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is PerformanceBike bad for cycling?

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is PerformanceBike bad for cycling?

Old 08-06-07, 07:00 PM
  #76  
justonwo
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A Performance Bike just opened up shop in Berkeley not too long ago. They treat me better than either of the two LBSs where I bought my mountain and road bikes (probably spent about $3000 at each). The same arguments come up in the guitar world (my other big hobby). People get upset when Guitar Center moves into town, but my general experience is that the local mom and pop guitar shops in this area have terrible service.

To me, it's a a customer service world. There is just too much information and competition out there to have bad service. If I can get the attention I need at Performance, so be it. If the LBS can't work hard enough to keep me happy, they deserve their fate.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:37 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
A Performance Bike just opened up shop in Berkeley not too long ago. They treat me better than either of the two LBSs where I bought my mountain and road bikes (probably spent about $3000 at each). The same arguments come up in the guitar world (my other big hobby). People get upset when Guitar Center moves into town, but my general experience is that the local mom and pop guitar shops in this area have terrible service.

To me, it's a a customer service world. There is just too much information and competition out there to have bad service. If I can get the attention I need at Performance, so be it. If the LBS can't work hard enough to keep me happy, they deserve their fate.
You're talking my language dude! Of all of the music stores in the Seattle area (or at least north of Seattle), GC is the place to go if you actually want to find something in stock, a specific guitar that you can play through that one specific amp, etc. Who cares if the other stores can order what it is you're looking for if you can't first play it? I haven't come across the bad service vibe from the M&P stores, but just the extreme lack of gear in-stock, and frankly, HIGH prices (with some exceptions). The same thing applies to Performance.

I like the earlier post about the differences between Performance and other LBS's, and then the Ford vs. BMW comparison. Very true and very applicable analogy.
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Old 08-20-07, 03:53 AM
  #78  
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a branch store specifically made for cyclists, i say about time!! I was half tempted in buying a scattante bike from them, but i feel for the schwinn fastback le, it was bought at a supergo bikes which was bought out by performance long ago. Good store with nice bikes!!
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Old 08-20-07, 04:23 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I personally think they over-extended themselves with the purchase of Nashbar and Supergo. They don't seem to have the killer deals they used to have, and it's no secret that the private equity sale was done to help infuse some cash into their business....
Well, by buying out two big-name, online competitors, they don't have to provide the rock-bottom deals as much.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:56 AM
  #80  
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i try hard to support the lbs. short of some sort of special sale, etc., i can always find better prices online. i have a performance team membership. performance doesn't always have the best prices or selection. however, with 10% back and upgraded shipping, etc., performance is tough to pass up.

actually, many lbs have limited selections (or rather brands) that they carry for components.



as far as the people, i find basically all lbs's i've been to (including performance) to be the same; that is, some are knowledgeable, some are not, some are pleasant to deal with, some are not, some are flexible, some are not. the "culture" that mgt/ownership promotes at a bike shop is key...and those are the shops i try to give my business to. unfortunately, there are really only 3 shops that feel are like that. others have one or two people who work there that, if i can't deal with them, i don't shop there.

