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It's OK to go to a bike shop. They won't rob you and/or kill you.

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

It's OK to go to a bike shop. They won't rob you and/or kill you.

Old 04-03-10, 08:50 PM
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I work in a shop and I try to help every customer I can. I have been known to laugh at a customers bike but only on the occasion that they did something just entirely stupid. The shop I work at just sold to an outsider with no bicycle experience or knowledge so I can also relate to that. He thinks its easy and is gonna make him money. He is in for a rude awakening.

I support going to the bike shop. Hell, if you guys didnt, id be out of a job. I also support you doing work yourself. By buying a product from a shop, you are also paying for a service. If you buy the part from the LBS, 9 times out of 10 they will also install it for you for a free or a minimal charge. I know I do.

Buy some books and learn your basic repair and maintenance yourself but dont forget to help your LBS out as well. Hell, where else would you get a 700x23c 60mm valve tube for your veeps on a sunday afternoon?

There are Pros and Cons to both shops and online. Use each one wisely.
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Old 04-03-10, 09:01 PM
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I think a lot of ppl who ride SS/FG don't go to shops because most of the work on the bikes is extremely simple.

What's an example of mechanical work on a single speed bike that a person with a basic understanding can't do? Tension the chain? truing the wheels?
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Old 04-03-10, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MaxSta
I think a lot of ppl who ride SS/FG don't go to shops because most of the work on the bikes is extremely simple.

What's an example of mechanical work on a single speed bike that a person with a basic understanding can't do? Tension the chain? truing the wheels?
Never underestimate the stupidity of people...
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Old 04-03-10, 10:49 PM
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I love my shop even though it doesn't have everything I want. I do most the work myself because I like to and I don't have too hard a time figuring things out, but I usually go to the shop to make sure I did it right. My first hub overhaul, wheel build, cable routing, etc. were taken in for a short review. Heck, some shops offer free tune ups/adjustments for life if you buy a bike from them.

Since I've become a "regular" they give me a lot of freebies. I ate **** a few days ago and the mechanic trued my wheel for free

Originally Posted by spcialzdspksman
I think the Bike Kitchen is the solution to everyone's problems.
If it doesn't exist in your area, you can actually start one up.

one of the best places to go to to learn anything and everything there is about bikes.
This
I got my frame, BB, pedals, chain ring, and front wheel at the bike co-op for very little money. I also met people that sold me nice handle bars, stems, and cranks for fairly cheap.

Last edited by hairnet; 04-03-10 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 04-04-10, 01:02 AM
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O don't understand people who are intimidated by bike shops... that's like being intimidated by going to a burger king... its not anything special. No offense to the people who work at bike shops... but if you laugh at customers just realize how ironic it is considering who is laughing at you.
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Old 04-04-10, 02:14 AM
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I have a fixed gear bike and wanted to go with a freewheel. I went to one of three of my lbs. My mistake was trusting the idiots who don't know how to put on tubes and tires to find me a freewheel for my wheels. They sent me off with a bmx freewheel. Later that night I took off my wheel and found out the idiots down at the shop do not know anything about bikes. I will never return. Time and time again they have proved their incompetence. Zoo city cycles in Kalamazoo MI is the worst bike shop. They don't seem to care. Selling wrong tools. Seating tubes incorrectly (pinch flat the next day). I went to a different shop and actually got the correct freewheel. If a shop doesn't know the difference between a bmx freewheel and a freewheel that fits a road/700c hub then they really need to do some more reading.

I don't like going to the bike shops because they do like to milk bike owners for all they can Outrageous prices for 5 minute fixes. 8 bucks? for 5 minutes of your time.. really? you take that special tool right there stick it in those two tiny holes and turn the dang thing off the hub. and you're charging me the price of the tool to take it off... WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM!?
If I made 8 bucks every 5 minutes... I would sure as hell know the difference between a bmx hub and a Road hub.

I'd rather true my own wheels. I'd rather calibrate my own brakes. I'd rather ask a community of bikers who actually knows what they are talking about. If you live by a good shop hooray. If you own a good shop hooray. But to those who don't like your bike shop but love bikes. Do right by yourself and learn to take care of your bike.
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Old 04-04-10, 02:44 AM
  #32  
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Oh god, man. Really? So if you get a bad haircut are you gonna give up on barbers, too?

All of this bike shop bashing is ranting. Of course every bike shop isn't awesome. Neither is every restaurant, every barber, every auto mechanic...

