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Interesting new policy at American Cyclery in SF.....

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Interesting new policy at American Cyclery in SF.....

Old 09-13-22, 11:55 PM
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Interesting new policy at American Cyclery in SF.....

I recently dropped by American Cyclery in SF to pick up a few build items and I saw a sign on their front counter that I never noticed bring there in my past visits
The sign says " We only fix and service bikes we sell.".....
I always though of AC as a good old bike shop that well supported the big cycling community in the bay area.
What's the heck is this limiting this services all about?? What if a cyclist that has a brand bike they do not sell, breaks down near their shop and needed help to get rolling on the road again?? Will they push him/her out of the shop and say "Tough luck buddy...go find another shop to get your bike fixed.".
The atmosphere in the shop which used to be so inviting seems to have changed too. You cannot just walk through the front door without being invited in by the salesperson behind the counter. A new sign by the front door says so....
I suspect thst this might be from them getting broken into recently and having a few bikes stolen, but I wish they did not have to change their attitude towards the customers as that scores a win for the bad guys that do the crimes on everyone.

Last edited by Chombi1; 09-17-22 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I recently dropped by American Cyclery in SF to pick up a few build items and I nmsaw a sign on their front counter that I never noticed bring there in my past visits
The sign says " We only fix and service bikes we sell.".....
I always though of AC as a good old bike shop that well supported the big cycling community in the bay area.
What's the heck is this limiting this services all about?? What if a cyclist that has a brand bike they do not sell, breaks down near their shop and needed help to get rolling on the road again?? Will they push him/her out of the shop and say "Tough luck buddy...go find another shop to get your bike fixed.".
The atmosphere in the shop which used to be so inviting seems to have changed too. You cannot just walk through the front door without being invited in by the salesperson behind the counter. A new sign by the front door says so....
I suspect thst this might be from them getting broken into recently and having a few bikes stolen, but I wish they did not have to change their attitude towards the customers as that scores a win for the bad guys that do the crimes on everyone.
Running a business is managing risk. They've decided that the policy does more good than harm to their business. If they find out that it does not, they are free to change it or modify it. I can think of the pros and cons myself (of having to work on bikes not sold by the shop) and don't think I'd have a blanket policy like this if I owned and ran a bike shop. However, I myself don't have the gumption to take on the risky proposition of opening a bike shop and having people pissed off for each and every slight this fickle cancel culture seems to enjoy, almost as a badge of courage.

Way back in the day, I frequently a little shop in Helotes, Texas. It was owned and run by one of the grumpiest, people I've ever met. A great mechanic who could fix just about anything, it's where I bought my first 3-4 bikes. However, he lost me as a customer when I would take in my bike for some routine maintenance and a week later, it was still waiting to be fixed. Meanwhile, he would shoot the **** with anyone and everybody that dropped by the shop, many bringing him POS bikes bought at department stores or Walmart that had issues that took time to fix, and my bike that I purchased from him, would sit while he f'd around being the nice guy and fix all the junk bikes that no other shop would fix. It got to the point that I said enough is enough, found a different shop, even though much further away, and started going there. As time went on, I started collecting tools and learning how to work on bikes and now I hardly ever step foot in a bike shop, certainly not for maintenance.

Last edited by cb400bill; 09-14-22 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 09-14-22, 03:55 AM
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This was common practice by car dealers… 40 years ago. The industry eventually learned that satisfied service customers buy vehicles too.

Today’s shortage of Technicians/Mechanics has caused some dealers to start thinking this way again. It’s now common for a dealer service department to be backed up for weeks due to not having enough Technicians. Some dealers have taken to prioritizing customers that purchased the vehicle from them. I suspect that might be what’s happening at the OP’s bike shop.
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Old 09-14-22, 04:12 AM
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It is Trek's fault.

I hear referrals are needed starting in late 2023

There are not enough technicians because they don't pay well. Raise the price for service. Isn't it that simple.
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Old 09-14-22, 05:46 AM
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+10 I can only imagine trying to find mechanics in SF for a bike shop. Local restaurants in my area are closing due to lack of labor. It's a widespread problem, across many industries.