there's a newer shop near me that i stopped by last week. its called bicycle heaven. its a small shop owned/run by a guy who just loves bicycles and cycling. it was great just talking with him about bikes/components. i'm going to try hard to give him my business.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:11 AM
  #81  
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Recently I bought one of their cheap repair stands and the plastic piece at the end was broke. I sent an e-mail and they sent out a small parts order and it arrived 3 days later. I've been shopping at performance since the late 80's also. I was able to get product quickly when I ws stationed in Germany.
I have never had a problem with them.
What is worng with saving a couple of bucks. I would shop at my local LBS if I got good service and competing prices but sometimes that's not the case. I have been shopping at my local bike shop more, simply because they are more attentive now. I recently moved to Louisville from Los Angeles and don't remember that being the case there. Elitist is the only word I'd use to describe them.
Not the case here with Cyclist cafe' (great food too) and Clarksville Schwinn.
I still don't know if I could afford to buy a bike there though.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:28 AM
  #82  
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I understand the LBS's concern but this is a capitalist society with its' roots in competition. If some choose to select price, convenience, and availability, that is the consumer's choice. This is another case of a bigger, organized retailer grabbing market share, e.g., Walmart. It's sad to see it happen but that's business. Even if there were no Performances in an area served by several LBSs, you can bet the most successful LBS is going after the others' customers.
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Old 08-20-07, 09:15 AM
  #83  
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funny, i have had great experinces with performance. so much so that i would not hesitate to order from them. i also do alot of business with bike nashbar, which i believe performance now owns. as far as my lbs goes, the last resort. when i go in there it is like bend over! if you know what i mean. ashame because i would really like to give business to the lbs. it's like they go out of their way to turn away a knowledgable customer.

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Old 08-20-07, 09:18 AM
  #84  
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most of the LBS's around my place.. do not carry the EXACT stuff, i want..

so yay INTRAWEB
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Old 08-20-07, 12:46 PM
  #85  
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"As a Trek and Specialized dealer, Abell isn’t concerned about Performance’s impact on unit sales, since
Performance stocks only “C” level product."

This doesn't make since to me. I know that Judith Arndt and Kristin Armstrong both won World Championships on "C" level products and Ivan Dominguez won a stage of the TofC on the same "crap". Plus, on my group ride last Saturday, we dropped a guy riding a brand new Specialized Tarmac. More often that not I find, it's not the arrow but the indian.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:15 PM
  #86  
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Home Depot hasn't seemed to turn people off from do-it-yourself projects, and their service sucks hard.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:38 PM
  #87  
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What I don't understand is why the LBSs of the world aren't carrying product that will compete with the interwebbers. If a shop doesn't have a jersey under sixty shmooks, whose fault is it they don't get the sale? It's a polyester shirt for pete's sake.

Many industries have to cope with internet competition, it shouldn't be that hard. Inflexibility and lack of imagination will probably close plenty of shops.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:43 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Spreggy View Post
What I don't understand is why the LBSs of the world aren't carrying product that will compete with the interwebbers. If a shop doesn't have a jersey under sixty shmooks, whose fault is it they don't get the sale? It's a polyester shirt for pete's sake.

Many industries have to cope with internet competition, it shouldn't be that hard. Inflexibility and lack of imagination will probably close plenty of shops.
Unsold inventory takes up space. Most LBS are small retail spaces. It's hard to be a Just In Time supplier when you don't know what each customer is going to want from day to day, so keep some basics on hand and order anything else you need when the need arises.

Doing this with a smile and some perceived above-and-beyond effort costs little, but goes a long way. Too bad many small shop owners either don't know this or lose sight of it after a while. The ones who do keep this in mind will retain customers.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:55 PM
  #89  
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I think an "I can get it for you" attittude would help too. When I go into a bike shop. I always get a can I help you find something, but it ends there. I was shopping for a new set of cable cutters and the guy at the shop looks at he tool wall and says, nope we don't have any more and walks off. I ended up buying it at a different LBS, but I had to drive to get it and I would have just come back, had the guy seemed the tiniest bit interested in making a sale.
To contrast, I went into a differetn Bike shop and the owner asks me what I'm looking for. I say cheap MTB grips and bar ends. He says write your name and number down I'll call you when they get in.
I told him I don't want anything fancy.
He assures me they won't be.
Two days later I pick up SRAM grips and Profile bar ends for 20 bucks.
I know I could have got them cheaper, but it's important to me to support my LBS, if they want to be supported. I don't presume that they have a million sq. ft. warehouse with stuff on the shelfs. It's helpful to know that they can give me competing prices for good quality merchandise and deliver on time.

The stuff was for my kids bike, so she was thrilled.

