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Making it Harder to Support LBS

Old 08-17-04, 07:54 AM
  #1  
franklen
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Making it Harder to Support LBS

I was all ready to make a purchase and a tool investment yesterday at my LBS. After commuting daily for 1 and a half years, my derailleur cables are in need of replacement. And so I went into my LBS (that does not have a good track record with me) once again, since they are on my route home. When I arrived I asked for the cable and housing that I would need for my bike to take home and change on my own, and also for any tools (knowing I would need a cable cutter). They had neither the housing (for my Diamondback mounatinbike) or a cable cutter tool in stock. The cutter I can sort of understand as it probably is not selling off their shelves quickly, but thier lack of having it shows a lack of support for the do it yourselfer in my mind. But the cable housing? SHouldn't that be a base stock item in any store?

I of course could make an order through them, but as I mentioned thier track record above, I don't want to wait 2-3 weeks and not be called, as they demonstrated before. And gettign answers to my questions such as can you tell by looking just how much length of cable and housing I will need? Was like pulling teeth. (Versus taking it all off first, because I want to pick up the items en route, and change them in one evening or weekend, instead of stripping my bike and having to drive in to get the parts).

Any comments?
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Old 08-17-04, 08:32 AM
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Does sound like you have a winner there. Not.

I've been fortunate, something I have to convince myself of from time to time. Although the bikes we recently bought, I have recently seen cheaper, I have to hand it to the guys here at the LBS. I rode in with my daughter to pick her up a bottle cage. They mounted it for her. Then they throw mine up on the rack and check everything over and wipe the chain down and lube it. I mentioned having adjusted the front deraileur cable, and they were like "you shold have just dropped by, we'll take care of it". Good folks. A little pricey, but I think I'm getting my value in the service that they don't charge me for and the lifetime warrentee on the bike.
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Old 08-17-04, 08:54 AM
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I think I found your LBS's twin here in Texas! I have ordered several things that take 2-3 weeks with no call and no concern.

Compare that to the fact that I can get things in 2 days from Performance. I would like to support my LBS (actually I am looking for a FBS) but not for that kind of poor service. I thought when the new owners took over it would get better...to no avail.

I am just learning as much as possible about DIY repairs.
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Old 08-17-04, 09:02 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by pcsanity1
I think I found your LBS's twin here in Texas! I have ordered several things that take 2-3 weeks with no call and no concern.

Compare that to the fact that I can get things in 2 days from Performance. I would like to support my LBS (actually I am looking for a FBS) but not for that kind of poor service. I thought when the new owners took over it would get better...to no avail.
Which LBS in the Houston area are you talking about? From your comments regarding "new owners", do you mean Bike Barn on FM 1960 (formerly Champion Cyclery)? Champion Cyclery had piss-poor service, but I've been quite happy with Bike Barn (so far).

Sverre
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Old 08-17-04, 10:04 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by pcsanity1
I think I found your LBS's twin here in Texas! I have ordered several things that take 2-3 weeks with no call and no concern.
.
2 to 3 weeks ! you are lucky I ordered some Nokia studded tyres from an LBS in Munich on 30th June 2004 and I am still waiting for them

IŽll stick to the internet next time
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Old 08-17-04, 10:43 AM
  #6  
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Not having a spool of cable housing on hand is like your grocery store not carrying bread & milk!
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Old 08-17-04, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by twahl
A little pricey, but I think I'm getting my value in the service that they don't charge me for and the lifetime warrentee on the bike.
I've found that any bike shop that is willing to stick it to you on the price will be more than happy to entertain you with little tweaks and adjustments here and there. I can't stand this, I'm more than willing to pay for service that I can't handle myself and don't want to be taxed with a surcharge upfront for services 'to be rendered.'
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Old 08-17-04, 11:10 AM
  #8  
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There are all kinds of bike stores - those just wanting to sell new bikes and those that have half the store set aside for parts stock and repair area and those in between.

There are 4 bike stores within 6 miles of my house, which are in the middle between a full service and just a seller. However, there is one bike store that is about 18 miles away that has half the store that is parts and repairs. Both times I've been in there needing parts they had them in stock.

First I was putting a seat on an old bike, the old guy in back took a look at the stem and seat I had brought in and he rattled off that it was an old Schwinn and new that not just any stem would work and new peddles also had to be special - not todays standard. He went to a parts bin and pulled out what I needed on the spot.

The second time was even better. I bought a used bike I was fixing up for riding this winter and it needed a new rear wheel, it was caved in one spot. This was a 7 speed indexed shimano bike with a cassette in back, not a freewheel. I brought the bike in and they had a replacement wheel in back, 7 speed in the correct spacing, not a 9 speed with a spacer. This bike looks like the guy never rode it, it is almost perfect, and a royal blue color. Well, the tires and tubes were original from 1993 and would not do, so he pulled a couple of fancy tires off the shelf with blue on the outsides that matched perfectly and discounted them 30%. The wheel was cheaper then I could find on the internet and only charged $8 labor for switching the cassette and putting new tires and tubes on both wheels.

