why i use online bike shops

Discussion in 'Observed Trials Discussion' started by 4hun, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. 4hun

    4hun Guest

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    When I recieved my Zoo Python I was a little dissapointed with the headset and decided to get a little bit better one, so I called up my local shop (that I have dealt with since I started riding and have poured a considerable amount of money into) to see if they had an FSA pig in stock. I was told $40.00. So I bring the bike in, they do the install with my help, and I am ready to pay. They want to charge me $71.00 for the headset, and would "give me a break" on labour since I did most of the install myself. When I bring up the cost I was quoted I am told they put in the wrong one, and do not have any $40 pig headsets in stock. After explaining that I had no intention of payng $70 for a headset they gave me a discount at $66. What a deal! Espescially since I have probably spent about $10,000 at that shop in the last 4 years.

    In contrast I ordered a Zoo Python from Tim at trialsin.com. Tim bent over backwards triing to import one of these things for me. He threw in Plaz pads, and basically way out did my expectations in the area of customer service. My rotor got bent in shipping, so he is sending a plaz rotor absolutely no hassle. This is the second thing i have ever purchased from that shop. I actually feel like he values my business, and as a result he will get it again

    Local bike shop story #2

    While riding in downtown Windsor I notice my bottom bracket is loose, and getting looser. I stop in to the closest shop to see if i could possibly borrow a crank puller and bb tool for 2 minutes. I am told that they "don't lend out tools". I explain that I can do it right in the shop. He then tells me that he can't do it for a few days (this is litterally a 2 minute job). He is sitting in an empty shop talking to his girlfriend. "I can't do everyones 2 minute jobs that walk through the door" I am informed. I leave (with my bike) and make the mile and a half walk back to my vehicle, because this guy is way too busy to help out a rider. I have worked in shops, and neither of these local shops had any excuse for their behavior.

    In contrast I told Ken at thetrialsinshop a while ago that my monty cranks had stripped and asked if he could send me a set on Bonz mod cranks. I had the cranks in three days with no extra shipping charges. He actuallt helped me out, it was the first thing i had ever ordered from him. I actually just ordered a tire from him as well.

    Thank you Tim, and Ken. I hope you read this

    Eric Hayton
    Windsor Ontario
     
  2. KeepRollin

    KeepRollin New Member

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    I've had that happen too. When I went to get my headset pressed in at my LBS I was told that he couldn't do it just then and at first he told me he wouldn't get to it that day. I finally convinced him that I needed it by today (how on earth am I supposed to wait when I'm sitting here with my first trials specific frame, give me a break!) and he told me to come 3 hours later to pick it up. Have I gone there since? Yes, but only for stuff that I need right away.
     

  3. oicdn

    oicdn Guest

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    Tim and Ken are the shit! They bend over backwards TWICE and make sure you're satisfied....

    My bike shop with the exception of the ONE PERSON in the back that cuts me deals cause we went to high school together are kooks(well two bike shops, one friend that works in the back in each shop). They wanted $60 for my Michelin...something I could get online for $40...so my bud is always the person that rings me up and gives me net pricing or cheaper...so I'm atleast saving shipping costs, and at times, more.

    LBS suck cock....but I try to shop there as much as I can cause I mean...yeah, even though they completely suck, it'd suck them not being there for the most trivial of parts.
     
  4. Tanner

    Tanner New Member

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    Well, we have 3 bikeshops in my town. The one that we've easily put $100,000 into since the 70's gives us terrible customer service. Do we get a HUGE break on parts/labor? Oh yeah. Huge discount. The mechanic is a jackass to me, so I now work on my bikes myself. Bikeshop number two is not as bad. High prices, but nice service. I needed a new freewheel on my monty crankarm, and they got it done in 2 minutes and said "eh, this ones on me." I go there for tools now. Bikeshop 3 is different. Its also a gas station. Aaron, the owner is an urban trials rider. I could walk in there with a snapped frame and he'd get me running again. He does all my walk in jobs right away, and even removes other bikes from the repair stand to work on mine. I get a decent discount there, and if I need anything, I have it the next day.
     
  5. smudge

    smudge Central Scrrrrrrrutinizer

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    If you don't feel like reading a rant in defense of the LBS, skip my post...

    I certainly can't validate the poor customer service anyone has received in a shop. Shit, if a mechanic was really talking to his lady instead of helping a customer, then he really should be trashed. But the concept that LBS sucks because they charge higher prices is completely rediculous.

    Do you know why you have an LBS? It's not because some guy thought to himself, "Hmm, I like pissing people off and I really like it when people think I over-charge for my services, I think I'll open a bike shop." Most of the time, someone opens a shop because they love bikes. God (or whatever) help them, because it's nearly impossible to make any real money in this business, especially in today's market.

