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Calling out the worst 'PRO' BIKE Shops for C&V owners

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Calling out the worst 'PRO' BIKE Shops for C&V owners

Old 08-22-14, 11:36 PM
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Calling out the worst 'PRO' BIKE Shops for C&V owners

Yes, call this a beef but also a community service alert. Hopefully warn owner's of fine bikes from the stupidity and wrongful hands.

Here's mine, share yours.

Two in two consecutive days - and I have never even set foot in the shop! This shop staff is worse than wallyworld assemblers.

Yesterday evening I'm out on a ride and at a cross road meet up with a rider I haven't seen in a few months. We stop and chit chat. He's riding a fine upper-end and very early beautiful Trek. Tells me he has no rear brakes and just paid for a full tune. None of my biz but apparently this fellow would rather have the 'professionals' take care of his bike. So I quickly see the problem, pull a wrench out and reset the rear caliper cable slack, lock bolt and nut. I adjust his front as well. Next he shows me the computer on his bars. THEY MOUNTED IT UPSIDE DOWN! Jeez. I figured to just remove the thing with the usual mount screw, rotate and remount. But NO, they zip tied the assembly to the bars - lost screw. Sorry pal, but I carry just about everything to fix a bike in a jif but no damn zip ties. We parted and away he went with his upside down do-dat cycle computer...LOL

Onto this evening. I went out to meet a fellow selling in what could possibly be my grail bike. I knew what condition to expect but NOT WHAT a 'professional' bike shop could do. Mind you, this particular special bike is one of only five hundred made. Furthermore, this original owner did not purchase it from this particular servicing shop. The original shop he purchased it from still has a discreetly placed, non obtrusive dealer decal in place... thats fine with me. Anyhow, he had a replacement rear wheel built but they INCORRECTLY laced it. And then they had the gall to place their own stupid bike dealership LARGE logo STICKER over the rare graphics on the seat tube. Blasphemy. I sensed the seller/owner had more to say but kept his patience.

The coincidence? Both of the above were done at the SAME SHOP, same exact location, in business since 1947, north of Chicago and have the initials GGC. So slap me with slander. I gather most here maintain and repair their own but please share your worst 'professional' shop experience.


BTW: Not related to the above ordeals but about another shop. Many moons ago, my Kestrel went in for its free first check at 30 days. OK, so I took them up on it. But.... prior to I did some detail upgrades including Ti fasteners / hardware. Well, guess what? A few months after the check-up / tune, some of my screws were starting to turn brownish from corrosion. At first I thought it was caused by some acid rain or something but it was rust from the cheap steel screws! The shop raped my bike of its Ti hardware. I had no proof but all I could do is confronted the shop in front of waiting customers.
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Old 08-23-14, 12:26 AM
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One more reason to do your own work. Shops can be quite a struggle. My favorite local big shop had a bunch of young folks working the floor. Not one could show me a touring bike. They showed me all their bikes, any of which could be toured on. I laughed and left. Another local would not build any wheels other than Velocity Dyads. Economy tanked. Now he builds CR18's no questions asked. It must be a hard business to be in.
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Old 08-23-14, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
...Both of the above were done at the SAME SHOP, same exact location, in business since 1947, north of Chicago and have the initials GGC.
Please tell me that by "GGC" you don't mean the famous cyclery that was the #1 Schwinn dealer for 18 years in a row (1958-1975)? If so then what happened to "Total Concept?"

I haven't utilized a shop for service in over 25 years so I don't have anything else to share...
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Old 08-23-14, 01:07 AM
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I've had repairs done by four shops this year. Three near Seattle and one in Portland. All four have good reputations. Each of them screwed something up. One shop put brake hoods on wrong sides L-R. Another left BB finger tight. Serves me right for being lazy.
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Old 08-23-14, 02:01 AM
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Bike shop owner who went to UBI, had a Columbia with a SA AW hub that would not go into second gear. He was upset about wasting "half a can of wd-40 through it and it still wouldn't work". Sort of clinched my theory that for the most part UBI stands for UnBox-Install.

There are some good ones though, Ozark Bike Shop in Rogers AR is run by a guy who I trust a lot.

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Old 08-23-14, 04:38 AM
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Not that I am defending anyone but how did they lace the wheel wrong? If your simply referring to the being able to read the label from the right side of the bike I would not consider it a mortal sin as long as the mechanics are good.


This is another reason it is important to be a friend with and stick to one shop. Also it doesn't matter the reputation of the shop it simply comes down to the mechanic working on your bike. If he cares you'll get what you pay for and more if he doesn't care you get aggravation.