If you run into a crap bike shop, don't go there. Ask around and find a good one. It's no different than finding a good barber.
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Old 04-04-10, 03:21 AM
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Some shops are good, some are bad, and a lot are staffed by kids I don't trust. I have been sold the wrong tools, had frames scratched, and gotten attitude. Online prices are much much cheaper. For most things I will continue to go online. If I feel like supporting local business or want them to do something I don't feel like doing I will go to a LBS.
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Old 04-04-10, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
Really good shops as Carleton describes are quite rare and the exception to the rule. Even in large metro areas, most shops are big marts that know very little about bicycles and don't have competent service departments.
I concur. I have not found a single bikeshop (and believe me, I scoured the area very diligently in the past years) in Helsinki, Espoo or Vantaa (the Finnish metropolitan area) that employed competent people. Not a single that employed a person that kenw about bike mechanics more than I do (and I'm just self-taught). The few times I did use the services of an LBS have, in retrospect, been a waste of money.


Note that there MAY be exceptions where you live - I am talking about the Helsinki-Espoo-Vantaa area though, that is quite huge and encompases a little over 1.000.000 peple, of which a huge percentage are cyclists. Finland is an extremely cyclist-centric country. We have the best bike infrastructure second only to Denmark.
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Old 04-04-10, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton
All of this bike shop bashing is ranting. Of course every bike shop isn't awesome. Neither is every restaurant, every barber, every auto mechanic...

If you run into a crap bike shop, don't go there. Ask around and find a good one. It's no different than finding a good barber.
Sorry, but there just isn't a decent one around! Around here, that is. And I suspect most places are at least a little bit like here.

To paraphrase you: all of this bike shop cheering is petulant, childish ranting. The situation is dire, just accept it and keep your peace.
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Old 04-04-10, 05:25 AM
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I only go to bike gallery because they list the prices for all the labor.
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Old 04-04-10, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
Sorry, but there just isn't a decent one around! Around here, that is. And I suspect most places are at least a little bit like here.

To paraphrase you: all of this bike shop cheering is petulant, childish ranting. The situation is dire, just accept it and keep your peace.
Haha! Hey, I'm just trying to get people's problems solved. Maybe I'm lucky. In the last 2 years of taking care of my track bike, road bike, and my GFs track and road bikes I've ordered less than 10% of the gear online with 90% being sourced locally.

Maybe all of the bad service could be a function of the local culture in general and not just bike shops. Maybe people really are nicer in the South.

You guys can carry on hating bike shops and I'll carry on enjoying mine
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Old 04-04-10, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton
Maybe people really are nicer in the South.
It's not a question of my LBS staff's manners, which are quite good. The issue is their competence, which is quite low.

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Old 04-04-10, 09:06 AM
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I buy 90% of my stuff online because I can find it all in one place, and sort through and narrow down exactly what I want.

I have one shop in my area that I go to for anything I am not able to do at home (thread forks, true wheels etc.) and I occasionally buy a few things here and there. I have a good relationship with them and also send them business when I can.

I sometimes go to other shops around me just to look, maybe to buy a couple small things. The main reason I avoid them is the ATTITUDE. I mean, how do you just ignore someone that is walking around in your shop? There has been a lot of times I've gone somewhere ready to buy something, but no one says anything to me, and if they do, its in a condescending way.
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Old 04-04-10, 09:27 AM
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My two cents worth is this. First my LBS is awesome, from the owner to all the tech's. I've been using the same one for 20 + years. I bought all my kids bikes there, all Treks and the shop does lifetime free tune-ups on Treks. My kids have totally utilized this, and I've only had yo pay for a couple of parts because they had been totally abused . They never try to sell you you the most expensive anything unless you ask for it. Matter of fact I was shopping for a cyclometer for my bike and asked the tech which brand and model he liked, and as it turned out it was only $21.00. He could have suggested the $100.00 but didn't. I've bought a lot of stuff from these guys ,and they stand behind it all. Now I go in there and we sit down and talk bicycles, motorcycles, and whatever else comes up. It's a great place, in the perfect part of town only 2.5 miles from my house via the back roads. One more thing I would like to say to people who don't use there LBS and think they know it all, is this. I am a retired Master Auto,Heavy equipment, Marine Tech,and Industrial technician,and I thought I knew it all. Well over the years working with these guys they have taught me in a very friendly way that I did not know it all, but explained or showed me how to do it. Since then I totally except and don't question there advise. I don't know it all. Bikes are unique in that they require knowledge of many different disciplines,parts and tools. It's not rocket science,but it is different than What I worked on for 35 years. I have $40.000 dollars worth of tools and tool boxes in my garage, but only a few bike specific ones. I'm building on that as the need arises. The LBS carries Park tools ,and they show me which ones I need to service my bikes. Anyway I know there are Bike shops out there that do have bad reps, and that's to bad. I feel Henderson Center Bicycles is the best, and glad they are there. :-)>
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Old 04-04-10, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by carleton
Haha! Hey, I'm just trying to get people's problems solved. Maybe I'm lucky. In the last 2 years of taking care of my track bike, road bike, and my GFs track and road bikes I've ordered less than 10% of the gear online with 90% being sourced locally.

