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Let's hear it for your LBS ...

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Let's hear it for your LBS ...

Old 10-09-20, 08:56 AM
  #1  
KiwiDallas
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Let's hear it for your LBS ...

I think I read it here: "Buy the local bike shop, not the bike."

We all know bike shops are just slammed this year. Everyone and his dog has pulled their bike out of the basement and started riding it again, and needs it serviced.

So I was expecting to have to leave my bike for several days or more when I needed some adjustments and a repair.

Went to LBS #1 where I've been a customer for 15 years. The sign in their service area said "Flats: 1 to 3 days. Minor repairs: 6 to 7 days."

Their service tech took my bike and readjusted both the front and rear derailleurs in five minutes flat while I waited. No charge.

I pointed out a cracked pulley wheel in the rear derailleur (15 year old Ultegra). He went and looked for a part and then made a phone call. He told me, "We don't have that part and it'll have to be ordered. But you might go over to LBS #2 and see if they can help."

With profuse thanks, I went over to LBS #2 , where I also spend time and money. They've always been great.

The service manager looked at the pulley wheel and said, "Yes, I've got those in stock. Normally I'd say 7 to 10 days, but that's a quick repair. How 'bout three days from now?"

Support your LBS - they'll support you. Lucky to have not one but two good shops nearby.

=K
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Old 10-09-20, 09:40 AM
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First bike shop, okay.

But the second? I mean... Three days to swap a pulley wheel that is, I kid you not, a 3 minute job.

3 minutes vs. 3 days.

It's why I don't go to bike shops (plus the exorbitant fees).

Even more seriously. In the time it takes you to type in youtube, figure out a video to watch, and swap out the pulley, you probably wouldn't even have made it 1/2 way to the bike shop to pick up your bike three days later.
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Old 10-09-20, 09:50 AM
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Love my LBS, I've bought three bikes from them, and they've always taken great care of me. I do a lot of my own maintenance, but they've been there for emergency stuff when I needed it, or jobs I'm not ready to tackle yet. In the middle of this bike shortage, they were able to get me the bike I wanted in about three weeks. Def helps to foster a good relationship with your LBS.
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Old 10-09-20, 10:39 AM
  #4  
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Not going to happen.
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Old 10-09-20, 12:05 PM
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This is what I donít get about the LBS. If itís three days until they can get to you, why do you have to leave your bike that long? If itís 7 days for a tune, why canít you drop it in the AM on day 7 and pick it up at close? Itís not like these things take longer than 2-3 hours generally. Would you accept leaving your car for 7 days for 10k mile service every three-four months?

This is where the Velofix model kills the LBS. I can schedule a time for the mechanic to come to my house, fix my bike and not be without a ride for an extended period of time. If they are able to do it, I donít understand why some shops have difficulty with this.

I support my LBS for a lot of things, I get random parts, shoes, some clothes, helmets, fittings, trainers, etc through them- but I donít go for service
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Old 10-09-20, 12:35 PM
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It is a business and I support them like other businesses. No more or no less. They must have what you need, keep it in stock and generally run a customer service business. LBS are not any better or worse than other local business. I go to some and not others. I just don't get it some I have been in are fabulous and others are pretty much nothing. Right now I would like to build a wheelset. I would be hopeless without ordering on line because of the 3 LBS that amount to anything close they could not even come up with enough spokes for one rim, let alone the rim and hubs. To me if you want my business you have to keep stock. No the bikes they have are not ones I am looking to ride.
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Old 10-09-20, 12:43 PM
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Built from the tubes up by, and ridden home from, a LBS.



