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Local Bike Shop

Old 04-01-16, 08:13 PM
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Gus90
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Local Bike Shop

I try to support my local bike shop as much as possible, but lately it's been too easy to find better deals online. Am I an a-hole?

I mean, I'll buy smaller items from them often, a new bike when I buy one, but for things like upgrades I just can't justify the overhead. I compare prices all the time and the markup typically charged by my local shops is hard to accept most of the time.

Last edited by Gus90; 04-01-16 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 04-01-16, 08:30 PM
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Old 04-01-16, 08:34 PM
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Your doing more than most people
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Old 04-01-16, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
I try to support my local bike shop as much as possible, but lately it's been too easy to find better deals online. Am I an a-hole?

I mean, I'll buy smaller items from them often, a new bike when I buy one, but for things like upgrades I just can't justify the overhead. I compare prices all the time and the markup typically charged by my local shops is hard to accept most of the time.
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.
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Old 04-01-16, 08:39 PM
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When you are planning a major purchase, ask the LBS what's their best price or can they match a price.
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Old 04-01-16, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
..... Am I an a-hole?
It's impossible to tell from just this post. I don't think that even adding pictures would make it any easier to determine that part of your personality. But asking total strangers on an Internet forum does give me the impression that you may be a bit needy.

If you feel compelled to expose your inner a-holiness on-line.... you might want to follow some of my posts. I've been informed I come across as an a-hole.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
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?
I've taken to downloading books to my phone (I can read them from my tablet as well). A friend of mine whos daughter works at the (failing) library system thinks modern digital content is awful. I don't wish to see my friends daughter lose her job.... but the old library system is no longer convenient or cost effective.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
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.
+1 And I wish them all the very best of luck with success and prosperity! I'd like to see the LBS's become social hubs. But when I can order handlebar tape direct from China for $2.50..... it's a conundrum.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 04-01-16 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 04-01-16, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
I try to support my local bike shop as much as possible, but lately it's been too easy to find better deals online. Am I an a-hole?

I mean, I'll buy smaller items from them often, a new bike when I buy one, but for things like upgrades I just can't justify the overhead. I compare prices all the time and the markup typically charged by my local shops is hard to accept most of the time.
Buy online and service LBS (if you don't know how / want to support).
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Old 04-02-16, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
I try to support my local bike shop as much as possible, but lately it's been too easy to find better deals online. Am I an a-hole?

I mean, I'll buy smaller items from them often, a new bike when I buy one, but for things like upgrades I just can't justify the overhead. I compa.re prices all the time and the markup typically charged by my local shops is hard to accept most of the time.
No, but if you'd rather save a few dollars for the convenience of not interacting with other people, just that much more antisocial.
My local bike shop took care of selling my old bike on eBay. Consequently, I have considerable credit there - it will take a while to use it up on spare tubes and such, so yesterday I figured I'd stop by and pick up some new shades - they happened to have some Oakley TdF edition frames that are no longer available on Wiggle, so I couldn't have saved money that way - at least not on those glasses, from that usual-suspect vendor.
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Old 04-02-16, 04:52 AM
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I try to support my lbs whenever I can and give them first shot to get close or match any item I'm looking for first. Most times they don't come close but sometimes they do. I saved $800 off my new set of wheels compared to any online source by buying them at my lbs because of the relationship I've established over the years with the guys at the shop and they would gladly do a quick adjustment or fix a flat on the spot free of charge if need be. That kind of customer service is worth paying a few extra $$$'s in the long run to support their future without question. Especially since I purchased my road bike from their competition just down the road (before I ever stepped foot in their store).

That being said, a deal is a deal. I like to buy high end components occasionally like carbon bars, posts, saddles, etc... but only at the right time when they're on some kind of super sale online. Otherwise I simply can't justify the purchase at full retail. So I guess it depends on how much money will be saved and if I do happen to buy something online I don't rub it in their face the next time I see them.
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Old 04-02-16, 05:11 AM
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I do a fair amount of bike purchases online. Plus the local bike co-op. Plus Craigslist.

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. Offer "free shipping" on internet sales, and they can even hide the true markup from local customers.