Have you tried hiring a plumber/electrician/carpenter/etc. lately? I just finished a major remodel. Every subcontractor I hired was looking for help and backed up for months. They all were just a bunch of old guys. No one going into the trades.
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Old 09-14-22, 07:10 AM
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Wow; yeah, I can see this practice spreading. I just e-mailed my two friends (cycling buddies since the early 1970's) who have since "gone carbon" to ask where they got their bikes, so they can continue to get them serviced (neither are mechanically inclined); otherwise, I wonder if I need to invest in specialized tools & training to service their bikes? I have no idea how to work on electronic shifting or hydraulic disc brakes... but I presume I can learn.
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Old 09-14-22, 07:49 AM
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It's also probably a way to prevent people from bringing junk e-bikes in for repair. I've heard some horror stories from a buddy still in the trenches...
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Old 09-14-22, 08:24 AM
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@Dylansbob may be onto something. But I’m also wondering if Chombi read the sign correctly. Their website mentions they are taking service appointments but are booked for at least a week out. And in their service policy section of the website, it mentions they only service E bikes they sell, which sounds like this policy is just for e-bikes.

copied from website:SERVICES & REPAIRS:
Our service department is currently open but at limited capacity.

Note on E-bikes: We only service E-bicycles that we sell. For more information, please read ourPolicy and Procedures page.

Phone: 415-664-4545
Email: info@americancyclery.com

Note: Due to a high volume of calls and in-store business, we may not be able to answer all calls. Please try again if you don't get through. We are not checking email messages very often.

Thank you for your support!
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Old 09-14-22, 08:54 AM
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My shop just got knocked for chargers & keys for a single e-bike someone was kind enough to donate. 2 chargers, the keys, the locking mechanism will run $515, not including labor (me) to extract the battery...Then there's the $100 in stolen tools so far this month. The 6 cranksets that were split up so the homeless could steal mismatched half's of each leaving me with 6 mismatched orphans I can't sell. It's the same story with shifters, brakes, pedals, & indeed anything else you can think of. (This obscures the theft in a pile of parts under the guise of "inspecting")

All this is to say: "Crime used to be illegal." I can see the OP's Co-Op's position & believe me, If I thought I could get away with it from the Board of Directors, I'd go to the pre-Piggly Wiggly model & serve everybody from the other side of a Dutch-door. Sadly, that doesn't fit our brand or our mission.


-—----------------------------------

Another possibility is when it comes to service work, perhaps there is too much variability in incoming bikes that they can not keep suitable repair parts or labor skill on hand. I mean every brand has their proprietary hydraulic oil, hydraulic hose, olives, fittings, bleed kit & unique brake pads.

Bb30, PF30, GXP, BB386, Dub, Hollowtech? 83mm BB Shells, boost, super boost, 12mm thru-axle, 15mm thru-axle, "What's this? A 15mm thru-axle, front? Oy, ve!" Knowledgeable &/or skilled volunteers are few & far between. Bringing a promising volunteer up to speed can be a long & effort filled process.

I keep box's of various styles rim brake pads around but only a handful of B01S pads. I have a large pile of square taper, & maybe 1 each of the bottom brackets. I buy 6,7,8 speed chain in the 500 foot reel, 9 speed chain x25, 10&11 speed chain by the single, & have never bought a single 12 or 13.

Honestly, there's only so much any one shop can do to keep up with the innovation motivations of an entire industry when they are still supporting their clients bikes with 27" wheels or Schwinn S-5, S-6, S-7, tire sizes & unsealed bottom brackets.

I have no doubt the OP's Co-Op simply drew a line in the sand & said: "Enough is enough." So they could focus man-power & resources on supporting their customers bikes.

Last edited by base2; 09-14-22 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 09-14-22, 10:33 AM
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"the OP's shop" American Cyclery is not a co-op, tho they USED to keep a track pump (chained) at the front door that anyone could use to fill up tubes with pure SF air.
I will take a stroll to Stanyan and Frederick and see what the sign(s) say.
I have had all sorts of service performed by that shop BITD but for me this means around 1998 was the last time.
I seem to have all the tools I need now to do my own work.
And they certainly worked on bikes I did not purchase there (I could never afford their prices on complete bikes, but sure have bought parts and more parts from them)
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Old 09-14-22, 10:58 AM
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Understand the sign, but I would rephrase it a bit.
way back it was to keep junk out, a bike shaped object that will suck up time and never really be acceptable.
Probably more of them out there now.

