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campy/shimano question...(34 posts)

campy/shimano question...dustin73
Jun 24, 2001 1:13 PM
i went to a shop yesterday and asked about campy chorus and the guy started telling about how the shifting of campy was "rigid." from what i've read, the shifting is great. he also said that campy was for the "elite" or "doctors and lawers who had the money." what else did he say...oh yeah, that campy products were hard to find. likei f i were looking for a headset, i'd be screwed. basicly, he was knocking campy components and praising shimano. i've never ridden a campy, but is what he said true? or is he just trying to sell his product? the shop seemed good, and their cycling team had some impressive people (can't remember who, but one of them is training for athens), a few nat. champs, yadda yadda.
Pandora's Box if you ask me.Thioderek
Jun 24, 2001 1:24 PM
Check them both out and decide from there. It is a pretty substantial expense (more if you go with Campy), so make them let you try both out. I have ridden with Shimano, I have riden with Campy and I have ridden them mixed on the same bike. I have always liked Campy more and have that on all my road bikes. However, I do have a full Dura Ace track groupo on one of my track bikes. Some things work better with other applications.

Test, test and then retest. Dont go on anyone's word alone.

Pretty lame though of the shop to suggest that Campy is for the "elite." I am neither a doctor or lawyer, I just like riding.
Pro's ride both!!!Canidraftyou
Jun 24, 2001 2:49 PM
I never could afford the top of the line in Campy or Shimano, but have owned both in Med/upper grade. For what its worth. I rode Campy Veloce on my Bianchi and Ultegra on my Cannondale. Campys answer to Ultegra is Daytona or Chorus my guess. Anyway, Ultegra is truley nicer than the Veloce. What I did really like about Campy is the Thumb action on the shifters, VERY NICE!!!

Hell its all good!!!

Peace out
re: campy/shimano question...mackgoo
Jun 24, 2001 2:58 PM
I would say find another bike shop. Personally I prefer Campy, I just think they have a higher quality product. I recently picked up a used bike with Dura Ace, It's my opinion with a side by side comparison with my old bike with Athena of the same Vintage the Athena works 100% better. I will be putting Record on the bike over the winter. Off the shelf Shimano may be pretty close, a few years and a few thousand miles down the road there is no comparison.
all subjetiveHank
Jun 24, 2001 3:32 PM
just sounds like he was giving you his subjective opinion as if it was some kind of objective truth. I happen to agree with some or most of what he says, but try both and see what you like better. Regarding spare parts availability, well, it all depends on how fast you wear out stuff and how good the local shops are and how much you are willing to track down stuff and work on the bike on your own. For someone who is pretty helpless mechanically and who lives in a small town with not-so-hot bike shops, Shimano Ultegra or Dura Ace is probably the best choice. But it all depends.
all subjetivepeloton
Jun 24, 2001 4:18 PM
The choice between Campy and Shimano is personal. Some like one or the other. Don't believe the BS about one being superior to the other on the higher end of the technology scale. They are very close in their high end groups, and the differences are asthetics and preference there. Both Dura-ace and Record perform very well and are similar in durability and weight. On lower end groups, Shimano has an advantage. Shimano's lower end groups are smoother, more reliable, and a little better thought out. Lower replacement cost and better availibility also goes to Shimano, and this is especially important to lower end gruppos.

I choose Shimano because it's cheaper for me to replace cassettes, chains, and chainrings when I wear them out and it is easier to get Shimano replacement parts like these in most areas. It would cost me substantially more to run Chorus than Ultegra for drivetrain parts. I also like the STI shifter/brake levers that Shimano makes. If you perefer the Campy Ergopower shifters, it might be worth the added cost to run Campy to you. The shifters are really the make or break decision between the groups.

Weigh your options, preferences, and then decide which gruppo you prefer. You really can't go wrong either way.
Now's your chance ! - go with Chorus - don't look back [nm]davidl
Jun 24, 2001 6:01 PM
Any supposed professional who would spout such blather ...Elefantino
Jun 24, 2001 6:41 PM
... doesn't deserve your business. What an idiot. And I ride Shimano (but used to ride Campy). If you want to buy Campy, go for it — at another shop.
a couple more questions...dustin73
Jun 24, 2001 6:53 PM
what about the compatability of Campy parts? isn't that some great feature with Campy, or am i just fabricating that? and another question...do Campy parts require that much maintenance? the guy at the shop made it sound like i'd be working on the bike every other week. like open barrings would need lubbing, stuff would need tightning, yadda yadda. i think he said 4 tune ups the first year, 2 every year after...
a couple more questions...peloton
Jun 24, 2001 7:02 PM
You are going to find that the service cycle of Campy components to be perfectly acceptable and the equivilant of Shimano. Once set up right, any component gruppo is going to need basic cable adjustment and tightening of bolts. Neither Campy or Shimano pulls ahead in this category. It's just basic bike care, not weaknesses of the components. Campy won't require any more or less work than anything else. To suggest Campy would require more service is total BS.

