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Thread: LBS etiquette?

  1. #1
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    LBS etiquette?

    Hey guys, (rant alert)

    I recently took my bike into the shop where it was purchased at for a wheel rebuild + other parts and such that needed replacing that I bought online on CRC.

    I had extra tires at home (HR2's and DHF's) from previous bikes and I asked the owner if he had any experience/recommendations for which one of those tires to pair with the new Aggressor I purchased, and after he told me he had no experience with either he passive-aggressively lashed out and criticized me for "screwing bike shops over" by asking them for help and then going online to buy whatever parts I needed.

    Before stating my opinion, is it considered rude of me to be bringing in parts not purchased at their store for them to build/service? That's what he seemed to be stating that day. If so, I do understand to a certain degree, but not really. I mean i'm still paying a $hitload of money to get all the parts fixed.

    In my opinion, his outlash was really uncalled for and unnecessary, considering I'm a university student having to work and pay for all my parts and repair costs, as well as rent, tuition, and general living costs. The fact that I took a big chunk out of my day (because I live downtown, takes me around an hour or so to get my bike at my parents house uptown, then another 20 or so driving to the store) to get my bike back up there when I could've just went to any other bike store near me really made me lose a bit of respect for the guy.

    TL;DR - I take parts bought online to my "favourite" LBS for them to install, owner lashes out at me for "not supporting LBS's" even though I'm paying for labour, I lose respect.

    What are your thoughts?

    Edit: I've been a returning customer of this LBS, and have purchased $7000 worth of bikes. Just a heads up so you guys won't say I'm "using" them. I'm just saying that I'm a customer who's invested a lot of money in products they carry.

    Edit #2: Thanks for all the responses guys, really appreciate your views on both sides. I think what I'll do is the next time I go in to pick up my bike, I'll bring in a dozen donuts for them, thank them for the service, but also talk to the owner and explain to him where I'm coming from. Hopefully we can come on even terms and put it aside.
    Last edited by bananafish; 07-12-2017 at 11:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    He's still making money out of you, charging to fit the parts, isn't he? You bought a bike from him.


    Most shops should well and truly realise and accept that they can't compete with online suppliers by now, and try and work with that, rather than pointlessly try and fight it.


    I pointed out to my favoured shop, where I've bought two bikes and sent other purchasers into, that he stocks very few 27.5 tyres. He's a 29er convert and was unapologetic - knows I buy things online and do most of my own wrenching. He doesn't care.


    Ideally, learn to do basic things like tyre changes, cables, gear adjustment, and so on and you'll avoid the sermons.
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  3. #3
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    Seems like you both could have handled it more diplomatically, you should have asked if it was ok to bring in your own parts first and the shop owner shouldn't have reacted passive aggressively. Ultimately the shop owner is the loser because as a businessman you can't act on emotions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideknob View Post
    He's still making money out of you, charging to fit the parts, isn't he? You bought a bike from him.


    Most shops should well and truly realise and accept that they can't compete with online suppliers by now, and try and work with that, rather than pointlessly try and fight it.


    I pointed out to my favoured shop, where I've bought two bikes and sent other purchasers into, that he stocks very few 27.5 tyres. He's a 29er convert and was unapologetic - knows I buy things online and do most of my own wrenching. He doesn't care.


    Ideally, learn to do basic things like tyre changes, cables, gear adjustment, and so on and you'll avoid the sermons.
    Oh yeah he definitely is, probably overcharging slightly too.

    I do my own service but I had a number of things to deal with including a seized dropper post, rim swap, and derailleur hangar order + drivetrain installation so I might as well get it all done right and by a professional, especially the wheels.

    He also stated that the bike shop-to-customer is a "relationship", which I do agree with, but I think I agree with saving over $50 on a tire I bought online instead of in-store more.

    Maybe I'll talk to him once I get my bike back, I wanted to talk back at him but I also didn't want him to fck my wheels up out of anger haha.

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    I really like all the guys at my LBS, but their prices are a lot higher than online, the repair service is pretty good, but really slow( even WITH the 15-20$ worth of gifted beer/alcohol!!----howd that all start????) , and I think they are just set up to target the lower/mid-priced bikes /servicing......I'm learning to service my own bikes-and all major purchases are online.....pretty simple.
    Business models change....I try not to judge
    Sounds like your friend / bike guy was just having a bad day.....

  6. #6
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    Yes, his behavior was unwarranted.

    Bike shops are in a weird place where their margin is shrinking, competition/costs are rising, the market is increasingly fickle, customers are interested and can get expertise elsewhere... it's a tough business and it doesn't take much to alienate a customer. Don't take it personally. You'd think having a bike shop would be super sweet, but it's stressful.

    That said, if you don't feel like you're getting the experience you want...... don't go back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Seems like you both could have handled it more diplomatically, you should have asked if it was ok to bring in your own parts first and the shop owner shouldn't have reacted passive aggressively. Ultimately the shop owner is the loser because as a businessman you can't act on emotions.
    I agree, but he should understand that paying over 30-60% extra for parts from them is unreasonable for a broke-ass university student haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Yes, his behavior was unwarranted.

    Bike shops are in a weird place where their margin is shrinking, competition/costs are rising, the market is increasingly fickle, customers are interested and can get expertise elsewhere... it's a tough business and it doesn't take much to alienate a customer. Don't take it personally. You'd think having a bike shop would be super sweet, but it's stressful.

    That said, if you don't feel like you're getting the experience you want...... don't go back.
    I definitely see where he's coming from, but I agree, very uncalled for.

    The fact is the other staff members are 100% helpful, and have given me the best experience in a bike shop ever. It's just the owner that kinda ruined their image, unfortunate.

    It's just not cool at all, considering they've been my go to store for the past year and a bit, and the fact that I've spent over $7k CAD just on bikes + service from them.

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    you could tell him shops are robbing cyclists by charging $80 for a damn bike tire

    There are some things at the LBS that are reasonably more expensive than online and I could see them getting annoyed when people are trying to save a few bucks, but when it comes to tires they are just ripping people off. I dont know what kind of stuck up person gets offended that somebody isnt willing to pay their ludicrous tire prices.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    I agree, but he should understand that paying over 30-60% extra for parts from them is unreasonable for a broke-ass university student haha.
    Agreed, but if you want a mutually good relationship it's better to bring it up first before dragging it in and dropping it in their lap. Better yet talk to them before ordering parts and explain your situation and ask them if they can match the other prices. They might not but you never know till you try, maybe they can meet you part way. Either way it's just better to at least ask and avoid surprises.
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  11. #11
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    while I feel the shop owner's pain that online stores sell things at costs below what bike shops pay for them (I spent years ordering stuff from QBP, J&B, BTI, Hawley, etc), he has no business giving you a hard time about it. you're not taking advantage of him, you're still a paying customer. I can't afford bike parts at the discounted prices I find online, so I don't see why bike shops get mad at people with their tight budgets trying to save a buck here and there and still enjoy riding.
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  12. #12
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    You could have looked up the prices online, then asked the LBS if they can match.

    I'm very close to my LBS. They understand that online pricing is cheaper, but not even giving them the opportunity to price match just sucks for them. Sure, they might make only .01 percent markup, or maybe they can't match. But maybe that online price after shipping would still see them make $5, but you never gave a chance. You just assumed the bike shop is out to screw you, so you tried to screw them first.

    I remember one of my LBS customers would buy and barter all kinds of parts, bring them in and have a bike put together. They were okay with it because he didn't complain about the labor costs.

  13. #13
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    Shop owners like that need to get over themselves. Chastising the customer like that is going to do one thing....guarantee that the customer spend his money somewhere else. There is no way in hell I would spend another dime in a shop if I was treated that way.

