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The pros and cons of mom-and-pop bicycle shops.

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The pros and cons of mom-and-pop bicycle shops.

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Old 01-24-19, 07:14 AM
  #26  
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I think we're approaching consensus and will be ready to take constructive action and fix the bike market after two or three more 8-pagers.

Indy, the baby-vomit-after-puréed-peas-and-milk color of your beautiful bike is restful to the eyes and has positive subliminal effects on our ability to get this important work done.
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Old 01-24-19, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
It is amazing the number of folks who have little to none good things to say about the shops they have dealt with over time. I have worked in 4 different shops, two of which were multi store shops in which I worked at all 5 locations, and have not experienced negative encounters with customers on the level I consistently read about on this forum. Even when I go into shops in other cities the experience is always good. Wonder what I am doing wrong?

DO remember on the internet people complain and glow about places, but they rarely take the time to comment if their transactions were satisfactory.

That said, I once went to my LBS (my favorite one, actually), they were out of 9-spd chains. No problem, they have them on order, they'll be coming in in two days, guy just tells me to come back after work because the shipment generally gets there around 2. I could have easily drove down the road to Performance and gotten it then, but they're close to work, I like them, I'll just wait. Two days goes by, I go in a half hour before close, sure enough they got them in. It was just me and the employee, albeit a different than I had previously talked to. Complete downtime with nothing going on, he flat out told me it was just too much of a bother to actually go open the boxes, put the chain in inventory, and sell me one, but if I came back the next day someone would be happy to help me

Needless to say I walked out and drove to Performance, and that was the last time I tried to buy anything from a LBS that wasn't sitting on their shelf. I still like those folks, and buy from them, but only if product I want is sitting on their shelf. A couple of the other employees are great and made up for that guy, but at the end of the day if it is me walking in, ordering, paying more than online, waiting til their shipment arrives, then driving back to pick it up, or sitting on my computer at home, clicking a button, and its at my door two days later, I'm taking the latter.
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Old 01-24-19, 07:59 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
If you are interested in an upright position, the Specialized Roll Elite would be a decent choice and the very wide tires make up for the aluminum frame and fork. You might take a look at that for your next bike.
Second on OP trying the Specialized Roll, but definitely without ape hangers! The bars are already pretty high. I bought one for a family member who is currently trying to get below 300 pounds, and it's a great position and comfortable ride for him.

From a previous thread about chest pain started by OP, I suspect his much-vaunted high handlebars are causing him upper body muscle strain.
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Old 01-24-19, 08:16 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Some are great, some are good, some are pretty good, some suck, although the ones that suck tend to go out of business. Next question.
This just about sums it all. I have run across the shops described above, the good, the bad and the ugly of LBS.
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Old 01-24-19, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by livedarklions
Some are great, some are good, some are pretty good, some suck, although the ones that suck tend to go out of business. Next question.

This just about sums it all. I have run across the shops described above, the good, the bad and the ugly of LBS.

Yep. Even in the same shop, just on different days.
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Old 01-24-19, 09:47 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post