For Shimano vs. Campy I would sum it up this way-

-Low end- go Shimano
-Ability to rebuild- go Campy
-High end- both are great, personal choice based on feel
-Availibility and cost- go Shimano
-Is one better than the other? not really
A queston that can't be answered..DINOSAUR
Jun 24, 2001 7:16 PM
I've been riding with Shimano Ultegra for the last three seasons. After around 11K+ miles my STI shifters are getting rather sloppy. I can't rebuild them as they are "made like a watch" and I have to purchase the complete lever's, then have them installed, unless I care to be daring and do it myself. The Campy's can be rebuilt, money wise I don't know what the difference in price is, but I would think it would be less expensive to rebuild the Campy's then purchase new STI's. A lot of it depends on what feel you prefer. New, the nod sways to Shimano. It comes down to preference. The Pro's ride with both. My LBS stocks both brands, I've heard by word of mouth that Campy is hard to deal with on warranty problems. Perhaps this was an isolated instance and someone else can elaborate on this.
You have opened "Pandora's Box" as far as the great Campy vs Shimano debate. My suggestion would be to test ride both groups and go with the one which you feel most comfortable with.
My own little current experience in trying to replace the little plastic nameplate dust covers for my Ultegra STI levers makes me want to consider Campy the next time I purchase a new bike in the upcoming future. Basically this part is a peice of badly engineered piece of crap and someone must have been asleep in the engineering department when they were designed. I go from experience and this might make me avoid Shimano in the future, the grudge carrying old guy that I am.
did you find that part?Hank
Jun 24, 2001 7:41 PM
any luck with any of those mail order shops?
No and yes....DINOSAUR
Jun 24, 2001 8:58 PM
I tried every internet online bike part place I could find. All the ones you provided, plus a few more with no luck.

On the goodside, I also emailed my LBS who has a website and advised them of my little problem. Ater all this it turns out that I was provided bad information by the kid that waited on me in the store and in fact they CAN order the part for me. However it makes me want to visit the smaller shop in town and do business with them instead.
This is not the first time they have been reluctant to order a part for me. Must be the busy time of year, too bad it wasn't the middle of February, service I'm sure would be a little different. No wonder the mail order businesses do so well. It brings out a point that one should consider WHERE one makes a purchase and not just WHAT he is buying. This is something that is always overlooked when guys look for new bikes. Perhaps when it comes time next year to buy that new Colnago, I might consider dropping my bucks elsewhere. Large inventories are nice, but service after the sale should also be considered. It sort of compares with buying a brand new car, then dealing with the auto dealers service department. That's where the sale is made in my book. By the way, screw general motors! Never again. Japenese or German, but never Italian, unless Ferrari of course...

Hmmmm... read that Mopar is coming out with a new hemi...
No and yes....Hank
Jun 24, 2001 10:13 PM
I can tell you from working at shops that special orders are basically done at a loss for the shop. Then, oftentimes customers won't come through with their end of the bargain when the part actually arrives. That's why many shops are hesitant to do it.

So you're thinking Colnago. Nice. I'd definitely also look into some of the California builders like Steelman or Mikkelesen--they can at least make sure you get a frame you'll be happy with.

I'm a bit worried about Chysler since Mercedes took over. There have been a few interesting concept vehicles, but who knows if there will be any follow through. Plus, quality of Crysler products has been awful for the last few decades. I think I'll stick with 80s Volvos for transportation (maybe a new Subaru or Honda some day if I can afford it) and 60s Mopars for fun.
No and yes....DINOSAUR
Jun 24, 2001 11:27 PM
Yes, I can see the point about special orders. I should have asked to speak to the LBS owner. I've being doing business with him for 11 years and I'm sure he would have placed it for me.

On the new bike, I've thought this thing to death and decided on the Colnago. I want steel, my LBS is a Colnago dealer, I get 10% off with my club discount, the geometry would suit me as I have a short torso, the Master Light has been recommended as a near bullet proof, smooth riding steel frame and well, because I just want one. The second option is to keep my Klein and just rebuild it.

