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How Much of the LBS time did you take when purchasing your new road bike?

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

How Much of the LBS time did you take when purchasing your new road bike?

Old 10-08-11, 07:53 PM
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Stannian
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How Much of the LBS time did you take when purchasing your new road bike?

I was finalizing a bike for pick-up today after a gentleman purchased a very fine bicycle, around $3,000 worth, when I questioned what is a normal amount of time to spend with the bicycle shop's staff before making a purchase?

I have worked at various bicycle shops for about 7 years now, and have seemingly forgotten what might be normal. To give a background, we are a small shop in the midwest, right now having two employees, me and the owner, and are constantly busy. In the summertime we had at most 5 full time employees. To fit this in the road forums, we sell mostly road bikes, on the middle to higher end spectrum.

Thinking back to my first road bike purchase at $750 dollars, with another $200 worth of accessories, I spent about an hour with a guy at a big store and felt satisfied. So I ask...

How much time would you expect to spend, or did you spend, with a sales guy to feel satisfied on a $500 purchase? $1,000 purchase? $2,000 purchase? $3000 purchase? $5,000 or custom purchase?

What about accessory add-ons after the bicycle decision? 30 minutes? An hour?

How about specific accessory trips? $30 lights versus $1,200 wheels?

How many times would you or did you visit the store before making your final decision?

Were you influenced more by the sales staff or by personal research?

What factors made you choose a particular store to buy from? Brands, product knowledge, store experience?

Maybe you bought online, why, and what could have made you buy from a bike shop besides lower prices?

And for a little more background, I am a lifer, as they call it. My job is to sell bicycles and accessories, but also to repair bicycles and keep them running. It is my passion to bring more people to cycling and help them have the best experience they can while doing so. I studied psychology and sociology in undergrad, and have a great interest in understanding people and society. So these questions are for my own personal benefit, hopefully to be used to help others in their cycling experiences.

Lets discuss.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:05 PM
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I recently bought a $500 bike and spent about an hour riding different models before the purchase. After this amount of time with a salesperson riding and asking questions, I felt like I had absorbed enough info to make a good decision. I didn't have a way to get the bike home at the time, so I came back with a friend and his truck. By the time we got to the LBS I had convinced him to buy the same bike and he did. The salesperson must have done a good job of educating me.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:08 PM
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I'm in the process of buying a $3000-$4000 bike at the moment. On Thursday I spent 2 hours riding bikes and chatting with the general manager of my LBS...he took the time to set each bike up the same with regards to saddle height,setback reach and bar height. I think I'm close to a decision and once I finally purchase I know they will spend another hour fitting me on the bike. I'm sure if it was a less expensive bike I would still get similar treatment but I'm also sure there is a lower limit in terms of cost. That said we have bought 3 bikes from them in the last two years (Hardrock for my son, Cannondale F5 for me and a Ruby for my wife) so they treat us well regardless.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:08 PM
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I took maybe 15 minutes -- long enough for them to find the frameset in Specialized's system and for us to negotiate a price. Actually, since I wasn't actually interacting when they were looking for stock, I probably spent less than 5 minutes with them on a $3,000 frameset. My wife picked up the frameset in its box.

5 minutes with them. 15 or 20 minutes total.

I do all my own homework on purchases. And I also do all my own mechanical work. Why? Because I'm more knowledgeable and because the quality of my work is better. It wasn't always this way. It took negative experiences at LBSs to drive me to this point.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:13 PM
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zero.

last two bicycle purchases were online going by the geometry charts . for the record a neuvation f100 with dura ace and a pedal force cg-1 sram red.

i don't need any hand holding at this stage of my cycling life, i know how to fit myself to a bike and really don't have my own time to waste.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post

