I recently bought my first ever suspension fork off craigslist. The last time I installed a fork was on a BMX bike back in the early 80s, so I went in to one of the top rated LBS (on the above list) to ask about installation; they wanted a 20 percent surcharge to install parts not bought at the shop. I decided it was time to learn how to deal with threadless headsets and did the install myself, which came out perfect thanks to YouTube and the tool-time board. The whole job only took about an hour and I learned something in the process.
I understand why they have this policy; but they don't even have a clue about marketing. They could easily just up all shop prices and then offer discounts or free installation for parts bought at their shop to generate sales - no need for punish when you can offer an incentive instead.
I'd also rather the work be preformed by someone without these hideous ear tunnel mutilations.
There are already mega-shops with heavy buying power
REI, Performance, Mike's Bikes.
How many of us shop there?
This and several other factors in this discussion show that the market in this forum is pretty specific, or maybe I should say, limited. As such, what does that say about how much effect we have on bike shops?
As a director of several teams I have focused team member energies on purchasing at our sponsor shops. As a leader in a major advocacy group I encourage members to support supporting/sponsoring bike shops. In both situations the shops offer us discounts and more than a few extras; appts, quick service, free adjustments.
Yet in both situations there are those who choose to shop Craigslist or online or make deals at other shops. These choices demand a certain level of sophistication to manage the ins and outs of these markets. The levels of sophistication graduate from no mechanical knowledge to lots.
Team riders tend to have more mechanical knowledge as they are around it more as a function of the higher-than-normal frequency of intense riding, higher mileage, and proximity to mechanics always willing to teach. Some, though, never pick it up further than changing a flat or mounting tires. Team associations with shops make for great access to timely mechanical support. Generally a bike comes in after a workout for nearly immediate attention. The shop knows problems are already diagnosed on the road, a call is made ahead of time, and we usually hit it on the head making support simple. Yet this is a mode that has developed over years of working with the shop. Over the years the kids learn how to make the best user of a bike shop.
In the advocacy group there is a faction of long-standing and highly experienced riders who either have well developed mechanical knowledge or access to support situations. A very large part of the membership, though, have far fewer mechanical skills and limited bike buying/bike building/bike developing skills. On our large rides we are able to offer a lot of support to either adjust/repair or diagnose and direct to a shop. This group is not so well trained in how to make the best use of a bike shop.
When I walk into the shop, though, it is not often that I see such riders. It is usually just regular folk picking up their bikes from a tune-up or repair, little kids getting a helmet or picking up a new bike, some guy holding a wheel needing care or picking up a part, folks checking out a bike. It not "us." I do know, though, that if the OP's wife had come into the shop they would have made her happy; not something Wrench Science could do.
Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 12-03-2012 at 04:19 PM.
I don't rattle.
Not Mega enough. They are brand limited.
Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
I shop at Performance for small things, though I did buy my daughter's 20" bike there. REI rarely, more so for non-bike stuff, but still rare due to proximity. Mike's Bikes, once in a blue moon. It's primarily a Spesh shop, which is not my interest in bikes.
I agree w/ nearly all of this. 2 issues.
1. Nearly all of the frames $1000 and up are just for "us"
Nearly all of the complete bikes $3000 and up are just for "us"
Nearly all of the components X7 and up, SLX and up, are for "us"
You get the idea.
Marketing the World Cup XC/DH/XCE etc etc etc is just for "us"
Pinkbike, Vital, mtbr, etc etc etc
But the way the business is currently structured, "us" is the group it works the worst for. As Berkeley Mike implied was OK because we're a minority.
2. I am OK w/ that, so long as we get some other gateway to bikes, parts, etc. We should not be the martyrs for cycling. I don't want the LBS to go out of business. I want to stop giving them my business. And I don't want to go on mtbr and get flamed about how I'm undermining the sport from the support the LBS cheer squad.
2-and-a-half. Build a pump track in my neighborhood, and you better believe I will buy as much as I can afford to from you. But don't bully me or anyone else on the Internet. I like my first Nukeproof. I can ride that brand for the rest of my life if need be.
Originally Posted by IAmHolland
So...does one exist? I can't think of one. Axe suggests it is because of exclusivity demands of the large makers.
Question; why do we not have an internet business in NorCal that has shops, too? Didn't we used to have SpeedGoat or something?
