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Maybe bike shops should sell inexpensive bikes

Old 04-04-08, 08:38 AM
  #101  
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1. how can buying junk every year be cheaper. with logic you could buy a really nice bike and just keep riding it.

2. dont underestimate just how much markup there is on the $99kmart bikes, they come very very cheap.

3. the lower end kmart bikes are disgusting! Why? simple, the brakes are dangerous, they do not work and should be banned, I hope my ex-wife rides hers down a big hill.
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Old 04-04-08, 01:54 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
All LBS sell "inexpensive" bikes. The are called used or reconditioned bikes.
Our LBS doesn't.
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Old 04-04-08, 02:00 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
~snip~

Back in the late 70's I rode an assortment of some of the most mediocre to downright horrid (Huffy 10-speed, undersized and overweight) bikes built. My high school graduation present was a Univega Viva Sport. What a revelation. Not high dollar, not exotic, but a good quality all around bike that worked! My father still thinks that the $250 (1979 dollars) price tag was too high. I had the Univega for 12 years and still wish I had kept it. ~snip~
That bike today would be a $800 bike (based on inflation)...and that will buy you a very nice bike.

FWIW I just plopped down $540 for a new city bike...

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Old 04-04-08, 02:01 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by TheKingFiphtin View Post
That's why I stick with single speeds, I guess..
IIRC, Milwaukee is fairly flat, is it not? Try coming out here to WV and singlespeeding your way up some of our hills.
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Old 04-04-08, 02:06 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by flatlander_48 View Post
No, it's a question of expectations. Folks go around wondering why bike shops are so high priced. They don't understand WHY there is a price difference because they don't understand what the physical difference is. Quality is not defined by me. Stores make their own decisions as to dollar value vs quality level. Are you going to suggest that discount store bikes are made to the same quality level as low end name brand bikes?
I point out to people that if they by a $100 bike from ___--Mart, it will probably fall apart on them in a year or so at best, but if they buy a $500--$800 bike from the LBS and maintain it properly they'll be able to ride it for years. Do the math!
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Old 04-04-08, 05:39 PM
  #106  
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It took me the longest time to get my ride buddies to upgrade from Wal Mart and Target bikes. I felt like I was talking to tree stumps! One had only one useable gear, the other could only get 2 of 3 chainrings. Their stock response was; Why spend $400+ when I can get one for $69.00? Many people ONLY consider price. There are no other criteria so they don't even ask about specific components, frames &c.

Let Wal Mart sell the junk, and let the cheapskates buy them. Then everyone has what they want. Besides, the buyers of cheap bikes soon give it up, because of poor fit, equipment failure and so on. This helps keep the bike paths from being too crowded. bk

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Old 04-04-08, 07:06 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by Kimmitt View Post
And LBS's can easily sell such a bike for $200 or less, allowing them to compete with the Wally World bikes by offering a much higher quality product for a somewhat higher price.

But that will require a change in how LBS's do business -- they will have to become better at training staff to size up and process customers quickly, make the shopping experience more pleasant in general, and advertise that their bikes are professionally selected and assembled.

We're really not suggesting that the LBS model is flawed as a whole. What we are suggesting is that there are some fairly low-key tweaks which could allow LBS's to move a lot of low-end bikes and get more and more people into cycling.
Won't happen. LBS model is not about increasing cycling, it's only about generating profit. Most of the the wally world bikes are probably impulse items for expensive toys. LBS promote cycling as hobby and exercise. Exercise is a no no, hobby is variable with the economy. I don't see any model where the LBS can afford to have loss leader bikes. There are too few people coming in their door to give up x% of their business with no profit bike offerings. I don't see even how a business like performance that depends on profit from clothing could make this work.

The only model that might improve the LBS experience is to have hobby superstores, cycles are part of it, sport B is part of it, and sport C.
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Old 04-04-08, 07:20 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
The only model that might improve the LBS experience is to have hobby superstores, cycles are part of it, sport B is part of it, and sport C.
Already got those here in Australia. I'd suspect that if you check the larger 'Outdoor Adventure' stores where you live they'll have a rather large cycling section also, and it'll be selling some quality bikes
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Old 04-04-08, 07:25 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
Won't happen. LBS model is not about increasing cycling, it's only about generating profit.
Really? I guess that explains why so many shops support local races and rides, have teams and clubs, send mechanics to events, have booths at the local Earth Day, work the Art in Motion event. Most LBS people are in it because they love cycling not because of the massive revenue generated(There is no massive revenue generated)
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Old 04-04-08, 07:37 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
The only model that might improve the LBS experience is to have hobby superstores, cycles are part of it, sport B is part of it, and sport C.
That's what my store is, a sporting goods and fitness equipment store that has a bike department. Dick's Sporting Goods and REI have a similar concept.
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Old 04-04-08, 10:03 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
920 miles so far this year on my Walmart bikes........ And when I go to the local LBS to look around from time to time, they have a week long waiting list for LBS bicycles to be "fixed" and "repaired".
My 1962 Peugeot, which already had a gazillion miles on it, was converted into a fixed gear this spring and then ridden 4000 km before I had to do a spec of service and that was to replace the chain.