    Learn to do the basics yourself. Installing drivetrain parts is not difficult. Installing cables is not difficult. I get the wheel building thing...but to think that he was gonna f*ck with your wheel is crazy. He is responsible for the workmanship on the wheelbuild. Putting out a substandard wheel just to get back at you, could cost him much more than the cost of the derailluer that you bought elsewhere.

    At the end of the day....labor for bike shops is free for the shops. They don't have a bunch of capitol tied up in merchandise sitting on the floor. Yes, they are paying a mechanic to be there, but that is normal overhead.

    This is from someone who spent years working in a shop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post
    you could tell him shops are robbing cyclists by charging $80 for a damn bike tire

    There are some things at the LBS that are reasonably more expensive than online and I could see them getting annoyed when people are trying to save a few bucks, but when it comes to tires they are just ripping people off. I dont know what kind of stuck up person gets offended that somebody isnt willing to pay their ludicrous tire prices.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Agreed, but if you want a mutually good relationship it's better to bring it up first before dragging it in and dropping it in their lap. Better yet talk to them before ordering parts and explain your situation and ask them if they can match the other prices. They might not but you never know till you try, maybe they can meet you part way. Either way it's just better to at least ask and avoid surprises.
    Right? And it's not like I was "using him" in any way (That's what he implied I was doing). I told him I had spare tires lying around and was just wondering what he would recommend from experience (which he didn't have any).

    And yeah, next time I go in I'll explain the position I'm in and maybe we can sort it out. If he's still gonna be all petty about it, I'm out the door.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    You could have looked up the prices online, then asked the LBS if they can match.

    I'm very close to my LBS. They understand that online pricing is cheaper, but not even giving them the opportunity to price match just sucks for them. Sure, they might make only .01 percent markup, or maybe they can't match. But maybe that online price after shipping would still see them make $5, but you never gave a chance. You just assumed the bike shop is out to screw you, so you tried to screw them first.

    I remember one of my LBS customers would buy and barter all kinds of parts, bring them in and have a bike put together. They were okay with it because he didn't complain about the labor costs.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    Shop owners like that need to get over themselves. Chastising the customer like that is going to do one thing....guarantee that the customer spend his money somewhere else. There is no way in hell I would spend another dime in a shop if I was treated that way.

    Learn to do the basics yourself. Installing drivetrain parts is not difficult. Installing cables is not difficult. I get the wheel building thing...but to think that he was gonna f*ck with your wheel is crazy. He is responsible for the workmanship on the wheelbuild. Putting out a substandard wheel just to get back at you, could cost him much more than the cost of the derailluer that you bought elsewhere.

    At the end of the day....labor for bike shops is free for the shops. They don't have a bunch of capitol tied up in merchandise sitting on the floor. Yes, they are paying a mechanic to be there, but that is normal overhead.

    This is from someone who spent years working in a shop.
    That's a good idea Sidewalk, I've always assumed bike shops are very strict with their prices so I guess I never bothered to try. Also, I live like an hour away from the shop, and I don't drive so ordering parts online saves me a bunch of time and trouble. Just makes more sense to me.

    Haha mtnbikej that's true, I am overthinking too much, I just didn't wanna piss him off further. I told him even though I get all my parts online, for all my big servicing needs I would always take it back to them. While he did say he "appreciates every business he gets", he immediately ruined his thank you by whining more LOL.

  16. #16
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    Makes me like my LBS even more. I've brought a bike purchased on CL, after a deal fell through on a Cannondale I wanted to by from them. I had already purchase my SC there a few months back. Then I had them do a build, no issues what so ever.

    I did ask before hand, and I did buy a few missing parts from them, that's why I have a SRAM cassette, and not Shimano (it's all they had) and still gave me a discount, and were apologetic it took a little longer. At the end, I priced the LBS parts vs. on-line and I did pay maybe $40/50 more than @ Jensons. Way worth it in my opinion.
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    I will be criticized for this response but I would NEVER do what you did. NEVER. Then again, I am bringing my bike in tomorrow for new tires, and to have a Ramp Control dropped in (I don't have a torque wrench that high). The pricing will be spectacularly good, not to mention the fact that I can get all that done lickity split before my Fernie trip. When you invest in your LBS, there are dividends.

    Some guys respond to this saying "I do all my own labour and I don't need my LBS for anything." Great. That's not you. It's not me either. In my view you can't suck and blow. I would expect the very same reaction that you got, were I to try that with my LBS. And I consider some of those guys to be my friends.

    This is a very delicate issue with most LBSs.

    If it bothers you, then bring your business elsewhere until you can find a place that doesn't care. You may be searching for a while though.

    It's no different with high end car stereo shops. The ones in my area have 2 labour rates - one if you use their products, and a MUCH higher one if you bring your own product in, to be installed by them.

    Sorry, but no sympathy from me on this.

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    I'm totally over LBSs. I recently went to one of the well liked shops in my area to warranty my brakes. I took the first available appointment, which was in 2 weeks.

    I went to this LBS because the shop where I bought my bike from is now closed (Stupid SRAM doesn't deal directly with the customer, or I would have done everything myself). I thought it would be a di*k move to use this shop to warranty something that I didn't buy from them, so I figured I'd also have them service my fork (I can service the fork no problem, but I don't particularly enjoy doing it).

    Then I get the estimate, and there's a lot of charges (brake lever installation, brake bleed, brake fluid, $40 for warranty processing, $100 for service the fork lowers only, which seemed pretty high to me . . .). Then there is a 2 week delay to wait for the warrantied brake levers. So $290, 2 trips to the bike shops, and 4 weeks later, I have my bike working again.

    Now, I know that nothing I described was done wrong by the bike shop. But from my perspective, I could/should have ordered a set of Shimano XT brakes online and installed them myself. It would have been $150 cheaper, 3.5 weeks less downtime, and less time commitment from me (counting the time it takes load up the bike, take it to the shop, explain the problem, pick up the bike). I don't don't see myself going to a bike shop again unless absolutely necessary. Now, if they had a shop in a trailer, could drive to my house and do the work at my house in a couple of hours, I'd be willing to pay quite a premium for that kind of service.

  19. #19
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    I see both sides, we get quite a few customers asking our advice on what to use for tires, droppers, wheels and so on. Sometimes they take up 2-3 hours in a day, then they bring their bike in few days later to show us the great deal they got online. And I know we are getting a bit put off from all of it (The $10 we make on installing tires does get back our $65 per hour labor rate) , too time consuming and it is stealing from the LBS, have no issue with installing online purchases, actually very happy to at the same rates as if you purchased from us, but the free, all day, advice has got to stop, just not right.

    Actually have people often pull up their phone to order from it after we give advice to make sure they are purchasing the right item. Another good one is the countless people coming in for sizing so they can make sure the bike on Ebay fits them. I would like to see how many other businesses would allow or not get snarky with it.

  20. #20
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    Do your research... Learn to wrench yourself... Most parts lbs have to order in anyway (at a premium).

    I order most replacement/upgrade parts online & install myself or get a mate to assist (few beers to square up).

    If he/I can't do it then I take to lbs (have 3 I frequent).

    2 of them understand the online nature of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I will be criticized for this response but I would NEVER do what you did. NEVER. Then again, I am bringing my bike in tomorrow for new tires, and to have a Ramp Control dropped in (I don't have a torque wrench that high). The pricing will be spectacularly good, not to mention the fact that I can get all that done lickity split before my Fernie trip. When you invest in your LBS, there are dividends.

    Some guys respond to this saying "I do all my own labour and I don't need my LBS for anything." Great. That's not you. It's not me either. In my view you can't suck and blow. I would expect the very same reaction that you got, were I to try that with my LBS. And I consider some of those guys to be my friends.

    This is a very delicate issue with most LBSs.

    If it bothers you, then bring your business elsewhere until you can find a place that doesn't care. You may be searching for a while though.

