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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    I disagree with that too. This is nothing new. My parents had a bike shop till the late 80s (and I later worked in some huge and some high end shops) and we faced competition from Nashbar and other telephone order places just like shops face today with online competition. In the 30 years interim, bike shops have faced this nonstop. But they have their niche market, and they have their own business model which means selling near ecommerce prices is not feasible at all. Instead they sell a different buying and social experience, combined with special expertise. This is not to be underestimated imho. It's not a zero sum game where the LBS has to compete on price or die.

    Especially with sales of whole bicycles, the LBS has a leg up on marketing their products. It's only a minority of folks whom will buy a bike online, sight unseen, ride untried. Even for myself, I only have 3 bikes I ordered online, and three I bought in LBS recently, and I know exactly what I want in a bike down to the parts and geometry.
    I think what most avid cyclist don't understand is that they are about 15% of the business most shops do. My bread and butter is Moms and Dads, hybrids and kids bikes, tune ups and tubes. High end customers tend to be very time consuming and a much lower margin. I love working on all the latest and greatest, but in reality, I'd do just fine without them.

    The LBS is here to stay because your neighbor and his wife will ride bikes with their kids. And, for every 11spd out there who are better mechanics than the LBS guy, there are 50 others who couldn't screw on a valve cap.

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    I disagree with that too. This is nothing new. My parents had a bike shop till the late 80s (and I later worked in some huge and some high end shops) and we faced competition from Nashbar and other mail order places just like shops face today. In the 30 years interim, bike shops have faced this nonstop. But they have their niche market, and they have their own business model which means selling near ecommerce prices is not feasible at all. Instead they sell a different buying and social experience, combined with special expertise. This is not to be underestimated imho. It's not a zero sum game where the LBS has to compete on price or die.
    30 years ago, you couldn't browse dozen's of websites from a tiny computer in your hand. 2-day shipping was also nearly unheard of.

    With the prices of bikes these days (and the soon to come tariffs), few LBS's support casual riding. My girlfriend who rides maybe 8-10x per year wasn't going to throw down $4-500 for a casual hybrid. So we went the BikesDirect route for her and spent $300, shipped to our door. Performance and Nashbar often have great deals on their house brands or on Fuji's. Not to mention the 2-3x per year that Performance does 20% off or 30% in points back. Small bike shops don't do that.

    While you might have a somewhat captive audience for service/repairs, clothing, accessories (helmets, lights, shoes, gloves etc) are all cheaper online. Again, I'm not saying there will be no more LBSs... just that the small independent ones are going to be far and few between, especially when they're a dime a dozen.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicmaster View Post
    30 years ago, you couldn't browse dozen's of websites from a tiny computer in your hand. 2-day shipping was also nearly unheard of.

    With the prices of bikes these days (and the soon to come tariffs), few LBS's support casual riding. My girlfriend who rides maybe 8-10x per year wasn't going to throw down $4-500 for a casual hybrid. So we went the BikesDirect route for her and spent $300, shipped to our door. Performance and Nashbar often have great deals on their house brands or on Fuji's. Not to mention the 2-3x per year that Performance does 20% off or 30% in points back. Small bike shops don't do that.

    While you might have a somewhat captive audience for service/repairs, clothing, accessories (helmets, lights, shoes, gloves etc) are all cheaper online. Again, I'm not saying there will be no more LBSs... just that the small independent ones are going to be far and few between, especially when they're a dime a dozen.
    OK it has evolved a fair amount from 30 years ago, BUT 10, 20 years ago the bike stuff ecommerce was well established and nothing has really changed for that in the last 5 years+. Nevertheless the LBS remains. In my town they seem to be thriving, so many of them.

    And I completely disagree about the 'casual riding.' That is the core customer base of most LBSs. They get everyone who has doubts about the local Big Box store bikes.

    What is newish today is the brand name chain bike stores. Like the local Giant Bikes we have in town for a year or so now. They only sell Giant, and it is well integrated with Giant's corporate ecommerce website. Very innovative. Can see this with other shops that sell Specialized exclusively too, sort of.
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  4. #79
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    Some years ago I wanted to buy a bike from a local shop but wanted a different color scheme than he had in stock. First he tried to get me to buy an in stock bike by saying he only places orders once a month, no problem I will wait, here's the deposit. Month goes by and I check to see what delivery date would be, he says"I didn't have much to order so am putting it off until next month". I said that doesn't work for me, order the bike and I will pay in full, when it comes I will assemble it myself. He said no, he needs to assemble them or the warranty is void.