While doing that I upgraded the rear cog and changed the front chain ring to keep my gearing and rode it another 1000 or so km without any issues.

Now that spring is here I am expecting that I'll just ride my bike for the next 3000 - 4000 km after I do an annual check / repack of the bearings and do not expect that I will have to do anything but pedal.

I work on a lot of x-mart bikes... they do not get this kind of mileage without receiving a lot more servicing.
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Old 04-04-08, 11:12 PM
  #112  
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The problem is that there is nothing in between here. We have Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target on the one hand, and the LBS (there is only one in town). There is a Dick's, but they don't sell bikes.

Now, I didn't grow up here, but when I was a kid Sears and Montgomery Ward (yes, I'm dating myself) sold reasonably good bikes, and they had service departments.
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Old 04-05-08, 12:01 AM
  #113  
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Sears no longer sells anything that isn't essentially Wally World.
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Old 04-05-08, 12:05 AM
  #114  
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When I was a kid we bought our bikes at the hardware store... we had a choice between CCM and Raleigh bicycles with the Raleigh bikes always costing more.

Our local bike shop carried a lot of nice bikes for adults and did all the service work for everyone that didn't do it themselves.

I was introduced to the wrench and tyre tools at a very early age.
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Old 04-05-08, 12:28 AM
  #115  
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If LBSs sell cheap bikes, it will drive away customers wanting more expensive bikes.


Think about it, would you be fine buying an expensive bike from an LBS that also specializes in crap? Or how about buying an expensive bike from walmart... would you be ok with that?

I wouldn't.
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Old 04-05-08, 12:50 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by mustang1 View Post
If LBSs sell cheap bikes, it will drive away customers wanting more expensive bikes.


Think about it, would you be fine buying an expensive bike from an LBS that also specializes in crap? Or how about buying an expensive bike from walmart... would you be ok with that?

I wouldn't.
That depend upon the LBS, if he is the type to just sell a cheapie with no after sales support and ignore Joe Cheap to when he brings his bike back for a service to chat to Mr Marin on a carbonfibre wonder... no, I would not.

But it also works this way. A guy can walk in to an LBS with 200, it is all he can afford. I would much rather a bloke with a bit of knowledge about bikes supplies him with a bike rather than pulling one down of a shelf, in a box in a supermarket. What will happen then is when Mr Cheap is in the market for a better bike he will go back to bloke who did not look down on him when he bought his first bike.

I have used the same LBS for about 15 years, the first bike I had from him cost me 99, and it WAS beyond doubt a piece of rubbish.. but he also gave me good after sales service. The next bike cost 200, and the one after that was 300, the last one from him 10 weeks ago cost 600. During all that time he always gave me good advice, but knew my limitations regarding finance. That is why even when I have a bit more cash to spend I go to him... he has earned customer loyalty.
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Old 04-05-08, 06:39 AM
  #117  
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^^^^^ That is a huge part of the LBS IMHO.

I have been buying from the same LBS since the early 80's, before that, it was one that is no longer in business, My bike purchases at this particular store have ranged from a $45 used single speed beater up to several bikes in the $600+ range. I don't do roadies, carbon or high end MTB, but buy plenty of other types. At one point I was looking at a $600+ Giant Excursion utility bike, but couldn't afford it at that point. A few months later I was in buying parts for another of my bikes when the owner asked if I wanted a "really good deal" on the Giant. Seems the distributor had a couple of previous years models in my frame size left over and they wanted to get ride of them. IIRC correctly I paid about $350 for it. It pays to build a relationship with your LBS. Walmart has never offered anyone a frequent buyer discount that I am aware of

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Old 04-05-08, 09:38 AM
  #118  
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I'm not going to dictate to an LBS what price levels they should sell, the free market will do that. If a new sub 200 US dollar bike is what I want, and the LBS does not want to offer one, I'm not going to demand that they should, I'll go to a big box store and get one. Since I've experienced first hand both an LBS and big box bike, I'll pay the few extra dollars to get the LBS bike. The bikes that I see people bringing into the LBS for parts or repairs have seen some serious saddle time, are not big box brands, and they definitely don't look like they've been hanging from a hook in the garage for months or years due to lack of interest. My workplace tried to offer inexpensive versions of our products, only to see a dramatic increase of warranty returns, and customer dissatisfation, and I can see why some LBSs are reluctant to offer new bargain basement priced bikes. Granted, I did purchase a few weeks ago a vintage 10 speed at the LBS for 100 US dollars, similar to one that I had commuted on many years ago, but that was a bike I happen to have been looking for some time, and in today's money, would have sold for 600 US dollars. The LBS that I frequent will sell inexpensive bikes, it's only that the bikes are older higher quality bikes with quality components.
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Old 04-05-08, 08:32 PM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck View Post
Most LBS people are in it because they love cycling not because of the massive revenue generated(There is no massive revenue generated)
But not the owners. Nashbar, Performance, Nytro, All3Sports, etc are run by business people. Business people hire people interested in cycling not out of a love for cycling, but because it's better business. I'll agree most LBS employees are in it for the love of the sport. But successful business owners are more excited about the business than the sport. Unfortunately for the sport, many LBS are dying because they are small shops without a keen understanding of the business.

