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SALLGUD
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Stopped by one of my LBS today to pick up some gloves for the impending cold front this week, and I noticed there was only five or six "real" mountain bikes on the floor, compared to dozens of "real" road bikes. Had a conversation with the owner and he made it very plain that mountain biking, especially in our area, was a dead issue. He has dropped prices of his remaining mountain bikes by at least a grand to move them out. He claimed that he could buy mtb tires at unreal giveaway prices and mountain biking in general was a dead issue.

Hmmm...We have just recently broken ground on a potential 42 mile mountain bike trail called FATS, we have six excellent trails within a 45 minute drive, and our local mtb group has reached membership numbers only dreamed about since its inception 7 years ago.

Any wonder why so many of us love our "Local" Bike Shops that end in .com addresses?

Michael
 

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Maybe LBS's suffer due to our .com and ebay indulgences...I am trying to purchase some stuff locally now that I am familiar with the shop owner and employees...It isnt that local, 30 minute drive but I like them

What kind of stuff is your LBS blowing out anyway?
CDT
 

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Looking at it from the wrong perspective...

I am sorry but I am getting sick of the argument that it is the fault of us (consumer) for LBS closures/bad service/high prices/insert argument of the day here. People on this board keep asking to support your local bike shop even if it means higher prices and bad service. This is not how capitalism works people. Go back and read your Econ 101 books. The fact is that most of these shops are not finding new ways to compete and so are headed in the direction of the Dodo and the dinosaurs. Is this a bad thing? Most likely, yes it is. HOWEVER, the argument that we are causing it by buying online and at Ebay is quite simply false.

Whose responsibility is it to retain customers? The proprietor or his consumers?
Whose responsibility is it to find new customers/sources of revenue? Propietor or customer?

I will not be responsible for propping up a business that is selling overpriced merchandise and adding bad service on top of it. If you wish to do so please go right ahead but stop preaching to others to STOP buying online. Fact of the matter is that LBS have several major new competitors (Online retailers and Big box retailers) and they must adapt or they will die out. The responsibillity is squarely on the shoulders of the shop owners/employers to do so. It is NOT mine or nor any other consumers responsibility. Instead of whining or bashing the online/supergo model the owners should take a close look at how these companies are doing business and emulate it where ever possible. There are plenty of good places to look for inspiration. Some LBS like AEBike and Speedgoat now do a large volume of their business on the web. (Hey if you cant beat em, join em...) Others have specialized to sell a particular item or small range of items better than anybody else. Examples: Mike Garcia at Odds and Endos or Dave at Speed Dream (Custom wheels) Some shops have simply looked to new ways to reach their customers, ex: Chad at Red Barn or Larry at Mountain High Cycles. (They have somehow gotten the word out to a lot of MTBR members. None of whom would have been customers before the internet boom) All of the above examples are shops that are doing well because they have adapted or even found a way to use the internet to help them maintain a competitive advantage instead of being made irrelevant by it.

Its up to the other LBSs to do the same. In AZDawdrys example the LBS owner is saying MTB is a non issue, even with higher numbers of users and new trails being opened. Are you telling me that he is catering to Roadies because all the MTBers are buying from Pricepoint and Supergo? I highly doubt it. Any further comments by me would only be speculation and I will not go there. Still, I doubt he would be saying MTB is dead if he was filling a specific niche within the market or offering outstanding service to the mountain bike community.

Just my .02

C-
 

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More Chasmism
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Well even here several of the shops have started augmenting business with a stronger road element. None of them though would declare mtb dead, though.

Money flows to a growth sport. Road biking is currently a growth sport; mountain biking is a flat sport. The ebb and flow of business cannot buck such tides.

hfly
 

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paintbucket
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Makes me wonder how many of those road bikes your shop is selling are being sold to MTBers who got into the sport within the last 5 years or so and are now branching out.
 

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Look out!
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CDtofer said:
I am sorry but I am getting sick of the argument that it is the fault of us (consumer) for LBS closures/bad service/high prices/insert argument of the day here.....(Big Snip)......

