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Trying to support my local bike shop (LBS) but failed

Old 09-09-21, 12:08 PM
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jfouellette
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Trying to support my local bike shop (LBS) but failed

Hi everyone,

I'd like to share a recent experience I had with a LBS. I recently moved to a new area in Montreal and as usual I try and support local businesses by bringing them my business. So, I called my LBS to discuss changing and upgrading the cassette and chain on my used Dahon Speed (2007). The owner-technician suggested I come to his shop and we could look at the possibilities. Next day I show-up at the shop. He looks at the bike and says that changing the 7 speed cassette and chain could be done and the bike be ready the next day. At that point I start asking about the possibility of upgrading to an 8 speed derailleur or even and internal gear hub. His immediate answer was that is wasn't worth it. Asked to clarify he said this wasn't a real bike anyway. It was a children's bike. It had 20 inch tires as proof. He added Brompton was really the only folding bike worth the time and money. Wow! I was at a loss for words. Not wanting to pursue the discussion I agreed to change only the 7 speed cassette and chain. This would be a low cost improvement anyway in the meantime.

So he basically decided what I needed for me, and he gave away a potentially higher sale. I guess working on my bike is below him. He's doing me a favour maybe? I won't go back.

BTW, I teach management so he gets an F for customer experience. What do you think about my upgrades? Go with the internal hub or an 8-9 speed derailleur?
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Old 09-09-21, 02:47 PM
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Did you fail in supporting? Or did he fail??? I'm joking.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 09-09-21, 04:14 PM
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The guy you spoke with is correct in warning you about the cost. However, I think that he probably felt that he lacked enough knowledge to speak about it in detail. Instead of admitting that, however, he chose to denigrate the bicycle. Personally, I think 406 (20") is the optimal size for folding bicycles. That's what I chose, even though I could afford whatever wanted.

What you will need to increase the number of cogs is:
1. A freehub that accepts 8/9/10spd cassettes. That requires either a new rear wheel or having your current one re-built with the new hub.
2. A new shifter.
3. A new chain.
4. A new cassette.

Is getting more gears really worth it? There is an advantage to having fewer rear cogs. The more cogs you go with, the thinner they have to be in order to all fit on the free-hub. The thinner they are, the less durable they will be. Many bicycle tourists don't go with more than 9spds because of how thin the cogs start becoming at 10spd.

I recommend keeping it at 7spd. If the rest of it is fine, you won't be too bad off. After you've ridden it awhile, you'll have a better sense of what you want in a new bicycle.
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Old 09-09-21, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette View Post
...So he basically decided what I needed for me, and he gave away a potentially higher sale. I guess working on my bike is below him. He's doing me a favour maybe? I won't go back.
So true for many aspects of business these days. Of course in my area there are no bike shops left. And down the road in Austin there are many but none of them really doing well that are non-dealership supported. I guess in a small bike shop there may be a reason there is only one employee or few employees. Still I fear that it is not the business skills that are lacking but rather Social Skills that are lacking. And maybe those social skills are lacking because its just not profitable to engage.

The first road bike bike shops that I came to know were in Vicenza Italy. Man... walking into those shops was like walking in a bar with a welcome to the brotherhood sign up front. But that was the 70s...
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Old 09-09-21, 05:46 PM
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I've been in several different bike shops for service and to buy bikes. Like any business, they run the gamut.
The bike shop that I wish I could like the most can be a bit snobbish and while I'm OK with that, I can easily understand how others can be put off.
My next favorite bike shop caters to newbies and children so getting good customer service there can be hit or miss unless you happen to deal with the owner who is great to deal with , but here's not always there.
The bike shop that I bought my most recent bike from was not at all snobbish and had a very experienced sales/tech staff, but they were under-staffed. That's understandable since they're probably having a hard time staying afloat in a world where they can't get bikes to sell. So I'll give them a pass on that, but it wasn't the best customer service experience that I would have preferred.

