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Value of local bike shop

Old 06-09-19, 06:53 PM
  #1  
Jgpell14
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Value of local bike shop

Hello! Iíve been shopping around for a new bike. Not completely sure of what I wanted so I went to several LBS and tried different models and makes. Iíve narrowed my choices to a couple of bikes. One LBS has a very good deal on a new 2017 Fuji 1.3, which is essentially the same bike as a 2019. My only problem is that of all the shops that I visited I really donít like the person that runs/owns the place.

I greatly appreciate any feedback that you may have with buying a 2017 from a dealer that isnít the best person to deal with.
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Old 06-09-19, 07:09 PM
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If they have something that you like and want and they are giving you a good/fair deal who cares if you like them or not. But it and never go back.
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Old 06-09-19, 07:09 PM
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hate to say it showroom effect, last minute place to get something if ebay/Amazon/Jenson/BackCountry can't, to do assembly or maintenance I can't
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Old 06-10-19, 05:15 AM
  #4  
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I typed the larger paragraph first, but I do want to add a bit of a disclaimer up front. Bike shops deal with... LOTS of really bad customers on a regular basis. People who want ebay prices, people who want repairs IMMEDIATELY even if the shop is busy and closing in 20 minutes, etc. It definitely leads to a pretty standoffish atmosphere up front at many of them. But, give them a chance! Build some relationships and it can be hugely rewarding. Also... Disclaimer that neither shop near me is a stockist for a big brand where they have to sell majority that brand to make it pencil out. They sell smaller, weirder stuff and will happily special order you ever weirder stuff still from their distributors.

I love my very local shop (two short blocks away) and my pretty local shop (about a mile and a half away). We've purchased new bikes at both and they both offer free adjustment for a year (great, I hate indexed shifting anyway) and a discount (10% I think?) on accessories (lots of bags/racks/fenders/lights/bells/etc) for a month as well as free installation of anything you buy in that period. I believe both do custom wheel building. They very local one does lots of group rides (it's not a roadie shop so they tend to be a ton of fun rather than performance based- we did 25ish miles of playing around in the woods/gravel/dirt/adventuring yesterday) and I'm enough of a regular there that they lend me weird tools if I need them and let me use some of the cool stuff in the back (a huge help when I had to repeatedly physically cut down my seat post to accommodate the Compass tail light post in my seat tube). They also have a great rewards program that has decent returns (I haven't paid for a chain or bar tape or cables in... a while). Oh, and they regularly tell me when they get cool bikes in so I can come give them a spin around the neighborhood. And they are always down for an adventure if you want to try something unusual with your bike (like my wife's desire to use v-brake noodles to route brifter cables around a handlebar bag- a resounding success). Most of the staff volunteer at our local non-profit bike shop too, so they're certainly passionate and give back to the community off the clock and they've been happy to talk with me about setting up stuff on my bike and teach me some tips and tricks, knowing full well I like doing my own work and would not be paying them to do it for me.

I guess my point is that the value of the shop is only partially that they sell bikes. It's also a concrete tie to a community, a knowledge base, and a place to make friends. You can view it as purely a showroom, but sometimes you get out of it what you put in!

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Old 06-10-19, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jgpell14 View Post
I greatly appreciate any feedback that you may have with buying a 2017 from a dealer that isnít the best person to deal with.
Feedback for you- decide if financially supporting a business you dislike is worth it to get what you want. What I would do should have no bearing on what you do.


But still, the closest example I have is that my wife's current road bike was purchased from a local shop that I dislike. They are the local dealer and that bike fit best for the price and spec we were wanting to spend, so it had to be there. I was silently annoyed to go there to begin with and I havent been back in the 4 years since we purchased the bike. But they had what she wanted at the time, so we forked over the money.

