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  1. #1
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    LBS charging above MSRP for Spec accessories.....

    I had made a list of about a dozen accessories I needed from my local bike shop. I was planning on most of them being Specialized. I compiled my list and prices and off I went. When I started gathering the goods at the bike shop I noticed they were ALL prices above the MSRP listed on the Spec website. YIKES.

    To most consumers MSRP means roughly, "you will not pay more than this". In many cases it means, "you shouldn't expect to pay this".

    Is this a common practice that others see? After having worked in retail this was a massive turn off to me. I don't mind paying a wee more for quality product, but paying above MSRP just isn't going to happen which is sad as I was pretty excited about a few of the items I didn't buy.

    I did pick up a couple things, then prompty headed to my local REI. Picked up a few more items there as well. I am still without the larger purchases, a helmet, shoes and a couple other items.

    I did email Spec about my concerns but wondered if the community thinks I should wait or take my business elsewhere. I am a die-hard loyalist when it comes to where I shop when I find somewhere I'm happy with, and also a brand I like. Does anyone have recommendations?? Shall I start shopping other shops/brands or see what Spec has to say?

    For reference: When I asked the sales folks at the bike shop about pricing above MSRP he said that since they offer so many organizational discounts and coupons they just raise the prices. So they essentially raise the prices before giving people discounts, thus no one ever gets a real discount.

  2. #2
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    MSRP - Manufacturer "Suggested" Retail Price. Keyword is "suggested".

  3. #3
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    I am completely aware of what MSRP stands for. I'm also completely aware of the fact that the vast majority of consumers wouldn't pay MSRP for anything.

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't pay over MSRP for it. Not when you can buy it off the Spec website for less.
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  5. #5
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    I totally agree with you, because now a days many companies Inflate their MSRP so that they can charge more and still say it's a great deal because it's below MSRP. That being said if the shop is charging above MSRP for much of their merchandise, I would personally be turned off by it. I have noticed though that my LBS has some specialty parts that other shops may not carry for above MSRP, probably becuase they purchase it at MSRP for the convenience of their customers and they still need to make a profit.

  6. #6
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    I could certainly understand charging full MSRP or above for parts one can't get elsewhere, or not easily at least. This would apply for convenience and is understandable.

    With items I can just go home and order, particularly if it's many items, I'll only pay one shipping fee and still be saving money. This really bums me out as I'm a big proponent of spending money locally and supporing local business. It's also a great place to do some networking and meet other bikers. I'd be a sad panda if I had to take my business online because my local bike shop wants to rake unsuspecting and unresearched consumers over the coals. It gets even more sad to think that my place of business has a bike patrol department that currently sends their business to that shop, which isn't likely to continue with these business practices.

  7. #7
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    Carguy - I totally hear you. I've not noticed that my LBS charges more than MSRP - but they charge either MSRP exactly or only a few bucks less.

    While it's in my nature to look online where I have found some of these things for much cheaper even including shipping, my LBS is great, they are very helpful and the expertise of the young mechanics there has been INVALUABLE to my enjoyment of this sport.

    Admittedly I've bought my 2 bikes on eBay. While that's been a good experience, I don't think I'll go outside the LBS in the future.

    I've spent a lot of money at my LBS and I'm very happy to pay a little more for the benefit of a business relationship with my LBS.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevuke
    Carguy - I totally hear you. I've not noticed that my LBS charges more than MSRP - but they charge either MSRP exactly or only a few bucks less.

    While it's in my nature to look online where I have found some of these things for much cheaper even including shipping, my LBS is great, they are very helpful and the expertise of the young mechanics there has been INVALUABLE to my enjoyment of this sport.

    Admittedly I've bought my 2 bikes on eBay. While that's been a good experience, I don't think I'll go outside the LBS in the future.

    I've spent a lot of money at my LBS and I'm very happy to pay a little more for the benefit of a business relationship with my LBS.
    This is more or less how I feel. While I'm certain I can almost always find things cheaper online, I enjoy being able to try things on, get advise from the guys and gals at the shop, and build a relationship in the process. This is worth paying a little more to me. As well as the pride of having spent my money at a local business.

