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Is your LBS lackluster?

Old 12-01-06, 08:21 PM
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Is your LBS lackluster?

Do you ever have the feeling that you are more into cycling than anyone at your LBS? IOW, do you ever feel like you are more passionate about it than they are? I know that passion comes and goes and a lot of LBS owners have been it awhile but sometimes i wonder.

I'm really intrigued by the people like Sheldon Brown who have made it a lifelong passion that never seems to fade. It seems like a lot of the others are more fair weather in there passion. They are excited for awhile but then maybe not so much.

Sometimes a result of this is the consumer can be more educated on bikes than the LBS rep. That is my case when it comes to my LBS. At least I should say, in some cases. It's not because i am smarter, it's just because I am very passionate about it, and I don't really sense that so much from my LBS.
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Old 12-01-06, 09:49 PM
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I bounce--mainly--between two shops. A local roadie legend of great respect and a local chain of great advertising. I love 'em both, but they're different.

Having said that, the chain with the kiddies tends to be more fun to deal with. No pretentiousness.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:00 AM
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Simple answer to the post question: NO
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Old 12-02-06, 01:20 AM
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I ride only Walmart bikes so I never have to deal with an LBS. But I never have a serious repair problem either that would require an LBS. But if I did have a major problem, I'd just buy another Walmart bike. I've talked to many bicyclists who ride the expensive bikes and they seem to spend more on LBS repair and maintenance cost each year than I spend total on my bike.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:21 AM
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I can't tell passion, but in a number of Austin shops, due to people being busy with customers and their work, I mainly see competance and professionalism, saving the "ho-rah" passion for after work.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by gpsblake
I ride only Walmart bikes so I never have to deal with an LBS. But I never have a serious repair problem either that would require an LBS. But if I did have a major problem, I'd just buy another Walmart bike. I've talked to many bicyclists who ride the expensive bikes and they seem to spend more on LBS repair and maintenance cost each year than I spend total on my bike.
What type of Wal-Mart bikes? Some are just plain scary, while some of the higher-end (relatively for a X-mart store) Mongooses don't look too bad if you know what you are doing with them, and make sure to check the bike out before you buy it, then adjust everything after you buy it (cable stretch, etc.)

Caveat emptor, though.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:34 AM
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No. Now, we have two shops in town. Luckily for me, the one that is really interested in what they're doing is also the less expensive. That's Haven's Bikes in Farmington, NM, by the way. Cottonwood Cycles does have a bigger inventory.
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Old 12-02-06, 02:54 AM
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If they were lackluster they wouldn't be my LBS.

I just avoid the shops where the kids selling bikes don't ride. As there are several shops in town it's easy enough to pick and choose. I go where all the serious cyclists go (it's by far the cheapest shop too!) and leave very happy.
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Old 12-02-06, 11:33 AM
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"I only ride Wal-Mart bikes". There is a group of riders around here that feel this way. Passionately so. In fact, they will not listen to any talk of LBS bikes, being thoroughly convinced they can get equal stuff for $99.00 from Wal Mart. I did break one guy out of this mold and he is quite happy with his new Trek. He is blown away by the fact that he can actually shift when he wants to. Duh. Anyway, the rest of us need to recognize that W-Mart bikes have a prupose in this world. They promote employment in 3d world countries and they keep the cheapskates happy. Trying to talk them into upgrading is a waste of time. Price is the only factor in their world, and by sticking to that view, they are 'beating the system'. bk
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Old 12-02-06, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke
I did break one guy out of this mold and he is quite happy with his new Trek. He is blown away by the fact that he can actually shift when he wants to. Duh. Anyway, the rest of us need to recognize that W-Mart bikes have a prupose in this world. They promote employment in 3d world countries and they keep the cheapskates happy. Trying to talk them into upgrading is a waste of time. Price is the only factor in their world, and by sticking to that view, they are 'beating the system'. bk
You are a danging saint, just like the "rest of us", aint cha?
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Old 12-02-06, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
The local LBS's (around here) are passionate about the $5000 bikes, but not about biking.
The LBS here, Bickel's Cycles is an excellent shop that serves all customers with respect and knowledge. Good prices on repairs too. And willing to quickly order unique parts for me (i.e. shifter for Sachs/SRAM Spectro 7 hub). Bought my Schwinn Cruiser from them too. They also sponsor the local bicycling club and racing events too, though that doesn't mean poo to me.

Highest praise and recommendation for this LBS.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:16 PM
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I go 10 miles out of my way to go to my favorite bike shop. Being car free, it's not always an easy task, but I love the shop, so I'll go there. The other shop I go to if I need something cheap is the local Performance. It's useless asking for advice there, but if I know exactly what I want, I can save a few bucks. Nobody works on my bikes but me (mainly because I can't afford to be without my bike, as it's my transportation!)
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Old 12-02-06, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Portis
Do you ever have the feeling that you are more into cycling than anyone at your LBS? IOW, do you ever feel like you are more passionate about it than they are? I know that passion comes and goes and a lot of LBS owners have been it awhile but sometimes i wonder.

I'm really intrigued by the people like Sheldon Brown who have made it a lifelong passion that never seems to fade. It seems like a lot of the others are more fair weather in there passion. They are excited for awhile but then maybe not so much.