    It's no different with high end car stereo shops. The ones in my area have 2 labour rates - one if you use their products, and a MUCH higher one if you bring your own product in, to be installed by them.

    Sorry, but no sympathy from me on this.
    Very understandable where you're coming from, and I do agree with some things you've said.

    The problem is that a lot of the riding I do is very gravity focused, while the bike shop has more of a road + xc focus, therefore they are quite limited in a lot of the components I would want.

    Time and money are two things I'm rather tight on, I simply don't want to spend that extra money, + as I've stated earlier, getting to that shop takes a long ass time. I understand that if you have a close relationship with the people at the shop, then why not? You're just helping a friend out right.

    Regardless, I'm a returning customer there, and the bike I brought in is only a bit more than a month old purchased from them. I was not expecting the owner to be so dickish to me about an issue like that, especially because I'm still paying for labour.

    Man I wish I had an LBS I was tight with that stocked my bike brand. You're lucky dude.

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    The shop owner was in the wrong from a business perspective. However, on a personal level you and he are similar. He is upset because he is struggling to make a living v. Internet sellers something outside of his control, while you appear to be upset that your dead-broke college student narrative is not universally accepted/understood.


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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    The shop owner was in the wrong from a business perspective. However, on a personal level you and he are similar. He is upset because he is struggling to make a living v. Internet sellers something outside of his control, while you appear to be upset that your dead-broke college student narrative is not universally accepted/understood.


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    Damn thanks for pointing that out to me, haven't really realized until you made that comparison.

    But I mean it's just common sense to want to spend less money for the same thing right? Right?

    Also kinda unrelated but, the day I got my bike the salesman tried to sell me a $200 torque wrench and said anything less is inadequate. I went home and ordered a decent one for $100. I understand we both gotta eat, but like, cmon man.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    I agree, but he should understand that paying over 30-60% extra for parts from them is unreasonable for a broke-ass university student haha.
    I've been where you are, and I've been the guy at the shop.

    Shops charge what they have to in order to keep the lights on considering their volume and their market. As a broke-ass college student, you don't HAVE to be spending money on what amounts to be toys, either. I remember when I was living on less than $20 a week. I had a bike and I rode, but no way could I afford new parts all the time, so I had to tone myself down so I didn't need to replace a bunch of stuff. I didn't actually get a nice bike until after college and I had a halfway decent job. Even now, I don't go and gratuitously buy expensive stuff that's so expensive I can't afford to service it.

    I'll still buy stuff online, but I'm not a slave to the price and I understand how valuable it is to have a shop that values your business. My bike's in the shop for some warranty work right now that I just don't have the time to mess with on my own. My wife just bought her last bike a month or two ago from that same shop.

    Though I do agree that shop owners these days do just need to accept that just about all customers will buy some things online, and that service is absolutely one area they can make up profits vs. online dealers. The shop I visit is one of those that gets it.

    But I know why some online dealers are able to sell stuff for so much less, and it sucks. The small shops have no control over any of it. The frustration of it has to weigh on owners, for sure. Some shops are refusing to deal with Shimano as a result, for example (Shimano is one manufacturer that's making it easy for online dealers - esp overseas ones - to severely undercut local shops).

  25. #25
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    20+ years ago when I had my shop, it was the same thing with mail order parts as it is with online parts now. The mail order companies could sell things for less than I could buy them at wholesale. I was still happy to install, at full labor rates, parts bought elsewhere. When a customer bought parts from me, I would often install them at a reduced rate, especially if the service department was caught up. I even ordered a few parts for the shop from mail order companies when their price was significantly better than my wholesale price. Even then, it was often Shimano parts.

    That said, cost have risen and discounter discounts have increased since my shop days, so I'm sure the owner is under quite a bit of stress. Fortunately for us, our bike shop was mostly an off season supplement to our ski business, so we did't have to make a killing on the bike end.

    These days, I buy 98% of my parts used and/or online and work on my own bikes 99% of the time. For the other 1-2% of the time, I have a good relationship with the owners or staff at 6 of the local shops, to whom I pay full retail for parts (less any club discount, when applicable) and any labor requiring tools I don't have.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    Hey guys, (rant alert)

    I recently took my bike into the shop where it was purchased at for a wheel rebuild + other parts and such that needed replacing that I bought online on CRC.

    I had extra tires at home (HR2's and DHF's) from previous bikes and I asked the owner if he had any experience/recommendations for which one of those tires to pair with the new Aggressor I purchased, and after he told me he had no experience with either he passive-aggressively lashed out and criticized me for "screwing bike shops over" by asking them for help and then going online to buy whatever parts I needed.

    Before stating my opinion, is it considered rude of me to be bringing in parts not purchased at their store for them to build/service? That's what he seemed to be stating that day. If so, I do understand to a certain degree, but not really. I mean i'm still paying a $hitload of money to get all the parts fixed.

    In my opinion, his outlash was really uncalled for and unnecessary, considering I'm a university student having to work and pay for all my parts and repair costs, as well as rent, tuition, and general living costs. The fact that I took a big chunk out of my day (because I live downtown, takes me around an hour or so to get my bike at my parents house uptown, then another 20 or so driving to the store) to get my bike back up there when I could've just went to any other bike store near me really made me lose a bit of respect for the guy.

    TL;DR - I take parts bought online to my "favourite" LBS for them to install, owner lashes out at me for "not supporting LBS's" even though I'm paying for labour, I lose respect.

    What are your thoughts?
    It was rude of you to bring in your own parts because parts and labor are two sides of a coin as far as service work goes.

    The shop owner told you how he felt. This is not passive-aggressive, it is assertive. Big difference.

    However, the shop owner should have been diplomatic and not dressed you down like some kind of stern father figure. It seems that neither of you allowed the other the courtesy of keeping their dignity.

    If you like the bike shop you could apologize to the owner and hope for a like apology in response (remember you have to give to get.) Otherwise your best strategy is to burn your bridge with that shop and learn to do your own bike maintenance.

    I tend to be rather unforgiving, so if it was me in you place I probably wouldn't go near the place again. On the other hand, when I went to my local bike mechanic for some custom work which required extra care, special tools, and skill beyond my ability, I refrained from ordering the part myself even though I knew exactly what part was required because I knew that his labor charge wouldn't cover the entire expense -- as it turned out some custom machining was also required which he had a friend do for him and for free. So sometimes it's good to have friends and a relationship with a bike shop can be a good thing.
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  27. #27
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    I buy my bikes at one shop and have most of my servicing done there. I buy some parts at another shop and have them occasionally do servicing. I do most of my own wrenching... but let them press headsets, build wheels, etc.

    I will often buy parts online and have them install them for me. I will also sometimes buy parts from the bike shop, paying full MSRP, and have them install them.

    While it has not been discussed, they know I know I could get it online cheaper. I also know they make way more on service than they do on markup for a seat, tire or stem.

    I have never had an issue with either of the shops. I am always very thankful and have let them know I try to give them as much of my business as possible. However, sometimes it is ridiculous to pay MSRP when you can get it online cheaper... and faster because your shop usually has to special order it.

    So, buy your bike local. Get your servicing done at the same shop. Let them build your wheels. However, save money on gear when you can. If the guy is a dick, lay it down for him and let him know why you do what you do. I am sure there is another shop that will not give you shit.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by noremorse1 View Post
    I buy my bikes at one shop and have most of my servicing done there. I buy some parts at another shop and have them occasionally do servicing. I do most of my own wrenching... but let them press headsets, build wheels, etc.

    I will often buy parts online and have them install them for me. I will also sometimes buy parts from the bike shop, paying full MSRP, and have them install them.

    While it has not been discussed, they know I know I could get it online cheaper. I also know they make way more on service than they do on markup for a seat, tire or stem.

