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What do you like most about your LBS?(26 posts)

What do you like most about your LBS?Nemo
Mar 23, 2001 12:12 PM
I am looking for suggestions to make my shop better. Tell me some of the things you like about your LBS. Thanks!
Welcome MatGadfly
Mar 23, 2001 12:22 PM
I can go to my LBS and hang most times, shoot the breeze with the wrenches and other gearheads. A lot of us seem to just show up there. They always make me feel welcome. We have Sunday rides together. Now if they only had sandwiches, beer & maybe a cappucino machine...
Welcome MatNemo
Mar 23, 2001 12:33 PM
Do you they have a couch? That's always a nice touch.
Lack of organizationmike mcmahon
Mar 23, 2001 12:47 PM
I always feel uncomfortable in shops that look similar to the showroom at a Mercedes dealer: everything shiny clean and nothing out of place. I love shops that have bikes hanging from the rafters the walls and on the floor and generally look like someone set off a hand grenade in the middle of the shop. In my experience, these shops are run by people who loves bicycles more than neatness. They're the type who will be able to find a replacement part for an '85 Suntour Superbe derailleur after about 20 minutes of searching through an old cardboard box against the back wall of the shop. However, I doubt this is what your typical bike shopper is looking for so take it for what it's worth.
the Snap-On calendar in the bathroom?Hank
Mar 23, 2001 2:08 PM
ah, just kidding - mine doesn't have one. But that's what I use my LBS for - the bathroom. Then I usually end up buying a power bar or something.

On that note, see if you can hire some women. I worked at quiet a few shops and it was always nice when women worked there. Kept it from becoming too much of a boys club (no Snap-On calendars).

Also - give your employees some kind of profit sharing. Then they might not rip so much stuff off and they might be nicer to the customers.
How bout customer service?Red
Mar 23, 2001 2:19 PM
Theres only 2 bike shops here I go to anymore.. The off ramp, and Performance bike. TOR is a smaller shop with mostly fufu stuff, but theres one guy there who makes it worth while (Chris). Chris is friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, and unlike all the other guys workin there, has some good customer service skills. He won't sit there chattin for an hour with another customer while other customers stand around needing help.

Performance bike is a big, nasty, faceless chain store, but they don't act like it at the Campbell location. They always stock a huge selection, usually what what I want, and almost always have sales guys walkin around trying to help everyone.

Fluff (Couches, breeze-shootin, etc) won't get me into a shop. It may help be more happy while I'm there, but you gotta have priorities.

Bike shops nowdays are at a disadvantage. You can do it all online for far far cheaper, so most people will. I constantly throw my shops I go to "bones" just to make up for it.. like buying pedals at a price I know is twice what I can pay online, and stuff like that. Respect your customers and we'll respect you.

Just my $0.02.
U Hit Nail On Head (nm)RoofGOat
Mar 24, 2001 8:03 AM
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Dog
Mar 23, 2001 2:35 PM
I've known the owner, Rich Holdsworth, of Cyclopath in Fresno, CA,
for over 20 years. Can't give him a high enough recommendation.

He gets me good deals on stuff.

He tries to get me things I can't find elsewhere.

He'll talk to me, and will listen.

He knows his stuff.

He's nice and friendly.

He has good employees, good selection, will help solve problems (like my cutting a C40 fork too short)...

re: What do you like most about your LBS?donalson
Mar 23, 2001 3:40 PM
well you've got the 1st part good...your asking and wanting to be better.

i have baught 2 bikes in my life, the 1st was a $650 MTB at the age of 16 (5 years ago) and the other an $800 road bike (last week), i got each from a diffrent shop,...why you ask, no i didn't move, both shope are in town...

