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Why the LBS are dying out ...

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Why the LBS are dying out ...

Old 04-01-19, 11:37 AM
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freegeek
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Why the LBS are dying out ...

[RANT] I try to do as much maintenance work on my bike not because it's cheaper but simply because dealing with a LBS is a frustrating experience. My bike needed some minor stuff done , and when I say minor I really mean minor (new chain + new hydraulic disc hose). Because I didn't have time myself over the weekend I decided to bring my bike to the LBS last week thinking that after the weekend I would have my bike back. My bike is still in the shop because they didn't have a friggin bleeding kit. When I asked if they are serious that my bike is still in the shop because they don't have the $20 Shimano bleeding kit they give me the "annoying customer" look. They told me it will take until the end of the week for the part to arrive (seriously!). I can go online, order and have the damn thing delivered next day. In total my bike will be in the shop for a full week for what is essentially a 30 minutes job. Last time I tried to buy a big ticket item in a LBS was my power pedals (Garmin Vector), they told me it would take 6 weeks (I'm not kidding), I went home, ordered online, had them delivered next day. Both of these experiences are good reminders why I avoid LBS as the plague. [/END RANT]
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Old 04-01-19, 11:39 AM
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The internet has changed everything....
- Often no sales tax
- Bigger inventory
- Cheaper
- No driving anywhere
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Old 04-01-19, 11:43 AM
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Another store near me closing. Sounds like their lease expired and they couldn't afford higher rent.
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Old 04-01-19, 11:44 AM
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Why didn't you buy the bleed kit and deliver it?

Would have saved time and money.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:06 PM
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I have the opposite experience with our LBS. We have a 35 bike fleet that we use to teach bike safety to 5th graders in our school district. They require a lot of maintenance, and I was in the LBS getting some minor parts. The head of the service department asked me how it was going. Ours is an older fleet which takes a lot of work. After talking a little about what I had to do he said he would come over on his day off with a couple of his mechanics and help me out. Our LBS is 35 miles away! He also gives us a discount on parts. They assist in the maintenance of two other communities' bike fleets. They have been in business for a long time, and I think they will be there for a long time into the future.

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Old 04-01-19, 12:11 PM
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The problem with these threads is that the OP usually has a sample size of one, or occasionally two or three. Trying to generalize from these small samples is never useful.

FWIW, I have had some bad experiences with shops, and many good-to-great experiences. It just really depends on the shop.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:21 PM
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I agree. The internet has changed everything.
More than once I was told the price of a part & my response was it costs "x" on Amazon. They hate it when I suggest they by-pass their distributor & do like I'm going to do & buy it on Amazon themselves.

The latest was some $90 rotors. $180 total from the lbs. I got them from Worldwide Cyclery for $120 after discount. That was $60 saved, not even including tax.

Another was $2000 for a Rohloff hub. Amazon had it for $1300. A $700 difference. In the end I got the lbs to throw in a Rohbox & related SRAM shifters to keep the sale. It was afterall a $7000 bike on the line.

Don't get me started on Gregg's Cycle...I got into an argument with the sales guy about inner-tubes for my 559-28c road bike. Ot was to the point he flat out said: "Google says you are wrong." He refused to believe it wasn't 700c. There was a lot of similar incidents like that. I once watched him make my friend feel stupid. And I've seem a lot of out-right lies so things get charged a full hourly rate for non-problems. Lying to customers for a quarter turn of a barrel adjustor is just bad form. It took a while, but now every sale that would've gone to that shop from me is now achieved on the internet.

You're welcome, Travis.

Aaron

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Old 04-01-19, 12:36 PM
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Any product our shop sells can be serviced by the service department as we always make sure to have the tools on hand when new product is launched. When we sold a Chris King headset for the first time, the correct tools were ordered with it. Just simple management decisions can make a big difference. Been in business for 70 years, too. One of our best years was 2018.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by freegeek View Post
[Both of these experiences are good reminders why I avoid LBS as the plague. [/END RANT]
Good lord. Another LBS rant.

Then again, I guess I should be happy because you reminded me why I patronize the two LBSs that I do. They save me time by doing research on parts for me, such as when I needed to replace my touring bike chainrings a few years back. They actually found a gearing combination that suited me better. Any parts I order through them come quickly. I always get fast service. Sometimes I get free service. Sometimes I get emergency service. Sometimes I get unadvertised discounts on items. When I use the shop closest me my home (I can stop in on my way home from work or at lunch or after a weekend ride) to pack my bike for tours they walk it around the corner to the FedEx/Kinko's store for pickup. Jeff Bezos has never offered to do that for me. The other LBS I use built me a custom ti frame and wheels and installs my tubeless tires for free. And if something does go wrong I have someone to answer for it in person. If I had a $1 for every thread I have read on BF about somebody having a hard time addressing a problem arising from an on-line transaction I would have a lot more dollars in my wallet. Oh....The shop close to me has some really cute shop pooches.