Nope, one doesn't exist which is what I meant earlier. I agree with what Axe said. If there were a shop that could cover the major brands and a bunch of niche brands, and have a boatload of different components, they would get my support if they had a web presence so I can peruse and order as I like. I have to admit that my frequency of purchases are not a constant stream, as I would presume most are.
Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
SpeedGoat is before my time. AFAIK or at least as far as I'm concerned, they are an etailer. I'm not even sure if they are in CA.
As for why? I don't know. I know Mike's Bikes has a net presence, as does Performance Bike, as do a few other locals like Calmar Bicycles, but they don't carry enough in a single store (or on the web) for me to justify travel time.
Originally Posted by sauprankul
This may be a total waste of time but I can't help but think that you might amount to something someday.
When I lived in Santa Rosa there was a great LBS down the street and I spent a forune there...quite happily. Now that I live in Ukiah its another story. The shop here is nice but the staff is way behind on tech and skill. So I bought a stand and all of the tools and my bikes never been happier. Its not rocket science.
This goes back to the late 90s; Santa Rosa, Petaluma, somewhere over in there.
Originally Posted by IAmHolland
[QUOTE=Berkeley Mike;9934832]This goes back to the late 90s; Santa Rosa, Petaluma, somewhere over in there.[/QUOTE
Santa Rosa is on the right side of the bridge, Berkeley is somewhere over there
Last edited by sfgiantsfan; 12-04-2012 at 11:46 AM.
I'm sick of all the Irish stereotypes, as soon as I finish this beer I"m punching someone
Folks are different.
I hate LBS' that have overzealous pushy employees. I'll walk out after the 3rd or 4th one tries to 'figure' me out.
I have several shops here in NorCal that are just fine. Not too pushy, but there when I need something.
I guess it just depends on the type of customer you are....
"Lighten up Francis" Sgt. Hulka
I really want to say, thanks for all the input I've been reading folks.
It's cool to see people's opinions, support, etc without a verbal thrashing towards anyone.
I saved $1700 on a frame and fork (intense M9 and Fox 40) deal through Ride-on out of Utah. On the same bike build I saved an additional $400 on my Dee-max wheel set. Every thing else I bought from my LBSs.
Originally Posted by chris.george
My initial plan was to purchase the entire bike through the LBS, but after they informed me it would be two months (I was already two months without a bike, waiting on an insurance claim) before Intense would be able to send the frame out. We had just called Intense a few days prior for the availability, and was informed they could deliver in three weeks. So Intense dropped the ball on that deal at the expeince of the LBS.
I was a little PO'ed at Intense, but Cris King really took the cake. I had to custom order Gold CK hubs which I put a deposite on and was promised they would be delivered in 10-14 days. Two weeks went by-no hubs. The LBS called and Cris King gave some lame excuse, and pomised they would ship in 3 days. Another week goes by and I stop by the LBS to see if they were in yet - not yet. We called to see if they shipped yet, not even anodized yet. *t that point I told the LBS to call Cris King back to cancell the order.
My beef is not the LBS, but the Manufactures who can't make promised delivery dates. FYI, the online sites not only had what I was looking for in-stock, and lower prices (although price didn't matter because it was cover by the my insurance), and both orders were delivered at my door step with in three days. The wheels were orded on friday, arrived on saturday afternoon, and I only paid for ground shipment from LA.
Last edited by Tim F.; 12-05-2012 at 02:43 PM.
The guy yo' momma "act" like she don't know!
^This. My FB just shipped today because there was a suspension bolt they were out of or something. I put the deposit down 1.5 weeks ago, and I'm pretty sure it was in stock at the time. Wouldn't be a huge deal except I would be leaving tomorrow for Christmas break if I wasn't waiting on the bike, and I want to take it with me to ride.
2011 Giant Glory 01
2013 Pivot Firebird
2004 Turner Rail - Stoled
This is a pretty interesting topic and I imagine my story is fairly similar to many of those here.
I would love to support my one very, very local bike shop - I've been in a lot for small or last minute items. Things like tubes and lube - even bike cleats. I like the owner and the employees. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. But they have basically become a specialized store.
As we all know, this means their inventory of Ibis is completely gone, their inventory of Santa Cruz is dwindling and as far as mountain bikes go - that is the shop. Their tires, saddles, seat-posts, clothes, shoes, helmets - all dominated by specialized.
