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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A month ago, I decided to buy a new bike. I did my research, decided on a frame, and spec'd out the bike around that down to the last screw.

Usually, I like to support the LBS in my area (I just moved here), so after checking with the frame manufacturer which dealers here in NYC sell their frames, I sent out a detailed email with the specs to three dealers in my area, and asked to price the build for me.

Mind you, this was a rather high-spec'd bike.

After three days (on a Friday), one dealer responded, but the sales guy said they did not have the frame and parts in stock and he needed to check and come back to me - fair enough.

The other two dealers did not respond at all. On Monday, I started calling the other two dealers. One did not pick up so I left a VM and asked for a call back. The other one picked up and confirmed that they got my email but had to look into it. I said thanks and we agreed that they would contact me again when they got confirmation about delivery dates and pricing.

Another three days later, no one had come back to me. I started getting a little frustrated so I expanded my radius and emailed two "boutique" mail order bike builders to add to the list.

I immediately got (system generated) answer emails with the name of the relevant sales person. A few days later, one of the two e-tailers actually came back to me, the other one played dead despite some follow up emails and a call from my side.

Fast forward and skipping some sad details - I never heard back from the two local dealers that at least after some chasing seemed to be interested in getting my business. One local bike shop was completely unresponsive and did not respond to any email or VM. I also never got any feedback other than the computer-generated email from one of e-tailers.

Two weeks after my initial outreach, out of the five shops I contacted with a detailed request, only ONE (one of the e-tailers) has shown any helpful reaction.

As of today, 4 shops either did not react at all and/or never came back to me after me chasing them.

I decided to go with the one e-tailer that reacted promptly and competently and have not looked back, they turned out to provide great service and delivered a nice build.

I am a happy chappy now, I have my bike and everything turned out good in the end, but I guess I am breaking now with the "support the local bike shop" mantra, they are obviously not interested in doing business.

Anyone else has experienced something similar? I was really puzzled by this complete lack of service from 4 out of 5 dealers. :confused:
 

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That's a very nice build . Congrats . Can't comment too much on the difficulties with the dealers , just that it seems to be the norm in many areas .
 

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Ride'n Dirty
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144 Posts
The owner of one LBS is a member of my church but is such an arrogant jerk I stopped going to him. I think most LBS would rather see volume to the general public rather than to the minority high end serious bikers like ourselves.

Luckily there is a dealer here Trek of Pittsburgh that appears to be good at dealing with some of the issues I have had in the past.
 

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local trails rider
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If the dealer does not have the parts you spec in stock, or at sources they frequently use, it is a lot of extra work to get them for you. And they won't make much profit out of all the extra work.

What I've done is: I source the less common parts (no distributor in my country...) myself, and go to my favorite LBS to get them do the installation jobs I am not equipped to do myself.

Right now I am in the middle of a build using many parts from a previous bike. Yesterday, I walked into the shop with frame, fork and stem, and told the guys I need my components put together with one of the good headsets they have in stock. Oh, and check the BB shell is OK to take an external BB. And I need some tires...

They could do the whole bike for me, but then they'd have to charge all the labor for bolting on the easy parts too.

(For small jobs like mine now, their normal scheduling is: "You can pick it up in the afternoon, the next working day". And I did not feel like rushing it)
 

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Eff U Gee Em
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If it bothers you that much, you could write them a thank you letter for the experience, with pics enclosed and a copy of the sales receipt for the bike you *didn't* buy from them, that they *won't* be servicing for you.
 

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TRANCER
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howdyhowdyhowdy said:
If it bothers you that much, you could write them a thank you letter for the experience, with pics enclosed and a copy of the sales receipt for the bike you *didn't* buy from them, that they *won't* be servicing for you.
Lol +1
 

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perttime said:
If the dealer does not have the parts you spec in stock, or at sources they frequently use, it is a lot of extra work to get them for you. And they won't make much profit out of all the extra work.
This could touch on part of their thinking, though I would be surprised if a NYC bike shop couldn't source those parts pretty easily...the magura is the only thing I see that they may not have been able to get through one of their distributors.

My initial thinking is maybe they didn't think you were all that serious. If you had gone to them in person, I'd be willing to bet you would have been taken care of.
 

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I support my LBS in only one way, service requirements on my bikes. As for purchasing anything retail, especially an overpriced bike spec'd by a manufacturer and not me, that will never happen. When a shock/fork can be had for less then $300 on the internet, delivered free and tax free, and the LBS wants $500+ and adds a sales tax, the choice is clear.
 