    Does anyone remember the Guitar Centers? Do you know what their business model was?..1. go into a local market and open many stores to saturate the marketplace. 2. advertise the fuck out of 'SUPER SALES' on local radio stations by listing impossible prices on items you don't have in stock to draw people into the stores 3. keep prices lower than wholesale on high volume product to keep sales up and drive out all local music stores. 4. once local shops are out of business, close the Guitar Center stores the generate the least amount of profit and keep the one high profit store. 5. mark all prices back up to standard retail. 6. all the while, either steal employees from local businesses or hire a staff who doesn't know dick about the equipment they're selling. 7. lay them all off when the stores close.

    Performance/Nashbar/Supergo have a similar strategy. While not always the case, they tend to hire individuals who aren't looking for a job in the bike industry and don't plan to stick around very long. It's great for P/N/S because they get to mold a sales person from scratch without the new hire having any preconceived notion of what types or brands of bikes are more desirable. They also obviously have HUGE revenues from online and catalogue sales, helping them keep their overhead low AND get enormous (sometimes OEM) pricing from major manufacturers. Something an LBS could never do.

    I have yet to meet a knowledgable mechanic at a Performance shop, nor have a met a sales person who can, from personal experience, tell me how two different bikes ride. They have a quantity of product, and they have it cheap. That's pretty much where their benefits end.

    The LBS is valuable because of the service they provide. Any local shop who doesn't realize that is going to get themselves into serious trouble. Especially in light of the fact that they have to extract as many pennies out of their margins as possible just to stay in business. They face too competitive a market to have asshole employees who won't sell you a tube after the door closes or to refuse to tighten a BB for you.

    Here's the big point...if you don't have a good history with your local shop, no matter how much money you've spent there, don't expect them to do you any favors. They continue to eat because they try to make money on their service, not by loaning out tools or giving away labor. If you're an IT person would you give away your troubleshooting skills? I won't. My time and experience are valuable, and I refuse to devalue it by giving it away. Next time your car is in the shop, try asking the mechanic to change your oil or pads real quick..."but, dude, you're only unscrewing a few bolts...what's the big deal"

    holy shit, call me Jim.
     
  6. oicdn

    oicdn Guest

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    ^^that post was awesome.

    Man, I think the ONLY WAY for me to get in good with the LBS here is to become a roadie or weight weenie XC rider. All of them are one or the other or both:

    http://www.abcbike.com/

    Check it out...nice large store...95% of which is road/XC stuff. They started carrying like P2's and other freeride type stuff cause they saw that's what I was doing for awhile and they're actually selling $800 P2s to people who have no clue WTF they are.

    Everybody there is cool, but they just have no clue about trials....god, I wish I lived in a state that knew WTF trials was....
     
  7. DaneBrammage

    DaneBrammage Guest

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    In principle bike shops are great. In practice, their value comes down to the staff and the kind of riding you do. Bike shop employees tend to dig seeing a trials bike (for maybe the first time) and its easier to make buddy's in the shops that way. Even so, as a DYIer I dont like to hand my bike over for work to be done. And I wouldnt order trials parts through the local shops, even though they could get them, when there are equally deserving individuals in the web who specialize in trials and are knowledgable about trials.

    Online places like trialsin and webcyclery are every bit as deserving of loyalty as any local shop. Local shops have gotten me out of a jam from time to time, mainly when I rode dual suspension, and many of them are nice guys.. cool dudes. Owning a trials bike is different though, and I have found online sources to simply make the most sense to use. Tim @ trialsin and Kevin @ webcyclery are about as good as it gets when it comes to service. Unlike some local bikeshop monkees, I have never had a bad issue with either of them.

    EDIT: that reminds me- i called Kevin a few days ago because i needed an echo track cog. now i havent talked to kevin for at least 3 months.. easily at least 3 months. after a few moments he says 'is this mark?' (!) so i says, 'woah, check out the brain on kevin!' ..and he says 'its mark rael, right?' ...these internet guys actually LIKE people. just because its done with a phone or computer doesnt change that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2004
  8. Shipley

    Shipley ..........

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    Too many shops have traded personality and genuine love of biking for salesmen- who have neither of those two qualities, much less even bike experience. One of the biggest reasons I left the shop I was working for as a mechanic and occasional sales. When 1 person at the shop rides other than myself (once in a blue moon on his old cruiser), and even he's a miserable sack of crap, they just don't care enough about the job to treat people the way they should.

    Smudge is dead on though.. shops don't make dick. Not even the owners are raking in dough usually. You own and run a shop because you love it.. or the shop dies and you go broke.

    If you're lucky enough to have a local shop that treats you and everyone else well.. let them know you appreciate it.

