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Did my LBS overcharge me for a new chain?

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Did my LBS overcharge me for a new chain?

Old 05-01-16, 04:08 PM
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maartendc
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Did my LBS overcharge me for a new chain?

Hi guys,

So my chain broke on a ride this week, and luckily I was within walking distance from my Local Bike Shop. Now, I bought this bike second hand on Ebay, so did not buy the bike from this shop. However, the owner knows me, and I have bought 2 bikes from him in the past, one for me and one for my wife.

I did not bring my wallet with me unfortunately, but the owner assured me it was no problem, he would fix it for me so I could get home, and I could come back the next day to pay. His mechanic also tuned up my derailleur for me, which was out of alignment and out of sync. The mechanic worked on my bike for about 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes.

So, I go pay the next day, and he charges me $50. I thought this was pretty expensive for just a new chain and a derailleur adjustment! The chain is a 10 speed Sram pc1051, which retails for around $20 online. Now, I know online prices are not the same as LBS prices, and they were kind enough to let me pay the next day and adjust my derailleur.

So what gives? Is this a normal price for a new chain + installation and a rear derailleur adjustment? (I know some people on this forum are LBS owners or mechanics).
Or did the owner see my nice (used) carbon bike that I did not buy at his shop, and decide to overcharge me? If so, I wont be going back there, as there are plenty of good LBS around where I live.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 05-01-16, 04:14 PM
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Did he not give you a receipt that breaks out the cost of the chain and the cost of the labor? Honestly, it sounds like he did you a solid, fixing a chain on the spot so you could ride home and accepting that you would pay him later. I'd just move on and chalk it up to injecting cash flow into the local economy, rather than worrying yourself to sleep that you could have ordered the chain online for cheaper. Online wouldn't have had it installed it for you on the spot and let you ride home would it?
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Old 05-01-16, 04:26 PM
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A $24 chain, the service to install it, and shifters adjusted, while you wait, in a few minutes, and you're complaining? It sounds like you need to buy yourself a chain tool and start taking care of your bike yourself.
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Old 05-01-16, 04:28 PM
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The MSRP on that chain is $26. At my co-op, if you wanted me to do the work, I'd charge you $10 to install a chain, and $10 to adjust a derailleur. So no you weren't ripped off. Wanna save money? DIY.
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Old 05-01-16, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Hi guys,

So my chain broke on a ride this week, and luckily I was within walking distance from my Local Bike Shop. Now, I bought this bike second hand on Ebay, so did not buy the bike from this shop. However, the owner knows me, and I have bought 2 bikes from him in the past, one for me and one for my wife.

I did not bring my wallet with me unfortunately, but the owner assured me it was no problem, he would fix it for me so I could get home, and I could come back the next day to pay. His mechanic also tuned up my derailleur for me, which was out of alignment and out of sync. The mechanic worked on my bike for about 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes.

So, I go pay the next day, and he charges me $50. I thought this was pretty expensive for just a new chain and a derailleur adjustment! The chain is a 10 speed Sram pc1051, which retails for around $20 online. Now, I know online prices are not the same as LBS prices, and they were kind enough to let me pay the next day and adjust my derailleur.

So what gives? Is this a normal price for a new chain + installation and a rear derailleur adjustment? (I know some people on this forum are LBS owners or mechanics).
Or did the owner see my nice (used) carbon bike that I did not buy at his shop, and decide to overcharge me? If so, I wont be going back there, as there are plenty of good LBS around where I live.

Thanks for the advice!
I see that this particular chain is easily available online for $20 to $25, depending on the cost of shipping. But the retail at a B & M store is a bit more. So they will charge you the B & M retail, which is $35 or $40, plus labor, plus tax. Given that they offered while you wait service, installed the chain, and adjusted your derailleur (10 minutes sounds like more than a minor adjustment, which would take more like 20, seconds.) and let you continue with your ride and pay later, $50 doesn't sound completely unreasonable.

I would ask this. Would you rather call home for a ride, drive home, order the chain from Amazon, and install it yourself? Is continuing on with your ride worth paying an extra $25 or so?
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Old 05-01-16, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
A $24 chain, the service to install it, and shifters adjusted, while you wait, in a few minutes, and you're complaining?
Relax man, I'm not complaining. I'm just wondering if it is a normal price, because I don't know much about bike shop prices. This is the whole reason I'm asking, because I did not know.

If you all say it is a normal price, then great! I was glad it got fixed on the spot. I will continue to support them then.

I try to do DIY when I can, but this was obviously not one of those cases.

Thanks for the advice.

Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I see that this particular chain is easily available online for $20 to $25, depending on the cost of shipping. But the retail at a B & M store is a bit more. So they will charge you the B & M retail, which is $35 or $40, plus labor, plus tax. Given that they offered while you wait service, installed the chain, and adjusted your derailleur (10 minutes sounds like more than a minor adjustment, which would take more like 20, seconds.) and let you continue with your ride and pay later, $50 doesn't sound completely unreasonable.

I would ask this. Would you rather call home for a ride, drive home, order the chain from Amazon, and install it yourself? Is continuing on with your ride worth paying an extra $25 or so?
You are right, the fact of continuing to ride on is worth the extra money right there. Besides that, I believe in supporting local businesses, I understand they need to keep the lights on and charge more than online shops.