    That being said, I almost feel betrayed having seen nearly every single specialized accessory priced above MSRP. I went into the store with a very lengthy shopping list. This is the same store I recently bought my brand new rockhopper and I was excited to kit myself and my bike to get riding. On the list was a helmet, pump, saddle bag, bike computer, shoes, gloves, tube, patch kit, tire levers, tail light, head light, pedals, and some other bits as well. Not all of the items are made by spec but the ones that were I had every intention of buying. I had it itemized on paper with prices from the website, along with a pocket full of dough to hand over. After seeing the prices I was only able to stomach buying a couple of items before heading off to my local REI. I only grabbed a couple of things at REI so I am still without a helmet and a few other important items so I haven't been riding yet.

    I guess I'm just at a loss, I'm not sure how to feel about the business practice, particularly the explaination he gave me about raising prices because they offer discounts. It just seems shady and underhanded.

  9. #9
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    I'm totally with you on the pride of spending money locally. Good for you.

    Other than that - yeah, it sucks. I just don't know what to say other than this:

    The entry cost to this sport is ASTRONOMICAL!!!

    However, once you got all your gear together, the best part of this sport, THE TRAILS, are 100% free.

    I know it's still a very expensive sport, but eventually you'll be able to stop spending and just focus on riding.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevuke
    I'm totally with you on the pride of spending money locally. Good for you.

    Other than that - yeah, it sucks. I just don't know what to say other than this:

    The entry cost to this sport is ASTRONOMICAL!!!

    However, once you got all your gear together, the best part of this sport, THE TRAILS, are 100% free.

    I know it's still a very expensive sport, but eventually you'll be able to stop spending and just focus on riding.
    I'm not so much worried about the entry cost into the sport. I had done tons of research and was prepared for that. My new rockhopper expert 29er was a tough decision. It was a great deal of money to me, but after having started my buying journey considering the purchase of a hardrock it's evident I save and spend where the value makes sense.

    The part that really chaps me is this: I was prepared with money in hand to purchase over 6 specialized items that were all priced at least $5 over MSRP, some more. If the manufacturer suggests the LBS charge $45 for something, the reviews rate it as being worth $45, and the rest of the folks in the country that don't have to shop at my local bike shop can buy it for $45.... why on earth am I being charged $50. So the local bike shop doesn't lose a couple points of margin because they have coupons in the newspaper. 6 items at a minimum of $5 each is $30. That feels like stealing to me. $30 really isn't enough to get my undies in a bunch most of the time. Howerver if Joe Blow snatched $30 out of my wallet in an attempt to steal it he is going to eat some pavement and become the newest fingerprinting for rookies volunteer at work.

    Specialized items are in most cases of good quality, from the research I've done, and I'd like to buy some of the stuff...... Locally, lol. I guess going out on a limb and buying from the website might be my only choice, or just start looking into other brands of accessories.

  11. #11
    Slow But Still Pedaling
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    Or just look for another LBS - I've found quality/competence and practices, as well as price, to vary widely among bike shops. (YMMV, of course.)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSF
    Or just look for another LBS - I've found quality/competence and practices, as well as price, to vary widely among bike shops. (YMMV, of course.)
    It sounds as though I'm going to get similar mileage to you on this one. Only drawback is that this is the only LBS (chain) that carries specialized. I guess I'll be checking out some other brands while I'm at it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by carguy4471
    I'm not so much worried about the entry cost into the sport. I had done tons of research and was prepared for that. My new rockhopper expert 29er was a tough decision. It was a great deal of money to me, but after having started my buying journey considering the purchase of a hardrock it's evident I save and spend where the value makes sense.

    The part that really chaps me is this: I was prepared with money in hand to purchase over 6 specialized items that were all priced at least $5 over MSRP, some more. If the manufacturer suggests the LBS charge $45 for something, the reviews rate it as being worth $45, and the rest of the folks in the country that don't have to shop at my local bike shop can buy it for $45.... why on earth am I being charged $50. So the local bike shop doesn't lose a couple points of margin because they have coupons in the newspaper. 6 items at a minimum of $5 each is $30. That feels like stealing to me. $30 really isn't enough to get my undies in a bunch most of the time. Howerver if Joe Blow snatched $30 out of my wallet in an attempt to steal it he is going to eat some pavement and become the newest fingerprinting for rookies volunteer at work.

