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Maybe more people are riding bikes

Old 07-20-08, 07:48 AM
  #1  
banerjek
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Maybe more people are riding bikes

Seen on an LBS:

A sign explaining that due to time commitments, they would not repair "department store" bikes for the time being. A number of unrepairable brands were listed, but the sign made it clear that there may be other unrepairable brands that were not listed.

This is not a snooty shop. Their bread and butter is casual cyclists who ride in town. I talked to the owner and he said business has been about double normal levels.

Other shops I've been in lately also seem unusually busy.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:03 AM
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Doesn't surprise me. Maybe I should get my @$$ out there and offer my services as a bike mechanic while I'm on Summer vacation.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:05 AM
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Dept store bikes usually make up the majority of repairs according to my LBS. They hate fixing them because the people complain about repair prices.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:19 AM
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That's why I like my lbs, free tune up for the lifetime of the bike. Haven't had a repair needed yet, so I'm not too sure if they would be fair in that regard. If my back lasts me 5 years and I can get 5 million miles in within that time period I think I would have gotten my money's worth.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by johnnychimpo View Post
Dept store bikes usually make up the majority of repairs according to my LBS. They hate fixing them because the people complain about repair prices.
Word

A 90 dollar Huffy could cost 150 to fix. I hated people telling me... "I could get a new one for less". My answer was... "And it will need new parts in a month as well".
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Old 07-20-08, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sfcrossrider View Post
Word

A 90 dollar Huffy could cost 150 to fix. I hated people telling me... "I could get a new one for less". My answer was... "And it will need new parts in a month as well".
Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. Too much hassle to educate the customer about the difference between their throwaway bike and a decent bike that can be repaired/maintained. I also gotta think that those department store bikes would be hard to make money on anyway, since a similar repair would actually take longer due to construction / hardware issues.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:06 AM
  #7  
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They're doing it wrong. Hire on additional help (even if temporary) and sell more labor. If they are afraid they can't fix the bikes, then it's an upsell opportunity. If they think people are too cheap to pay for a repair inspection, charge $20 up front. Heck, if the repair is due to lack of service, sell them a service plan or sign them up for a mailing list which will suggestive sell future maintenance during the off season.

Sounds to me like that shop has no desire to grow in the modern marketplace.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:13 AM
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The little LBS we have in town will take in anything.
Last time i was in there to get some cables the had
a bike in a repair stand that had to been pulled out
of the weeds somewere.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:28 AM
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That is interesting. It would never be my first choice to turn away business, but then again if they are working to capacity (ie: have people working at all the benches so they can't just hire more people) and they still have a really long turn around time I could see it.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by slide13 View Post
That is interesting. It would never be my first choice to turn away business, but then again if they are working to capacity (ie: have people working at all the benches so they can't just hire more people) and they still have a really long turn around time I could see it.
You buy another $150 bike stand thereby allowing for more work or to reduce wait time and improve customer satisfaction. Think more about the big picture.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:41 AM
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We were talking about this as a joke at the shop where I work. It makes sense though. The crappy bikes are just taking up room to the point where we cant hold any more, crap-tastic or good. It is a shame for the people who actually need repairs on good bikes, but cant get them back for two and a half weeks.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:50 AM
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Yep, a lot of people are buying bikes due to high oil prices. When you've got an SUV that costs $100 to fill up, a $250 bike for running errands doesn't seem very expensive.


Originally Posted by rizz View Post
They're doing it wrong. Hire on additional help (even if temporary) and sell more labor. If they are afraid they can't fix the bikes, then it's an upsell opportunity.... Sounds to me like that shop has no desire to grow in the modern marketplace.
One of the things you learn as a small business owner is, not every customer is worth having.

In many cases, the customer who is too cheap to invest in a half-way decent bike is going to demand top-notch service for bargain-basement prices - and be a huge PITA along the way.

Plus, finding a good and reliable mechanic - at a time when business is booming - is not easy.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
One of the things you learn as a small business owner is, not every customer is worth having.

In many cases, the customer who is too cheap to invest in a half-way decent bike is going to demand top-notch service for bargain-basement prices - and be a huge PITA along the way.

Plus, finding a good and reliable mechanic - at a time when business is booming - is not easy.
+1. We don't try to pull customers in with discounts anymore. Invariably, those price shoppers are the ones who cause the most problems.
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Old 07-20-08, 11:11 AM
  #14  
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More people riding bikes? FOR SURE!!!!

I recently read a MSNBC article about cyclists and motorists...in the article, the mentioned that commuting via bicycle has completely spiked...and bicycle shop sales have spiked.