I've read that Chrysler has already designed the hemi, they just haven't put in production yet. My '95 Ford F250 should last a couple of more decades, my wife's '95 Buick Regal is starting to nickle and dime us to death. The only good thing about the car is the 3.8 liter V-6 engine and transmission. Probably when the time comes we will think seriously about a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord. American cars still don't hold up, unless of course it is a '66 Plymouth Sattelite..
No and yes....Hank
Jun 24, 2001 11:55 PM
sounds like the Colnago will be just the ticket. Same reason I finally got a Merckx - just wanted one, and I knew it was going to keep bugging me until I did. Also, I'm afraid the bikes like the steel Merckx and Master Light aren't going to be offered for all that much longer. Gotta get 'em while the getting's good.

Man, that's a drag about the Buick. I don't mind putting money into the old Volvo - it's safe and reliable and has stopped depreciating, plus those Volvo 4 bangers are good for 250K+ miles. Now, if I could just scrape some extra cash together for a nice B-body...
hey guys, where do y'all get to ride those frames?dustin73
Jun 25, 2001 12:24 AM
i live in austin, and i don't think there's one shop that sells colnago...or pinarello, bianchi, merckx, and all them other neato frames...
re: hey guys, where do y'all get to ride those frames?Elefantino
Jun 25, 2001 5:37 AM
When I was in Austin for the RFTR I passed a place called "Bike Sport" or "Bicycle Sport" that sells Serotta and other high-end frames.
yeah, they carry Serotta, Lemond, Klein, Trek, and Specializeddustin73
Jun 25, 2001 1:31 PM
nm
hey guys, where do y'all get to ride those frames?Hank
Jun 25, 2001 9:15 AM
actually, the Merckx is the only Euro frame I have - got it used but barely ridden for $300 over the internet. The rest of my bikes are built by small California builders I came into contact with while working at shops in Nor Cal. One mail order shop that seems to carry most of the big boys you mention is cbike.com.
hey guys, where do y'all get to ride those frames?dustin73
Jun 25, 2001 1:28 PM
well, would i have to go over the big pond to test different frames from like Colnago or Pinarello, or do places in the states carry built bikes with various frames from those makers that people can test ride?
re: campy/shimano question...bslang
Jun 24, 2001 8:28 PM
Your posting brings up an interesting phenomenon in the world of road bikes in the United States. Going to bike shops and reading the various forums, I have also found that there is generally a strong pro-Shimano, anti-Campy bias. It almost seems as if a lot of people think Shimano is the proper, American way to fit out a bike frame, and that by using Campagnolo, you are somehow holding yourself out as an elitist, shifty-eyed snob. The thing is, Shimano components are made in a nation that, geographically, is further away from the United States than is the nation that makes Campagnolo. What's more, Campagnolo is made in a region that is famous for the quality of its industrial products. Neither of them have any American blood in them. To me, in other words, it all seems to boil down to a misplaced prejudice against a European, specifically Italian product.

In any case, let me make it plain that I am far from a Japan or Shimano basher. I have found Shimano products to be of very high quality. Both Campagnolo and Shimano are grand old companies that are still run by their namesakes. As a matter of fact, Shimano has been in business longer than Campy. It's just the apparent bigotry displayed by Americans and American bike shops against Campy really sticks in my craw.
Older Campy was thought to be clunky. The newer stuff isn't.bill
Jun 24, 2001 8:34 PM
If you go see what people are riding on race day, other than sponsored pros, I guess, most racers seem to use Shimano -- hence (maybe) the doctors and lawyers comment. I think that Shimano is just more accessible, less precious, and racers go through the stuff. I've got campy, and I think it's incredible. I guess I have maybe 2500 plus miles on my 10 sp., and it does NOT require a lot of maintenance. Not to say that I wouldn't think the other stuff is incredible, too.
I think that, if he wasn't just full of sh*t, I think that your guy was (a) working on old conventional wisdom and/or (b) trying to tell you something other than what you asked him.
re: campy/shimano question...badabill
Jun 24, 2001 8:46 PM
I too looked at campy for my last build, ended up going shimano only because all my other bikes are shimano and I change out wheels and cassettes alot. most of the racers locally use shimano, so thats a plus when you need something on raceday. Ive ridden campy in the past and could not tell a big difference in performance, just a personel choice...
Agree with Dinosaurs advicepfw2
Jun 24, 2001 11:11 PM
What I always tell prospective bike buyers (but rarely hear on the board here) is: You're buying a bike shop not a bike. If you have to travel an hour just to drop your bike off for service, then back again to pick it up, is it worth the $50 you may have saved? Or were you so stuck on that particular bike that convenience was secondary (didn't Kristin complain about having a 40 min journey for handlebar/seat adjustment?). Some may WANT to go out of their way because the local LBS has a bad attitude and gives BS advice.