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Old 10-09-20, 01:46 PM
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We have three shops in our metro area. Most people have their favorites. I bought my gravel bike from one because they carry the line of the bike I wanted. They acted like they didn't care if I bought a bike or not, didn't say thanks or anything. I love my bike, but I won't go back.
Luckily the shop that is about 3 miles from my house is my favorite. I love those guys. Just bought my last bike from them and they are grateful to anyone and everyone for their business, no matter if it's a bike purchase or servicing a bike from Walmart. They also serve food and beer.
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Old 10-09-20, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Three days to swap a pulley wheel that is, I kid you not, a 3 minute job.
3 minutes vs. 3 days.
My LBS would probably chuck them on for free.
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Old 10-09-20, 05:40 PM
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I support the LBS that has their inventory online, has a great web storefront, and let's me either ship or pick up. I do most of my own wrenching, but go to a different LBS for work when necessary.
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Old 10-09-20, 08:10 PM
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What do you guys think of Bikanics? I do some maintenance but am a terrible wrench.
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Old 10-09-20, 08:52 PM
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Literally they could have changed the pully quicker than it took to explain that it would take 3 days to change the pully...
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Old 10-09-20, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by phrantic09 View Post
This is what I don’t get about the LBS. If it’s three days until they can get to you, why do you have to leave your bike that long? If it’s 7 days for a tune, why can’t you drop it in the AM on day 7 and pick it up at close?
My LBS all bikes 48 hours in advance, to quarantine before they touch them further. They only have room for so many bikes and definitely would not want it for a full week.

I'd buy the pulley wheel and replace it myself. It's trivial.
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Old 10-09-20, 10:57 PM
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With Amazonation and big box retailers dominating sales, my wife and I believe in supporting as many small local businesses, including bike shops, as possible. If we have to pay a bit more, or wait an extra day for something, it’s worth it to us help preserve their businesses. We are fortunate that we don’t have to pinch every penny.
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Old 10-10-20, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sfrider View Post
My LBS all bikes 48 hours in advance, to quarantine before they touch them further. They only have room for so many bikes and definitely would not want it for a full week.
I'd buy the pulley wheel and replace it myself. It's trivial.
Really.. they quarantine bikes for 48 hours? Maybe they might consider getting some clorox wipes and some nitrile gloves?
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Old 10-10-20, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
First bike shop, okay.

But the second? I mean... Three days to swap a pulley wheel that is, I kid you not, a 3 minute job.

3 minutes vs. 3 days.
This.
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Old 10-10-20, 01:06 PM
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I do almost all my own bike maintenance, and the bicycle shop nearest me used to be filled with really awful mechanics. I would try to order parts from them and they'd argue with me about which part was correct. How many times did we need to iterate on derailleur pulleys, the correct air cap for my fork? The disposables they had on hand (chain lube, tubeless sealant) were brands I had tried and disliked, the tires they had were both expensive and not appropriate for mtb riding in this area, and generally no one in there really knew a thing. Felt like the place was run by people that didn't ride bicycles.

About a year ago I returned because I needed a long-valved bicycle tube. Was quite surprised when I got to the service department that I didn't recognize anyone. And there on the shelf was my preferred chain lube and preferred sealant. They had a good multi-tool on display for a good price. They now sell SOLAS tape for people to put onto their bicycles for extra visibility. Someone had come in and turned that shop upside down and it had gone from being a blind commercial enterprise to a place that was trying hard to pragmatically engage with people and help them do what they wanted.

A year ago I would step into that store only as a last resort, and would pity their customers. Now I show up to take their advice on product purchases. I have never seen such a huge positive change in a retail establishment.
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Old 10-10-20, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Built from the tubes up by, and ridden home from, a LBS.


That is among the best of the best right there. Funny I have their double bolt seatpost collar on my mtb... You own an Engin and you're using a thomson collar?
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Old 10-10-20, 02:17 PM
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This is the worst place to come and talk well of LBS's.

I used to love threads on here where people bashed their LBS mainly so I could learn. Then I argued in a lot of them. Many times for and many times against the LBS. Then I bought out an LBS and added it to my wheel business.

This year has been the most trying year this industry has seen since the oil crisis of the 70's.

There's too many misperceptions of what's actually going to to address here in one post so I am sure I will end up keep coming back to it so let's take one or two at a time.

OP Story: Great. Sounds a lot like how I do business. First shop would be me. Including the "I don't have those. Try ___, ___, or ___. If they have them and you can buy them I can install them for like $ and will work you in as you walk in. It's not a long job" BUT...as a result I piss off customers when I can't give a hard lead time to their large repair. Why can't I? Because I have no control over the sheer volume of "3 second" jobs that will walk in my door on any given day.