Indy, the baby-vomit-after-puréed-peas-and-milk color of your beautiful bike is restful to the eyes and has positive subliminal effects on our ability to get this important work done.
I will have you know that that is a one-of-a-kind, custom blend of Zombie Green and Gloss White Cerakote ceramic glaze. It's been called sea foam green. The actual color looks different. Must have been some sort of color shift when I took the photo. Took the photo immediate upon riding it home after I picked it up from the pop LBS.
*
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Old 01-24-19, 09:50 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I will have you know that that is a one-of-a-kind, custom blend of Zombie Green and Gloss White Cerakote ceramic glaze. It's been called sea foam green. The actual color looks different. Must have been some sort of color shift when I took the photo. Took the photo immediate upon riding it home after I picked it up from the pop LBS.
*
Just takin' the piss. I like babies.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:06 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I will have you know that that is a one-of-a-kind, custom blend of Zombie Green and Gloss White Cerakote ceramic glaze. It's been called sea foam green. The actual color looks different. Must have been some sort of color shift when I took the photo. Took the photo immediate upon riding it home after I picked it up from the pop LBS.
*
Is your camera broken? Why not take another picture that accurately portrays the sea foam green color of your pride and joy and share it with one and all?
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Old 01-24-19, 11:36 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Is your camera broken? Why not take another picture that accurately portrays the sea foam green color of your pride and joy and share it with one and all?
Because I don't feel like taking it down from the wall and removing it from its glass enclosure only to have to put it back. You don't think I ride that thing, do you? The only bikes worth riding are old Schwinns picked up for peanuts at garage sales (or trash picked for free) and fixed up.
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Old 01-24-19, 01:39 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
A mom & pop shop built me this. (Actually, pop built it. Mom is a law librarian.) And in my very large city there are plenty of independent shops doing well. In fact, several have opened in the last decade.



Sexy bike!
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Old 01-24-19, 01:54 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
Sexy bike!
Thanks. Notice that bars are rotated a bit forward. The head mechanic originally specd the bike with a two-bolt Thomson stem. Couldn't get it tight enough to keep the bars from slipping a little. Shop immediately ordered a new one and swapped it before my next scheduled ride. I didn't have to deal with some impersonal customer service department over the hone or send anything back and wait for a replacement. All at no charge, of course.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:07 PM
  #37  
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If you buy a bike from a shop, the bike will be tuned up before it's sold and generally you'll get a free break-in tune-up at 30 days. If you get it from a department store, the bike isn't tuned at all; it's grossly put together, and maybe improperly. After that, you're on your own.

If you buy a bike from a shop, and the bike has a defect, it'll either be fixed by the shop or else the shop will deal with the manufacturer on your behalf for warranty coverage. If you've gotten the bike from a department store, they simply give you another bike. Why do they do that? Because even at their lower price, they can eat the cost of the second bike and still come out money ahead. They won't bother fixing your return, either - it's not worth the labor necessary to look at it.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Is your camera broken? Why not take another picture that accurately portrays the sea foam green color of your pride and joy and share it with one and all?
Some colors are just hard to capture in a picture. My fat bike has a shade of grey that just doesn't show in pictures, but it really stands out in real life.
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Old 01-24-19, 04:12 PM
  #39  
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The OP has a way of making threads that get a lot of attention.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
REI eliminates this concern.
-Tim-
I was thinking the same thing as I read the pro/con list. They even sell Cannondale there.

I bought my Salsa from REI and mentioned a front shifting issue when I took it in for a free follow up. They spent a lot of time on it, they made it good, but not perfect so they offered me a refund. I kept the bike and ended up fixing the problem on my own later. I'm pretty sure most bike shops would of replaced parts till they fixed it. REI may have not had the parts in store to troubleshoot, but I didn't ask what they tried.
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Old 01-24-19, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Yep. Even in the same shop, just on different days.
Exactly. The best shop owners take a special interest in the day to day operation of their business to prevent this kind of thing.
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Old 01-24-19, 05:47 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
The OP has a way of making threads that get a lot of attention.

I was thinking the same thing as I read the pro/con list. They even sell Cannondale there.

I bought my Salsa from REI and mentioned a front shifting issue when I took it in for a free follow up. They spent a lot of time on it, they made it good, but not perfect so they offered me a refund. I kept the bike and ended up fixing the problem on my own later. I'm pretty sure most bike shops would of replaced parts till they fixed it. REI may have not had the parts in store to troubleshoot, but I didn't ask what they tried.
I've been quite happy with REI too. I got a new bike there 3 years ago, and have been quite happy with their service. I don't know if my bike rolled off the assembly line with zero defects, but it certainly had zero defects when I rode it home. They are probably the only brick-and-mortar store that I actually enjoy going into, other than tiny one-person shops run by friends.

