1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Support your local LBS ... BS

    So I'm all for supporting the local shops but where do you draw the line. I decided I wanted to get Crankbrothers pedals, so I head out to my LBS. I looked at Candy C's and a pair of last years adidas shoes price is $280 + tax(15%). The only way the guy could justify his price was, "Support you LBS...Man". So I decided not to spend that much. I went through blue sky got Candy SL's and 06 Speeder shoes for $145 after exchange and shipping. So I've decided that until my LBS stops over charging then my LBS is the internet.

  2. #2
    Three sheets to the wind
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    I have a friend who has a shop and he explained it to me, it's pretty much like the Walmart or Home Depot deal. A shop can and will buy only a few items for in stock or as an order for a customer so they don't get a bulk or volume price. Many of the "E-tailers" have a warehouse type of business where they purchase large quantities and thus get a lower price which they then can pass on to us. That being said he really isn't overcharging, generally the LBS mark up is minimal but his price is higher than the internet prices. Also if a shop is dealing in more than one manufacturer of bikes, that can become a huge overhead because some of the manufacturers want like 50 or 100 grand up front.
    I always wondered why many of the shops around here are not loaded with parts from the different manufacturers and why there are no DH specific shops around. It's because the shop has to buy all that stuff up front and that costs big bucks.
    The way I try to support my shops is I give them as much wrench work as possible, and I buy the small things like tubes, tires and manufacturer parts like the DU bushings and tool for my shock. If I'm buying a new bike I get it at a shop and usually they will let me participate in the build if it is ordered and on the last bike I bought, it came with two years of free maintenence.

  3. #3
    local trails rider
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    I like to have a LBS around. Actually I frequently visit three or four... even if I am not necessarily buying much, or anything at all. I will not buy a pair of shoes or almost any piece of clothing without trying it on. I like getting my hands on a product before buying. Sometimes I need a shop to do a piece of work that I cannot handle myself.

    Cost and availability of specific products can be an issue with LBS, no doubt.

  4. #4
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    that BS saved my @ss

    I've bought 99% of my stuff from internet retailers. Last December I wanted to upgrade my brakes, and I knew I wanted some Magura FRs. They were $175 online, a really good price for the '05 model. I tried to make a deal with my LBS. I explained how I could get the brakes for a lot less online, but that I wanted to do business with his shop. He offered to come down to $200 per brake. Ok, that's still $50 more than I would have paid, but I felt like I was supporting my local LBS.

    I got the brakes and immediately bad things started happening. They discovered my frame was cracked. A replacement frame was shipped from the dealer, and my LBS faced the head tube for free. Next, the front brake was the wrong size. Once this was recognized, the LBS ordered the correct size caliper at no charge. Then the fork's tabs needed to be faced--a lot. I took it in twice for facing at no extra charge. Then the rear brake tabs needed to be faced. I guess he got tired of doing all the work for free and charged me a whopping $10 to face and shim the rear brake.

    I don't know what I would have spent had I ordered the brakes online, but it would have been more than $50.

  5. #5
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    I balance the two

    I've said this many times before, that it's a balance between me needing to put food on my table, and putting food on the table of the guy at the LBS. My LBS knows that I buy a lot online, but that I also come to him for certain things, to include the high margin wrench work. He does me favors, I do him favors. I've given him brand new parts (e.g XT front derailleurs, generic skewers) that I would get a couple bucks for on ebay. I've given him tires that, while used, still had the nubs from the mold on them. This is stuff he'll have when that one-off customer comes in and needs a quick repair and he won't have to order it from QBP. He just knocked $20 off a repair job he did on one of my bikes. I didn't expect it, but he gave it to me. It's a delicate balance, and one that works for everyone involved.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  6. #6
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    I just bought an 05 Felt F55 from the LBS yesterday. The discounted price (last years model, eh?) was slightly higher than what it looked like they were going for on the internet. But, they fitted me (and I discovered that I can ride a bigger frame than the measurements on wrenchscience.com or competitivecyclist.com indicated....54cm vs. 51-52cm). They also swapped out the Vittoria Rubino slicks for a set of Serfas Seca-RS armored all-surface jobs for free. So, I figued it was worth the extra little bit I paid. I can make it up on my next bike purchase, now that I know what I fit, right?