    I have never had an issue with either of the shops. I am always very thankful and have let them know I try to give them as much of my business as possible. However, sometimes it is ridiculous to pay MSRP when you can get it online cheaper... and faster because your shop usually has to special order it.

    So, buy your bike local. Get your servicing done at the same shop. Let them build your wheels. However, save money on gear when you can. If the guy is a dick, lay it down for him and let him know why you do what you do. I am sure there is another shop that will not give you shit.
    Yeah, I like having the support from buying a bike from the shop, always have always will. I also bring all my bikes to the same shop I got them from for servicing.

    I just found it a little ridiculous after having told him that no matter what I'll always bring my bike back to his shop if I ever need stuff done to the bike, he criticized me for "using him".

    Buying in store just doesn't make sense to me anymore, money-wise. The mark-up here in Canada is just too insane.

  29. #29
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    Next time give him a list of the parts you got and tell him you would be glad to buy them from him if he will match the prices.

  30. #30
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    LBS's shouldn't need to match prices, they do sometimes need to come down on price though, but it's unfair to think you can buy at internet prices, you have to give a bit of leeway too.

    However, this guy sounds like a cock and i wouldn't give him my business EVER.

  31. #31
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    I worked retail many years ago and it was more toward the high end or boutique category.
    I knew customers came in to our shop for a variety of reasons and when not purchasing the slighly higher ticket items/brands we offered, they were still very interested in our sphere of product or industry knowledge so they could be up to date as well as idle chit chat. We knew they appreciated the quality and as easy as it might be to feel 'used', these browsers could easily become our future customers and I/we saw no reason to annihilate, embarrass or talk down to them.

    This bike shop guy could have handled it better IMO and still held on to the idea that he treats any paying customers with respect.
    It is/was his option to price you out of the game or just simply say; "Our first priority is to our customer base that supports our store with their purchases and service needs so YES, we can take care of those things you need done but our back-log is about 10 days out."
    Then he could have quoted you a fair price or a ridiculous one.
    He also could have asked that you give them first shot at the business on bike parts and accessories to see how far off they are on price and possibly work with you on that.

    By working on bikes with parts brought in, he can't warranty the total job and if there is a problem or defect involved, it's a messier situation than if the LBS supplies both the parts and the labor. He could have relayed a story or example like this and made a good point that he's striving for a Win Win benefiting both parties.

    As to how he treated or talked to you, that's your decision on how to play it from there. Both he and you know us consumers vote with our wallet.

    I always go where I feel I'm treated fairly even if it isn't the lowest price in town.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    Damn thanks for pointing that out to me, haven't really realized until you made that comparison.

    But I mean it's just common sense to want to spend less money for the same thing right? Right?

    Also kinda unrelated but, the day I got my bike the salesman tried to sell me a $200 torque wrench and said anything less is inadequate. I went home and ordered a decent one for $100. I understand we both gotta eat, but like, cmon man.
    You both are just trying to "get by" apparently. He likely has a lot more at stake, but retail for anything is a tough business.


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  33. #33
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    Everyone can see you both have your points but I would side with you. The shop owner needs to keep emotions out of it and should've just asked you to give him a chance to match the prices next time rather than buying stuff online and bringing it in. He's making a profit on the wrenching side and you DID buy the bike there.

  34. #34
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    I've been over LBSs for a long time now. Way back when, before I could drive, the only one within biking distance refused to order parts for me, and refused to install the parts I bought from a catalog (internet shopping didn't exist at the time). I asked them what they wanted me to do, their answer was to buy a new bike from them, because mine had a broken derailleur. I was 14 and a $30 derailleur was a major expense. The point being, the herd-thinning of bad LBSs has been a long time coming. A lot of them, yours included, deserve to go out of business. And they will.

    I understand shops are in a difficult position, what some of them [including yours] don't seem to understand is the position they're in is caused by them thinking their 1980 business model still works today. The internet and online stores are here to stay, online stores sell for less than LBSs do, getting pissy and yelling at a customer isn't going to change that or make the customer more likely to pay the exorbitant LBS prices next time.

  35. #35
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    Brick/mortar stores these days are in deep yogurt. They can complain about it and fight it, but it won't do any good. The buying public has spoken and online sales aren't going away no matter how much bitch.

    The smart retail stores are those that realize that their only avenue for survival is to emphasize their one big advantage over online resellers....customer service.

    There's a local bike shop here that was smart enough realize this. Buy a bike from them and they fall all over themselves servicing that bike forever and giving a discount on parts. If you bring parts bought online in for installation, or if they have to fix such parts they didn't install, you absolutely get service with a smile, but they charge extra to accommodate the fact that they lost income from the parts sale and you're at the end of the service line if their actual bike and parts customers bring something in, and they have to make it up by charging those folks extra for service. Works for him, and they've set a general tone for the rest of the bike shops in the area as to how they manage this situation.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    He also stated that the bike shop-to-customer is a "relationship", which I do agree with,
    Please.

    Stop in and ask for a backrub and some free tubes next time you're in the area and see how that goes.

    F'ing "relationship". Yeah, and that stripper was really into you too.

    A lot of LBS guys have a wildly over-inflated sense of entitlement when it comes to other people's money.
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  37. #37
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    In terms of the original question about etiquette, here's my $0.02:

    You as the customer: Personally I'd never bring in parts purchased online for the LBS to install. That's just me and my personal etiquette, and I'm not saying you were wrong to do so.

    LBS: They were in the wrong based on your side of the story that you've given.

  38. #38
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    It is a two way street but, etiquette = respect.
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    When I need some new parts recently the shop guy told me to order them online, "you can get them cheaper than I can", and he'd be happy to install them for me at his normal labor rate.

    The downside was I had to order them and wait for them to get there and then get back to the shop, but I saved some money.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Please.

    A lot of LBS guys have a wildly over-inflated sense of entitlement when it comes to other people's money.
    And a lot of customers have a wildly over-inflated sense of entitlement that they should be able to afford a Ferrari on a Toyota budget.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by rider95124 View Post
    And a lot of customers have a wildly over-inflated sense of entitlement that they should be able to afford a Ferrari on a Toyota budget.
    If I can buy a Ferrari elsewhere for the same price the local dealership wants for a Camry, why the hell shouldn't I? Same goes for buying parts online versus at the LBS. This is bad why? Cuz I owe the bike shop owner my money simply because....what? I fail to understand why anyone feels they are 'owed' business by anyone else, or that your bottom line is more important than my bottom line because...again, what?

    It's business. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't understand why some LBS people think they occupy a special zone where customers are beholden to them. Who the hell else operates like that? You go to the car dealership for repairs, they don't give a damn where you bought your car. I order tires from Tire Rack and have them mounted locally, nobody at the shop cries about it. Why do bike shop people feel they're special?
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Why do bike shop people feel they're special?
    Because they're a bunch of hipsters! lol

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    You go to the car dealership for repairs, they don't give a damn where you bought your car.
    How much luck have you had buying cheap car parts on the internet and taking them to the car dealership to install?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by rider95124 View Post
    How much luck have you had buying cheap car parts on the internet and taking them to the car dealership to install?

    Like I said, have had zero problems doing it with tires many times.
    Also did the the same thing recently with the brake lines for my Suburban at a local mechanic. I experienced no crying about ruining our 'relationship' whatsoever from anyone there. And wouldn't have given a **** if there was, truthfully.

    Do you put a lot of thought into maintaining your 'relationship' with the grocery bagger at the supermarket? Do you go out of your way to pay far higher prices than you need to in order to make him/her feel special?