Maybe they've struck a balance between the opposing forces in retail. They don't sell the cheapest bikes. They don't destroy the brands that they sell. They manage both local and online retail. They seem to have happy, loyal employees.
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Old 01-24-19, 06:13 PM
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Bought a new Giant hybrid for my wife at a local bike shop ,she thought she liked it. Turns out she didn't like it so much, put maybe 15 miles on it over 5 or 6 months. I've been in to buy some odds and ends a few times and mentioned to them about her bike. They said they would do a trade, so we brought it in to them and test rode quite a few bikes. Found a mountain bike that rode decent and told em we'd take it The sales person talked to the owner and told us they were going to take the hybrid bike back and give her the mountain bike for fifty bucks difference. Similar priced bikes.. They have two new lifetime customers now.
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Old 01-24-19, 10:15 PM
  #43  
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I've had mostly good luck with locally-owned independent bike shops. The one I frequent now has been in the family for over 50 years, so they're established and mostly just members of their family work there.

I recently bought a bike (the 2016 Giant Sedona) from there and had great support from them. I went in to get my Pinnacle tuned up, but after looking at some of the bikes I ended up inquiring on one. I asked him what would be best for me for a decent price. He let me try the fitting on one and told me all about it. I decided I liked it. After having trouble with the Pinnacle and family members "pressuring" me on thinking about getting a new bike, I caved.

Another good thing about that particular bike shop is they're flexible with payment options if you can't afford a new bike. They have a layaway program where you can pay a certain amount of money towards the bike after paying a certain amount (like 40-50%) down. Being a broke college student, that was about the only way I could get a decent new bike.

After I paid the amount off, I also purchased a basket and a helmet from that bike shop. On the basket and other accessories, they don't charge labor for anything on bikes that you purchase through them. That also includes tune-ups and servicing - the only thing you have to worry about is parts themselves. Which IMHO is excellent customer service. They certainly won my business.

I had used another bike shop in the past that closed up. It was ran by an older fella, a guy who was good at servicing bikes. The nice thing about him is he was fairly affordable. He also hoarded many older bikes, so if you needed a part from an old bike - there was a good chance he had it.

TL/DR: my experience with bike shops has mostly been good. I purchased a bike from a LBS recently, and the LBS assisted me in finding a bike that's right for me. They also had flexible payment plans on their bikes and free labor for as long as you own the bike.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:04 PM
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Most of my experiences at local bike shops have also been positive. The ones I deal with take very good care of people who buy bikes from them - and they're nice to me, even though my LBS spending is a drop in the bucket compared to what a lot of other cyclists throw down, and they know quite well that I do 95% of my own wrenching. This is a smart business practice, IMO: the customer who is buying tubes today might be the one walking through the door ready to spend several thousand on a bike next year.

I've had bad experiences as well, and tend to just avoid shops with issues.
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Old 01-25-19, 09:04 AM
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The reason there are so many LBS is the manufacturers keep it that way. You can't buy a Giant, Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Scott and most other brands without going to a brick and mortar store.
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Old 01-25-19, 09:42 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
, he flat out told me it was just too much of a bother to actually go open the boxes, put the chain in inventory, and sell me one, but if I came back the next day someone would be happy to help me
I am reasonably certain (being a NYC area New Yorker) that I would have had a conversation along these lines:

"Well no, you are going to go back to the stock room right now, open the box, take out the chain I need, put it in the system and sell it to me as I have waited 2 days, with another employee telling me that the chains would be in today and late afternoon would be a good time to pick one up". "Or I can go down the street to Performance and buy one, at which point I will recount this conversation to the store manager". "Your call, as to whether you will be working here tomorrow". Etc....
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Old 01-25-19, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I am reasonably certain (being a NYC area New Yorker) that I would have had a conversation along these lines:

"Well no, you are going to go back to the stock room right now, open the box, take out the chain I need, put it in the system and sell it to me as I have waited 2 days, with another employee telling me that the chains would be in today and late afternoon would be a good time to pick one up". "Or I can go down the street to Performance and buy one, at which point I will recount this conversation to the store manager". "Your call, as to whether you will be working here tomorrow". Etc....
Cool thing about real life? It doesn't play out the way it does in your mind online. The guy couldn't care less if I bought the chain or not, even though I did mention the whole bit about me being told to come back at this time to get it by the other employee.