The same is true with components. I have Ultegra and Daytona. There are probably a dozen shops within 10 miles that carry Shimano, while only two or three carry Campy, none of which are open on Sunday and their inventory is not as complete as it could be (not to put them down, they're smaller outfits). I love my Campy. If you go Shimano I'd recommend you find a shop you can build a relationship with where you can trust the advice you're getting.
Do it Yourself!Jerry Gardner
Jun 25, 2001 12:08 PM
What I always tell prospective bike buyers (but rarely hear on the board here) is: You're buying a bike shop not a bike. If you have to travel an hour just to drop your bike off for service, then back again to pick it up, is it worth the $50 you may have saved? Or were you so stuck on that particular bike that convenience was secondary (didn't Kristin complain about having a 40 min journey for handlebar/seat adjustment?).

Who goes to a shop for handlebar/seat adjustment? Perhaps people should spend some time and learn the basics so that they don't have to drive that far for service.

I don't consider myself very mechanically inclined, yet I do all of my own maintenence, except for things that require expensive, specialized tools, such as facing bottom bracket shells. It's not really difficult, and with today's labor rates, I save a lot of money.
re: campy/shimano question...cmorris
Jun 24, 2001 11:39 PM
I would take the salesman's comments to mean that they don't know how to work on Campy at this shop. If you buy Campy, buy from a shop that does.
find a different shopDaveG
Jun 25, 2001 6:08 AM
I would say that Campy shifting is more "deliberate" than Shimano. I have one bike with Campy and one with Shimano. Shifting on both is precise, smooth, and reliable. Neither has required much maintenance or adjustment once set up. Personal preference plays a huge role here as the shifting methods are different (this is where I like Campy better). I seems to me that this shop has no experince with Campy and is afraid of working on it or doesn't want to sell it. I'd consider a different shop especially if you go Campy. Most shops (in my area at least) sell primarily Mtn bikes and may have only ever touched Shimano and know nothing else.
been therebianchi boy
Jun 25, 2001 9:28 AM
Try to ride bikes with both groups and see which one you like better. I have one bike with Ultegra and just bought another with Campy Chorus 10. The Ultegra takes less effort to shift and feels a little smoother. The Campy has a more definite, precise feel to it but takes a little more finger pressure to shift. The Ultegra has certain glitches that drive me crazy -- the chain occasionally throws off when shifting to the inner chain ring, and it rubs on the front derailleur in certain gears and doesn't trim well. So far, in more than 600 miles of riding, I don't have a single complaint with the Chorus. It shifts cleanly and precisely every time and has never thrown the chain. If you get a little chain rub in certain gears, it is very easy to trim. I also like the 10-speed option. I got the 13-29 cassette, which gives me a good range of gears with a granny for big hills. It's like having a triple without the hassles. The Campy gearing also seems to "break in," getting smoother with more use, while the Shimano seems to get a little sloppier.

If you decide on Campy, find a bike shop that likes to work on it and is familiar with it. The bottom line for me is that both groups are good, but I prefer the Campy now that I'm used to it.
yes you are right (long post)lonefrontranger
Jun 25, 2001 11:37 AM
I have ridden Campy and Shimano, high end and low end, and have experience with both going back about ten years. It is truly personal preference: I have both on my bikes, and I'll ride either without complaint. There are a lot of ranting, raving brand-name conservative fundamentalists in either camp. My feeling about the initial posting is that that shop mech most likely doesn't have and doesn't want to buy that ridiculous $60 10-speed Campy chain tool, and is letting that color his judgement about the entire brand.

My .02:

Campy starts out "stiffer". Some call it more positive, some say it's klunky. Whatever, it's personal preference, but it is chunky straight out of the box. New out of the box, Shimano is much lighter, smoother, quieter, easier to shift, however you'd like to term it. The difference is in spring stiffness, and if you're someone who tends to keep their stuff forever, the Campy stuff tends to last over the long haul. The downside of this is the cost and durability of the Campy stuff makes it very hard to justify upgrading every few years as most of us like to do.