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local trails rider
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ncfisherman said:
If you had gone to them in person, I'd be willing to bet you would have been taken care of.
Quite likely. I don't call a local shop. I visit it.
 

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Solo42
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TraumaARNP said:
I support my LBS in only one way, service requirements on my bikes. As for purchasing anything retail, especially an overpriced bike spec'd by a manufacturer and not me, that will never happen. When a shock/fork can be had for less then $300 on the internet, delivered free and tax free, and the LBS wants $500+ and adds a sales tax, the choice is clear.
THANK YOU. I find it annoying when I hear people whine about how one should support the LBS. If you're rich or dumb enough to give away your money, it's your choice. I for one don't make enough of it, and so it goes to the shops (web based, thank you) that offer the most competitive pricing.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
howdyhowdyhowdy said:
If it bothers you that much, you could write them a thank you letter for the experience, with pics enclosed and a copy of the sales receipt for the bike you *didn't* buy from them, that they *won't* be servicing for you.
It doesn't bother me that much, it's just that I was puzzled. One local shop with bad service - ok, but all ?

perttime said:
What I've done is: I source the less common parts (no distributor in my country...) myself, and go to my favorite LBS to get them do the installation jobs I am not equipped to do myself.
Yeah, that's what I will do from now on - just wanted to be "fair to my local dealer"...guess I have learned something.

ncfisherman said:
My initial thinking is maybe they didn't think you were all that serious. If you had gone to them in person, I'd be willing to bet you would have been taken care of.
Funny thing is that I was at one of the LBSs in person the week before and had a chat with one of their sales guys about my intention to buy a new bike, the guy gave me his businness card and I emailed and called him later. Did not make any difference :)

perttime said:
Quite likely. I don't call a local shop. I visit it.
I would love to have the time to go to various bike shops with a print out of my order request (if that's what it takes to get some attention) and but unfortunately I don't.
I guess these bike shops must be doing pretty well, otherwise they could not afford to ignore bleeding edge communication technologies like phone and email. :)
And if that's the case, there's no reason for me NOT to shop on the internet for better prices.
 

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local trails rider
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cavry said:
I would love to have the time to go to various bike shops with a print out of my order request (if that's what it takes to get some attention) and but unfortunately I don't.
"My way" has been to pick one shop and get it done there. I might have the time to go to 4 or 5 shops with my ideas, but I don't have the patience, or interest, to run a request for offers between them. I pick either the shop where I usually go, or the one that definitely has some major items in stock.
 

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cavry, you attribute a quote to me in your post which is in error....care to fix it?
 

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I've gone in with a parts list but they seemed to be annoyed at having to pull out the catalogs to look up parts, get prices, availability, and shipping costs. And at the end of it all, their prices are much higher, sales tax included or not. Since then I have decided to order online and build myself. It saves time and money and has taught me to be my own bike mechanic. I use local bike shops to buy some of those things they do keep in stock like tubes, chains, cables, grips, bottle cages, even a saddle and other nuts and bolts. I'll also take my frame in to have it faced and chased or to have certain headsets installed by them.

I would agree that many bike shops do care more about volume over quality of customers (for lack of a better way to say it), but I know of some that aren't that way. I simply prefer to do my own work. When it comes to a no hassle bike I want to just buy and ride, I will buy from the LBS. Just yesterday we purchased my wife's road bike at a LBS. It's her first road bike, so I felt it was most important for her to ride several and find one that was comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
julioardz said:
I've gone in with a parts list but they seemed to be annoyed at having to pull out the catalogs to look up parts, get prices, availability, and shipping costs. And at the end of it all, their prices are much higher, sales tax included or not. Since then I have decided to order online and build myself. It saves time and money and has taught me to be my own bike mechanic. I use local bike shops to buy some of those things they do keep in stock like tubes, chains, cables, grips, bottle cages, even a saddle and other nuts and bolts. I'll also take my frame in to have it faced and chased or to have certain headsets installed by them.

I would agree that many bike shops do care more about volume over quality of customers (for lack of a better way to say it), but I know of some that aren't that way. I simply prefer to do my own work. When it comes to a no hassle bike I want to just buy and ride, I will buy from the LBS. Just yesterday we purchased my wife's road bike at a LBS. It's her first road bike, so I felt it was most important for her to ride several and find one that was comfortable.
Yep, that makes sense. I guess I have been lucky with my LBS where I lived before.
It renders the whole "support your local bike shop" thing obsolete, though.
If they don't care anymore about service and customer relations and just want to turn over stock bikes quickly, there is no reason not to use them over online shops. I'd be willing to pay somewhat higher prices if it would indeed come with local service, but in absence of that....
 
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