    Business is business.
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  45. #45
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    I think there is something to building a relationship. I have a great relationship with my LBS and 9 times out of 10 they offer to install parts that I buy from them for free without me asking. And they never make me wait for service even when swamped. A buddy of mine who deals with them like he deals with a grocery bagger often waits up to two weeks even for simple tuneups.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuyuna View Post
    Brick/mortar stores these days are in deep yogurt. They can complain about it and fight it, but it won't do any good. The buying public has spoken and online sales aren't going away no matter how much bitch.

    The smart retail stores are those that realize that their only avenue for survival is to emphasize their one big advantage over online resellers....customer service.

    There's a local bike shop here that was smart enough realize this. Buy a bike from them and they fall all over themselves servicing that bike forever and giving a discount on parts. If you bring parts bought online in for installation, or if they have to fix such parts they didn't install, you absolutely get service with a smile, but they charge extra to accommodate the fact that they lost income from the parts sale and you're at the end of the service line if their actual bike and parts customers bring something in, and they have to make it up by charging those folks extra for service. Works for him, and they've set a general tone for the rest of the bike shops in the area as to how they manage this situation.
    That's the thing, the bike I brought in was bought from them no more than 2 months ago. I was expecting the same great experience and service with a smile when I brought my parts in. I didn't even bother to ask for any type of discount and they still treat me like a little kid.

  47. #47
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    I needed brakes, had a gift card for a local shop. I bought the brakes from them even though they were 60$ more per brake than I could get on line. They said I needed rotors and wanted almost 20$ more per rotor. I wanted to go up a size anyway on my rotors but I decided to buy them online. When the brakes came in over a week later(I get most stuff from Jenson in 2-3days) I brought the bike in. They did not have a brake mount for the larger rotor. They told me it would be a few more days. I got in my car and drove to another bike shop in town and got the adapter. Then they charged me 40 per wheel to put them on.
    I will never buy parts from a bike shop again if I can find them on-line for less. I don't mind paying for service but the time it takes to buy from the shop is ridiculous. It took about 10 days, three trips to the shop and another trip to other shop to get brakes put on. I could have ordered everything, received it in a couple days. Tried to install it myself and if I didn't need the cables shortened or brakes bled, been done.

    If they don't want to put parts on from another retailer, I will go someplace else.
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    I think there is something to building a relationship. I have a great relationship with my LBS and 9 times out of 10 they offer to install parts that I buy from them for free without me asking. And they never make me wait for service even when swamped. A buddy of mine who deals with them like he deals with a grocery bagger often waits up to two weeks even for simple tuneups.
    Refer to previous stripper reference - if you're paying through the nose for it, it's not really much of a relationship.

    FWIW I get taken care of well at my LBS and get along great with the crew there, even though I spend very little on merchandise and do pretty much all my own work. Yet I can walk in and get small service needs taken care of quickly (and many times, free of charge) even on stuff I didn't purchase from them. If I do buy things, it's usually at a decent to deep discount. Rather than having to overpay for things to buy 'respect', I earn it by building some pretty sweet trails locally.
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  49. #49
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    Lol...if the LBS owner talks to me like that...I'll tell them to go pound sand. Nobody (well maybe except for the missus...don't tell her I just bought some coilovers) can tell me how to spend my money.

    I pretty much do my own work...but every once in awhile I'll need the LBS to to build some wheels for me or some other random job that I don't trust myself to do. I bring him the parts and he charges me a more than fair price to build my wheels.

    I used to work in a shop and we never threw shade at anybody that brought parts in for us to install. Why would you turn away money? As J said earlier...labor isn't something that you have to stock and have money tied up in. Why would you turn it away? Labor is something that we never discounted.

  50. #50
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    His behavior was unfair, unwarranted, and frankly I think you should find a new LBS.

    I like the idea of supporting local shops, but the shop also has to support you. There are a lot of places to buy parts, including used stuff off of craigslist or even other LBS's. You came to the shop to *purchase* service. He should have been happy to get the sale, and he should have been working to get your next sale. In short, he works for you - not the other way around.

  51. #51
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    I don't think this is a LBS vs online price issue, it has more with let me get advice on what to use and buy then get it somewhere else. Would any of you go to a restaurant and ask what is one of your favorite meals then go to another restaurant and order it then take it back to the first restaurant to eat and ask for a water? I think this is the issue, not buying online aspect.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Refer to previous stripper reference - if you're paying through the nose for it, it's not really much of a relationship.

    FWIW I get taken care of well at my LBS and get along great with the crew there, even though I spend very little on merchandise and do pretty much all my own work. Yet I can walk in and get small service needs taken care of quickly (and many times, free of charge) even on stuff I didn't purchase from them. If I do buy things, it's usually at a decent to deep discount. Rather than having to overpay for things to buy 'respect', I earn it by building some pretty sweet trails locally.
    That's a fair point but we are talking about a business relationship here not a bromance. Relational contracts are common in business and it's usually give and take. There are benefits and costs. And each individual has to decide whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

    For me it's not only about saving money on parts. It's also about getting priority in the service department and avoiding missed riding time. And recently, they've even started to discount parts for me.

    Sounds like op wasn't only bringing parts in - he was also getting advice from them and picking their brain. Sounds like he wants the benefits but doesn't want to pay the costs of dealing with an LBS.

  53. #53
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    Maybe bike shops should start charging for advice?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Maybe bike shops should start charging for advice?

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    Funny but the issue here isn't the advice. It's asking for advice and then buying online. Good etiquette or not?

    I would only do it if I didn't plan on showing my face at the establishment again, but to each his own.

  55. #55
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    I purposely make it a point to visit 6 specific different bikes shops around New England, and try to buy something from each, and get around to doing this not on a schedule, but on a regular basis. All these shops have taken care of me somehow in the past, be it with bikes, parts, or simply running a shop ride and grinding me into powder on a death march. or all of the above.

    I also favor one shop mostly.

    I also buy loads of crap online.

    I have also bought just a frame from a shop, all the parts online, and
    went to the shop and used the workspace and built my bike, and left
    roosting my back tire screaming "How ya like me now !!?"

    no one has a problem with that.

    so, whatever....I have no prob with LBS's and LBS's have no prob with me.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    Funny but the issue here isn't the advice. It's asking for advice and then buying online. Good etiquette or not?

    I would only do it if I didn't plan on showing my face at the establishment again, but to each his own.
    Honestly...it's not something I personally do..but what as a shop can you do about it? Are you going to going to rant at every customer you think are showrooming your shop? I guess there is something he can do...by making sure the customer never comes back.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    Funny but the issue here isn't the advice. It's asking for advice and then buying online. Good etiquette or not?
    I would consider that, as well as 'showrooming', bad etiquette.
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  58. #58
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    The LBS is free to conduct itself as it wishes. If you do not like the way you are being treated, you are free to go elsewhere. In my neck of the woods which, apart from Vancouver, is likely the biggest mountain biking centre in Canada, anyone who brings parts purchased online into pretty much any LBS in the area to be installed, is going to get some degree of attitude in return (with the exception of MEC). You are certainly not going to get any preferential service or discounts, and you may very well get snubbed. Rightly or wrongly, I am sure it is considered quite insulting. That's just the way it is. If you are unable to wrench on your own and rid yourself completely of any reliance on the LBS, then it may make sense to pay a little extra for parts and quit complaining, to avoid all the downside in return. Isn't in your best interest to do so? Unless you can wrench, you don't hold the upper hand in this scenario. Not in my neck of the woods anyway.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    That's a fair point but we are talking about a business relationship here not a bromance. Relational contracts are common in business and it's usually give and take. There are benefits and costs. And each individual has to decide whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

    For me it's not only about saving money on parts. It's also about getting priority in the service department and avoiding missed riding time. And recently, they've even started to discount parts for me.