However, the one thing that no LBS can compete with is SELECTION. I do buy some "bread and butter" stuff online. But, I'll put together a shopping list of say ten recent bike related purchases if anybody wants to take it to their local bike shop. See if they have 1 or 2 in stock.

Heck, I don't know. I suppose if I visited every shop in town, and perhaps all towns within 150 miles, I might be able to find most of what I'm looking for. Or, I could hire a LBS to jump onto the computer and buy stuff off of the internet like a personal shopper.

Bike stores like a social hub?

Perhaps try Velo Cult... unfortunately over 100 miles away



I think there is a bike shop in there somewhere.
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Old 04-02-16, 05:12 AM
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My local shop gives a 20% discount on most items to members of our club. I try to show my loyalty by purchasing my bikes there and allowing them to do the wrenching. With items such as tires and cassettes, I can find better deals with the UK vendors online. They don't deserve all my business, but I try to stay somewhat loyal and it is appreciated.
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Old 04-02-16, 09:30 AM
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I buy both from my LBS and online. Depends on the item. Most prices on parts also include installation when bought from a bike shop. My local guy is great so I do what I can.
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Old 04-02-16, 09:34 AM
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Once you build a solid relationship with your LBS you won't pay MSRP again.
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Old 04-02-16, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by lsberrios1 View Post
Once you build a solid relationship with your LBS you won't pay MSRP again.
and what level of investment (ie. overpaying) needs to be made to build this solid relationship?
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Old 04-02-16, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
and what level of investment (ie. overpaying) needs to be made to build this solid relationship?
Maybe. I think it comes down to being a nice person and enjoy being around the guys there. I bring them beer and occasionally volunteer to help them with moving bikes etc when they were short staffed. I think the sport suffers from a lot of bad clientele to a certain degree.
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Old 04-02-16, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by lsberrios1 View Post
Maybe. I think it comes down to being a nice person and enjoy being around the guys there. I bring them beer and occasionally volunteer to help them with moving bikes etc when they were short staffed. I think the sport suffers from a lot of bad clientele to a certain degree.
That's not really fair to say. You make it sound like anyone who want's a good deal without having to buddy up to a shop owner is a bad person. There's nothing wrong with being a cost-conscious consumer any more than there's anything wrong with paying full retail (somebody has to do it, right?). However, I do agree that there's nothing particularly good about being a cost-obsessed consumer.
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Old 04-02-16, 03:00 PM
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Your royalty is to your wallet and family . I purchased my last bike ( Colnago EP with Campy Chorus , Campy wheels ) from a bike shop in UK and saved thousands of dollars . The LBS just can not match this price . My next bike ( Colnago , Campy EPS ) will be from UK again .
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Old 04-02-16, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Or, I could hire a LBS to jump onto the computer and buy stuff off of the internet like a personal shopper.
You joke, but I wish I'd had my "personal shopper" shop (which is just around the block) buy my latest online purchases. Seems DHL needed a signature. I have to retrieve the package from a "service center" in some God-forsaken part of town - 10th Ave. somewhere.
Bike stores like a social hub?

Perhaps try Velo Cult... unfortunately over 100 miles away



I think there is a bike shop in there somewhere.
Oh my - are those the Soggy Bottom Boys? This is SO unlike any bike shop I've known, but I can certainly imagine it in some places. I wonder if there's something like it in Brooklyn....

Reminds me of a "Passport Rally" I did a few years ago - rode around to all the Ducati dealers in New England. They were all quite different from each other, and it was interesting to see how the locations shaped the stores and their atmosphere. One up in Maine was like a little Auto Zone for motorcycles - you know, Yankee self-reliance, thrift, etc., which just happened to have some bikes for sale. The one just a few miles from Louden, New Hampshire was (unsurprisingly) race and track bike oriented, with a very open garage and plenty of room for people to turn their trailers around. My local shop, in Manhattan, was very show-roomy - black walls and ceiling, dramatic lighting, etc....
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Old 04-02-16, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
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.
People buy online from European sources because the items come direct from the manufacturers. In the US stores must buy through distributors most of the time. So there's the middleman that drives up the cost.

I just posted a couple days ago that Conti GP 4000 are available online at $37. A LBS can't come close.

