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Thread: eTailer vs. LBS

  1. #1
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    eTailer vs. LBS

    I have seen an unusually high volume of posts lately on the evils of online bike retailers. A lot of hate gets spewed on here for people buying 29ers online, especially after doing research locally and taking up the time and energy of a Local Bike Store (LBS) employee. A recent thread even went so far as to insinuate a rider was having back pain due to bad karma because he didn't buy a bike from the LBS and bought online instead.

    For me, I found that purchasing online is much more efficient and less expensive than going through a Local Bike Store (LBS) since discovering 29'ers, simply because all the local shops that have 29ers carry bikes that are way out of my price range, and a lot of the big retailers that carry 29ers don't have the same build quality I can get by going online.

    For those of you who work in local shops or own them, I understand the passion and the loyalty. I also understand the frustration you guys must have when people come in day after day, test ride bikes, and then disappear forever and don't give you a dime. Or worse yet, to expect the LBS to fix a bike for free that was purchased elsewhere.

    But on the flip side, I totally get how saving $1000 on a $5000 bike can make a huge difference to a consumer, and I don't think it is fair to crucify someone because they chose to save that money rather than spend it in their LBS.

    How many people shop for appliances, cars or other big ticket items at one location only to buy from another after doing a little research? Would you pay $40000 for a car you can buy across town for $35000 simply because you looked at it first? Are you expected to be loyal to Sears because you shopped for a washer and dryer there, even after finding it at Home Depot for half the price?

    If the basic principle of free enterprise is competition, why is it so wrong for the 29er bike industry? I bought my first 29er from a local shop, because I wanted the technical support, service, parts tweaking and general advice I could get from the local shop. It was stolen last year, and I needed to replace it with a less expensive bike. I looked at five or six bikes at local LBS's, but ultimately decided to build my own one up from a BikesDirect donor, a Performance frame, and some odds and ends from a small local Golden bike shop. I wrench on bikes myself, I knew the geometric specs that would work for me and it was the only logical option that fit my budget.

    Seems like there has to be a balance between consumer loyalty and competition. Likewise there has to be a commensurate value between the premium paid at a Local Bike Shop and the benefits of that shop's support vs. an online retailer with no support. But ultimately it is up to the consumer to choose what's best for themselves. I would never call someone an idiot for paying $1000 more for a bike at a local bike shop than they could online, yet it continues to be ok in these forums to bash on people who do the opposite.

  2. #2
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    I purchase some items online, and some from local b&m. Its really on a case by case basis. In the example that you mention, I find it funny that the guy has $5k to spend on a bike, yet apparently has no idea how to gauge if a bike fits him. He probably also has a $2,500 set of golf clubs yet shoots 105.

    My LBS gives a free 30 day service valued at $150, plus gives free lifetime $30 tune-ups. People that bought the bike from their shop also get preferred rates on other services and maintenance for that specific bike.

    It's not rocket science why you can get things cheaper online (no b&m, limited sales staff, no sales tax, etc). But if you end up having a problem don't expect your LBS to go out of their way to help you.

  3. #3
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    I run into the same thing in my line of work as a plumbing contractor. Second cousin Johnny has a friend who says he can do it for half the price, and there is always unlicensed and undocumented Jose to cut that price in half. I simply tell people that you get what you pay for and the real cost of a job comes when the work that has been done backfires or requires further repair. Im not any cheaper when I fix somebody elses work and many times people end up paying more in the end by the time I fix someone elses job. Live and learn, every purchase has risks.
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  4. #4
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    One issue I have is my height: even at a moderate 6'3", it's rare to find a 29er that fits me in stock. Sure, an LBS will order one for me, IF I pay for it. That's not extremely helpful. I can do 99.9% of my own wrenching, so all the free tune ups in the world are pretty meaningless for me.

    Of course, my bigger issue is volume: paying new MSRP (online or LBS) really hurts when you sell a bike after a few months, so I like to buy used (and/or frame only, to minimize the depreciation costs). Then I typically only lose my shipping costs on each transaction.
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  5. #5
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    I have no issue with people buying on line as long as they understand the price they will pay when they take these parts/bikes to a lbs for support.

    However, I have incredible disdain for the online retailers who prey on unknowledgeable noobs by using viral marketing techniques and selling "msrp $3,000" bikes at the amazing discount price of $1,000. I know, I know, buyer beware and all that, but it's still shady.

    For those who own an online bike, knew what you were getting, do your own wrenching, and love the bike, good for you! Keep helping the newbs by giving them good advice and encouraging them to do lots of research before buying.