    As for straight trials parts, Tim, Ken, Kevin and Mean Todd... always great to work with.
     
  9. B1105

    B1105 New Member

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    I work at a shop, so I dont ever have to pay for service bahahhh, sorry for that

    Basically, shops will charge you a decent amount for random installations, unless you beg for something for a cheaper. Honestly, shops need to do this to stay alive, so even if I didnt work at a shop, I would still respect that.

    But rather than people bitch and moan about how they get charged through the roof, why dont you just go buy some tools for the price of a repair, get a book (Barnetts or Lennard Zinn) and learn how to do it. I understand headsets are costly to install, and I'm not saying you have to go buy a press, but for the most part, bb's can be installed with the $12 tool and a big ass wrench.

    sorry for the rant myself, and this wasnt directed at anyone, but sometimes people complain about like unjust repair costsand it bugs me, hope i didnt come off as an asshole either
     
  10. B1105

    B1105 New Member

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    Oh BTW, Tim is awesome, hes sending me a new track cog since mine was horrible
     
  11. 4hun

    4hun Guest

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    First to clarify a point. I am a bike mechanic. The shop that gouged me on the headset i have worked for a couple times. The problem is not that they overcharged me on the headset, the problem is that i was quoted one price then after they installed it jacked the price up $30. As far as the other shop, I needed the repair done beacuse if I didn't get it done i was on foot. I had the tools at home to do the job, as well as the knowledge. however i was a good distance from my vehicle when i noticed the problem. I, like most riders do not carry crank arm pullers and a bottom bracket tool in my tool pouch on rides. I needed the repair done so I could get back to my jeep.

    I fully understand that local shops cannot charge the low prices online shops do, thats not my bitch. The bitch is with the service, and seemingly udder lack of respect for returning, loyal customers. The whole saving grace for the local shops is supposed to be the service, and lately I haven't seen anything in the way of customer service from my local shops. I get better service online
     
  12. mukraker

    mukraker New Member

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    Part of the customer service problem in local bike shops is due to people like yourself. What kind of service do you expect when you walk into a shop and ask to borrow tools? Do you go to your car dealership and ask to borrow an impact wrench or other tool?
    Shops are in business to make money, they are not a charity. I worked in and managed a shop for 7 years and I would've told you to get lost too if you came in to borrow tools.
    Get with it man.
     
  13. Cole

    Cole New Member

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    Come on!! You left out Graham from Faction.;)

    Good points Smudge.
     
  14. Andreas

    Andreas All About Trials

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    i am with it, and when i have been around my lbs and talked with everybody there, i expect to be able to use a 4mm allen wrench when i need to. Luckily supergo and my even local lbs have been that way to me. Sure 1 of them has outrageous wheelbuilding prices, but at least they back their products for life (IE-i taco my rim. They know i abuse it, but they will build a new one for free. They will also true my wheel at any time, free of charge).

    Shops that don't lend out a tool for 1 second, or that are too lazy to just do a 2 second job on your bike, are the shops that i never go back to. Mukraker-You used the past tense when you said you workED in a shop. I assume you've stopped now, and i know why. I seriously dought people came there if you told them to get lost.

    Get with it man ;)
    End rant
     
  15. Tanner

    Tanner New Member

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    Good thing I never had the misfortune stepping in that shop. bikes aren't cars. Get with it man. :Wavey:
     
  16. Shipley

    Shipley ..........

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    Shops have a hard enough time turning a profit much less staying in business. With attitudes like that no shop would last long. If you can't count on your local shop that you've been a longtime loyal customer of... or even if you're a potential customer that's never even been there before and just happen to have a flat at their door just after closing... to spend a few minutes and offer assistance or tools at the least then I seriously doubt they'll have much business for long.

    It's 2 am so I hope that made some sense. You just can't keep customers, get new ones, or spread good word-of-mouth business that way... bike shop or not.

    And someone mentione above.. I missed

    FACTION BIKE!!!
    Sorry Graham!
    -I've only worked with him on small things, but he really hooked me up when I needed it.

    hopefully at least some of that rant of crap made sense.. my dumbass should be asleep..
     