During the peak of all of this another local shop owner was stopping by to pick up chamois cream and we got to talking. He said he hadn't answered his phone in 2 months. Had a recording that said they had no bikes and weren't taking any more repairs. Still ended up filling his now empty sales racks with repair bikes daily from walk ins. If he was able to get through them that day then he MIGHT get a chance to go down and do a tuneup out of the pile of longer jobs in the other workshop.

"Just hire another mechanic." 2 problems with that: just because there is more business doesn't mean it's profitable enough to justify employees. It's still a seasonal business with a lot of people who have no price elasticity or ability to wait for anything. Adding capacity at this point is a recipe for disaster. This is also why most OEM bike brands will still be short bikes all the way through 2022...they won't add capacity either because we all know this is going away. Second reason is finding a mechanic you don't have to hold hands with or train is near impossible. One that can hit the ground running will demand a salary that is actually larger than the owner of the shop's.

"Why can't I schedule an appointment and just drop off my bike then and get it back in an hour or two."......... *sigh*....
-1. I actually try and do this with rider who ride a ton. I work with them and try to make it happen. It's not always successful for the other reasons I will list but it tends to work out better than going without it for weeks.
-2. Quite honestly the general cycling public is made up of horrible and selfish people. Making you leave your bike here makes you invested in paying for it and getting it back. making an appointment results in way too many people who just can't bother to show up at the appointed time - throwing all of the other scheduling into a huge mess - but will definitely mean they will show up hours or days later and demand they be seen immediately because "I already had an appointment".
-3. ordering parts at this point is a 5-6 hour endeavour for even the simplest or parts and often requires ordering them retail. Having the bike around during the waiting period allows us to assess it and order parts in during that lead up to repair.

I'm horrible about working on things as they come in. It leaves me with a lot of customers who are happy and a few who took the time to book something in - it leaves them hanging.

I don't think I will ever be able to fully describe what it's like right now and no one will get it unless they have been working in a shop. A 5 minute jobs is taking days because of the sheer volume of people calling, walking in, asking questions, asking the same 25 questions about why it takes so long to get stuff fixed or why it takes forever go get parts....or god forbid they insist on having a meltdown about your mask or other pandemic based policies. I think every single shop in the world right now would love to just come in and fix stuff. I haven't been able to buy a tire or inner tube from a distributor for 4-5 months. Good friend of mine is building a new mtb. He wanted me to find all of the parts and was willing to pay full retail on them. Took 12 hours of looking and he still had to buy half the parts from retail channels.

It's a weird place to be in but I can say I learn more every day. I have always been the kind of shop where I honestly don't care if you bring a repair to me or not but I can almost assure you that if it's an issue that is even slightly out of the "run of the mill" variety category then I will be one of the only shops that will get it fixed the first time and for the least amount of money. Yet I see more home mechanic mess ups than I have ever seen. While my 14 years of being on this forum should be evident enough I am the kind of guy that would love to teach everyone how to fix their own bikes - a lot of people just don't have the basic mechanical skills to really do that. What's more, bikes are simple machines...until they aren't. More often then not you actually need to understand the manufacturing processes used to make the parts to understand where the real issue lays.

I am constantly fixing things that "no other shop" was ever able to figure out. I am always firing up my lathe or 3D printer to solve a problem. I am constantly having to point out that although everyone on your group ride and the forums told you that it was possible to run a 34t cog on your bike that you're actually creating some serious safety issues.

I'm really tired. Tired of having to do that. All of it.