There are good restaurants. There are bad restaurants. I've been to some bad restaurants, but that hasn't stopped me from eating out. I have gotten some bad haircuts in my life, but I haven't started cutting my own hair.

But I do understand that there are people out there who don't mind scouring the Internets to save $2 on each inner tube. I have better things to do with my time.

BTW...I Philly, putting the recent corporate closings of Performance aside, LBS are not dying out. In fact, numerous new ones have opened during the last decade. In fact, one that has been around for a while is opening a second location in a month or so, if it's not open already.

Or is this really another trite LBS troll thread?

Last edited by indyfabz; 04-01-19 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Why didn't you buy the bleed kit and deliver it?

Would have saved time and money.
I would have done it myself but last weekend I was not home so I thought bringing it before the weekend (last wednesday) would have given me back my bike after the weekend. Its been in the shop now for 4 working days simply because they didn't have a $20 piece of kit that you would think every serious bike mechanic would have. Is it really to demanding from me to think that replacing a hose and putting on a new chain should not take a week?
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Old 04-01-19, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Good lord. Another LBS rant.

Then again, I guess I should be happy because you reminded me why I patronize the two LBSs that I do. They save me time by doing research on parts for me, such as when I needed to replace my touring bike chainrings a few years back. They actually found a gearing combination that suited me better. Any parts I order through them come quickly. I always get fast service. Sometimes I get free service. Sometimes I get emergency service. Sometimes I get unadvertised discounts on items. When I use the shop closest me my home (I can stop in on my way home from work or at lunch or after a weekend ride) to pack my bike for tours they walk it around the corner to the FedEx/Kinko's store for pickup. Jeff Bezos has never offered to do that for me. The other LBS I use built me a custom ti frame and wheels and installs my tubeless tires for free. And if something does go wrong I have someone to answer for it in person. If I had a $1 for every thread I have read on BF about somebody having a hard time addressing a problem arising from an on-line transaction I would have a lot more dollars in my wallet. Oh....The shop close to me has some really cute shop pooches.

There are good restaurants. There are bad restaurants. I've been to some bad restaurants, but that hasn't stopped me from eating out. I have gotten some bad haircuts in my life, but I haven't started cutting my own hair.

But I do understand that there are people out there who don't mind scouring the Internets to save $2 on each inner tube. I have better things to do with my time.

BTW...I Philly, putting the recent corporate closings of Performance aside, LBS are not dying out. In fact, numerous new ones have opened during the last decade. In fact, one that has been around for a while is opening a second location in a month or so, if it's not open already.

Or is this really another trite LBS troll thread?
Bless yourself that you have good LBS around. I don't think I'm a troll because I expect that a not-so-cheap LBS would be able to replace a chain and bleed the brakes in less then a week.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Any product our shop sells can be serviced by the service department as we always make sure to have the tools on hand when new product is launched. When we sold a Chris King headset for the first time, the correct tools were ordered with it. Just simple management decisions can make a big difference. Been in business for 70 years, too. One of our best years was 2018.
Exactly. I'm not talking about some rare exotic bottom bracket standard that demands some weird tool. We are talking about a basic piece of equipment here. They sell plenty of bikes with shimano hydraulic discs (they have 4 big shops) but apparently they can not service them in a timely manner because they don't have a $20 Shimano bleeding kit. Needless to say I ordered one myself for next time.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
The problem with these threads is that the OP usually has a sample size of one, or occasionally two or three. Trying to generalize from these small samples is never useful.

