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Two skinny J's
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have very mixed feelings on this but I'm curious how everyone else feels and see this.

I have quite a few friends who work in shops and I run into this all the time. I need something and they tell me they'll have to order it and it will be a week plus AND WAY over what I can get it for delivered to my door.

I don't have any issue paying a markup but let's be fair. I know you have a brick and motor store and employees to pay but at the same time your loosing out on sales.

I try and buy as much as I can from them but sheez when you are marking stuff up 200% and even more...come on man.


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Old, fat, and slow
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I have no obligation to keep a business afloat. if that business sold items or services I needed, then I would be supporting it. if it does not .... look, I don't build bikes as a pass time any more, so i don't buy parts a lot. I replace what breaks ... and I do my own work. I have been to a bike shop once in the past two decades, to get a wheel repaired (I can keep one mostly straight and round, but if it gets too bad .... )

And obviously, if they charge three times what another store charges, I am not paying their price .... Turn it around and see if they come to my $10 taco stand, or $30-per-bottle beer store. I understand the economic realities ... theirs and mine.

Cycling is expensive, and because it has become mostly the pass time of the reasonably wealthy or maniacally addicted in this country, prices have skyrocketed. It is seen as a luxury sport, not as transport or enjoyable exercise ..... and everything is priced as such. With the loss of Nashbar's Close-Out /Sell-Off pages, one has to get sub-standard-quality crap form China or pay pretty much a ton for even gloves or bibs or jerseys .... $80 bucks for a jersey? twice that? No problem, except I am on a small, fixed income. (Excuse me while I sew some pockets into the backs of my $5 tech T-shirts from Wal-Mart.)

Some people have the cash to patronize their local shops, and enjoy the camaraderie and are willing and able ... but even then, how much can they buy? I understand upgrade-itis, but most of us buy bikes which cost so much and come so well-equipped, it is tough to buy upgrades. Sure, Speedplay pedals, a power meter, 1200-gram wheels for the lightweights .... but there is only so much one can do to a bike.

From what I see, smart bike shops add a brewery or coffee-bar or something (the local shop rented out the adjoining business space to (I assume) cut down on health-code violations.) But ... they sell top-of-the-kine, well-equipped bikes, and people can only wear so much kit .... Hey, anyone want to invest in my buggy-whip business?

I expect that it might go back to how it was .... every town has one (or maybe two) shops, and they are booked solid doing repairs, and still don't make much money. And maybe, as rents rise, they will close too ....

But seriously, how much stuff are people supposed to buy, to keep a local business afloat? Unless it is a bike shop in a city, I cannot imagine that there is enough business in any one town to support most bike shops, given internet competition---and the internet guys can draw from a worldwide customer base, which is a factor many ignore.

Brick-and-mortar overhead or not, those internet stores have to have warehouse space somewhere, even if it staff members' garages. The big bonus they have is no one calculates shipping until after they have decided they want to buy something .... and those internet stores can access Any cycling community anywhere (I know a lot of us have probably bought group sets from the UK (before Shimano etc, caught on.)

That brick-and-mortar storefront in Smalltown has to compete with an online shop which draws customers from anywhere, not just "reasonable driving distance." Even if costs were the same .... the customer base might be too small in a lot of towns to support a physical bike shop. Online offers too much selection, and for anything except shoes, I can pretty much know what i am getting without having to try it on or look at it---when I needed a new cassette, I didn't need to examine it, I just needed to know the it had the right cogs---and the local shop (which would have charged three times as much) might well not have had the 11-28 I wanted (being more race oriented, I would expect them to carry 11-23 or 11-25.) Sure,they could order it ... likely from the same place I ordered it.

I like the guys at the local shop. They are pretty much the home port and driving force behind the local cycling club, so i have ridden with them some, and they are all good guys. And so far, good as they are ... they have not taken up a collection to raise funds to help me financially. I'd hate to see them lose the jobs they love .... I know how that hurts, because I recently lost the job I held for 15 years. I guess i should have tried to guilt-trip them into paying me? :D

That said, I will probably go back to get another wheel built---but i will buy the new hub online. They would charge me about the same as a paid for both wheels, just to relace the old rear rim onto a new rear hub from their stock, using the same spokes ... and that is simply not a good deal for me.

