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

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
MMW
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:23 pm

by MMW

AJS914 wrote:I'm talking about what a bicycle shop employee makes not how much the shop charges.
Arr,, sorry missed that one.


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by Weenie


Sock3t
Posts: 270
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:20 am

by Sock3t

Thankfully my local shop is one of the best in the world. :)

none
Posts: 239
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:29 pm
Location: NE PA

by none

TheRich wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:25 pm
Maybe that's just the consistant quality that particular employee puts out, but what that employee does isn't indicative of other shops, or even other people working in the same shop.
That's why you need to have other employees double check the work completed among fellow employees, peer review to ensure quality of work.

rollinslow
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:25 am

by rollinslow

I can certainly relate to the OP on this one. After living all over the USA for work I have only found 1 LBS that I love. Once, I had a nice Pinarello frame to be built by the local shop who messed-up just about every aspect of the build possible. I had another LBS try to sell my relative a 10 speed trek in 2018 for 5k, the list goes on. This motivated me to learn to work on my bikes at home. Only recently, did I find a shop that only does ultra high-end custom bikes. They charge a ton for any work but everything is pristine and I trust them more than myself for work. No detail is ever missed. I would rather pay up and get a service that I truly can't provide at home. So hard to find.
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Bogan
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:47 pm
Location: Boganville, Australia

by Bogan

I work in an LBS, one that is part of a chain of several shops. We are family orientated, but do sell some high end road bikes and MTBs. I personally spend most of my day either selling or doing all the admin stuff that helps make the shop function plus I do spend some time assembling bikes out of the box. We have a head mechanic whom I rate very highly on the tools, plus most who work on the tools are quite competent. If there is an issue, it will be referred back to the head mechanic. All bikes we sell have a second check before leaving the shop.

All people that work in the shop do some selling. We do pride ourselves on our level of customer service. We are not perfect and mistakes are made. These are usually rectified quickly and with a minimum of fuss.

The difference I have noticed between the chain I work in and others, is that we are not on comission. Other shops that are on commission are incentivised to just sell. Some are also incentivised by the number of bikes assembled in a day, or by the number of bikes serviced in a day. We have a huge amount of anecdotal evidence of poor, unsafe bike builds or wrong size bikes being foisted on customers, poor servicing etc etc etc.. An acquaintance of mine worked in one of these commission based shops and has told me about the lack of care in building and servicing. He had to leave after a number of run ins with managemnt and other mechanics about quality and safety.

Like any business there are the good and the bad. It is a tough industry to make a buck. The LBS has to be on top of their game with everything from quality of workmanship through to purchasing decisions with regards to stock. Several shops I knaow of have gone under due to failing at these things.

Don't write all LBSs off.
MAMIL? Never. O.F.I.L. yeh! (Old F**ker in Lycra)

2lo8
Posts: 549
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:32 am

by 2lo8

"Bike mechanic wanted, 3 years of work experience required, pay $12-15/hour, must have driver's license"

That's your typical bike mechanic job listing around here. So I wonder what kind of bike mechanic is easily poached, looking to ditch their current gig, and desperate for a sub $15/hr job despite being experienced. Clearly some AAA+ talent.
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petert123
Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:02 pm
Location: London, UK

by petert123

mattr wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:20 pm
There might be YouTube videos for everything, but some people need clockwise and anti-clockwise explaining to them.
Some of them work in bike shops.
Make me simile :D - yep, someone asked me once what "counter-clockwise" meant in reference to a youtube video.

On a broader point of this post, I've become more and more confident over the years about working on my bikes, I pretty much do most things other than wheels and pressfit BB's at this point. Of course you do things wrong, but I found that I used my winter bikes over the years as practice runs, before letting myself loose on more expensive bikes and components; been a good way to progress.

none
Posts: 239
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:29 pm
Location: NE PA

by none

To learn how to fix your bike yourself is an invaluable skill.
But a good relationship with top mechanic in your LBS can benefit you even more.
Spare parts inventory, specific tools even getting your bike the priority treatment can all be yours if you have a good relationship with your LBS, especially when you want to get back on your bike ASAP.
I've seen customers with spare bike stored at the LBS and just swap their regular bike out when the other is in need of service.
Life does get better if you buy yourself a spare bike to store at the LBS for emergency occasions.

But it's not just spending money at the LBS, it's also about building a relationship, getting to know your LBS staff, their names; able to carry a conversation with them outside of bikes, get them some nice coffee or doughnuts.
Sure they are just little things, but it makes the staff feel that they need to remember you and take care of your needs.
Same applies to just about any retail business or services.

Just remember, this is the type of problem that LBS mechanics deal with:
Customer dropped off bike complained rear brake is rubbing and would like chain installed
Image
Last edited by none on Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rudi
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:43 pm

by Rudi

Maybe a little off topic as this is more about the mechanic than the shop:

I had an issue whilst on vacation which needed the removal of the cranks and BB to fix. Not the sort of tools I take with me on vacation :-) I went to a Bike Shop where the owner/manager (never quite found out) had been to school with my Brother in Law. Now they couldn't help me on the short notice I required (it was just before Xmas so quite understandable). They put me in touch with one of their ex-employees who had gone out on his own venture, but only wanted to work on "high end bikes". I am very grateful to the shop as they could have left me high and dry, so have no issues with them at all.