    The best part was that I also bought a set of Quattro SLs, a set of Mallet Cs (for the mtb) and a pair of shoes. They discounted all of those 25% off their 'retail' (not MSRP) for me. For 50% off their retail, they sold me a small seat bag, a tube, a patch kit, a CO2 inflator thingy with three bottles, a wrench kit and something else I can't remember. Then they threw in for free a can of chain lube, a pair of Pearl Izumi socks, a Presta/Schraeder adapter, a bottle cage and a bottle (with their logo, but still..).

    I'm neutral on the 'support your LBS' issue, but, this time, I think it worked out for both sides of the deal. When I added up the online value of everything and compared it to what I paid...very, very close. And I got fitted. And I kept their doors open for another day. It's all good.

    EDIT: I forgot, they replaced the stock saddle with a Serfas Terrazo leather/gel/Ti job. If I don't like it after a couple of weeks they said I could come back and swap it for any other saddle they have.
    Last edited by Dickseacup; 05-27-2006 at 04:41 PM.

  7. #7
    Double-metric mtb man
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    I know how both sides of the debate can work...sure, you can get the "stuff" on line, and likely at cheaper prices, but the people and service are not something you can order sitting at the computer.

    I can and have saved some bucks getting parts...but to get properly fit, get advice about set-up, selection of components for my riding style and local conditions, etc....you can't go wrong with the LBS.

    I don't mind paying a little bit more for a bike when I know I get the service to come with it or the knowledge to help me make it perfect for how and what I ride. At the very least, I let the pros do the wrench turning on the things that are beyond my current skills or bigger than I have time to tackle. It keeps them in business and keeps the valuable resource available to help me improve.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  8. #8
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    Me:
    Hey man. I am needing to get some Hayes hydro lines cut down and the brakes given a bleed. Can you handle that today for me?

    LBS:
    Let me check my schedule....
    ...
    ...
    ...
    I can get you in two weeks from this Friday...

    Me:
    Really?

    LBS:
    Yep...

    Me:
    Ohh... well that sort of sucks... hmmm.... 3 weeks? Really?

    LBS:
    Yeah... but you might bring it in on Sunday... sometimes we can do stuff then....

    Me:
    Hmm... OK then... how about I just do it myself.. do you have some crush fittings and such for Hayes brakes so that if.....

    LBS:
    WELL... I have brake parts for a lot of Hayes brakes. I have a lot of parts... I don't know your brakes..

    Me:
    Do you guys have a great location?

    LBS:
    Ohh yeah... one of the best...

    Me:
    No wonder you are still in business.

    Click.

    Bike shops suck. Most don't DESERVE support. Support also is NOT paying more for a part you can get for much cheaper elsewhere... that is just stupidity.

  9. #9
    Work Hard, Play Harder
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    I wish I could sympathize with those here who bash their LBS, however mine treats me great. I just bought a specialized allez elite triple which lists for 1300 dollars on the specialized website. Got the bike and a set of 90 dollar spd 540's for my mountain bike for 1,100 dollars. He also gave me a sick deal on a bunch of other stuff I bought. i guess it all depends where ya go.
    06 Rocky Mountain ETSX - Full XTR, Fox Shox, Crossmax XL Wheels

  10. #10
    Formerly DMR For Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resnick
    So I'm all for supporting the local shops but where do you draw the line. I decided I wanted to get Crankbrothers pedals, so I head out to my LBS. I looked at Candy C's and a pair of last years adidas shoes price is $280 + tax(15%). The only way the guy could justify his price was, "Support you LBS...Man". So I decided not to spend that much. I went through blue sky got Candy SL's and 06 Speeder shoes for $145 after exchange and shipping. So I've decided that until my LBS stops over charging then my LBS is the internet.

    I agree there are a couple of threads on here about how the canadian distributors mark up there prices a lot more than necessary

    example. I was shopping a bit for a 'Zochhi 66RC2X Norco's price is 1700 with shipping and exchange from the stated around 1000

    I'll I use my LBS (which is a 30-45 min drive) is for wrenching that I can't do and the ocassional tool or tube

    DMR

  11. #11
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    You have to haggle a bit at your LBS. With a little haggling I usually get pretty much the price I would've got by ordering online including shipping, duties etc.

    On a bike I've been looking at they offered me a price below what I was able to find online and I dind't have to wait, I didn't have to pay shipping, and I could test it out.

