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Please explain it to me...

Old 10-23-15, 03:45 PM
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Frreed
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Please explain it to me...

Why is there so much love for the LBS? I get supporting shops in the area where you ride, getting good service when it comes to repairs, fitting and all the usual arguments. For those things, online will never meet the need. However, I am increasingly tired of going into the LBS and finding employees who have no clue about the product they carry and more than a few who don't even ride bikes.

I found this to be the case earlier this year when I bought a new Giant Defy. I had been away from cycling for a few years and wanted to get back into training for a week long, cross state, ride. I did my research before shopping and had narrowed it down to 3 Aluminum/105/Endurance bikes: Gianty Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Secteur. The Secteur was being discontinued so I dropped it.
Two different shops with a similar experience. Both showed me bikes with carbon frames and Ultegra. I get it, always try to upsell. One shop was just not interested so I left. Next shop had the bikes I wanted to ride. They pushed the Synapse. It was faster, lighter and had the oh-so-cool disc brakes. Rode both and really liked the Defy. The 'Dale was nice, but a bit more upright and the brakes sucked. I asked about the brakes and was told that they would get better. Asked about gearing. I was told the Synapse had a 53/39 and an 11-26 or 28 (both of which were just wrong). Still pushing the Synapse they could get me fit better to overcome the upright issue. Fair enough. "You really should get the Synapse, it is a better bike and is a bit lighter." We put them on the scale. The Defy was TWO POUNDS was lighter. I decided on the Defy. I paid and they told me to have a nice day.

I asked about getting the fitting they offer for all new bikes. Well, their fitter was not on location and wouldn't be available until after the weekend. "Can we at least get it close?" Sure, come on back. Put on shorts and shoes. Things felt pretty good on the trainer when the guy finished. During the fitting, he tells me that he doesn't ride bikes except for messing around on his mountain bike. Took the bike home and went out for a ride. It felt aweful. I was slow and my quads/knees were dying after 10 miles. Finally got back for a real fit and the seat was almost 2 inches low and was too far back.

The shop made it right, but my initial experience was not great. To their credit, they know me when I come in and I have had great service since. And no, I didn't have a screaming tantrum. I did talk to the manager about the experience and he was appreciative.

Today I went into another shop to look at bikes. I am considering giving my Defy to my son and upgrading for myself. I am much more into cycling than I thought I would be. I also think I would like a bike with a bit more agressive position. I have an older Schwinn Paramount production bike and really like the road racing geometry. I explained what I was looking for to the salesman at the shop and he had no clue what I was talking about. The Roubaix was a good racing bike and the Madone was an endurance frame. I am happy with 105 and he kept showing me bikes with DA and Sram. I left.

For those of us who are serious about cycling, we walk into a shop with some idea about what we want and what we need. I would hope that employees at the LBS would be able to fill in the blanks. I'm just not finding that.
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Old 10-23-15, 04:08 PM
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Some shops are good and some suck. Good luck finding a good one.
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Old 10-23-15, 04:53 PM
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Hasn't been my experience - I bought most of my bikes and gear from one LBS, had a lot of service work, and the owner, manager and regular staff are awesome. They have a few seasonal employees who say "I don't know but I'll find out" when the ? is beyond them. Hallmark of a well-run business.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:06 PM
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A good LBS is like a good indy auto mechanic....worth it's weight/a treasure. After 20 years off I needed a good shop when I got back into riding this year and, at least knowing where to look, found one.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
Why is there so much love for the LBS?
Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
I get supporting shops in the area where you ride, getting good service when it comes to repairs, fitting and all the usual arguments. For those things, online will never meet the need.
As others said, finding a great shop isn't easy, but when you do, it's pretty awesome!
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Old 10-23-15, 05:47 PM
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I'll take it in a different direction.

Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
Why is there so much love for the LBS?
Because without the "love", it probably won't be there when you really need it.