Sometimes a result of this is the consumer can be more educated on bikes than the LBS rep. That is my case when it comes to my LBS. At least I should say, in some cases. It's not because i am smarter, it's just because I am very passionate about it, and I don't really sense that so much from my LBS.
I work with a bunch of guys who are heavily into triathalon, road raceing and cross country mountain bike raceing. They are much more knowledgable about things like Power Taps and boutique wheels that I frankly don't care very much about. Does that make me less passionate? I used to work with a couple of professional freestyle guys. One did flatland, the other aerial jumps. Neither owned a road bike but they could talk for a long time about freecoaster hubs. Are they unknowledgable or dispassionate?

I think that it's interesting that you mention Sheldon Brown. I don't see how anybody could accuse him of being dispassionate or unknowledgable but I don't see him printing discussions about adjusting the bump and rebound dampers on downhill mountain bikes either.

Bicycling encompasses a huge range of activities. I doubt there are very many people who are truly expert on all aspects of it. I learn new things every day but I think that the body of things to learn is expanding faster than I could assimilate them all even if I wanted to.

My point is that just because somebody doesn't share your exact passion doesn't mean that they aren't passionate. You might understand one little slice of the bicycling pie better than somebody else, but don't necessarily assume that your knowledge of the whole thing is greater.
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Old 12-02-06, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
The LBS here, Bickel's Cycles is an excellent shop that serves all customers with respect and knowledge. Good prices on repairs too. And willing to quickly order unique parts for me (i.e. shifter for Sachs/SRAM Spectro 7 hub). Bought my Schwinn Cruiser from them too. They also sponsor the local bicycling club and racing events too, though that doesn't mean poo to me.

Highest praise and recommendation for this LBS.
Uh oh. You nailed their failing. They are not quick to order parts, unless they are from a jobber they order from every week, anyway. In fact, it's a complete inversion of internet shopping. They cost less than internet dealers, but are slower to deliver.
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Old 12-02-06, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
If they were lackluster they wouldn't be my LBS.
Some of us don't have much choice. My next closest shop is 80 miles away. Just to reiterate, this thread is asking if your shop is PASSIONATE about bikes and cycling. I don't really care if they have good service, etc. I suppose one could say that if they have good service, they must be passionate, but I don't think that is a given.

Do the employees there ride to work? Do they ride regularly?
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Old 12-02-06, 05:13 PM
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There are ten or so shops in town here. I've dealt only with four of them.

Where I bought my bike, not passionate--it's a business for purposes of income. Except for one of the mechanics, who is also the only cycle commuter. But, they treat me right and it's only a three-minute ride away.

Second shop, definately passionate. The owner is a former racer and factory rep. He organizes and promotes our crit (now on the UCI America Tour) and leads an off-season ride, the Tuesday Night Urban Assault. Most of the staff join the ride and several cycle commute.

Third shop, I've dealt only with one of the mechanics, an avid tourer and cycle commuter.

Fourth shop, promotes a couple of big rides a years, and a couple of the staff cycle commute, several are in the local race club.
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Old 12-02-06, 09:41 PM
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I deal with two really good shops: one in the town I live in, the other in the town I work in 40 miles from home. One is a Trek dealer, the other Specialized, and I ride a Cannondale. Both are well run and provided good repair service and both support cycling in the community. I still do the majority of the work on my own bike.
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Old 12-02-06, 11:09 PM
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my Walmart bikes have always been of the Schwinn line except the Roadmaster I bought and rode from Saluda SC to Raleigh NC 5 years ago. Never had a problem shifting gears while riding any of my bikes. I have to adjust the shift cables once in a while but so does the $2,000 Trek owner.

And I also agree with the other poster, you should check out the bike before you buy it to make sure it has been assembled correctly or have the skills to assemble it correctly yourself when you get home. Although I'm tired of the "forks assembled backwards myth".

However because of Walmart, there are countless 1,000s who are able to afford a decent bicycle. The cheapest adult bike the nearest LBS sells is $600.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Portis
Some of us don't have much choice. My next closest shop is 80 miles away. Just to reiterate, this thread is asking if your shop is PASSIONATE about bikes and cycling. I don't really care if they have good service, etc. I suppose one could say that if they have good service, they must be passionate, but I don't think that is a given.

Do the employees there ride to work? Do they ride regularly?
I go to two different local bike shops. Both are small shops.

One is run by a former racer who loves bikes and biking. For example he sold me a Colnago track frame which he had in the basement for $25 because he knew it would go to a good home and be used. We also sit in the back room and drink coffee and chat bikes. Cool.

The second is a workshop that mostly fixes bikes but also sells used high end racing bikes from the pro circuit. It's run by a former Soviet track champion who was also the head wrench for the Soviet track team and is now the head wrench for the Latvian National Team. He's the best wrench I've ever seen. The man has magic hands.

The other employee is an old duffer in his seventies who was a former Latvian champion and has built bikes since 1949.

The prices here are very low, it's work done for cyclists by cyclists. (For example- I had a complete tear down and tune up for $20- including hubs repacked, cranks taken apart and cleaned, headset re-lubed and adjusted, wheels trued, etc. Even by Latvian standards that is very inexpensive.) When I had a fixed gear built up there the owner, who is in his sixties asked if he could try it out. of course I said. He hopped on road around a little did a perfect track stand dismounted, and whispered in my ear; "it's in the blood."

Both these places are in what I call the local "Velo Mafia". So to answer your question, yes, both the shops I frequent are very passionate about cycling.
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