    Sounds like op wasn't only bringing parts in - he was also getting advice from them and picking their brain. Sounds like he wants the benefits but doesn't want to pay the costs of dealing with an LBS.
    Sounds somewhat fair, but keep in my mind I've been a returning customer there for years now and I've purchased over $7000 in bikes, not to mention service fees and all that.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    The LBS is free to conduct itself as it wishes. If you do not like the way you are being treated, you are free to go elsewhere. In my neck of the woods which, apart from Vancouver, is likely the biggest mountain biking centre in Canada, anyone who brings parts purchased online into pretty much any LBS in the area to be installed, is going to get some degree of attitude in return (with the exception of MEC). You are certainly not going to get any preferential service or discounts, and you may very well get snubbed. Rightly or wrongly, I am sure it is considered quite insulting. That's just the way it is. If you are unable to wrench on your own and rid yourself completely of any reliance on the LBS, then it may make sense to pay a little extra for parts and quit complaining, to avoid all the downside in return. Isn't in your best interest to do so? Unless you can wrench, you don't hold the upper hand in this scenario. Not in my neck of the woods anyway.
    I understand where you're/they're coming from, just found it somewhat rude because of the fact that I've been a returning customer of theirs.

  61. #61
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    Your LBS is the reason LBSs are dying! Those who don't strive to provide great service and charge for that will end up closing the business! Seems like your LBS haven't learned yet that his future is to focus on service and like said charge a good price for it!

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    The LBS is free to conduct itself as it wishes. If you do not like the way you are being treated, you are free to go elsewhere. In my neck of the woods which, apart from Vancouver, is likely the biggest mountain biking centre in Canada, anyone who brings parts purchased online into pretty much any LBS in the area to be installed, is going to get some degree of attitude in return (with the exception of MEC). You are certainly not going to get any preferential service or discounts, and you may very well get snubbed. Rightly or wrongly, I am sure it is considered quite insulting. That's just the way it is. If you are unable to wrench on your own and rid yourself completely of any reliance on the LBS, then it may make sense to pay a little extra for parts and quit complaining, to avoid all the downside in return. Isn't in your best interest to do so? Unless you can wrench, you don't hold the upper hand in this scenario. Not in my neck of the woods anyway.
    I have a feeling that if I lived there I would be buying a lot more tools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerdave View Post
    I have a feeling that if I lived there I would be buying a lot more tools.
    A lot more tools......online !

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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    Sounds somewhat fair, but keep in my mind I've been a returning customer there for years now and I've purchased over $7000 in bikes, not to mention service fees and all that.
    Let the record show that I am completely on your side in the sense that the LBS guy runs a business and he should not have treated you like that, regardless of whether you bought the bikes.

    At the same time I interpreted your OP as seeking more than just whether it is okay to be treated like that at the shop when you bring parts in from outside. If the guy doesn't want to make money on service then he's really in trouble. At the same time the appeals of the dead-broke college student (appeals on MTBR--not to the shop owner) seem a little hollow--that's all. By the way, I don't think you need to justify your circumstance to MTBR, the shop owner screwed up, you don't owe him any "loyality".

    Now, you can try to use these types of disturbances in the Force to your advantage, but I sense that you both have crossed the line of no return here.


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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    Your LBS is the reason LBSs are dying! Those who don't strive to provide great service and charge for that will end up closing the business! Seems like your LBS haven't learned yet that his future is to focus on service and like said charge a good price for it!
    They have been in business since 1957. They have never been busier. And this is despite oil and gas pricing being in the toilet for what? 5 years? And this area being very oil and gas focused industry-wise. To celebrate their 60th year in business they are donating $60,000 to local charities. I would venture a guess they are in the top 5 largest brick and mortar LBSs in North America. So in response to your post, no. Far from dying, these guys are thriving. THRIVING.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerdave View Post
    I have a feeling that if I lived there I would be buying a lot more tools.
    Like I said - you are free to do what you wish. So are they. All good.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    They have been in business since 1957. They have never been busier. And this is despite oil and gas pricing being in the toilet for what? 5 years? And this area being very oil and gas focused industry-wise. To celebrate their 60th year in business they are donating $60,000 to local charities. I would venture a guess they are in the top 5 largest brick and mortar LBSs in North America. So in response to your post, no. Far from dying, these guys are thriving. THRIVING.
    my response was directed to OP, your LBS seems to have an attitude that fits the customers, so good for him!

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    my response was directed to OP, your LBS seems to have an attitude that fits the customers, so good for him!
    Sincerest apologies. I misinterpreted to whom your post was directed.

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    To the original poster of this thread:
    Having worked in the past as a mech (former LBS mechanic for 20+ years) at a very popular LBS I can tell you anyone who treated you like that is either having a bad day or is just an AH in general.

    Never once did I ever care where a part/parts were purchased(?). Honestly, what do they care? You're bringing your need for a trade to our shop. Great! And thank you! is the only response you should ever get. Any other variant not close to that doesn't deserve your money.

    If you like the shop for whatever reason and decide to continue giving them your money then you may consider going during non-peak hours when possible. People get stressed, especially when (some, not most) people assume we can just drop whatever we're doing and move them to the front of the line because, in their minds, their needs outweigh whomever may have stepped in before them, which is never cool. If you, or anyone else reading, has ever tried this, STOP. No one is special because they bought an expensive rig (or whatever). No one will ever buy in their life more bike stuff than a mechanic (who're paid in peanuts). Trust me. And making that assumption will genuinely piss your mechanic/customer service rep/bike-wiki/salesperson (they're all one job, all at the same time) off. Anyone who ever tried to put me in that position I'd always remember and I'd avoid them next time they came in and, if faced with having to listen help them, I'd hope, just hope, I could tell them their repair is a fantasy and I couldn't help them (justifiable catharthis is rare, but so sweet when it is). Just being honest. That's really the only (in my mind) justification for perhaps being short with someone (but never whining about where you bought your parts).

    To take the high road, bring them/him in a dozen Krispy Kremes with your next repair/service request. Better yet, a 6 of some hoppy beer. And ask for nothing in exchange. Just because (because this is a long-term relationship). You'll have a friend for life (who might one day even cut you a quick favor). But you can't ever ask for special treatment. The one cardinal rule. But reading your post, you're in the right. Good luck.
    Last edited by leo_s; 07-11-2017 at 10:45 PM. Reason: typo

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    I understand where you're/they're coming from, just found it somewhat rude because of the fact that I've been a returning customer of theirs.
    OP - I agree. They WERE rude and their reaction was uncalled for. That said, they may be on the brink of bankruptcy due to online competition. The whole online thing is likely a very delicate issue that set the guy off. Uncalled for and an overreaction, but if there is one issue that is a delicate one with LBSs, it's online competition. At my LBS, I would have got a strange look and likely would not have been able to jump the cue to have anything installed (or got any discounts).

    My view FWIW - if you can wrench, then do whatever you like, including ordering online til the cows come home (if you don't mind the risk of your LBS possibly being gone in the future). If you can't wrench or if you would like to see your LBS still in business 5 years from now, it might be best to not cause any waves. Asking the LBS to install parts purchased online would be causing waves at most LBSs. As others have said, if the relationship has not soured to the point of being irreparable from your perspective, why not have a candid chat with the owner, stating that you never meant any offence but appreciate where they may be coming from, but that you will not tolerate that kind of treatment and will go elsewhere if it happens again?

    As an aside, with exchange, duty, shipping and taxes added onto anything I would order online, I usually pay less for anything at my LBS than I do online, and never all that much more. The bigger issue is whether my LBS has it in stock, or has access to it. Plus I want that LBS in business for the remainder of both my biking career, and that of my daughters. Perhaps this is why I am not so gung ho as others with the online thing.

    Anyway, sorry you were treated that way and good luck.

  71. #71
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    As someone who owns a business (thank God not an LBS), my advice to the owner would be to better understand what he has to offer that CAN'T be replaced by online competitors, which is skilled labor and nothing else.

