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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I snapped a spoke last night, so I took the wheel in to a LBS near work that up until now I have visited regularly to replace the spoke and have it trued. Aside from suspension work, wheel truing is the only repair work I don't do myself since I don't have a stand, its a pain, and I don't mind giving $25 to a local business to have them do it.

The dude must have been in a bad mood today, since he was sitting behind the counter not doing much and clearly getting annoyed by customers. I showed him the wheel and he said it would take 4-6 days to get to it since they're backed up. I said I needed it today or tomorrow if possible, and he handed it back to me and shrugged.

Keep in mind I've had wheels trued there multiple times and he knows me, and knows I race. It's a 20 minute repair. I understand they're busy, but 4-6 days is ridiculous. I took it down the street to REI and they're truing it right now, and I hope they don't mess it up, haha.

Anyways, I'm ordering a surplus of spokes and nipples and a truing stand from Jenson this afternoon. One step closer to complete self sufficiency. If you work at a LBS and wonder why more and more serious riders buy everything online, this is why.

You want to change this trend?

1. Take care of regular customers who you know have a greater need for parts and services faster than the average weekend casual rider.

2. Keep in stock common parts that riders need on a regular basis and often on short notice. I will gladly pay an extra $10 for a SRAM x9 deraiileur if I can drive down the street to get it rather than wait for it in the mail 4 days.
 

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what shop? I need some wheels trued and Ill make sure not to stop by this shop.

Ive also been contemplating buying a stand and learning to true my own wheels because I hate the long waits without my bike
 

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Kaishingo
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I think the bigger problem is that $8 an hour often doesn't buy very good customer service. Being a retail "professional", and having worked/managed shops for years, I've met a lot of co-workers who are in it for the discount, or after-school job, or just because they have no other ambition in life.

So you fire these people because they suck. Well, good luck finding a cycling enthusiast who is knowledgable about bikes to work for $8/hour. Or even $10. You get what you pay for.

Why not pay them more, you ask? When you find a shop that does enough business to afford paying multiple persons $40k a year + benefits, you let me know. Probably traces back to everyone buying stuff online. Vicious circle, eh?
 

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It isn't so fair to cast this as one LBS vs websites. If you are a supporter of LBSs, then remember that they are competing against each other for your $$. Judging by the fact that you went to REI, I can think of a handful of qualified places within a short drive that could do the job in the time frame required and maybe earn your return business. Try them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The shop was Proteus. There are two shops in the Baltimore area that I prefer (Princeton Sports, Falls Rd. and Family Bike Shop, Crofton) but I wanted to get it fixed while I was at work down near College Park so I could ride on my way home, and I've had Proteus true wheels before without a problem until now.

To be fair the guy at REI was suprisingly knowledgeable, fixed and trued my wheel while I waited, and sold me some spokes/nipples for super cheap. I'm still gonna buy a truing stand though, probably from REI. They had it cheaper than Jenson, haha.
 

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i think its just bad biz if you are 4-6 days behind on repairs. its an easy problem to solve: you have you mech work late or on sunday to get caught up. if you have so much biz that you cant get caught up then you hire someone else. if that isnt cost effective then you raise your prices. i'd gladly pay a few more bucks for same day service...
 

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scoutcat said:
i think its just bad biz if you are 4-6 days behind on repairs. its an easy problem to solve: you have you mech work late or on sunday to get caught up. if you have so much biz that you cant get caught up then you hire someone else. if that isnt cost effective then you raise your prices. i'd gladly pay a few more bucks for same day service...
its usually not as easy as that. my lbs is rei since they treated me right the first time i ever went in there. nice guys who know their stuff. they will also help me with a quick true or derailier adjustment. getting back to my original point, they have a staff or 5 or 6 guys who work just in the bike shop, and during the really busy summer months they can have 1-2 week wait for repairs. its easy to say just hire someone else, but its usually not that easy.
 

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mudforlunch said:
wheel truing is the only repair work I don't do myself since I don't have a stand, its a pain, and I don't mind giving $25 to a local business to have them do it.
It's piece of cake. Buy this one on sale and stop wasting your time with the LBS employees and their attitudes. As a racer, you have enough 'tudes to deal with on the trails.
 

