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New wheels; order online cheaper or support LBS?

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New wheels; order online cheaper or support LBS?

Old 02-18-11, 08:54 PM
  #1  
LuMax
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New wheels; order online cheaper or support LBS?

My dilemma: the LBS I purchased my mountain bike from gave me a price quote for a new set of wheels for my mountain bike for $800 (with tax it will be $860). I checked a few online wheel builders and can get the exact same build from a very well-reviewed builder including shipping for $704.

Even though I have bought two bikes from them as well as a number of parts there never seems to be a discount for their regular customers. I think I have spent in the area of $5K-$6K at this store over the years. I have also sent a number of customers their way. Heck, I've even given the guys in the shop probably a half dozen six packs of micro brews in the last 2 years.

So, do I continue to support them or do I save myself nearly $160?

WWYD?
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Old 02-18-11, 09:11 PM
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My LBS guy is about 15% higher, but they offer lifetime balancing and "truing". I'd rather have the service of my LBS... They know I'[m a loyal customer.
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Old 02-18-11, 09:58 PM
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If the price is a sticking point for you, ask the owner or manager of the LBS if they can come down to meet or get closer to the price of the online retailer.

It is likely the LBS does offer something the online guy does not (like free truing), or that it would be inconvenient to get from the online guy.
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Old 02-18-11, 10:48 PM
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Don't forget to factor in shipping costs. Wheels are expensive to ship!
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Old 02-19-11, 08:03 AM
  #5  
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The bottom line is you have no obligation to make your bike shop people happy. They earn their money by making you happy. How long do you have to work to earn $160?

It sounds to me like you're on pretty friendly terms with your bike shop guys. I'd shoot the internet price by them and give them a chance to make the added value and price curves match. If they can't say "I'm sorry, that's too much difference for me to tolerate but I like your shop and I'll continue to run stuff past you before I buy."
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Old 02-19-11, 08:44 AM
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Perhaps strike a balance. Purchase the parts locally and build a set of wheels. It's nowhere near as hard as you think. Stay on friendly terms with the guys and learn something new. It helps to know what's happening with your wheels anyway. Saves money and time in the long run. You can afford much nicer wheels too.
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Old 02-19-11, 09:03 AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone, it is greatly appreciated.
Not certain what I will do yet, but I will take the weekend to think about it and let you know.
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Old 02-19-11, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by XR2 View Post
Perhaps strike a balance. Purchase the parts locally and build a set of wheels. It's nowhere near as hard as you think. Stay on friendly terms with the guys and learn something new. It helps to know what's happening with your wheels anyway. Saves money and time in the long run. You can afford much nicer wheels too.
I disagree. There's a degree of satisfaction to be gained by building your own wheels but I wouldn't expect to save any money by doing it. I can generally buy a prebuilt wheelset cheaper than I can buy the component parts.

I suspect that's at the core of the OP's issue. OP's bike shop probably can't buy the component parts cheaply enough to match the internet supplier's price.
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Old 02-19-11, 10:49 AM
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Online the exact parts from chainreactioncycles.com for my wheel order are $548.19
I've never built wheels before and do not have the tools to do so, so that is really not an option.
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Old 02-19-11, 10:39 PM
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sounds like you'd e saving a ton of cash. i'd go the internet route tbh.

when your LBS can match prices, or when you need to pick small things up (chains, lube etc) go through them. But if they are gonna charge you a ton and you can save a lot via another route, do that.
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Old 02-20-11, 01:33 AM
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Buy online. If the builder does his JOB, the wheels will not need truing all that much.

Keep supporting the LBS for other things. I build my own wheels now...buy spokes from LBS and other parts online haha
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Old 02-20-11, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I disagree. There's a degree of satisfaction to be gained by building your own wheels but I wouldn't expect to save any money by doing it. I can generally buy a prebuilt wheelset cheaper than I can buy the component parts.