Last edited by JBHoren; 10-24-15 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 10-23-15, 05:52 PM
  #7  
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We're extremely lucky: City, Mikes, Bike Biz, College Cyclery. All great shops within an easy ride of my house or office.
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Old 10-23-15, 06:16 PM
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Because I could buy a spare tube today within a dollar of the online ordering price, without having to bundle the order to get free shipping, or wait 2-10 days. Or a patch kit, rim tape or pretty much any odds and ends I need within a dollar's reach of online discounters.

Because they're friendly folks and didn't hold it against me when I bought used off craigslist after letting me test ride a couple of new bikes (good bikes, just slightly out of my budget). And while my neighborhood LBS doesn't currently have a master mechanic (they're still advertising for one, AFAIK), the fellows working in the shop know a heckuva lot more than I do and did a good job with a safety check and basic tuneup on my used new-to-me bike a few weeks ago. And they're willing to share tips. No attitude problems. And they participate in sponsoring local group rides, charity events, etc. Even though I don't participate in those events, I appreciate the shops that are involved with the community.

Another shop, a little farther away, also has good folks and a knowledgeable mechanic who took five or so minutes out of his day to chatter about tires and offer a few recommendations based on my bike, usual rides and conditioning level.

Granted, not all of our LBSs are like that. There are a couple I wouldn't even bother to visit, based on their websites. One appears to be of zero interest to me, emphasizing serious racing, mountain and cyclocross bikes, along with way too much testosterone laden attitude on their website. Another shop caters to Freds, with a snooty reminder not to bother showing up for a test ride unless you have a credit card and three forms of ID.

Nothing new there. I encountered the same variety of bike shops 30+ years ago when I rode much more often and farther. I preferred the folksy shops run by hippies. I avoided the shops where the staff wore racing duds and turned up their noses if you sullied their parking lot with your bike that had Suntour rather than Campy components.
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Old 10-23-15, 06:25 PM
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Some shops not so good I guess.

Where I live is low population density and very few bike shops. But the closest shop to me is about the best shop I have ever seen. Owner has been in the shop since his dad started it. He has helped create the local mountain bike trails and leads weekly shop rides. A few of the mechanics are some of the top racers in the state. I love the shop. I feel guilty when I buy bike stuff anywhere else, and try hard not to. I hope they are around forever.
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Old 10-23-15, 06:26 PM
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I guess part of the problem is that those old fashioned small bike shops are pretty much gone from Dallas. One of the best shops became a big local chain. They are the one I went to today. There are a couple boutique shops, but they carry a brand or two and limited clothing/parts/nutrition.

The shop where I bought the Defy is a decent shop and they earned my business with the way they handled getting my new bike set up after the initial fiasco. Their mechs are top notch. So I have a shop.

My attitude is mostly about my stop today. The shop carries Trek and Cervelo which are bikes I would consider. First impressions make a difference in retail and this local chain has failed to impress. I've been riding real road bikes for about 35 years. I know about gearing, geometry, frame materials and my riding style. The guy today seemed to assume that I knew very little about bikes and when I asked somewhat technical questions, he had no real answer. I may have to go to Fort Worth if I want to test a Trek or Cervelo. My old shop is still there and carries them.
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Old 10-23-15, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
I may have to go to Fort Worth if I want to test a Trek or Cervelo. My old shop is still there and carries them.
Might be worth the trip. I've enjoyed chattering with the folks at Fort Worth Cycling & Performance Center on Cherry Lane (where I bought my tube today, and several odds and ends), and Bicycles Inc. in Granbury.
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Old 10-23-15, 08:58 PM
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FW Cycle was my shop back in the day.
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Old 10-23-15, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
Why is there so much love for the LBS? I get supporting shops in the area where you ride, getting good service when it comes to repairs, fitting and all the usual arguments. For those things, online will never meet the need. However, I am increasingly tired of going into the LBS and finding employees who have no clue about the product they carry and more than a few who don't even ride bikes.