And that is the bottom line for Any business---can it provide the goods and services its potential customers want at a price those customers can afford. If not .... sorry. Sentimentality is great and all, but i also work for a living, and I also have to track every penny just to keep the lights on.

I Hope that local shop stays open, but they don't owe me anything and I don'rt owe them anything. We are not really family just because we all ride bicycles (otherwise, they could hit up their 500 million Chinese cousins for cash. ;) ) I like them as people and appreciate the convenience of not having to go 50 miles to the next nearest shop .... but gas to go 50 miles is about the same as their markup on a pair of gloves. I did the math, thanks. My answer is, "Nice gloves, but I already bought about ten years' worth on sale ... online."
 

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Premium Member
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I support my shop are the prices higher yes, it seems to me its a give and take I can walk in and say hey having problems they will work on it and tell me no charge sometimes. I get 10% discount on everything I buy and if you bought the bike through them its lifetime free tuneups which is very nice.
 

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Two skinny J's
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree with you in regards to some items including a bike. I try and buy things that need a better , like helmets and shoes etc, .fit locally Is that a smaller shop? I ask only because any shop around here in the spring and summer, forget it. It's 2 weeks if you walk a bike into the shop for repairs.
 

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Two skinny J's
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ironic, Amazon here and avoid Sleezebay like the plague :D I got a bad taste on a few items on ebay and it was a pain to deal with to get fixed and haven't used it in years.
 
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Two skinny J's
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I have no obligation to keep a business afloat. if that business sold items or services I needed, then I would be supporting it. if it does not .... look, I don't build bikes as a pass time any more, so i don't buy parts a lot. I replace what breaks ... and I do my own work. I have been to a bike shop once in the past two decades, to get a wheel repaired (I can keep one mostly straight and round, but if it gets too bad .... )

And obviously, if they charge three times what another store charges, I am not paying their price .... Turn it around and see if they come to my $10 taco stand, or $30-per-bottle beer store. I understand the economic realities ... theirs and mine.

Cycling is expensive, and because it has become mostly the pass time of the reasonably wealthy or maniacally addicted in this country, prices have skyrocketed. It is seen as a luxury sport, not as transport or enjoyable exercise ..... and everything is priced as such. With the loss of Nashbar's Close-Out /Sell-Off pages, one has to get sub-standard-quality crap form China or pay pretty much a ton for even gloves or bibs or jerseys .... $80 bucks for a jersey? twice that? No problem, except I am on a small, fixed income. (Excuse me while I sew some pockets into the backs of my $5 tech T-shirts from Wal-Mart.)

Some people have the cash to patronize their local shops, and enjoy the camaraderie and are willing and able ... but even then, how much can they buy? I understand upgrade-itis, but most of us buy bikes which cost so much and come so well-equipped, it is tough to buy upgrades. Sure, Speedplay pedals, a power meter, 1200-gram wheels for the lightweights .... but there is only so much one can do to a bike.

From what I see, smart bike shops add a brewery or coffee-bar or something (the local shop rented out the adjoining business space to (I assume) cut down on health-code violations.) But ... they sell top-of-the-kine, well-equipped bikes, and people can only wear so much kit .... Hey, anyone want to invest in my buggy-whip business?

I expect that it might go back to how it was .... every town has one (or maybe two) shops, and they are booked solid doing repairs, and still don't make much money. And maybe, as rents rise, they will close too ....

But seriously, how much stuff are people supposed to buy, to keep a local business afloat? Unless it is a bike shop in a city, I cannot imagine that there is enough business in any one town to support most bike shops, given internet competition---and the internet guys can draw from a worldwide customer base, which is a factor many ignore.

Brick-and-mortar overhead or not, those internet stores have to have warehouse space somewhere, even if it staff members' garages. The big bonus they have is no one calculates shipping until after they have decided they want to buy something .... and those internet stores can access Any cycling community anywhere (I know a lot of us have probably bought group sets from the UK (before Shimano etc, caught on.)

