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  1. #1
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    Using a LBS vs picking up things here and there

    I live in a small town with no LBS on hand. I've got to drive around 25 or 30 miles, one way, to find one. I know that it is a good thing to support your LBS, but,...Would you want/have to purchase your new bike there, or go to a big city, where there is a selection, and possibly a better price. It also seems like these LBS's have sort of an attitude, if you know what I mean. I believe in making some purchases at the LBS, but one can also buy online and possibly save. What's the best reason for dealing with local's, in this sense?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    30 miles is not what I consider local.

  3. #3
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    My purchases largely depend on the attitude & vibe of the LBS. We have a couple here. I went to one for a while and they didn't seem to care if I was there or not. The second one I went to I shopped and talked to the sales guy/ mechanic / bike pro. he was really nice and informative and didn't seem to mind shooting the breeze about riding.
    Second time I went in he greeted me with a smile on his face.
    That's how they earned my business. The vibe is that store is so much better even though they have about half of the inventory. I am an informal guy and like informal places even though one would not expect formality in a bike shop.
    They even have a dog!!!!
    That's how I judge an LBS. The dog was just the icing on the cake.

    Even though I can find a better deal online I don't get the why and how of what I need versus what I want. I don`t want a part that just works, I want a part that makes my bike better. I feel can get that service at the second LBS.
    The bike doesn't make you go fast.
    You make the bike go fast.

  4. #4
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    Buy online. I refuse to take any attitude from a retailer. I am doing THEM a favor by walking in the door, the business model is outdated and the ONLY thing they can offer me over the internet is customer service.
    Case in point. I have a LBS here in town that I frequent as much as I can (Sunshine Cycles in Athens GA.) and have bought 3 bikes from them in the last couple years, one low end used, a entry level HT for the wife, and a nice FS for myself. Even though they gave me a deal off of sticker on all 3 bikes, I still could have saved money by buying online, Airborne, or going to the huge bike store in Atlanta 70 miles away. But here's why I don't. I walk through the door, and they greet me by name. They are always friendly and helpful, even if I don't spend a dime that day and pick their brains for 30 minutes. They'll do little things like swapping a stem to get my fit right and not charge me for it (on the new bike I bought from them, they aren't crazy), the dudes and the owner especially are just nice guys, happy to be there and supporting the community here locally. I have never seen them talk down to anyone, regardless of age, sex, or ability. I'll even stop in just to say hi if I'm passing teh shop and have a minute, and they seem glad to see me every time.

    That elitist BS LBS attitude should be the death of those stores. Never walk in to them again. (Ok maybe one more time, a great owner may have fired the ass hat who gave you a bad taste.)

    I hope you can find your Sunshine, but if you can't then don't feel the need to support a poorly run business out of some sense of entitlement or debt.

  5. #5
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    My good man, that sounds like what used to be called, "service with a smile." Sounds like they are really good people and really care about their customer/customers.
    Thanks a bunch for sharing. Looking for a Trek Fuel EX 8. Unless you buy at the shop yourself, or get someone to do it for you, they won't ship one.
    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Agreed, 30 miles in not "local", you owe them no loyalty especially if they have some attitude when you walk in the door.

    I have the good fortune of having 6 good bike shops within 5 miles of my house, I will buy from any of them if they have what I want and I need it today, but I tend toward one because that's where I bought my and my GF's FS bikes a couple of years ago. They will match most online prices plus the cost of shipping on anything they have in the store and will order things they don't have and match the online price of another seller. I think the thinking is they would rather have me and my sweetie come in the store and make a few bucks than have us go elsewhere and make no sale at all. There have been a couple of times where I was buying $6-700 worth of parts and they couldn't quite make the best price that I could find online, I happily paid them about 10% more than the best price that I could find because they have treated me very well in the past, are always friendly, knowlegable, and helpful when I walk in the door, and I want them to stay in buisness. over several years I have spent several thousand dollars in their store between bikes and ski stuff and I think they would rather have a repeat customer for years and make a smaller percentage each time than loose a customer and make no sale because they feel they need to make the maximum profit with each and every purchase.

    If you are 30 miles away and can get a better price online, just order it and save yourself the time and gas.

  7. #7
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    If you're looking for a Fuel Ex 8 discounts of up to 35% start at some dealers this weekend. Talk to a manager or owner. You may have to try several shops. That may help make up for having to travel to buy.

  8. #8
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    If I find an LBS that is really friendly and treats me good, I will give them my business over ordering online. I enjoy interacting with the people at the LBS - to me it is more interpersonal to go to the LBS than on the internet.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  9. #9
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    Only buy at the LBS parts that I need now and clothing, what can wait is purchased online.

    If the LBS gives you attitude take your business somewhere else.

  10. #10
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    I find stuff at garage sales, thrift stores, get some stuff online and some things from my LBS... there is only one shop where I live... it is a small shop, I have bought a few things there..... my bike I found at a garage sale, my fenders from my LBS, pedals, bar ends, water bottle cage from amazon.com, rack, lights and some other stuff from walmart,
    97 specialized rockhopper.....$5 garage sale find....rebuild and low buck single speed conversion

  11. #11
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    If a bike shop has an attitude then forget them, make the trip to a better shop or take the time to figure out what fits you and buy online. Since a bike is a big purchase and fit is important, going to a shop and testing is obviously best. But of course selection is limited to a few brands and models unless your local shop is enormous, so the internet is often necessary.

    I'm sure the same thing applies to most other specialty stores, gun shops here on LI are split between ones that have an awful attitude and ones that go above and beyond. Pricing locally can be good and it can be terrible. I'll make the drive to a good shop for a particular thing if I know it's worth it, but most of my purchases have been online. With bike shops most I've gone to on LI are friendly but there's a difference between how hard they try to serve the customer. Yesterday the owner of a shop took the time to explain something for me then went digging in his parts piles to get a little part for me. That kind of effort is appreciated and if a shop is willing to do that, then I'm willing to buy from them in the future.

  12. #12
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    Bike shop dudes are notoriously total douchebags. Especially the service guys. But I'm ok with that. I go in there ready for the attitude and give it right back. REFUSE to be intimidated.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sevenrats View Post
    Bike shop dudes are notoriously total douchebags. Especially the service guys. But I'm ok with that. I go in there ready for the attitude and give it right back. REFUSE to be intimidated.
    I have seen that "attitude" a fair amount but a good shop won't tolerate it, and I wouldn't give a dime to one that did.

  14. #14
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    I'll always buy stuff online for the massive selection and cheaper prices. I do all my own maintenance except for brake bleeds, so there isn't the usual argument of "Buy from your LBS for service perks" that usually comes up. The only exception to buying online is "Need it now" repair parts, like last month when I broke a cassette spider and had a race the next day.

    That said, I do like to go into the LBS to shoot the **** with the guys working there, and to buy little accessories or universal parts like cable sleeves, bottle holders, tubes, etc. Still builds a relationship with your LBS guys and helps pay their bills, so whatever.

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