As I was getting on contact with this guy (who sorted me out quickly and everything has been great since), there was a little lady coming into the afforementioned shop to pick up her shopper that needed a flat repaired. It got me thinking, if I wanted to work on bikes and that was my passion, having to fix punctures and all of that stuff that most people can do themselves must be pretty soul destroying. I can see why this guy had wanted to get out and do his own thing.
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bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

Also customers often don't want to pay for the job do it get done cheap. Unless people are willing to pay for what the job costs then the industry will decline. it's not the fault of shops it's the fault of the people not understanding how much it costs to do a job right and expecting people to work for very little without realising it often.

With a bike build if you tot up all costs there not much in it for the business.

If you want good shops then people have to be willing to pay.

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taodemon
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:04 pm
Location: Massachusetts

by taodemon

I've been to some shops where the mechanics haven't inspired too much confidence but the mechanics at the shop I typically use have always been great. There are other shops around here with good mechanics too but I stick to the one shop most of the time because it is the closest one.
none wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:09 pm
Just remember, this is the type of problem that LBS mechanics deal with:
Customer dropped off bike complained rear brake is rubbing and would like chain installed
Wow, that is quite impressive. :shock:

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wheelbuilder
Posts: 891
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:10 am

by wheelbuilder

These threads always make me wince, as I am a bike mechanic. My career was something else, but I am retired from that and have worked as a part time mechanic/wheelbuilder for seven years or so. Coming from a very professional, regimented profession with tons of accountability and protocol makes working in the bike industry a fairly humorous endeavor. Part of the problem is there is no standardized method of doing anything. Every mechanic in every single shop is doing things the way they learned how to do them when they first began, and no two learned the same way. Companies like Trek are trying to bring professionalism and standardization to the job with "Trek Certified Service" and the school they operate in Wisconsin, but it is a losing battle I believe. This industry is not going to run like the auto dealerships the big brands so desperately want to be. Bike mechanics are largely viewed as huge bearded, tattooed, gauged-ear dirtbags with u-locks in the back pockets of their skinny-jeans. The skill level is literally all over the place, and the pay is laughably low. The guy that is great at setting up a road triple and re-building campy shifters is going to struggle when faced with a frame up build of a Madone, Team Machine. or TT bike, and vice-versa. The problem arises when the consumer mistakenly believes that all mechanics know exactly what to do to all bikes of all levels. It doesn't work that way, usually.
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AJS914
Posts: 4346
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

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?

I've been wrenching on my own bikes for 45 years. I built my first wheel when I was 10 years old. I was always the kid in the neighborhood or the guy in the bike club that friends brought the bike to for a little help.

Bike mechanicals never challenged me until about 8 or 10 years ago. I found the tolerances on 11 speed to be so tight that cable cuts had to be perfect and cable drag had to be zero. Any internal routing increased the factor of difficulty. I had never had a single problem of this nature with 10 speed. Maybe because I never used internal routing with 10 speed?

Now we have multiple bottom bracket standards and even the companies haven't been clear on weather the install requires grease, anti-seize or retaining compound. BBs were so simple when we had English or Italian threads.

Now we have road disc brakes and multiple standards of quick release and thru axel to keep track of and the bicycle industry is probably not done yet with changes. 135mm road here we come....

Of course we have electronic shifting with each brand being different.

We also have lots of factory wheels that are often unrepairable by the end user or even the LBS.

Frames these days can ship with special little fittings and grommets. They require a high level of detail to build correctly. I can see that the typical LBS will have a hard time finding, training and retaining the right people to build these bikes with the correct attention to detail when a customer spends $10K on a bike.

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nycebo
Posts: 194
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: New York, NY

by nycebo

AJS914 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:22 pm
Frames these days can ship with special little fittings and grommets. They require a high level of detail to build correctly.
I have been wrenching and building my own bikes for about 10 years now. I love it. A little patience, a little youtube, and a little love and the bike is better tended than any mechanic save one or two in my hood (shout out to Gato) can do.

But the grommets. For the love of all things holy, the grommets! Don't even think about ever losing one. Ever. No amount of searching online has ever revealed where to buy some of these suckers, especially the grommet for the Di2 cable exiting the rear of the seatstay.

by Weenie


bikeboy1tr
Posts: 695
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:19 am
Location: Southern Ontario Canada

by bikeboy1tr

none wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:09 pm
To learn how to fix your bike yourself is an invaluable skill.
But a good relationship with top mechanic in your LBS can benefit you even more.
Spare parts inventory, specific tools even getting your bike the priority treatment can all be yours if you have a good relationship with your LBS, especially when you want to get back on your bike ASAP.
I've seen customers with spare bike stored at the LBS and just swap their regular bike out when the other is in need of service.
Life does get better if you buy yourself a spare bike to store at the LBS for emergency occasions.

But it's not just spending money at the LBS, it's also about building a relationship, getting to know your LBS staff, their names; able to carry a conversation with them outside of bikes, get them some nice coffee or doughnuts.
Sure they are just little things, but it makes the staff feel that they need to remember you and take care of your needs.
Same applies to just about any retail business or services.

Just remember, this is the type of problem that LBS mechanics deal with:
Customer dropped off bike complained rear brake is rubbing and would like chain installed
Image
If I was a mech in a bike shop I would be happy if customers brought me coffee.
That picture is priceless though, cant believe ppl could actually get that so wrong.
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=154188
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