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So I told my LBS about Probikekit

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

So I told my LBS about Probikekit

Old 08-29-06, 06:42 AM
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pelotonracer
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So I told my LBS about Probikekit

So, I wanted some new tires yesterday, because my Zaffiro Pro's were just too damn hard to mount & take off. I just thought, what the hell, everyone seems to like Michelin ProRace2's. So I head down to my LBS, & they're there for $74.99 (this is CAN, people). I tell him that ProBikeKit has them for less than half the price ($30), & he doesn't believe me. Luckily, he has a computer there, & he tells me to "show him". So I do, & there it is, with free shipping too- & he says, "that's less than my cost."

At this point, I don't really know what to say, as I really can't ask for a discount below his cost. So, I just buy a tube & a patch kit to be nice & leave.

When I get home, I promptly order 2 ProRace2's. And I wonder, for accessories that don't really need customer service- tires, tubes, tools, some components, etc., how can LBS's survive?
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Old 08-29-06, 06:46 AM
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yep. had the same experience, except the 30$ for the open corsas on PBK was 3$ more than my LBS costs.

I wonder, for accessories that don't really need customer service- tires, tubes, tools, some components, etc., how can LBS's survive?
they survive by selling bikes and accessories to beginners and rec riders who aren't so obsessive about biking that they can go without chatting on a bike forum, and discover deals from Blighty
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Old 08-29-06, 06:48 AM
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It is because all the european bike companies go through a middle man to get to the US. So they raise the price. You basically pay what the bike shop pays. Give or take.
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Old 08-29-06, 06:49 AM
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If PBK is $.01 higher then the LBS, they should match or they are not going to get my business...They have a choice go out of buisness making $.01 or $.00 per sale...I would prefer to make the $.01
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Old 08-29-06, 06:51 AM
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Yeah, you're cutting out the middle man... But I also suspect that ProBikeKit is operating at a break-even-or-worse position with it's US customers right now in an attempt to build notoriety and market share.

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Old 08-29-06, 06:56 AM
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Although I've had zero problems with Probikekit I'm beginning to wonder if some of the stuff they're selling is seconds. One of my buddies I ride with ordered 20 of the Michelin Pro2's from them. Two of them have defective sidewalls and another one started to separate down the middle after only a few hundred miles. I thought he was full of sheot until he showed me the tires. He also bought some Mavic Cosmic Carbones from them and he's had some minor problems with them as well - the front bearings need to be constantly adjusted and his back wheel keeps coming out of true.

Again, I've bought from PBK atleast a dozen times over the past few years and never once had a problem, that includes Michelin Pro and Pro2 Race tires. At any rate, I think it's unfair to ask a LBS to price match PBK. The LBS is an authorized Michelin retailer going through the proper channels whereas PBK is most likely not.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:07 AM
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TCR, I wouldn't be so quick to say that PBK is not an authorized dealer for any of their merchandise. What we can say for sure is that they re selling "out of market." They are also playing a numbers game. Selling at a cost so that they are essentially buying market share. They also play upon a stong dollar compared to the GBP which makes the prices more attractive to US buyer. (I think I have that last statement correct, it's been a long time since my last econ class.)

I agree that it is unfair to ask an LBS to match PBKs pricing. PBK does not have a storefront anywhere in the US. I am suprised that any LBS would even consider matching an on-line retailler, many other businesses will not.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by WheresWaldo
TCR, I wouldn't be so quick to say that PBK is not an authorized dealer for any of their merchandise. What we can say for sure is that they re selling "out of market." They are also playing a numbers game. Selling at a cost so that they are essentially buying market share.
You can't buy market share with low price on the internet. It doesn't work. I make my living in E-commerce. New dealers come on line daily to take my market share with lower prices. It hasn't worked in over 8 years that I've been doing it. You actually have to earn market share. You have to work for it. Low ball customers can't give it to you through low ball prices. Probikekit is selling OEM products at retail. It is not allowed in the U.S. but apparently OK with everyone in the U.K. They may or not be authorized dealers for the things they sell. However, it is safe to say they aren't doing what the manufacturers intended.

Whether or not they are authorized, of course, is of no consequence to the consumer as long as he gets his order filled.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:29 AM
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Actually,