Maybe all of the bad service could be a function of the local culture in general and not just bike shops. Maybe people really are nicer in the South.
Vilify a whole nation just to support your point, why don't you.
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Old 04-04-10, 09:43 AM
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The worst advise I've ever seen given to cyclists has been on this particular sub forum, not at a LBS, especially around bike fit. That's reason enough to develope a relationship with your LBS.
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Old 04-04-10, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by awshucks
I dont know about you guys. I recently went to my LBS and was looking to possible get some FG gear for a current conversion I am working on and the mechanic there openly admitted ot me I would get a better deal getting on the internet/ebay and getting stuff myself. Also the general consensus on here seems to be to get shorter cranks when riding fixed gear. I mean at all the posts i've seen/read people seem to think shorter cranks are the better option. After bringing that up to my even nearer LBS he literally got into an argument with me telling me I would lose all my speed if I did that. I actually don't even think he knows the difference between FG bikes you could use commuting or riding in urban areas and track bikes.
people use short cranks on both
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Old 04-04-10, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by generate
I have one shop in my area that I go to for anything I am not able to do at home (thread forks, true wheels etc.)
Just wanted to tell you: truing wheels really is very simple. Anyone can do it, with a simple spoke wrench:


and freely available instructions from Sheldon Brown himself.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Saddle Up
The worst advise I've ever seen given to cyclists has been on this particular sub forum, not at a LBS, especially around bike fit. That's reason enough to develope a relationship with your LBS.
That's because this sub-forum is not supposed to give advices on bike mechanics: for that, you should consult the bicycle mechanics sub-forum.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
That's because this sub-forum is not supposed to give advices on bike mechanics: for that, you should consult the bicycle mechanics sub-forum.
What???
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Old 04-04-10, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Saddle Up
What???
That's what she said.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:18 AM
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I have never actually worked at a bike shop (just spent a lot of time helping out at my friend's shop and sold a decent number of bikes or other products there and have helped in the repair shop too), but think about it from the perspective of a shop employee. Every day, customer after customer comes to ask a question and repeatedly tries to act like he or she knows more than the person working at the shop. Some customers may know more than the employee but 99% of the time, it will be the other way around.

Then you have the customers who pump you for information (ex: trying out a KHS track bike to get the right size to order a Kilo TT); the customers who are just window shopping so they sit around the shop and ask a million questions but never buy anything; the customers who come in to try to flirt with an employees (usually men trying to flirt with female employees); the customers who show up 5 minutes before closing time and want you to adjust something (that may or may not take 5 minutes to do); the customers who think that every part should be installed for free (not something simple like a chain but a headset too); the customers who try to haggle with the price by bringing up what another shop charges or, for example, bring in the parts for a wheel build and think you should charge the same amount as you would charge someone who bought all the parts from your shop; and the list can go on and on.

Look at auto garages. They put in those windows so you could see the mechanic work on your car (to make you more comfortable) but didn't just put a hole in the wall so you can't scream at the mechanic or talk his or her ear off. Most shops don't let just any customer watch the mechanic work on the bike; you build up trust and friendship by coming to the shop a lot, even if it is just to say hi or check out some new products.

I had a roommate who could do almost all of his own mechanic work and built tools he didn't want to buy (headset stuff mostly). He didn't understand why I didn't order everything online and didn't do all the work myself. But when he needed a shop to work on his bikes, he was just another customer unless he went into a shop with me and I was friends with someone at the shop.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
Not true at all. Come into the shop where I work and we'll laugh right in front of you.

(I'm kidding, of course.)
Jerk.

For the record, I have owned my own online parts business (importing to another country), have bought the entire remaining stock of a bike manufacturer, and have worked in a bike shop. I also have an extremely comprehensive tool kit and collection of spares, along with over thirty years of riding experience. I still have to go to my LBS for some things, but most of the time I shop online or do the work myself. A good shop is a rare find.
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Old 04-04-10, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
Just wanted to tell you: truing wheels really is very simple. Anyone can do it, with a simple spoke wrench[/URL]
Agreed, but a lot of people would rather not do it themselves (for whatever reason).

Changing the oil in a car is easy too but the Jiffy Lube in my town is always packed.
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