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Do bike shops cop an attitude when you bring in your C&V?

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Do bike shops cop an attitude when you bring in your C&V?

Old 12-16-15, 08:38 AM
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Do bike shops cop an attitude when you bring in your C&V?

I get the distinct impression I'm being looked down on in my LBS because I'm an old guy with an old bike. Is this a common trait in bike shops? I'll bet they would be really nice if I bought in a few grand for a new bike, eh?

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Old 12-16-15, 08:40 AM
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That's it. They see an old school bike and just know ..."We aint gonna sell this guy anything."
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Old 12-16-15, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by EricAr View Post
I get the distinct impression I'm being looked down on in my LBS because I'm an old guy with an old bike. Is this a common trait in bike shops? I'll bet they would be really nice if I bought in a few grand for a new bike, eh?

Of course they would. I would, too.

Given a choice between more of a desirable thing vs. less of a desirable thing, humans generally choose more.

The shop should hide their disappointment at seeing "not much revenue here" walk in, though, because they could miss a sale.

Old guys with old bikes don't generally make impulsive bike buying decisions, so the 1/4 of their market that does is not present.
Old guys with old bikes are about 1% likely to buy a new bike, so they may not want to prioritize their time.
Old guys with old bikes are also generally cheapskates, and order their tubes and consumables on line, so no revenue there.
Old buys with old bikes generally only bring in work they can't do or messed up themselves, and get irritated when actually charged for it.

Given the situations above, and notwithstanding many exceptions, you are taking up space in their store unless you can bring something positive.
I head straight for the bargain table, then to the tubes, and then to the cables. I always buy something and am enthusiastic about all the bikes in there.
If I need cable housing, I buy it, and do not complain when they say $2.50/foot or whatever they say, period. I do not gripe about prices.

Think about the markup there must be to run something like a Trek Store, with the building, overhead, complete waste of display space, etc.
Now think about some guy or gal trying to run an independent bike shop, often having to locksmith, sell kayaks, Boy Scout stuff, etc to make it.
I/"we" are not exactly their ideal customer. Bring something positive, don't waste their time, and buy something once in a while, you'll be good.

I agree that shops should earn my business. I also agree that I should earn their desire to do so, when all other signs indicate otherwise.


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Old 12-16-15, 09:02 AM
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We have a shop in Greenville SC that has been in business for decades and they have helped me a few times with aplomb.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:06 AM
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The two shops here that I frequent have both been very helpful, and I get the feeling they rather enjoy seeing and working on the old bikes.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:20 AM
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My top shop here in the Atlanta area...Alpha Bikes in Alpharetta...does not look down when I bring my old bikes in. They know that I shop there and work with them on many things. For example, I need a freewheel removed recently (did not have the right adapter)...and they did it...free...but...I did not let them do it "free"...I asked how long it took them (20 minutes) and paid them $20 for doing it...and would not let them say no. I also stopped by there the other day, out of the blue, with a dozen doughnuts (yeah, not exactly the right type of food for cycling, but hey...they enjoyed them!). I also buy consumables there when I can...at least to some extent...and I stop by "just to talk bikes..."
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Old 12-16-15, 09:25 AM
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I think it depends on the shop. If you are talking about one of those suburban bike palaces, then yes, maybe. But there are still neighborhood bike shops, mostly in towns or urban areas that is fine fixing up an old bike.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:34 AM
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My LBS loves my old bikes and displays them in front when I bring them in for service. That is one reason why I patronize that shop and quit using another one. I have found that a lot of experienced bike mechanics and shop owners really appreciate old bikes, particularly quality bikes that have been well maintained.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:39 AM
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I never cop the attitude first, but if they do, I keep looking. On the whole, I've been quite fortunate to find good people and good shops. I realize that in some places, there aren't options though.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:41 AM
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I get a mixed response on this depending on the particular shop. I am often asking about parts for self-builds which might be a put off. I get the sense that if the manager is around staff are a bit reserved. If not, you can't stop them nattering away ... which is great

Of course, there are the sole manufacturer outlets where everyone is staring at their facebook account too
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Old 12-16-15, 09:52 AM
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It depends on the shop and the person you speak to.
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Old 12-16-15, 10:02 AM
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Actually, at my Performance shop, a few of the guys who I know there are always pretty curious about the older - but invariably really nice - bikes that I bring in there, and I talk bikes with them. And I do buy my consumables there, and I've bought 3 different wheels there (although they were always on clearance). The 4 nice older bikes that I've brought in there: My Tommasini, De Rosa, Paramount, and Y-Foil, have always generated interest among the guys that work there, who are bike geeks, and they always ask my opinion about saddles - especially leather ones, since they know I swear by them and own 2 Ideales and a Brooks.

They know they won't sell me a bike, but they are well aware that I am knowledgeable about bikes, and that I am probably going to buy something when I'm there. And they know I won't get in their way when they are selling other customers bikes. So it's all good between me and them.

Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
My LBS loves my old bikes and displays them in front when I bring them in for service. That is one reason why I patronize that shop and quit using another one. I have found that a lot of experienced bike mechanics and shop owners really appreciate old bikes, particularly quality bikes that have been well maintained.
This too.

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Old 12-16-15, 10:06 AM
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I recently had to get a 1" threaded fork cut down, I know the shop right near me only deals in new, high end stuff and rarely has anything I need but they are not rude, the manager is a great guy and you can tell he is the true bike guy vs sales guy so I have bought tubes and such there as I poke around. He referred me to another shop.

