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Harris cyclery is closing

Old 06-11-21, 08:46 PM
  #26  
genejockey 
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Good, because it started happening several years ago. A couple of chains & lots of independents these days. Prep & set-up of internet purchased bikes is a steady business for them.



Yes, having bought a Canyon last summer, I'm aware of Velofix. They offered it as a service, presumably having some partnering arrangement with Velofix.

My question is whether they'll replace the LBS for routine service, like adjustments to headsets or derailleurs, wheel truing, fitting, etc. I mean, I have a coworker who has a Cervelo and a Wilier and doesn't even know how to fix a flat! He just calls his wife for pickup and takes the bike to the LBS and pays them to fix it! People bring their bikes to their LBS for a number of reasons, a lot of which are little things that take a few minutes to fix, but you don't want to go too long without them.

I can see how the big LBS that stocks - or used to stock - multiple sizes of multiple models of bike, as well as clothing, accessories, and a repair shop will have difficulties in an environment with rising rents. All of that takes floor space, and rents ar often by the square foot. But I also know many people are thoroughly mystified by the process of buying bikes online and would buy a crappy ill-fitting bike at a brick and mortar store, because they could RIDE IT, rather than online, which for novices must seem like buying a pig in a poke.

Dunno. I can see forces pushing the market in opposite directions at the same time.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:33 PM
  #27  
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Tragic. The wealth of knowledge, frame alignments, re threading and virtually any part from a Sturmey Archer product had been obtainable at Harris Cyclery. They were a Brommy dealership, too. I don’t think there is any other option to fill that void. They will be missed.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:01 PM
  #28  
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I personally really don't take my old bikes to a bike shop to be worked on. I either do it myself right off or learn how to do it myself. Like most people on this forum we all have spent allot of time with Sheldon Brown and Harris Cyclery has been more than generous to keep its archives viewable.

As for bike shops in general I think they are going to go the way of automobiles and motorcycles. Bicycles are becoming so expensive and technical in composition that dealerships will have the majority of bike marketing control. On your older bikes your going to have your bike repair garages and even some really good shade tree repair talent, but a small bike shop that sells new bikes and makes money I don't think so.

To the OP... I have never been to the Harris store but I will surely miss it...

By the way, my closest bicycle shop is a two hour drive even though its only 34 miles away in Austin Texas. A very weird place inhabited by strange Texans who have identity conflicts. If not for the cyclists it would be a place to avoid... Ha
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Old 06-11-21, 10:39 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
An argument can be made that Trek has spent the last decade doing exactly that.
My small sample is that the two indie Trek shops I've been to in the last year are really struggling for inventory and the three Trek corporate stores are far better stocked. The Trek store in Greenville, SC had dozens and dozens of bikes.
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Old 06-12-21, 12:09 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
That is sad. Hopefully they can survive online and maybe open a physical store in the future.
Doesn't look likely. The website says no longer taking online orders.
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Old 06-12-21, 03:49 AM
  #31  
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It is very sad that Harris Cyclery is closing but even more sad is that people either do not realize or do not care that by supporting big corporate-based and internet-based bicycle businesses has the effect of destroying the small LBS. The mobile based bicycle repair businesses are another area where the LBS looses business to Wall Street backed big business. Of course most folks are more concerned about either saving their money or saving their time, not whether their buying decisions effect small businesses in their area. It seems we won't care about the damage done to the small LBS until they are all gone.
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Old 06-12-21, 05:56 AM
  #32  
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I tried ordering a crankset from Harris the other day and was not able to complete the transaction. I'm guessing this is why.

Sad.
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Old 06-12-21, 06:06 AM
  #33  
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Thatís too bad. The local shops around here seem to be donít well and are starting to get inventory back up again.
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Old 06-12-21, 06:24 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Who's going to fix and fit them, though? Bikes are becoming harder and harder for the average owner to work on - electronic shifting, hydraulic brakes, etc.
Personally I wouldn't purchase a bike that I can't work on and service myself at home with some basic tools. That's just me, I like to keep cycling as simple as possible.
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Old 06-12-21, 06:28 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
Somebody better back up that whole Sheldon Brown encyclopedia of bike arcanery before it's gone.
Sheldon's site is backed up.
1. Go to Archive.org >
2. click on Wayback Machine >
3. enter https://www.sheldonbrown.com/
4. then when you hit the Go button you'll see the following, "Saved 1,550 timesbetween December 3, 1998 and June 11, 2021."
5. Select your desired date.

