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Where do you draw the line when it comes to supporting your LBS.

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Where do you draw the line when it comes to supporting your LBS.

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Old 07-24-16, 10:08 AM
  #1  
thenewjs
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Where do you draw the line when it comes to supporting your LBS.

My recent LBS visit cost me $78 (bike chain + install + tax). I knew I probably could find the chain cheaper online but wanted it changed asap.

I get home research the chain and realized I could have bought 3-4 chains for the price I bought one.

I want to support local small business but at a point I feel stupid to spend more than I have to and bad that Im not supporting local small business.

My pops suggested setting aside money for my LBS. Since I have limited space, I figured I could buy the parts elsewhere cheaper and have my LBS install them. That way, I save and my LBS gets some business.

Where do you guys draw that line between supporting your LBS and saving money elsewhere?
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Old 07-24-16, 10:13 AM
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If I need something NOW and the LBS has it, I buy it.

Chains wear out and seem to have many different Prices.

I buy Tires and Chains ahead of time ON Sale.

Chains and tires are very easy to install.

Most Bike Shops Do Not Like to Install your parts.
If the Part Fails they do not want the blame for the failure.
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Old 07-24-16, 10:16 AM
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making
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I will pay a little more at one of the local shops because it is pleasant to go shop in. Several bins of used parts like handlebars etc to go through and buy really cheap, pretty good stock of new stuff. And they have coffee and usually hang out and talk to you. Another shop I go to is very professional and slick and retail ish. I only buy stuff there when I want it now. They try to sell stuff and upsell me on very overpriced items I don't need. I also get the feeling they are talking down to me like just another old guy who found a bicycle now wants to go ride.
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Old 07-24-16, 10:20 AM
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My chains costs me about $20 dollars and I install it myself. Why the heck would anybody pay labour charges to somebody to install something as simple as a chain ??
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Old 07-24-16, 10:43 AM
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I draw the line somewhere way beyond something like replacing the chain. I'll pay a little more for brake pads and CO2 cartridges, some chain lube now and again.
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Old 07-24-16, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by thenewjs View Post
I get home research the chain and realized I could have bought 3-4 chains for the price I bought one.
Research after purchase? You learned a lesson here, right?
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Old 07-24-16, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by thenewjs
..... I knew I probably could find the chain cheaper online but wanted it changed asap ......
Kind of self explanatory. Yes you could find it cheaper online but then you had to wait for it to come in or pay a hefty price for overnight shipping, which may have exceeded the price you payed for the chain at the LBS.
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Old 07-24-16, 11:27 AM
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I use the LBS for convenience and expertise. Price is a secondary consideration. Of course I'll pay them for their expertise and the convenience.

I don't have many tools nor room to do more than basic maintenance on my one bike. So when I needed a new rear wheel I had the LBS handle that for me. They installed the original rear gears onto the new wheel. Price was fair, suits my needs. I could have done it myself for less money... if I had the tools. But it's not cost effective right now to buy certain tools for a single bike. Maybe later.

I've bought gloves there because I can try them on to be sure they fit. That's important with long fingered gloves, less so for summer fingerless gloves.

But I've bought other doodads such as lights, jerseys, etc., from Amazon, Nashbar and other online retailers because they were much cheaper, or carried items the LBS doesn't stock. But if the LBS carries the same item and the price is close enough I'll buy locally.
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Old 07-24-16, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I draw the line somewhere way beyond something like replacing the chain. I'll pay a little more for brake pads and CO2 cartridges, some chain lube now and again.
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
If I need something NOW and the LBS has it, I buy it.

Chains wear out and seem to have many different Prices.

I buy Tires and Chains ahead of time ON Sale.

Chains and tires are very easy to install.

Most Bike Shops Do Not Like to Install your parts.
If the Part Fails they do not want the blame for the failure.
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
My chains costs me about $20 dollars and I install it myself. Why the heck would anybody pay labour charges to somebody to install something as simple as a chain ??
It depends. I've looked at the online instructions for installing a campy chain, and I don't think the value in me doing it myself (especially considering I think I'd have to get a ~$60 park tool to do so) is there, since most bike shops have a listed chain installation cost of approx. $10.

