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Why are bike shops so worthless?

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Why are bike shops so worthless?

Old 02-18-15, 09:37 AM
  #126  
Juan Foote
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It takes a bit of time, trial and error, and really just geographic luck in finding a shop that has your best interest at heart. I suggest looking for those places that have been in business either a really LONG time to work with, or a brand new just opened shop. If they have been there, generally there is a reason in satisfied returning customers and word of mouth. New shops want that, so generally will try harder.
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Old 02-18-15, 09:46 AM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
I got a bad hamburger at McDonalds once. Clearly, all restaurants are just ripoff joints selling crap for too much money.
^^truth^^
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Old 02-18-15, 10:03 AM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by Fly2High View Post
I agree with you on this. I figured it was just a high/low limit setting too. To their credit, they did attempt to correct the issue with by adjustment but it did not go away completely.

As to taking me for a fool, they did fix my problem and the derailleur sounds and works great now. Since tuning did not completely solve the issue and running new cables resulted in a satisfied customer, to me, it was worth the cost, especially since they had the bike for several days and should have tuned the derailleurs in the first place instead of requiring a second trip. Sure, the reason might have been total B.S. but in the end I got a free set of cables and a bike that works to my satisfaction.

This is why I ask, was this a negative experience or a positive? Negative from the standpoint that they did not do a proper job in the first place yet positive since they did finally satisfy the customer. I have no way in knowing whether it was even the same mechanic who worked on my bike both times or not. The do deal with non bike related merchandise as well and were busy working 3 guys on those items. I would not say they were busy b/c the mechanic that finally fixed my bike was working on his own snowblower when I had pulled into the parking lot and had just finished. Bike-wise, they appeared slow. Possibly due to the fact that on Long Island, there haven't been much clean roads to ride on.

Frank
Why are the horror stories always from "Lawn Guyland"?! (Where I had my poor experiences 25+ years ago with LBS's!)

I'd say that the fact that the shop screwed-up a very simple job [something which even an amateur should not have a problem with] AND the fact that they returned a bike to a customer which wasn't functioning properly after they had "fixed it", is a negative experience. -or more likely a sign of incompetence and or don't-give-a-crap-ism. Sure, they finally rectified what they screwed up, but there was really no excuse for that screw-up, or for letting the bike returned to a customer like that. If that's how they handle a very simple job, I certainly would never trust them with anything else.

I don't fix things for a living- but i often do fix things for friends and relatives- and I always double-check my work, and then make sure that whatever I fixed is working properly before I pack-up and leave or return the whatever to them. How much the more should a paid professional do the same?
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Old 02-18-15, 11:04 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
... whatever I fixed is working properly before I pack-up and leave or return the whatever to them. How much the more should a paid professional do the same?
I think that the term "professional" is what trips most people up.

In a lot of cases, a "professional" bike mechanic is someone who has merely demonstrated a general competency to the satisfaction of the shop owner.

I trust my CPA, my attorney and my doctor without question - because in order for them to practice professionally, they have to go through years of formal schooling and standardized certifications.

While there are certainly 'certifications' for other vocations, like bike mechanics, possessing them isn't always a prerequisite for employment as such.
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Old 02-18-15, 12:29 PM
  #130  
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One time I went into a shop in an area I had just moved to, asking for a few bottle cage screws. The MECHANIC gave me the wrong size screws when he had a bike right in front of him without cages attached that he could have tested them on first (even though basically all bikes take a 5mm screw head).

Screw the rules.
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Old 02-18-15, 01:05 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by velociraptor View Post
I think that the term "professional" is what trips most people up.

In a lot of cases, a "professional" bike mechanic is someone who has merely demonstrated a general competency to the satisfaction of the shop owner.

I trust my CPA, my attorney and my doctor without question - because in order for them to practice professionally, they have to go through years of formal schooling and standardized certifications.