The only possible exception I can think of where there is a good mix of business and sport is Tom Deleney {sp?} in Michigan.
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Old 04-05-08, 08:40 PM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
That's what my store is, a sporting goods and fitness equipment store that has a bike department. Dick's Sporting Goods and REI have a similar concept.
Interesting you bring up Dick's Sporting goods, the one here in Columbia has a full time bike mechanic & does repairs on them. They don't sell many road bikes though and they seem to specialize in the $200-$300 range of mountain bikes and BMX. I bought a hybrid from them about 6 or 7 years ago.
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Old 04-05-08, 09:52 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
Interesting you bring up Dick's Sporting goods, the one here in Columbia has a full time bike mechanic & does repairs on them. They don't sell many road bikes though and they seem to specialize in the $200-$300 range of mountain bikes and BMX. I bought a hybrid from them about 6 or 7 years ago.
That--allowing for inflation--is what I remember Sears and Wards doing when I was a kid (adding in the improperly-so-called 'English Racer Three Speeds').

Apparently each local Dicks has a certain degree of freedom to adapt to the local conditions, as our local Dicks doesn't (so far as I remember) even sell bicycles, or if they do they don't service them.

Don't get me wrong; I love my local LBS to death, and I don't blame them for focusing on the high-end stuff, because that's where the demand is. They're wonderful about ordering out-of-the way things (like my Montegue folder, my Xtracycle kit, and my CarryFreedom trailer) and will bend over backwards to do service--I just wish that there were some in-between place around here. There is nothing here for those whose desires are beyond WalMart, but aren't about to drop a paycheck's on a bike.
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Old 04-06-08, 11:30 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
But not the owners. Nashbar, Performance, Nytro, All3Sports, etc are run by business people. Business people hire people interested in cycling not out of a love for cycling, but because it's better business. I'll agree most LBS employees are in it for the love of the sport. But successful business owners are more excited about the business than the sport. Unfortunately for the sport, many LBS are dying because they are small shops without a keen understanding of the business.

The only possible exception I can think of where there is a good mix of business and sport is Tom Deleney {sp?} in Michigan.
Tom Demerly, bikesportmichigan.com

I agree Tom has a good mix of business and sport he has built his business and reputation on it. His latest foray in this area was to build a computrainer setup for multiple riders and then not charge people to come in and use it. From Tom's point of view he is getting people in the store during the months that are slowest (winter in Michigan) if they are in the store they are likely to buy something, if not then, then they will buy it later when they need it and remember Tom's when they do. from the customer's point of view, Tom provides them a nice alternative to grinding the trainer in front of the TV all winter.

As for stocking cheap bikes, that store has built it's reputation on offering quality bikes and service. It would be completely against his business model to offer sub $200 bikes and his regular customers would think he was going downhill.
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Old 04-06-08, 05:10 PM
  #123  
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Bike shops do sell inexpensive bikes, those under US$400. Wal-Mart, Target, Toys 'R' Us, and K-Mart sell cheap bikes. There is a difference between inexpensive and cheap.
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Old 04-08-08, 06:08 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by Mr. Jim View Post
Tom Demerly, bikesportmichigan.com

I agree Tom has a good mix of business and sport he has built his business and reputation on it. His latest foray in this area was to build a computrainer setup for multiple riders and then not charge people to come in and use it. From Tom's point of view he is getting people in the store during the months that are slowest (winter in Michigan) if they are in the store they are likely to buy something, if not then, then they will buy it later when they need it and remember Tom's when they do. from the customer's point of view, Tom provides them a nice alternative to grinding the trainer in front of the TV all winter.

As for stocking cheap bikes, that store has built it's reputation on offering quality bikes and service. It would be completely against his business model to offer sub $200 bikes and his regular customers would think he was going downhill.
Unfortunately I was in this store recently, walked in, was not greeted at all, barely even acknowledged, stood around for about 15-20 minutes waiting for someone to help me, and nothing. The employees didn't even so much give me a smile and tell me they'd be with me in a bit. I walked out.

Probably won't be going back there again, either.

I'm not so sure what some people consider quality service. Do I need an appointment to get an employee to acknowledge me when I just have a few questions about parts, or might want to purchase a few parts?

Overall just a bad/awkward experience, I think.

Another LBS that sells much lower end stuff was much, much more helpful.

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Old 04-08-08, 08:17 AM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck View Post
Really? I guess that explains why so many shops support local races and rides, have teams and clubs, send mechanics to events, have booths at the local Earth Day, work the Art in Motion event. Most LBS people are in it because they love cycling not because of the massive revenue generated(There is no massive revenue generated)
That would be called preaching to the choir.

I think there is totally room for a nice simple inexpensive bike that isn't crap that LBSs could sell to non-cycling people. I know my wife hates bike shops because of the bright spandex, the carbon fiber everywhere and just the whole subculture aspect of it and it required a lot of force to get her to go buy her city commuter from an LBS over Target.

I agree that there is very little money in the bike shop biz, but if you don't expand the market, it will always be like this.
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