  6. #6
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    definately case by case.. i'll check my lbs inventory for the item im looking for before i go online.. if the item is slightly more expensive i'll go with the bike shop.. lbs will always have their place in the service department. i bought my bike from my lbs but just bought a hydro pak and socks online.. i switch it up.. most reputible online shops will back up what they sell so warrentee isn't much of an issue.. in alot of cases i'll find that my lbs will have better deals then online retailers as well..

    like i said, case by case.. go with your lbs first, if you can't find what you need then go online..

  7. #7
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    There are a fair number of bad brick and mortar bike shops, the ones that don't know what they are doing, hire seasonal help that they don't pay squat and generally don't get it. Then there are the shops that really set themselves apart, keep good people on the floor, have a veteran career mechanic and give the kind of service a E-tailer wishes they could. If you live in a town that is full of the 1st type I can't blame you for wanting to shop online. After all you can find out what your LBS grom just spewed out of the product flyer online in a couple of minutes. If you have a shop like that later you understand why you should support them, they know there stuff and are there day after day. This is why I run a repair shop, something that can't be bought online. While most of my local competition turns there nose up at people asking to have there motor-bacons assembled I hand those same people a fair bill with a smile. After all they put food on my table.

    What I don't get is why people pay the same price for things online that there local shop probably has in stock.

    Comparing big box retail to specialty retail is a pretty skewed comparison. Somebody might walk into Best Buy looking for a TV but the moment they walked into the door price was the number one thing on there list.

  8. #8
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    Mailorder vs LBS

    I have purchased about 1/2 of my many MTN. bike's from local bike shop's, the other's from major mail order shop's. I have a local shop that is great, the best mechanic's, fair price's, all good. On the other side I have seen local shop's size bike's incorrectly and I don't mean a close fit. Local bike shop's come in all flavor's with diff. skill level's the same as mail order. As costly as a high end frame is you should check several source's and do a test ride if poss. On my carbon 29 I did a test ride at a demo day, checked several shop's, and finally called Santa Cruz to verify the size. My local shop didn't have a large frame to check so all my checking was out of town. In the end Colorado Cyclist gave me good info,good pricing, and a reasonable delivery date. If I lived near a major dealer I probably would have gone that way.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2tallrid3r
    For those of you who work in local shops or own them, I understand the passion and the loyalty. I also understand the frustration you guys must have when people come in day after day, test ride bikes, and then disappear forever and don't give you a dime.

    Seems like there has to be a balance between consumer loyalty and competition.

    It's purely bad juju and huge negative karma points on you for using a local bike shop in the initial stages, get sizing nailed down and spending valuable time from a local shop - then going online to buy a bike to save a few bills (unless you plan on never showing face in that lbs again)

    On the other side..what happens when you buy online, you order a bike sizes too big like this guy http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=707314 then the LBS rapes you on sizing.

    Support your LBS unless you know exactly what you want and make sure it fits.

  10. #10
    M_S
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    The difference in cost between even in special order parts is often less than t seems when you're getting a 10 dollar shipping charge from the online shop. There are good online stores though like Jenson and Competitive Cyclist. I've worked for Performance, and despite some good people trying their best, overall that whole corporation sucks monkey balls.

    The thread people are talking about is funny for sure, but it's worth pointing out that the LBS was the one telling him he should buy an XXL or whatever. Just a total fail all around.
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  11. #11
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    If you in the market for Trek or Specialized or some other mass produced brand then buying locally is not a problem. Now try to find singlespeed steel 29r in the local store.

    I called every LBS in my area looking for the frame of my choice. I wasn't sure about the size and wanted to test ride the bike before buying. Nobody had the right size in stock. The best LBS could do for me is to take my money, order frame and make me weight one month before I get it. And no exchange if the size doesn't work for me. I took a chance ordered online and luckily frame was a perfect fit.

    Many time while searching I left my phone number and nobody called me back! It's like local sores don't want any new customers. And don't even get me started on $80 wheel truing.
    Last edited by maxxim; 05-10-2011 at 05:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    I dont see the problem with buying online and taking to LBS to have work done as long as you pay, cant expect free service. I would like to know what the general e-pinion is on my actions. I live in a smaller city only 2 small LBS, I drove to the big city and went to big LBS test rode several bikes in different size's. They had the bike I wanted in my size in stock but I drove back to my LBS to order and wait 2 weeks for bike. I bought my first bike there last season and had ecellent service and great perks for buying there. So I wanted to give them my money again I went in told him the bike and size and out of no wear gives me a unexpected sweet deal. Am I wrong for useing the big city LBS to support my smaller LBS?