    I about got in a fist fight with the guy to get my deposit back! Short time later business closed., sure glad I got my money back.

  5. #80
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    Cooper, availability of new bikes for LBS to buy from the distributors .. can be extremely limited for at least half the year. So the LBS has to commit to ordering a helluva lot of bikes at once to suit the demand for variety for a whole year, or they just can't get the bike you want. The Specialized dealer nearest to me is particularly awful for this issue. They just never have a bike in a spec and size and colour for me. They mainly stock lower end bikes, and when Ive asked for what is available, it comes down to a narrow window in the fall or early spring for ordering a bike. Or they just say 'come back in early spring when we have a lot of stock,' the rest of the year I can pound sand. This is quite in contrast to the Giant bike shop downtown which stocks tons of bikes and has quick access to almost the whole company lineup within a day or two. Another Specialized shop I frequent in Tucson stores a ton of bikes off site in a warehouse to help smoothen out this seasonal supply chain issue.
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  6. #81
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    Back in high school I scrounged odds and ends from an old codger in town who sold Fuji. He was very unimpressed with the way kept cash in my wallet (wadded up). Nowadays I use credit cards and it’s all good.

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    Cooper, availability of new bikes for LBS to buy from the distributors .. can be extremely limited for at least half the year. So the LBS has to commit to ordering a helluva lot of bikes at once to suit the demand for variety for a whole year, or they just can't get the bike you want. The Specialized dealer nearest to me is particularly awful for this issue. They just never have a bike in a spec and size and colour for me. They mainly stock lower end bikes, and when Ive asked for what is available, it comes down to a narrow window in the fall or early spring for ordering a bike. Or they just say 'come back in early spring when we have a lot of stock,' the rest of the year I can pound sand. This is quite in contrast to the Giant bike shop downtown which stocks tons of bikes and has quick access to almost the whole company lineup within a day or two. Another Specialized shop I frequent in Tucson stores a ton of bikes off site in a warehouse to help smoothen out this seasonal supply chain issue.
    And this is why small shops (that don't have warehouses) will always be at a disadvantage. If you're dropping a decent chunk of money on a bike, you should be able to get the one you want, not the one they have in stock. Frankly, it'd be great to see the Tesla model -- where the showroom is just that, a showroom. You find the bike you like and that fits, and you then order it and it's delivered within a few days.

    Business model issues.

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    Cooper, availability of new bikes for LBS to buy from the distributors .. can be extremely limited for at least half the year. So the LBS has to commit to ordering a helluva lot of bikes at once to suit the demand for variety for a whole year, or they just can't get the bike you want. The Specialized dealer nearest to me is particularly awful for this issue. They just never have a bike in a spec and size and colour for me. They mainly stock lower end bikes, and when Ive asked for what is available, it comes down to a narrow window in the fall or early spring for ordering a bike. Or they just say 'come back in early spring when we have a lot of stock,' the rest of the year I can pound sand. This is quite in contrast to the Giant bike shop downtown which stocks tons of bikes and has quick access to almost the whole company lineup within a day or two. Another Specialized shop I frequent in Tucson stores a ton of bikes off site in a warehouse to help smoothen out this seasonal supply chain issue.
    This is strange. I recently bought a Specialized bike. Size, spec, and color were not in stock. They ordered mine and it was delivered in less than a week. Not sure how many other bikes they ordered, but a friend ordered one three weeks before me and no issue. He then ordered a MTB two weeks ago. Never were either of us told that we needed to wait until the LBS had a big enough order to justify our purchase.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    Cooper, availability of new bikes for LBS to buy from the distributors .. can be extremely limited for at least half the year. So the LBS has to commit to ordering a helluva lot of bikes at once to suit the demand for variety for a whole year, or they just can't get the bike you want. The Specialized dealer nearest to me is particularly awful for this issue. They just never have a bike in a spec and size and colour for me. They mainly stock lower end bikes, and when Ive asked for what is available, it comes down to a narrow window in the fall or early spring for ordering a bike. Or they just say 'come back in early spring when we have a lot of stock,' the rest of the year I can pound sand. This is quite in contrast to the Giant bike shop downtown which stocks tons of bikes and has quick access to almost the whole company lineup within a day or two. Another Specialized shop I frequent in Tucson stores a ton of bikes off site in a warehouse to help smoothen out this seasonal supply chain issue.
    The issue could have been brand specific, I wanted to order a Look 585 and here in the US there aren't many dealers, but this shop was a Look dealer and that's why I went there. The experience was a first for me, I had ordered bikes (Giant and Trek)before from other shops and had no issues or delays. I felt the guy was jerking me around and not being accomadating.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicmaster View Post
    Don't be surprised if you become irrelevant then. I think most people are willing to spend a small premium to "shop local", but if you're charging MSRP on stuff when it's available for 20-30+% less online and not willing to negotiate at all, people are going to go elsewhere. Smaller things, like lights and clothing are the worst offenders.