    So what if you bought the parts there or not. Charge sufficiently for his labor and move on.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Aswell View Post
    As someone who owns a business (thank God not an LBS), my advice to the owner would be to better understand what he has to offer that CAN'T be replaced by online competitors, which is skilled labor and nothing else.

    So what if you bought the parts there or not. Charge sufficiently for his labor and move on.
    Just curious, if this is expected out of a LBS to provide free advice for people who will not ever make a purchase at the shop?

    I understand this is not the OP issue, for he did buy his bike there and should be treated accordingly.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerdave View Post
    It was rude of you to bring in your own parts because parts and labor are two sides of a coin as far as service work goes.

    The shop owner told you how he felt. This is not passive-aggressive, it is assertive. Big difference.

    However, the shop owner should have been diplomatic and not dressed you down like some kind of stern father figure. It seems that neither of you allowed the other the courtesy of keeping their dignity.

    If you like the bike shop you could apologize to the owner and hope for a like apology in response (remember you have to give to get.) Otherwise your best strategy is to burn your bridge with that shop and learn to do your own bike maintenance.

    I tend to be rather unforgiving, so if it was me in you place I probably wouldn't go near the place again. On the other hand, when I went to my local bike mechanic for some custom work which required extra care, special tools, and skill beyond my ability, I refrained from ordering the part myself even though I knew exactly what part was required because I knew that his labor charge wouldn't cover the entire expense -- as it turned out some custom machining was also required which he had a friend do for him and for free. So sometimes it's good to have friends and a relationship with a bike shop can be a good thing.
    Totally, utterly, completely disagree. Are your doors open to the public? Or just for patrons who buy everything at your shop? Do you have a disclaimer on the door? B/c in my whole life, having worked at at least 8 different shops between Oklahoma, Iowa, Fort Collins, CO and Denver, I never heard that rule.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    Just curious, if this is expected out of a LBS to provide free advice for people who will not ever make a purchase at the shop?

    I understand this is not the OP issue, for he did buy his bike there and should be treated accordingly.
    I'm honestly not sure I understand your question. It's not free advice. It's charging for labor, with my point being that's the one thing the average person can't get online (or do themselves -- and if they could they wouldn't be there). Hell, I'd have a separate labor rate and charge higher if the customer is walking in with their own parts.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by LargeMan View Post
    Just curious, if this is expected out of a LBS to provide free advice for people who will not ever make a purchase at the shop?

    I understand this is not the OP issue, for he did buy his bike there and should be treated accordingly.
    Asking for advice and then go out and buy online is really bad behavior, nobody should do that! Part of the extra cost that's charged at the LBS will cover the people that are there all day to give you advice.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    Asking for advice and then go out and buy online is really bad behavior, nobody should do that! Part of the extra cost that's charged at the LBS will cover the people that are there all day to give you advice.
    But the thread is about him taking a bike, that he bought there, to them, to have them do work, albeit with parts he procured elsewhere.

  77. #77
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    I suspect there is more to this story than this one incident. I agree that the shop owner was out of line especially since the op bought $7000 worth of bikes from him. So either the owner is an unrepentant ahole or there is some history there that the owner is willing to pi$$ off a $7000 customer.

    I dunno. This story is a little weird. I can't make "woe is me" poor college student work with $7000 in bikes and components in my mind. There seems to be a bit of an entitlement issue here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    I suspect there is more to this story than this one incident. I agree that the shop owner was out of line especially since the op bought $7000 worth of bikes from him. So either the owner is an unrepentant ahole or there is some history there that the owner is willing to pi$$ off a $7000 customer.

    I dunno. This story is a little weird. I can't make "woe is me" poor college student work with $7000 in bikes and components in my mind. There seems to be a bit of an entitlement issue here.
    I talked with some other two guys when buying the bikes, so I have never spoken to the owner before that day. Which is probably why he talked to me the way he did - he had likely never seen me around before.

    Dw, I get it sounds hella sus, but the bikes were "presents" from my fam (spoiled I know), though everything else that I needed had to come out of my own wallet (parts, service, everything else). I don't think I was entitled to anything besides them not criticizing me, or at least asking me to give them a chance next time I'd want some parts or an upgrade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    I suspect there is more to this story than this one incident.
    While that is possible, I have known at least one shop owner that would have done something like the original OP posted without any more prodding. Some people are just shitty.

  80. #80
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    There's three sides to every story, so far we've heard one.

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    Yes. It is expected. Anyone who walks into your store is a potential customer. If they stand in line for ten minutes or a half hour to get a question answered (although, realistically they'd more likely call the service dept) you happily give them an answer and send them on their way. That's the nature of the biz. Treat them right and give good advice and they'll likely return and will indeed make a purchase, if not parts or a new bike then certainly labor. I never in all my 20+ years scoffed (nor, having worked in several shops,witnessed it from someone else) at someone who just had a question (or ten). You're the subject matter expert answering an oral quiz, essentially ("How do I do this? What happens if this breaks? How long will this last? What tool do I need for this? Is this a good fit? Can I borrow such-and-such tool?). All day. That's the biz. And you know what? Most of the time it's pretty damn fun. And most of the time (despite the fact that many bike folks are not made of money and simply need help--we're talking advice here not labor) they will spend money there at some point. It's inevitable. And it's awesome!

  82. #82
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    Walked into my LBS at 11:45. Bike in one hand, case of Pilsener in the other. Out of there in less than 5 minutes, with a line up a mile long at service. On a flight at 2. Back Friday evening to pick up my bike. Off to Fernie for a week of riding Monday. I don't have time to fk around with anything right now. These guys are awesome and worth every single dollar I pay them. Love love love those guys. They keep me rolling 365. Proud to have been a loyal customer for well over 2 decades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafish View Post
    I talked with some other two guys when buying the bikes, so I have never spoken to the owner before that day. Which is probably why he talked to me the way he did - he had likely never seen me around before.

    Dw, I get it sounds hella sus, but the bikes were "presents" from my fam (spoiled I know), though everything else that I needed had to come out of my own wallet (parts, service, everything else). I don't think I was entitled to anything besides them not criticizing me, or at least asking me to give them a chance next time I'd want some parts or an upgrade.
    Fair enough. That owner is probably not someone I'd want to deal with again.

    But at least you have your answer - it's not good etiquette to bring your own parts to this shop. if you still want to do business with this LBS, its probably a good idea to buy parts from them. Otherwise go elsewhere or bring beer or money to tip the service guys.

  84. #84
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    Right on! A penny spent = two pennies earned (and then some!)

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    Most LBS's lack good business sense. Case in point, I buy two bikes at close to msrp. All I want is my parts and accessories pricing to be mid-point between msrp and on-line pricing. Since it isn't, I buy online. I have given them every opportunity to get it, but they don't. Sad for them because there are at least two more bike purchases in the horizon.
    Last edited by hwcn; 07-13-2017 at 01:06 AM.

  86. #86
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    I have a good relationship with my shop. If I'm buying parts I always ask if I can buy it through them, and they'll give me an honest answer of whether or not I should. A lot of times they'll say "honestly we won't make much money on it and it will be easier for you to get it online and then have us install it." or similar, and that's what we do.
    :wq

  87. #87
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    [QUOTE=bananafish;13242218]Hey guys, (rant alert)

    I recently took my bike into the shop where it was purchased at for a wheel rebuild + other parts and such that needed replacing that I bought online on CRC.

    I had extra tires at home (HR2's and DHF's) from previous bikes and I asked the owner if he had any experience/recommendations for which one of those tires to pair with the new Aggressor I purchased, and after he told me he had no experience with either he passive-aggressively lashed out and criticized me for "screwing bike shops over" by asking them for help and then going online to buy whatever parts I needed.