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I will never go back to performance bike in rockvill. my bike was shifting fine TILL i had them adjusted my hub and Forgot a spacer witch made my cassette rub the frame. then they tell me my frame and shifter is a 8 speed so we exchanges some words telling performance bike were to go. my bike is 2007 stumpjumper fsr comp I work in rockvill or i would not have taken it their
 

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Matt 891 said:
Support your local shops (bikes or anything else) or they will loose ground to global capitalism and be gone forever.
I doubt that. The vast majority of cyclists don't shop on e-bay and do their own wrenching as most of us on this forum do. The shops cater to these types. I would expect that for every >$5000 high end rig sold to an expert, 10 or more < $1000 are sold to less demanding "normal" folks. The majority can barely change a tire. Adjusting derailleur cable tension or truing a wheel is a mystery.

Once you get serious about riding, you have to learn to wrench and buy a shop full of tools or your riding time will be unacceptably compromised. The global internet economy is a dream for do-it-yourselfers, buying parts from on-line vendors with little overhead for way cheaper than LBS, and installing them without paying or waiting for labor. Do the shops really want or need the type of customer who needs their bike fixed NOW coming in all the time and causing a scene?

At the extreme of taking advantage of the global economy, in the past 2 years I have bought three carbon frames - 1 mtn. and 2 road - directly from mainland China on-line in the $300 - $400 range. Very few of you would take a risk like this. What is the quality of the carbon? Will the frames break? What about warranty? What if they don't ship? Etc.

But, I have a 20 lbs hardtail and two 16 lbs road bikes that I paid pennies on the dollar to own compared to those who paid retail for a name brand at the LBS. Instead of paint with a logo that says Specialized or whatever, they are clear coated black. BFD. I am happy, and the small manufacturer in China is happy.

And the LBS plus all my friends think I'm nuts and it has zero effect on the LBS bottom line.
 

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the mountian is within
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As a shop owner-i always say vote with your wallet! In shops i have managed(mine is just me) bad customer service got you set home 1st time-fired 2nd. I see this so often on here! And the shops complain that mailorder gets their money-nope-they gave it to them! Find the best shop-treat them nice-it is returned-thats just good business. In our small town-there is me and another shop that sounds like the ones people ***** about...but he keeps busy because he has Trekndale and people will line up and be abused for a big brand here! We slowly take his customers-after the shock wears off that we are cheaper,dont care if you buy stuff other places and do commuters and anyone in a legitimate hurry(broke right before a race,vacation,etc) on the spot-i call it my lunch 'break'. Yes all shops cant work in my parameters-but they dang sure need to learn to try!
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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scoutcat said:
its an easy problem to solve: you have you mech work late or on sunday to get caught up. if you have so much biz that you cant get caught up then you hire someone else. if that isnt cost effective then you raise your prices.
It is not as easy as you are making it out to be. Demand can fluctuate drastically in a small business like this where something as simple as a change in the weather can mean a huge increase or decrease in repair orders. Simply making your employees work overtime every time it increases is a good way to loose employees, and just hiring enough to handle the peak demand is a good way to have more employees than you can afford, and/or needing to cut there hours (another good way to loose employees)
 

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Nostralpicas
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I know this sounds crazy,but if your that into biking why not have a back up bike or a back up wheelset.I ride with my local bike shop bro's every week and believe me a sixer of imported go's a long way. (just sayin)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I dont have a spare bike/wheelset, because I'm a biologist and can barely afford the bikes and parts I have now. Believe me if I could, I would.

Epilogue to the story: dude at REI trued my wheel like crap. Didnt realize it until I got home and put it on the bike, didnt rub the frame but the whole bike shimmied on pavement and on flat sections. Went 45 minutes out of the way to Family Bike in Crofton to have it retrued yesterday, and even though they were extremely busy they did it for me on the spot, and did a great job. So yeah, +1 to that shop, great dudes.

I'm still buying a truing stand though.
 