While there are certainly 'certifications' for other vocations, like bike mechanics, possessing them isn't always a prerequisite for employment as such.
True- but in this case, what I meant by "professional" was merely someone who is being paid/earns their living providing a specific service for pay. i.e. it's different if you call yourself a bike mechanic and take payment for adjusting someone's derailer, than if you simply help your friend out.
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Old 02-18-15, 01:56 PM
  #132  
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Yeah, I've gotten the "whaddyawant? my guys aren't Professional mechanics or anything" line before when I had a problem with a poorly installed pedal that came loose and trashed crank threads on a new bike about 10 years ago.
Guy gets paid to work on bikes = "professional"

I've long since sold that bike, and I'm pretty sure that shop is now Luxury condos or a BofA, but that guy's attitude still burns me up... I really need to let that go.

Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
True- but in this case, what I meant by "professional" was merely someone who is being paid/earns their living providing a specific service for pay. i.e. it's different if you call yourself a bike mechanic and take payment for adjusting someone's derailer, than if you simply help your friend out.
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Old 02-18-15, 02:33 PM
  #133  
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The funny thing is that the LBS has been in business since 1935 so just because they have been around for a while doesn't tell all. I wonder how many times it has changed hands or if it is a family thing. Maybe their better mechanics left them or something. As for sales help, they were great and knowledgeable. We purchased 2 bikes from them.
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Old 02-18-15, 02:53 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by MagicHour View Post
Yeah, I've gotten the "whaddyawant? my guys aren't Professional mechanics or anything" line before when I had a problem with a poorly installed pedal that came loose and trashed crank threads on a new bike about 10 years ago.
Guy gets paid to work on bikes = "professional"

I've long since sold that bike, and I'm pretty sure that shop is now Luxury condos or a BofA, but that guy's attitude still burns me up... I really need to let that go.
HAhaha! Amazing- some business owner's rationalizations! A good response would have been: "They're not professional mechanics? Then I won't pay, because i don't want to damage their amateur standing!"
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Old 02-18-15, 03:05 PM
  #135  
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Most retail businesses have huge mark-ups.
The internet, E-Bay and Amazon are just one new check on the markups, but even the internet sellers pocket a pretty penny on sales.

Some businesses such as Home Depot have a niche in that one can't very well purchase a 2x4 on E-Bay, although if one is building a house, one can often get lumber from wholesalers.

One could probably buy much of what one might purchase at Walmart online, but one-stop shopping is nice, and one gets eaten up with shipping on $1 items.

The department store mentality has been the ruin of many businesses. When was the last time you actually visited a cobbler? (unless you're getting new life injected into your bike shoes).

So, one is left with the bike stores.
With labor costs, they can hardly tune a used bike for less than one can purchase a new bike at Walmart. Of course the expensive bikes still need maintenance, and even the cheap bikes might need a few parts here and there.

I have no doubt there are some skilled bike mechanics, but almost anybody with a desire can muddle through tuning and repairing their own bike (and all their neighborhood bikes).

Then one must divide the people into different groups.
  • There are those that use their bikes on a daily basis, and while they may need the occasional "emergency purchase", they usually plan ahead enough to stock most of what they need to keep their bikes on the road. The internet is great for adding to inventory.
  • There are the frugal shoppers... Save $1 here and there and they're happy.
  • The occasional bike users. They don't buy a lot, but can't be bothered to plan ahead. Often their bikes are sadly in need of lots of repairs, but no money to do it.
  • Those that have more money than they know what to do with.
  • Those that are uninterested in learning the technical skills to maintain their own bikes (or cars or whatever else).
  • Window shoppers, who like to drool over fancy new stuff (but can often be enticed to buy a few cheap augments for their bike).
  • Window shoppers that drool over the store bikes, then go and buy them online.
  • Tourists passing through town. These are actually an important group as they often have emergency needs, and can't fulfil the parts and tool requirements online.
  • Kids with parents too busy to keep up their bikes.

Anyway, there are a wide variety of bikers and target audiences. Some will be fulfilled by a well positioned bike shop. Some won't.
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Old 02-18-15, 03:25 PM
  #136  
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I'll have to remember that one!
Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
"They're not professional mechanics? Then I won't pay, because i don't want to damage their amateur standing!"
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Old 02-19-15, 10:07 PM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
I haven't been in an LBS in 25 years, so it didn't bother me a bit to move to an area where there are none. NEVER had a good experience in a bike shop- and I'm not a fussy customer. The level of incompetence, and lack of conscientiousness I see in ALL service businesses these days, is really sickening. Half don't know what they're doing; the other half just don't give a rat's patoot.