  13. #13
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    Research, research, research, buy. After nearly a decade of "boutique" builds I recently returned to my LBS for a complete, OE bike.

    There is zero wrong with shopping the LBS prior to ordering elsewhere. That is a common scenario in the internet age. The reality is that most of those folks can't/won't service their own bikes and that is where the profit center lies.

    Like cars, fully-built OE bikes often have the lower profit margins for LBSs. What they love to see are problems.
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  14. #14
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    I try and shop my preferred LBS's and don't mind spending a little more with them since the benefits of being a "regular / good customer" is well worth it in the long run. However, that doesn't mean I don't mail-order things on occasion (usually things that I need quick and I don't want to wait a week or two for the LBS to special order), but when mail-order goes wrong for some reason, I'm not a dolt who expects an LBS to bail me out and then comes to the Internet to whine about it when they don't.

  15. #15
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    support your LBS. I def could have saved more on my bike had I cobbled it together form online sources, but I have gotten much love and help back from them over the years. They recently swapped me a pair of biking pants I bought online to save money. Wouldn't have saved anything after I shipped them back for a size that fit and it would have been another week or 2 before I got em. Not suggesting one throws money away, but shopping locally is generally speaking a good thing and the intangible benefits in my book is a currency of sorts.

  16. #16
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    I have no issue with anyone buying online, do your due dilligence and researtch whatever it is to death, make sure you know what you want. I buy nearly everythign online because we have no real bike shops here's and their prices are way more than I can get buying online, even with high Fed Ex shipping and duties AND I don't need their help sizing or figuring out what I want, I have that experience already and know what I want, so I don't waste their time when I know I'm not going to buy. Heck I will even say that I use Jenson exclusively because I'm a bit paranoid about having my info all over the place and they have proved very reputable and have good service, BUT, I will most times search the web for a better price and price match the itme and they will generally do the match.

    Now to contrast this statement, they are a Trek dealer and as such can get Bont tyres and they land them here, taxes and everything included for about what they list for on Bontis site, so if I want tyres I always consider them as it's just not worth the hassle for maybe saving a couple $$.

    To the people saying you wouldn't go to one car dealer and test a car and then buy it for $4k more just because ytou testewd it there when another shop has it for less. That is apples to apples, they both have store front locations and staff that needs to be paid, so if one can do better he is clearly willing to not take as huge a cut as the other and asking to match is fair. Comparing a store front business that pays staff and location etc. etc. to an e-tailer offering the same prodsucts for less is not fair, they do not have the same overheads as a actual brick and motor shop.

    As to the OP of that thread, I see no way he went in browsing and trying a bike of that caliber without knowing it's cost and what he was willing to pay and not asking what the shop wanted for it. He clearly went in there to check sizing and fit and waste their time and he got what he deserved. Now if he had bought from them and they recomended the XXL, he could have taken it back and most likely got it resolved and got an XL replacement - cause seriously, when could anyone ever size a 6'1" guy on anything over an XL

    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    The difference in cost between even in special order parts is often less than t seems when you're getting a 10 dollar shipping charge from the online shop. There are good online stores though like Jenson and Competitive Cyclist. I've worked for Performance, and despite some good people trying their best, overall that whole corporation sucks monkey balls.

    The thread people are talking about is funny for sure, but it's worth pointing out that the LBS was the one telling him he should buy an XXL or whatever. Just a total fail all around.
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  17. #17
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    More then price, the problem here is inventory. I would buy EVERYTHING I need/want at my LBS, even if it meant paying more (reasonably, of course). The problem is that I can't find 60% of what I'm after, so the web is the only alternative.
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  18. #18
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    Here are main reasons I buy from an LBS...

    1) (This is probably the most important) They support riding in my community. They are very involved in local trail advocacy, bicycle rights programs, etc. I paid $200 more for a wheelset locally than I could find online...but I know that the owner of the shop is heavily involved in supporting and personally maintaing the local trails. And if his shop goes under....we risk losing a major asset in our local trail network. I don't have time to give back as much as I'd like and it's the least I can do to support the shops that advocate for bike lanes, new trails, funding, etc - in MY community. I'm not taking anything away from the national online retailers, as I would expect they are similarly involved in locations of their HQ's. Aside from cycling specific support, many LBS owners are active in other areas of the community (all shop owners in my area are heavily involved).

    2) Diversity of Businesses in my community. When I go to the downtown area of my community, I want to see a diverse mix of non chain businesses and a vibrant culture. Bars, restaurants, bike shops, etc. People wonder where our downtowns and middle class went...yet they continue to let price dictate where they purchase. When that happens, it only makes sense for businesses to look for economies of scale and consolidation. We get less local flavor and end up with a small number of generic, faceless, larger companies.

