Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
981 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"support your LBS" that phrase gets thrown around so much. Maybe if they supported me, I'd reciprocate. I'm tired of bike shops. Let me preface this by saying that I know there are plenty of good shops out there and I have no problem with that but the vast majority of bike shops suck. They are too busy trying to sell bikes when they should be promoting a culture. promote the culture of cycling and the bikes will sell themselves. I spent the past 12 years living in NYC until moving to Tampa Fl in Nov 2013. I could understand why shops in NYC didn't stock inventory of parts, real estate is crazy and there is no room for them to keep it. But for the 3rd and final time here in tampa I went into a large sq footage store where not only did they not have pretty run of the mill parts and accessories, they didn't even understand basic equipment on a modern bicycle. Then they have the nerve to try to make me out to be the bad guy for telling them that I will buy it online instead of them ordering it. This just in bike shops, when you order something it sits until all the special orders you made get sent. When I buy something off ebay or an online store, it gets shipped sameday. Oh, and another thing just in. All of you LBS could maintain an inventory and sell online and make it a viable part of your business instead of yelling at people in your shops and trying to shame me into buying from you.

pretty pathetic that I couldn't buy any of the following in 3 shops in Tampa today:
1 Tapered headset for a MTB
2 Hydraulic disc brakes
3 tubeless MTB accesories

Luckily for thses shops, there are suckers born every minute. Rich dummies will continue to over pay for piece of crap bikes. some knucklehead tried to sell me a hardtail 29er with alivio components, mechanical disc brakes and a Suntour fork for $1000 today. I get it, you have to sell but come on man.

Stop trying to make consumers feel bad for not supporting you. I don't always shop on price alone, I shop on the big picture. But when your employees don't know the basic and are misleading about things, of course I'm going to buy on line.

RANT OVER
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
277 Posts
i find it depends on the customers they serve. in the heart of the city i see bike shops that have little if any mtb gear..becuase their main customer base are all hipsters or uni students riding fixie single speeders or cruisers. yet go out west or northern sydney lbs's are more likely to stock what you are looking for because its close to mtb territory. ie blue mountains or old man valley, awaba and ourimbah. all well known mtb singletrack heaven.
i know it sucks, but thems the rulez from the shops to stay in business they have to have a turnover
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
277 Posts
further to above i feel you pain, went back to a favourite store of mine looking for some sram xx brake pads and the store went from a cool bike shop to this goochy looking shop floor, polished wood floor, high tech lighting, and not one damp bit of bike bitz to be seen, just bikes. no they did't have what i wanted.
went around the corner and this shop i vageuly remembered was still there, no glass frontage, ride in policy as it was more like a garage (even had a air pump set up at the entrence to put air in the tyres if needed. they had the part i needed, even fitted them and tuned my rear derailler. all the while i was ogle mtb porn around the store, sweet selection of the lesser known brands here in aus. def going back when i need more stuff
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
981 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The thing is, there is a ton of great MTBing in the Tampa area and all of these shops have plenty of moubtain bikes in the store to sell. I shouldn't have to give a detailed explanation of what a zs44/ec49 headset is to a shop worker. And if they are never going to stock anything the least they can do is not mark it up through the roof when they special order it. Shops get mad when u bring in your own parts yet they don't realize that xt brakes can be bought for $110 shipped all over the place, not the $199 that they want. Crazy.

