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Local Bike Shop

Old 04-03-16, 07:56 AM
  #26  
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There is no reason that a LBS can't compete with internet sales by price. Afterall, they should be able to buy in bulk at factory direct prices, and sell items without additional shipping charges.
Not true. I work in an LBS, and there's a bunch of stuff that's cheaper from the UK than our cost. Examples are just about anything marked Campy, Shimano or Look, plus most tires. LBS prices represent the markup the owner, a small business owner without the resources to buy in bulk the way large internet-based businesses can, needs to meet his bills and payroll and feed his family. And that free advice you get when you stop in? It's not free to the LBS owner since he's paying the employee who's giving it to you. Ditto with the SAG he provides for local events and the support he gives to local racers.

LBS prices rarely represent price gouging, despite how good saying that makes some people feel.
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Old 04-03-16, 08:15 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
A little article that might be applicable:

Opinion: Let me be direct


[HR][/HR]
Bike shops need to change in order to be competitive ... customer service, in particular, needs to improve dramatically. We should not need to barter our way into a favourable position with the staff by bringing beer or whatever ... all customers should be treated like gold. Even if we're just browsing or all we want is a tube.
Good article. Funny thing, though: I totally agree with the conclusion, and the points made along the way made sense, but they didn't really support the conclusion.
Originally Posted by Anna Schwinn
When multiple shops exist within a small radius carrying similar product, retailers adapt and consumers have the luxury of being able to choose their retail experience. Shops specialize. Service improves. Consumer experience improves overall because it has to. Bike shops shine as the community centers and sources of product knowledge and support that they can be. And consumers will want to spend for it.

In the city, in the neighborhood of the shop where I first started buying bikes, all within walking distance of each other, there's the shop that just carries single speeds and hybrids, with gear and accessories to match; there's a shop that's like a cross between a work shed and a museum (not a dealer); there's a big homey shop with all kinds of bikes and a very friendly staff; there's a big sporting goods store with tons of kit and accessories, but a relatively modest range of bikes; and there's Fred Central. If you think of bike shops indifferently, as interchangeable, it would seem that five shops within walking distance of each other was too much competition. But because they are more than just places to buy commodities, it works. Shops aren't all measured on a single scale of best to worst. Good prices and customer service aren't all it takes to succeed; a shop has to have an identity that customers appreciate.

Where I live now, bike shops are a little farther apart from each other, but we still have choices. With just two brands (Giant and Jamis) and two guys manning the place, the tiny shop around the corner manages to accommodate a very broad range of customers - parents getting something for their 8-year-olds, recreational racers building up new rigs, the guy who just needs a derailleur adjustment on his Sunday Pegoretti (the Saturday one is fine), etc.. It's a very Village Main Street, USA kind of place. Toward the edge of town there's a larger place, which has a wider inventory, but leans more towards cross and mountain bikes. Meanwhile, closer to the city, is a shop that really pushes the high-end bikes, and has tons of gear and accessories in stock. They're always brewing up a cappuccino for someone, too. It's right on the route of the "endless procession of Freds and tridorks," so weekends, it can really be a zoo.

I guess many - maybe most people - aren't so fortunate; one may have to drive some ways to get to the only shop around. But that's the price one pays....
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Old 04-03-16, 08:45 AM
  #28  
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My nearest shop may as well be a Bontrager and Pearl Izumi outlet. 90% of the overpriced parts they sell is Bontrager. Tires, saddlebags, *****s, everything. The entire Bontrager catalog is in the shop. Most of the clothing is PI, and of course nothing is ever in my medium size if I wanted to buy something, which I don't.
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Old 04-03-16, 11:23 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Tires, saddlebags, *****s, everything. The entire Bontrager catalog is in the shop..
I guess this explains the vast amount of middle aged men riding Trek...
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Old 04-03-16, 03:33 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
My nearest shop may as well be a Bontrager and Pearl Izumi outlet. 90% of the overpriced parts they sell is Bontrager. Tires, saddlebags, *****s, everything. The entire Bontrager catalog is in the shop. Most of the clothing is PI, and of course nothing is ever in my medium size if I wanted to buy something, which I don't.
Are you working your way up to a large?
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Old 04-03-16, 04:25 PM
  #31  
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I blame the government for allowing foreign bike builders to just dump products into the country at less then cost. Two bike shops have closed in my area. Wallmart and other big box stores are selling full suspension bikes now for around $100 or so. Bike shops can only sell and install couple of tires for that price. Big box bike prices seem to be lower this year then they were last year if you can believe that.
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Old 04-03-16, 04:48 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by elmore leonard View Post
I blame the government for allowing foreign bike builders to just dump products into the country at less then cost. Two bike shops have closed in my area. Wallmart and other big box stores are selling full suspension bikes now for around $100 or so. Bike shops can only sell and install couple of tires for that price. Big box bike prices seem to be lower this year then they were last year if you can believe that.
First, I don't think they're being sold for under cost. They're just cheap junk. Second, that benefits your LBS in two ways: first, that stuff breaks a lot. My shop makes decent money fixing them. Also, smart parents will buy one for their kid, and then buy another when it breaks (because it's often cheaper than fixing them), and then start thinking that it might be more cost-effective to buy a $400 entry-level mountain bike from the LBS that comes with after-sale service and is well enough made that it can be passed down to the next kid. Most folks are smart enough to figure that TANSTAAFL applies to bikes as it does to other things.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:07 PM
  #33  
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My LBS puts together 5 rides per week, I can just now hang onto them, they are fast rides. But for a year, I'd get invited to ride with them every time I walked into the shop.