I do all my own homework on purchases. And I also do all my own mechanical work. Why? Because I'm more knowledgeable and because the quality of my work is better. It wasn't always this way. It took negative experiences at LBSs to drive me to this point.
I feel the same way about purchases, I do my own homework. Very rarely do I rely on salespeople for help with anything, unless I really trust them and have a relationship with them, or see them as trying to educate me and not simply sell me. I could see myself living the exact same cycling life without requiring any "hand holding" with fittings and such, but being on the other side of it I deal day in and out with people who want my advice, so it is interesting, to say the least.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:53 PM
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Zero, purchased my bike online with competitive cyclist.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:54 PM
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I ended up ordering a bike online after my local bike shop tried selling me a women's bike because he didn't have a suitable men's bike and it was the end of the season. It's too bad, too, because I was prepared to spend more just to have a relationship with a local bike shop, until I realized that the "service" I thought I was paying for really was just a sales pitch.

Walking away from that bike shop and ordering a bike online is probably one of my better decisions in life.
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Old 10-08-11, 08:55 PM
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I spent about 30 minutes, most of that doing test rides and discussing the various options. Then go the deal cut to have the bike ready for pickup that Friday.

Now, I had spent several hours between several LBSs before making my decision.
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Old 10-08-11, 09:01 PM
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To give you the other side, when I was working at a shop, I spent as much time as the customer needed with a sale. Whether it was a $900 or $9000 sale. Didn't matter so long as the customer was satisfied with what he/she was purchasing. At a minimum though, probably about an hour from arrival to purchase.
Custom frames/builds always take longer because of the inherent time devoted to build list and particularly to fitting a custom frame.
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Old 10-08-11, 09:03 PM
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None. I walked in and told them what I wanted and what size I needed. They were happy to take my money.
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Old 10-08-11, 10:15 PM
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What is this LBS of which you speak?
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Old 10-08-11, 10:26 PM
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5-6 hrs. Between multiple visits, talking to a couple of salesmen, crafting out a deal, accessories, sizing. The day of the purchase I think I spent 2-1/2 hrs @ the shop. They were very nice which influenced my decision cause other shops didn't treat me as well. But I was a complete noob. I think if I were to do it know with the knowledge I have acquired it would've taken a lot less...
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Old 10-08-11, 10:43 PM
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I just bought my first bike and I am very hard to please I will admit and take a good amount of time to research before I buy anything.

I went into my LBS one day and spent about a hour and a half test ridding several bikes and talking. I went home done some research and went to another bike shop a day later and spent about twenty min their. The guy seemed pre occupied and wanted to go do something else. I came back and the sales person I had talked to first was not their so I spent a few mins looking around while casually talking to another (I was very pleased with the first sales associate and wanted to talk with that person). I did more solo research then went back and talked to the first sales person tried some shorts/jerseys on etc. I then told her I was wanting to get a Trek 2.1 they made sure they had one and I picked it up the next day.

Accessories was important also they helped a lot and will go back and get some of the stuff I need. we spent about 30 min to a hour.

I went to the store 3 times.

I was swayed more by the person than personal research. They were all willing to help in anyway and answered all my questions.

I picked the store due to what they offered. How much they were willing to work with me (newbie). I purchased my bike from them and will continue to get service etc from them. Plus future bike purchases. Too me the experience is just as important as a good product. I love my Trek and the experience. They helped me find routes to work so I can commute and everything else I needed.

Hope this helped.
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Old 10-09-11, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
What is this LBS of which you speak?
It's a business that employs people and pays taxes in your local community. They may even get involved in sponsoring race teams and bike advocacy among other things.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by roadwarrior; 10-09-11 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 10-09-11, 04:21 AM
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It depends on the rider and the type of bike. For a roadie from first conversation to walking out the door with the bike, maybe two hours on average. A more basic bike like a hybrid, a lot less.

A road bike needs specific fitting, setup, etc. However, the most expensive road bike I sold this past summer took about 15 minutes because the customer knew what he wanted, had all his accessories, so it was check out by service and payment. It takes me about 15 minutes to do sizing, then go over the bike list with the customer, pick the bike witin their budget, and move on from there. A rider "moving up", depending on how long it's been since they last purchased, I'll probably remeasure them. Sometimes I have to let the rider tell me, then I have to work with that if they are really wrong and let them experience the changes to work it out in their head so they begin to listen, and that can take a while.