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
There are some good shops out there. I am fortunate to have some around my area but in all cases cost of parts is alot more then what I can get them for online. Also their stock is not much in the store and dont have what Im looking for.
There is one bike shop I use to go to and still do sometimes but they are 50 minutes from me since I moved. You buy a bike from them and basically they will work on it for free for life of ownership! I have even bought parts online and they would install them!
The experience of the shop is like guys who have been wrenching on bikes for 15 years each. Also they know what they are talking about and never try to just sell you something! But with all that said its kinda the same with motorcycle shops and gun shops where cost of parts is much more then me ordering online. I will try to get them to meet the price and if they dont I order online. Guns well a lot of the time they dont have what I want or I can order online and depending on what it is can get it $250 cheaper then the gun shop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,171 Posts
you must have some pretty crappy bike shops in Tampa. at least half of the shops around here would have had all those things in stock. they might have had only one option for each and would gladly order another option for you, which would cost your time and money and might not be worth it when you can get them cheaper and faster online. fair enough, but don't fault them for not keeping thousands of dollars worth of products that they will never sell because their clientele never asks for it. I have been to shops like that before- low end, selling to poor people with minimal budgets.

however, those shops are stocking what they sell because that's what is in demand. chances are, you are the first person who has ever come in asking about hydraulic brakes, tubeless tires, and a tapered headset. do you know how many headset "standards" there are now? the shop shop would be half-full of headsets if they wanted to stock every possible option.

in this case, sure, go online if your local bike shops are crappy. or move somewhere that has a decent scene that would support better-stocked shops. but don't fault the shops for not having every single bicycle part ever made ready and cheap for you.
 

·
Professional Crastinator
Joined
·
6,124 Posts
While it's true that they can't compete with online pricing, they could really help themselves by keeping a few common things in stock at just a moderate mark-up. ...some things that would stick in the back of my mind that would make me think of that one shop before any others because they have what I need.

The one shop around here that's like that mostly caters just to the kids bikes and cruisers - but I go there with confidence every time. I can't remember the last time I walked out without what I needed (for the cruiser and the kids bikes).

My only defense of the more "modern" shops is that with constantly varying standards (bottom brackets, suspension, brakes, tires, wheels), and the fact that the consumer can't tolerate anything more than 2 years old, I can see where it would be hard to hold much stock in parts if you didn't have a dedicated warehouse. Although they might move that inventory by running an online parts business out of the same store - even if they just Ebayed the old stuff.

-F
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,171 Posts
I worked at a bike shop that Ebayed all of their old stock. it was brilliant. instead of putting a bargain table of outdated junk that would gather dust, they ebayed it all. kept the stock fresh.

after working in shops for several years, I can tell you first hand that it's a huge pain to order any sort of specialty item, especially a high-end item, and keep it in stock. by the time someone finally asks to buy, say, some XT brakes, the box is faded and dusty and Shimano has released a new and improved version. the customer, understandably, does not want to pay full price, so the part is discounted so much that the shop loses money on a transaction. selling mid-range complete bikes is the best margin and these businesses have an interest in keeping the lights on, and none of them make any real money, so they focus on they know what works.

trust me, most bike shop employees would love to have a wall covered in brand new brake pads for every one of the 900 kinds of hydro brakes out there, XTR cranksets in various lengths and chainring configurations, a full line of Fox forks, etc, but no one would buy them because, in my experience, A) a vast majority of customers buy a complete bike and never change a part on it until something breaks or wears out and then buy the cheapest possible component to keep the bike rolling, and B) no one would pay the mark-up on it that would be required to make any sort of profit and therefore worthwhile to sell. you, with your hydro brakes and tubeless tires, are the exception to the rule.

I am surprised they didn't have any tubeless stuff, that's pretty standard and every modern bike shop should at least have some little bottles of sealant and some tape and rim strips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
981 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Guys, I get it. Well aware that they cant compete on price with a guy that just has a dark warehouse full of stuff and limited employees and overhead. But my aggravation is with their attitude. I am tired of being chastised for mentioning that I will just order something myself rather than have them special order it. If they were smart, they would have an employee in charge of internet endeavors and clearance old stock online but they would rather rely on rich dummies just buying bikes.