That is a bike store I will be supporting, even thought I have to drive a lot farther to get to.

Mark
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Old 08-17-04, 11:30 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by pcsanity1
I would like to support my LBS (actually I am looking for a FBS)
What's an FBS?
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Old 08-17-04, 12:32 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by brokenrobot
What's an FBS?
Free bike store?
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Old 08-17-04, 02:04 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by brokenrobot
What's an FBS?
Frankenstein Bowling Shirt
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Old 08-17-04, 02:27 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by markm109
There are all kinds of bike stores - those just wanting to sell new bikes and those that have half the store set aside for parts stock and repair area and those in between.

There are 4 bike stores within 6 miles of my house, which are in the middle between a full service and just a seller. However, there is one bike store that is about 18 miles away that has half the store that is parts and repairs. Both times I've been in there needing parts they had them in stock.

First I was putting a seat on an old bike, the old guy in back took a look at the stem and seat I had brought in and he rattled off that it was an old Schwinn and new that not just any stem would work and new peddles also had to be special - not todays standard. He went to a parts bin and pulled out what I needed on the spot.

The second time was even better. I bought a used bike I was fixing up for riding this winter and it needed a new rear wheel, it was caved in one spot. This was a 7 speed indexed shimano bike with a cassette in back, not a freewheel. I brought the bike in and they had a replacement wheel in back, 7 speed in the correct spacing, not a 9 speed with a spacer. This bike looks like the guy never rode it, it is almost perfect, and a royal blue color. Well, the tires and tubes were original from 1993 and would not do, so he pulled a couple of fancy tires off the shelf with blue on the outsides that matched perfectly and discounted them 30%. The wheel was cheaper then I could find on the internet and only charged $8 labor for switching the cassette and putting new tires and tubes on both wheels.

That is a bike store I will be supporting, even thought I have to drive a lot farther to get to.

Mark
Sure, rub it in
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Old 08-17-04, 05:08 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by brokenrobot
What's an FBS?
Family Bike Store
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Old 08-17-04, 05:35 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by brokenrobot
What's an FBS?
I frequent many bike shops so I've started using the term Favourite Bike Shop (FBS) to distinguish one of them from the other LBSes since my FBS, which used to be my LBS, is no longer that local (moved ~30 miles away). In my mind, the FBS is the one store that you've developed a pretty good long term relationship with and knows you personally, has everything you need or can easily get it for you, goes out of their way for your loyalty and hardly ever does you wrong and when they screw up will rectify the situation to the best of their abilities. There is one shop like that for me and I continue to go to them for most of my major purchases as well as for service. I do shop other shops though but when I'm in need of something critical or my bikes have to have that special attention, the FBS gets my business.
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Old 08-17-04, 08:34 PM
  #15  
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Well the shop I recently bought bikes from just made it harder for me to support them today. It's a family shop that's been here long enough that I remember drooling in their shop when I was in middle school. They have a price match +10% policy within 60 days. My wife and I have bought 2004 Expedition Sports in the last month. Unrelated, we also bought my daughter a bike ($240) plus helmets, bags, water bottles, 2 computers, mirrors, all in all we've spent probably $1200 there in the last month. I spotted 2005s in another store on Sunday while killing time, at $40 less than what we paid. I talked to the manager and agreed to take the difference in store credit, but they wouldn't price match it because they were not 2004 models. So I couldn't get a price match on model year newer bikes than what I bought 3-4 weeks ago.

Since I was willing to take it in store credit, it would have cost them maybe $35 to make it right with me. Instead I went right across the street (literally) to Performance and bought rear racks and trunk bags for our bikes, a lock, and a couple sets of patches. Total sale was a few cents shy of $140. I still have one kid that needs a Wally World bike replaced, a new helmet, etc.

My LBS manager made a bad business decision today.
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Old 08-17-04, 08:45 PM
  #16  
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Price matching is just that, matching. Same year. model, spec. Would you expect a match if you had found a discounted 2003? We want to keep customers, but we also need to make a profit. Bike spec can change quite a bit from year to year. You bought Expiditions, from 2003 to 2004 for they had a big spec jump and price drop. The manufacturer also cut their (retail) margin. That means thaie posted retail price is lower, as is the margin of profit as the cost to us did not drop equally. We did not carry the bikes, Giant had better retail price and margin, so they got the floor space.
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Old 08-17-04, 08:56 PM
  #17  
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It is always hard to support the LBS even if they are great. It is just so hard for them to compete with online retailers offering much better prices. If all of the purchases i have made at my LBS were made online and all of the purchases i have made online were purchased at my LBS, I would have virutally nothing.