I found this to be the case earlier this year when I bought a new Giant Defy. I had been away from cycling for a few years and wanted to get back into training for a week long, cross state, ride. I did my research before shopping and had narrowed it down to 3 Aluminum/105/Endurance bikes: Gianty Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Secteur. The Secteur was being discontinued so I dropped it.
Two different shops with a similar experience. Both showed me bikes with carbon frames and Ultegra. I get it, always try to upsell. One shop was just not interested so I left. Next shop had the bikes I wanted to ride. They pushed the Synapse. It was faster, lighter and had the oh-so-cool disc brakes. Rode both and really liked the Defy. The 'Dale was nice, but a bit more upright and the brakes sucked. I asked about the brakes and was told that they would get better. Asked about gearing. I was told the Synapse had a 53/39 and an 11-26 or 28 (both of which were just wrong). Still pushing the Synapse they could get me fit better to overcome the upright issue. Fair enough. "You really should get the Synapse, it is a better bike and is a bit lighter." We put them on the scale. The Defy was TWO POUNDS was lighter. I decided on the Defy. I paid and they told me to have a nice day.

I asked about getting the fitting they offer for all new bikes. Well, their fitter was not on location and wouldn't be available until after the weekend. "Can we at least get it close?" Sure, come on back. Put on shorts and shoes. Things felt pretty good on the trainer when the guy finished. During the fitting, he tells me that he doesn't ride bikes except for messing around on his mountain bike. Took the bike home and went out for a ride. It felt aweful. I was slow and my quads/knees were dying after 10 miles. Finally got back for a real fit and the seat was almost 2 inches low and was too far back.

The shop made it right, but my initial experience was not great. To their credit, they know me when I come in and I have had great service since. And no, I didn't have a screaming tantrum. I did talk to the manager about the experience and he was appreciative.

Today I went into another shop to look at bikes. I am considering giving my Defy to my son and upgrading for myself. I am much more into cycling than I thought I would be. I also think I would like a bike with a bit more agressive position. I have an older Schwinn Paramount production bike and really like the road racing geometry. I explained what I was looking for to the salesman at the shop and he had no clue what I was talking about. The Roubaix was a good racing bike and the Madone was an endurance frame. I am happy with 105 and he kept showing me bikes with DA and Sram. I left.

For those of us who are serious about cycling, we walk into a shop with some idea about what we want and what we need. I would hope that employees at the LBS would be able to fill in the blanks. I'm just not finding that.
That is why I think it is always worth seeking extensive feedback from a forum like this before you go to any bike stores, so if the sales assistant is hopeless, it won't matter as much.
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Old 10-23-15, 10:17 PM
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Why is there so much love for the local grocery store? Surely we can get these items shipped to our door via UPS without the attitude of local teenagers working the checkout.
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Old 10-23-15, 11:12 PM
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The "problem" here in St. Louis isn't finding a good shop, it's deciding which of the many good shops to make "your own".
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Old 10-23-15, 11:22 PM
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I live in a smallish town and the one bike shop here makes most of its money in service and selling parts and tools.... they only sell haro bikes and dont generally have very many new bikes in the shop..... they have always been awesome to me, so I am in there to buy stuff on a regular basis
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Old 10-24-15, 12:30 AM
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I would not go back to the shop that was "less than honest" and pushed the Cannondale in your face. A good shop will talk to customer and figure out your knowledge level and respond accordingly. My guess is that they had an excess of those bikes in the back room :-)

I shopped at quite a few shops buying my Synapse and generally, I felt like they listened to me. I pretty much knew what I wanted to test ride when I entered. No one tried to sell me a different bike. I purchased my bike at Sports Basement, which is kinda like an REI, but they don't have their own brand. I also had a 20% off coupon :-) They had to order the bike I wanted and they decided I did not have to put down a deposit as the bike would probably sell if I did not want it and they had to put it on the floor. When the bike arrived, they told me to take it out for as long a ride as I wanted before deciding.

