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Now I know that there is nothing better than using your LBS and supporting the "mom and pop" shops in your area. I have a couple near me that I have done regular business with for many years. But, I think that some people get carried away thinking that they are the only places you can go for good service, when this isn't always the case.

For example - here in Massachusetts we have a store that I will not name (rhymes with "Dandry's"). Now "Dandry's" built a rear wheel for me a few years back. First of all it took about 2 weeks longer than they said it would. Finally, the wheel was done and I had a friend drop me off there with my bike (sans back wheel of course) so I could ride it back to my apartment. I put the wheel on, go out to the parking lot and take two strides on the bike an it knocks the wheel so out of true that it's practically hitting the frame! I bring it back inside and show it to the kid at the counter and he's like "it's not that bad, but I'll fix it". WHAT??? So he re-trues the wheel and I go back outside. This time I got about a block away and same thing - the wheel is screwed. At this point I'm totally frustrated and decide that I will drive the wheel up to my guy in New Hampshire to have it properly tensioned - something I was trying to avoid since "Dandry's" was local and more convenient. Once the wheel was assembled CORRECTLY, it was fine.

The next experience I had with them was when I went there looking for a bottom bracket. I had looked online and found an XT model for about $25, but I wanted the bracket that day. So I go to "Dandry's" and they try to sell me a far inferior BB (I think it was a UN51 or something - it was a while ago) for like $50! Now, I understand that they can't always compete with the internet retailers, but work with me a little here! Then the kid trys to tell me that the UN51 paper weight is better than the one I wanted to buy online! They weren't willing to work with me at all on the price, so I left and ordered the XT online with 2 day shipping and still saved $10!

It was after these two experiences that I bought a work stand, a "how to" book and started to collect tools to fix and build my bikes on my own. Every once and a while I'll still use an LBS for cables or other low priced items that I need immediately, but that's it. It seems that many of the local shops employ clueless high school kids that couldn't fix a flat tire.

Is this story familiar to anyone?
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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There was a thread on this same subject not too long ago. I think everybody's got at least one story about clueless help at their LBS (local B.S.)

What can you do? So many people out there who are self-taught bike experts, who can't exactly support themselves on a LBS salary. There's a LOT to know about bikes, components and wrenching, I wouldn't expect the salespeople to know it ALL.

It's when they get uppity and rude about it that it becomes a problem, or when they can't get the basics right, or overcharge people assuming the customer won't notice.
 

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don't move for trees
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the LBS by my school is really good, the owner has a mech. who is only about 20 and he knows his stuff, all my work has been done on time and right
 

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I've had some really bad experiences with some very popular shops here in Chattanooga, but I have had some really good experiences with others. It's easy to bash the LBS, man I've done it, but it isn't really fair to the good ones out there that are just doing there best to make a living and promote the sport.

Here are some example of what LBS can do better than any mail order co:

1) Cycle South, Blue Ridge, GA: I needed an OS bar for my new bike. I was in Blue Ridge for the wekend to ride and gave Sam a call to see if he had anything ( no one in Chatt did). No, he said, but he would pull one off a floor bike if I was cool with that. Cool?! He went to the trouble of pulling a bar, ordering a new bar, and then charged me retail...that is awesome service.
2) Same shop: No shop in Chatt could get me a der hanger for a Gemini. One shop jerked me around for three weeks before telling me they couldn't get it. On the off chance, I gave Sam a call as we were heading that way for the weekend. He had one, but he told me "Chip, Bro, the way you ride you are gonna need two. I'll pull one of a floor bike and replace it later".
3) Suck Creek Cycle, Chattanooga, TN: Took a wheel in on Friday in to have it trued and spoke replaced...hoped I could get it back that evening but wasn't optimistic. The guys in the shop were very cool, friendly, and told me they would do their best. Despite being swamped they got it for me that afternoon so I could make a Sat ride. Also, anytime I have been near that shop a few minutes before or after hours and someone was there, they have been very willing to open the door and do business. Very cool.
4) Mission Cyclery, Bonita, CA: Alas, this shop is no more- bought out by Performance. The Carol family, who owned this shop, were some of the best people I ever met. They, and the network of friends we built through their shop, brought my wife and I into riding and made our stay our west the time of our lives. It is unbelievable how many people that single shop brought into the sport.
 

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oddestfellow said:
Now I know that there is nothing better than using your LBS and supporting the "mom and pop" shops in your area. I have a couple near me that I have done regular business with for many years. But, I think that some people get carried away thinking that they are the only places you can go for good service, when this isn't always the case.

