Why I'll never buy from a local bike shop again

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

I sell slot online what I have learnt is people are not willing to pay for time. If like advise please is how it starts off. Sometimes folk want to know the in and outs of fitting the bit they have bought from me without actually paying for that 20 minute call. Another good one is I'd like to buy the rims and spokes for a self build could you tell me the spoke lengths. I do of course but really that's part of wheel building. I can't say that though without sounding rude. So if I sound rude sometimes it because of this time should be paid for and sometimes it hard when folk want it for free. Free does not pay my wages.

If I did not offer that help would sell less and go out of business. Unless customers start valuing time and are willing to pay for it the lbs is in trouble. That goes for all retail to. As society we want it cheap and that means someone else pays. It does not matter who so long as it's someone else. That means we all pay in the end . This is not an individual problem but a society wide issue and the solution is not clear. The current retail/supply chain system we have is not sustainable.

Manufacturers already deal with online retailers direct through OEM. It the only way I can see that Shimano prices are maintained so low. In any case should that become a big thing for all brands you are likely to see fewer retailers and a narrowing of choice. Currently my entire living is from stuff the bigger retailers don't do.

Also many shops don't see high end bikes often enough to become good a sorting them out.

The point about no 5minute job is so true. Just changing tyres on my MTB and refitting, the inserts, bleed front brake, change stem, change grips, wash bike, index drivetrain took way to long. If that was a customer job would I be able to charge the full cost of labour. Probably not and that's why shops are in trouble even the good ones.

by Weenie


bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

Mattr you have summed up my point well. If you are willing to spend the time then great but imagine runinng a shop at £30 per hour labour or £40 you would not be able to bill customers for the time actually spent and the full costs of running that business. Nothing is difficult it just takes time mist people are not willing to pay for. There own time is used though...

Bogan
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Location: Boganville, Australia

by Bogan

AJS914 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:22 pm
Bogan and Wheelbuilder - what do you think about the increasing complexity and technical details with higher end bikes and how the industry is dealing with it?
The increasing complexity of some bikes is defintely an issue. But with the availability of technical data available from websites like Shimano and a bit of mechanical nous, it is generally possible to nut any problems out. Where I find I am lacking is the some things that only experience from working on many different types of bikes can give you. I rate myself as an OK mechanic. I can usually work things out given time. A good mechanic will work it it out quickly. The biggest issue in the industry is the pay rates, they are rubbish. Pay peanuts, get monkies. This is somewhat surprising as there is quite a shortage of decent mechanics in Australia.

The way the industry deals with technical change is poor. New tech turns up in the shop with little or none in the way of technical bulletins. As for training courses, they don't happen. Hypothetically say there are 1000 bike shops in Australia. Say 250 of them recieve bikes with the new SRAM AXS groupset all within a month of each other. Are 250 mechanics getting trained on the groupset in that timeframe? No way. I bet the situation is the same in other countries. Quite frankly, I am not sure that a lot of LBS's can afford the cost of the training courses. They aren't cheap.
MAMIL? Never. O.F.I.L. yeh! (Old F**ker in Lycra)

mattr
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by mattr

FWIW the last shop i actually used (And trusted) had a fixed rate price list for most jobs. It wasn't cheap.
Anything not on the list was charged at (i think) 1000 sek/hour. Might have been 900. Workshop was always busy. What killed the business was the wholesale prices here.

bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

Fixed price is an awkward one. What it means is they end up undercharging often and overcharging others. For me you either charge what the job is worth or you don't take it on at all. That does not sit well within who think it's a 5 minute job. Of course it isn't that why your here. Part if the issue is bikes are not transport for most. Where they are repair workshops can make money. Elsewhere they struggle. repairs are not my core business. I can make more money from the time spent building a set of wheels than fixing someone's bike. That shows how one skill is valued over another and fixing a bike well is a well developed skill that takes time just like wheel building.
Last edited by bm0p700f on Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Seedster
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by Seedster

Some illuminating feedback shared on the typical experience at local B&M shops from seasoned cyclists. I, too, would be very frustrated if I was subjected to some of the poor service some of you all have described. It creates a catch-22 situation: a struggling shop will not hire top tier mechanics when folks are performing their service. Moreover, most shops will not stock a lot of product that folks here claim they never have because the same complainants are shopping online instead of locally. Margins are dwindling and everyone wants a discount. Not sure the current model is sustainable.