That brick-and-mortar storefront in Smalltown has to compete with an online shop which draws customers from anywhere, not just "reasonable driving distance." Even if costs were the same .... the customer base might be too small in a lot of towns to support a physical bike shop. Online offers too much selection, and for anything except shoes, I can pretty much know what i am getting without having to try it on or look at it---when I needed a new cassette, I didn't need to examine it, I just needed to know the it had the right cogs---and the local shop (which would have charged three times as much) might well not have had the 11-28 I wanted (being more race oriented, I would expect them to carry 11-23 or 11-25.) Sure,they could order it ... likely from the same place I ordered it.

I like the guys at the local shop. They are pretty much the home port and driving force behind the local cycling club, so i have ridden with them some, and they are all good guys. And so far, good as they are ... they have not taken up a collection to raise funds to help me financially. I'd hate to see them lose the jobs they love .... I know how that hurts, because I recently lost the job I held for 15 years. I guess i should have tried to guilt-trip them into paying me? :D

That said, I will probably go back to get another wheel built---but i will buy the new hub online. They would charge me about the same as a paid for both wheels, just to replace the rear rim onto a new rear hub from their stock, using the same spokes ... and that is simply not a good deal for me.

And that is the bottom line for Any business---can it provide the goods and services its potential customers want at a price those customers can afford. If not .... sorry. Sentimentality is great and all, but i also work for a living, and I also have to track every penny just to keep the lights on.

I Hope that local shop stays open, but they don't owe me anything and I don'rt owe them anything. We are not really family just because we all ride bicycles (otherwise, they could hit up their 500 million Chinese cousins for cash. ;) ) I like them as people and appreciate the convenience of not having to go 50 miles to the next nearest shop .... but gas to go 50 miles is about the same as their markup on a pair of gloves. I did the math, thanks. My answer is, "Nice gloves, but I already bought about ten years' worth on sale ... online."
Pretty much how I feel as well.
 

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My take is retail is being forced to adapt. Some will not make it while others will. My guess is there will be fewer local bike shops and some smaller population areas may end up with zero. I think you’ll see shops compete with services beyond just selling kits, parts and supplies. You’ll see the ones who make it add services like training groups, coaching services, spin classes, etc.
 

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Two skinny J's
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21,369 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My take is retail is being forced to adapt. Some will not make it while others will. My guess is there will be fewer local bike shops and some smaller population areas may end up with zero. I think you’ll see shops compete with services beyond just selling kits, parts and supplies. You’ll see the ones who make it add services like training groups, coaching services, spin classes, etc.
I'm already in that boat having to drive an hour to get to any shop. However, that in part, is my own doing and I'm ok with that. The shop I use has started selling high end Pinarello ( they actually have a Dogma F12 in the shop last I was there ) and BMC and sales have been very brisk which kind of surprises me. They have also started offering high end fits and I'm not sure how that's going.There are 3 shops in the Williansburg area that I am aware of, several more on the South Side , Virginia Beach/Norfolk area, and several up in Richmond.

None of them locally offer and spin, coaching, etc that I am aware of. Interesting thoughts on survival.
 

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My take is retail is being forced to adapt. Some will not make it while others will. My guess is there will be fewer local bike shops and some smaller population areas may end up with zero. I think you’ll see shops compete with services beyond just selling kits, parts and supplies. You’ll see the ones who make it add services like training groups, coaching services, spin classes, etc.
There’s a “new” bike shop somewhat near me. It’s actually a branch of another shop. He’s offering camping supplies and other items as well. I believe he’s a bike shop that’s leaning toward specialty sporting goods, so he can make it.
 

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Concerning THAT ^

In the past 15 years, I’ve been to three shops in my portion of the state (not counting other shops in other areas).
I have been terribly dissatisfied. It seems as if all bike shops have no sense of urgency, utterly disgraceful communication skills and less than desirable customer service.
It is for these reasons that I have slowly learned to do most maintenance and routine repairs.
I just couldn’t bear another trip into a shop like these, so I self taught.

Unfortunately, I recently came upon a repair I was unable to do. Now I’ve been more than two weeks without my road ride.... and THAT time was spent by the shop getting proper tools.
THIS, after I asked if they knew how to work on my bike & explained I was coming to them (new shop), because I couldn’t reach my normal shop and I didn’t want to be without my bike very long.

With service like this and internet prices being lower, I don’t know how shops stay in business.
 