the shop i got the 1st bike from, the shop seemed a little snooty, mostly high end bikes...(as somone said about the mercadies showroom), both of the people that work there where road bikers, and they had the standard elitest attitue (least the then standard), they only helped me out when i flashed the money, and then they just pointed me at the most expensive bike they could, the only questiosn they asked where, 1. how much, 2. what kind of bike...thats it...once i said $650 and MTB they pointed to 2 options on sizes...i ended up taking the one bike that fit me, they didn't offer a discout (it was a "last years model")...once i got the bike and walked it out they only saw me 2 other times...once for the free tune up and once to look around agin for a road bike (about 6 months ago)...still the attitude (but it did reduce a little when i mentioned $1000+ road bike

the other shop has earned my loyalty...everytime i walk in i feel at home, it's a shop that the guy built because he loved's got tons of bikes ranging from $150-$2500 bikes...mostly hybrids, cruiser, and BMX, but a good selection of MTB and not bad on the road bikes...all the bikes are in racks like you'd see at a's not just some show room for elitest bikes...but a real "STORE"...when i walk in the people ask "how can i help" and they mean it, if you say your just looking they say "ok just let me know if we can help you"...and agin they mena it, they aren't like the other shop where you can almost hear them say "if you aren't going to buy then get out" so a big thing is the sincerity,...

the next part about shop number 2...i went in one day had been looking at road bikes...didn't know a lot (still don't) but i asked the guy about them and they told me some of the things i needed to know..told me about what size of bike i needed and showed me the good canidats,...(note i didn't buy a bike for over 6 months after then), i visited a few times between when i finaly got a bike, talked MTB and looked (more of a drool) over the new road and MTB

a few weeks ago i went in there to get pre-aproved for a loan for a bike (i can pallet payments much easyer than $800 up front) he punched it though after i found what bike i wanted...added on a few accesories (lights, new helmet, ect) when i got approved i decided to wait a few weeks to get the down payment...came back a few weeks later w/ money in hand, and handed it over, he had the bike all preped and set aside for me (in case i wanted it for sure :) to my supprize he had stuck a water bottle and a saddle bag (the kind that hangs under the seat) in the bag had a tubular wheel and a Co2 pump and cartrage, those extras made me feel even better about shoping there...when picking it up i payed a little more attention and noticed it had non SPD pedals, i asked if i could switch out the pedals for some SPD compatable, no problem :)...he stuck on some VP SPD road pedals...about a week after i had it (3 days ago?) i decided to flip the stem to a + rise instead of - rise, when putting the bars back on i over tightend and striped the threads (argg), i took it into the shop and he tried to fix it, re drilled and put in new threads...and then relized what had gone wrong, it was the wrong size stem for the handel bars...instead of keeping it a secret and making me buy a new one he told me, and went to find another one that was the right size, he slaped it on and was perfect.

after he fixed it i asked if he by chance had a pair of 2 sided SPD's I could trade out (i ride to work, and work the graveyard, so fiding the right side of the pedals in the dark isn't easy), he c
The leftovers!Brian B.
Mar 23, 2001 4:29 PM
There's a shop outside of Boston, which is probably now my favorite of all the Boston area shops (there's gotta be about 50 to choose from).

The reason is, a couple years ago, they opened a whole second little shop, full of leftover (past years) bikes, take-off parts (stems, bars, pedals, seats, etc), used bikes and gear, and all kinds of other great leftover & old stock things like hubs and cranksets. I love it. I can go in and just browse around at all the great older stuff.

I know that a smaller shop couldn't really do that, and I wouldn't hold it against them, but keeping a stock of non-new (inexpensive) parts is so nice.

-Brian B.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Andy M-S
Mar 24, 2001 4:19 AM
A bunch of reasons. One is just that the LBS is a 20-minute walk from work. One is that they're willing to just chew the fat when you drop by. Others?

The people. Or rather, some of the people. To be honest, I buy a lot of my stuff from mailorder--prices do matter. But I like this one LBS (of the five in town) for its staff.

One mechanic in particular is a perfectionist, and he's supported by the shop owner in being a perfectionist. Whenever possible, I try to make certain that he's the one working on my bike. There are a couple of jerks, too. Example: last week, I stopped in for same cable, housing, and ferrules to rebuild my bike. Got home, found out that the ferrules didn't fit the housing. I shouldn't have bought them then--the guy who was working is trouble.