When I have a crisis with my bike the day before a race, they drop everything and get me rolling.

They give me a 20% discount on everything I buy without me asking.

Usually when I go in there, someone I know is hanging out. Nice to plunk down on the bench and have a chat.

Will I spend $20 for bar tape there, rather than $2 plus shipping on line? 100% I will. Its not even a hard decision. If they can sell it to me, I pretty much buy it from them. If they're not a dealer for what I want, I'll buy it online.

If you want shops like that around, you have to buy stuff there.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:17 PM
  #34  
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The $2 E-Bay tape is probably lower quality than the $20 name brand bike store tape. Whether you'll recognise the difference in 6 months, I don't know. Or, perhaps you'll be happy to re-wrap in 6-months with CLEAN tape.

Apparently bike stores offer a discount to members of the local GEARS riding group. I've gone on one of the rides. It was ok, but I haven't officially joined the riding group yet.

It is probably not a bad deal for the bike shops to encourage more bike people to come in. But, it is also frustrating to the people who end up paying sticker price.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:18 PM
  #35  
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As a rule, I don't go to the local shops unless I need a cable or a tire quickly. Aside from the obvious price issue, they seem to cater to people who can't or don't work on one understand their gear, *****s to the contrary, and the selection and attitude reflect it.

I did, however, recently ship two 1980s custom frames, mine and my wife's, back to the builder (and shop owner) for cold-setting and complete rebuilds at great expense: A. because he's a personal friend; B. because I didn't have time to spec, assemble, and install the stuff; and C. to expiate my sins of the last many years of online buying.

I remember the era when the bike shop was the place to be and racing clubs meant something. I learned most of what I know about bike mechanicking "in the back," working for nothing or next to it. The rest I learned by breaking ****.

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Old 04-03-16, 05:30 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
My nearest shop may as well be a Bontrager and Pearl Izumi outlet. 90% of the overpriced parts they sell is Bontrager. Tires, saddlebags, *****s, everything. The entire Bontrager catalog is in the shop. Most of the clothing is PI, and of course nothing is ever in my medium size if I wanted to buy something, which I don't.
Your shop is a Trek dealer- Bontrager is Trek's in-house brand for seatbags, tires, *****s and clothing. The prices the dealer pays for those accessories are pretty reasonable and the product they receive is solid (I've always been happy with the product I've handled from Trek/Bontrager and Specialized, who has a similar system- I still use my 10+ year old Specialized pump on a regular basis, and it was just the cheap model).

Shops carrying Pearl Izumi is half the fact that PI is owned by Shimano (and just about any bike shops NEEDS an acoount with Shimano), and half that PI is a recognizable brand even for non-cyclists and has been for at least a decade. Same kind of product as Bontrager- generally pretty milquetoast in presentation and average in price but never crap.

So there's the majority of the shop explained. Aside from that, the rest will be safe bets like tires Continental, lights from Cateye, shoes from SIDI, helmets from whoever is hot these days, companies with recognizable names and healthy distributors. Beyond that, the shop has to see a demand for other product to justify devoting the manpower and money toward bringing it into the shop.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:40 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Do you buy everything locally?

If you want a book about something, do you try to support your local bookstore ... or do you buy from Amazon or another online choice?

If you want a new lens for your camera, do you go to your local camera shop ... or do you buy online from DWI or another similar choice?

Clothing? Furniture?


A bicycle shop is just a shop like any other shop. It is a business, not a charity. If they want your business ... they have to do something to get it.
I'm on the same page.

If the store was something that was near by and could boost my home price I could imagine trying to support it otherwise they have to earn my business rather than me having to support them. But I've never heard any realtor say, "within walking distance to an LBS ..."
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Old 04-03-16, 05:56 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Your shop is a Trek dealer- Bontrager is Trek's in-house brand for seatbags, tires, *****s and clothing. The prices the dealer pays for those accessories are pretty reasonable and the product they receive is solid (I've always been happy with the product I've handled from Trek/Bontrager and Specialized, who has a similar system- I still use my 10+ year old Specialized pump on a regular basis, and it was just the cheap model).