Archive.org routinely backs up virtually every website.
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Old 06-12-21, 06:43 AM
  #36  
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NOOO!

I'm a disciple of Sheldon Brown. I put Sheldon down as a mentor on my work performance assessment. Don't think my boss ever figured it out.

The world is changing fast. Not sure I agree with people predicting this to be anything but a good thing for consumers. As someone who grew up addicted to Sears mail order catalogs the biggest advantage of internet shopping is the sheer volume of information at ones finger tip. I learn more simply by seeing all the choices available on a typical internet site then I ever did by talking to a parts guy.

Shame bike shops might go the way of Sears and the TV repairman. But I say embrace the inevitable and look at this as an opportunity to capitalize on the future. The days of stocking enough $4500 bikes to give someone a clear choice of what is available might be over (as if it was ever a feasible reality in the first place). But since there will always be a demand for bike service, figure out a better way of meeting that demand.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:13 AM
  #37  
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I have a friend who does all types of contract work for walmart. He was after me for several years to set up a bike assembly dept. warranty work for the stores in the area . I gave him a very high price and they said OK. I did not fallow through as i did not need the money and i am retired. The spot is still open. I would have covered about 10 stores snd use my own tools.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:51 AM
  #38  
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awww so sad to hear. used to work a few blocks away in West Newton, MA. they helped me w/ parts for several old bikes as I was starting to bike commute in 2008. bought a really nice cycling headband there too a yr or two later. the mechanics were super nice. I brought a beast of a bike in there, which needed service & I apologized for it's appearance. the mech, smiled, shrugged his shoulders, & said: "it's a bike". I'm sorry I didn't buy more from them
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Old 06-12-21, 08:24 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Iíve had great service from the REI in Missoula when I have toured out of there. Here in Philly we have many independent shops that provide good service. The REI outlets are in the Ďburbs. No need to take my bike there when I can ride to several shops in little time. Sound like your knowledge is limited to certain markets. Having several major universities in the area certainly helps things.
Hahahaha I am originally from Philadelphia and owned a bike shop there for decades. My point is not about shops providing good service. It's about those shops not getting parts and supplies or bikes as much as manufacturers deciding to not ship to smaller shops and to keep supplying REI (subruban or urban) or larger corporate stores because that is what is happening right now in the industry.

No one can provide good service when they are not getting parts and supplies for said services.

Been in this industry 45+ years and have been all over the nation and there is more than a seismic shift happening right now. There is reset of the entire industry taking place.
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Old 06-12-21, 08:31 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post

As for bike shops in general I think they are going to go the way of automobiles and motorcycles.

Indeed. That is exactly where the business is headed.

Corporate stores (Like BPI, REI, et.al.) will be supported and independently owned shops will not be supported. Local Bike Shops were already dying out in 2016 long before this latest death rattle of Covid reared its head.
https://www.outsideonline.com/212674...ocal-bike-shop

The shift was already happening and now this latest event is being used to complete the reset of the market place.


"Until now, bike shops have been somewhat insulated from the impact of e-retail, largely because a typical shop earns nearly half its revenue from sales of complete bikes, and manufacturers have heavily committed themselves to selling through bike shops and keeping their bikes out of digital shopping carts. But recently, in response to Canyon and the pressure to adapt to a changing sales model, both Trek and Giant introduced online sales. "

Giant is current fecking over their smaller shops in favor of getting their bikes into larger venues and online. They have bikes. You can order them online and pick them up in certain, specific, corporate shops. Trek doing the same thing. Getting bikes into their corporate shops and not getting them to their independent dealers. Cannondale getting bikes into REI and not getting them to their independents. Salsa sending bikes to REI but not any LBS.

Brands such as Canyon and Obed still selling online with no LBS support and they could not care one bit if their bikes need work or that customers are waiting 6 months for delivery. They forging ahead with all their marketing woo and hype, grabbing that cash with both hands to make a stash,

None of this is good for the end consumer .... us. We will end up with less options and they will all cost a lot more and getting work done will be harder and harder to accomplish. More parts and compnents will become proprietary (Specialized) and unavailable and those of us that like to tinker and work on our own vehicles (just like we did with cars) will be SOL. Try fixing that Future Shock spring on the Diverge without the proper parts ... hehehehehe.