Here, Here, great post! When I want to spend MY hard earned dollars for parts or a new bike, I want to get the most for my money. If I have to go online to do it so be it. The LBS needs to adapt to changing times to survive. As for being mountain biking being dead, I think the proprieter of that store has an attitude problem and probably should be getting out of the business. The rest of us will keep on riding till they pry our cold dead fingers off our handle bars! :p

Mark
 

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Sour Grapes

mtnbkrid said:
As for being mountain biking being dead, I think the proprieter of that store has an attitude problem and probably should be getting out of the business.

Mark
I read between the lines on the original post and have a similar opinion. The LBS owner obviously has some issue with MTB. It may be a competitive business issue, or it could be that he just doesn't like the MTB customer. Whatever the case, let him get out of supporting us, and tend to roadies.

MTB is not dead, in fact it's far from it. The sport continues to be popular and in many respects gaining in popularity. So much that perhaps the competition is getting too hot for some retailers.

Just my thoughts as always.

Bob
 

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CDtofer said:
I am sorry but I am getting sick of the argument that it is the fault of us (consumer) for LBS closures/bad service/high prices/insert argument of the day here. People on this board keep asking to support your local bike shop even if it means higher prices and bad service. This is not how capitalism works people. Go back and read your Econ 101 books... (read the psot for the rest)C-
Dude, thank you for possibly the most articulate argument I have read/heard concerning the whole LBS vs. online shopping issue! It's very simple either change or become extinct.
 

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"He has dropped prices of his remaining mountain bikes by at least a grand to move them out. He claimed that he could buy mtb tires at unreal giveaway prices..."

So, ummm.... Where exactly IS this shop? :D
 

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SALLGUD
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The real message.

The real problem here is that my wife and I routinely drive 2-4 hours away to spend money at bike shops that stock and enjoy talking mountain biking. I also do a ton of .com business, but if I have a day off and want to go touch some parts/pieces and ride a new trail, we load up the Sportworks rack and take off. There's always a Mo's or some other Mexican food joint to fuel up before the ride.

If you are fortunate enough to have a LBS whose employees show up for trail maintenance or your monthly meetings or even group trail rides, then by all means support them. I guess I am just frustrated about living in an area that has unlimited mountain biking potential and a burgeoning mtb advocate group, but our LBS don't seem to want to be a part of us.

In this case, the truth hurts. You guys up near Atlanta and Woodstock and Columbia have bike shop employees that ride and maintain trails. Be thankful.

Michael
 

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CDtofer said:
I am sorry but I am getting sick of the argument that it is the fault of us (consumer) for LBS closures/bad service/high prices/insert argument of the day here. People on this board keep asking to support your local bike shop even if it means higher prices and bad service. This is not how capitalism works people. Go back and read your Econ 101 books. The fact is that most of these shops are not finding new ways to compete and so are headed in the direction of the Dodo and the dinosaurs. Is this a bad thing? Most likely, yes it is. HOWEVER, the argument that we are causing it by buying online and at Ebay is quite simply false.

Whose responsibility is it to retain customers? The proprietor or his consumers?
Whose responsibility is it to find new customers/sources of revenue? Propietor or customer?

I will not be responsible for propping up a business that is selling overpriced merchandise and adding bad service on top of it. If you wish to do so please go right ahead but stop preaching to others to STOP buying online. Fact of the matter is that LBS have several major new competitors (Online retailers and Big box retailers) and they must adapt or they will die out. The responsibillity is squarely on the shoulders of the shop owners/employers to do so. It is NOT mine or nor any other consumers responsibility. Instead of whining or bashing the online/supergo model the owners should take a close look at how these companies are doing business and emulate it where ever possible. There are plenty of good places to look for inspiration. Some LBS like AEBike and Speedgoat now do a large volume of their business on the web. (Hey if you cant beat em, join em...) Others have specialized to sell a particular item or small range of items better than anybody else. Examples: Mike Garcia at Odds and Endos or Dave at Speed Dream (Custom wheels) Some shops have simply looked to new ways to reach their customers, ex: Chad at Red Barn or Larry at Mountain High Cycles. (They have somehow gotten the word out to a lot of MTBR members. None of whom would have been customers before the internet boom) All of the above examples are shops that are doing well because they have adapted or even found a way to use the internet to help them maintain a competitive advantage instead of being made irrelevant by it.