At the same time I'll get the rider that loves riding, respects my knowledge and is in an honest bind. I drop everything for them, do 100 more adjustments and fixes to their bike than they initially brought it in for and have them leave with a smile on their face. They almost always also come back and bring a 6 pack or gift certificate, thank you note, or even a smile and a handshake and tell me how amazing the bike is running now and how much joy they're getting out of running it. It's a mixed bag for us as much as it is for you. Cut everyone a little slack. Hold them to a level of professionalism at least and give them a chance to fix any wrong before condemning them.
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Old 10-10-20, 02:19 PM
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I have a threshold for what I can and cannot do as far as bike service. For that which I need expertise, my LBS gets the business. For instance I need them to replace the drive train on a TT bike I'm getting together. While I am certain I could install the components, the tuning and adjusting is a bit beyond me. So to the LBS. To their credit they've walked me through the process. At present, I am comfortable adjusting things after they are installed but a full swap? It's for them. Since they've taken the time to educate me, I bought the crank and chain from them at their retail. I get good service and avoid their 10% markup on out-sourced parts. And I'm better educated for later. That's a win-win.
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Old 10-10-20, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cybirr View Post
I have a threshold for what I can and cannot do as far as bike service. For that which I need expertise, my LBS gets the business. For instance I need them to replace the drive train on a TT bike I'm getting together. While I am certain I could install the components, the tuning and adjusting is a bit beyond me. So to the LBS. To their credit they've walked me through the process. At present, I am comfortable adjusting things after they are installed but a full swap? It's for them. Since they've taken the time to educate me, I bought the crank and chain from them at their retail. I get good service and avoid their 10% markup on out-sourced parts. And I'm better educated for later. That's a win-win.
Great example. I love nothing more than to sit around all day and teach customers how to do the work. There's a segment of our industry that thinks I should be run out of town on a rail for doing so. The big reason is most likely because of the behavior we create by doing so. We literally aren't getting paid to consult and educate. Shop rate here is $60/hr. If I sit and talk to someone about how to install or adjust something for 30 minutes I would get strange looks if I walked up and asked them for $30 when the conversation was finished. Yet I've always been the guy that will have that conversation. Why? Because that is what I wanted in a shop when I was on the other side.

Customers that also respect my time when I do that and do eventually become the customer for the big jobs - that's what it's all about. Funny enough I derive little joy from the $10 for 2 minute brake adjustment. I would much rather talk to someone about the perceived shortcomings of a specific group or application of tech. When that person eventually comes back with the new group I talked them into that they bought online and now wants me to adjust because it isn't perfect - that's my bag. Some shops get pissed. Not me. I didn't have to order the stuff, move all the money around, deal with shipping, the boxes, invoice, etc. for that tiny 10-20% margin that customers always seem to want to argue about anyway. I'll take the 100% margin of using my knowledge to fix a problem someone else created any day.
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Old 10-10-20, 02:39 PM
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I spent 8 weeks trying to get my LBS to fix my derailleur. They still did not get it right. I originally went to them to purchase a bike, but they wanted $2k for a bike I bought from BD and upgraded to equal the $2k bike. Except I did it for $1300.

I learned after that they gave me the run around because they wanted to punish me for not buying my bike from them. Society Cycles.
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Old 10-10-20, 03:50 PM
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My LBS in VA (not really local, but the closest one as I'm in a remote area) showed me a whole pile of bikes people brought in 'for a quick tune up to get it back on the road'

Most looked like they weren't even worth melting down for the metal......
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Old 10-10-20, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wthensler View Post
My LBS in VA (not really local, but the closest one as I'm in a remote area) showed me a whole pile of bikes people brought in 'for a quick tune up to get it back on the road'

Most looked like they weren't even worth melting down for the metal......
I was talking to a good friend/mechanic about this.

"I feel bad. I feel like Bryce [owner at his shop] isn't getting nearly the productivity out of me anymore that he is used to. I get a standard work rate of x hour(s) for a tuneup and it seems like evry single one of these big box monstrosities that I am having to work on is taking 3-4x that amount of time to do a simple tube up on because everything on it either breaks or takes so much more time to adjust or set up properly."

He nailed it. It takes WAY more time to work on cheap bikes.
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Old 10-10-20, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
This is the worst place to come and talk well of LBS's.

I used to love threads on here where people bashed their LBS mainly so I could learn. Then I argued in a lot of them. Many times for and many times against the LBS. Then I bought out an LBS and added it to my wheel business.

This year has been the most trying year this industry has seen since the oil crisis of the 70's.

There's too many misperceptions of what's actually going to to address here in one post so I am sure I will end up keep coming back to it so let's take one or two at a time.

OP Story: Great. Sounds a lot like how I do business. First shop would be me. Including the "I don't have those. Try ___, ___, or ___. If they have them and you can buy them I can install them for like $ and will work you in as you walk in. It's not a long job" BUT...as a result I piss off customers when I can't give a hard lead time to their large repair. Why can't I? Because I have no control over the sheer volume of "3 second" jobs that will walk in my door on any given day.