I know with my own LBS, tuneups take about 1-2 weeks because they have so much work. But they'll fix ANYTHING...from Huffy to Cyfac...they'll do it all. Very high quality, knowledgable, super nice staff too. They're the best!
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Old 07-20-08, 11:18 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Plus, finding a good and reliable mechanic - at a time when business is booming - is not easy.
In this area finding a reliable mechanic at all isn't easy.
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Old 07-20-08, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnychimpo View Post
Dept store bikes usually make up the majority of repairs according to my LBS. They hate fixing them because the people complain about repair prices.
It pains me to see people bringing those pieces of crap in.

The headsets will be shot, wheels totally messed up, chain and tranny toast from total lack of maintenance, cables rusted in place, etc. When the wrenches start explaining what would need to be done to do just the basic stuff the cheapest way possible, the customer thinks it's a scam
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Old 07-20-08, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
It pains me to see people bringing those pieces of crap in.

The headsets will be shot, wheels totally messed up, chain and tranny toast from total lack of maintenance, cables rusted in place, etc. When the wrenches start explaining what would need to be done to do just the basic stuff the cheapest way possible, the customer thinks it's a scam
Here in NYC a lot of the smaller bike shops are the only places deliverymen with cheapo bikes can go to get their bikes fixed because the high end shops won't take them or are just too expensive. It does get on my nerves when people complain about repair prices on cheap bikes because they should understand why their bike was so cheap to begin with; more often than not you get what you pay for.
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Old 07-20-08, 04:30 PM
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I've been in my neighborhood bike shops when someone arrives with their K-Mart bike...often driving up in a Mercedes or BMW. They say "The brakes don't work". The tech says "It would cost $100 replace these cr@po brake calipers and levers with decent calipers and levers". The customer howls "but I only paid $59 for this entire bike".

And, sometimes, the customer agrees to pay for the repair, but never picks the bike up. Doesn't want to pay the $100 repair bill on his $59 bike. So, the shop has wasted time and energy, and the "junk" bike is taking up valuable storage space.

I was at a Trek dealer when a lady drove up in a BMW. She had a brand new girl's bike from Wal-Mart. She handed it to the tech and said "this bike doesn't seem to be put together right". She had her little eight year old daughter beaming with hopeful anticipation next to her.

The tech took a $4,000 bike off his workstand, and put the little girl's bike up there. He put it together as best he could, given it was a piece of junk. Ten minutes later he hands it to the little girl. No charge.

Which may explain why the tech is NOT driving a BMW.
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Old 07-20-08, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TarmacDude View Post
That's why I like my lbs, free tune up for the lifetime of the bike. Haven't had a repair needed yet, so I'm not too sure if they would be fair in that regard. If my back lasts me 5 years and I can get 5 million miles in within that time period I think I would have gotten my money's worth.
Which LBS is this?
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Old 07-20-08, 05:37 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by rizz View Post
You buy another $150 bike stand thereby allowing for more work or to reduce wait time and improve customer satisfaction. Think more about the big picture.
My LBS has six clamps (three stands of two clamps each) and there's rarely a moment when even one of them doesn't have a bike in it. They don't have anywhere else to put workstands, and there's always at least four mechanics present, if not more. They helped a disabled guy get tubes & tires for his wheelchair from another store this afternoon. And, yes, they have people coming in with trashed department store bikes, along with a Quintana Roo that was bought used and had a curious affliction with shifting gears while turning (cables WAY too short ).

They'd do more repairs if they could, but they literally can't.
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Old 07-20-08, 05:48 PM
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I haven't seen my shop turn folks away, but they have been crazy busy of late. Every time I am in there, they seem to be selling another commuter special (including two to friends of mine). As an aside, I am a big fan of the Kona Dew for commuters / general fitness.
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Old 07-20-08, 05:55 PM
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The LBS in my college town will fix anything, but there are a few pretty incompetent dudes there and they burned me once so I wouldn't recommend them anyway.
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Old 07-20-08, 07:18 PM
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It's a 2+ week wait around here to get anything done (in the middle of our prime 10-12 week season). The high school kids at my LBS work hard, but have limited skillsets. They'll take anything in, but if they have trouble, they simply hand it back to the customer and move on.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:44 PM
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(Moving to General with the OP's ok - I think it will get more traffic there.)

Most of the shops around here refuse to work on discount store bikes, and they've had that policy for quite awhile.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Booger View Post
It's a 2+ week wait around here to get anything done (in the middle of our prime 10-12 week season). The high school kids at my LBS work hard, but have limited skillsets. They'll take anything in, but if they have trouble, they simply hand it back to the customer and move on.
Which shop do you go to?
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