    And I would add that it's less convenient to shop at my LBS. I typically know exactly what I need/want, and it's a heck of a lot easier, and usually cheaper, for me to use one of the large online companies. But I try my best to spend my $$$ locally. RE: Support, service, etc...my experience has been that every shop has been more than happy to service my bike regardless of if I've spent a dime in the shop. I do most of my own work, but occasionally, due to lack to time/tool/knowledge/etc, I'll have a shop do something for me.

    I would encourage consumers to think about the broader context of where they spend money in all areas. Small businesses account for the vast majority of job growth and new job creation. I'm worried that we're going to end up in a world where the businesses are the same everywhere you go. New town, same restaurants, same big box shops, etc. And the same people that are complaining about a lack of jobs are typically the biggest violators of this concept.

  19. #19
    what a joke
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    For me, 90% online or mail order, 10% LBS.

    If the LBS new what they were actually talking about and not trying BS me.
    If the LBS carried a decent range of products and sizes.
    If the LBS carried up to date products and not gear from 5 years ago.
    If the LBS did not have a holier then thou attitude.
    If the LBS did not have a bad attitude in general.
    If the LBS did not have a feeling of entitlement.
    If the LBS actually tried to provide quality servicing and repairs.
    If the LBS was friendly.
    If the LBS was actually proactive in trying to win my business: "we may not be as cheap as the online stores but we will give you our best price if you give us a chance "

    If the LBS managed to do most of that ( none of it is rocket science) I would spend more at the LBS.

    blah blah blah

  20. #20
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    This story is nothing new. Except it used to be mail order instead of online order. Back in the mid-late 80's, when my friends and I were building our high end bmx race bikes, we bought most of our stuff mail order or from vendors at races. Nobody local had the frames or parts we wanted.

  21. #21
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    I laugh when people or shops boast about "free tune ups". In reality it's just an occasional derailleur or brake adjustment so your bike shifts correctly and the brakes don't rub. I seriously doubt many mechanics do much beyond this.

    If you need any actual service, you'll be paying full price for that brake bleed, wheel true, or shock re-build. And, now they've got you in the shop. You'll walk around an buy some other stuff you didn't really need.

    They should call it a "come back to the store and buy things twice a year program".

  22. #22
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    I have given my LBS WAAAAY more money over the years through wheel builds, tune-ups, derailleur-shifter installs, etc. then I would have given them by purchasing a bike. You can support your LBS in other ways, not just by buying a bike.

  23. #23
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    I see this thread, while rehashing an old topic, has not yet pointed out that for some years now a very successful business model has been to combine some bricks-and-mortar shops with an online business.

    Whether it's ski equipment or bike gear or climbing gear, the local shops that can afford to carry a large inventory---and compete on prices--have a warehouse (in the same building,or in a cheaper part of town) directed at their online business.

    However, feel free to continue with the false dichotomy. :wink:

    btw I've dealt with many LBS shops that don't have an online business that will try to match or come close to matching a reasonable, non-blow-out online price....at least for parts that the LBS does not have in stock but can order. I fully expect to pay more for the convenience of a part that the LBS has in the store -- it's my contribution to their inventory costs.
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  24. #24
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    I for one absolutely love the online marketplace, huge selection of new and used parts with ample information, I can comparison shop while I relax on my time , no wasting gas or breathing car fumes while peddling around to local shops to spend $50 + tax on a tire ..

    I DO NOT support my local whole foods market, because I can get the high quality things I want to eat from amazon for 30-50% less without tax, no shipping .. yeah I do have to hit costco or safeway for produce, meat and the like but I eat very well and could not afford to if not for amazon

    To support a local shop just because you want to help local business or support the community, thats fine but you are not supporting the overall market economy; I want to proliferate business at a shop that is capable of providing the most/best parts to the most people most efficiently: that is without a doubt e-tailers ..

    The purpose of money is to facilitate mutually beneficial transactions, making everyone more efficient and better off .. If I were to spend my $1000 budget at a shop I would be paying rent to the land owner and would wind up with an Al frame with low-value wheels and a low-end fork .. in the online marketplace: my $1000 got me a NOS gunnar with a liftetime warranty, a Reba WC, an overbuilt hand twisted set of xt wheels and a RF deus crankset, amongst mostly an X7 level build

    I do love my local shop and I do pay them to face my headtube and press my headsets or fix my wheel after a good bash , the local bike shop will never disappear but it may shrink in size and in doing so open up storefront space for another local business ..