Like most of you I enjoy doing my own work but there are a few things I do go to a shop for some times but I only take certain things to certain shops. Only Stan at D&Q in Cherry Hill NJ, would ever be allowed to touch my Hetchins for the few things I needed done and he built most of wheels. Not that I can't I just don't have a stand. There is a local shop here in PA I use sometimes and they have earned my trust by calling to tell me a headset I wanted them to replace was fine and they simply overhauled it.
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Old 08-23-14, 04:41 AM
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Only one guy I'd trust to touch any of my bikes, and that is George at Corner Cycle, in Falmouth, MA.
But, I have never taken a bike to him. I do it all myself when the need arises.
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Old 08-23-14, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Only one guy I'd trust to touch any of my bikes, and that is George at Corner Cycle, in Falmouth, MA.
But, I have never taken a bike to him. I do it all myself when the need arises.
Corner Cycle is still around? I thought they went out of business in the mid '90s.
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Old 08-23-14, 06:28 AM
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Still going. George is a neat guy. And he has a handful of cool vintage bikes hanging in one of his rooms, including an early-mid 60's Frejus track bike.

CornerCycle.com
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Old 08-23-14, 06:31 AM
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A few years back, a friend and I were riding from San Jose, CA to the hills up behind Palo Alto, about a 60 mile ride. He was on his lower end steel frame Lemond. On the way back he started complaining that his cranks didn't feel right. We stopped to take a look and I could see that the BB on his Truvative crank had come loose. I tightened it up by hand as best I could.

We were only a few miles from "B.O." a top name bike shop that was well known for a good inventory of expensive tandems and touring bikes and accessories.

We took his bike in to have them tighten up his BB. There were about 4 or 5 "mechanics" in the work shop. They ranged in age from late teens to late 30s. None of them knew how to tighten up a Truvative BB. This was the first time I'd seen one of these but I was able to find the correct tools and instruct them how to fix the problem.

At the same time there were several arrogant wannabe junior "raceurs" with severe attitude problems working in the show room. I usually like to buy something when I visit a bike shop (ran one myself back in the 70s). Needless to say I didn't purchase anything from them.

It seems that there are far more arrogant people with attitude problems working in bike shops than any other type on sporting goods stores I've done business with!

When people with classic bikes take them into a shop, and they see the eyes of the employees glaze over and roll back into their heads, I suggest that they don't turn around but just slowly back out the door and run or ride away as quickly as possible!

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Old 08-23-14, 06:32 AM
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Bought a used bike from a local shop that had upgraded it for the prior owner. Shifters were on backwards, cable stop mounted in the wrong place (and over tightened to compensate, chewing up the paint), BB shot (obvious), etc. Really sloppy work.

On the arrogance front, another classic line, from the lead mechanic at another shop, when I stopped by to look for a part for my 1987 Prologue rebuild: "1987? Just to let you know, any bike over about 5 years old is obsolete, and not worth rebuilding. Technology has improved so much."

FWIW, in these two cases, it was not a young hipster. Both employees were older than me, and I am older than dirt.

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Old 08-23-14, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post

On the arrogance front, another classic line, from the lead mechanic at another shop, when I stopped by to look for a part for my 1987 Prologue rebuild: "1987? Just to let you know, any bike over about 5 years old is obsolete, and not worth rebuilding. Technology has improved so much." ...
I wonder how much is arrogance and how much is a high pressure sales tactic. Even my favorite LBS owner told me "it's amazing how bad the old components were."
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Old 08-23-14, 07:13 AM
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A few years ago I was driving a sag wagon for a group ride. A woman had a flat - actually a blowout as the tire was off the rim. It was a very old, but still nice bike that she got from a yard sale. She said that the 27" tires blow off the rim often and she's had it back to her LBS a few times.

I bet you can guess.....

Yep. The young LBS wrenches were putting beaded tires on an old rim and pumping up the tires to near their max. And they told her to inflate to the max also. What she needed were some old-style gumwall tires without a bead and/or a lot less pressure. That, or new beaded wheels. I think her plan was an entire new bike though.
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Old 08-23-14, 07:13 AM
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Think about it. Today everything is about making money and is much as you can, bike shops included. Selling what is hot today and replacing what was hot yesterday is the mission statement. C&V is not in that business model. Sometimes you may run into a shop hand who has an interest in old stuff who may help on his own time. Thats about as good as one can do.
Off soap box now ;-)
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Old 08-23-14, 07:26 AM
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True enough. It's a rare thing to find an LBS mechanic these days that even knows vintage bikes and parts, let alone cares about working on them. And, in general, there isn't much money in it.
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Old 08-23-14, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
Please tell me that by "GGC" you don't mean the famous cyclery that was the #1 Schwinn dealer for 18 years in a row (1958-1975)? If so then what happened to "Total Concept?"

I haven't utilized a shop for service in over 25 years so I don't have anything else to share...
No it's not but apparently ranked the 'best all around shop' for 2013 in some Chicago publication. They may be nice folks or offer a good selection (again, I have never set foot in the referenced shop) but the two examples of bike service on two very special bikes is unacceptable.