A Chorus chain costs anywhere online from about $35 to what appears to be the local full MSRP in the US of about $65, which I'd imagine the LBS would charge (plus the same $10 installation fee).

All of this presumes we're talking about a worn out chain whose time has come for regular replacement, and not a broken one happening in the middle of a ride.
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Old 07-24-16, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
It depends. I've looked at the online instructions for installing a campy chain, and I don't think the value in me doing it myself (especially considering I think I'd have to get a ~$60 park tool to do so) is there, since most bike shops have a listed chain installation cost of approx. $10.

A Chorus chain costs anywhere online from about $35 to what appears to be the local full MSRP in the US of about $65, which I'd imagine the LBS would charge (plus the same $10 installation fee).

All of this presumes we're talking about a worn out chain whose time has come for regular replacement, and not a broken one happening in the middle of a ride.
Even if I bought $50 specialty chains needing a $40 tool (looking at Amazon) I'd much rather do it than take my bike down to the shop and drop it off. It depends more on the person than the particular chain IMO.

I keep a usable spare chain around in case one were to just break so there's no question of having to wait around 3 or 4 days. But that hasn't happened in years.
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Old 07-24-16, 12:07 PM
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The only thing I use the lbs for is spoke replacement and wheel truing.
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Old 07-24-16, 12:14 PM
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I give them my time , and Get Paid at 25% of what the computer repair people charge to fix that kind of stuff.


Some things they Lack the distributor account to Buy it, so I have to go elsewhere and pay Retail.

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Old 07-24-16, 01:26 PM
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30%, if my LBS can't come within 30% of an online price i buy online. I also ask my lbs to price match too, i found this to be very effective. They want you to shop with them and for the most part they will if they know you have other options...
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Old 07-24-16, 03:35 PM
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If it is something I need right now, I will buy it from one of the four LBS in the area. After a bad experience having an LBS work on a bike a few years ago, I am the only one that puts a wrench on my bikes.
Most consumables I buy online at sale prices, and usually have a couple chains and sets of tires on hand all the time.

What is really cheaper? Paying a shop $75-100 every year to install a new chain. Or, buying a chain for half the price they charge online and another $30-60 in tools and doing it yourself. The first year the outlay might be more. After that you are only paying $20-40 for the chain.
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Old 07-24-16, 03:48 PM
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I think one of the lbs around here is if you buy the part here they will install it free.
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Old 07-24-16, 04:02 PM
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I quickly learned the value in my LBS. Where do you go when you need to rethread the bottom bracket area and reface? You going to buy that stuff yourself and do it? This almost never has to be done, but when it does......and I had to have it done. I know there is a mark up on the stuff they sell. There is also a ton of knowledge and experience in that shop, the owner, the mechanics, etc. and depending on what kind of a situation you are in with your bike, that knowledge and experience could save your bike.

I have built up an excellent relationship with my LBS over the last couple of years. So much that I am now working there for the summer helping around the shop. Now that I am on the other side of counter, I can fully appreciate what everyone that works there does. This is my go to shop and it has been for the last 3 or 4 years now, and it will be even after I don't work there. Between the owner and the manager/head mechanic, the amount of knowledge and experience they have and how much they have helped me, not only with employment, but on a personal level is worth the mark up on the chain lube or tires or whatever. I am helping to keep those guys in business instead of ordering from Amazon or Jenson. Sure, there are things that they can't order, brands or specific parts or whatever, and they are very understanding that it may be a specific part or brand I am looking for. In return for helping them to keep the doors open, I get really good treatment from them and extra help.

