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I'm OK Never Setting Foot Inside an LBS Again

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I'm OK Never Setting Foot Inside an LBS Again

Old 08-30-17, 07:56 AM
  #26  
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My last (probably ever) LBS experience: asked for replacement hub bearings (a half hour job at best given that these were cup and cone hubs) on a set of wheels. Two weeks later, the wheels were handed over to me completely destroyed (out of true, bladed spokes twisted like corkscrews). No explanation for why they even messed with the spokes was offered. The wheels never should have been returned to me in this condition in the first place. I didn't notice until I got home, then I had to trek (lol) back to the store. Upon complaining, they promptly agreed to completely rebuild both wheels. That's good, however this took them no less than entire month. They then forgot to refund me for the original repair cost as promised. Wheels still aren't quite the same. This is fairly typical of my LBS experiences.
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Old 08-30-17, 08:15 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by 55murray View Post
That seemed harsh OP.

I don't see how any LBS, or by extension any hobby shop, stays in business in the Amazon era...

I got this made by a LBS. You won't find one on Amazon.


BTW...The OP likes to stir up trouble and has been asked to leave threads, so take this thread with a grain of salt.
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Old 08-30-17, 08:31 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by speshelite View Post
There was someone asking about buying from BD and it just reminded me of the many goofballs I've dealt with over the years at lbs's. There seem to be a handful of specific personality types at the lbs:

1) immature kids such as stoner teens that the shop hired because they're the only person in town willing to turn a wrench all week long for $8 an hour,

2) bored, confused millenials who don't have a career path and are trying to avoid adulting

3) pompous middle aged bike zealot whose ego is completely tied up in owning the latest carbon fiber Dura Ace Di2 wunderbike.

4) late on their rent desperate shop mechanic pushing their used bikes on you instead of the bike you wanted to test ride

5) rip off artist owners trying to upsell you to a $9K carbon road bike with discs when you came in for a $400 hybrid bike.

6) depressed floor sales guy who breaks down emotionally and cries when you come back from a 15 minute test ride and tell him you're going to "think about it" and get back to him.

Walking into a bike shop is just begging to be inundated with endless examples of arrested development. Thank god for internet sales.
You really see the best in people, don't you?
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-30-17, 08:38 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by 55murray View Post
That seemed harsh OP.
Usual M.O.
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Old 08-30-17, 08:45 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The OP's post history indicates anger issues.

Guys who work at bike shops probably have the same conversations about customers.
Correct. Customers can be just as rude, egotistical, and superior. I happen to have plenty of LBS to pick from in the city and try to be a good customer by being polite and plainly expressing my reason for stopping in that day. Mostly I go to the CO-OP for CV stuff and shop online for consumables. One shop I like to frequent has an orange Waterford touring rig on display right inside the door and immediately beyond that are the mechanics work stations. The owner is an old curmudgeon like me and mostly stays in the office. The much younger mechs are easy to do business with. I have no problem paying a little extra for them ordering something if they helped with measuring and searching their wholesale suppliers. Finding new stuff that will fit the old stuff can be a bit of a challenge for some things. Where I draw the line is when I hear "This is what we have in stock and it's good enough" or "We don't sell that old school stuff here".

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Old 08-30-17, 08:49 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The OP's post history indicates anger issues.

.

That's weak. This is an internet forum and he's discussing an issue. Maybe he just expects a little better from people.
Don't judge until you've walked in his shoes.
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Old 08-30-17, 08:49 AM
  #32  
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I am a weekly visitor to Don's Bikes here in SoCal. Been around since 1959, have two locations, are both are doing well even in this internet era. I am soooo thankful Don's is around-- because all I ever read about from posters on here is how terrible the bike shops are near them. Don's is awesome. The mechanic who is going to re-lace my rear wheel for me started at Don's when he was 18 years old, and has worked there for 15 years. I own three of the shop jerseys, and will happily buy a third when the new designs come in.

Could have easily bought my new bike off of the internet, but specifically and deliberately bought it from Don's. First, because I basically want the shop to stay open forever. Second, because even though I am an almost completely DIY guy, when you buy a bike from Don's, you get free tune-ups for life. I could easily pick it up off of Amazon right now, but I'm going in to pick up a new headlight at Don's tomorrow.
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Old 08-30-17, 08:52 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Bike mechanics should need to be state-licensed, with proven capabilities in the various flanges of bicycle design. As it is right now, they are about as regulated as carnival workers. Finding a good shop can be like discovering an oasis.
Right. Because more government regulation that will increase the cost of everything to the consumer is always a great plan.

As for LBSs, there are 4 of them within 10 miles of my house. All VERY different.

1 is literally a half mile away from my house and I won't so much as set foot in it because every employee there is an incompetent lazy moron. I honestly have no clue how they have been in business for 30 years.