  25. #25
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    That's exactly my point - that spending at your LBS has a greater overall economic impact, and mostly that the economic impact is apparent in YOUR community.

    e.g. -

    My LBS's are heavily involved in supporting and maintaining trails for the general public to ride on. The owners show up at community meetings; spend a TON of their own time advocating and personally working on trails; sponsor, organize local races, etc. For road, they advocate for bike lanes, are involved in fundraising/fund seeking, and general advocacy. The net economic benefit to both me personally, and to my community, I feel is FAR greater than net economic benefit derived from buying the same product online. After all, what good is my bike if I don't have a trail to ride it on locally.

    There's also a social element and a sense of community that come with supporting a local business. There's more to life than squeezing every penny out of a bike purchase - most of use aren't racing professionally. Not only does it help with bike related stuff, but the LBS owner might be on the school board, neighborhood planning committee, etc. I would hate to see a world with no local businesses and the myriad of benefits they provide to the communities in which they are located.

    At times it can be taxing, especially because many of us are passionate (ok, obsessive) about gear, but I have to remember that there is more to it than just the exchange of money for a part. As consumers, I think we missed the boat a long time ago. We ***** about nothing be made in America these days, yet for the vast majority, bottom dollar price dictates where we purchase...and drives companies to seek greater returns for their investors (again, same consumers who complain about no made in America) by outsourcing to countries with cheaper labor.

    There's no question the online marketplace has some great benefits and has pushed businesses to be more competitive, offer better service, etc. Some companies really do a fantastic job - Competitive Cyclist, Zappos are two that I think are great to deal with. One LBS here has a new price match program and has also rolled out other programs designed to better compete with online retailers.

    I certainly have a differing opinion on "quality" when it comes to food but I guess that's a topic for another thread. To me, quality means locally produced, non processed food. I have a half cow in my freezer that was raised free range, anitibiotic and hormone free. And net/net it cost less than $2 per pound. You can't even buy ground beef that cheap at the grocery store - so it's healthier AND cheaper. Filets, porterhouses, rib roasts, etc - all included. By the way, groceries aren't taxable in many states (here in MI where I am, and in CA where you are).


    Quote Originally Posted by knutso
    I for one absolutely love the online marketplace, huge selection of new and used parts with ample information, I can comparison shop while I relax on my time , no wasting gas or breathing car fumes while peddling around to local shops to spend $50 + tax on a tire ..

    I DO NOT support my local whole foods market, because I can get the high quality things I want to eat from amazon for 30-50% less without tax, no shipping .. yeah I do have to hit costco or safeway for produce, meat and the like but I eat very well and could not afford to if not for amazon

    To support a local shop just because you want to help local business or support the community, thats fine but you are not supporting the overall market economy; I want to proliferate business at a shop that is capable of providing the most/best parts to the most people most efficiently: that is without a doubt e-tailers ..

    The purpose of money is to facilitate mutually beneficial transactions, making everyone more efficient and better off .. If I were to spend my $1000 budget at a shop I would be paying rent to the land owner and would wind up with an Al frame with low-value wheels and a low-end fork .. in the online marketplace: my $1000 got me a NOS gunnar with a liftetime warranty, a Reba WC, an overbuilt hand twisted set of xt wheels and a RF deus crankset, amongst mostly an X7 level build

    I do love my local shop and I do pay them to face my headtube and press my headsets or fix my wheel after a good bash , the local bike shop will never disappear but it may shrink in size and in doing so open up storefront space for another local business ..

  26. #26
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    I'm in the situation as to get a new bike from a LBS or online. I can save more than $250 going online, but would like to go through the LBS for setup and future services. My big obstacle is my better half thiks I'm nuts spending the kind of money it takes to get a good quality FS, so those $250 means a lot.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSTEEL
    I'm in the situation as to get a new bike from a LBS or online. I can save more than $250 going online, but would like to go through the LBS for setup and future services. My big obstacle is my better half thiks I'm nuts spending the kind of money it takes to get a good quality FS, so those $250 means a lot.

    Purchase online.
    Spend $20 on a Park Tools Big Blue Book of Bycycle Repair.
    Spend another $80 on tools.
    Assemble and maintain it yourself.
    Take your wife out for a nice dinner.

    Everyone wins and you save some cash.

  28. #28
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    Wiggs,

    I'm with you, but she is also not happy about the online price.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggs
    Purchase online.
    Spend $20 on a Park Tools Big Blue Book of Bycycle Repair.
    Spend another $80 on tools.
    Assemble and maintain it yourself.
    Very few people in the larger population want to do the above. For that reason alone, shops are likely to continue to exist.