I would state, Service dept is very busy, we need to give priority to bikes we have sold.
Gives an off ramp to send a BSO on its way.
I could make the junk work, but always worried that any adjustment would not hold, thinking brakes firstly.
Gosh there was junk in the 1970's.
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Old 09-14-22, 11:29 AM
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The OP seems to have a thing going on about this particular shop:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...me-spokes.html
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Old 09-14-22, 11:38 AM
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If you don't like how a bike shop does business, why not simply go to a different one?
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Old 09-14-22, 11:47 AM
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My first question is did the OP inquire, while at the shop, as to the reason for the change in policy. I assume not, or it would have been mentioned. Asking that question might have eliminated a lot of speculation.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:04 PM
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It's happening here in NJ, too, in a nearby famous college town. The shop is not taking any repair work, except for what they sell to the college kids. They cited lack of staff. Too bad, it's a very old shop, I'm sure filled with lots of vintage parts. They have a pile of old bikes under a tarp outside I want to get a look at.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:29 PM
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This is a very interesting thread because of the various aspect of the problem - customer, shop, labor force, etc.

I do agree OP needs a different shop, maybe an online retailer, if all he needs from the shop is parts.

You could not convince me to invest money in opening a new bike shop.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
The OP seems to have a thing going on about this particular shop.
Hope he's not stroking out.

Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I nmsaw a sign on their front counter that I never noticed bring there.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob View Post
It's also probably a way to prevent people from bringing junk e-bikes in for repair. I've heard some horror stories from a buddy still in the trenches...
That used to be pretty common - back in the days of the Yellow Pages, bike shops used to put "NO FIRENZES" in their ads.

It probably is a big problem that people buy junk from a garage sale or BigMart bikes or on-line and then get mad when the LBS won't work on them... it's a business decision.

I've seen several shops with notices about eBike repairs though - lots of folks buying them on-line not knowing they need special tools and such I guess.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:48 PM
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The current high end shop in Halifax has a collection of dozens of vintage bikes we'd all drool for, not as extensive as Mike Barry's (Bicycle Specialties) but of equal quality. So I was taken aback by their refusal to even look at the alignment of a classic steel frame and fork. I know they've got both the tools and skills but it's a business decision and perhaps a little risk management. Bummer.
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Old 09-14-22, 01:18 PM
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Reading all of this whinging about bike shops leads me to think that many are missing an opportunity here. Seems like there are many of us who worked at an LBS BITD who could open a garage operation and fix bikes on the side. I kind of already do this with torchwork. You can pick your customers and reject those that you don't want to work with.
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Old 09-14-22, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Reading all of this whinging about bike shops leads me to think that many are missing an opportunity here. Seems like there are many of us who worked at an LBS BITD who could open a garage operation and fix bikes on the side. I kind of already do this with torchwork. You can pick your customers and reject those that you don't want to work with.
...I'm not going to work for the customers that American Cyclery rejects. My standards are just as high as theirs are.
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Old 09-14-22, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
This is a very interesting thread because of the various aspect of the problem - customer, shop, labor force, etc.

I do agree OP needs a different shop, maybe an online retailer, if all he needs from the shop is parts.

You could not convince me to invest money in opening a new bike shop.
This reminds me of an old axiom. How to make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune and open a bike shop
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Old 09-14-22, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
The OP seems to have a thing going on about this particular shop:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...me-spokes.html
Last time I built a wheelset, they sold me spokes. They even calculated the spoke legnths and cut them as needed.
Just surprised how their policy on spokes also changed in just a few years......
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Old 09-14-22, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Last time I built a wheelset, they sold me spokes. They even calculated the spoke legnths and cut them as needed.
Just surprised how their policy on spokes also changed in just a few years......
the National Bicycle Retailer Association prompted a profit assessment.
cost too much in time, referencing headache, if customer gives bad information, bad outcome, gets the Yelp blame anyway.
the conclusion avoid that transaction.
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Old 09-14-22, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
the National Bicycle Retailer Association prompted a profit assessment.
cost too much in time, referencing headache, if customer gives bad information, bad outcome, gets the Yelp blame anyway.
the conclusion avoid that transaction.
This thread could be taken as a bad review of that shop with the explanation/rebuttal coming as defense of that bad review, couldn't it?

Are shop sales staff really so busy as to not be able to help a guy buy a few spokes?

Is this spokes customer just one of the many types of PITA customer and they actually just want to go away?

Does the sign's policy statement get invoked only when the bike in question is obvious trouble?

We will never know what's going on hearing only one side of the story.
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