Last edited by maartendc; 05-01-16 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 05-01-16, 04:47 PM
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Whether bike or auto repairs, I never feel like I am paying for labor, blood, and bruised knuckles. I'm paying to have the thing fixed right. Personally, if they can handle the job in ten minutes, all the better. I'm a little surprised they could interrupt other work, get the bike on the stand and accomplish this in ten minutes, unless you only count the time he actually had the tools in hand.
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Old 05-01-16, 04:47 PM
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Continue to support them? They hooked you up, on the spot, and let you walk out of there without paying a cent. Think about this. Think long and hard about this.
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Old 05-01-16, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Relax man, I'm not complaining. I'm just wondering if it is a normal price, because I don't know much about bike shop prices. This is the whole reason I'm asking, because I did not know.

If you all say it is a normal price, then great! I was glad it got fixed on the spot. I will continue to support them then.

I try to do DIY when I can, but this was obviously not one of those cases.

Thanks for the advice.



You are right, the fact of continuing to ride on is worth the extra money right there. Besides that, I believe in supporting local businesses, I understand they need to keep the lights on and charge more than online shops.
Though my knowledge of bike mechanics is improving, I still go to my LBS for some bike related repairs and mods that I don't have confidence in doing myself. And when I do, I accept that they will charge me more for parts I could easily find for less online. I even broached the subject with them once when negotiating a project on one of my wife's bikes, so they know that I know that they are charging more for bike parts than I can find them online. (long story short, in the end I just left them to order the parts just to keep things simple) I wouldn't call it overcharging, but both the owner and the head mechanic of my favorite LBS told me sometimes online shops do sell, or dump parts for less than a smaller shop can buy them for. $20 or $30 here or there seems like small potatoes, and worth paying, particularly for while you wait service.
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Old 05-01-16, 05:09 PM
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Your LBS charged you more for a bicycle chain then what a car dealership charges for an oil change...Do your own bike maintenance and save yourself some money.
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Old 05-01-16, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Your LBS charged you more for a bicycle chain then what a car dealership charges for an oil change...Do your own bike maintenance and save yourself some money.
I tried riding a bike using motor oil in place of a chain once. It didn't work too well. Some other things that didn't work, but cost less than a bike chain: a roll of toilet paper, a Big Mac, a cast iron skillet.
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Old 05-01-16, 06:41 PM
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Okay lets see 26$ for a chain and knowing how to fix is 24$ and this includes taxes. Part of having a shop do work for you is that they have overhead. Mechanic needs money, money for electricity, money for tools, Money for insurance/worker comp. And the business still needs to turn a profit. If you are happy with the job they did I would not worry about the money as it is better than taking a cab or calling a friend if you break down.
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Old 05-01-16, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by blue192 View Post
If you are happy with the job they did I would not worry about the money as it is better than taking a cab or calling a friend if you break down.
+1. And OP...The next time you need an emergency repair you might get preferential treatment. A LBS that I have spent A LOT of money at one replaced a chain link for me on the spot (in and out in 10 min.) and charged me only $5 for the part with no labor charge. That's what a train ride would have cost me. Instead, I got to finish my ride.
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Old 05-01-16, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Hi guys,

So my chain broke on a ride this week ...

... is this a normal price for a new chain + installation and a rear derailleur adjustment?
Seems like a reasonable price for some good customer service.
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Old 05-01-16, 07:47 PM
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50 bucks for a new chain and on-the-spot replacement/adjustment.

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
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Old 05-01-16, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Your LBS charged you more for a bicycle chain then what a car dealership charges for an oil change...Do your own bike maintenance and save yourself some money.
Maybe a Yugo dealer? An oil change for any of my cars (at 4 different dealers) is $150-$200.
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Old 05-01-16, 07:59 PM
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Sounds like a good deal to me too.
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Old 05-01-16, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Maybe a Yugo dealer? An oil change for any of my cars (at 4 different dealers) is $150-$200.
Really? I pay just under $50.00 for the full service oil change at the local Ford dealer.
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Old 05-01-16, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
I tried riding a bike using motor oil in place of a chain once. It didn't work too well. Some other things that didn't work, but cost less than a bike chain: a roll of toilet paper, a Big Mac, a cast iron skillet.
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Old 05-01-16, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Nermal View Post
Really? I pay just under $50.00 for the full service oil change at the local Ford dealer.
The Ford dealer is the cheapest of the four dealers I use, but 15 quarts of oil for a diesel engine isn't cheap.
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Old 05-01-16, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
I tried riding a bike using motor oil in place of a chain once. It didn't work too well. Some other things that didn't work, but cost less than a bike chain: a roll of toilet paper, a Big Mac, a cast iron skillet.
Very Good.
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Old 05-01-16, 09:41 PM
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TBH, I don't see how a shop could put a bike in the stand for less than $50. Even if the tech could knock it out in 20 min, the fully burdened rate would seem to require that to me.

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Old 05-01-16, 09:44 PM
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maartendc, what line of work do you do? do you work for free?
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Old 05-01-16, 09:50 PM
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Fifteen quarts is a bunch, Tomato. I use a 4 cyl Focus. I should count my blessings.
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Old 05-01-16, 10:01 PM
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Not a rip off. Might not have been the cheapest in town, but within walking distance and on-the-spot service with honor system payment the next day, count your blessings.
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