Went back the next day, and D (the perfectionist) was there. He recognized the problem and swapped things immediately.

The shop owner also seems to have a policy--if something isn't done on time, no charge for the labor, no markup on the parts. For example, I needed to get a new BB installed. They told me they had it, quoted a price, and said the bike would be done that afternoon. They didn't have the part, as it turns out, and it was done the next day, and I paid less than mailorder for the BB only--no labor.

Oh, and one other thing I like--if you buy something mail order, or used, and it's something that needs installation, they'll do the job without looking at you like you're scum.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?ScottV
Mar 24, 2001 7:37 AM
The free beer, dancing girls, and the buffet ;).

I keep going to the same place because I consider the guys to be my friends as well as LBS owners. I can pop in there any time and talk about all kinds of stuff (Bike,women etc). I also can bring my bike in pretty much at the last minute and get they to do minor adjustments, usually for nothing. Of course I also spend a lot of money there and have been a regular customer for over 15 years so that helps.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?chops
Mar 24, 2001 7:54 AM
My favorite LBS is Wal-Mart. I truly enjoy the fact that I can walk in with $175 and walk out with a shiny new full suspension rig (skyward pointed bar-ends and all), a week worth of groceries, ping-pong balls, and a 6-pack of Yoo-Hoo!
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Pyg me
Mar 24, 2001 8:51 AM
At Bikelane of Cypress Station (Hou, Tx) it is all about respect. Ken, Jane and Herb are the greatest!

I have seen newbies come in and want to buy a $3000 FS rig and they were steered toward an $800 comfort bike because that is what they rally needed.

Ken, Jane, and Herb are the owners/mechanics. There are no 16 year old pimply faced kids LEARNING how to work on bikes, on your bikes.

I went in last week to make my last payment on my new Sid Race. Ken, dropped what he was doing, pulled the Sid out of the case. Took my Judy out of my hands to measure the steerer tube and immidiately cut the tube to length. Service supreme!

Ken used to wrench for Missy Giove. He treats all his customers like pro riders.

When I bought my last road bike from him, without a word he handed my two bottle cages, two tubes, and a patch kit at no charge.

I have a LBS about 3 miles from my house but I routinels drive 17 miles to his shop because I feel like I owe him that.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?GW Rider
Mar 24, 2001 1:36 PM
2 LBS's get the bulk of my business.

First one, great prices. Knowledgeable staff. True love of bikes.

Second one, same as above.

Suggestions for your shop.

1. Have a couch in a corner where you sell maps, books, etc. Takes up space but lends itself to "casual, relaxed atmosphere".

2. Put in a "rental bench". A place where anyone can come in and work on their bikes. Have on hand a full range of tools. No. 2 above has one, charges something like 7 bucks for a half hour. Plus they are always ready to answer questions. Great Idea.

3. Have weekly rides start from your parking lot. Good business practice. These people are your customers. Gets 'em in the door, even if just for a energy bar.
Its open until late.Bruno S
Mar 24, 2001 2:31 PM
Open until 8pm weekdays and 8:30pm on Fridays.
My guy stays open 'til 11:00 Thurs/Frimike mcmahon
Mar 24, 2001 4:53 PM
He likes to make sure everyone's on the road for the weekend.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Tiger
Mar 24, 2001 2:44 PM
I think it's neat that you're wanting to make your shop better. There are several shops in my area, but the thing I like is the way some of the guys in the shop WANT to help you with your problem. Even after you've messed it up on your own, they don't make you feel like an idiot for bringing your bike in. I'll pay a higher price if I feel like the shop is honest and there to help.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Teach
Mar 24, 2001 3:53 PM
I'm glad you asked, because I love my LBS! Southwest Schwinn, in Houston, TX. Owned by great folks. They give excellent service, answer questions, and often discount stuff for regulars. They know me by name, which I'm not terribly certain I can say about my own doctor! Whenever I need to make a purchase and I have no clue about what to look for, they take the time to give me the pros and cons of what they've got. Why I'd want to spend more and why I wouldn't, with no pressure at all. They just give me info and let me make a decision. Everyone should be as lucky as I am - I love sending friends their way.
Create a relationship with the customers...biknben
Mar 24, 2001 4:49 PM
This is why I enjoy going to my LBS:
One day last summer I rode to my LBS (17 miles). It was a comfortable day so the door to the store was open. I rode my bike right into the store (at a safe speed). As I was going through the display area and there was a sales rep who apparently thought it was unaceptable to ride into a bike shop. He made a stupid comment to the store manager assuming I couldn't hear him. The store manager replied "Oh him? That's Ben. He won the race in Ringwood last weekend." That sales rep changed his tune real fast and I felt good.

