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Online bike order: LBS assembly or build at home?

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Online bike order: LBS assembly or build at home?

Old 04-24-16, 01:44 PM
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MGMorden
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Online bike order: LBS assembly or build at home?

Hey guys - I recently decided to pickup a bike online (a Bottecchia Unica Claris). Nashbar was running a 21% off sale and it came out to $411 shipped, and looks to compare favorably to the Trek 1.1 and other "starter" bikes that I would have had to save a bit longer for.

Anyways, the local bike shop lists a fee of $65 to build a bike "from a box". I don't really mind paying that to know its done correctly, but I would prefer not to insult them or gain any ire by bringing in a bike I obviously didn't purchase from them. So basically, I know they list it as a service, but is it generally considered rude to do this?

If I go the self assembly route, I'm generally pretty mechanically inclined - I'm pretty sure I've got all the tools I'd need, but my experience working on bikes is somewhat limited (the actual assembly doesn't really concern me, but getting the derailleurs tuned correctly is my major concern).

I suppose I could also just put it together myself and then take it in for a tune-up but they charge the same amount for a tune-up as for assembly.

Anyways - thanks for any advice offered.
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Old 04-24-16, 02:11 PM
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If the LBS advertises and solicits the business of helping mail-order customers assemble/tune their bikes, I would have to assume they welcome the opportunity to make a customer for service, parts, and future bike sales. And the fee sounds reasonable to me. I'd use them.... it would help you get to know the shop and establish a relationship.

OTOH, if you want to learn more about your bike and its setup/maintenance, the degree of difficulty in taking a boxed bike and installing stuff like handlebars, pedals, etc. and doing minor tuning is pretty low. And you could do the assembly and have the LBS do a check and make final adjustments. I'd let your own interests guide this.... do you want to learn more about bike maintenance and do your own work in the future or just have someone else take care of it?

- Mark
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Old 04-24-16, 02:42 PM
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Most IKEA furniture is more complicated to assemble than a bike.

Adjusting DR's and brakes is a skill you are going to need to master sooner or later, so why not start sooner?
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Old 04-24-16, 02:47 PM
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You already semi skilled as a Bike mechanic or can get a book on the subject and read It ,

and have or will buy the needed tools,

then You can DIY. Keep It simple ..

Just dont go in for buying something too complicated for your skills at problem solving to figure Out. .
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Old 04-24-16, 03:32 PM
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Yea, why in the world would they be offended if you brought a bike in a box to be assembled by their bike in a box assembly program?

To me, it's a good move on the LBS part. They've already lost the sale to online; there's nothing they can do about the lost sale. However, they can win you as a customer for future business of repairs, accessories, yes, maybe even your next bike purchase by giving you a fair price on the assembly and a welcoming attitude as a new customer.
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Old 04-24-16, 03:53 PM
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I sya, take it to the shop, because having a good relationship with them could help out further down the line.

If you can do your own work, great ... and if you can't you need to learn, because you won't always need an LBS when the LBS is open, or even nearby ... and you won't always want to pay LBS prices if you want to do a simple upgrade.

On the other hand, if you don't already have a bunch of tools ... or if like me you have six thumbs and four clumsy fingers ... I have a truing stand, and I can get my wheels pretty straight, but I know by direct comparison they aren't as good as wheels built by people who are skilled and talented.

If the LBS is offended because you purchase their services, that is important info ... you know never to go back there, and can even go to another shop and explain what happened and probably make some friends there, but likely, the LBS knows that online shopping is increasing and the only way they can stay relevant is to offer something to online customers---a really good business idea, IMO.
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Old 04-24-16, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
To me, it's a good move on the LBS part.
You bet. Were I running a shop, I'd have a big, you-can't-miss-it, sign in the window saying to bring in your mail-order bike for professional assembly. For an upcharge, I'd coach customers through doing the job themselves.

To the OP, hopefully the shop would welcome your business. I rather think that they would.

Last edited by JonathanGennick; 04-24-16 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 04-24-16, 04:35 PM
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I understand your hesitation, OP. I personally won't do this. Regardless the service being priced out and offered, I consider it poor form. But then, I'm not budget limited and deal with a good LBS that values my business and takes good care of me.
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Old 04-24-16, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ltxi View Post
I understand your hesitation, OP. I personally won't do this. Regardless the service being priced out and offered, I consider it poor form. But then, I'm not budget limited and deal with a good LBS that values my business and takes good care of me.
Again why? OP said "The local bike shop lists a fee of $65 to build a bike "from a box". " Why would it be in poor form to give them the business they're wanting?

My local shop has a similar item posted on the price list they post under the counter. It would apply to a new bike like from bikesdirect or a any bike that has been partially disassembled for shipment.
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Old 04-24-16, 11:08 PM
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They probably make more money by assembling your online purchase bike than they do from selling one of their $800 bikes.


Youtube will show you how to do anything you need to do if you want to do it yourself.
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Old 04-24-16, 11:08 PM
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I would do it myself. You will gain familiarity with the bike and if your bike is anything like mine there is not to much to it that is difficult. You can go online for directions in the form of videos or written instructions and there should be instructions with the bike when it arrives. Get a set of metric Allen wrenches and open end box end wrenches you will be glad you did.
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Old 04-24-16, 11:21 PM
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$65 isn't bad. I would let them do it.
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Old 04-25-16, 01:04 AM
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Online bike order: LBS assembly or build at home?

I'll agree with the suggestions to do it yourself.
I'd be surprised if you don't find it much easier than you imagine.

You Tube and Park Tools are great resources for step by step instructions.