Also I can imagine a true LBS buying in bulk unless it's a chain like Performance. I imagine an online source like Comptitive Cyclist buys in big quantities. A single LBS type shop might buy a dozen of the same item in a year. Then many manufacturers control prices like Assos, Garmin, Giro, and Sidi. So the competition there involves time fir receipt - you can order online no have it in a day or two. The LBS gets it in a week...or two...or three.

But I still buy from my LBSs because I've developed friendships with them over the years.
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Old 04-02-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mapeiboy View Post
Your loyalty is to your wallet and family.
Really? I can see putting ones family ahead of ones neighbors, but you put your wallet before any of them? If that's the case, remind me not to ride with you - I wouldn't feel safe.
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Old 04-02-16, 07:46 PM
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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.
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Old 04-02-16, 09:25 PM
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[QUOTE=mapeiboy;18658267]Your royalty is to your wallet and family.[n/QUOTE]

If everybody in your local area thought like that, you might not have a job.

Last edited by StanSeven; 04-02-16 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 04-02-16, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
People buy online from European sources because the items come direct from the manufacturers. In the US stores must buy through distributors most of the time. So there's the middleman that drives up the cost.

I just posted a couple days ago that Conti GP 4000 are available online at $37. A LBS can't come close.

Also I can imagine a true LBS buying in bulk unless it's a chain like Performance. I imagine an online source like Comptitive Cyclist buys in big quantities. A single LBS type shop might buy a dozen of the same item in a year. Then many manufacturers control prices like Assos, Garmin, Giro, and Sidi. So the competition there involves time fir receipt - you can order online no have it in a day or two. The LBS gets it in a week...or two...or three.

But I still buy from my LBSs because I've developed friendships with them over the years.
You have the right idea on how this stuff works. Sure, a savvy bike shop can go straight to some small companies (it's almost never 'factory direct'- there's almost always a distributor in there that interfaces between, say, the Italian or Chinese manufacturer and the American seller) and buy x number of stuff, but if they want to get a good deal, they have to buy a lot of it. And to sell a lot of it, you have to have a nice, secure, clean website (because no single shop in the suburbs is going to sell quantities of boutique clothes or lights or whatever that will warrant a discount from the distributor) with product posted the moment (or the moment before) the desirable item becomes available (and the window between when something can be sold at MSRP, and when people will only buy it at dirt price, is often just a few days or weeks).

Then there's the big companies like Shimano that will almost entirely only deal with dealers through their distribution website (many of their items are not available through other distributors like QBP), forcing all US shops to pay the same price. But due to monetary systems and politics that are over my head, a bike shop's costs are only a few percent lower that what companies from Asia and Europe sell for online, tax free, with free shipping. So an American shop selling a Shimano item at a reasonable margin (lower than MSRP) still looks like its gouging a customer (compared to what the customer could buy the item for online), and often can't custom order the item as fast as the customer could do it themselves. When the shop calls Shimano USA and asks 'hey what gives?' Shimano USA says they can't help what other branches do about their pricing controls overseas.

Anyway, sucks to be an American LBS unless you're in a big city with a lot of money.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:29 AM
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We had an awesome LBS run by a couple of younger (than me anyway) guys who were totally into MTBing and skateboarding. The kind of shop where you would stop by while riding just to bs or if you needed a single nut or bolt you could look thru the junk box no charge. Both guys did everything, wrenching, sales etc. Sometimes when they were busy you might have to wait a bit but that was no big deal. I thru them as much biz as I could and did not mind at all paying a little extra. Sadly, a while back, I noticed the store was empty. Now I have the choice of 2 corporate chain type stores where everybody is an employee. No passion or at least none with the employees Ive dealt with. I find myself buying mostly online now missing my old LBS.
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Old 04-03-16, 06:47 AM
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I dont need to save money on bike stuff so my purchasing decisions are usually driven by convenience. For example, I recently needed a tire for my touring bike. I didn't want to bother scouring the Interwebs for the best price including any shipping and then going through the process of ordering on line so I stopped into a LBS on my way home from work an asked them to order one. I didn't even ask the price. It arrived a few days later and I picked it up on my way home from work.
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