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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering what others get and expect when buying a new bike from a local shop?

Recently bought a brand new $5,000 bike at a local shop, asked about any possible discount, like maybe cover part of the tax. Nope, no discounts right now because new bikes are hot commodities. Totally get that and pretty much expected it, I had no problem paying full price but I'd be a fool to at least not ask for a discount. Bought the bike, asked about a free water bottle or cage. Nope, not even a discount on the tax on the water bottle. Ok fine, no big deal but...

Admittedly it's been a couple-few years since I bought a new bike at a LBS but I always assumed they at least throw in a water bottle with their name on it or something like that if not a few bucks off the price of the bike. It's really not about the money so much as it is about showing appreciation and establishing a good warm fuzzy feeling right from the start. Slightly annoying because I could have driven a couple hours and bought the same exact bike a few days sooner for a few dollars less but I decided to wait and support my local shop instead.

Seems a bit short sighted to me, had I received at least a small token of appreciation, like maybe a water bottle for half off I'd feel more inclined to choose that shop over any of the other local shops. I'm not necessarily upset with this shop and I understand they're in business to make money but I certainly feel no loyalty to go there first for any future purchases. Btw, a few days later I bought a wahoo roam from the other shop in town just because :)

Curious if I'm expecting too much? Maybe things are different now, maybe there are no free water bottles in life anymore?
 

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In the past I’d get discounts on accessories that I bought that day and a free annual tuneup. Not any more. This year I bought a new bike and the only “perk” they’d give me was that they’d make sure that it fit me right (cutting bars and seatpost, adjusting the cockpit, etc.). The ball is in their court right now. I’m not bothered.
 

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At my LBS they give free massages if you stop in. And the mechanics give you free beer. And they have the exact bike in the exact size you need on the floor and take 25% off just because you're there, you don't have to ask.
 

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At my LBS they give free massages if you stop in. And the mechanics give you free beer. And they have the exact bike in the exact size you need on the floor and take 25% off just because you're there, you don't have to ask.
Swedish or deep tissue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
At my LBS they give free massages if you stop in. And the mechanics give you free beer. And they have the exact bike in the exact size you need on the floor and take 25% off just because you're there, you don't have to ask.
Seeing as how both his hands were on your shoulders during that massage and he repeatedly asked who your daddy was I think you walked into the wrong store. Will get back to you when I need a referral for a massage.
 

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You can still walk away if you don't like the total deal.

IMO, the smart shops are selling tons of bikes but are also building relationships at this time...

I'm no big spender, just a few parts and accessories, but the place I like to shop at gives a decent discount and the owner greets me by name.
 

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You can still walk away if you don't like the total deal.

IMO, the smart shops are selling tons of bikes but are also building relationships at this time...

I'm no big spender, just a few parts and accessories, but the place I like to shop at gives a decent discount and the owner greets me by name.
This. They are shortsighted, take as much money as possible today, screw building a customer that comes back tomorrow. Cage is a cheap gesture, extra bottle of sealant, a free flat repair, they are all inexpensive but show a bit of care. Heck, 25% off coupon for tires in 2022. They forget, the line of customers they have today will not always be there.
 

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My go-to LBS has it figured out. They're all about the ride and heavily involved in supporting/sponsoring/developing cycling events of most any variety. They offer a "team membership" for $45 per year and 4 volunteer hours (trail maintenance, assist with another event, etc.) You get a free t-shirt and 15% off everything except new bikes/frames. Otherwise tires, trainers, accessories, components, shocks, wheels, computers, nutrition is all 15% off. And its all done very straight forward--at the register there is a one large monitor which line items your purchases. If you're a team member, you'll see a 15% discount on your order at the bottom above the total.

The shop's prices were always competitive, their service is excellent, and their enthusiasm to support all cycling events is very refreshing.

Regarding negotiating prices right now (Pandemic economy), it is what it is. Demand is high. Supply is short. Take your wins where you can--be happy they have inventory.
 

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I read a great blog post 10+ years back written by a local outfitting shop owner in my hometown. The gist of it was if you want your local shop to survive, you have to pay full retail sometimes; you cannot always buy on sale or ask for a discount. LBSs having been dying off for a while. How do you expect them to survive if you want stuff for free? It's one thing for a $5 water bottle. But 5% off a $5000 bike is $250 out of pocket for them.

I'd expect them to let me test ride and give me expert advice on fitting. And if I'm asking for a specific bike I don't want them hard-selling me on something else. Free basic maintenance (not including parts) if I buy from them is awesome.

I'd really like it if the mechanics were open to showing me how to fix something if I ask. I don't want to watch them rebuild a fork; but reminding me of how to set-up my shifter and rear D from scratch is always helpful. Some shops won't let you see anything.
 