I consider myself even more fortunate given my shop has a healthy stock of campy, SRM, framesets (entry and pro), and any model lightweight wheelsets you can imagine. This is only possible because they have a thriving online business. I have always done my best to support local shops because all the Youtube videos in the world wont help if you dont have the proper tools and parts to fix your bike and keep it looking pristine. I value their role in the system and I am willing to pay for the convenience and expertise. that said, I recognize that everyone doesnt have the same optionality that I enjoy in New York City, but we should all reflect on what could happen if we continue the race to the bottom.

MisterMuncher
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by MisterMuncher

At one stage, Chain Reaction Cycles was my LBS, in that it was my closest B&M bike shop. It didn't really do anything that the online store didn't, and their servicing department wasn't exactly out of this world.

By contrast, my current LBS wouldn't have anything close to the stock levels or pricing CRC could do, but CRC wouldn't have, say, lent me half a dozen saddles to try out for a few weeks before I made a decision, or sorted me out with an emergency replacement cable for the promise of a pint some evening, or only charged me for a kid's helmet despite my son's giant head requiring a medium adult size lid. That's why the get my trade.

bombertodd
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by bombertodd

I've never been able to figure out why my local shops have a tough time fixing it correctly the first time. They charge $115 an hour for labor. It seems there is plenty of money for a proper setup (stocked small parts) and bike mechanic pay.

If I spent $8k on a bike I'd expect it to be properly built to spec.

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wheelbuilder
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by wheelbuilder

MisterMuncher wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:01 am
At one stage, Chain Reaction Cycles was my LBS, in that it was my closest B&M bike shop. It didn't really do anything that the online store didn't, and their servicing department wasn't exactly out of this world.

By contrast, my current LBS wouldn't have anything close to the stock levels or pricing CRC could do, but CRC wouldn't have, say, lent me half a dozen saddles to try out for a few weeks before I made a decision, or sorted me out with an emergency replacement cable for the promise of a pint some evening, or only charged me for a kid's helmet despite my son's giant head requiring a medium adult size lid. That's why the get my trade.
Not singling you out with malice, just using this post to illustrate a point...........

This is part of the problem that the lbs has with sustainability. Everybody wants a "bro deal" or to be thought of as a vip of some sort. If 9 out of the 10 guys that come in for service work expect this sort of treatment the shop will lose money. Not only by charging these guys less for fear they will lose their business, but also alienating regular joe type customers whose bike gets line cut in the queue by one of these "vip" customer who invariably expects everything to be dropped for them.

MisterMuncher
Posts: 259
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:15 am

by MisterMuncher

In fairness, I neither expected it nor asked for it. It's just how they do business, and at least one of the above transactions occurred when I was very new to the area and they didn't know me from a hole in the ground. It's a different model, and I think they're doing it to compete with aforementioned elephant in the room (or elephant 50 miles up the road).

It's not the only thing that drives me to them, they're great mechanics and know their stuff, but it's what sends me there for the sort of consumables I used to get online or in a big-box retailer, if they stock the parts in question.

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Wingnut
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by Wingnut

I only buy chain lubricant or tubes from my LBS now, if I can’t fix myself or need wheels built I’ll drive 70km to my bike mechanic/friend who I’ve been using for last 30 years.
"It's not the destination...it's the ride!"

Campervan
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Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:45 pm

by Campervan

I will use my LBS. I have just put a deposit on a new Purple Venge pro disc (the discount finally swayed me away from teh TMR01). they are very professional, personal service.
BMC Granfondo 02 105
Btwin 540
Specialized Venge Pro Disc

PokojniToza
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by PokojniToza

I have nothing but praise for my LBS. Capable mechanics, company policy that honors loyalty.

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Miller
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Location: Reading, UK

by Miller

Seems to me that the future for LBS is definitely service-oriented. Sure there are plenty of people on this forum who clearly know one end of a hex key from the other but I don't think they're typical. Sport cycling has got big over the last decade in UK and most of those people new to the sport are buying complete bikes. What proportion of them have a clue about maintenance?

by Weenie


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tymon_tm
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by tymon_tm

I've been building my bikes from scratch for previous ~10-15 years. but with new Madone, I'm going back to the flock - LBS it is! not that I can't do it myself, it's probably all there on YT and all, but I found out with age, I tend to seek for that extra comfort of having stuff done, rather than doing it myself :idea:
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.

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