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Old 08-20-07, 02:21 PM
  #90  
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You know, LBS are great and all but Performance does carry some nice stuff and what they do carry that is higher end you can get at rediculously cheap prices if you do it right. I just ordered a set of Rolf Vigors and a 8 piece '07 Record group for a full $800 (!!!!) less than it would have cost me for the exact same thing from an LBS. AND I get another 10% back to spend on other stuff. AND the shipping was free. I think together the wheels and the gorup were cheaper than group alone would have been at the LBS. Now I guess I have to have the bike mechanic skills required to set these up, but even if I didn't I could get them put on at the LBS for another few dollars, still saving massive amounts of money.

Also, I agree with a lot of the sentiment-even when I do go to an LBS and try to get good stuff they either don't have my size, or have last year's model, or the people there just don't know much about the product becuase it is not a low to mid level trek mountain or hybrid bike, and the one guy who really does know bikes and the high-end road stuff is not there that day.

There are, of course, some great LBS's out there for service and products, every area has one or two, but even those don't carry a lot of the high end stuff. If I want Rapha or Assos I can't get it at Performance or my LBS, so I have to go to mail order anyway.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:25 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
Home Depot hasn't seemed to turn people off from do-it-yourself projects, and their service sucks hard.
Their service does stink, but someone that's going to do a diy is by his nature going to put up with that more and be willing to find something himself. Home Depot is a different beast. By the nature of the store and what it sells, its customers are more independant and generally capable on their own. Go to a store like True Value and there's a lot more handholding and superior service. Different customers and different types of project materials.

Home depot, though does have hysterical ads. Just once I'd like to walk through and have an experience like the ads. In hundreds of trips to the store I can count on one hand the number of times someone has asked to help me without my needing to initiate it. To LBS's credit (and Performance) I doubt I've ever been in a shop for more than a minute or two without someone asking how he/she could help me.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:27 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
Their service does stink, but someone that's going to do a diy is by his nature going to put up with that more and be willing to find something himself. Home Depot is a different beast. By the nature of the store and what it sells, its customers are more independant and generally capable on their own. Go to a store like True Value and there's a lot more handholding and superior service. Different customers and different types of project materials.

Home depot, though does have hysterical ads. Just once I'd like to walk through and have an experience like the ads. In hundreds of trips to the store I can count on one hand the number of times someone has asked to help me without my needing to initiate it. To LBS's credit (and Performance) I doubt I've ever been in a shop for more than a minute or two without someone asking how he/she could help me.
Ha! It's true, and the more impressive thing is that even when you indicate that you need help they usually just tell you they don't work in that section and page someone overhead who never appears.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:16 PM
  #93  
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In particular, when PB bought out my local Supergo, the quality of bikes they sold dropped like a rock, but the average price didn't, so the value completely went away at a time when I was about ready to get a new scoot.

The service has gone downhill, too, but I can't say it's due to the employees, who are after two years still mostly the same people who staffed the Supergo, and ride and work on bikes all the time. But they're not motivated as much. And even when it was Supergo it had a bit of a corporate feel, and you knew these guys in the local wanted more of a LBS feel and just couldn't do it. But PB has really hamstrung them.

Selection on components is reduced as well, which has reduced the frequency of deals on the high-end things they still have. And the staff are grumbling like corporate is planning to do away with the bike-service counter and make the store simply a retail outlet.

As regards the thesis of the article that started this thread, yes, I think PB will end up being a detractor for the bike-shop industry and may affect cycling adversely. Road riding is making a resurgence, and if many people's entry into it is through Performance Bike, they'll end up spending more on less bike, getting well-meaning but sandbagged service, and won't be as enthusiastic about using and fixing their bikes. I have no doubt that the money behind PB will make the IRR that they're planning to make, but it will be less than the industry could have made without them, and will leave the cycling public in a less-well-equipped state. But that's how their game is played: screw everyone else, as long as they get their cut they can declare victory.