You really have to build the relationship up to get the full use out of a bike shop if you ask me. Not all shops are great, and some of them really suck. I consider myself to be extremely lucky that the shop and staff is not only awesome, but it is only 4 miles from me and is on my way to work.
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Old 07-24-16, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by making View Post
I also get the feeling they are talking down to me like just another old guy who found a bicycle now wants to go ride.
He, he, I use this as an ice breaker whenever I go into a new LBS that doesn't know me: "Hi, any of you kids interested in helping an old man keep his ancient bike on the road?" Their response immediately tells me what to expect
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Old 07-24-16, 04:48 PM
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if they have what I need or what I will buy it from them. If they don't I will try the Performance bike shop in town. IF they don't have it then I will order online. I don't have the room, tools or know how for much beyond tires and tubes.
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Old 07-24-16, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Even if I bought $50 specialty chains needing a $40 tool (looking at Amazon) I'd much rather do it than take my bike down to the shop and drop it off. It depends more on the person than the particular chain IMO.

I keep a usable spare chain around in case one were to just break so there's no question of having to wait around 3 or 4 days. But that hasn't happened in years.
I've thought about getting the tool and being ready to do myself. But then again, as your last sentence mentions, a chain reinstallation is a not too often occurrence. And after investing $35-$79 in the chain (depending on where I buy it), and another $60 (not sure what $40 tool you saw, I was looking at the Part CT 4.3); combined with with a 50/50 chance I'd muck up the job and need another chain, etc., the $10 LBS cost seems worth it.

Funny now also to consider that an OEM Campy chain is these days considered "specialty". Of course I realize that times have changed though. I guess one reason that I haven't considered running another brand is that (knock on wood) I've never broken a chain.
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Old 07-24-16, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Kind of self explanatory. Yes you could find it cheaper online but then you had to wait for it to come in or pay a hefty price for overnight shipping, which may have exceeded the price you payed for the chain at the LBS.
But that's why you buy consumables (tires, tubes, chains) ahead of time. That way you always have them on hand when needed.
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Old 07-24-16, 05:54 PM
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You'll never learn how to do something if you don't try. Typical bike maintenance is really easy stuff, no need to waste a shop's time when they're already backed up with a pile of bikes. I'll give bottom bracket and wheel jobs to the shop though.

I've ordered direct from brands' websites a bunch of times, makes no difference to me when it's MSRP and I'm supporting the brand directly and not a middle man that way. For clothes it doesn't help that shops only tend to stock boring designs (most of which is either black on black or awful colors destined for the clearance rack) and not much in an S.
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Old 07-24-16, 06:31 PM
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Last time I went into an LBS was to buy some cables/housing since I'd just broken a cable. Cost me like 47 dollars. Checked online... 22 dollars. That was about two years ago.

I just buy everything online. I have all my own tools and do all my own stuff. I can youtube with the best of them if there's something new I need to figure out.
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Old 07-24-16, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Kind of self explanatory. Yes you could find it cheaper online but then you had to wait for it to come in or pay a hefty price for overnight shipping, which may have exceeded the price you payed for the chain at the LBS.
On the other hand, an on line purchase usually offers more choices and delivery to your door. Sales tax and shipping costs, for me, are generally a wash.
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Old 07-24-16, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I've thought about getting the tool and being ready to do myself. But then again, as your last sentence mentions, a chain reinstallation is a not too often occurrence. And after investing $35-$79 in the chain (depending on where I buy it), and another $60 (not sure what $40 tool you saw, I was looking at the Part CT 4.3); combined with with a 50/50 chance I'd muck up the job and need another chain, etc., the $10 LBS cost seems worth it.

Funny now also to consider that an OEM Campy chain is these days considered "specialty". Of course I realize that times have changed though. I guess one reason that I haven't considered running another brand is that (knock on wood) I've never broken a chain.
Naw I replace a chain a couple of times a year, just haven't had one break in years. Big difference is my chains are $12-15 and a piece of cake to install. I'd begrudge the time and extra trip more than the $10+markup they'd charge. Ship to my door, 15 or 20 minutes and I'm done.
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Old 07-24-16, 07:36 PM
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I use my LBS for wheel work mostly. I'm starting to do more of my own work but haven't come to terms with wheel truing and hub work just yet. I think it cost me $60 total to have 2 wheels trued and the hubs repacked recently.
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