FWIW, I have had some bad experiences with shops, and many good-to-great experiences. It just really depends on the shop.
unfortunately in my area its not a sampling size of one. I'm not the most mechanically inclined and I'm quite lazy so I rather have someone else do the maintenance. I started wrenching myself because of necessity. Lead times for maintenance suck with all of them in my area. Lots of time they don't have what I would consider basic items (no we don't have that 11/32 cassette that you want, we have to order it ....). 3 weeks ago I needed a 650mm di2 cable. You can not believe how many shops I had to call to find one that had a spare cable they could sell to me. The only reason I didn't buy it online was because the postage is ridiculous on a single cable.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I have the opposite experience with our LBS. We have a 35 bike fleet that we use to teach bike safety to 5th graders in our school district. They require a lot of maintenance, and I was in the LBS getting some minor parts. The head of the service department asked me how it was going. Ours is an older fleet which takes a lot of work. After talking a little about what I had to do he said he would come over on his day off with a couple of his mechanics and help me out. Our LBS is 35 miles away! He also gives us a discount on parts. They assist in the maintenance of two other communities' bike fleets. They have been in business for a long time, and I think they will be there for a long time into the future.
If I would have a LBS that give me that kind of service I would not think twice and use them all the time. I have 3 LBS near me and I started doing more of my maintenance myself simply because they kind of suck. Simple example, I'm looking to buy an Apidura full frame pack. There are 5 LBS that are also Apidura dealers in a 50km radius. NONE of them had the Apidura Expedition pack I was looking for available, they all had to order it themselves. I can just as well then order online myself and get it cheaper.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:20 PM
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I think the bike industry is killing themselves off due to the push for new and better stuff. And then companies not continuing to support the old stuff.

It isn't that bicycles are good for 5 years and then done. There are quite a few 10, 20, 30, 40, and even 50 year old bikes on the road today.

Then, even if one limits oneself to a half dozen brands, there is a huge number of parts.

So, the bike shops are choosing not to carry $100K or more worth of small parts inventory, tools, & etc.

And, certainly they don't want to get stuck with dead stock that must be deeply discounted to move.

So, they get hit by a customer like the OP, that wants to push the limits a bit. New hydraulic brakes. (Well, not that new, they've been out for several years). A cassette that isn't "stock".

I'm not quite sure how auto parts stores do it, but their entire model is to have stock for just about anything one drives. And, quick turn over for anything they don't have on the shelf (ok, so they're feeling the push of the internet too).

But, really, bikes should be a lot simpler than cars. But, the shops just need to keep a decent inventory.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I think the bike industry is killing themselves off due to the push for new and better stuff. And then companies not continuing to support the old stuff.

It isn't that bicycles are good for 5 years and then done. There are quite a few 10, 20, 30, 40, and even 50 year old bikes on the road today.

Then, even if one limits oneself to a half dozen brands, there is a huge number of parts.

So, the bike shops are choosing not to carry $100K or more worth of small parts inventory, tools, & etc.

And, certainly they don't want to get stuck with dead stock that must be deeply discounted to move.

So, they get hit by a customer like the OP, that wants to push the limits a bit. New hydraulic brakes. (Well, not that new, they've been out for several years). A cassette that isn't "stock".

I'm not quite sure how auto parts stores do it, but their entire model is to have stock for just about anything one drives. And, quick turn over for anything they don't have on the shelf (ok, so they're feeling the push of the internet too).

But, really, bikes should be a lot simpler than cars. But, the shops just need to keep a decent inventory.
my biggest pet peeve is indeed that they don't have simple stuff in stock. A shimano 11-32 cassette is not exactly an exotic piece of kit. The shop is full with hydraulic equipped bikes but they can not bleed them because they don't have the bleeding kit.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by freegeek View Post
my biggest pet peeve is indeed that they don't have simple stuff in stock. A shimano 11-32 cassette is not exactly an exotic piece of kit. The shop is full with hydraulic equipped bikes but they can not bleed them because they don't have the bleeding kit.
7 speed, 9 speed, 10 speed, 11 speed?
105? Ultegra? Dura Ace?

Of course, at some point, many customers are happy to walk out the door with just about anything that will actually work.

On the other hand, with the internet, one can specify EXACTLY the desired part. New, Used, NOS, ...
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Old 04-01-19, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
7 speed, 9 speed, 10 speed, 11 speed?
105? Ultegra? Dura Ace?

Of course, at some point, many customers are happy to walk out the door with just about anything that will actually work.

On the other hand, with the internet, one can specify EXACTLY the desired part. New, Used, NOS, ...
11 speed, 105 or Ultegra, I was happy with either. They could not help me out...
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Old 04-01-19, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by freegeek View Post
I would have done it myself but last weekend I was not home so I thought bringing it before the weekend (last wednesday) would have given me back my bike after the weekend. Its been in the shop now for 4 working days simply because they didn't have a $20 piece of kit that you would think every serious bike mechanic would have. Is it really to demanding from me to think that replacing a hose and putting on a new chain should not take a week?
A repair takes as long as it takes.

My question remains--why didn't you order the part Wednesday night, get it Thursday, deliver it Friday morning and pick up your bike after work on Friday for your weekend rides?