It's odd, because I generally try to avoid the "dealerships" where the people who work there are all just paid employees with no reason to do a good job. Mom and Pop places go out of business if they are terrible. Every shop owner should be making sure her employees are providing good customer service.
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Old 10-24-15, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
Why is there so much love for the LBS?
Wow. Another LBS thread. Haven't seen a new one in maybe a week.

The owner of one LBS I use made me this:



And when I by new tubeless tires from the shop they install them right away and give me the sealant for free. Even before I bought the bike I got free stuff and preferential treatment. One day I damaged my chain (speed link) on a ride. It was about to break. I was near the shop. Limbed over there and they put on a speed link right away, with no labor charge. Beat taking the train home.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:09 AM
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Sadly it is not only bike shops. Most intelligent people research a product that is fairly expensive. When we go to a dealer, we expect the people there to know a great deal about their products. Any more that just doesnt seem to be true.

Another example is auto dealerships. The salesmen there know little about engines, transmissions, and the important parts of the car. They instead blather about color and cup holders.

My advice for what it is worth is to keep researching what you plan to buy no matter what it is, you cant depend on the sales person knowing much. But in some cases they do, and if they have the bike or what ever you decided to buy do business with them if possible.
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Old 10-24-15, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
Why is there so much love for the LBS? I get supporting shops in the area where you ride, getting good service when it comes to repairs, fitting and all the usual arguments. For those things, online will never meet the need. However, I am increasingly tired of going into the LBS and finding employees who have no clue about the product they carry and more than a few who don't even ride bikes.

I found this to be the case earlier this year when I bought a new Giant Defy. I had been away from cycling for a few years and wanted to get back into training for a week long, cross state, ride. I did my research before shopping and had narrowed it down to 3 Aluminum/105/Endurance bikes: Gianty Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Secteur. The Secteur was being discontinued so I dropped it.
Two different shops with a similar experience. Both showed me bikes with carbon frames and Ultegra. I get it, always try to upsell. One shop was just not interested so I left. Next shop had the bikes I wanted to ride. They pushed the Synapse. It was faster, lighter and had the oh-so-cool disc brakes. Rode both and really liked the Defy. The 'Dale was nice, but a bit more upright and the brakes sucked. I asked about the brakes and was told that they would get better. Asked about gearing. I was told the Synapse had a 53/39 and an 11-26 or 28 (both of which were just wrong). Still pushing the Synapse they could get me fit better to overcome the upright issue. Fair enough. "You really should get the Synapse, it is a better bike and is a bit lighter." We put them on the scale. The Defy was TWO POUNDS was lighter. I decided on the Defy. I paid and they told me to have a nice day.

I asked about getting the fitting they offer for all new bikes. Well, their fitter was not on location and wouldn't be available until after the weekend. "Can we at least get it close?" Sure, come on back. Put on shorts and shoes. Things felt pretty good on the trainer when the guy finished. During the fitting, he tells me that he doesn't ride bikes except for messing around on his mountain bike. Took the bike home and went out for a ride. It felt aweful. I was slow and my quads/knees were dying after 10 miles. Finally got back for a real fit and the seat was almost 2 inches low and was too far back.

The shop made it right, but my initial experience was not great. To their credit, they know me when I come in and I have had great service since. And no, I didn't have a screaming tantrum. I did talk to the manager about the experience and he was appreciative.

Today I went into another shop to look at bikes. I am considering giving my Defy to my son and upgrading for myself. I am much more into cycling than I thought I would be. I also think I would like a bike with a bit more agressive position. I have an older Schwinn Paramount production bike and really like the road racing geometry. I explained what I was looking for to the salesman at the shop and he had no clue what I was talking about. The Roubaix was a good racing bike and the Madone was an endurance frame. I am happy with 105 and he kept showing me bikes with DA and Sram. I left.