Its up to the other LBSs to do the same. In AZDawdrys example the LBS owner is saying MTB is a non issue, even with higher numbers of users and new trails being opened. Are you telling me that he is catering to Roadies because all the MTBers are buying from Pricepoint and Supergo? I highly doubt it. Any further comments by me would only be speculation and I will not go there. Still, I doubt he would be saying MTB is dead if he was filling a specific niche within the market or offering outstanding service to the mountain bike community.

Just my .02

C-
Nowhere did I see anything about supporting bad service at a shop, or doing 100% of my shopping there. I just think a good LBS offers things an online retailer cannot.Ultimately there will be some sort of middle ground reached, and hopefully each of us will have at least one GOOD LBS to deal with......if only for bikes and their service..Maybe everything else will be only online ...But the convenience is worth something...to me

BTW if you have a decent LBS locally , you are not "PROPPING" them up, you are supporting them, I see the extension of your line of thinking to be penny-wise and pound foolish, in the long run..
I agree with you, in a limited respect, in terms of shopping online, but I do try to support Mike's bikes locally...They are nice people, they ride the local trails, they do trail maintenance, lobby for more trails with the Park district...They are good to have around and for that very reason I will spend some money there .

Tony

(by the way, I like how you lit the 'speculative match' about AZDawdry's LBS, refused to go there, then Went there ;) )
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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Well, I don't think I should or will support a LBS that gives crappy service. But that goes also for online retailers. I go to a LBS that I trust to get service done that I don't know how to do (I'm learning) or don't have the right tools for. So, if possible, I preffer using a LBS, besides, I can walk out with the thing I was searching for. But, I'm not fighted with my wallet, so if there's something that makes sense buying online, then I'll use the online channel. LBS should adapt to this, maybe expanding to online channel if they're big enough.

As to the OP post meaning that MTB is dead.... I've heard in a LBS that freeriding was killing MTB (meaning, it was reemplacing it). I think that mountain bike will not be as popular as soccer (in Mexico) or American Football or basket ball or tennis. But that doesn't mean it's going on a decline. Maybe on some areas it may be growing, on some it may be diminishing (maybe trail closings, don't know), but I think it's gaining more popularity little by little.
 

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I do think the industry is partly to blame. I think the big company's such as Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, etc have a good policy as to not let internet sales. But when you have a local LBS try'n to compete with a company that has a lot more buying power and is allowed to sell via the internet how do you compete? I'm not talking about parts but complete bikes. Most large industries ie: Cars. Motorcycles, Tractors, Industrial Equipment etc. . protect their dealer for a given area. Parts and or replacement parts and labor are fair game. Thats where service and price come into play. (How many ppl buy tires for their car from a dealership?) I know that there are alot of bike mfg out there but it has to start somewhere.
 

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A few points.

1. Your shop owner is right. Mountain biking is dead. Comparatively speaking, if you were going to be a retailer, you'd be either in a very unique location, or you'd be a fool to start an mtb shop. Without consulting BRAIN, what was it, 78% of bikes sold in the US last year were road bikes? The lions share. The average purchase price of those road bikes was also much higher than the average mtb sale. Whether this was the crest of the Lance wave or not, this isn't the first time there's been a road biking boom. Actually, last time this happened, it took a few years, till people realized hey, you know, this MTBing looks like fun, and MTBing exploded with new blood. This is seen by many as either the best or worst thing that ever happened to mountain biking. Whether or not that will happen again only time will tell. The mtb world is a different place now, of course, so even if it does happen, it still wont be a nice & predictable repeat.

2. Mountain bikers as a customer base have a finely honed reputation as being, well, to put it mildly, cheap. Without going so far as to talk to dealers, take a look around at the road bike forums. What are the roadies proud of? Building and fine-tuning every last bolt of their total custom bike. What are mountain bikers so often proud of? The ride they just went on. Oh, & the bike? The deal they got. Talk to dealers, and they will by & large complain of being nickled-&-dimed to death on an $800 mtb hippie kids, when successful business people come in and purchase high end road rigs at full sticker price, no questions asked. Guess which crowd are more appealing to a seller... there's obviously a lot of stereotyping going on, but guess where the stereotype came from? They'll say experience.