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Old 06-12-21, 08:38 AM
  #41  
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The bicycle industry has gone through at least three of the boom/bust cycles just in my lifetime. This is number three. Bike shops won't totally go away, not in my opinion, but they will change. Most likely gone will be the days of the mechanic actually "fixing" your bike. Commodity bikes will be made with cheaper parts that will just be replaced. Or, like cheap cars, bikes will also have a shelf life and just be replaced.

There will always be the high end market too. Bike enthusiasts and racers alike will still have choices but those will most likely be bought online or from a few boutique shops scattered across the country in local markets that can support them. I used to live in Scottsdale Arizona and Scottsdale has one such shop called Bicycle Haus. Looking for the $12,000 Pinarello Dogma? They have it in your size on the floor.

My fear is that the middle swath of bikes will start to consolidate even more than they are already. Meaning, brands will consolidate and some models will be retired.

On a side note, there are probably a dozen bike shops within a 10 mile radius of where I live. I really only go to two of them because they have the best mechanics. The problem is, many of the shops in my area also don't have much inventory to sell. Scary......very scary.
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Old 06-12-21, 08:50 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I stopped in at Harris yesterday, and found out that it will be closing its doors this coming Sunday. Why? They can't get any bikes to sell, and you can't make enough money to pay the rent unless you sell bikes. I've been going there for years, so sad.
It is time for some outside the box thinking.

Dig around with all the Domestic manufacturers and see if any are willing to sell frames/bikes.

Make sure different brands are considered.
Shimano
Campagnolo
SRAM
Microshift
& a bunch of small manufacturers of components including domestic.

Try some refurbing... bare metal stripping, painting, building up from scratch.

Never tell customers to go to E-Bay if you can do the same.

Is the UK and Europe suffering from the same parts bottlenecks? Figure out how to buy stuff from where is... Time for a trip to Europe? Japan? China?
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Old 06-12-21, 09:28 AM
  #43  
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First, the Bicycle Exchange in Harvard Square (closed mid 80s?) and now Harris.

LBS here has reduced his hours of operation to 3 days a week, and is surviving on mostly service since he cannot get new bikes in. He did pick up the local contract from the city to maintain the fleet of rental e-bikes available on the rail trail, and quite frankly, that is what is keeping him going for now. I try to use him as often as possible vs. shopping online, but if he doesn't have it in stock, even he will tell me to look online, because his chances of getting in a parts order is slim to none.
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Old 06-12-21, 09:44 AM
  #44  
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A unique option might be to see if they can come up with a way for "bike hoarders" to give them loans of supplies.

That would be tricky... as they would have to have a guarantee of being able to replace parts without getting slammed with inflation. And, of course, not selling everyone else's assets then abruptly shutting down.
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Old 06-12-21, 10:06 AM
  #45  
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This is reminiscent of when the internet/Amazon killed most of the indie bookstores.
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Old 06-12-21, 10:13 AM
  #46  
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It’s sad.
But to be honest LBS’s have been a letdown for me. Several times they’ve taken an order, told me it’s ready and then when I get there it’s like “sorry dude we, like, don’t have what you ordered.”

So at this point unless the LBS has a solid on line game I don’t bother.
It’s Amazon, Bikeinn or Chainreaction for me.
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Old 06-12-21, 12:13 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis View Post
... I worked as a quality control inspector in a machine shop for 15 years so this bike stuff is a cinch.
And lots of FUN!!!

I do have to admit my limitations. I was humbled by a local guy who brought his bike over for adjustments to his brifters and a ten speed hub. We tinkered for hours and finally got it right after a thorough search of our forums and Youtube. We both learned allot. Of course the adjustments probably could have been done at a professional bike shop in a matter of minutes. But then again we would have missed the laughs, beer, and tears.

I have had more fun and rewards working on bicycles, especially old ones, than most other interests I have had. All hail Sheldon...
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Old 06-12-21, 12:16 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
This is reminiscent of when the internet/Amazon killed most of the indie bookstores.

History repeats, whether we learn it or not.
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Old 06-12-21, 12:55 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
This is reminiscent of when the internet/Amazon killed most of the indie bookstores.
Except that was mostly due to pricing. I don't think(?) the indie bookstores had issues getting actual books to sell. Or did they?
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Old 06-12-21, 02:04 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Except that was mostly due to pricing. I don't think(?) the indie bookstores had issues getting actual books to sell. Or did they?
I guess pricing was a significant factor. Amazon leveraged venture capital and (by design) lost money for years in quest for volume and market dominance.

Nevertheless it's the same kind of end of an era sadness to see your favorite bookstores close.
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