During the peak of all of this another local shop owner was stopping by to pick up chamois cream and we got to talking. He said he hadn't answered his phone in 2 months. Had a recording that said they had no bikes and weren't taking any more repairs. Still ended up filling his now empty sales racks with repair bikes daily from walk ins. If he was able to get through them that day then he MIGHT get a chance to go down and do a tuneup out of the pile of longer jobs in the other workshop.

"Just hire another mechanic." 2 problems with that: just because there is more business doesn't mean it's profitable enough to justify employees. It's still a seasonal business with a lot of people who have no price elasticity or ability to wait for anything. Adding capacity at this point is a recipe for disaster. This is also why most OEM bike brands will still be short bikes all the way through 2022...they won't add capacity either because we all know this is going away. Second reason is finding a mechanic you don't have to hold hands with or train is near impossible. One that can hit the ground running will demand a salary that is actually larger than the owner of the shop's.

"Why can't I schedule an appointment and just drop off my bike then and get it back in an hour or two."......... *sigh*....
-1. I actually try and do this with rider who ride a ton. I work with them and try to make it happen. It's not always successful for the other reasons I will list but it tends to work out better than going without it for weeks.
-2. Quite honestly the general cycling public is made up of horrible and selfish people. Making you leave your bike here makes you invested in paying for it and getting it back. making an appointment results in way too many people who just can't bother to show up at the appointed time - throwing all of the other scheduling into a huge mess - but will definitely mean they will show up hours or days later and demand they be seen immediately because "I already had an appointment".
-3. ordering parts at this point is a 5-6 hour endeavour for even the simplest or parts and often requires ordering them retail. Having the bike around during the waiting period allows us to assess it and order parts in during that lead up to repair.

I'm horrible about working on things as they come in. It leaves me with a lot of customers who are happy and a few who took the time to book something in - it leaves them hanging.

I don't think I will ever be able to fully describe what it's like right now and no one will get it unless they have been working in a shop. A 5 minute jobs is taking days because of the sheer volume of people calling, walking in, asking questions, asking the same 25 questions about why it takes so long to get stuff fixed or why it takes forever go get parts....or god forbid they insist on having a meltdown about your mask or other pandemic based policies. I think every single shop in the world right now would love to just come in and fix stuff. I haven't been able to buy a tire or inner tube from a distributor for 4-5 months. Good friend of mine is building a new mtb. He wanted me to find all of the parts and was willing to pay full retail on them. Took 12 hours of looking and he still had to buy half the parts from retail channels.

It's a weird place to be in but I can say I learn more every day. I have always been the kind of shop where I honestly don't care if you bring a repair to me or not but I can almost assure you that if it's an issue that is even slightly out of the "run of the mill" variety category then I will be one of the only shops that will get it fixed the first time and for the least amount of money. Yet I see more home mechanic mess ups than I have ever seen. While my 14 years of being on this forum should be evident enough I am the kind of guy that would love to teach everyone how to fix their own bikes - a lot of people just don't have the basic mechanical skills to really do that. What's more, bikes are simple machines...until they aren't. More often then not you actually need to understand the manufacturing processes used to make the parts to understand where the real issue lays.

I am constantly fixing things that "no other shop" was ever able to figure out. I am always firing up my lathe or 3D printer to solve a problem. I am constantly having to point out that although everyone on your group ride and the forums told you that it was possible to run a 34t cog on your bike that you're actually creating some serious safety issues.

I'm really tired. Tired of having to do that. All of it.

At the same time I'll get the rider that loves riding, respects my knowledge and is in an honest bind. I drop everything for them, do 100 more adjustments and fixes to their bike than they initially brought it in for and have them leave with a smile on their face. They almost always also come back and bring a 6 pack or gift certificate, thank you note, or even a smile and a handshake and tell me how amazing the bike is running now and how much joy they're getting out of running it. It's a mixed bag for us as much as it is for you. Cut everyone a little slack. Hold them to a level of professionalism at least and give them a chance to fix any wrong before condemning them.
Amazing Post. This is consistent with what I hear from the LBS.
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