BTW, these are NOT low end bike shops selling crappy bikes. These are larger shops with plenty of inventory of actual bikes. They have $8k bikes out on the floor. Yes I'm aware there are MANY headset standards, but shouldnt the guy behind the mechanics bench be aware of that???? This one guy yesterday said "if you had the frame with you, I could help you better" "oh, no problem, I have it out in my truck, be right back" I walk in with my fiancees Santa Cruz Juli frame with its tapered headtube and he starts trying to tell me it's some crazy exotic size and he pulls out a ruler and starts trying to measure it. I was like "thats a pretty standard MTB tapered headtube. it's a Zero stack top external cub lower ZS44 EC49" he looked at me like I was speaking greek! WHY IS THIS GUY BEHIND THE MECHANICS BENCH WITH AN APRON ON?!!!! They have MTB's on their own sales floor with this headset on them! They have numerous MTB's on their sales floor with Avid Elixir brakes and shimano brakes. So to those of you who say it's too expensive to keep inventory of parts, should they not at least have ONE AVID Brakeset or Shimano Brakeset in case someone who bought a bike there comes in with a broken part?

The attitude in the bike industry is terrible and most of these shops crying poor deserve what they get. The amount of labor they charge for service, they should be more than happy to advise customers to source their own parts online and bring them in for installation. What cracks me up is one shop that did have brakes in stock wanted to charge me bloated prices for the brake and then a ridiculous $35 to install it. Yeah, okay buddy. I'm gonna pay $200 for a single Avid Elixir 3 brake. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

IF anyone knows any decent shops in the Tampa area. holler.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,171 Posts
sounds like you got a lousy mechanic. much like teachers, most of them do it out of passion and not for the money, but getting paid is nice. go read the "bike mechanic salaries" thread for more info. chances are, the mechanic you talked to is under-qualified and A) they have another, better qualified mechanic on staff who was busy doing something else or had the day off, or B) they can't find someone with enough knowledge to answer questions like that who is willing to take that level of crap pay for his experience and knowledge. most of the people who achieve that level of experience realize that they can make more money with their brains doing something else and soon leave the industry. either way, not all bike shops are that poorly staffed.

to follow up, I suggest you send a calm, rational email to those shops explaining their shortcomings and why they have driven you away. if they are decent folks who want to improve their business, they will take that advice and make improvements. otherwise, all they know is that some grumpy dude got short with them because they would not pull (what they think of as) obscure bicycle components out of their butts, sell them for zero profit, and install it for free by the labor of a minimum-wage college dropout. the "industry" is not the only party here with an attitude issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
184 Posts
Is that the only shop in your area? I rarely deal with bike shops as I own a motorcycle repair shop and do my own wrenching, but the couple I've dealt with have been great. Most recently I needed a single speed spacer kit and had ordered a Specialized Butcher tire on ebay that the guy waited 3 days to tell me he actually didn't have it. I went in, paid MSRP for both parts, and asked them their opinion of the tire for local trails before I bought it. I did call back looking for some v-brake posts for my SS fork, which they didn't have, but I understood as few run v-brakes any more and it's not a wear part.

I see them not stocking headsets or complete brakes as most riders don't install their own headsets, which assumes they will bring the bike in to have it installed and be there for a couple days, giving them time to order the right one. Not to mention guys that buy a headset, take it home and try to beat it in with a hammer, then bring it back because "it didn't fit". There are a ton of hydro brakes on the market, and they are a very personal thing as well. Most people know what they want and are willing to wait a few days when plopping down $300-$500, versus getting something that won't work as well for them.

However it would be nice if LBS were able to get discounted overnight shipping like some larger companies can. I agree it's not worth the hassle to have them order something for you, pay more than online, and wait a week to get it, then have to call to see if it's come in yet, but if they could tell you they would have it the next day for an extra $10 I think it would benefit them.