  17. bigd

    bigd Guest

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    this is in defense to the general LBS, i know these emotions get stirred from time to time and and shops tend to get a bad wrap, so i'm not pointing to anyone here.

    iv'e been working as a mechanic in shops for many years. yeah, customer service is key. you're part of a BUSINESS, you treat customers well. if you honestly don't have time to do something for someone, then make sure they understand that, but be courteous. if they get pissed, well, i'm sorry, but the shop i work in has next business day turnaround. unfortunately you will have to wait, thats just how it is. if we CAN, we will try to do it samed day or even possibly while you wait. most often however, we have several items backed up that have been promised already, its hard to pile things up when you already have a full load.

    i can't excuse these two shops in question for what they did, but then again i wasn't there. maybe the guy was on his break, maybe he was a cockface. i don't know, but i've been on both sides.

    anytime you take your bike into a shop, never EXPECT on the spot service or to borrow tools. yeah it IS a bike shop, but its still a business. if you can't do the work yourself, you pay for someone who KNOWS what they're doing to take care of it for you. its the same as any repair work, electronics, bikes, cars, etc. taking your car in for something that may take 15 minutes may require you to make an appointment 2 weeks down the road. they can't take on everything that comes along on a whim, they'd get overwhelmed and customers would get pissed. shops often work similarly. they can only take so much work each day, even if it seems dead to the customer. bike repairs have a funny way of turning into career bikes. you know, those 5 minute little jobs that mutate into monster 3 hour headaches. trust me. if you get turned down for instantaneous service, take it in
    stride. (pending the guy is polite about it and so are you).

    labor charges are different everywhere. shops charge what they see fit, usually based roughly on an hourly rate broken down to average times. someone you can see face to face and speak to in person is doing the work, and you don't have to pay shipping charges and wait weeks on end and risk having your stuff trashed in shipping. this is a huge benefit. many people come into my shop because this is what they appreciate, the human interaction and the locality. if the customer is cool, i'll do whatever i can in my power to help them. if the customer is a dickhead, fuck 'em, they can take it somewhere else.

    online shops are much cheaper because they don't have a storefront to solely support sales. granted they have much less overhead, (employees, bills, storefront costs, etc etc) they can usually pass on that lack of expenses to the customer by making less profit on their sales, a.k.a. "internet prices". small, highly limited markets like trialsin.com and the like, must cater to everyone's wants and needs because both- their reputation rides on it, and they'll lose sales, and that vital profit. (personal reasons like genuinely wanting to help and loving what you do are just that, personal. the business side has to survive, so they're willing to do more because they need to keep repeat customers and good word of mouth.)

    you get better prices hands down, but post sale service is where the lbs comes in. a good shop can be hard to find. lots of shop employees get cocky and think what they know is what everyone should follow. when you find a really good shop you'll want to go there for everything to help support it, not just poke and haggle to get them to chop their prices. if you really have a vendetta, send an email or write a letter to the shop manager or owner. ive worked with real huge fucktards and i'm sure they've lost good customers because they're idiots.. but don't judge the shop as a whole because of a bad experience.

    that was 10 times longer than it was supposed to be. sheet mang.
     
  18. pav

    pav New Member

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    I never go to my local bikeshop any more. Unless its an emergancy tube or repair kit or screw. I travel half way across the city to go to a mate that is a trials rider that works in a shop because he looks after me and helps me out with all these things.
    The one biggest thing about business that I have learnt and have been taught is that if you treat the customer good they will return. Price doesnt matter. Look at certain people, they go out and buy a certain expenisve car. They could go to other places and get it cheaper but they go to certain places becuause of the service. To borrow a few tools for 5 mins when you are out on a ride shouldnt be very much and from my expeirances the only people wanting to borrow tools would be trials riders and then do a count of how many trials riders you know of.

    I have been caught up in the same situation. I was riding and I must have knocked a patch off my tube, about 20 m from the LBS, I got a tube for something like 10AUD which is a rip off mind you then they wanted to charge me something like another 15 just so that they could put it in!

    Some of these charges from bikeshops these days are rediculous, namely labour charges. I had my wheel built for 15 AUD and my LBS quoted me 50 for the build and another 36 for the spokes because the wouldnt use the spokes i already had and something silly on nipples. I saved the money and bought a king, travelled half way across the city, got it built up at a fraction of the price, got a grind, tires, some knowledge on parts and maintanince at what was probably less than the LBS would have charged.

    thats my little input

    pav
     
  19. Spacemunkee

    Spacemunkee Guest

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    do you get charged for air in your tyres at your lbs like we do? ive always fixed my bike myself and i dont use my lbs ( since its 30 miles away anyway.. not so local) you can get great next day delivery from chainreactioncycles,wiggle, bikedock, supercycles.. the list goes on and on it doesnt kill me to wait a day for a part. I ordered a hanger using my lbs and had to wait 2 weeks in the end i ordered it my self and got it next day after asking them where they were getting it from.. crappy service on the isle of wight :(
     
  20. trialspads

    trialspads TrialsPads.com

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    Aside from the product pricing, I still go to my LBS to get my repairs done. They only charge $5 or so an hour (if they ever charge me) and I'm not a frequent customer. If any of you need a good service go to Bicycles West in Lynnwood WA. Surprised for a big company like that they don't charge a lot of their service...