becoming obsolete and getting parts will soon be next to impossible." I didn't bother to argue, just moved on.
At least as far as MTB, he's not wrong. I just tweaked my SLX 9 speed rear derailleur and none of the online stores have replacements. LBS quoted me $90. I can get XT but will cost much more than 10 speed. All the higher end stuff will disappear soon. For that matter, try and buy higher end 9 speed brifters.
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Old 07-10-15, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
The real problem is my body is obsolete and can't be fixed any more.
We were wondering when you'd admit that.
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Note to you BLOWHARD MORONS out there: The fork is not bent. Most PEUGEOTS of the '70s forks DID NOT line up with the head tube angle. This is normal. The last pic is from the 1972 Dutch catalog showing this EXACT MODEL in diagram. Keep your comments to yourself......
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Old 07-10-15, 07:58 AM
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Shops do not want to stock parts for older bikes, or source the 'obsolete' parts and charge a mark-up, OR they'd have to supply the customer with used parts which opens up another whole 'nother can o' worms. Most times it just isn't worth the trouble.

Let's put this in another perspective - would any car dealer/repair shop stock parts for a 20-to-40-year-old car???
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Old 07-10-15, 08:24 AM
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I have a 1999 mtn bike, and its starting to get hard to find parts for them. Luckily, I never go to the shops and have them repair it. I do the repairs myself. One time I was struggling with a bike chain issue even after repairing it, I took it to the shop and explained the situation to them, and they checked it out, and repaired it free of charge. Pretty soon I will have to see if the store sells bearings as my bearings are failing and I will have to take the crankset apart and find out if the store actually sells that kind of bearings. My brother has a 60 year old bike, and he asked me if I can fix it, I told him no because the stores don't carry parts for the bike and it would be very difficult to find parts if the parts are broken or worn out. So I guess it depends on what type of stores, what kind of bicycle. I live in a large metro city which offers many types of bike stores, eventually one of them do carry parts that I need, maybe one store out of 10, might say " oh yeah, an oldie but goodie" and go ahead and repair an old bike. So sometimes, its worth asking around.

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Old 07-10-15, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
Shops do not want to stock parts for older bikes, or source the 'obsolete' parts and charge a mark-up, OR they'd have to supply the customer with used parts which opens up another whole 'nother can o' worms. Most times it just isn't worth the trouble.

Let's put this in another perspective - would any car dealer/repair shop stock parts for a 20-to-40-year-old car???
Sure, a store can't stock parts for all bikes made in the last 40 years or so (and stay in business), but saying that they can't get parts when they really mean they'd rather not is where it crosses into being disingenuous. There is always a markup where they'd make money in the deal.
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Old 07-10-15, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
Let's put this in another perspective - would any car dealer/repair shop stock parts for a 20-to-40-year-old car???
The market for car parts is much more robust. I could probably come back one hour from now with virtually any new part for my '88 Nissan. You can even build a new classic 1964 1/2 Mustang from the ground up using Ford-approved reproduction parts.

I was told the markup on new bikes is slim but repair bring a good margin so the LBS should love overhauling an old bike, especially if there is someone there that knows what they're doing and loves the challenge.

The trouble is, a lot of stores have gotten rid of their junk drawers, where a lot of the vintage parts we need used to reside, leaving online sources as the only resort. And I can understand a shop's reluctance to work with used parts they can't stand behind. This is potentially a life and death repair if it's a stem, fork or hub.

The local bike co-op is helpful, but their stock seems so picked over. Just boxes of WalMart crap. Really, it's up to us to band together and help ourselves.
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Old 07-10-15, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
Let's put this in another perspective - would any car dealer/repair shop stock parts for a 20-to-40-year-old car???
Well sure, we've heard that argument before. But it's a bad argument. Bikes and cars are fundamentally different. This is obvious to all of us, and I can't imagine there's anyone working in a bike shop who hasn't picked up on it.
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Old 07-10-15, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
Shops do not want to stock parts for older bikes, or source the 'obsolete' parts and charge a mark-up, OR they'd have to supply the customer with used parts which opens up another whole 'nother can o' worms. Most times it just isn't worth the trouble.

Let's put this in another perspective - would any car dealer/repair shop stock parts for a 20-to-40-year-old car???
Tax laws don't favor keeping inventory.

Some repair shops specialize in old makes and "collect parts". There was an old Alfa dealer and there still is an old MG dealer who did/do that around here.

Banford bike used to focus on Campagnolo small parts, they used to buy up parts stock. Don't know if they still do.
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Old 07-10-15, 09:09 AM
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One of my LBS's will say "9 speed, and even 10 speed is mostly obsolete" and will always try to sell you 11 speed now. For most their customers (rich yuppies and empty nesters) this is sort of true -- these people don't want to chase part and don't want to wait for parts to be ordered. They want it quickly, and they want it top-of-the-line.

I've watched a staffer do this "anything but 11 is growing obsolete" spiel then turn around and get stoked on some thirty year old ride I brought in while buying a tube.

As for the comparison to cars -- you probably wouldn't go to a dealership to get your classic car serviced. If you did you'd probably regret it -- high prices and middling knowledge because that is not how they make money. You'd go to someone who specializes in vintage cars. LBS have the same variety-- some are just dealerships and service centers, some like old stuff.

Speaking of cars, just this morning I had my 26 year old car towed to a shop that specializes in that one make and model (and I don't live in the largest metro area in the US even).
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Old 07-10-15, 09:29 AM
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I worked in shop back around '95/96 and actually heard a parts sales person tell a customer we didn't have a Suntour freewheel that would fit his bike. I tried to intervene but was ignored. After the customer left empty handed I tried to explain to the salesidiot that since the customer had a '85 Club Fuji one of the many Sachs Aris freewheels on the shelf would have been more than fine for the bike. He continued to insist that no only Suntour would work. I gave up. later one the managers commented that I should not interfere with the parts department when they are with a customer.
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Old 07-10-15, 09:31 AM
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Interesting thread. I'm so used to doing my own work, and sourcing my own parts, it's strange to hear other perspectives. Nothing's obsolete if you watch eBay and are patient.
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