The question is, will there be any big-money investors willing to see the massive hole in PB's market coverage and fill it? Someone willing to sell the mid-high end bikes in a national-store-brand setting (big points for buyer comfort; the LBS can't do this at all and leaves people wondering if they couldn't do better elsewhere, which is where PB gets some of their traffic) for reasonable prices and service them properly?

PB could survive indefinitely if it would broaden its range and offer real value. But maybe it's not constituted to survive indefinitely. If the money's recognized investment philosophy is to mine the pockets of aging baby boomers, they only have until the boom passes the cycling-enabled age range, and then their strategy demands they close up and stop mining a dwindling vein. They'll probably invest in nursing homes, next.

It's all cynical and not comforting to one's athletic ethic.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:05 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97 View Post
Unsold inventory takes up space. Most LBS are small retail spaces. It's hard to be a Just In Time supplier when you don't know what each customer is going to want from day to day, so keep some basics on hand and order anything else you need when the need arises.

Doing this with a smile and some perceived above-and-beyond effort costs little, but goes a long way. Too bad many small shop owners either don't know this or lose sight of it after a while. The ones who do keep this in mind will retain customers.
I think Spreggy might have been getting to an issue that I keep going back to. It falls unto the LBS to embrace online competition and redesign their business model to allow them to compete adequately.

In other words it's not that the LBS should stock a ton of items, but rather it should do some unique brand/product positioning that allows them to compete....

...that or come up with a different business model - re-invent the LBS.

I keep going back to something I heard during a manufacturing symposium a few years back: You'll never be able to overseas outsource your physical plumbing or electrical.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:14 PM
  #95  
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Living in Austin, I've been to Abell's stores and to the performance shops mentioned in the article. The north austin store has been empty every weekday I've been there. On weekend's it's got some customers and for the most part they don't look like hard core roadies. The market that his store goes after is very different from the the market that performance caters to.

Performance's customer service is pretty good, but not great. I've had much better service at other LBS's and that includes Mr. Abell's shop. I've also had much much worse. Performance is a decent place to shop if you know what you want and you're looking to get it cheap.
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Old 08-20-07, 05:26 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97 View Post
Unsold inventory takes up space. Most LBS are small retail spaces. It's hard to be a Just In Time supplier when you don't know what each customer is going to want from day to day, so keep some basics on hand and order anything else you need when the need arises.

Doing this with a smile and some perceived above-and-beyond effort costs little, but goes a long way. Too bad many small shop owners either don't know this or lose sight of it after a while. The ones who do keep this in mind will retain customers.
Very true. The part that bugs me, however, is when they don't have an item in stock but they can order it... for twice the price of the online stores, and it will take two weeks. When a store manager told me they had to charge that much because they don't buy in bulk like the internet guys do, I said "but at that price, you could order it from Performance/Nashbar yourself, get it in less than 2 weeks, and STILL make a profit off of me." If your wholesaler is selling it to you for more than the internet companies are selling to consumers, that's not a good wholesaler.

Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
Their service does stink, but someone that's going to do a diy is by his nature going to put up with that more and be willing to find something himself. Home Depot is a different beast. By the nature of the store and what it sells, its customers are more independant and generally capable on their own. Go to a store like True Value and there's a lot more handholding and superior service. Different customers and different types of project materials.

Home depot, though does have hysterical ads. Just once I'd like to walk through and have an experience like the ads. In hundreds of trips to the store I can count on one hand the number of times someone has asked to help me without my needing to initiate it. To LBS's credit (and Performance) I doubt I've ever been in a shop for more than a minute or two without someone asking how he/she could help me.
Actually, that's not true. I used to work at OSH (small chain like True Value in California) and then at a Home Depot, and I can tell you people that go into OSH commonly complain about prices and then go to Home Depot to get it cheaper, then complain about the service.