Some people strongly dislike and/or are physically unable to use the Campy thumb shifter, as it's too far from their position in the drops (you need to be pretty flexible in the thumb). Some people dislike the Shimano ergonomics that, for those with short hands can cause you to brake as you're shifting (I fall into this group), but here again, it's personal preference.

With about a month's riding, the Campy breaks in to be just as smooth, with the bonus of being able to "trim" the shifting as cable stretch occurs. It's nice to be able to ride the stuff efficiently even if you tend to procrastinate on adjusting it. The Shimano stuff has to always be aligned and set up dead on perfect to function properly. If you're a born tinkerer, this isn't a problem, but if you're a lazy slob like me, the finicky factor can be annoying. The Shimano shifters are very sensitive to dirt and grime, and after a rainy, gritty ride they will often utterly "lock up" - the solution to this is turn the bike upside down in a workstand and give it a good solid flushing around the springs and under the shifter shrouds with Tri-Flow or equivalent. The Campy stuff will occasionally get "shifter lock" in the ratchets if you try to shift both buttons at once. The solution to this is to push the long lever once firmly to unlock it.

As the groupsets age, the quality of the Campy bearings, springs and workmanship starts to distance itself from Shimano. The performance gap increases geometrically with age and is inversely proportional to the cost of the groupset. The "Shimano click" typically develops after about one season's use on a 105 or Ultegra bottom bracket. It could be argued that this is a good reason to replace your BB every season, but again, I tend to be a procrastinator, so I appreciate the Campy bearing quality.

Within about 3 seasons use, give or take, the 105 or lower groupset will have (a) lost those silly shifter dustcaps and/or developed tooth-clenching rattles in them and (b) the springs will be so shot, you've developed what I term "indexed friction", i.e. the only thing shifting the bike is the cable pull, so you have to click the lever, then wiggle it around to hit the gear you want. Ultegra gets fairly loose and sloppy over this time frame, and also tends to develop squeaks and rattles. The pawls in the midrange to lower end Shimano cassette bodies also tend to wear and break at 3-4 season's usage. I've had several that slip, and one which failed catastrophically in the midst of a race, leaving me pushing / scootering back to the car. As I'm female and pretty lightweight, I doubt it's a riding style thing.

Dura-Ace stuff is really, really nice, the bearing quality and workmanship is comparable with high level Campy stuff, and you proba
yes you are right (long post)lonefrontranger
Jun 25, 2001 11:39 AM
I have ridden Campy and Shimano, high end and low end, and have experience with both going back about ten years. It is truly personal preference: I have both on my bikes, and I'll ride either without complaint. There are a lot of ranting, raving brand-name conservative fundamentalists in either camp. My feeling about the initial posting is that that shop mech most likely doesn't have and doesn't want to buy that ridiculous $60 10-speed Campy chain tool, and is letting that color his judgement about the entire brand.

My .02:

Campy starts out "stiffer". Some call it more positive, some say it's klunky. Whatever, it's personal preference, but it is chunky straight out of the box. New out of the box, Shimano is much lighter, smoother, quieter, easier to shift, however you'd like to term it. The difference is in spring stiffness, and if you're someone who tends to keep their stuff forever, the Campy stuff tends to last over the long haul. The downside of this is the cost and durability of the Campy stuff makes it very hard to justify upgrading every few years as most of us like to do.

Some people strongly dislike and/or are physically unable to use the Campy thumb shifter, as it's too far from their position in the drops (you need to be pretty flexible in the thumb). Some people dislike the Shimano ergonomics that, for those with short hands can cause you to brake as you're shifting (I fall into this group), but here again, it's personal preference.

With about a month's riding, the Campy breaks in to be just as smooth, with the bonus of being able to "trim" the shifting as cable stretch occurs. It's nice to be able to ride the stuff efficiently even if you tend to procrastinate on adjusting it. The Shimano stuff has to always be aligned and set up dead on perfect to function properly. If you're a born tinkerer, this isn't a problem, but if you're a lazy slob like me, the finicky factor can be annoying. The Shimano shifters are very sensitive to dirt and grime, and after a rainy, gritty ride they will often utterly "lock up" - the solution to this is turn the bike upside down in a workstand and give it a good solid flushing around the springs and under the shifter shrouds with Tri-Flow or equivalent. The Campy stuff will occasionally get "shifter lock" in the ratchets if you try to shift both buttons at once. The solution to this is to push the long lever once firmly to unlock it.