For example - here in Massachusetts we have a store that I will not name (rhymes with "Dandry's"). Now "Dandry's" built a rear wheel for me a few years back. First of all it took about 2 weeks longer than they said it would. Finally, the wheel was done and I had a friend drop me off there with my bike (sans back wheel of course) so I could ride it back to my apartment. I put the wheel on, go out to the parking lot and take two strides on the bike an it knocks the wheel so out of true that it's practically hitting the frame! I bring it back inside and show it to the kid at the counter and he's like "it's not that bad, but I'll fix it". WHAT??? So he re-trues the wheel and I go back outside. This time I got about a block away and same thing - the wheel is screwed. At this point I'm totally frustrated and decide that I will drive the wheel up to my guy in New Hampshire to have it properly tensioned - something I was trying to avoid since "Dandry's" was local and more convenient. Once the wheel was assembled CORRECTLY, it was fine.

The next experience I had with them was when I went there looking for a bottom bracket. I had looked online and found an XT model for about $25, but I wanted the bracket that day. So I go to "Dandry's" and they try to sell me a far inferior BB (I think it was a UN51 or something - it was a while ago) for like $50! Now, I understand that they can't always compete with the internet retailers, but work with me a little here! Then the kid trys to tell me that the UN51 paper weight is better than the one I wanted to buy online! They weren't willing to work with me at all on the price, so I left and ordered the XT online with 2 day shipping and still saved $10!

It was after these two experiences that I bought a work stand, a "how to" book and started to collect tools to fix and build my bikes on my own. Every once and a while I'll still use an LBS for cables or other low priced items that I need immediately, but that's it. It seems that many of the local shops employ clueless high school kids that couldn't fix a flat tire.

Is this story familiar to anyone?
This may not qualify as a horror story, but I went to a shop in L.A. (rhymes with Bicycle Moctor) that did not have cable housings in stock!!!! whazzzupp!?!?!?!?
 

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Glad to hear it.

ChipV said:
I've had some really bad experiences with some very popular shops here in Chattanooga, but I have had some really good experiences with others. It's easy to bash the LBS, man I've done it, but it isn't really fair to the good ones out there that are just doing there best to make a living and promote the sport.

Here are some example of what LBS can do better than any mail order co:

1) Cycle South, Blue Ridge, GA: I needed an OS bar for my new bike. I was in Blue Ridge for the wekend to ride and gave Sam a call to see if he had anything ( no one in Chatt did). No, he said, but he would pull one off a floor bike if I was cool with that. Cool?! He went to the trouble of pulling a bar, ordering a new bar, and then charged me retail...that is awesome service.
2) Same shop: No shop in Chatt could get me a der hanger for a Gemini. One shop jerked me around for three weeks before telling me they couldn't get it. On the off chance, I gave Sam a call as we were heading that way for the weekend. He had one, but he told me "Chip, Bro, the way you ride you are gonna need two. I'll pull one of a floor bike and replace it later".
3) Suck Creek Cycle, Chattanooga, TN: Took a wheel in on Friday in to have it trued and spoke replaced...hoped I could get it back that evening but wasn't optimistic. The guys in the shop were very cool, friendly, and told me they would do their best. Despite being swamped they got it for me that afternoon so I could make a Sat ride. Also, anytime I have been near that shop a few minutes before or after hours and someone was there, they have been very willing to open the door and do business. Very cool.
4) Mission Cyclery, Bonita, CA: Alas, this shop is no more- bought out by Performance. The Carol family, who owned this shop, were some of the best people I ever met. They, and the network of friends we built through their shop, brought my wife and I into riding and made our stay our west the time of our lives. It is unbelievable how many people that single shop brought into the sport.
I am glad you took the time to show that there are decent shops out there. I am tired of all the shop bashing. If the bashers think that working at a shop (and dealing with people like themselves) is easy, I say give it a try.

Some have legit complaints, while others are out of line.
 

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Agree w/ Damion

not enough talk about what goes right.. it's easy to find a shop with a newbie sales clerk or service guy and generalize that the whole place is like that. It doesn't take long, or many questions, to get past that if you're not comfortable with who you are dealing with. Over the long haul, I have gotten great service from Erik's (based in Minneapolis).. bigger than the average "mom & pop" LBS, but they work hard to maintain that kind of atmosphere.
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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Here's a good LBS story: Yesterday I couldn't ride, had to put on a monkey suit and go for a pointless interview, then meet my dad for lunch. Had over an hour to kill in between.