3. You could just as easily explain to your dealer that they are in fact dead. The days when people will pay a 35-40% margin to a bike shop on a product that requires next to zero skill to sell are coming to an end. As more & more online resources educate cyclists, the role of the LBS middleman is slowly being cut out. There will always be people who will prefer a service shop to work on their bikes. There will always be people who prefer to buy a bike in person. Just less and less of them, as time goes by. Already, we are seeing an unwillingness to pay for product made in the united states. More & more companies offering direct sales is the next step.
 

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I really don't think that the lack of a few high-end mountain bikers missing from the lbs's are going to ruin their businesses. When I worked at a shop (providing only the best possible service, of course!) we were doing just fine rolling many many $200-$500 bikes out the door and a ton of accessories (where the real profits are) to go with them. There are tons of casual bikers out there who wouldn't dream of buying stuff online because they have no idea what to buy or how to install it. Mr. Shake, some people don't want to search online for education on a bike part. It's a waste of their time. For those riders with little know-how, it's just easier to go to the LBS and talk with someone about a bike or a brake or a roof rack or the weird noise coming from their wheel or whatever, even if they pay a little more for it. I think some people grossly overestimate the value of that interaction.

That being said, poor service is poor service. If an LBS can't provide good service or change with the times, they don't deserve to last very long. Likewise, if an online retailer can't provide very good service (pricepoint, anyone?) despite their low prices, they're still not doing their less-knowledgable customers any favors. They'll just end up back at the LBS, who'll make money either by installing the part (cha-ching!) or by selling them the correct part they needed in the first place.

So lots of people here can buy all the stuff they want online, and it definitely doesn't mean that LBS's are dead. Just ask the LBS who's sending $2000 road bikes out the door as fast as he can stock them. A well run shop will live through changing trends without much worry and without having to grow an online arm. Online stores can do very well selling to high end deal-hunters with the technical knowledge, while LBS's can live comfortably selling oodles of comfort and road bikes and accessories to the casual biker.

Now as far as MTB being dead: You'll have to pry my riser bars out of my cold dead hands!
 

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Just thought I would check back in...

AZDawdry,
I did not mean to hijack the original intent of your post and know I went a bit off topic. It was just that the second poster brought up a topic I keep hearing a lot about on this board and well, you know, it was a slow morning at work and well....

CDale,
I know he did not mention bad service in his post. I was responding to your post and his plus a lot of others that I have seen recently that have said we are bad MTBrs because we dont pay full retail and put up with BS at our LBS. Wasnt calling you out at all. I do agree that supporting a good shop is worth your tme, I guess I have never found one. (Not saying I have never been to a good shop, its just Ive never been to a good local one) I too like to browse shops and touch the goods and enjoy talking to staff that is knowledgeable and friendly. No where in my post was I implying all LBSs are bad. Its just that I am an educated consumer and will not pay full retail on last years item just so I can talk to the guy selling it to me face to face. I know what I want and I buy it, and do so where I can get the best price. Thus I think the intent of my original post still is valid, I dont agree that it is, "Penny wise, pound foolish." I dont have one like Speedgoat nearby that deals mainly with custom builds. I wish I did, I wish there were more great LBS out there. This may better explain where I am coming from.

Master Shakes third point would have been a great addition to my original post. (Wish I would have thought it through enough to get there) :)

Oh and yeah, you got me there with your last point. :p
 

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CdaleTony said:
I agree with you, in a limited respect, in terms of shopping online, but I do try to support Mike's bikes locally...They are nice people, they ride the local trails, they do trail maintenance, lobby for more trails with the Park district...They are good to have around and for that very reason I will spend some money there .
This I wanted to comment on, you are absolutely right about this. I agree totally. If I lived somewhere that had a shop that actually went out and bettered the MTB community I would support these efforts. Unfortunately, I have never had a LBS that was so involved outside of their shop walls. What I was trying to saying my post was that if more shops did this (or sponsored racers, ran local group rides from the shop parking lot, etc.) They wouldnt be complaining about MTB being dead or competition from online retailers. These types of activities would supply the shop with a source of new customers.
 
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