    I know when I was first looking at Clipless pedals 7-8 years back, I was looking at the lower level Shimano ones. The LBS wanted $59.99 I think for them and Nashbar had them for $29.99. $5-6 for shipping and I still came out $20+ ahead. I would have gladly paid $40 and had them on the spot, but instead I shopped online and never went back to that shop.

    Of course, this was the same shop that happily sold me 3 tubes within a week as I kept getting flats rather then suggest new rim tape or patching the tubes (this was when I first started biking in college).

    I have no issues with someone trying to run a business and make a profit. But a lot of specialty stores refuse to adapt to changing times. IMHO, the days of small, independent bike shops are limited. I have 10 bike shops within ~15 minutes of me. While I have no issues in visiting them for the handful of repairs I can't/don't want to do on my own, I see no reason to buy anything from them when I can pay a fraction of the price from Nashbar, Jenson, Bikewagon, Ribble, Merlin, etc. The only time I have was for a few small things, like cables for $4-5/each when I had one fray really bad and didn't want to pay for shipping.

    The local shops are going to have to either compete with online stores, merge, or change their business model.

    There's a shop by me that took up residence in a local brewery. He doesn't have any bike inventory (he can order it though) and does mostly service/repairs. His prices are very reasonable and he doesn't charge an arm and leg for replacement parts as his inventory is small and he doesn't have a retail floor to manage. This is the type of LBS's I see sticking around.
    You've got one thing dead right - that bike shops need to adapt to changing market conditions, and they'll need to change their business model. For us, that has been a renewed focus on who our customer is, and who our customer isn't - for us, we want to serve a customer that will allow us to be profitable in a business with razor tight net margins.

    You aren't that customer. We can't exist serving customers like you unless we do what the shop in the brewery did, and we've got a far more robust business model serving a different customer base.

    This isn't your fault, and it doesn't mean you're bad - it just means that you've got the knowledge and the savvy to realize that you can buy a lot of things less than I can. I mean, I'm not the type of customer a bike shop can build its business around either. It doesn't make sense for you to buy things at a markup that will sustain our business, and it also doesn't make sense for us to sell things at a price you can find them at from UK websites.

    I'm glad shops like the one in the brewery exist for people like you. We exist for a different customer, or perhaps for you we are only useful when you want a wheel built, a headset pressed, or something that you don't have the expertise or tooling to handle on your own. That doesn't mean we're doing things poorly, and that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you.

    Entitlement among bike shops annoys me. We don't deserve a damn thing simply because we sell bikes and are close to people. We only get what we earn by providing good value for the customers we serve. Similarly, please understand that you are in no way entitled to determine the price we sell goods for. Even if it is available for less elsewhere. You are absolutely entitled to take your business to people who have designed their business around customers like you - and you should! You'll be much happier, we'll be much happier, and so will they.

    But really, the hubris of saying that we'll become irrelevant if we don't do exactly what you want us to do is silly. You should stop that. It's the customer version of the bike shop saying "shop local!" when they don't offer a compelling value proposition.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by 202cycle View Post
    I think what most avid cyclist don't understand is that they are about 15% of the business most shops do. My bread and butter is Moms and Dads, hybrids and kids bikes, tune ups and tubes. High end customers tend to be very time consuming and a much lower margin. I love working on all the latest and greatest, but in reality, I'd do just fine without them.

    The LBS is here to stay because your neighbor and his wife will ride bikes with their kids. And, for every 11spd out there who are better mechanics than the LBS guy, there are 50 others who couldn't screw on a valve cap.
    Completely agree. People tend to make judgements based upon looking through their particular lens when the true landscape considering all riders is much different.

    Local bike shops serve a huge purpose to the biking community. I direct a lot of people I know toward one in particular I know where they will be treated fairly albeit not inexpensively.

    In mechanical circles I am a great anomaly without question based upon my education, experience, job and passion.