    Recently I've watched at my LBS while people have brought bikes in for trivial shifting adjustments (tension), to have the mechanic install new grips (push them on), to pay to have a flat tire fixed, and so on. I routinely ride with people having very expensive bikes who don't know the first thing about adjusting them. I see riders flumoxed by a broken chain link, who don't carry spare tubes, who are afraid to swap in a new handlebar or stem in order to dial in their fit, and it goes on. We on these forums sometimes forget that in the grand scheme of things that we are a teeny, tiny minority. If you're doing your own work, then you are no longer a person that a shop is depending upon to stay in business.

    I personally like the thought "buy where you shop". If I'm cruising the online sites and see something that I want for a price that I like, then I buy it. If I'm in a store and see something that I want for a price that I like, then I buy it.

    I avoid taking advantage of a shop by using them as a "try it on for size" service. And whether online or brick-and-morter, I limit my business to reputable establishments who deal honorably and fairly. Within those parameters, I shop where I like without guilt.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSTEEL
    Wiggs,

    I'm with you, but she is also not happy about the online price.

    Tell her riding a new bike will help with your endurance in bed?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973
    On the other side..what happens when you buy online, you order a bike sizes too big like this guy http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=707314 then the LBS rapes you on sizing.
    How did the LBS rape me on sizing? This is completely inaccurate.

    You're wrong, and bad with quotes.

    I WAS TOLD BY THE LBS that the bike was a perfect fit, before buying it online.

    I ordered the bike online, and went back to the LBS for a second opinion from a bike fitter, before changing stuff like the stem, bars, etc to get a better fit.

    Your thread should read that "The LBS told this guy the wrong size, then tried to charge him for a fit."

    That bike fitter told me that he wanted to fit me for >$100, and that the XXL was a correct for me.

    The LBS TRIED TO rape me, you mean?

    Yeah, this is just another example of LBS politics. They don't know what they're doing, and try to scam people. Unless you're calling everyone on this forum WRONG about the bike size, the LBS isn't doing their job.

    I didn't pay the LBS a dime on this bike deal, in any way, shape, or form.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed
    How did the LBS rape me on sizing? This is completely inaccurate.

    You're wrong, and bad with quotes.

    I WAS TOLD BY THE LBS that the bike was a perfect fit, before buying it online.

    I ordered the bike online, and went back to the LBS for a second opinion from a bike fitter, before changing stuff like the stem, bars, etc to get a better fit.

    Your thread should read that "The LBS told this guy the wrong size, then tried to charge him for a fit."

    That bike fitter told me that he wanted to fit me for >$100, and that the XXL was a correct for me.

    The LBS TRIED TO rape me, you mean?

    Yeah, this is just another example of LBS politics. They don't know what they're doing, and try to scam people. Unless you're calling everyone on this forum WRONG about the bike size, the LBS isn't doing their job.

    I didn't pay the LBS a dime on this bike deal, in any way, shape, or form.
    Grabs more popcorn.

  33. #33
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    It's totally cool to shop online, I still do it sometimes...but don't complain about your local community not having money to support roads (i.e. potholes), public transportation, sanitation, clean parks, etc. if you continually purchase online/out of sate. This is not just for bike stuff...but for everything in general.

    Your sales tax goes to your community and more or less...makes where YOU live a better place. Finding the best price to make your life easier is something to think about, but supporting your locals with your money is nice as well. I think finding that balance is where we all should be.

    And a note on bike repairs....as expensive as it seems at bike shops...from what I know, shops don't make much money (sometimes, if any) on repairs. This is because you don't pay them for their time to talk to you before dropping the bike off. You are not only paying them for their actual hands on time. They are required to inflate prices a bit to account for their time away from hands on repairs just to at least break even on labor.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed
    Yeah, this is just another example of LBS politics. They don't know what they're doing, and try to scam people. Unless you're calling everyone on this forum WRONG about the bike size, the LBS isn't doing their job.
    We can't see you on the bike. We could very well all be wrong.

    There's also room for interpretation. It's not like we each have our one, true frame size and that's it. Many have leeway to move up or down a size depending upon preference and the sort of riding that they do. When I bought my first bike I was sized on a 17" frame. Over time I've developed a preference for being stretched out more, and my most recent two purchases have been 18" frames. At a Gary Fisher demo days event last summer I surprised myself by liking the 19" frame Rumblefish over the 17.5" size, but that doesn't mean that the 17.5" Hifi that I've been happily riding for three years is suddenly the "wrong" size.