So, bottom line... all small business are having a hard go of it, customers need to be extra patient and since they are small businesses, personalities and shop culture are going to vary greatly. Find one you like and/or be tolerant of the ones that aren't a perfect fit.
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Old 09-09-21, 06:39 PM
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Update to the original message. Hi, I picked up the bike. The new gear and chain really made a difference. This time I used some humour to engage the conversation. I walked in and said I was here to get my kiddy bike…So the owner started to laugh and he took the time to explain the work he did and also gave me some ideas about how to improve the bike over time. So he now gets a B+ for improving the customer experience. It turns out he was very busy in the morning under stress to service the line up of customers.

I ll be going back for the upgrades.

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Old 09-09-21, 06:42 PM
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The owner suggested I next change the rear wheel as an improvement. I ll stay with the new 7 speed Shimano cassette and chain until next spring and see how it goes.
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Old 09-09-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube View Post
Did you fail in supporting? Or did he fail??? I'm joking.

Thanks,
Yan
Good question. he ws under stress when I brought my bike (customer line up). He was better when I went to get the bike. BTW, I m thinking about your bikes. I need a way to get this passed the family council! The Mrs.
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Old 09-09-21, 07:00 PM
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Don't ask me for advice with women....I'm no good with that stuff

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 09-09-21, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette View Post
Good question. he ws under stress when I brought my bike (customer line up). He was better when I went to get the bike. BTW, I m thinking about your bikes. I need a way to get this passed the family council! The Mrs.
The Downtube folding bikes are quite good. Especially with the new quick release on the handlepost stem. Go for it,...you won't be disappointed.
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Old 09-09-21, 07:34 PM
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I don't think you could have easily switched to a hub in a Speed 7 frame. And 7 gears are plenty if they're spaced right. I'm a big hub fan myself, and would recommend getting one with your next bike (check out the Dahon Vitesse, or one of Yan's models). I think Bromptons and Terns are more profitable to sell than Dahons. I also think the Speed 7, and one or two other Dahon models, are better bike designs (for my use) than any B. or T.

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Old 09-10-21, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wesgreen View Post
I don't think you could have easily switched to a hub in a Speed 7 frame. And 7 gears are plenty if they're spaced right. I'm a big hub fan myself, and would recommend getting one with your next bike (check out the Dahon Vitesse, or one of Yan's models). I think Bromptons and Terns are more profitable to sell than Dahons. I also think the Speed 7, and one or two other Dahon models, are better bike designs (for my use) than any B. or T.
I have the Downtube Mini 8 speed w/the Shimano Nexus hub and it's quite good. I also have a Dahon Mariner i7, and the internal geared hub is great as well. I also converted a Dahon Speed Uno into a 3 speed, w/a Shimano Nexus 3 speed coaster brake hub. It's actually my favorite bike. Now, it's all going to come down to what you need and can afford. There's quite a few excellent options out there.
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Old 09-10-21, 11:59 AM
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Dahon Mariner i7

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Dahon Curve w/fatter tires,...

Dahon Speed 3i (custom)
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Old 09-10-21, 01:25 PM
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Yeah it's always a good practice to give the benefit of doubt to someone you meet for the 1st time. Humor is difficult to gauge and dry sarcasm doesn't work with everyone. Glad all of it worked out. LBSs are great when you need them. My RD just had a B-bolt threads stripped and with no way to find old stock, I went down to the LBS, and picked up a new RD that's compatible with the existing shifters etc. Instead of scouring the internet and waiting for over night shipping.
Originally Posted by jfouellette View Post
Update to the original message. Hi, I picked up the bike. The new gear and chain really made a difference. This time I used some humour to engage the conversation. I walked in and said I was here to get my kiddy bike…So the owner started to laugh and he took the time to explain the work he did and also gave me some ideas about how to improve the bike over time. So he now gets a B+ for improving the customer experience. It turns out he was very busy in the morning under stress to service the line up of customers.

I ll be going back for the upgrades.
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