    I tore down my first derailleur bike including taking the rear derailleur all apart in my parent's basement when I was 10 y.o. I remember thinking...ah oh, this is kind of complicated and I may not get this thing back together...lol...but I did. My first derailleur bike...a Schwinn Varsity with friction shifters had kind of lazy shifting down the cassette and I always wanted to see if I could fix it.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by jspharmd View Post
    This is strange. I recently bought a Specialized bike. Size, spec, and color were not in stock. They ordered mine and it was delivered in less than a week. Not sure how many other bikes they ordered, but a friend ordered one three weeks before me and no issue. He then ordered a MTB two weeks ago. Never were either of us told that we needed to wait until the LBS had a big enough order to justify our purchase.
    could be a little different here in Canada on supply I guess

    I remember back when my family owned a bike shop in the 70s and 80s, we had to order all the bikes for the year in the fall/winter then they started coming late winter and spring. The distributor/MFR would have very limited stock available for order mid season (spring summer) and precious little in the fall/early winter. And back in those days the most popular enthusiast brand was a custom frame build who sold through us, which meant no seasonal shift in availability: just order the custom geometry colour and spec and they brazed it up, painted it and it came 3 months later.
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  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    Yup. And there's a very real and unaccounted for cost in checking it in, taking it to storage, having it take up storage space, retrieving it from storage to do the work, assigning it to a mechanic, taking it back to storage after the work is done, retrieving it from storage when the customer comes back to pick it up. If shops are checking everything in, they're wasting time.

    I leave every mechanic an hour of unscheduled time every day so we can just do easy on the spot stuff and still get through our work for the day - it makes us more efficient and our customers happier.
    The head mech in the shop I worked kept losing track of bikes waiting for repairs, so turned into a control freak. He wanted full working orders filled out for simple flat tube changes, brake and derailleur adjustments, and if the shop was busy, he'd take it in and promise it in a week. Or two weeks. Customers frowned.

    On weekends the place was a mad house. There'e be 30-50 customers, each with a special problem. In early spring, they'd bring in their bikes for air, check brakes an shifting, wheel true, and bearing play. Slapping the bike in the stand right then and going over it would be the perfect time. It took 3 minutes. So satisfying. Fixing a flat would take 5 minutes. Gave the bike back to the customer, writing "Labor $10" on the tube box, and saying "Please pay at the register." Nobody had to wait. The work was duly recorded at the cash register. We got nice tips.

    The head mech would still get pi$$ed off. But within a week in April, he'd have a rat's nest of bikes in the back room, some we would always have trouble finding two weeks later. Backups got ridiculous, by mid summer up to six weeks.

    My philosophy was, if lots of customers are in the shop, do the adjustments as fast as possible to get them out of the way. I learned this from the "pro" shop in College Park. It would take less than 10 minutes to change a flat, about the same time as filling out a work order, filing it, and putting the bike someplace where we could find it later. We'd even go outside and install bike racks on customer's cars. Got some nice tips from those.

    Particularly in bike shops, service is everything. Do it or die. The more customers in the shop, the more stuff you'll sell.

  14. #89
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by frdfandc View Post
    Winner

    Bikes, guns, ammo. What more could a guy want.
    Womenfolk?

  15. #90
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Womenfolk?
    Ok...women, bikes, guns, ammo, bows, skateboards. And donuts. And bacon.
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  16. #91
    Rub it............
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Womenfolk?
    You got me there

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    You can't fix stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeDaddio

    I kind of wish it were legal to staple people in the face.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Ok...women, bikes, guns, ammo, bows, skateboards. And donuts. And bacon.
    Don't forget coffee.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Ok...women, bikes, guns, ammo, bows, skateboards. And donuts. And bacon.
    Did we forget beer? Legal states could even add a dispensary. This may have to be a two story building.

  19. #94
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    Cynergy Cycles in Santa Monica,CA. What a bunch of morons..

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Ok...women, bikes, guns, ammo, bows, skateboards. And donuts. And bacon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Don't forget coffee.
    Quote Originally Posted by 202cycle View Post
    Did we forget beer? Legal states could even add a dispensary. This may have to be a two story building.
    Are we talking about the job or the vacation?
    Too old to ride plastic

  21. #96
    Rub it............
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Don't forget coffee.
    The shop I work in part time is next to a Starbucks and a small coffee shop. So coffee is readily available.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    You can't fix stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeDaddio

    I kind of wish it were legal to staple people in the face.

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