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dude, if your wheel is so out of true it was rubbing the frame then it is new wheel time. I'm surprised nobody told you that before now. a wheel which is SO out of true that it has a drastic wobble like you describe, and/or a hop over a small # of spokes, is ruined and needs to be replaced with a new wheel. reason being, the next stop is a taco'd wheel, or worse... Learning to properly true a wheel is a great skill to have and will save you lots of $ in the long run.
As for the LBS long repair turn-around issue... it sucks a lot, but what can we do?? I've greased palms with good beer in a pinch, and I've turned to online retailers to source parts in a quick hurry.
I understand and accept all aspects of how this works... LBS has to find a way to stay in business, and online retailer can ship fast and still beat LBS's cost AND wait on them to recieve the order themselves... its all some give and take and accepting we now live in a digital world... for the folks who do all thier own wrenching, this all works out very well (cheap parts online, no wait on repairs) but for joe shmoe who just needs some basic repair work from his trusty local mechanic, the 6 day turn-around on a wheel true becomes unacceptable.
Take the advice of a second wheelset, replace the wonkered wheel now with something better (go handbuild and de-stressed) and keep the old wheelset around as an insurance policy. maybe you cant afford it NOW, but this fall/winter when discount season starts, its a good time to make a new lighter stronger wheelset your next upgade.
I'm a serious rider on a budget myself, i know how it gets. best thing you can do is do ALL your own work.
and BTW: zip ties and pencils and your bike frame make a great truing stand for basic wheel truing. a stand is awesome for wheel building, but just to fix a wobble and minor hop, pencil and zip tie.
 

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Iridethedirt said:
dude, if your wheel is so out of true it was rubbing the frame then it is new wheel time. I'm surprised nobody told you that before now. a wheel which is SO out of true that it has a drastic wobble like you describe, and/or a hop over a small # of spokes, is ruined and needs to be replaced with a new wheel. reason being, the next stop is a taco'd wheel, or worse... Learning to properly true a wheel is a great skill to have and will save you lots of $ in the long run.
As for the LBS long repair turn-around issue... it sucks a lot, but what can we do?? I've greased palms with good beer in a pinch, and I've turned to online retailers to source parts in a quick hurry.
I understand and accept all aspects of how this works... LBS has to find a way to stay in business, and online retailer can ship fast and still beat LBS's cost AND wait on them to recieve the order themselves... its all some give and take and accepting we now live in a digital world... for the folks who do all thier own wrenching, this all works out very well (cheap parts online, no wait on repairs) but for joe shmoe who just needs some basic repair work from his trusty local mechanic, the 6 day turn-around on a wheel true becomes unacceptable.
Take the advice of a second wheelset, replace the wonkered wheel now with something better (go handbuild and de-stressed) and keep the old wheelset around as an insurance policy. maybe you cant afford it NOW, but this fall/winter when discount season starts, its a good time to make a new lighter stronger wheelset your next upgade.
I'm a serious rider on a budget myself, i know how it gets. best thing you can do is do ALL your own work.
and BTW: zip ties and pencils and your bike frame make a great truing stand for basic wheel truing. a stand is awesome for wheel building, but just to fix a wobble and minor hop, pencil and zip tie.
The tire rubbing the frame does not necessarily mean the wheel is toast. A broken spoke can put it out enough to rub if there was not much frame clearance to start with.
 

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bad mechanic: Sorry, can you tell me the name of the person who runs Proteus?

Threads like this should be removed. mudforlunch, it doesn't even sound like you hate LBS's, you were just having a bad day and you took it on someone who was obviously having a busy day. Many comments on this thread are immature; you don't know what the shop is going through, so you can't make assumptions. There are more reasons to not do an on the spot wheel true than you care to read.

Sending your money to the west coast and China does not help the local economy and fuels companies that buy out American brands and begin manufacturing overseas. It also makes it harder for shops to advertise and host local races, participate in racing, or maintain trails. This is extremely detrimental to the area cycling community.

I was hesitant to post at first, but the fact that there are still crude and immature posts here hits a nerve. There is absolutely no need for negative comments, whether against all LBS's or one in particular.

If you are in a hurry, plan ahead; small & cheap spare parts and a multi-tool (a big one, like the Topeak Alien II) can go a long way. Not to mention you should take it easy when riding the week before a race so you don't damage your bike or yourself! There should be minimal need to get components in less than a week if you do it right. Then hitting up the LBS shouldn't be a problem.
 

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Get to know the owner and head mechs - if you see a cool article online, em it to them; stop by to just say hello to the owner and that you love your XYZ you bought from him then leave.
When they hook you up, buy them a 6 pack or a GC to Starbucks.
Start every conversation w/ either "How's the best mechs in X town today" or "How are you handsome gents doing?"

You always catch flies w/ sugar and kissing a LITTLE gets you A LOT whether it's outstanding service or stuff at cost.

I speak from experience........
 
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