Shops carrying Pearl Izumi is half the fact that PI is owned by Shimano (and just about any bike shops NEEDS an acoount with Shimano), and half that PI is a recognizable brand even for non-cyclists and has been for at least a decade. Same kind of product as Bontrager- generally pretty milquetoast in presentation and average in price but never crap.

So there's the majority of the shop explained. Aside from that, the rest will be safe bets like tires Continental, lights from Cateye, shoes from SIDI, helmets from whoever is hot these days, companies with recognizable names and healthy distributors. Beyond that, the shop has to see a demand for other product to justify devoting the manpower and money toward bringing it into the shop.
Yeah I know why they carry all that stuff. But the fact remains that there's just nothing cool to even look at. A smll selection and then when I look at the price tags it's like, holy cow you can't be serious. There's very little in the shop that interests me. I actually like going into a Performance shop more than any other.
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Old 04-03-16, 05:57 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by elmore leonard View Post
I blame the government for allowing foreign bike builders to just dump products into the country at less then cost. Two bike shops have closed in my area. Wallmart and other big box stores are selling full suspension bikes now for around $100 or so. Bike shops can only sell and install couple of tires for that price. Big box bike prices seem to be lower this year then they were last year if you can believe that.
You're kinda on the right track, but 'foreign bike builders... dump(ing) products into the (US)' is too simple of a description of how the industry works. If you, the American inventor or owner of a retail outlet wants to sell a thing, that thing takes materials and labor. Materials and labor are both expensive here in the US. Materials are cheap to extract/create overseas (because the labor to do so is cheaper) so there's a good chance you will source your materials overseas. Then, chances are that there's a gigantic Chinese factory that makes similar things to the thing you want to make and has cheap labor. So Chinese factories make your thing for you. Then put it on a boat and you sell it through your store or website or whatever.

The US government has very little to do with this process (aside from the pressure that taxes, payroll, etc. put on American companies that make and sell stuff). That $100 bicycle you mentioned is built using technology that is ancient by today's standards- cheap metals, simple assembly methods. Maybe a bit of plastic tacked on and hopefully the paint is lead-free.

The bigger culprits are distributors like Shimano that don't control their prices, and allow their product to be sold in the States for cheap (compare to a company like SIDI- type 'SIDI Genius Fit' into google shopping, see the price every shoe has. $249.99. If you advertise it for less they will take their shoes back. Shimano does no such thing). But even then, it's complicated for Shimano, because they aren't an American company. And most of the world's population trying to pay American prices for stuff would be rough on them.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:13 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Yeah I know why they carry all that stuff. But the fact remains that there's just nothing cool to even look at. A smll selection and then when I look at the price tags it's like, holy cow you can't be serious. There's very little in the shop that interests me. I actually like going into a Performance shop more than any other.
The problem is that one man's 'hey that's pretty cool' is another man's 'blech'. So the shop owner risks thousands of dollars bringing in a line of clothing (or whatever he has picked up from his hours of researching the buzz from cyclists) and hopes a lot of people think it's cool. Then he gambles that the distributor isn't selling the same stuff through discount/overseas website X, so when customers walk in and say 'hey that's' pretty cool', they don't say '... but I can get it from discount website X for 20% off and no tax and free shipping'.

Yeah, Bontrager etc. is boring and the prices are nothing special. I agree, I don't buy much stuff from LBSes for some of the same reasons (though in all of my bike stuff, I do own quite a bit of LBS gear in total). But those brands are always good product, and they're not likely to be undercut (the dealer doesn't need to worry about a knife in the back), due to some amount of exclusivity and territory that brick and mortar shops get.

I actually dislike Performance's in-house stuff quite a bit. Every Forte anything that I've ever purchased has broken. Every. Single. Thing.