As to telling on him to the store manager? Eh, I have far more worthwhile things to do with my time than call up and complain. It isn't my job to make sure the management knows about the competency of their employees, that is managements job.
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Old 01-25-19, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Cool thing about real life? It doesn't play out the way it does in your mind online. The guy couldn't care less if I bought the chain or not, even though I did mention the whole bit about me being told to come back at this time to get it by the other employee.

As to telling on him to the store manager? Eh, I have far more worthwhile things to do with my time than call up and complain. It isn't my job to make sure the management knows about the competency of their employees, that is managements job.
Very true, except that old farts like myself LOVE taking on silly crap like this !.
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Old 01-25-19, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Very true, except that old farts like myself LOVE taking on silly crap like this !.
Heh, I hear ya, I just learned a while ago it is easier to change how I interact with the world than to try and get it to change for me
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Old 01-25-19, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Snip...As far as liberal return policies, those are terrible and if you don't know what you are buying, don't buy it. I can understand returning something defective but returning something because you chose to buy the wrong thing or because you decided you couldn't afford it or you refused to try it on in the store, is ridiculous. I don't walk into a store wondering about returns because if that is my end goal or a main worry then I probably shouldn't go in. You don't go to a restaurant order an appetizer and when it comes out and you eat a bite decide, no I actually don't want it (at least normal people don't) why should it be so different here....snip

Snip...So hey everyone let's maybe stop the blind hatred of bike shops unless one particular one has done you so wrong and not even tried to correct it after you were calm and respectful the entire time and didn't go to unreasonable levels. If that happens then talk about that shop and only that shop and don't attack an entire industry. Some of us actually work hard and enjoy our jobs, if you don't maybe you should try working in the cycling or outdoor retail industry it is way more fun than sitting at cubicle.
Great observations! On the first one above, it is the typical trend to taking absolutely no responsibility to do due diligence and research, and then whine and cry when they discover they bought in haste, ignorance, or with inadequare information. Buying a bike without a test ride is just foolish. Even the same model can feel different from the past years model from as little as OEM tires to different components or even frame construction. This can also happen when a bike gets purchased, and then the reaction from friends is negative or not laudatory, and the person second guesses themself..

I am continually amazed by the amount of stuff that gets returned at Costco. Cases of soda and water missing one or 2 cans. Did the people not look when they bought the case, or did they throw a party and use only one or two and return the remainder?

Returns with no questions asked suck profits, raise prices, and increase related service costs. However, this is the direction we are going. Consumers chase the last dollar and penny, and then cry when there are no local shops for repairs, and everything is offshored. They chase the eBay and Amazon deals and moan about offshore counterfeit goods.

When I bought my last bike the shop told me I could being it back for a tune-up for free after riding a month or after 100 miles. (They also offer free annual minor check/tune-ups for the original purchaser - parts extra for as long as you have it). When I was purchasing it, and trying different frame sizes, they asked what my riding style was and to bring in my current bike (a C&V model), and used the French Fit sizing (a joint decision and my preference). I could also bring it back within 30 days for a stem swap (same make/model/color, different length) to fine-tune the fit at no cost which I did not need. Upgrades or color changes would cost. They also offered to take back a bike within 30 days if it was as sold and unmarred or altered (including tires and bar tape), minus a 15% charge since they would have to sell it as used.

This is a shop with bikes from kids to cruisers, hybrids, all road, and full carbon race bikes, as well as doing builds from custom frame builders but has a full range of off the floor bike of all frame materials, types of bikes, and popular sizes. Quite a difference from some others who if you are not looking for a carbon, disc, or compact frame, brush you off
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