    Before stating my opinion, is it considered rude of me to be bringing in parts not purchased at their store for them to build/service? That's what he seemed to be stating that day. If so, I do understand to a certain degree, but not really. I mean i'm still paying a $hitload of money to get all the parts fixed.

    In my opinion, his outlash was really uncalled for and unnecessary, considering I'm a university student having to work and pay for all my parts and repair costs, as well as rent, tuition, and general living costs. The fact that I took a big chunk out of my day (because I live downtown, takes me around an hour or so to get my bike at my parents house uptown, then another 20 or so driving to the store) to get my bike back up there when I could've just went to any other bike store near me really made me lose a bit of respect for the guy.

    TL;DR - I take parts bought online to my "favourite" LBS for them to install, owner lashes out at me for "not supporting LBS's" even though I'm paying for labour, I lose respect.

    What are your thoughts?

    Edit: I've been a returning customer of this LBS, and have purchased $7000 worth of bikes. Just a heads up so you guys won't say I'm "using" them. I'm just saying that I'm a customer who's invested a lot of money in products they carry.

    Edit #2: Thanks for all the responses guys, really appreciate your views on both sides. I think what I'll do is the next time I go in to pick up my bike, I'll bring in a dozen donuts for them, thank them for the service, but also talk to the owner and explain to him where I'm coming from. Hopefully we can come on even terms and put it aside.[




    Time to find a new shop, especially after spending.$7000 at an earlier date.
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    This topic, in general, really gets the "blood pumping" on MTBR, I never tire of them, unlike "Is a dropper post worth it?"

    What I find most fascinating is the "relationship" with the LBS. I am not being critical of people who have great relationships that seem a bit one-sided to me from a commercial point of view. If that's the type of relationship one values then more power to you. I think I find it so fascinating and love these threads because I have not been inside a non-Performance LBS in probably 2 years now?


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  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    This topic, in general, really gets the "blood pumping" on MTBR, I never tire of them, unlike "Is a dropper post worth it?"

    What I find most fascinating is the "relationship" with the LBS. I am not being critical of people who have great relationships that seem a bit one-sided to me from a commercial point of view. If that's the type of relationship one values then more power to you. I think I find it so fascinating and love these threads because I have not been inside a non-Performance LBS in probably 2 years now?

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    That may be the problem.
    Don't know about others but when I say "relationship with LBS" I mean a place you can not only shop at but just go hang-out and talk bikes, or the last shop ride, a new groupset, or drink a beer/coffee...anything bike-related. Don't even have to buy anything, just drop in with some pastries or just say hey.
    Most of my work friends and family know nothing about bikes so it's just a nice change of pace.
    With that said, I buy stuff from the LBS that I plan on having them install like a BB, I just feel like it would easier if there's a warranty issue.
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    Shops/shop employees doing anything other than giving competent service with a smile is never acceptable. Not just because it's rude. But because what else have they to offer? The inconvenience of not being able to sit on your couch and shop, higher prices, and now, having to deal with rude douchebags. Triple-stupid. Never acceptable. Never give them your money. You worked too hard for it. And it's a stain on the game.
    Last edited by leo_s; 07-13-2017 at 07:16 PM. Reason: typo

  91. #91
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    If you like your LBS, maybe give them a chance to match your online price. See if they still scoff. If so, let them rot.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by leo_s View Post
    If you like your LBS, maybe give them a chance to match your online price. See if they still scoff. If so, let them rot.
    I much prefer my approach. It's worked well for decades. But thanks.

    PS - got a call from the shop tonight. Bike is ready for my Fernie trip. MRP Ramp Control in, new tires installed, new brake pads installed. 24 hour turnaround. To be picked up tomorrow as soon as I return. All good.

    Carry on.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I much prefer my approach. It's worked well for decades. But thanks.

    PS - got a call from the shop tonight. Bike is ready for my Fernie trip. MRP Ramp Control in, new tires installed, new brake pads installed. 24 hour turnaround. To be picked up tomorrow as soon as I return. All good.

    Carry on.
    Wasn't referring to your local guys who're obviously doing it right. I'm referring to the half dozen stories I'm reading on here whose LBSs seem to not realize or care just how much harder they're making it on themselves, their customers, and ultimately the reputation of all LBSs. They want to be rude baristas there're plenty of slots open for them down the street. Just want the bad eggs to get tossed so the good ones might survive long enough to not become Amazon delivery warehouses.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    PS - got a call from the shop tonight. Bike is ready for my Fernie trip. MRP Ramp Control in, new tires installed, new brake pads installed. 24 hour turnaround. To be picked up tomorrow as soon as I return. All good.

    Carry on.
    I can quite happily do all my own work on my bikes. I buy parts online. But I also travel a lot for work, so I'm more than happy to drop my bike off to have work done I could do myself. And I have no qualms about taking bits procured elsewhere to have them installed. I expect to pay for the install and I've never gotten attitude back from doing so. If they want to charge me $90 hour I'm happy to pay it if it means more time riding for me. But the instant anyone gives me attitude then I'll go elsewhere. It's like any service industry.
    But I hope you're time poor so can't replace brake pads rather than been unable to do it! I've had a few pads do weird things and required changing on the trail!

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    Have beer and donuts available for your customers and act like a professional and maybe I'll consider patronizing your business.

    Not a chance in hell you'll get a dime of mine if you need to be coddled or bribed or make me listen to your sob story when I just need a bicycle part that you probably won't have anyway.

  96. #96
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    To the op, I wouldn't put up with that. But if you decide to go back, expect more of the same, and at that point you have no one to blame but yourself.
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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
    Asking for advice and then go out and buy online is really bad behavior, nobody should do that! Part of the extra cost that's charged at the LBS will cover the people that are there all day to give you advice.
    I imagine people do this all the time. Save time or money buying on-line after they've "used" the local stores for info gathering.

    When shopping, tire-kicking or considering a purchase, it makes sense to learn all you can about the product or service.
    The educated consumer stands a better chance of getting the better or best result and sometimes, that doesn't mean it's shopped down to a price but thought on quality, warranty of even support from a local brick and mortar shop become important considerations.

    As the customer browses and interacts with local shops or professionals, the opportunity to learn more, ask questions and those pro's to offer meaningful input and advice can 'win over' clients that appreciate the time and support. That independent store can possibly up-sell or show sale or discount items that may correspond and 'the store' should take or make the opportunity to build some trust and that relationship with local clients, also to illustrate the trade-off's or risks in shopping on-line or mail order.

    At the end of the day, the customer probably decides if they buy at that shop, another competing shop or mail order/ on-line.

    ** I've worked independent specialty shops where it takes time and investment to win over customers and I've sold vehicles on the internet (late 1990's) so I feel pretty objective about the whole thing.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notched View Post
    ...But I hope you're time poor so can't replace brake pads rather than been unable to do it! I've had a few pads do weird things and required changing on the trail!
    Yes. Brutally time poor, unfortunately.

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    Some people here seem to have the attitude that only they can profit and not the LBS, and that meeting the LBS half way is "bribing" them. That's fine if you have the expertise, tools and time to do your own wrenching. If so, go get em' and take no prisoners. Can't show any weaknesses in this dog eat dog world.

    But for relative newbs or those who don't have the time or expertise to do 100% of the work, it's nice to have the LBS as a back-up.

    Act according to your skillset and resources.

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    I kind of view my LBS relationship just like a car dealer and auto repair shop. My LBS is a giant shop and I bought a Santa Cruz bike. I buy parts online and do as much service as I can but for anything I can't/won't do I go to the LBS. I will buy some soft goods from them but its a small shop with not much selection. In my opinion an LBS should be a goto resource for service and build that relationship.

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    Last Post: 11-03-2011, 06:58 AM

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