I don't enjoy giving them the end around but I enjoy watching my dollar go further. Also the fact that a LBS "has to make a profit" is none of my concern for the most part. The market place controls this, it is not my responsiblity to ensure they get a profit anymore than it is the LBS's responsibility that they never go out of business.
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Old 08-17-04, 08:59 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
Price matching is just that, matching. Same year. model, spec. Would you expect a match if you had found a discounted 2003? We want to keep customers, but we also need to make a profit. Bike spec can change quite a bit from year to year. You bought Expiditions, from 2003 to 2004 for they had a big spec jump and price drop. The manufacturer also cut their (retail) margin. That means thaie posted retail price is lower, as is the margin of profit as the cost to us did not drop equally. We did not carry the bikes, Giant had better retail price and margin, so they got the floor space.
The Reverend is right...price matching is an apples to apples exercise...no reason to say sour grapes
if you're trying to re-negotiate based on model year...
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Old 08-18-04, 08:30 PM
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I'd agree except for two things: The only difference between the 04 and 05 models is color, and there was no price change, I was told this when they ordered the mens bike for me. Additionally, I found later that what they charged me was $20 over the MSRP. Well, $19.95 over.

It's not sour grapes. It was a business decision. I would have made a different decision in my business with a customer that had spent that much money in so short a time. I know some of you guys spend that much as a deposit on a bike, but regardless, it's not a small chunk of change. As a consumer, I won't buy there again when I have another option within sight of that store.

I feel I was overcharged, and when given the opportunity to make it right, they chose not to. So I have choices to make, and I won't throw good money after bad.
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Old 08-18-04, 08:48 PM
  #20  
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I love my LBS! This is to say the one I use now. The place I bought my bike sold me a bike too big for me. Didn't know this until I had a great fit just today from my shop. They installed my aero bar (that I bought online...it was three times as much at the BS) but they didn't mind at all. And this hour long bike fit that he did for me ($100 according to the charge board) he only charged me $25 for it!! And I didn't even buy my bike at his shop. So I love them for service, information, shootin the breeze...but they are a bit pricy.

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Old 08-18-04, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by franklen
The cutter I can sort of understand as it probably is not selling off their shelves quickly, but thier lack of having it shows a lack of support for the do it yourselfer in my mind.
I can get you a cable cutter fast if you still need one: CN-10 Park Tool.
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Old 08-18-04, 09:00 PM
  #22  
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I know the feeling. I took my Trek 7100 in for maintainence. Because the LBS said it was "absolutely necessary" for "Warranty". So, I take the bike to them. Waited 4 days to get it back, which is understandable. But When I got my bike back there was no lube on the chain or anywhere else, The front brakes were scrubbing and my front wheel would barely turn. My shifters didnt shift to all the gears like they had before. My tires were 30lbs low. So I had to redo everything the LBS did to make my bike rideble again. BRAND NEW BIKE! Had flashbacks of the Wally World back for a few days after that. They did get an ear full when I called them back to complain.
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Old 08-18-04, 09:42 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by twahl
I'd agree except for two things: The only difference between the 04 and 05 models is color, and there was no price change, I was told this when they ordered the mens bike for me. Additionally, I found later that what they charged me was $20 over the MSRP. Well, $19.95 over.

It's not sour grapes. It was a business decision. I would have made a different decision in my business with a customer that had spent that much money in so short a time. I know some of you guys spend that much as a deposit on a bike, but regardless, it's not a small chunk of change. As a consumer, I won't buy there again when I have another option within sight of that store.

I feel I was overcharged, and when given the opportunity to make it right, they chose not to. So I have choices to make, and I won't throw good money after bad.
Well...MSRP stands for Minimum Suggested Retail Price. To be charged $20 over that I would suggest does not constitute unfair pricing on the part of the dealer. The freight the dealer paid for bringing the bike in is about that much. I really can't see how an issue of $19.95 translates into taking your business elsewhere, but then again it's your money and what in your estimation constitutes fair play.
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Old 08-19-04, 01:48 AM
  #24  
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I'm still looking for that "FBS" up here in NorCal...either the LBS have huge hi-end inventory and snoby sales people(rescently I was passed over by 2 new incomming customers looking for hi-end over my entery-level purchace needs @ the "popular" LBS), or awesome sales service and not much inventory...aka 1 of each size(damit they were out of the 53c @ $60 under the rest!).
If anyone has a FBS in the North Bay area, let me know!

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Old 08-19-04, 03:22 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Tom Pedale
Well...MSRP stands for Minimum Suggested Retail Price.
Wow. I always thought it meant Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price...
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