    On a side note, it bugs me when people waste a sales persons time, try out stuff, test ride a bike with no intention of buying it from them because they just wanna try it out before they buy online.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbgobie
    On a side note, it bugs me when people waste a sales persons time, try out stuff, test ride a bike with no intention of buying it from them because they just wanna try it out before they buy online.
    That only bothers me when I have to wait because of them.

  13. #13
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    Internet places are cheaper because they don't have to run a store, which is quite expensive. LBS have stores, warehouses, and online stores, wheareas the online places have less amount of people working because they only have a warehouse, no salesmen needed.

  14. #14
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    My closest LBS is about 5 hours away... kinda knocks the "L" out of LBS but they are good people (at least that's been my experience with them so far). For some things it's just way more convenient to order to my door rather than drive 5 hours each way. I've never bought a bike online though, I go to the shop for that. I'm going to see how well they treat me next month (I have to go to the city they're in for other reasons) once I decide whether I want to upgrade my Hardrock Sport Disc or sell/trade it in. Right now I'm leaning towards upgrading the fork and riding it this year and looking into a FS ride next year but if they talk to me right I may do it sooner.

  15. #15
    3 "fiddy" for short
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    One thing that I find strange is that there are a lot of LBS on the web that are able to offer very competitive prices if not price match competitors. When I bought my last bike I got it from a "Web LBS." The experience was great. Later when I was in the city that the shop was located I stopped in for a visit. It looks just like all the other LBS in my hometown. Which are of average size.

    An example of what I am talking about is when I was looking for another shock for my bike. I searched the web and then called the shop where I bought the bike. I knew what the online places were selling the shock for and waited for the price from the "Web LBS." He said that the shock was NOT in stock and he would have to try to track one down and gave me a price of a few dollars more than what was offered by the other larger retailers on the web. He then asked, "what other prices do you have and I told him and he said that he will match it plus some." Then when the shock arrived it was packed with several t shirts, winter riding gloves, and some ankle guards. Talk about service from a LBS that simply has a website/webstore.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by be350ka
    One thing that I find strange is that there are a lot of LBS on the web that are able to offer very competitive prices if not price match competitors...
    (one of) My other hobby(ies) is playing guitar. The instrument industry has the same 'LBS' type mantra...support your local mom and pop music store, the internet/Guitarcenter is ruining it for everyone, etc.

    My local mom and pop music store has had stuff on the floor that is many years old (read: old technology) that they still asked original MSRP for. On at least three occasions, I've made them offers on some of this older gear, in line with prices available online. On at least three occasions, they have told me they couldn't possibly sell it for so little, as they'd go out of business.

    OK.

    Last year, they started an eBay store. Guess where all of that old gear went? And at best they made what I, a local customer, offered them. I call it the 'cut off your nose to spite your face' syndrome. Either the local customer is subsidizing the 'loss' of the online sales, or the local customer is taking a bath only because they're local and not aware of what stuff is available for online.

    This originally upset me. Then I decided that they can do whatever they want. I don't have to shop there and I don't need to feel guilty for asking for a price match from online or Guitarcenter. It's a (mostly) free market, after all.

    I wonder how the owner of the music store can justify jacking the prices up and claiming hardship when given an offer on old gear, then turning around and selling it across the internet for less. Ultimatley, though, I don't care. He calls the tune. I don't care to dance.

    (Sorry for the rambling thoughts, I'm in a stream-of-consciousness mood today)

  17. #17
    Work Hard, Play Harder
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    Maybe some LBS's do charge a little more but I know that when I break a part my LBS is ridiculously quick to warranty it. Usually right on the spot I have my new part. Try and get that type of service from an online retailer. You will be damn lucky if they even warranty the part at all. I'm not saying I never buy parts online, because I do, but I'm sure if you do some searching you will find a LBS that has competetive prices and great service.
    06 Rocky Mountain ETSX - Full XTR, Fox Shox, Crossmax XL Wheels

  18. #18
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    My LBS is in a rich part of my county and it pisses me off that kids there are getting $1500 cannondales and XTR components and **** and everyone working at the shop are total *****bags. when i took in my bike to get new brake pads the guy rideculed me "hey why the hell did you buy upgrade to a better fork and disk brakes on a walmart bike" Why do they have to ask questions and talk **** about my bike? ( i know its not good but im a kid and can't afford any better things ) but they lost a customer now so whatever, even though their in buisness by ****ing rich *******s that have social status defined by how much money their bikes were all their other bike related crap, and laugh and look down upon me cause i have a low end bike. SHUT THE **** UP AND RIDE sorry for the rant, but i thought riding bikes no matter what form of it was a friendly sport.. guess not

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamoNNomaD
    Bike shops suck. Most don't DESERVE support. Support also is NOT paying more for a part you can get for much cheaper elsewhere... that is just stupidity.
    I can see you are an MBA candidate.