Bottom line, as long as the customer needs, but I can control the process.
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Old 10-09-11, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Stannian View Post
1) How much time would you expect to spend, or did you spend, with a sales guy to feel satisfied on a $500 purchase? $1,000 purchase? $2,000 purchase? $3000 purchase? $5,000 or custom purchase?

2) What about accessory add-ons after the bicycle decision? 30 minutes? An hour?

3) How about specific accessory trips? $30 lights versus $1,200 wheels?

4) How many times would you or did you visit the store before making your final decision?

5) Were you influenced more by the sales staff or by personal research?

6) What factors made you choose a particular store to buy from? Brands, product knowledge, store experience?

7) Maybe you bought online, why, and what could have made you buy from a bike shop besides lower prices?
1) My most recent single bicycle purchase went like this ... Rowan looked up titanium frames on the internet because I knew I wanted a titanium frame. Rowan found a Hasa frame which a company in Melbourne had in stock. We drove into Melbourne to see the frame. We spent about 30 seconds asking the salesperson to take the frame off the wall for us, and then we measured the frame to ensure it matched the measurements of my previous bicycle which I had recorded in a spreadsheet. It did, so we bought it. All up, we spent about a minute of the salesperson's time. Because we knew what we wanted, the salesperson was only incidental to the whole process.

When we purchased the tandem, the sales guy spent a little bit more time with us. He put the tandem on the trainer and spent a few minutes setting us both up, and then sent us on our way for a test ride. We decided to buy it, he spent a little bit of time making a couple modifications, and we were on our way. So, not more than an hour of the salesperson's time.

2 & 3) Buying accessories doesn't take up much of a salesperson's time at all. Occasionally we might have a question ... most of the time they are just there to man the till.

I personally really like buying bicycle stuff from places like Anaconda, Decathlon, and MEC because they are like department stores ... the staff is there if I need them to get something from the back or look up what they have in stock, and maybe to answer a question or two once in a while, but most of the time the staff leaves me alone and I can go in, get what I want, and go home.

4) For both the Hasa and tandem, we went to the shop ... and bought the bicycle that day on the first visit.

5) Personal research.

6) The shops we bought from were the ones that sold what we were looking for (the Hasa and a particular brand of tandem), in our area (200 km radius), in the ballpark of the price we wanted to pay.

7) We buy most of our cycling stuff online. It's hassle free! Sales people don't follow us around asking us if they can help us or offering us unsolicited advice. The prices are good. And we don't have to travel!

We live way out in the country. The nearest shop of any worth is about 75 km away, so we only go when we've got some other shopping to do. And there's never any guarantee that the shops in the city will have what we want in stock, or that they will be open when we want them to be. Whereas, when we order something online, it arrives at our door usually within a week. Quick and convenient.

Last edited by Machka; 10-09-11 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 10-09-11, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
1) My most recent single bicycle purchase went like this ... Rowan looked up titanium frames on the internet because I knew I wanted a titanium frame.
The process here is something to really take note of. Instead of going to the bike shop to check out the frame, then ordering off the internet, I reversed the process. Of course, the bike shop in question has a strong internet presence, a small shopfront, and a huge warehouse out the back. The shop just does sales, no servicing.

One of our other favourite LBS haunts doesn't sell bikes or shoes, but has a whole host of goodies, and does a huge amount of business in servicing bikes. The shop has an internet presence, but doesn't sell anything that way (but will do phone orders).

the two shops are examples of how the operators have identified where they sit in the marketplace and are very successful at what they do.
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Old 10-09-11, 06:23 AM
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whatever it takes

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Old 10-09-11, 06:46 AM
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I'm not the overly sentimental or romantic type (very pragmatic), but it was pretty much "love at first sight" when I saw the black, blue, and white Giant Defy 1's on at my local dealer... I wasn't even looking to buy at the time, just checking out how road bikes had changed in style and price in the 22 years since I bought my last new bike.