I suspect that's at the core of the OP's issue. OP's bike shop probably can't buy the component parts cheaply enough to match the internet supplier's price.
I agree, I can buy wheelsets cheaper online than the cost of components for me to build my own. But I my wheel needs to be rebuilt, it is cheaper for me to do that.

I need a new set of wheels for a bike I am building up and I am going to get them online.
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Old 02-20-11, 02:09 AM
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$800 sounds a lot for a pair of wheels so they must be something special.

If the LBS will not come near the online price- then get them online.
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Old 02-20-11, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LuMax View Post
I've never built wheels before and do not have the tools to do so, so that is really not an option.
I would never recommend anybody start wheelbuilding with $550 in parts. I effed up one of my first few builds and had to go back and retension a second. After those first few though, lets just say there's a reason 7 of my 9 wheelsets are hand built and obsessively tensioned by yours truly. The roadie gets boutique wheels. Everything else gets the relatively bombproof hand built 28-36 spoke 2-3x.

If my LBS is willing to come within 10%, I give them the business. OTOH, there are some closeout and overstock specials I wouldn't consider asking my LBS to match. Does $704 imply the builder has excess inventory of a particular rim or hub he's trying to move? If so, online is the way to go. Unless you have to bring them in for truing after the first few rides due to a poor build, your LBS will understand.
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Old 02-21-11, 10:53 AM
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It always depends on the LBS. I enjoy the company and most importantly.. the "vibe" of our local shop. I've gotten some undeserved attitude from the "roadie" salesman in the past but that's nothing to keep me away from the store when I need supplies asap. I also purchased a nice Trek City/Path bike for the wife from them last spring and they were totally cool. It was on clearance (2009 model) and still.. I paid a touch higher than usual but they let her test ride it for 30 minutes and threw extra goodies in the deal as well.

If someone is unemployed or suffering other types of hardship I can understand the need for the absolute cheapest price possible for whatever quality the item may be from an online retailer. That's life. Housing, food and utilities come first.. as well as the love of cycling to help reduce stress, depression and give hope. Sometimes people only have so much (if any) extra money to help with supplies.. and with all the respect to the local LBS.. if a more reasonable price can be found online then so be it. Often it comes down to either a guy/gal can make something happen with the online price or it won't happen at all if the LBS is unable to match the price.

I dig walking into a bike shop and thankfully I can afford to purchase items there for often great discounts as opposed to Bikenashbar, Performance, etc.
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Old 02-21-11, 11:02 AM
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I bought a pair of Mavic Open Pro wheels online several years ago. Spokes started breaking within a few months so had to let the LBS rebuild the wheels. No broken spokes after that.
Last fall I bought another set of Open Pro wheels from the bike shop. The owner said they have a lifetime warranty.
I learned my lesson. Some things you buy online, some things you buy from the bike shop.
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Old 02-21-11, 12:18 PM
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Ron H said it all. Handbuilt wheels are down to the builder.

I trust my LBS and an online supplier of hand built wheels. Only thing is that the LBS and I can get repairs and trueing done today- if I push them. Well worth the 10% extra I pay them for wheels.
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Old 02-21-11, 03:01 PM
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The LBS knows I buy more parts and supplies from them than from everywhere else put together. Still, there are deals out there that are too good to pass up. Once I go that route though, I consider myself to be on my own. Sure, they'll see me on the Ksyrium SL's I scored for under $600 and they know I had a Planet Bike Kaffenback frame shipped across the Atlantic but they also know I don't expect any favors involving anything I didn't buy there. A 50% chance of trouble with a subsequent 20% cost to get it fixed will quickly eat up that 10% less you paid up front.

BTW, the only thing the LBS did with the Kaffenback frame was set the crown race and press the headset and I paid them retail for the headset in appreciation for the help. The rest of the build was done by yours truly and considering they couldn't sell me the frame in the first place, they were cool with that. It's a cool ride and it's the only one in town.

There are exceptional circumstances but don't buy wheels online if you can't tension them yourself, don't buy parts online if you can't install them yourself, and don't buy bikes online if you can't assemble them yourself. That is, unless you could care less about staying on your LBS's good side.
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