Though Scattante branded bikes are probably just fine.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:25 PM
  #41  
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Got a beautiful Ibex wool jacket off the clearance rack for 70 bucks at Performance, once. Now that pretty exciting! The regular punters probably didn't know what it was.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:25 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by elmore leonard View Post
I blame the government for allowing foreign bike builders to just dump products into the country at less then cost. Two bike shops have closed in my area. Wallmart and other big box stores are selling full suspension bikes now for around $100 or so. Bike shops can only sell and install couple of tires for that price. Big box bike prices seem to be lower this year then they were last year if you can believe that.
That's wrong. First the US monitors dumping closely. But the main reason is Walmart bikes are junk and Walmart buys in huge quantities. It's just not bicycles Walmart sells cheaper than Mom and Pop stores; it's practically everything. Also Walmart bikes are put together by kids who know nothing about bikes. You can expect problems from that.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:42 PM
  #43  
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Have you seen the current Walmart bikes for $150 and under? they have alloy wheels, linear brakes, full supension if you want it, grip shifters etc., plenty good for the children of most average American families with poor disposable incomes. the one thing I have noticed is they are selling mainly the smaller sizes which limits selection some what. hard core cyclists would not buy there but they are a small part of the bicycle business. i sold 2 bikes on Craigs list today for under $100 each, both 90's bikes and one family drove up in a BMW SUV.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:46 PM
  #44  
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Price uber alles is what drove our excellent local hardware store out of business after the big boxes moved in. I buy quite a few bike parts/bits on-line but also often forego to support my LBS, if they carry what I need/want. Frames and complete bikes are LBS only and I don't expect them to service anything I haven't purchased from them.

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Old 04-03-16, 06:54 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
I'm on the same page.

If the store was something that was near by and could boost my home price I could imagine trying to support it otherwise they have to earn my business rather than me having to support them. But I've never heard any realtor say, "within walking distance to an LBS ..."
You just haven't met the right real estate agents.
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Old 04-03-16, 08:13 PM
  #46  
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Why can't a US LBS (or even the mega-store US online guys (Amazon, CC, Nashbar, Performance) buy their equipment/stock from the same entity from whom Wiggle/Ribble/ChainR are buying their stuff from? Is it a law, governmental thing, tariff issue, etc.. or are all of the bike companies out there (Campy, Shimano, etc..) doing this to the US on purpose by disallowing?
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Old 04-03-16, 08:29 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Why can't a US LBS (or even the mega-store US online guys (Amazon, CC, Nashbar, Performance) buy their equipment/stock from the same entity from whom Wiggle/Ribble/ChainR are buying their stuff from? Is it a law, governmental thing, tariff issue, etc.. or are all of the bike companies out there (Campy, Shimano, etc..) doing this to the US on purpose by disallowing?
I'm laughing on the inside because I can't say that's anything I ever thought of trying, but I assume if you somehow managed to find the phone number for some overseas branch of Shimano, they'd probably just refer you to Shimano USA. If Shimano USA or some other US distributor got wind that some other overseas branch was shipping stuff and undercutting prices, I imagine some heads would roll. They don't just hand stuff out the back door all sneaky like- they are a huge production line company. There would likely be logistic issues they just wouldn't care to deal with. But who knows. American distributors of bike parts like QBP et al possibly have relationships of that sort with overseas manufacturers.

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Old 04-03-16, 08:49 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
I'm laughing on the inside because I can't say that's anything I ever thought of trying, but I assume if you somehow managed to find the phone number for some overseas branch of Shimano, they'd probably just refer you to Shimano USA. If Shimano USA or some other US distributor got wind that some other overseas branch was shipping stuff and undercutting prices, I imagine some heads would roll. They don't just hand stuff out the back door all sneaky like- they are a huge production line company. There would likely be logistic issues they just wouldn't care to deal with. But who knows. American distributors of bike parts like QBP et al possibly have relationships of that sort with overseas manufacturers.
To be clear, and while folks usually like to use Shimano as an example, the pricing discrepancies also hold for eg. Sram groupsets (from a nominally US-based manufacturer). eg. a Force 22 groupset goes for roughly $660 on Ribble, and $1174 on CC.
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Old 04-03-16, 08:56 PM
  #49  
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LBS simply cannot stock many bicycles. Every time I am bike shopping, they rarely have the size I am looking for, but always offer "to special order it for me". Isn't the point to try out the bike first?
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Old 04-03-16, 09:04 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
Not true. I work in an LBS, and there's a bunch of stuff that's cheaper from the UK than our cost. Examples are just about anything marked Campy, Shimano or Look, plus most tires. LBS prices represent the markup the owner, a small business owner without the resources to buy in bulk the way large internet-based businesses can, needs to meet his bills and payroll and feed his family. And that free advice you get when you stop in? It's not free to the LBS owner since he's paying the employee who's giving it to you. Ditto with the SAG he provides for local events and the support he gives to local racers.

LBS prices rarely represent price gouging, despite how good saying that makes some people feel.
Not wanting to go off on a tangent, but what prevents an LBS purchasing from a UK supplier to resell to its customers? I just showed an example of an Sram groupset going for $660 on Ribble, and $1174 from what I imagine is a large US online retailer (competitive cyclist). What stops you (as an LBS) buying the groupset for the $660 and selling to your customers at say a 30-40% mu (ie. say $900) and being more competitive than even CC can manage?
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