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According to the yellow pages, there are 43 bike shops in the Tampa/Hillsborough County area. Many of these shops have been around for over 30 years and apparently are still making enough business to stay open. There are three within ten miles from my house; one of which is the one I use. I purchase almost everything bike related there and only use online sources for items they can't get, can't get in time or the prices are so cheap online that they can't match it.

I guess I'm going to be the odd man on this topic. I absolutely love my LBS and apparently so do a lot of other people because every time I go there, there are bikes piled up waiting for service. I do most of my own wrenching but every now and then I need something done and don't have the correct tool or the tool is just too expensive to buy for just every few years use. I take the bike down to the shop, it's usually done in an hour or so and usually, there's no charge.

The shop specializes in triathlon bikes and gear, but they do have a nice selection of road, mountain, BMX and cruisers. The manager, Jeremy, is a competitive BMX racer (as are his two sons) and is a UCI and Shimano certified mechanic. The second person, Mike, that works there is a Shimano certified mechanic. Jeremy was also a wheel builder at American Classic Wheels; before they closed shop and were headquartered here in Tampa. When a bike come out of that shop for repairs, it's done right!

So why do I like this shop so much? The owners are both competitive triathletes so they understand the cycling world. They truly go out of their way to assist a customer in any way they can. I may have mentioned this before, but here's just one example:

There are only two Colnago dealers in this area and both are within ten miles of me. The next closest one is in Orlando. When I decided to buy my CRS, in the summer of 2016, Colnago said they would be available in October of that year. Well, they didn't go into production until January of 2017 and the one that I wanted would not go into production until March of 2017. What Colnago actually meant was they were taking orders in October of 2016. However, Colnago did have three CRS bikes that were on display at IterBike. Since I purchased my first Colnago from them, I told Jeremy that I really wanted the CRS but because of my short torso, I wanted to see one before I bought it so I could compare the geometry to my ACE. One day, I get a FB message from Jeremy asking me to swing by the shop but didn't say why. I show up and there in the shop is one of the three CRS's from InterBike. He contacted the Colnago rep and had him ship the bike to them, at their expense, so he could show me the bike and see what I was buying. The bike was not my size (it was a 52cm and I needed a 50cm), but I was able to do some measurements against my ACE for comparison. Because of the overall reach difference, I actually ended up with a 48cm but everything else was perfect.

When I ordered the bike, I also ordered an ISM Prologue saddle, a Hawk Racing bottom bracket and a set of M-530 pedals for the bike. When I picked up the bike, all of those items were installed, I got a 10% discount on those items and he didn't charge me any labor to swap out the parts.
Yes, I do spend a lot of money at this shop but to me, it's worth it just for the service and the way they treat customers. No online outlet would have done what they did nor would they continue to give me a 10% discount on pretty much all my purchases. If I need something, I just use FB Messenger and let Jeremy know and if it's not in stock, I get a message back when it arrives. To me, this is what a bike shop should be.
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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I would move to the area just to know that my wheels would be built correctly .... if i busted up more wheels.

I am not opposed to bike shops ... if I had one like that, and had a history with it .... and if I had the money (which dried up a few years ago, sadly) I might build a relationship with a shop which got the stuff done.

If I had the will, health, and fitness to ride like you ride .... what a different world. But for now, I get enough pleasure just reading about your exploits.
 

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We have two bike shops here, the newest one is run by a really nice couple around my age and these people actually care and strive their best to be fair and charge reasonable prices, get involved in the community, organize group rides, and help with trail building at local park and plan on organizing more trail building for costumers to join in on.

I would nominate their business as best new business of the year for the whole county if their were such an award, and they are what others businesses should be modeled on I think.

From the sounds of it this may be unusual when it comes to LBS'es (hell, businesses in general) which is very sad.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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There are tons of shops in my new area, and several have proven worthwhile. Not so much at the previous place, some ~30mi distant but still in the Denver metro area. There were a couple of shops there, but neither felt either welcoming or competent. They didn't get much business from me.

What a change a few miles makes! Although I'm learning to do my own wrenching, I have not yet accumulated a proper stock of tools. It's nice to be able to run the bike into either shop for a quick adjustment or replacement, usually done while I wait.