    I hope someday you may see the value in building a relationship with a shop.

    I have had nothing but good experiences with bike shops. I have been more screwed over in online purchases- including a "lost" return- where I was billed, they sent the wrong size, and NEVER credited my account after I returned it. I have made purchases of extra things I did not need so I could receive free shipping, only to have the item I really DID need not show up because it was out of stock (I'd rather have cancelled the entire order had I known).

    At my LBS, they accepted a return of a bike I had ridden more than a month when I simply did not like it. I upgraded to something I was happy with. I had a frameset built up from nothing-- and I could hand pick each part. They built it at a very competitive price- and handled a warranty issue. Same shop let me use their workroom for free to build up a fixed gear and two commuter bikes. I have had all sorts of minor work done for free- for no apparent reason other than I had something interesting to work on.

    I won't kid you though, I rarely buy clothing at the LBS, or shoes. I am 50% on pedals. But this is partly due to selection.

    I think a lot of people spend more money trying to save money (buying things they don't need, or that doesn't fit--- online, because it was a "good deal.").

    Having moved overseas, everything is expensive. The idea is that everyone needs to make a living. One of the benefits is that I was able to purchase an Italian-built mtnbike much cheaper than I could in the US--- but of course, here, US brands are more costly.

  20. #20
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    I think it depends on what your after.

    I buy stuff like pedals online but just bought a new bike from the LBS which I got 200AU off RRP + $50 gloves + $60 shock pump + year of free servicing inluded so I reckon thats a pretty good deal.

    Specially for someone like me who's not very clued into bike maintanence.

    Although... they did send the wrong bike the first time but hard to know whether that was LBS or supplier

  21. #21
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    I'd admit that most of my parts arrive in the post, rather than at the bike shop.That's because I'm precious about the bike and prefer to carry out my own servicing, so I can fit most of the parts myself. This being the case, I find it daft to spend more than I have to at the lbs and have them fit parts I can fit myself.

    Having said that, I leave things like facing, fork chopping and headset fitting to the lbs, as the tools are expensive enough not to make it worthwhile doing it myself.

    I also buy clothes, shoes, saddles and helmets at the lbs, as these are too personal to buy on the web.

    I've spent roughly 250 in the last 12 months at the lbs. That compares to about 700 on parts on the web but half of that was from a bs with a internet site (Merlin), while the other half was from Chain Reaction.

  22. #22
    Collector of Scars
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    Growing up in a family that owned and operated a small store (office supplies), I can see both sides of this issue. While I'm not gonna sit here and say that big-box stores and internet wharehouse sites are ruining the world, these more often than not do no favors to the customer, when you figure it out.

    The LBS is indeed selling parts, but they're really selling SERVICE. If you're comfortable with saving 2% on a dozen items only to be treated more like an annoyance than a customer who's laying down hard-earned cash, who am I to stop ya?

    I'm not gonna say that every LBS deserves your business simply because they're local. I've had my fair share of bad experiences with shops that treated me like a jerk, as well as internet sites that did the same. The simple answer? I just don't buy from those shops OR those sites. Problem solved.

    Personally, I do almost all my business through my LBS. Upgrades, maintenance, repairs, everything gets handled through them when I don't have the time or talent to do something. I've bought almost every piece of riding gear through one or two LBSs as well. That's just what makes me comfortable.

    I'm not indicting either way, as they're both valid ways to obtain necessary items. You have to weigh both options and decide which is the best way to go for you. I was lucky in that I've been able to build up a rapport with my LBS (they've sold 6 Trek Police Packages and 4 or 5 Gary Fishers from people I've sent there), and therefore get treated right when I go in there. Will it be the same for you? Maybe, but you'll never know unless you try.

    Like most things in life, the best choice is probably a compromise between both choices.