1 is in a wealthy neighborhood and is a high end store with high end products and everything is spotless and clean and is like the Ferrari dealership of bikes. The employees tend to be minimum wage college kids though who learned everything about biking from that store. And they have a web site that has virtually every bike part every made that can be shipped free to the store for pick up. It's not a great place to get advice or maintenance because no one working there is an expert. But it's a great resource for finding a high quality component that eludes you elsewhere.

1 is in a REALLY wealthy neighborhood full of yuppies who have no problem laying down $1000 on a new bike just to see if they like biking. As a result the bulk of the customers in the store are complete novices who know nothing about biking (or skiing/snowboarding, which is the other half of the business) so the sales staff defaults to talking down to you, assuming that you don't know anything. I was in there the other day looking for a pair of gloves and at the sales staff was trying to explain why bike gloves are helpful. I was like "Thanks...I get it." That's annoying, but if you were a complete novice that's probably helpful and they are nice about it so it fits their niche market. Oddly their prices are extremely competitive, despite the affluence of their customer base. Their repair team is a bunch of stoners who do nothing but ride bikes when they aren't working so they probably do a good job but I've never had work done there.

1 is my favorite shop. It's where I bought both my bikes, 14 years apart. A little pricey, but not awful. The head mechanic has been there for like a decade. He's VERY good. He's probably in his late 20's. He's very good with bike repair. He's not a burnout or a lost soul. He just likes what he does. The shop does enough business that he's paid okay and he's happy where he is. The inventory for components in the store isn't great so I tend to shop elsewhere for things like pedals or grips and such. But the knowledge base is better than any of the other 3 options so when I need a repair or advice I don't even think of going anywhere else.

My point is, the free market works. Caveat emptor. Learn what your local stores do and don't do well and shop accordingly.

Of course if you have 1 store within reasonable driving distance and it's like the first one on my list, I can fully see why you'd be happy to shop online only.
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Old 08-30-17, 08:58 AM
  #34  
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I try to cope with customers , in a bike shop I do not Own, so don't control what they pay to stock.

what is affordable in the shop budget, depends on what the customers buy repeatedly..





In a College town you would expect there are students in college wanting a bike shop job..






...

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Old 08-30-17, 09:16 AM
  #35  
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My LBS has done me good. No complaints.

They've been in business since 1909, still owned by the same family. Bike mechs come and go, but the owner knows his stuff - never had problems with a repair.

They've gone out of the way to keep me as a customer, and have saved me hundreds of dollars over the last decade.

Yeah, I'm lucky to have a shop like them in town. The shop one town over, with the really impressive showroom, screwed up the repair the one time I went there (back when I started riding again). And the people on the floor seemingly knew less about bikes than I did. So they're the other end of the spectrum.

Too bad for you. Yay for me.

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Old 08-30-17, 09:21 AM
  #36  
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I can't hold myself up as a model customer since I don't use bike shops to buy bikes, accessories or for service, but I don't mind going in once in awhile, casual conversation and buying chain lube or a tube or something so I'm not wasting their time. Life is too short to nurse a grudge against all LBS's just because of some bad experiences.
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Old 08-30-17, 09:27 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
That's weak. This is an internet forum and he's discussing an issue. Maybe he just expects a little better from people.
Don't judge until you've walked in his shoes.
Maybe the OP shouldn't judge retail workers...
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-30-17, 09:28 AM
  #38  
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Another "LBS Suck!" thread. How original.
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Old 08-30-17, 09:30 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Considering that describes the workers at nearly every store and restaurant and bar and entertainment venue I go to, I really hate to think how you get about in society at all.

Although, I always get a chuckle out of the old farts who can't make an argument without blaming millennials in some manner.
Pretty much this. Though I've been fortunate enough to (mostly) go to shops that were staffed by competent enough people. And yeah, pretty much all the crap old folks like to give millennials is incredibly stupid if you stop to think about it for more than about 5 seconds.
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Old 08-30-17, 09:32 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
That's weak. This is an internet forum and he's discussing an issue. Maybe he just expects a little better from people.
Don't judge until you've walked in his shoes.
See post #29 above. And as I noted, he's been told to leave threads as a result of his behavior.
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Old 08-30-17, 09:38 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
Though I've been fortunate enough to (mostly) go to shops that were staffed by competent enough people.
Heck, I think people know I am not the biggest LBS fan in the world, but even I've found my couple I like and support IF they can get me out the door at that moment with what I need. Picked up a set of fenders at one last night for $24, because a tour I am doing this weekend is calling for a rainy Saturday. It was actually cheaper than I could get off the internet, they know I am a competent shopper so they just pointed me towards where they were and left me to pick what I wanted, and even bothered to ask how the stem they sold me a couple weeks ago was doing. Easy-peasey.
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Old 08-30-17, 09:42 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I am a weekly visitor to Don's Bikes here in SoCal. Been around since 1959, have two locations, are both are doing well even in this internet era.

