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LBS, Chain Bike shop, or Mail Order(6 posts)

LBS, Chain Bike shop, or Mail OrderAmbishawn
Nov 7, 2002 9:25 PM
Out of curiosity, Which do you prefer to do business with, I'm getting the most satisfaction buying stuff off the Web retailers. It seems to me that the smaller the shop the more poorly managed it is. Example, over at supergo they have a great selection and the lowest prices as far as cash and carry are concerned. Also noticed that the employees of the bigger stores offer better services as far as locating special order stuff is concerned. I think the overall managment skills of the small shops is the real reason they go out of business. I assume if you need someone to hold your hand through the bike selection process the LBS is the way to go. If you've had some
bikes, you will realize there services are over rated. I like haveing a good bike mechanic though.
re: LBS, Chain Bike shop, or Mail Orderdustin73
Nov 7, 2002 11:57 PM
nah, small shops go out of business 'cause people go to chain shops or mail order. small shops can't compete with the prices, obviously, so they lose quite a few customers. i still buy from my LBS if it's something on the smaller end of the scare, or if i know i'll benefit from their resources.

as for employees...i don't know...i've never had bad experiences with anything. i tell the shop exactly what i want, and i get it. for example, i'm ordering a build from my LBS in about a week. asked for a 24" AtomLab rim (mtb stuff), but got a call from the shop saying they weren't made. i did about 30mins of research and found out one of AtomLab's distributors didn't offer the rim i wanted in 24". told the shop, and sure enough, BTI doesn't offer a 24" Trailpimp. again, they are smaller, so it's not like they're gonna have the all the retail knowledge/contacts (i guess? referring to multiple distributors, and the like) that a big, nationwide chain will have.
re: LBS, Chain Bike shop, or Mail OrderMXL02
Nov 8, 2002 5:50 AM
LBS's can't compete with the bigger chains who buy in bulk, and can sell retail what it costs the LBS wholesale. What you are buying at the LBS is service, comraderie, a place to go and talk bikes. Personally, I like the prices at supergo, but hate their policies. Their return with stocking fee policy really sucks for a mail order company.
re: LBS, Chain Bike shop, or Mail OrderAmbishawn
Nov 8, 2002 6:23 AM
I suppose I'm a little pissed off at My LBS, I ordered a Crown Jewel road frame with a $500 deposit and Found out from IF (independent fabrication) that the shop owner is trying to gouge the price of the frames paint job. On top of this, the owner of the shop is the only one who knows anything about the frame and isn't returning My phone calls. I had the same touchy feely attitude about this shop up until the point I desided to spend some real money there.
It's all made the freindly cameradrie dissapper.
I would PREFER a good LBS, but ...Allez Rouge
Nov 8, 2002 6:55 AM
... we only have one in the small, semi-rural city in which I live, and it's not a very good one, so I end up ordering pretty much everything I need online. I have no experience with the big chains.

The size, management, price, and employee competence issues are something of a vicious circle, or chicken vs. egg, or both. A small shop can't offer better prices until it gets bigger and it won't get bigger unless it's well-managed and unless it's well-managed it won't get a lot of business and ... well, you see the problem.

The comment about an LBS being a place to hang out and talk bikes is pretty much right on, and IMO that's worth something. If we did have a good LBS here, I would gladly pay, say, 10 percent more than I could order stuff online just for the comradarie, being able to meet new people to ride with, etc. And yes, I do realize that by not going ahead and supporting my LBS now, to help them grow, I'm part of the problem. Maybe I need to rethink my policies.

Somewhat related to all this ... I think one big attraction of shopping online is that there's usually no sales tax. There are shipping charges, which reduces the advantage the online vendor has over an LBS. If the sales tax advantage disappears, too (and many states are already enacting laws to see that it does), then the gap should narrow even more.
Nov 8, 2002 8:22 AM
I buy online and from the bike shop. Sometimes, though, the bike shop do not have a thing you need at the moment. Or some bike shop owners are too "cool" for you (especially the MTB oriented).
A few weeks ago I went to all of the bike shops in my town 5=6 of them with the money in my pocket wanting to buy a bike. i did research and knew what I need from the bike. In all except the one, I got such a cold (weird) reception without them paying much interest in my needs. Although I expressed desire on which kind of bike I am looking for, none of them bothered to take my name, address etc if such a bike arrives. I give you the example:
shop 1- had only one brand lower end sora components. Owner said: we are expecting more bikes to come and turned back to talk to somebody else.
shop2- when I asked about the particular bike the guy said: no we don't have that one, but that's a good bike, and continued working on his bikestand.
shop3-no road bikes at al. I asked the owner about the bike and he said that the strike on the docks in SF delayed the shippment but it will come, man it will come. Again no writing my telephone # or name.
shop4- I entered the shop and the owner was sitting on a chair chatting with his friend. He was actually sitting on the doorway going to the bike display. So when I wanted to go to see the bikes he didn't even move. I had to squeeze in between him and the door. All the time I looked the bikes he franticaly chatted withhis friend. Then when I was leaving I wanted to ask about one particular bike but while I was talking, the owner's little dog came and pissed on the camelbacks he was sorting out on the floor and the owner run out chastising little dog. I just left the shop quite dissatisfied.
and on and on..
When I shop on line I get exactly what I want and if I don't like it I just return.
But I've also been to the Richardson Bike Mart in TX, and I thought that place was soo cool. I wanted to buy all the bikes they had there (bike lust fully bloomed). As soon I arrived the sales guy came and took care of my needs. Etc etc.
But that's how I like. Somebody may have different opinion.