Finally, unless they are complete jerks, which it doesn't sound like they are, I would try to keep a good relationship with them. If they are a decent shop and you have been a customer and a familiar face, I guarantee they would pull a set of hydro brakes off a bike in their showroom and sell them to you for replacement cost if you were in a situation where yours failed before a race or big ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,171 Posts
Finally, unless they are complete jerks, which it doesn't sound like they are, I would try to keep a good relationship with them. If they are a decent shop and you have been a customer and a familiar face, I guarantee they would pull a set of hydro brakes off a bike in their showroom and sell them to you for replacement cost if you were in a situation where yours failed before a race or big ride.
agreed. I have done that for customers before and it makes people happy and keeps them coming in. unfortunately, most bike shops think about the bottom line first and customer service second, instead of increasing the bottom line by putting customer service first. having knowledgeable, helpful, friendly staff is a big part of that and those kinds of people need to be paid enough to stick around. however, keeping everything in stock or shipping it overnight and selling it with no margin is a great way to put yourself out of business.
 

·
Diggity Dog
Joined
·
469 Posts
Dear OP

Since you can certainly run a shop better than the current retail store owners (at least in Tampa) why don't you start your own shop? You obviously have the deep knowledge of retail and the business savvy to make a fortune. Then when a customer comes in, whines that you don't have something in stock and they don't immediately know all the model and measurement numbers, then tells you they will just order it online you can order it for them at zero profit and pocket all the money you didn't make. It will be like having a permit to print currency.

Just a hint to consumers ... the best way to not get any help in a shop is to mention the word online. You will immediately cease to be bothered with any help whatsoever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
Then they have the nerve to try to make me out to be the bad guy for telling them that I will buy it online instead of them ordering it.
I certainly can see (and have felt) your frustration. Whether its bikes or stereos or camera equipment, this same situation comes up often.

I think its human nature that if someone says "they will just buy it online" in front of an employee its bound to get a negative reaction. You probably didn't intend to offend them but saying something like that is bound to do so.

When I run into the same situation I usually say "thank you for your time" and just leave. That's just me, so please don't take offense at my opinion or comment.

Jeremy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
981 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dear shindiggity,
I appreciate your advice but store owners being angry about the word online is flat out stupid in 2014. Recognize the reality and respond appropriately. "We would be more than happy to install any parts you bring in to us, here is our price list for services" is a simple way to keep goodwill and not slit your own throat. I've never seen a retail business as whiny about their customer base as the cycling industry. Oh and PS, I am a self employed business owner so yeah I do know a thing or 2

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
The Original Suspect
Joined
·
2,383 Posts
I had a similar rant a while back with my experience in purchasing Ice-Tech rotors. While I wasn't upset at the shop as much as the situation we as consumers find ourselves in. We are better informed and are aware of the many many options available to us for even one type of part. IMO the internet has forced a change to the old business model in that back in the day we may have had a couple neighborhood shops and what they had was all you got for choices. We all know this doesn't work anymore.

That being said. I purchased a pair of Giro Privateers from the same shop with the overpriced rotors. The price on the shoe was right at MSRP $149. Now I did my search on the internet and could have picked them up a while back for $99 my fail for not doing so at the time. After searching the last week or so the best I could find was $135 and bit cheaper if I compromised on color. I almost pulled the trigger online but I thought I'd give the LBS a visit. They had them and in my size (44). The want-it-now factor played in and I went for it. While bs'ing with some other customers and the owner of the shop and getting some good beta on a few trails I want to check out, the owner rings me up and I pay without even looking at the receipt.

I get home and try the shoes on and notice on the receipt that he sported me a 10% discount...stoked I saved 15 bucks. Because I didn't acknowledge said discount at the store I felt bad and gave the guy a call to let him know I appreciated it. I don't know why he did it. I do know he recognized me from multiple times in his shop though.

It's things like this that keep me going back to LBS's. They may not have what I need all the time (mostly not), but sometimes I am pleasantly surprised as well as gaining rapport and making new friendships.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
981 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There's mountains in Tampa Bay?
You would be surprised, there aren't mountains but there are old phosphate mines and then places that are totally flat but have great flowy single track. Google Alafia, balm boyette, croom, and santos

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top