    You've already got the bike, so it wouldn't hurt to experiment with seat position and stem length to see whether you can dial in the fit. OTOH, if the frame feels too much like steering a large yacht, then your best option is probably to strip the parts, sell the frame, and buy a one-size-smaller version.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by conomac
    That's exactly my point - that spending at your LBS has a greater overall economic impact, and mostly that the economic impact is apparent in YOUR community.

    e.g

    There's also a social element and a sense of community that come with supporting a local business. any of us are passionate (ok, obsessive) about gear, but I have to remember that there is more to it than just the exchange of money for a part. As consumers, I think we missed the boat a long time ago. We ***** about nothing be made in America these days, yet for the vast majority, bottom dollar price dictates where we purchase...and drives companies to seek greater returns for their investors (again, same consumers who complain about no made in America) by outsourcing to countries with cheaper labor.


    I certainly have a differing opinion on "quality" when it comes to food but I guess that's a topic for another thread. To me, quality means locally produced, non processed food. I have a half cow in my freezer that was raised free range, anitibiotic and hormone free. And net/net it cost less than $2 per pound. You can't even buy ground beef that cheap at the grocery store - so it's healthier AND cheaper. Filets, porterhouses, rib roasts, etc - all included. By the way, groceries aren't taxable in many states (here in MI where I am, and in CA where you are).
    The social aspect of the LBS is a big plus , it is like drinking at a neighborhood bar versus buying a twelver of Milwaukee'sBeast and drinking it behind the supermarket ..

    The misconception that buying from overseas manufacturers is 'bad' is the same misconception that buying from e-tailers is 'bad' .. that e-tailer is local to someone , and hopefully the local company I work for is efficient enough to do business in other places as well , a global economy breeds efficiency .. any nation that isolates itself from the efficiency gains of the global economy will fall behind and falter amidst the political and military pressures from increasing world powers who wish the isolated nation into a peripheral position wherein their resources are exported .. on more of a positive note, having 'sweatshops' in peripheral countries (which btw foreign citizens are absolutely clamoring to work in because it largely beats the alternatives) allows core nations to efficiently acquire components to build greater ' machines' and generally facilitate social advancement and progress down the line .. sooo promoting greater total efficiency makes everyone better off

    I realize greatly the notion that progress is actually pulling us from our natural state, increasing pollution and actually shortening the lifespan of the human race but to deny advancement is to make oneself vulnerable to the self-interested and technologically empowered.


    anyway, how local is local ? where is the line drawn ? wouldn't buying locally near the extreme mean spending your day tending crops and livestock to trade with your neighbors ? there is no progress in that , where would we be if no one specialized ? no doctors ? no bike builders ?

    The quality certified organic foods I buy from amazon are, for example : wild raw honey, coconut oil and raw seeds, roots and berries by the five-pound bags .. I for one honestly do not trust farmers markets or other small time operations as there is a little chance of recourse for them and there is quantifiable benefits for them to lie and put up an organic or range fed signs at their stand in order to increase foot traffic and profit. Larger operations are under much greater scrutiny and their products are 'tested' by larger numbers of people so a 'bad batch' is much more likely to be found sooner and by someone else.

    btw my prefered e-tailer is CRC halfway around the world in the Uk , and their peek efficiency got me a Cane Creek 110 headset shipped for $65 ,

    I actually just found this video and thought is quite pertinent to the thread

    http://freecaster.tv/mountainbike/10...eaction-cycles

  36. #36
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    A few bike companies have very workable models for doing a demo on the bike with out wasting a brick and mortar bike shop's time or resources.

    The company puts on the demo rides with their own demo fleet. Niner Bikes does this, as does Bionicon, Haro and quite a few more. You demo the bike, you ride it, you see what fits, what works for you, what doesn't, and then it's your choice without wasting anyone's time, be it the bike shop or the Etailer, because in the end, the bike company or frame company still makes the sale, but it's without misrepresentation on the demo user's end.

    Another option is to go to Moab and do OuterBike.

  37. #37
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    I buy my bikes at Family Bike in Crofton MD. I buy some parts and accessories at REI and online. I don't do my own wrenching and at this point in my life (house, 66 Mustang, kids, sports, etc) I probably never will.

    Planned on dropping it off last weekend after a ride and having some shifting issues. Walked in and Ryan stopped what he was doing and adjusted it right then and at N/C. For me that's why I shop at my LBS.

    To each his own. My 09 Toyota's go to the dealership every 5,000 miles. My 66 Mustang gets worked on in my garage.

  38. #38
    Kaj
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    one word plus for the LBS, is this...