The shop was honest with you? Told you when they could do the job, when they could return the bike?

We think shops should have every tool and every part on hand ... and plenty of staff to do whatever job. (Of course, when it comes to our bikes, we are thrilled if the mechanic takes as long as it takes ... but he should hurry through the bikes in line first to get to ours, right?)

Maybe this shop had never been asked to do that particular job---maybe everyone had either done it at home, or used a different brake system, or whatever. I can assume that if they didn't have the bleed kit, they had never needed it before ... so why would they buy it? After all, the shop Could invest in a giant warehouse and purchase every tool for every particular job and every proprietary manufacturer's standard, and every possible replacement part.

Or they could buy what they need to do the jobs that they do. And thereby be a healthier business

The whole idea that the shop Should do the job in a certain amount of time is what's wrong here. You figure that since you could do the job in an evening, so should the shop.

See the problem? You Couldn't do the job in an evening because you had other things to do. They had other things to do as well---like keeping their business running. They told you what was involved, you had the choice to take the bike home and make time ... or leave the bike and make them make time. If they had said, "Yeah, pick it up later today," and then said, "Tomorrow,' and had done that a few times ... but that's not how it happened, right?

So the whole deal is you want them to work faster for you. They were not convenient to your demands and schedule.

Look ... if you don't like the shop, don't go back. Do the work yourself.

Funny thing---you would have gotten the brakes bled pretty much Exactly the same time whether they did it or you did it. You saved the cost of the bleed kit and the time and labor. You could have bought the bleed kit and done the work, spending time and energy. Either way, you'd have the bike in riding condition.

You sort of walked into a shop and said, "Fix my bike and make it snappy. I expect every bike shop to be ready to meet My needs and My schedule."

If the bike shop doesn't meet your standards,. simply don't go there any more. But all this outrage .... makes you sound pretty spoiled.

I do photography sometimes. If someone says, "When can I get my pictures," and I have a couple jobs scheduled which will keep me away from the computer, I simply tell the person. If they get mad ... I don't care. They can go to another photographer, or have a friend shoot the shots with a cellphone. I am honest and offer the options. If someone says, "I expect you could shoot, download, sort, and edit my pictures in an hour---I could," but I know I won't have a free couple hours for a few days ... they lose. I tell the folks what's up---they choose. I understand, they want what they want. I also know what i can deliver. If they don't like what i can deliver, no stress.

If you don't like what the shop offers .... but if you feel entitled to a certain level of performance the shop never promised ... that's Your issue to solve, not the shop's. (Unless the LBS is named something like "Ernie's Brake-Bleeding Service" with a sign in the window which says "We bleed brakes ... and also sell bikes. Check out our brake-bleeding services." Otherwise ... )

Last edited by Maelochs; 04-01-19 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by koyote View Post
the problem with these threads is that the op usually has a sample size of one, or occasionally two or three. Trying to generalize from these small samples is never useful.

Fwiw, i have had some bad experiences with shops, and many good-to-great experiences. It just really depends on the shop.
+1
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Old 04-01-19, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post

If the bike shop doesn't meet your standards,. simply don't go there any more. But all this outrage .... makes you sound pretty spoiled.)
/thread
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Old 04-01-19, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
A repair takes as long as it takes.

My question remains--why didn't you order the part Wednesday night, get it Thursday, deliver it Friday morning and pick up your bike after work on Friday for your weekend rides?

The shop was honest with you? Told you when they could do the job, when they could return the bike?

We think shops should have every tool and every part on hand ... and plenty of staff to do whatever job. (Of course, when it comes to our bikes, we are thrilled if the mechanic takes as long as it takes ... but he should hurry through the bikes in line first to get to ours, right?)

Maybe this shop had never been asked to do that particular job---maybe everyone had either done it at home, or used a different brake system, or whatever. I can assume that if they didn't have the belled kit, they had never needed it before ... so why would they buy it? After all, the shop Could invest in a giant warehouse and purchase every tool for every particular job and every proprietary manufacturer's standard.

Or they could buy what they need to do the jobs that they do.

The whole idea that the shop Should do the job in a certain amount of time is what's wrong here. You figure that since you could do the job in an evening, so should the shop.

See the problem? You Couldn't do the job in an evening because you had other things to do. They had other things to do as well---like keeping their business running. They told you what was involved, you had the choice to take the bike home and make time ... or leave the bike and make them make time. If they had said, "Yeah, pick it up later today," and then said, "Tomorrow,' and had done that a few times ... but that's not how it happened, right?