One thing I would recommend is not isolating the customers from the wrench area. Let your customers see the grease, tools, and the bikes on the repair stand. Invite them to see their bike on the stand and explain a problem to them. I think it helps to justify the repair costs to the customer. Some people thing truing a wheel, or adjusting a derailuer is childsplay. Let them see you work and they will appreciate you more.

My $.02
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Leroy L
Mar 25, 2001 7:51 AM
My LBS is 30+ m away - Jack Johnston's in Dallas. He's open 7 days a week, you have access to the wrench area and can discuss the work, he and staff are real helpful and won't sell you something that's not needed. I drive past two shops to go there. Plus, he's Irish!
They know my namewhen I walk in...Cartman
Mar 25, 2001 8:27 AM
Gearworks in Leominster, MA. Great bunch of guys working there, always have time for a quick fix when you are in the middle of a ride. Also a good spot to stop for refreshments or the rest room while riding.
Give good advice.Maui
Mar 25, 2001 10:01 AM
There are 3 local bike shops in my area, but I recently stopped giving them any business. During the two years, each of them has either (1) sold me something inappropriate or the ill-fitting because they wanted to get rid of old stock or (2) they've steered me in the wrong direction.

I spend about $2,000 per year on bikes, parts and accessories and primarily use mail order. Neither Excel sports nor Speedgoat has ever given me bad advice or pawned off old junk.

If I need the advice of shop, I wait until vacation. I have never received bad advice from Poison Spider Cyclery or the guys at Supergo in Fountainview.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?Ian
Mar 25, 2001 12:05 PM
As most others have said in one way or another, it is the people. If you have honest, knowledgeable, friendly sales staff, the customers will come back. In the town that I live there are about 10 different shops. Two shops control about 70% of the market. One shop has a single large location and with excellent staff and is not afraid to pay them a decent wage. The other has multiple locations and a hit or miss sales staff making just above minimum wage. Guess which shop is the premier shop? You have to have good people and not be afraid to pay to retain them.
They don't laugh until after I leaveRetro
Mar 26, 2001 7:31 AM
Seriously, now that I'm a middle-aged guy who just rides around, I like not having to put up with crap from kids who weren't born when I started cycling. If I go in and ask for a triple crank and 13-30 cassette, it's because I want those gears. I don't need some 18-year-old racer telling me I should train harder and ride a straight block.
Doesn't mean I don't want (and sometimes take) their suggestions. But I've done most of my business at the same shop for at least 10 years because they DON'T roll their eyes when they see my Brooks saddle, steel frames and 700x32 tires.
re: What do you like most about your LBS?no excuses
Mar 27, 2001 6:23 AM
BikeDoctor - Linthicum Maryland
Jeff Dalik, the owner takes a real interest in your ride. I've never bought a bike from him, but I have been using the shop for repairs and maintenance for years. His shop is the first place I stop when I am checking out a used bike for me or my kids. Right now he is working with me on the fit of my first road bike.
The last time I was in his shop he gave a customer a seat for a bike, rather than trying to sell a new seat for a used bike the customer was taking care of.
Other comments:
Same day service on quick repairs are appreciated.
Jeff also donated his time and materials to two Cub Scout Bike Rodeos that I ran. Nice community support.