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It really is up to the shop right now.

Many will probably go back to their usual sales and discounting policies once things settle down. But with demand up and supply for everything (not just bikes) being pretty spotty, it isn't really hurting them right now to turn down all requests for discounts. A fair number of manufacturers aren't even allowing ppl in the industry to do their usual pro deals. And those that are have so little available that they might as well not offer it at all. Shops are going to be able to sell at 100% of MSRP all day right now, and it actually helps them sell other items if they have actual product visible in the shop, too.

Me, I've intentionally been refusing to ask for discounts for the past year, and for tip-heavy industries, I've been tipping a larger share than I used to because their jobs have been extra tough for the past year.
 

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Maybe things are different now, maybe there are no free water bottles in life anymore?
Maybe the shop hasn't seen more than a couple people who still use a water bottle on a mountain bike over the past 20 years or so? I know I haven't.
 

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I'd really like it if the mechanics were open to showing me how to fix something if I ask. I don't want to watch them rebuild a fork; but reminding me of how to set-up my shifter and rear D from scratch is always helpful.
So free random maintenance lessons on demand?
That's reasonable. :sneaky:

Maybe they could just post QR codes on the wall to the 500k videos that cover stuff like that already.
You could then easily drive to the shop, scan the codes, then drive back home and watch them while you are right there in front of your bike working along in sync! It's a win-win!

🥴
 
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So free random maintenance lessons on demand?
That's reasonable. :sneaky:

Maybe they could just post QR codes on the wall to the 500k videos that cover stuff like that already.
You could then easily drive to the shop, scan the codes, then drive back home and watch them while you are right there in front of your bike working along in sync! It's a win-win!

🥴
Fair enough to criticize what might be a contradictory statement. Don't ask for discounts but ask for free maintenance lessons.

But I'm forever baffled by people who just say to go Google something or watch a Youtube video. It's nice to talk to another human. You get to ask questions. Have an actual interaction. Guess I'm weird that way. Or old. I don't know.
 

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This is pure conjecture based on my limited experience, but over the past year it seems that while bikes are selling near instantly the smaller shops just are not getting the volume of sales they once had as frames/completes are not making it that far down the food chain. I know a couple of my locals that saw a massive reduction in available inventory to sell last year. I am not sure on the current state of affairs, but it does not sound better from what I am reading here.

The margins for discounts may just not be there in some cases, and in others the motivation is gone with the dearth of supply. A lifetime of good will with a customer is moot when the business is struggling to stay open for a few more months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Maybe the shop hasn't seen more than a couple people who still use a water bottle on a mountain bike over the past 20 years or so? I know I haven't.
It's a gravel bike so it's better to use water bottles if it's predominantly a road ride day. On days I'm riding more trail on said gravel bike or my mtn bike I use a hydration pack to ensure my osmotic physiological homeostasis is achieved to the satisfaction of not only my physiological modalities but also the readers of this forum. Haven't seen too many road bikers use camel backs in the last 20 years either. The thread was more about asking an honest question about what are reasonable expectations more than what are expected uses for hydration but I may not have expressed that clearly and happy to give clarification wherever needed.

Seems to be a few LBS employees on here getting a bit defensive and upset. Sorry if I'm upsetting anyone, not my intention and I don't have a problem with the shop or that I paid full price. I was just curious if this was standard practice and maybe I was expecting too much.

Just for clarification, I have no bad feelings toward the shop in question, I realize no one is getting rich working there and they need to make money to survive. I'll shop there again but it just won't be my go to preferred shop either. However a water bottle (used on a gravel bike on days I'm riding road, not on days I'm using said gravel bike on single track) that maybe costs the shop $4 and has their name advertised all over it seems like a small price for someone buying a full price $5,000 bike. Had I received some small gesture (I also asked if I bought different tires would they mount them for free, denied also) I would have walked away thinking that was a really awesome gesture and would go far out of my way to shop there for now on. Instead I left thinking they were ok, nothing to complain about but nothing to really pull me back in either. Otherwise the staff there was friendly and pleasant to deal with.

And yes, I ended up buying the tires at full price no questions asked and mounted them myself at home.
 

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Someone mentioned free maintenance lessons. I have had numerous folks ask for an evening with meal included to teach them how to work on their bike or show them how to perform some task. Close friends maybe, all others I just tell them I would rather just perform their maintenance for free. $55 an hour to service your bike; $65 an hour if you watch me work on your bike; $100 an hour if you want to help.
 

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My lbs gives me a discount whenever I purchase anything from them, I don't expect it but I appreciate it and keeps me going back to them.

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