    Ross

    P.S. I'm thinking it's probably Mr. Nomad's attitude that gets him the quick and courteous service. I mean, have you read any other posts coming from him? I know I'D be hopping up and down to wait on the guy...
    "I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on, let's do it before I lose my nerve" - Tyler Durden (Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk)

  23. #23
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    TO K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    If you know how to:

    - Fix your brakes (change pads, minor adjustment and drain/refill oil etc...)
    - True your wheels with proper tools
    - Adjust your drivetrain to shift properly (understand low and high screws)
    - Use Torx Wrench
    - Use your brain

    Then you "probably" won't need your LBS for much. If you break your fork (leaking, bottoming out etc...) or your rear shock fails and the LBS is not an authorized dealer they probably won't be able to help you anyway (unless they rig it onsite, but again is that what you're looking for?). Be nice to your LBS for days when you just don't have time to "Do it Yourself" and figure it out readin the Zinn book. If he wants to overcharge for labor because he thinks you buy stuff online (may be your whole bike, may be just parts) because online is cheaper well........that's life.

    Keep on buying online and only take bike to LBS when you don't have time to figure out or fix yourself (then learn about the fix on google so you can do it next time). Learn to ab-USE your LBS just like they ab-USE you ($96 for an XT front derailleur when you just happend to need one NOW) and do it with a smile on your face.

    THe moral of the story is.............LEARN HOW TO FIX A BIKE......I had to learn pretty fast (Entire weekends in the garage and the occasional LBS trip if fix is urgent).

    USE THEM JUST LIKE THEY USE YOU :-) and do it with a HAPPY FACE!

  24. #24
    Formerly DMR For Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU_Grad_121
    Growing up in a family that owned and operated a small store (office supplies), I can see both sides of this issue. While I'm not gonna sit here and say that big-box stores and internet wharehouse sites are ruining the world, these more often than not do no favors to the customer, when you figure it out.

    The LBS is indeed selling parts, but they're really selling SERVICE. If you're comfortable with saving 2% on a dozen items only to be treated more like an annoyance than a customer who's laying down hard-earned cash, who am I to stop ya?...
    I disagree with the above statment...in canada (where the OP is from) prices here are between 20-40% higher than we can bring parts in from the states for. this is because the distributors in canada choose to gouge customers it has nothing to do with the LBS's themselves. see here

    Quote Originally Posted by MSU_Grad_121
    I'm not gonna say that every LBS deserves your business simply because they're local. I've had my fair share of bad experiences with shops that treated me like a jerk, as well as internet sites that did the same. The simple answer? I just don't buy from those shops OR those sites. Problem solved.

    Personally, I do almost all my business through my LBS. Upgrades, maintenance, repairs, everything gets handled through them when I don't have the time or talent to do something. I've bought almost every piece of riding gear through one or two LBSs as well. That's just what makes me comfortable.

    I'm not indicting either way, as they're both valid ways to obtain necessary items. You have to weigh both options and decide which is the best way to go for you. I was lucky in that I've been able to build up a rapport with my LBS (they've sold 6 Trek Police Packages and 4 or 5 Gary Fishers from people I've sent there), and therefore get treated right when I go in there. Will it be the same for you? Maybe, but you'll never know unless you try.

    Like most things in life, the best choice is probably a compromise between both choices.

    Ross

    P.S. I'm thinking it's probably Mr. Nomad's attitude that gets him the quick and courteous service. I mean, have you read any other posts coming from him? I know I'D be hopping up and down to wait on the guy...
    I agree with the rest of the post

    DMR

  25. #25
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    i've been going to the same LBS for 10+ years. when i was a little i used to pedal my schwinn up to the shop (about 15 miles) and check out all the new bikes. years and years have gone by, i still go there..except now it is an hour drive. it is the first place i consider when purchasing anything.

    i know i can spend less online at times and at closer LBS, i'm sure that makes me a "stupid" consumer...but it doesn't make me a "better" one. if i take a stroll in there, i talk to them about years past, politics, trails, horrible riding partners, old schwinn homegrowns, get probably one of the best tune-up services, and walk out always happy. i love my LBS, the front is not littered with cars, the employees and owner ride their bikes to the shop, they have an absolute love for bikes.

    the closer LBS...it just seems so tense, everything they say sounds like they memorized the manufacturer's description, processed, and dull. you may not want to support yours, but i will sure as heck support mine.

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