Perhaps that helps you?...though not sure why it would.
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Old 06-10-19, 08:45 AM
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It depends. If you're buying a simple to maintain bike without need of proprietary support and you know how to do most things on your bike, you might not need an LBS. If you're buying something high end, difficult to maintain or full of proprietary weirdness (e.g. a high end TT bike), an LBS can be invaluable. It's also nice to have a place that will give you a specific bolt you're looking for that you'll never find otherwise.
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Old 06-10-19, 09:02 AM
  #7  
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I always tell people to shop for a shop before shopping for a bike. If you have warranty issues, which shop do you want to work through? If you have questions regarding fit or accessories or mechanics or places to ride or anything else, who would you rather ask?

Of course, if you already know everything none of that matters because you wouldn't be asking for advice anyway.
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Old 06-10-19, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I always tell people to shop for a shop before shopping for a bike. If you have warranty issues, which shop do you want to work through? If you have questions regarding fit or accessories or mechanics or places to ride or anything else, who would you rather ask?

Of course, if you already know everything none of that matters because you wouldn't be asking for advice anyway.
From what I can see, the odds of having a warranty claim are so insignificant that its almost not worth taking into consideration. Sure, the others have merit- but you can get all that from a different shop from where a bike is purchased. Its done all the time.
Someone likes a Cannondale bike so they buy it from one shop, but they use a different shop for accessories, mechanics, and advise.

Why someone would limit themselves only to what a certain shop has for bikes is confusing. There are so many great options out there. Really, the only time I could see choosing a shop is if its for a total beginner because they will want to limit their choices for easier selection.

I also dont choose restaurants based on the waiters- i choose em based on the food. Everyone is different though.
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Old 06-10-19, 11:26 AM
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I would say if you are going to want to have the bike serviced at a shop, you would want to work with someone you like and want to support. If you don't like them, you're going to be annoyed every time you take the bike in for something.

If you don't worry about minor adjustments and basic maintenance stuff, then buy from wherever.
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Old 06-10-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jgpell14 View Post
Hello! Iíve been shopping around for a new bike. Not completely sure of what I wanted so I went to several LBS and tried different models and makes. Iíve narrowed my choices to a couple of bikes. One LBS has a very good deal on a new 2017 Fuji 1.3, which is essentially the same bike as a 2019. My only problem is that of all the shops that I visited I really donít like the person that runs/owns the place.

I greatly appreciate any feedback that you may have with buying a 2017 from a dealer that isnít the best person to deal with.
You're going to have to be more specific--don't like the person how? Unpleasant or seems untrustworthy? You're not auditioning a friend here, you're trying to get a good bike at a fair price.
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Old 06-10-19, 12:45 PM
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Sometimes nice people have something to hide and people you don't like are straight shooters. Some of my best friends are people I didn't like at first. Maybe you just caught them on a bad day.
Dont see what it has to do about a good deal on a bike.
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Old 06-10-19, 12:52 PM
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Portland Oregon, has Dozens of bike shops because half the state population lives there,

Out here. one in each of 2 towns in the county..
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Old 06-11-19, 06:53 AM
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In my mind, a bike shop isn't your "LBS" unless it's a place you actually want to go. It's much more about rapport than it is about proximity. There are several shops physically closer to me than my LBS, but I don't and won't frequent any of them.

So either treat it like the internet and buy from the place with the cheapest price, then never go there again, or find a shop that you like.
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Old 06-15-19, 06:26 AM
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There was a bike shop close to us that went out of business. They had a very good mechanic that many didn't care for. I used him anyway as he was better than many around. I guess my point is: I'd rather use a skilled mechanic or bike shop that knows their stuff, but I'm not crazy about their personality, than a shop where I like the people, even though they are not nearly as skilled. Does the shop you're discussing have a good rep for follow up support and repairs?
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Old 06-15-19, 03:11 PM
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I have a LBS I try to support. He's a good guy and can get me anything I want. However, he has to cater to the market of our area and has to order any of the higher end stuff I want or need. If I'm not in a hurry I'll order from him. There are a few high end bike shops over in Fort Wayne but I kind of quit using them. I went there some time ago to buy a tubeless set up but their prices were $15 higher than retail. That I do not care for. I take it to mean the shop is willing to screw the non-informed or new to cycling customer with inflated prices. I have no problem paying retail.
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Old 06-15-19, 03:23 PM
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Advantage of LBS: Dealing with a human being.