Stopped by the LBS, forgetting it wasn't even open yet, and happened to see one of the owners in front. I asked if she could let me hang out before the official opening, and she graciously allowed me inside while she went to get coffee. "Just don't let anybody in!"

That reminds me, gotta start thinking of a Christmas gift for them......they get SO much food this time of year, though!
 

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Vigilante Trail Groomer
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How about spending a few hundred dollars on small items over the course of 2 months, building a nice repoir with the mechanic and owner, spending $155 to have a Chris King headset installed and finding several healthy scratches on your brand new frame? And no accnowledgment of the accident? I tried but now I have to wander from shop to shop looking for that LBS euphoria. I've come close, but It's no where to be found at least not for me. Maybe if I drop $3,000 I'll somehow find it. :mad:
 

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Cleavage Of The Tetons
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hmmm...I owned a shop for the last seven years...

and that was a horror story all on it's own!! :p
 

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LiquidX9 said:
How about spending a few hundred dollars on small items over the course of 2 months, building a nice repoir with the mechanic and owner, spending $155 to have a Chris King headset installed and finding several healthy scratches on your brand new frame? And no accnowledgment of the accident? I tried but now I have to wander from shop to shop looking for that LBS euphoria. I've come close, but It's no where to be found at least not for me. Maybe if I drop $3,000 I'll somehow find it. :mad:
Dang that sucks!

And to think of how easily that could have been a non-issue. I mean scratches suck but if when you went back they explained what happenned and that they where very sorry (maybe offered a discount on the installation fee) then you might have had a different additude.

Personally I don't know of a store around me that I would say I would be loyal to, there is a LBS really close to me that my brother used to work for and the people there know me when I walk in, but when I ask them questions I don't seem to get the response that I'm looking for.

Like when I got my bike it has a coil fork, I'm a big guy (250+ lbs) so I said, "I'd like to put a firm spring in the fork" and they said that I didn't need to do that, I just had to use the adjustment and put it to the max. I tried to explain that I would rather do the upgrade so I could use the adjustment as I wanted.

I don't think they are a bad shop or anything, it just didn't seem that they really wanted to work with me to make the bike fit perfect. (Might be that I wasn't buying a very expensive bike). However in the end they did order the firm spring and they ordered Avid brakes and they gave me a fairly good deal on the bike so I'm happy with the service. I just make sure I do my own research and figure out what I want before I go.
 

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Portland, OR
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I've had good and bad

RiverCity Bicycles, Portland OR: I am always taking my bikes in there, why ? because I break stuff. now for one time, my EXR comp on my bike kept making this wierd clicking sound and the fork wasnt working at all, I took in in and the guy took it all apart, found that the spring was bending inside of the lower, he then took a brand new road innertube and was able to wrap it around the spring ( giving it some backbone so it wouldent bend ) so he cut up like ... a 10 dollar innertube to fix my fork.

Same LBS: once I blew out my headset and got tired of replacing cheap ones, I go in and buy a chris king, they installed it for free, and since I let someone who was being tought to install them, work on my bike ( sure I waited another 10 mins ) but they gave me 10 bucks in store credit !

Lakeside Bicycles, I just took my bike in to have my wheels trued, the guy at the counter was all like "ohh almost all your tread is worn out on your tire" (was too poor to buy one at the time) but they had some slightly used tires that had been ridden ( still new, just couldent be considered new ) and they gave me them for free, I got a Halo twin roller for free.

now the bad;

The Bike gallery, Lake Oswego OR: 4 times I have taken my bike in there to get something fixed every time it hasnt been done right. for once I couldent figure out what was wrong with my HFX9s so I took it in, they reccommended that "you can buy these hayes mx2 brakes for 60 bucks and they are better" so I was like "no thanks, just fix my brakes" they didnt know how :mad:
 

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ride hard take risks
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I used to deal with a local shop then the manager relocated, sales people moved on & the great help & of course deals i was getting disapeared also. Ended up across the bay at Sunshine Bikes in Fairfax Ca., & found a awsome shop. I'm not the biggest spender but i will go in & bs with them & sometimes bring in beer. There is no such thing as the perfect shop, there are flaws every where just as we are flawed. They have helped me on many occasions one busey sunday afternoon my sons rear brake failed rolled up they said bring it in they bleed it & found a pin hole in the hose, they offered to replace it right then. I was very thank full but i had a new hose at home, yes he rode without the rear brake. I asked how much do i owe you they said no problem go ride! They take care of my dumb ass & have seen them help many others.
 