For the record, I acknowledged as many customers as I could, but in a warehouse as large as it is, I'd never actually make it back to my post on a Saturday if I walked every customer to the product they asked for (it's true, I tried it once and was amazed at how many trips across the store I made). It's the nature of the beast, but it is hilarious that the higher-ups have no clue as to what is actually going on in their stores. As a supervisor, I had to figure out how to have 5 registers open by 8am when the schedule/budget only allowed me 3 people on duty, including myself. In short, shop at Lowes.
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Old 08-20-07, 07:37 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by gcl8a View Post
Well, by buying out two big-name, online competitors, they don't have to provide the rock-bottom deals as much.
EXACTLY!

The coupons definitely slowed down once they bought Nashbar. I don't have a problem with Performance. They were local to me when they were still a small business. What they have become is almost inevitable for any business that wants to continue to grow in the market.

I shop there, although not exclusively. The only thought I have, is that I certainly wouldn't want them to be the only source. Sure, they often sell many items below dealer cost of the smaller shops - but that won't last when the competition is gone.

In an ideal world, I would go to my corner bike shop and they would have all my critical supplies in-stock and would order anything I needed for a GOOD price - they don't have to inventory it after-all. Not being a particularly outgoing person though, I'm unlikely to make friends with the owner or whatever it takes to arrive at such a situation. So... I do the majority of my shopping from my computer. I'm rarely disappointed with the results.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:05 AM
  #98  
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no performance shops nearby for me, but i can say that if there was, they would get some of my business just by being open on sundays.


there are two shops in my city and both are closed on sundays. /grumble
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Old 08-21-07, 09:25 AM
  #99  
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Here is my take on this. I love to support local businesses. I also buy a lot of components and accessories from Performance and Nashbar online because I know what I want and they generally have the best price.

Small LBSs simply cannot compete with the "big box" or internet stores on price. If they want to stay competitive, they have to do so on service. The problem is that most LBS' I have gone to have really crappy customer service. Notice I said most. I have come across a few really good LBS and try and bring my business back there.

With many LBS', the owner is not on site and you wind up having some dumb 16 yr old try and answer your questions. One, they don't care to learn what they are selling like retail employees used to in the past. Two, many simply have an "i dont give a ***** attitude." I don't consider myself to be an "expert" on all things related to cycling and have learned mostly from screwing things up. But if I know more than the store employee, there is a problem. I will go to a good LBS for their advice on components, etc. and trust their judgment. I am willing to pay a little higher price for that kind of service. But that doesnt happen at most bike shops. At most shops, unless you look like some gullible consumer with a wad a cash to spend on a new bike, they dont want to deal with you.

I have even run into this problem with LBSs where I have bought bikes. Notably the Trek corporate stores could give a rats as$ about you once they have sold you a bike.

Also, a lot of LBSs simply want to clear inventory and are not interested in actually finding out what your needs are, answering you questions and recommending the best bike for your intended use/budget.

On the other hand, customer service at places such as nashbar and performance just absolutely sucks. However, how can you beat a Shimino 105 front brake for $12? Could any LBS match that?

In addition, at many LBS stores, begineers are made to feel like idiots when asking simple run of the mill questions. Why do you think so many people post on this board?
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Old 08-21-07, 09:37 AM
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Spreggy
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In other words it's not that the LBS should stock a ton of items, but rather it should do some unique brand/product positioning that allows them to compete....

...that or come up with a different business model - re-invent the LBS.
Bullseye!

There is a shop around the corner from my office, and I have spent a lot of time and money there this year. This is my first year of above-commute level cycling, so lots of junk to buy. I started off the year by wanting a road config for commuting, and wanted to go one step above the dept store, that's all. I asked where they start, they said $650, no used, end of story. No attempt to sell me on time, no attempt to find me a used bike. I grabbed a Motobecheapy for $300, enough bike for the first year to see if cycling stands the test of time or if it hits the usual hobby rotation like my telescopes, golf clubs, and other dust collectors. Now tell me they couldn't have made that sale.

They are an excellent shop, I just think they leave a lot on the table. I'll likely buy a real bike from them in the spring.
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