I ended up purchasing my bike from a semi-local shop (same county, different town). Why? Were they cheaper than online sourcing and building myself? Probably not, but I feel like I got a pretty good deal in the end. They also had several bikes I was interested in and let me demo them for no charge (referred by a friend who has purchased several bikes from them). In other words, they put in the time and effort to earn my business on what I consider a fairly major purchase. They also provided a free 300 mile tune-up (not that they did anything I don't do on a regular basis but it was nice to have an expert give the bike the once over) and a discount on service forever. I also know that I can walk in with my bike and talk to the owner of the shop if I am ever in need of serious help - warranty or mechanical. I like this piece of mind.
I believe that you can get a d@mn good deal on a bike that is on the show floor (not that mine was) at your LBS.
That said - neither shop ever has significant deals on components or clothing. I have a limited budget. If I want to spend no more than $300 this month on mtb stuff, I can go to my LBS buy some winter tires and maybe a new helmet OR I can go online buy the winter tires I want, the helmet I want in last year's color, new pedals and maybe a multi-tool or some spare tubes. The math is pretty easy for me.
I'm a bike shop service manager for a tiny shop. I've been reading with interest all the comments here. Very enlightening. I can't argue with much of it.
I would like to respond to one teensy comment I've read over and over here a few times. It's the "it's not rocket science" comment. It's totally true. However I am often very amused at how many service procedures I get to do from people who have adopted the "it ain't rocket science" mantra and set about on a do-it-yourself adventure.
When they finally bring their bike to me out of sheer frustration, I can, in general, count on the fact that they've missed a crucial little step in there someplace when they are incredulously recounting to me all the things they did in their maintenance or installation procedure and how it ended up not working nevertheless. I never say anything to them; I don't harangue them for not utilizing the LBS in the first place or rub their noses in their oversights. I fix the problem, write the invoice, collect the money and off they go, knowing that the next time they need to fix something, "it ain't rocket science."
I do sometimes feel sad when I've had to replace a new part that was destroyed by someone who didn't realize that a torque wrench is valuable to even someone who isn't a rocket scientist and because they had read on MTBR that a torque wrench isn't really necessary as long as you've developed a "good touch" from repetitive sessions in the garage.
Personally, I'm glad to be around to help get people out of jams, and I'm very happy with the small tribe of very loyal customers I've cultivated over the years for whatever reason. I've wrenched bikes for race winners and for families of newbies on cheap bikes who enjoy a ride together once a year. I've fixed issues for self-professed professional mechanics and have learned a thing or two from innocent questions asked by complete novices. Local bike shops aren't perfect by any means, but I still believe a market exists for them. And when that ends, I do know that I'll have the time, experience and resources to ensure that my bike will run finer than any other on the trail, and I know I'll have a lot more time to explore some of the neat places to ride that I've missed out on because I was turning a wrench while others were out playing. Que será, será.
I'm part of the bike industry because I love riding bikes and I love to encourage people to ride them. I can tell most of the people who have commented on here so passionately and candidly feel the same way. I rejoice that all of us have that in common. A sadder day than the shuttering of the last LBS will be the day when no one hits the trails anymore. I sincerely hope I'm never around to see that.
I hope every ride is your best one!
I can see this for more expensive parts and bikes. I can't say that I've ever purchased a 40 or received a ton of Chris King stuff on my bikes (yet).
But as an example, the few Fox CTD Floats (one 34 and one 32 both Factory) I've purchased recently have saved me a total of about $500. While that's nothing to sneeze at, had I purchased them from my LBS I would have also had the install done for free. [So before someone asks why I bought them online, my sole goal WAS to do it myself and I did not have a relationship with an LBS at the time].
Another example. I recently wanted a Nomad C since another bike I had was stolen. I went online and got the best quotes I could from three different places. Then I talked to my LBS and asked if they could match. The difference was about ~$200 but they included free "minor" maintenance and a quick turnaround. For me, that was gold and worth the extra $200. Especially over the lifetime of a bike, which for me, could be > 6-7 years.
I see both sides and I think it's GREAT that people save large amounts of money. I use online when I need or want to. But if it's going to only save me a few bucks, I go to get my parts now, so I can do it now.
Originally Posted by Tim F.