I called first to make sure they had time to look at and had the tool, then made my way over there. I was just kind of ushered in and out, no small talk or anything and they were not busy. I talked some but they were just kind of..meh. Only comment I heard was that I was lucky they had the tool. I get it, the cutter is not used much anymore but I was paying , did not argue price and it came across odd by the tone. Then, I noticed as I was leaving the handlebars were loose and there was a small gap between nut and cup. He cut it too long. He looked at it nonchalant like it was fine, and then said oh I'll fix that. Took the bike to the back, brings it back and had added some oversized washer that was sticking out around the edges. I got the feeling he thought the bike was junk so as it was repaired it didn't matter. I won't be going there again.

The headset was cheap so I ended up adding a nice headset that fit.
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Old 12-16-15, 10:19 AM
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I patronize a shop where the owners were cadet racers when I was the club president. I don't buy a lot or often but I am well treated when I do. They are a main Trek dealer and the staff are polite and interested in old bike stuff but realistically, they are no longer equipped to service my classic steel bikes. Robbie Tunes has it pretty much right.

As well, if you own old French steel bikes with odd ball threaded crank extractors and freewheel removers, a modern shop is not what you need. You may have to take care of most of your service yourself. (On wheels, I cheat and give them over to my professional bike mechanic brother.)
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Old 12-16-15, 10:29 AM
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That's how I remember a lot of old guys with old bikes were treated by many shops when I was a young college age guy in th early 80's........
So why would it changsd??..
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Old 12-16-15, 10:41 AM
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I think they see me (58yrs old) and think I dont have the sales potential, dont know anything about the modern cycling world and then wonder why I am not totally congenial. What they just ran into is a very informed, very experienced wrench and vintage racer collector that can keep up with them anywhere. And all I wanted was a new chain.

Is there any wonder how internet companies thrive?
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Old 12-16-15, 10:59 AM
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I prefer the well-established neighborhood individual shops (some of which may have two or three locations) over the big chain stores, and, yes, the attitude towards my vintage bikes varies. My favorite local shop, Leucadia Cyclery, Leucadia Cyclery, sold my Bianchi to its first owner, and Fred always greets me with, "I see you are still riding Art's old bike." Occasionally a bike shop mechanic or sales person will check out the distinctive lugwork and head badge on the Capo, but few know anything about the marque (Capo - Dipl. Ing. Harald Cap ist Ihr Fahrradspezialist in 1200 Wien), even though the father-son company is still in business after 85 years.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:05 AM
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I'm a old guy, 75, repair and refurbish a lot of bikes. My LBS people are very nice to me. And I'm nice to them. In fact I can only remember once, in many years, finding a grump in a LBS.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:09 AM
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That really doesn't happen here that I know of. I think perhaps the reason is that a lot of people in my area ride bikes to work, to the grocery store, to school, etc, very few of those bikes are modern, and a large fraction of them are C&V. This is unlike much of the US where bikes are just playthings to most people. Also, we have a lot of bike stores here for just this reason so nobody is going to turn customers away...they know that person will just go to the competition.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:10 AM
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I'm tolerated because I buy tubes, pumps tire levers, spacers etc. Also I operate the business across the street from them, so they want to be nice to a fellow member of the downtown club. They're nice guys. They did almost laugh at me when I went there for a tube of cement for tubulars; the younger one had no idea what I was talking about. He was looking at me and the older guy with a "You guys are sh*tting me, right?" expression on his face.

If there is more than one other customer in the shop, I just come back later so I don't interrupt their efforts to move plastic wonderbikes and hulking aluminum 29ers out the door. Most of the fiddly little old bits they pull out of their junk drawers for me they give me for free.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:17 AM
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My shop is pretty good about this. As I rebuilt my Paramount PDG, I was having problems getting everything tuned up and needed a wheel trued. They asked how soon I needed it and I told them there was no rush. The said it would be 3-4 days as they were busy. I got a call the next day and the bike was ready. When I picked it up, it was tuned and ready to go. The mech told me that the RD was bad and that he had replaced it with oned they had in a bin. It was 105 just like the old one, except a couple years newer. He rang me up and the price sounded low. He didn't charge me for the derailleur. We talked about the bike a bit and he really appreciated the steel frame. The fitter at the shop saw me walking out and gave the bike a good look. No bad attitude at all.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:19 AM
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Not the ones I return to.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:24 AM
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yeah, tubular glue stumps a lot of shops.
I dislike it when they try to make you feel uninformed or out of touch and walk straight out. The funniest encounter I had was with a young salesman who tried to tell me repeatedly that 700c and 27" tires were the same. I asked him how much $$$ to mount that fine 700c tire on a 27" wheel, then grinned when the mechanic had to school him.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:28 AM
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It may depend on the person and the bike.

I never ask for service inside a shop, but frequently buy a few little things, especially if I'm on a mission to get a part, and not just passing through window shopping. Even so, there may be some items that I'll find useful. Although, I'm sometimes disappointed.

The local co-op recognize both me, and my bikes, and always get a bit excited when the old Colnago shows up.

I've been to one of the oldest mainstream shops in the community, and if they see my old Colnago chained up outside, they'll always comment about it. Unfortunately, little things are frustrating. The last time I tried to buy 520mm tubes, the old shop had none. I even pointed out they had a beautiful little Giant on the floor that would use them.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:43 AM
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In Portlandia, I don't think I've ever had a bad experience since moving here. I did get some atitude back in the SF Bay Area, but that was rare as well. I've found shops that don't cop an attitude when I bring up my lugged, steel frame bike, but still don't have anything to offer me outside of cables, which I started buying in bulk anyways.

I've found that a real simple rule of thumb to decide if I want to do business with a shop is asking if they have cloth handlebar tape.
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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