Good bike shops, like many retail establishments today, are hit and miss. Don's is solid and the owner is a stand up guy.
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Old 08-30-17, 09:47 AM
  #43  
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We have several LBSs in the area, and most are OK, but the Trek Store of Cincinnati in Ft Wright Kentucky is stellar. No, I do not work there nor do I know the owner (it is locally owned, they have 3 branches). They have been awesome to deal with. Truly the best customer service I have ever received from any type of store - and they're mostly millennials, even. They take time with their customers to educate and make sure things fit. When they couldn't get the saddle I wanted they were still happy to install it for me for free. I'd've preferred to buy it there, even if it had cost more, to support them and their service. At least they also serve beer, so I was able to buy a beer and chat with them while they adjusted the saddle, and showed me how so I could make the final adjustments myself.

Some stores may be bad, but the good ones are out there too.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:14 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Another "LBS Suck!" thread. How original.
Unfortunately that can be true. Like most any service organization you have the full spectrum from really bad to really good.

Having been a service tech all my working life (50 years) I have seen them all. I worked with several men and women that could screw up a steel ball on a carpet floor with a rubber mallet.

Here in Lincoln Ne, I guess we are very fortunate since we have several LDSs that are excellent.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:17 AM
  #45  
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I've seen a few different types of bike shops in my area:

1. The established local. There's a local chain, Bicycles, Inc., that has 4 locations. They've apparently been around for 40 years or something like that. Solid service, not too flashy or expensive, huge stock, great place for a beginner, good for long-time cyclists too.

2. The fly-by-night. These are typically started by a lone wolf. They operate for a few years and seem to be making it before suddenly closing. My two favorite shops were like this; a third has opened and maybe he'll somehow establish a niche but I won't be surprised when he closes.

3. The high-end local. These seem to survive by supplying to the racing community and other high-end buyers. They seem like nice shops but I don't spend enough money on bike stuff to frequent them.

4. The competent chains. REI, Performance Bikes, etc. They seem to be a hybrid: A big company but they employ good local bike folks so they have that LBS feel to them.

5. The clueless chains. They have a bike department but they also sell other sporting goods. If they make money on bikes, great, but it's not the focus of their business, and the more diversified they are, the crappier their bike department is.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-30-17, 10:20 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Right. Because more government regulation that will increase the cost of everything to the consumer is always a great plan.

My point is, the free market works. Caveat emptor. Learn what your local stores do and don't do well and shop accordingly.
You apparently know what to watch for. Not everyone is as savvy. Those are the people who need protection by society setting a high standard. The mechanics at the better shops you listed should have no problem passing a rigorous, standard test.
The four local shops around me (within 15 miles) run the gamut from great to lousy, as well.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:20 AM
  #47  
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Just to show you that there are good shops around, this is what happened. A woman who is 90 that we have coffee with 2 or 3 times a week ask me about getting a couple of really old bikes she had fixed up for sale. I refered to one of my favorite shops. She took the bikes there, and the owner told her it was better not to touch them at all, since any restoration could reduce the price. Many collectors want original condition bikes. He could have done a whole bunch of things to make them look good, but he didnt.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:26 AM
  #48  
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Some are good, some are bad.


There is a national chain that I despise, but I like their jerseys and shorts, so thy still get my business. There are some local shops that I'll pay a bit more for consumables to give them business.


There are places that I won't step foot in again, regardless of my need.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:34 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Where I draw the line is when I hear "This is what we have in stock and it's good enough" or "We don't sell that old school stuff here".
The one thing that will enrage me is when I hear "Your bike is not worth the upgrade." or "It might be time for a new bike". I have to remember to breathe at these times, and count to ten.

What do they say in the personal ads?: "Please be discreet".

Yeah. Please be discreet.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:40 AM
  #50  
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Original Post is a successful compartmentalization of people, so they can be shunted aside. I am sure every one of us on this thread could be compartmentalized and then marginalized by others. (do you think bikers in general are labeled and marginalized by drivers at all???)

Interesting to me, are two different thoughts in this thread:
1) LBSes are expensive. I can get better prices elsewhere
2) People at LBS are stupid

If #2 is correct, could it be related to #1? That is, you can't get good workers, because you have to pay less, because no one wants to support local stores so they can pay your neighbors a living wage?

Meanwhile, Amazon et al are looking at robots and drones. I wonder where all the jobs have gone?

Clearly, if they are a bad shop, they deserve to close. And there are bad store owners out there. Our closest rug storee is run by a real piece of work, so we shop with the guy 2 towns over.

But in general, support local businesses. They are not all wonderful people, but then again, neither are all of us (myself included). But it's about building and maintaining a community of neighbors.

Last edited by WT21; 08-30-17 at 10:44 AM.
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