Indeed there are some super shops, owners and staff who can handle with care, any and all bikes. I do know a few and highly trust.
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Old 08-23-14, 08:31 AM
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seattle

there's a one-man shop in seattle on the bg trail in ballard that did me a great disservice. this was before i learned to wrench my own bikes and was the original catalyst to me buying my own tools.

he outright lied to me several times about my bike, kept it for weeks after saying it would take but a few days, made bad component upgrade decisions, outright stole or misplaced original components, and is a basic giant döuche.

but the experience did lead me to do my own work, so he did a great job in that regard.
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Old 08-23-14, 08:40 AM
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I ran out of spare shift cables one day for an 80's Trek I was building.

Rather than wait for my Niagara order, I went to the LBS and asked at the counter for a shift cable for a road bike. I was directed to the mechanic and again asked for a road bike shift cable...
He handed me a road bike brake cable.

OK. So maybe he wasn't listening.
I gently told him "No, I need a road bike SHIFT cable".

So he handed me a MTB brake cable.

I went back and selected the requisite cable myself.
I am relatively certain he now knows the difference between a brake cable and shift cable.

(I'll leave it to someone else to show him the difference between a Campy and a Shimano shift cable end).
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Old 08-23-14, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
Think about it. Today everything is about making money and is much as you can, bike shops included. Selling what is hot today and replacing what was hot yesterday is the mission statement. C&V is not in that business model. Sometimes you may run into a shop hand who has an interest in old stuff who may help on his own time. Thats about as good as one can do.
Off soap box now ;-)
I'm curious. How many rich bike shop owners or employees do you know? If there is even less money in C&V, how do they put food on the table?

I am certainly not for deceitful business practices, but if I go into any place of business, I expect them to sell me on their business, not what I wish their business to be.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:07 AM
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There are two shops in my area that I will go to. One is about 5 miles from me and I've had my bike in there for a few things and each time they appreciate the vintage aspect of the bike. Over the winter, I had the mechanic (2 full time guys work there, the owner and the mechanic, both of whom have been around bikes for a long time) rebuild the Racelite hub on my 58 Lenton Grand Prix and he couldn't stop talking about how cool the bike was.

The other shop is in Bethlehem and they primarily handle MTBs and city/commuter bikes. They are an honest, stand up shop that appreciate all aspects of cycling.

Not all shops suck and it's a shame the bad ones always get so much attention.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
Please tell me that by "GGC" you don't mean the famous cyclery that was the #1 Schwinn dealer for 18 years in a row (1958-1975)? If so then what happened to "Total Concept?"

I haven't utilized a shop for service in over 25 years so I don't have anything else to share...
As a former Chicagoan and North Shore guy, I think you and he are talking about the same shop.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:24 AM
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This thread makes me greatful for all of the top shelf shops in the Twin Cities.

I could list 5-10 excellent shops, but just let me recommend One on One, Grand Performance and Angry Catfish.

If you are in our cities, it is totally worth your time to stop by and see what they are up to.

Bad shops in town? Sure, but they almost always solve their own issues and don't last more than a season or two.

Btw Since my RA has become such an issue, I really count on mechanics to help me build. I try not to dwell on it.

FWIW One of the finest mechanics with an engineer's mind is our very own Thirdgenbird. Casey knows more about Campy than just about anyone I have met.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
Bike shop owner who went to UBI, had a Columbia with a SA AW hub that would not go into second gear. He was upset about wasting "half a can of wd-40 through it and it still wouldn't work". Sort of clinched my theory that for the most part UBI stands for UnBox-Install.

There are some good ones though, Ozark Bike Shop in Rogers AR is run by a guy who I trust a lot.
We have few decent ones here in Ann Arbor: Great Lakes Cycles, and Ypsilanti Cycles and others.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:30 AM
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I've had really good service and respect from the 3 shops that I know of in town.

The one that's closest to me has a cadre of younger guys- They may not know exactly what they're dealing with, but I think most of them appreciate older bikes. I just had my bike in to replace a FW (I don't have a Suntour puller). The kid working on it asked about the bike as he was taking the wheel off. He had to ask the head wrench guy about the 2 prong remover, and I watched him learn a new skill. None of the people there have ever been the least bit dismissive towards me or my bikes.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:33 AM
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I took up bicycling again about 10 years ago, just after I retired, due in large part to the inspiration and education provided by Scott Mosko, the owner of my LBS, "Bicycle Doc" in Norcross, Georgia. I had a Peugeot PR-10, bought new in 1973, that my son had turned into a piece of junk. Two local bike shops had already turned down my request to "make it rideable". Third try was the charm. Scott may have sensed that I had fond memories of riding that bike years ago. He showed me what was necessary to make the bike rideable and safe. He then arranged so that I could be present while the bike was being worked on. Wow, it was like going to school! I now do most of my own work but keep in touch with the guys at that shop!
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