I talked to two different salespeople for about 10 minutes each time, then on the third visit, it was all of 45 minutes to test ride, fit, and roll out the door - including purchase of a few necessary accessories (bag and socks).

On the other hand, I spent several hours on-line over a period of two or three weeks deciding on (and finding the best price for) other accessories - bottle cages, computer, pedals - a much more difficult decision-making process, BTW.

(I know there is a lot of love for the LBS here on the forum, and I definitely appreciated the service and purchase experience for the bike itself, but did not feel compelled to plunk down 40% more for accessories locally, many of which the shops around here do not carry).

Last edited by travelerman; 10-09-11 at 06:47 AM. Reason: Incorrect preposition - gotta love the English major :-)
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Old 10-09-11, 08:40 AM
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It doesn't matter what I'm buying; a bike, camping equipment or some electronic equipment, I don't need more than fifteen or twenty minutes to get a salesperson's opinions.
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Old 10-09-11, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
zero... i don't need any hand holding at this stage of my cycling life, i know how to fit myself to a bike and really don't have my own time to waste.
Pretty much this.
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Old 10-09-11, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
zero.

i don't need any hand holding at this stage of my cycling life, i know how to fit myself to a bike and really don't have my own time to waste.
I get this, and I'm at this point as well now, but I suspect the quiet majority may not be there yet.

I bought a Tri bike 18 months ago, and went to the nearest LBS 1/3 mile from my house. I had never owned a tri bike even though I did my first Tri in 1985. After a layoff of 25 years I took it up 24 months ago, and I tried to read up online but I needed that touch, feel and ride experienced that I would not get online. Fortunately I have 3 LBS' within a mile of my house, and I could try them all, which I did. Unexpectedly the best experience (and successful transaction) happened to be at an Official TREK store not 500 yds from my home. Not because of the proximity or the bikes, but because of the people.

I think I was lucky, and I had a quality sales person spend the better part of 6 - 10 hours over a period of 2 days before I parted with my many $1,000's.

This is not the norm I suspect, but I'm willing to be proven wrong. I do believe that a great sales experience (face to face) makes for a long term relationship, and in my situation i needed this. My bike needs to be serviced and adjusted (or I need to be taught these skills) which the TREK store has since obliged me with.

I recently bought an older frame on eBay and built up a nice road bike and the store was there to help me with component advice and they even offered their workshop to me after hours for a small fee ($50).

As I indicated earlier, I really didn't expect this type of attention, service and general commitment to improve a fellow human's cycling experience from a Big Brand store. A small mom & pop store, sure, but this was a surprise, and the store has my loyalty going forward.
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Old 10-09-11, 06:22 PM
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I spent about 2 hours over 3 visits and was sold on it. Then we spoke about price. He gave me what I thought was a good deal and said "if you get a better price come back but I'll need written proof to beat it."

I thought that was fair enough. Only prob was the guy at the other LBS beat it by $300 but said he wouldn't give me proof "for obvious reasons". Again fair enough.

So I bought the bike for $2300 instead of $2599. I felt a little guilty for wasting the first guys time. Bur I did ask for his best price...
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Old 10-09-11, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wrr1020 View Post
Zero, purchased my bike online with competitive cyclist.
Me too. I tried to find it locally, but they were out. I also tried (at two different shops of the same chain) to test a different bike (the one I thought I really wanted), but they didn't have it. I also drove about 25 minutes out of town, to a shop where I bought a bike in the past, to try and ride said bike - they didn't have it.

So, I ordered a BMC Street Racer from CC. Cheaper than the other bike would have been, even with the end of year discount they were offering. If they had it. Which they did not.

As far as the local shops went, they were all pretty good, it seemed. They spent time talking to me, and I would have spent a bit more to buy my bike locally, if they had what I wanted.
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