    Specialized items are in most cases of good quality, from the research I've done, and I'd like to buy some of the stuff...... Locally, lol. I guess going out on a limb and buying from the website might be my only choice, or just start looking into other brands of accessories.
    We're in the same boat .. I hear ya. That's probably why my biggest purchases have been online.

  14. #14
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    More than MSRP? No way I would give that shop my business unless absolutely necessary.

    They're probably the first ones to b!tch about people buying stuff online, too. I'm all for supporting the LBS, but they need to earn that support.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSteve in CO
    More than MSRP? No way I would give that shop my business unless absolutely necessary.

    They're probably the first ones to b!tch about people buying stuff online, too. I'm all for supporting the LBS, but they need to earn that support.
    Totally agree. These shops usually have an attitude in my experience as well. Like you should be grateful they are "Willing" to sell you the product at all. Too bad because I think it turns some people off from the sport to have some shops be so clicky....
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  16. #16
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    It's bad business practice.

    Just look at the car industry when a new model comes out. Dealership has a history of marking it up thousands of dollars over MSRP. And people still pays over MSRP just to have the latest greatest toys.

    Quote Originally Posted by carguy4471
    I am completely aware of what MSRP stands for. I'm also completely aware of the fact that the vast majority of consumers wouldn't pay MSRP for anything.

  17. #17
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    My business goes 50% to LBS and 50% internet. I won't pay MSRP for frames, components or accesories. I do try to support LBS when possible as I too believe in establishing the relationship, but sometimes supporting their overhead just isn't possible or cost effective.

    Like many of us here, I do my own upgrades and maintenance, so after the intial purchase, my LBS sees very little of me. This is a good balance. When I stop in to buy a tube, I often see a line of people waiting to get their bikes tuned or something new installed. Service and repair is likely a bigger part of their profits than the sale of a bike.
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  18. #18
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    Do not bother with LBS, buy online. Learn how to fix stuff/bleed brakes/service your forks unless you are not technically inclined then you have a problem. It it is the AGE of DIY. It is enough to google it.
    Last edited by PatrickK; 01-09-2011 at 02:57 PM.

  19. #19
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    Buy my stuff online and take the bike to the LBS for service that I get for free for lifetime when needed.

  20. #20
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    The local motorcycle dealers have also been charging over MSRP for the last 5 or more years. They are also stores that have very high overhead and I believe are struggling to survive. I would talk to the owner about your concerns, if he is smart, he will listen to you.

  21. #21
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    I think that industries with far smaller markets than most can't necessarily afford to charge less than MSRP.

    I think any extreme sport falls into this category.

  22. #22
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    I am also like the other guy, loyal to my local bike shop but i am also loyal to my wallet!

    If my LBS i selling something well over the MSRP then i will shop elsewhere. Most places will sell over the MSRP but maybe not by much. Give it time and they will eventually lower the price or simply shop somewhere else.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by karimian5
    ...loyal to my local bike shop but i am also loyal to my wallet!
    Mutually exclusive.

  24. #24
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    The economy has hit all of us pretty haard in the last 2 years or so. Every business except one (the bicycle industry) has lowered thier margins in order to keep customers in the store. I recently purchased a 4000 dollar bike that was selling at my lbs for 1000 dollars more. I asked him if he could meet me halfway on the price. Without even blinking he told me to go by it elsewhere. I couldn't believe it. I have never been back. I want to be loyal but I think a lot of retailers are being unrealistic. Just my opinion.

  25. #25
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    Totally unrealistic - he will be out of business because he may not sell that bike at all, and worse yet, you and the other people he alienated with that nonsense will never go back there.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSF
    Totally unrealistic - he will be out of business because he may not sell that bike at all, and worse yet, you and the other people he alienated with that nonsense will never go back there.
    I think that the local bike shop in my area does this because they are the only local specialized dealer, at least that I'm aware of.