The knowledge and confidence you gain will be invaluable.
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Old 04-25-16, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ltxi View Post
I understand your hesitation, OP. I personally won't do this. Regardless the service being priced out and offered, I consider it poor form. But then, I'm not budget limited and deal with a good LBS that values my business and takes good care of me.
And why wouldn't your LBS value the OP's business too? We need to move away from this thinking that buying mail-order is somehow a wrong thing to do.

Here's an example of a business that's embracing the assembly of mail-order bicycles:

Velofix announces bicycle delivery program | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

The OP has bought a bike. A smart business will celebrate with the customer and happily take a fee for putting the bike together.
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Old 04-25-16, 06:26 AM
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I have seen bikes come out of boxes that are a hot mess. The LBS I go to does offer assembly like the one the OP mentioned. I have seen frames warped, BB's that are like the Sahara desert, wheels that were barely tensioned, grease where it shouldn't be, no grease where it should be, etc. Why not let an expert take a look, torque things down properly, use their skill to assemble a bike that you will be putting your life at risk on.
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Old 04-25-16, 07:26 AM
  #16  
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I enjoy bikes more now that I have the ability to strip one down and build one back up from component form. Bikes are not the mythical machines that some make them out to be, they are relatively simple machines. If you are even remotely mechanically inclined, and have the ability to pay any attention to the details, you can learn to do pretty much everything from a combination of the Sheldon Brown site, Park Tool's DIY section, and barring not finding the info in those places, YouTube or here. Worst case, you give it a shot yourself, botch it up, and take it into them.

I'm with the others that say if the LBS has a build service, I have no idea why one would feel bad about utilizing it, though. LBS aren't there to be my friend, they are there to provide a service. They didn't provide you with a bike you wanted at a price you wanted to pay, that is on them. If they can provide you a build that you want at a price you want to pay, then good for them, and utilize it.
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Old 04-25-16, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TGT1 View Post
Most IKEA furniture is more complicated to assemble than a bike.

Adjusting DR's and brakes is a skill you are going to need to master sooner or later, so why not start sooner?
You live in SoCal; you know how much a bargain he gets --- vs what a California lbs will charge.

Last edited by molten; 04-25-16 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 04-25-16, 07:36 AM
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The "win" depends on the type of bikes the LBS sells; the clients, be it a pro-shop, a family bike shop, or just a small business of medium level bikes??
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Old 04-25-16, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
And why wouldn't your LBS value the OP's business too? We need to move away from this thinking that buying mail-order is somehow a wrong thing to do.

Here's an example of a business that's embracing the assembly of mail-order bicycles:

Velofix announces bicycle delivery program | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

The OP has bought a bike. A smart business will celebrate with the customer and happily take a fee for putting the bike together.
Too many bike shops, via human nature: will put better effort in a customer service/performance --- when an item has already been bought from that same business. I have dealt with a bike shop that WONT even do labor work on my bike, because I did not buy my bike from it/bike shop.
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Old 04-25-16, 08:11 AM
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I am not great a bike mechanic. The longest it has taken me to "build" a bike from a box was 30 minutes. The shop will be more than happy to pay someone $10/hour to make $130/hour. With that said, I'd try to do it myself. If you fail, it'll cost you $65. If you succeed, you keep the $65 and learn a little in the process.
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Old 04-25-16, 08:20 AM
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It'll end up costing you more than $65...

You'll have to bring it back for tune up...because you don't know how...they'll charge you everytime...$65 is to lure you into their shop...if you don't learn it now.

I know people pay $100 every year to tune up the bike...because they don't know how or don't want to get hand dirty.

Last edited by mtb_addict; 04-25-16 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 04-25-16, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
It'll end up costing you more than $65...

You'll have to bring it back for tune up...because you don't know how...they'll charge you everytime...$65 is to lure you into their shop...if you don't learn it now.

I know people pay $100 every year to tune up the bike...because they don't know how or don't want to get hand dirty.
There is nothing inherently wrong with either approach. The hobby is called biking, not wrenching. Some people, like my wife, are in it for the pedaling and seeing places, not for getting their hands dirty. My wife can afford to have her bike maintained by a professional and she would do it if I didn't enjoy putzing around with bikes.

If the OP or anyone else enjoys (like I do) learning new things while maintaining his bike and the satisfaction of doing it yourself, that's great. If $65 for assembling a bike sounds reasonable to him and doesn't enjoy the prospect of learning to assemble his own bike, that's ok too.

For those of us that do not enjoy wrenching, establishing a good relationship with your LBS, is important. I went through a couple of shops and I am leaning towards a third one, as they offered help ungrudgingly and also, didn't try to skin me when they installed on my bike some parts I bought from them (i.e. charged the sticker and no labor).
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Old 04-25-16, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
There is nothing inherently wrong with either approach. The hobby is called biking, not wrenching.
Hah! I agree with this. And love the way that you put it. And what you say is precisely why there will always be a need for and a demand for shops. Some of us combine wrenching as a second hobby. Some probably wrench as a means-to-an-end when it's convenient or needed. Many prefer to just ride the bike and let someone else do all the work. I love to wrench on my bike, but hate wrenching on my car. So I do my own bike work, and pay a mechanic to do all my automotive work. I'm happy. He's happy. It's all good.

Last edited by JonathanGennick; 04-25-16 at 10:47 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-25-16, 10:58 AM
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My Local occasionally gets Bikes Direct stuff .. customers bring in the box..

Also we get touring bikes shipped in and someone , often Me the last few summers, makes them ready to ride,

tourist flys & takes bus here, gives it a test ride for small adjustments , then loads their bags and off they go..
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Old 04-25-16, 11:03 AM
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I don't see any harm in paying a bike shop to assemble your bike.
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