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Hairy man
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wrongway said:
This may not qualify as a horror story, but I went to a shop in L.A. (rhymes with Bicycle Moctor) that did not have cable housings in stock!!!! whazzzupp!?!?!?!?
Maybe they have different cable for retail sale then they're using in the shop? Or the guy who was supposed to be doing inventory really messed up.
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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Well... in general my LBS experiences have been very good. I think when you go to several, you'll find one that gives bad service, or have a bad experience with one you had done business previously. It's really hard to always give excelent service, either because something has gone bad, a mech. had a bad day, new salesman, Murphy was there, but I think that I can let one incident go if the shop has a right attitude and be honest.
 

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Hairy man
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I think you're just trying to do the right thing...

Last week I had to be sort of rude to a mechanic because he was explaining to me that my really messed up back wheel was really messed up and maybe I should just buy a new one. I explained that yes, I know, I'd love to buy a new one but I'm on a really tight budget so I'll just replace the seven busted spokes myself and muddle along.

He says "Yeah, but..." and starts the pitch over again. He's right. I'd like a new wheel. Actually, I'd like a whole new bike, a real road bike instead of an old rigid with slicks. I interupt, I'll just take the spokes, thank you.

He asks if I have a trueing stand. I ended up being pretty short with him at that point. It could have been he was working hard for a sale, but I think he was just assuming I would only labor on the stupid old wheel out of ignorance and he could enlighten me and make me see how much easier my life could be.
 

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Ride Instigator
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Another BB Horror story....

About 10-12 years ago I took a cromo framed bike with a wasted BB to the LBS where I had bought the bike...AND two other bikes. The owners 16yo son tried to get it out... first with a 3/8 drive breaker bar....when THAT didn't work the idiot took a HAMMER IMPACT to it! This chewed the fock out of the splines so nobody (using conventional means) could get the BB out.

I talked to the kids dad (the owner) and he got all pissy with me saying"you guys ride these things through the swamp and expect US to be able to take them apart" and "look what it did to my BB tool!" I asked him if he thought it wiser to soak with penetrating oil and let it sit overnight after the first hint of difficulty removing...he responded "that stuff don't work".

Knowing I was going nowhere with this a$$hole I took the bike to yet another LBS. This guy said no way he could get it out, LBS #1 owes you a new frame. I went back to LBS #1 and he gave me the runaround for weeks saying the the Mongoose rep had to have a look at it. I finally picked it up (he actually made a remark that he should charge me for storage!) and took it to a friend who had a cutting torch and burned it out, chased the threads and rode the frame for another 1.5 years.

These days, NOBODY wrenchs on my bikes but me. I buy all my stuff from on-line retailers and rarely set foot in an LBS...they're nothing but trouble!
 

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Lbs

A bike store replaces flat tubes (for a fee) for small kids and sells cruiser bikes.

A bike shop is filled with racing machines and local knowledge.

I know most riders would prefer to support a local bike shop. But be clear why you are doing it. You support them for having quality parts on hand. You buy something for the shop that is cheaper online because you can have it right now.

Don't say you support you local bike STORE because really you want it right now, and a real bike shop is 10 miles further away.

Craig
 

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I like to ride my bike.
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Hey, I go to LANDRY'S all the time. I bought my first mtn. bike there, and guess what, after I bought it I relized all the components were not what they were suppose to be, I got ultra low quality shimano deraliurs rather than the higher quality ones. And a part of a cane creek headset and part of a Bontrager headset.???????????

One time I thought I'd test them to see if they could make out a problem on my bike. I had two things wrong, I only told them about one problem to see if they would find the other. Well they did not find the problem I did not mention, but they said somthing else was broken. Brand new, nothing wrong with it, liers. So any way I tell them about the other problem, I have a really worn down cassete, please relace it. They don't seem to know what a cassete is.???????????????

They charge $20 to change a flat, seaside does it for six. They drained about $200 out of me until I learned how to do it myself.???????????/

But I still go there. Is this the Danvers store??????
 

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Christine said:
Here's a good LBS story....!
Right on! A couple weeks ago my wife and I walked by my favorite LBS' new location--they just moved. I was looking in the window and saw one of the owners packing up to leave for the night--the store had been closed for half an hour. He saw us and gave us a tour of the new digs.
 
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