So the whole deal is you want them to work faster for you. They were not convenient to your demands and schedule.

Look ... if you don't like the shop, don't go back. Do the work yourself.

Funny thing---you would have gotten the brakes bled pretty much Exactly the same time whether they did it or you did it. You saved the cost of the bleed kit and the time and labor. You could have bought the bleed kit and done the work, spending time and energy. Either way, you'd have the bike in riding condition.

You sort of walked into a shop and said, "Fix my bike and make it snappy. I expect very bike shop to be ready to meet My needs and My schedule."

If the bike shop doesn't meet your standards,. simply don't go there any more. But all this outrage .... makes you sound pretty spoiled.

I do photography sometimes. If someone says, "When can I get my pictures," and I have a couple jobs scheduled which will keep me away from the computer, I simply tell the person. If they get mad ... I don't care. They can go to another photographer, or have a friend shoot the shots with a cellphone. I am honest and offer the options. If someone says, "I expect you could shoot, download, sort, and edit my pictures in a n hour---I could," But I know I won't have a free couple hours for a few days ... they lose. I tell the folks what's up---they choose. I understand, they want what they want. I also know what i can deliver. If they don't like what i can deliver, no stress.

If you don't like what the shop offers .... but if you feel entitled to a certain level of performance the shop never promised ... that's Your issue to solve, not the shop's. (Unless the LBS is named something like "Ernie's Brake-Bleeding Service" with a sign in the window which says "We bleed brakes ... and also sell bikes. Check out our brake-bleeding services." Otherwise ... )
I was wrong to assume that a shop that is selling shimano disc brake equipped bikes by the bucket loads to have a $20 bleeding kit as part of their normal bike maintenance inventory so they can actually service the bikes they sell. No wonder a lot of them go out of business blaming "online" shops. If that makes me "entitled", so be it, I just call it lousy service
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Old 04-01-19, 01:59 PM
  #23  
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As for the 11-32 cassette. Ever consider that no one else had wanted to buy one there? Same with the bleed kit. Obviously they had not had a request to bleed Shimano discs.

We expect everything ... and we want it Now.

It's just one Shimano cassette ... I own 7,8, 9,10, and 11-speed bikes. So obviously they should stock all that ... and all the various sizes, in case, on a whim, I want to do a different ride and want to change gearing. And maybe i want Sram ... or just bought a used bike with old Campagnolo ... obviously these are big-name parts, they should stock them all. And not just one---three or four, just in case. How dare they not have what I want ... even if I am the only person who has wanted one ever at that store/

Or maybe ... people who aren't mechanically inclined and are lazy, pay a premium for service ... and when other people came in looking for a specific part, they were willing to pay the premium in time and money to keep their hands clean.

Again, this is all the same issue---you have certain expectations of what a bike shop "should" be,and be able to do, and the reality is different. You can't get what you want so you make half-a-dozen posts denigrating this store. You even note that you were Never satisfied with their performance ... yet you went their again.

The problem seems to be all one person, and it isn't a person on the shop payroll.
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Old 04-01-19, 02:03 PM
  #24  
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Old 04-01-19, 02:05 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
As for the 11-32 cassette. Ever consider that no one else had wanted to buy one there? Same with the bleed kit. Obviously they had not had a request to bleed Shimano discs.

We expect everything ... and we want it Now.

It's just one Shimano cassette ... I own 7,8, 9,10, and 11-speed bikes. So obviously they should stock all that ... and all the various sizes, in case, on a whim, I want to do a different ride and want to change gearing. And maybe i want Sram ... or just bought a used bike with old Campagnolo ... obviously these are big-name parts, they should stock them all. And not just one---three or four, just in case. How dare they not have what I want ... even if I am the only person who has wanted one ever at that store/

Or maybe ... people who aren't mechanically inclined and are lazy, pay a premium for service ... and when other people came in looking for a specific part, they were willing to pay the premium in time and money to keep their hands clean.

Again, this is all the same issue---you have certain expectations of what a bike shop "should" be,and be able to do, and the reality is different. You can't get what you want so you make half-a-dozen posts denigrating this store. You even note that you were Never satisfied with their performance ... yet you went their again.

The problem seems to be all one person, and it isn't a person on the shop payroll.
maybe its indeed me, maybe I just expect that they can actually service the stuff they sell in a timely manner. Im sure I am the only person ever to walk into a bike store and ask for a Shimano 105 or Ultegra cassette, a really exotic piece of bike hardware.
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