For those of us who are serious about cycling, we walk into a shop with some idea about what we want and what we need. I would hope that employees at the LBS would be able to fill in the blanks. I'm just not finding that.
No offense but it seems like your complaint with the LBS is kind of a personal thing. Not an industry wide issue.
You seem to have done a lot of research on what you want to purchase so why not just purchase it instead of waiting and hoping for the salesperson to dazzle you with his/her knowledge on your specific item?
Every salesperson in every shop cannot have that much knowledge. It would be great but I doubt the industry pays well enough to support that type of workforce either way.
If you knew or felt the brakes sucked on the Cannondale why did you inquire about them as opposed to just factoring that into your decision and upgrading them or forgetting about the bike? Were you hoping the salesperson would instead tell you that he moonlights as a Cannondale brake engineer and they are in fact the best brakes ever and you were wrong so now you could feel all warm and fuzzy about them and buy the bike as is?
Just sayin...
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Old 10-24-15, 08:10 AM
  #21  
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IN bike shops Other than the Shop Owner , in order for people to stick around their Spouse/(typically, Wife ) has to make the majority of the Income .

as the Wages of the job are low and customers are unwilling to support their Local Business when they can make Amazon Even Richer.
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Old 10-24-15, 08:22 AM
  #22  
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I never had any particularly great or helpful experience at a bike shop. One guy was nice enough to sell me tire levers for the advertised price which was probably too expensive but there you go. Young guy at his shop actually did a good job simply by not saying anything and seeming disinterested and bored that he had to be in the upstairs room when a customer was there. That's the good experience. Other salesmen tell you the most basic stuff that you already read on the website. But really what else do they have to go off of or to know. Some people may not have any idea about this or that bike and need that type of help. People on any forum this forum some suggest are at least a little more dedicated knowledgeable and thoughtful than the average person by virtue of us spending time here talking about it, though it doesn't always seem the case that we're the cream of the crop. Yes, we're all probably smarter than people working for minimum wage in bike shops who by virtue of nature of the work would not be able to afford their own bikes on that salary. I also suspect many of the lbs owners/ workers/ manufacturers make up some amount of the commentators here. I suspect they're the ones casually asking whats the best this or that to buy. So they have some love for the lbs/ want to promote them. More so getting service or preferential treatment (if they give some guy preferential treatment then what does that say about the rest of their customers) but the heart of why people say lbs lbs is better is because it's the boutique professional gear. You say lbs lbs because that means you are for real. You're not out buying toy bikes or inferior equipment. Good and bad with that and the best way to take advantage of you. but is My best guess on lbs love. My 1st time walking into one I was angered by the prices and in other trips was never overly impressed with service anywhere.

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Old 10-24-15, 08:30 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Frreed View Post
Why is there so much love for the LBS? I get supporting shops in the area where you ride, getting good service when it comes to repairs, fitting and all the usual arguments.…

For those of us who are serious about cycling, we walk into a shop with some idea about what we want and what we need. I would hope that employees at the LBS would be able to fill in the blanks. I'm just not finding that.

Originally Posted by ltxi View Post
A good LBS is like a good indy auto mechanic....worth it's weight/a treasure. ...

Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Wow. Another LBS thread. Haven't seen a new one in maybe a week…
I previously posted my tribute to my LBS on this Road Cycling thread, ”Do You Work / Maintain Your Own Bikes?,” not to brag, but to portray an ideal siuation:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… Having the LBS do it all, in my case is a really good deal. The shop is one block away, and they will fix many things at a convenient time for me. They are so expert that they can do these things quickly, better than me, and often spot problems that I did not see. Whenever I leave the shop, the bikes ride as if new again.

Because the bikes are a major transportation mode for me, keeping them in good repair is critical. We save a lot of money on transportation, so further using the LBS is even more cost-effective. I tip well, not, "To Insure Prompt Service," but because I am so appreciative of their work. Hats off to Back Bay Bikes.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-24-15 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 10-24-15, 08:33 AM
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On this topic, what's the best bike shop in Nashville, TN?
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Old 10-24-15, 08:43 AM
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