    The disturbing part of the story I didn't even mention is that the same LBS had me at wits end during my buying process. I was finding bikes they had listed online and when I went in to buy them they never had them. 5 times this happened during my efforts to purchase 2 bikes. I was forced into buying a 2011 because all the 2010's they had on their website they didn't have when I went in. I asked if they would sell the 2011 for the price of the 2010 and they flat out said NO, asked if they could do a little something.... toss in some accessories or small discount, the answer was NO. I wound up speaking to the owner of the company who without equivocation made it right. He discounted the 2011 well beyond my expectations and most certainly retained my business during the process. I get over that little hurdle with a smile on my face and then run into this whole ordeal.

    I guess when everything is said and done, I still need one major item to get myself out on my bike once the temps get back above 15 degrees...... A helmet. Sizing seems to vary by brand, and not only brand but model. I.E., A small Spec Vice fits me but a small Tactic does not. Now that I'm not likely to be buying a Spec helmet and sizing seems to be crucial, does anyone have any advice for buying one?? I stopped at a local REI but I wasn't impressed with their inventory. I see some online that look swell, the Giro Xen and a couple others, but I'm cautious about pulling the trigger for sizing reasons. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am overly eager to get on my bike and start getting in shape so that come spring I'm not a complete wind bag.

    Thanks for the feedback, and letting me blow off a little steam. It's a relief to know that my feeling weren't unfounded. Thank you all for being part of the MTBR community as well, I've learned a TON here about so many topics and hope to be able to pay it forward to other folks just getting into the sport.

  27. #27
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    Does the shop offer returning customer any discount? You should ask.

    The shop I bought my bike from is the same when it comes to Specialized accessories. Their bikes are the cheapest in the bay area but their accessories are 10% over MSRP. BUT if you bought your bike there, the shop gives you a 10% discount which brings it back down to MSRP. Good thing is I have 10 Specialized shop within a 25 miles radius.

    Also, there is no point in paying above MSRP with Specialized accessories since you can buy the same at MSRP off the website. Also, it's not whored out on ebay or home business online store like .. say the automotive industry so by paying MSRP, you're not getting ripped out.

    Just a warning since most people don't realized it. If you're go to the local car dealership (i.e. Honda, Ford, etc), the parts are usually 20% above manufactor list price. Small items like clips, screws (less then $5) are usually 100% markup. And the guy behind the counter can change the price at will so don't show the % off coupon until you heard the price.

  28. #28
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    I would just find another shop, don't get to hung up on spec. branded stuff, lots of equal and better accessories out there.

  29. #29
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    The big specialized shop in wilmington,de doesn't charge over msrp and there is no sales tax. And they usually have a lot of the last years clothes, helmets and shoes heavily discounted.

  30. #30
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    I think part of my problem is I live in too nice an area... sucks.

  31. #31
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    The two Spec shops that I use both price accessories at MSRP. However, I have bought a bike from each LBS in the last 12 months, and both allowed me a 15% discount off any additional purchases. I thought this maybe was just a standard Spec practice. But maybe it is just a regional thing.
    I would certainly not pay above MSRP for anything. If I could not negotiate a MSRP (or below) price from the LBS, I would go online.

  32. #32
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    Since there is an REI by you, why not order something on rei.com? You'll be able to return it directly to the store if it doesn't fit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSteve in CO
    Since there is an REI by you, why not order something on rei.com? You'll be able to return it directly to the store if it doesn't fit.
    That, my friend, is a fantastic idea. I hadn't thought about that. Thank you!!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by carguy4471
    For reference: When I asked the sales folks at the bike shop about pricing above MSRP he said that since they offer so many organizational discounts and coupons they just raise the prices. So they essentially raise the prices before giving people discounts, thus no one ever gets a real discount.
    I noticed a local ski / bike shop has some things priced above MSRP. However, every season pass holder for the local XC ski trails gets a discount, so the inflation is wiped out.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by carguy4471
    That, my friend, is a fantastic idea. I hadn't thought about that. Thank you!!
    Double advantage here since REI has about the best return policy in the business. You really can't go wrong buying from them.

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