The dollar is relatively weak right now compared to the pound. 1.88 $/pound vs 1.45 $/lb a few years ago. If we had 2001 exchange rates, everything from PBK would be about 30% less. But the cost the the bike shops would be somewhat less as well. A weak currency helps exports and hurts imports.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:31 AM
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Will all the PBK threads going on today I am starting to think Bikesdirect bought PBK...
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Old 08-29-06, 07:40 AM
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same thing around here, pro race 2's are 85$ cdn, vs 30$ free shipping on PBK. Chains are also 2/3 the price on PBK then they are here but i was in a pinch and couldn't wait a week so i baught one at the LBS a little while ago. PBK can't show a newbie how to correctly mount a folding tire, nor can they quickly inspect and replace any defective item. It's just the ying and yang of the bike industry.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:50 AM
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My LBS matchs competitor prices whether is be another LBS or off of the internet. I asked him to match a PBK price on some Conti GP 4000's and he said he couldn't because their price was right at his cost for the tires. That to me is understandable. He gave me a price which was $10 higher than PBK but about $15 less than retail. I bought them from him since I wanted to try out the tires, wanted them then, and on a sidebar helped him stay in business as well. I have since bought another pair from PBK. I do support my LBS but won't pay an additional $20 each time I need tires.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:35 AM
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Have u checked out biketiresdirect.com they have the a set of prorace for 35
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Old 08-29-06, 08:39 AM
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To repeat what I always tend to say in these situations, it never hurts to ask. They can match or not match, it's their decision. Say what you want about PBK's marketing/pricing tactic, but think about this...I never would have found them or ordered from them if it weren't for this forum, and they wouldn't have gotten on this forum without having a bunch of great deals. I am sure there are many others on here that feel the same way.

As for the PBK price being at cost...everyone is dead on with the UK angle. If PBK were in the US they would be in direct violation of the "Robinson(?)" act (anti-trust legislation of the 1920's) that requires that competetors inthe same markets receive pricing parity from suppliers providing them equal ground to compete on. It is a constant concern in my field and one that requires a ton of attention to maintain. Granted it is up to the supplier to maintain that pricing parity.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by redden
Have u checked out biketiresdirect.com they have the a set of prorace for 35
+ shipping....PBK has them for $27 and the shipping is free to the US and you'll get them in less than 10 days from most people's responses. No contest.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:44 AM
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I was shopping for FSA cranks, and it actually looks like PBK's prices are HIGHER than most online shops in the US by a good 10%.

I have no idea where FSA components are made, but I'm guessing that a big part of the cost savings from PBK has to do with various creative methods of skirting import taxes within the EU and probably to the US... Anyone else noticed that their PBK purchase was a "gift" in the eyes of customs???
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Old 08-29-06, 08:48 AM
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I bought one Vittoria Rubino Pro tire for my back wheel at my LBS and it was $59.99cnd + 14% tax! I just ordered my replacement for my front tyre off of PBK it came to $20.60cnd TOTAL! This is a no brainer, no contest.

As long as you can wait for the product it makes sense to get it on line. As for spare tubes etc...My LBS will get my business as well for service. But saving $48 per tyre makes too much sense for my wallet!!

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Old 08-29-06, 08:48 AM
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I think Fred had it when he mentioned that they are probably getting OEM pricing. Basically meaning that the manufactureres are giving them a pricing agreement as though they are a bicycle (assembly) manufacturer, instead of a distributor/MRO.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by spiderbike
If PBK is $.01 higher then the LBS, they should match or they are not going to get my business...They have a choice go out of buisness making $.01 or $.00 per sale...I would prefer to make the $.01
Unfortunately, this is not the case. LBS COST is $3 > PBK RETAIL, so the LBS is LOSING $3. PLUS the LBS has fixed costs to own a shop. This situation is even worse in Canada, since there is usually another 'middle-man' in the US that the Canadian deals with.

Similar to car performance items, my friend went out of business due to the online retailers/proximity to US market. I could buy items for my car in the US, pay taxes/duty, and STILL get it cheaper than his COST. He bought his items from another (LARGE) shop in Canada, who bought their items from a Canadian distributor, who bought from an American distributor, etc. The big problem with moving up the chain is a 'buy-in' cost that a lot of small shops can't afford (imagine buying $10 000 worth of 1 tire brand!)

Myself, I'll pay a couple dollars more to support my LBS. Fortunately, they give me deals because I research everything first (and they know that) and I go back often. I still buy stuff online on clearance/sale, where the LBS has no way of matching (other than losing money, which probably isn't a good business model )

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Old 08-29-06, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
Anyone else noticed that their PBK purchase was a "gift" in the eyes of customs???
Shhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
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Old 08-29-06, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by fmw
You can't buy market share with low price on the internet. It doesn't work. I make my living in E-commerce.
I'm right there with you. I'm not saying PBK's strategy will work. I'm simply surmising that it's their strategy. I should probably order several sets of Pro Race 2s now before PBK goes under

--Steve
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Old 08-29-06, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
Anyone else noticed that their PBK purchase was a "gift" in the eyes of customs???
doubt it would really matter anyway. US customs are pretty relaxed compared to European countries and Canada. even if they even bother to charge you, then it's pennies.

at least that's been my experience with buying and selling watches.
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Old 08-29-06, 09:55 AM
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Your LBS should get tires from pbk then.
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Old 08-29-06, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by recursive
Your LBS should get tires from pbk then.
Funny, that was my first thought as well. "Gee, they ought to be sourcing thier stuff from PBK instead of whoever they're getting them from now..."

If nothing else, they could be improving thier margins.
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Old 08-29-06, 03:04 PM
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It's all about choices people. We can shop where we want when we want now with the advent of online shopping! If your LBS is too high on a product and you can get it online with a retailer much cheaper................welllllll, I don't think its rocket sciene any more!
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