As the groupsets age, the quality of the Campy bearings, springs and workmanship starts to distance itself from Shimano. The performance gap increases geometrically with age and is inversely proportional to the cost of the groupset. The "Shimano click" typically develops after about one season's use on a 105 or Ultegra bottom bracket. It could be argued that this is a good reason to replace your BB every season, but again, I tend to be a procrastinator, so I appreciate the Campy bearing quality.

Within about 3 seasons use, give or take, the 105 or lower groupset will have (a) lost those silly shifter dustcaps and/or developed tooth-clenching rattles in them and (b) the springs will be so shot, you've developed what I term "indexed friction", i.e. the only thing shifting the bike is the cable pull, so you have to click the lever, then wiggle it around to hit the gear you want. Ultegra gets fairly loose and sloppy over this time frame, and also tends to develop squeaks and rattles. The pawls in the midrange to lower end Shimano cassette bodies also tend to wear and break at 3-4 season's usage. I've had several that slip, and one which failed catastrophically in the midst of a race, leaving me pushing / scootering back to the car. As I'm female and pretty lightweight, I doubt it's a riding style thing.
too daggone wordy! (thread truncation) - ramble continuedlonefrontranger
Jun 25, 2001 11:41 AM
Sorry about the dual post, didn't realize my page limit was up. As I was saying:

Dura-Ace stuff is really, really nice, the bearing quality and workmanship is comparable with high level Campy stuff, and you probably will never have issues with it within a typical lifetime, i.e. the average 5 or so years before your next upgrade / new bike. If you prefer their ergonomics and have the cash, go for it.

As was noted by other posters, there are other differences in compatibility and replaceability, but IMO it boils down to:

(a) How often you clean/adjust and maintain your stuff (Campy tends to be more forgiving of neglect)

(b) Your ergonomic preferences, as noted above

(c) Whether or not you plan to replace the stuff on a regular basis (every couple years as racers tend to, every 3-5 for your typical rider). If you are one of those guys who won't change or upgrade the groupset for the next 10 years, I'd probably recommend Campy, just because they have a better long-term track record for durability, repairability, backward compatibility, and keeping the odd bits in stock.
shop issuesDog
Jun 25, 2001 9:32 AM
My shop continually urged my toward Shimano, which I bought for several years. I almost got the impression that they did not even carry Campy, as they poopoo'd the idea every time I brought it up.

So, when I need another group, I got Campy Record mail order, but bought the frame and wheels from the local shop. I took the bike, which I built up, in for something, and the owner said "where'd you get the Record stuff?"

I told him mail order, and he looked astounded. I told him that I brought it up multiple times, and was steered away every time. He said that they do that, somewhat because of the difference in distribution systems between Campy and Shimano. Apparently, Shimano floor plan's the parts, that is, allows the dealers to stock it for a time before having to pay for it. He told me the Campy wholesaler requires immediate payment for everything, thus giving a disincentive to stock Campy parts. Makes sense.

Plus, he sells Dura Ace over all Campy by about 4-1, and this shop moves a lot of road bikes. Apparently not a lot of people asking for Campy, compared to Shimano. Of course, he sells a lot more Ultegra than Dura Ace, with Ultegra almost being the shop default.

So, many of these things are not controlled purely by the equipment itself, but rather some back office economic/marketing factors.

Doug
shop issuesTJeanloz
Jun 25, 2001 11:12 AM
A couple of issues have been brought up here.

The first is that shop guys, myself included, dish out a lot of B.S. to our customers. Why would we do such a thing? First, sometimes things happen in this industry that are stranger than fiction, and you know the customer isn't going to believe you (i.e. "The boat carrying the parts from Japan sank") so you give a much simpler reason ("They've been selling so well, we can't get our hands on any"). I'm not proud of saying things that aren't 100% true, but sometimes it's the cost of doing business.

In terms of program deals, both Shimano and Campy go through the same distribution channels in the U.S. QBP, the biggest distributer, allows its accounts that pay their bills on time (which apparently aren't many) to buy stuff in November and pay for it in installments over the course of the next season. Your dealer probably buys his Shimano stuff from one of the big bicycle manufacturers like Trek or Schwinn, who will let him "piggyback" his parts program on with his bikes program. Most of these companies don't have Campy stuff. But smart management will allow you to get Campy stuff on program deals.

In my time in the industry, it never ceased to amaze me what poor decisions shop owners (not mine) made in their supply chains. I'd say, on average, we paid 10% less than we might have for parts because of good management. Things like free freight, early payment discounts, and other discounts really add up in the long run. Smart management is all that will keep a bike shop in business, the margins just are big enough to fool around with.