    We have about 20 mechanics on our team and do about 10 or more fork overhauls everyday. When something odd comes up, we don't flinch, our average guy can handle it. But if needed we just talk to the expert. Our expert is not the guy who does 2 or 3 fork overhauls a day for the past 2 or 3 years, that guy is the apprentice. Our expert is a expert, he does 100+ fork/shock overhauls a month for years, there's no substitute for that.

    save money where you can, I recommend that, as it leaves more for beer, but don't substitute on quality or you'll spend more time looking at your bike as opposed to riding it.

    word

    out
    Kona Wo for Fat Biking, Ibis HD3 for Trail Shredding, Merckx Road bike for collecting dust

  39. #39
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    I'd be more sympathetic if we were talking about "good" bike shops instead of "local." Supporting an inferior business just because of its location doesn't necessarily make sense to me, but if they can help me out with good advice and stuff I can't do on my own then yeah, I'm willing to pay a price premium. But location alone isn't enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed
    I WAS TOLD BY THE LBS that the bike was a perfect fit, before buying it online.
    Knowing the shop in question, I can definitely see this happening. Just one of those places that has a few people who really know their stuff and others who don't, and if you don't know who to talk to you could easily end up getting crappy advice. Is that something that's worth paying for?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by conomac
    Here are main reasons I buy from an LBS...

    1) (This is probably the most important) They support riding in my community. They are very involved in local trail advocacy, bicycle rights programs, etc. I paid $200 more for a wheelset locally than I could find online...but I know that the owner of the shop is heavily involved in supporting and personally maintaing the local trails. And if his shop goes under....we risk losing a major asset in our local trail network. I don't have time to give back as much as I'd like and it's the least I can do to support the shops that advocate for bike lanes, new trails, funding, etc - in MY community. I'm not taking anything away from the national online retailers, as I would expect they are similarly involved in locations of their HQ's. Aside from cycling specific support, many LBS owners are active in other areas of the community (all shop owners in my area are heavily involved).

    2) Diversity of Businesses in my community. When I go to the downtown area of my community, I want to see a diverse mix of non chain businesses and a vibrant culture. Bars, restaurants, bike shops, etc. People wonder where our downtowns and middle class went...yet they continue to let price dictate where they purchase. When that happens, it only makes sense for businesses to look for economies of scale and consolidation. We get less local flavor and end up with a small number of generic, faceless, larger companies.

    And I would add that it's less convenient to shop at my LBS. I typically know exactly what I need/want, and it's a heck of a lot easier, and usually cheaper, for me to use one of the large online companies. But I try my best to spend my $$$ locally. RE: Support, service, etc...my experience has been that every shop has been more than happy to service my bike regardless of if I've spent a dime in the shop. I do most of my own work, but occasionally, due to lack to time/tool/knowledge/etc, I'll have a shop do something for me.

    I would encourage consumers to think about the broader context of where they spend money in all areas. Small businesses account for the vast majority of job growth and new job creation. I'm worried that we're going to end up in a world where the businesses are the same everywhere you go. New town, same restaurants, same big box shops, etc. And the same people that are complaining about a lack of jobs are typically the biggest violators of this concept.

    well said

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed

    Yeah, this is just another example of LBS politics. They don't know what they're doing, and try to scam people. Unless you're calling everyone on this forum WRONG about the bike size, the LBS isn't doing their job.
    Not a single person that replied with fit advise in your thread has any basis to go on. Fit advise that is given without seeing the rider in gear and on there bike is absolutely ****ing worthless! So the more accurate statement would be everybody that gave you advise has no idea what they are talking about, otherwise they wouldn't have made assumptions as to weather or not your bike fit.

    It's not fair to lump all LBS into the same category either. They vary as much as any specialty retailer does. Some are really good at what they do and some (maybe the one you dealt with) don't know there ass from a hole in the ground.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab
    Not a single person that replied with fit advise in your thread has any basis to go on. Fit advise that is given without seeing the rider in gear and on there bike is absolutely ****ing worthless! So the more accurate statement would be everybody that gave you advise has no idea what they are talking about, otherwise they wouldn't have made assumptions as to weather or not your bike fit.

    It's not fair to lump all LBS into the same category either. They vary as much as any specialty retailer does. Some are really good at what they do and some (maybe the one you dealt with) don't know there ass from a hole in the ground.
    The thread may have been locked, but the saga lives on...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og7-6YubuS4


  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaj
    save money where you can, I recommend that, as it leaves more for beer, but don't substitute on quality or you'll spend more time looking at your bike as opposed to riding it.
    Very well said... having a relationship with an LBS that you trust and has competent people will help keep your bike on the trail instead of hanging on the wall, regardless of where you bought the bike.

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