I was amused when I started reading bike forums, at how I'd see people referring wonderful genteel altruistic shops which would "help you select the best bike for your needs" (as opposed to selling you whatever they had on-hand); and provide "professional service" and all that good stuff, with rainbows and puppy dogs...... Then I came to see that most of the people who talked glowingly of LBS, owned an LBS!
Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
That's too bad you have such a tainted and negative attitude towards LBS. I've had exceptionally good experiences and am glad to have several to chose from. I can go into the largest and get and get anything fixed while I wait including them stocking just about anything needed. My favorite, which is small but one of the most competent and best fitters in the country, offered to meet me early before regular opening time.
A lot changed in 25 years...Internet is one. Online stores providing excellent and fast service, huge choice at low prices. While online stores started growing like mushrooms after the rain, lbs got poorer, and even more stuck in the old "non digital" world.
Some day the LBS will find the place in Smithsonian, next to the useless mechanic certification.
Who needs them if an average person can buy all needed tools online, learn everything from YouTube, and still be better mechanic than most (at least based on my own experience) mechanics at lbs...
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Old 02-19-15, 11:37 PM
  #138  
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The 50 Best Bike Shops in America 2014 | The Active Times well...there is a hope
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Old 02-20-15, 06:31 AM
  #139  
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spot on!!!!


Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
I guess our methods of doing business is why we have put five other bike shops out of business.

Never ever drop off a repair without a due date. In other words, if they can't tell you when it will be done, move along.

It's fun doing business the right way and selling about 10 million in bikes, parts and repairs. Sorry for you guys that like in sucky places with lousy shops.

Some folks with shops are simply enthusiasts who think they know how to run a business. They like bikes, let's open a bike shop.

Find a professional operation in your area. Learn to know the difference between a hobby business and one that is there for the long term because they provide service.

Do not paint every shop with the same brush. We have two guys who have worked for international teams that chuckle when they get the home spun stuff in the store.
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Old 02-20-15, 09:27 AM
  #140  
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
It's funny...at Interbike they have an award for the top retailer. The nominations come from people who work with the shops 9basically every supplier). Five are nominated. None of them are on this list.

Last edited by roadwarrior; 02-20-15 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 02-20-15, 09:38 AM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
A lot changed in 25 years...Internet is one. Online stores providing excellent and fast service, huge choice at low prices. While online stores started growing like mushrooms after the rain, lbs got poorer, and even more stuck in the old "non digital" world.
Some day the LBS will find the place in Smithsonian, next to the useless mechanic certification.
Who needs them if an average person can buy all needed tools online, learn everything from YouTube, and still be better mechanic than most (at least based on my own experience) mechanics at lbs...
This is true.

Last time I went to an LBS, if you needed a cable or a tool, it was either go to the LBS, or go and get a bicycle magazine (or research in the library) and send to a mail-order place for a catalog, and then snail-mail in an order, and then wait for it to come. If you wanted the item in less than a month and a half, the LBS was your only alternative.

Today, we can often get parts/tools/supplies delivered to our door faster than the LBS can get them, thanks to the interwebz!

Funny- but the shop that most often comes to mind when I think of crappy shops; the one that was in my neighborhood when I lived on Long Island, went out of business within a year or two of the internet becoming popular!

The sad thing is, I find the quality of virtually all types of businesses has degraded seriously over the last few years. Even big retailers. How many times do you go tyo a supermarket or department-type store, and despite all the bar codes and computrized inventory control, the shelves are half empty and they don't have what you want; and the check-out line moves 3 times as slow now, as it did in 1967 when the cashier had to punch in actual prices from a price sticker into the cash register; and the people who work there are more interested in texting/talking on their cell phone/hanging out with other employees, than actuially working?!
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Old 02-20-15, 09:41 AM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
It's funny...at Interbike they have an award for the top retailer. The nominations come from people who work with the shops. Five are nominated. None of them are on this list.
That and they include budget bicycles in Madison, which would be funny to a lot of the people over in C&V because we are constantly seeing their adds on eBay for busted up old Schwinn Varsitys for about 100x their actual value.
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