Leading up to the Tour of the Moon on Saturday, I took my bike in to have the rear brake adjusted after trying and utterly failing to manage the simple task on my own. Turns out the caliper wasn't amenable to adjustment because it was on its last legs. There's what you want to hear a few days before riding a ~1500ft, 30+mph descent through switchbacks :eek:.

It took 40min of standing around the shop (waa!), but I left with new hardware and fully functional brakes. Also feeling less dumb over my inability to adjust the problem away.

By and large I prefer to shop locally, or through non-Amazon/eBay internet retailers. I support my local shops when I can because they've both stepped up to help me when I needed it.

The situation is complicated by the fact that I'm well outside their target demographic: the one shop sells mostly MTBs and high end roadies, the other, e-bikes. I ride a touring bike and a 'bent, both of which cause a bit of a stir when wheeled in. They simply don't stock a lot of items or sizes which I need. When they do, I try to turn to one of them first.

Last year, I spent weeks with the 2nd shop's test saddles in search of one that fit. I literally rode in off of the street and asked about saddles. They measured my sit bones and showed me to a room full of saddles, some for sale, others for temporary test installation.

I rode away with one of their tester saddles on the strength of a verbal promise to bring it back within 5-7 days. No ID, no contact info, no deposit, nothing. I wasn't even a regular or intermittent customer at the time. Once I found a tester I liked, I darned sure gave them the saddle sale!

A couple of times, I've driven 2+hrs round trip to another shop which is all about folding bikes and everything dynamo hubs can do. I got a Busch & Mueller dynamo taillight from there for less than Amazon wanted for the exact same thing (not counting time and gas to drive for it, but I got it same-day!).

Better, the owner fabricated a mount on the spot after hearing about a quirk of my rack which prevented one of the usual solutions. He charged me $5 for the mount. Without it, my installation would have been far more frustrating and time consuming. Thanks to the mount, it was instead a bolt it and forget it kind of thing.

The internet can often undercut locals in terms of price, but there's a lot to be said for communicating face to face with a professional who is not only an expert wrench, but more up to date on current products and options than I am. Such expertise is valuable to me and I'm glad to pay for it, either directly or through in-store purchases.

I also place a high value on physically holding and examining some products prior to sale. I've ordered lots of stuff that looked great online only to prove obviously flawed or wrong within moments of opening the package. I flatly refuse to order pedals online unless I'm swapping like for like, for example. Detailed specifications just don't communicate reality as well as holding the product in hand.

The thing is, all of the above is predicated on shops with employees who at least appear to care about and be responsive to their customers' needs. I've lucked into having two such places within walking, much less biking distance. I'm glad to support them.
 

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So, i have tried to come up with good points of my LBSs. I must confess that while I am still disappointed in the lack of communication & sense of urgency, they do have positives.

The new shop DID purchase new tools to try and fix my ride. Neither worked. When I retrieved my unfixed ride, he was sincerely apologetic and demonstrated how the tools wouldn’t work.
He IS trying to make a go of it in a community without a shop and I would return to purchase something needed which I didn’t have time to wait for from the internet.

I took my ride to my normal shop. He had the crank apart in less than five min. confirmed the bearings needed to be replaced and had them out in another five min.
After a thorough search though his supply of bearings, I learned he would have to order. However, had he actually had them, I would be riding that bike later today.
He offered to deliver the bike to either my wife’s work (no hitch for bike rack) and then to my house (55 min drive one way).

He also keeps a decent stock of necessities for those in too big of a rush to wait for cheaper online items. This shop is also active on trail building and NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association - a very fast growing middle/high school MTB event group) only mentioning a few things he’s involved in.

So, I’m backpedaling a tad and saying,
They’re not all bad.
I need to take a chill pill.
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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I cannot understand not being able to pull a crank .... unless it is an ancient model cup and cone or something, with the two-pin deal which has to be .... well, I used to use the edge of an old screwdriver and gentle whacks with a hammer, which I think is how the part was designed to be removed. Otherwise it is a square-taper crank puller or a two-ended wrench which fits everything threaded (Hollowtech, Wheels, etc.) In Any Case .... glad you found someone who could take your bike apart. Hope they can also put it back together. ;) (I myself am a master of one-way disassembly.)

As for the new guy .... fate will decide. If he is honest, that's a huge plus right there.
 
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