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While reading your post a few questions occurred to me: 1) Where do you get the idea most east coast bike shops ripoff people? 2) Don't you realize that areas of the country that can ride 12 months out of the year are bound to get more attention from publications/salesmen than places with barely six riding months a year (and 4 of those are mud season)? 3) You live in New Jersey, how do you even come close to considering yourself from New England?

We have great bike shops in Maine and I don't expect them to match internet pricing. There's a thing called overhead that most of us understand and since we get great service at the shops paying a bit more for things is acceptable. Have you ever tried to get service from an internet bike shop? Time, time, time wasted. As for the culture it's there, but not as gregarious as those out west. I guess that might come with a 12 month riding season and lots of dry weather (Pacific Northwest not withstanding).

Perhaps you don't like the bike culture you see on the east coast. I urge you to move west.
 

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Even been to Bath Cycle and Ski in Woolich (Maine for non-Mainers)? I got my first bike there--a three speed something back in the early '80s. My second bike, a twelve speed centurion, also came from there in the late 80s. Now, whenever I visit my family up there, a stop at Bath Cycle and Ski is always on the agenda.

They have a really great business model, IMO. They are Bikeman.com as well, an internet store many are familiar with, so they have the physical location that is season specific, with skis in winter and bikes in summer, plus the online presence with some really great deals. They also have knowledgeable and friendly staff in store and on the phone. The first time I took my BF home to meet my family, I think the tour through the Bikeman museum back room was the highlight of the trip.
 

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fred3 said:
We have great bike shops in Maine and I don't expect them to match internet pricing. There's a thing called overhead that most of us understand and since we get great service at the shops paying a bit more for things is acceptable.
I have a QBP account at work, and I know what the LBS pays for components they need to sell to you for profit. I was very surprised when I found out that a lot of online retailers sell stuff to the consumer at a price that's lower than what and LBS has to pay for the part (especailly for things like tires and such). Why? Well, the internet retailer does hight qty's and buys direct from the manufacturer. A regular small LBS doesn't buy in enough volume to be able to buy direct from the manufacturer, and have to buy from a distributor. QBP buys and large volume, and sells in small volumes to the lbs. So, they are a middle man tailored to sell to the LBS. It really makes me wonder how an LBS (especially in my area) can even stay in business. It makes me feel guilty for being able to do my own bike service (but I couldn't afford to have all my repairs done at the lbs anyway).

BM
 
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