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Idiots at my LBS ...(11 posts)

Idiots at my LBS ...Humma Hah
Jul 31, 2002 2:14 PM
There are two bike shops in town, a local shop and a Performance clearance center. The little shop manages to stay competitive with Performance, and I try to give them as much business as possible, and to cultivate a relationship.

Its hard, sometimes.

In California, my LBS tended to be rude, but was top-knotch knowledgable, and very helpful once I worked up a relationship with them.

The local shop has domestiques who are rude and dumb as stumps. The manager, who now knows me by name, is just kinda dumb, but tries to be helpful.

He's supposed to be building a wheel for me for the '74 Paramount fixie, so I stopped by today to see how it was coming and to try to solve the front wheel issue. The Campy "700c clincher" used front wheel I got will not mount a 700c tire, and I was trying to get a 27" to try on it. The tire the domistiques ordered yesterday came in with gum walls (I ordered blackwall).

So the tire is on the bench, and the manager shows me the rim for the new 700c rear wheel. Plops it down on the counter inside the tire. I stare for a minute -- what's wrong with THIS picture? A 27" bead is about 1/4" bigger than a 700c, and this rim is clearing the 27" tire bead by about an inch all around.

"That's not 700c", I protest.

"Uh-huh", he insists.

I point out the error. He checks. I'm right.

No WONDER he couldn't tell a 700c from a 27" rim! He can't tell a 650c from a 700c. I wonder how tight those spokes would have been?

Also, the fixed/singlespeed flip-flop hub has no provision for a lockring on either side, i.e. it is really SS/SS. It will work, but since I'm having it custom made, I'm reluctant to not get it right. Grrrrrr.

He also has sold me chains which are too short, tubes too small, etc. And they wonder why some folks order off the internet.
It's your own fault for riding a weird bike...cory
Jul 31, 2002 3:31 PM
I have the same problem with anything the (reputedly excellent) "pro" LBS doesn't sell a lot of. The kid mechanics are terrific on nine-speed Ultegra. Throw them an old Suntour thumbshifter moving a Campy 990 rear derailleur over a Helicomatic freewheel (my old commuter setup), and all they can say is, "You can upgrade this to Ultegra, you know."
Found a helpful new kid once ...Humma Hah
Aug 1, 2002 8:56 AM
I was making the rounds of the San Diego LBSs, looking for some way to put rear brakes on the cruiser.

At one MTB shop in La Jolla, a new kid came up and asked if he could help -- I doubted he could, as nobody I'd asked for several weeks had any clue how to do what I needed short of adding braze-ons. The kid thought for a minute, said he'd seen something like that in a catalog, and started leafing thru the Big Cheese catalog. The result? The cruiser now has a nice V-brake on a stout aluminum adapter made expressly to retrofit modern brakes to old cruisers.
I sort of had the same problem...Lone Gunman
Jul 31, 2002 6:47 PM
getting reliable help from my LBS. I gave up on one after I went in and asked for a BMX 17 tooth free and he doubted that one existed. Shop monkey boy gets out a catalog and shows owner a 17T free. "Well we can have it by Wednesday" (this was a friday, he sells mainly 50%BMX stuff in his shop) My instant thought was I can have it by tues if I order it and not pay your ridiculous mark up. I then asked for a track cog which I did not expect him to have, he wouldn't even look for one.

Wheels are a whole 'nother story. I found a reliable guy to build wheels and drive about 50+ miles to get to his shop. He built my fix/SS wheels in 3 days turnaround time. My 2 choices for LBS are bad and worse. Thank god I have learned to do most of the work myself, LBS is really irritating these days. Seems as though if I don't buy a bike from him every 2 years, I get bad service, although I have heard it is not just me.
My LBS is pretty good...Ginz
Aug 1, 2002 8:06 AM
It's certainly not as cheap as mailorder, but my LBS knows their way around a fixie. They built mine, wheels and all, even changed the spacing on the hubs. They certainly don't keep track cogs in stock, but they wouldn't look at you funny if you asked for one. Visit the shops in the city and you could probably find any size track cog you need.

Me: "Should I do 130mm spacing?"
LBS: "You can, but 120 gives you that nice chainline..."
I would ditch them and call Sheldon BrownDougSloan
Aug 1, 2002 1:32 PM
I would ditch them except for the simplest stuff (tubes). Call up or e-mail Sheldon Brown. I've ordered several things from him (Harris Cyclery). They have supreme knowledge and are very helpful. They are indeed an LBS, just another L.

Doug
They're not much good at the LITTLE stuff ...Humma Hah
Aug 1, 2002 2:06 PM
They've been out of FR-6 freewheel pullers for a month (those are used by their MX customers). Tend to stock undersized tubes. Unaware of differences in chains.

They did have one of those discontinued NiteStick Code 15 lights for the same price as an internet site, but without the shipping charges.

In their favor, they sponsor meetings of a local cycling club, Potomac Velo. I belive they're trying to support the sport.

I really want these guys to succeed, but I want them to succeed as a quality shop. There are relatively few bike shops in Northern Virginia, and I don't think any of them are making much money. Maybe they'd make more, though, and attract more people to cycling, if the kids in them were not rude, and knew about something other than stunt bikes.
I think my closest LBS knows thatLone Gunman
Aug 1, 2002 4:24 PM
I will or do buy my stuff mailorder, he barely gives me the time of day when I stop. Seems like anytime I ask for something, he never has it. I sort of look at it this way, he charged me full retail for my Lemond ($1850+tax+computer)and at this point I know he made several $100 on the sale, but the kit that he has is marginal stuff, his helmets don't fit me (Bell), he has a poor selection of shoes and next to no new stock road bikes in his shop, just catalogs. Tires? Specialized only. I go there for simple stuff like bearings and cone nuts etc.
Lemond Zurich? nmscottfree
Aug 2, 2002 5:07 AM
Lemond ZurichLone Gunman
Aug 2, 2002 6:22 AM
Yep, I didn't even try to negotiate as I had not bought a bike in 10 years? and this was in the spring of the newest line of bikes out when they were selling at their highest price point. I had searched around for a while to find just what I wanted as a complete bike (wheels/components/frame materials) and saw the Lemond and HAD to have it. At that time, Lemonds were rare to see. Funny how things change.
Nice bike, though. That andscottfree
Aug 2, 2002 9:07 AM
the Buenos Aires. Good 'bang-for-buck' retro-ish steel bikes.