Disadvantage of LBS: Dealing with a human being.

It occurs to me that your typical LBS owner is a bike lover / cycling enthusiast first, and maybe a business person second. If they were a business person first, they wouldn't be in the bike business. Same thing for musical instruments, which are also a passion of mine. A small shop also probably can't afford to have separate sales and technical staff.

If you go to a "regular" store, it's more likely to be managed by someone with an MBA, or with support from a parent company if it's a franchise. Such a store is more likely to have done some training and selection of employees based on their behavioral skills rather than deep knowledge of the subject matter. And they can fire an employee for not having good manners with the customer, if they know that the employee can be replaced by any other warm body. Anybody can sell donuts, but only a few people can repair bikes.
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Old 06-15-19, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jgpell14 View Post
Hello! I’ve been shopping around for a new bike. Not completely sure of what I wanted so I went to several LBS and tried different models and makes. I’ve narrowed my choices to a couple of bikes. One LBS has a very good deal on a new 2017 Fuji 1.3, which is essentially the same bike as a 2019. My only problem is that of all the shops that I visited I really don’t like the person that runs/owns the place.

I greatly appreciate any feedback that you may have with buying a 2017 from a dealer that isn’t the best person to deal with.
FWIW, I'll weigh in with a couple points:
First, which Fuji 1.3 ? They seem to make a few of them ( my road bike is a Roubaix 1.3, and I was recently eyeballing a Absolute 1.3 on Craigslist) . It's hard to provide commentary or advice without knowing what bike it is.
That being said, I like Fuji, they seem to be a good bang for the buck, especially at a discount like you mentioned.
Second, you don;t need to like the person that owns the business. In fact, from what I know of them, I don't like the owners and upper echelon management of nearly every corporation that I come in contact with ( like Amazon, Yahoo, Google, ebay, Dick's Sporting Goods, Mediacom, General Electric, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, all banks, all insurance companies, all mainstream news and TV stations, etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.)
There's no avoiding them.
If the guy runs a solid business, provides quality support, has what you want at a good price, then who cares if he rubs you the wrong way (metaphorically speaking. If it's literally, then we have another problem entirely).

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Old 06-15-19, 05:02 PM
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I have four local bike shops in Bloomington, In, and one co-op. I worked in two of the shops years ago and recently in the co-op. The best LBS is the one where one employee has problems with my demeanor, and I with his. But we also understand that when I go in I am looking for a specific product and they either can or cannot get it. Our relationship is casual and OK between us, but we don't go out for beers together. If you can get what you want with minimal frustration from the shop use it. If it drives you crazy don't go there. In all the shops locally I really don't have problems, but I am also a bike mechanic and they understand I am not competing with them, so I think that tempers some of the potential problems. In the co-op I am just another volunteer that knows a lot. I don't get along with the parent group that umbrellas them so I don't keep a membership there. But they are happy when I show up and help out. You don't have to like the management team, but the little guys they serve deserve your support. Smiles, MH
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Old 06-15-19, 07:17 PM
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I have two LBS(s) here. I tend to buy bigger items and get work done (when I don't do it myself) at one, and buy nickel dime MTB stuff from the other as that is their main thrust. The primary LBS has done warranty work for me twice...once on a bike I didn't even buy from them...I can't complain.
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Old 06-16-19, 10:50 AM
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I would just point out that the variability of LBS services is astounding, great LBS have a profitable and proactive service department and shouldn't mind where you bought equipment.
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Old 06-16-19, 06:36 PM
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There's a shop here in town that I frequent for parts or accessories. They volunteer free minor repairs or adjustments on some organized tours/rides. This past weekend I discovered that my front tire was flat after the ride and after everyone was packed up and gone or about to leave. The guy from that shop tried pumping my tire but it had a pretty decent size hole in it. The guy then offered to drive me and my bicycle home. That's the sort of service you'll never get online. LOL

Also, if you're a regular local bike shop customer they might price match for you or give you a better deal on something than online. Another thing is the service they give you on a new bike. Service like free adjustments for however long that shop says.

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