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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    348

    Talking Why I love my LBS (or not): Jump In!

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    Hello new friends. I was away this past weekend in a bigger city and I checked out their LBS. Holy cow, was it fantastic compared to mine. Now, I know LBS's all differ but I thought it could be a neat thread to discuss the differences.

    I was wondering what is your favorite LBS feature(s) and what is not so good about the ones you have visited.

    I don't have a ton of experience in my local LBS, but they are okay so far. There is another one about 20 minutes away I want to check out.

    The shop I visited in the city was called Twenty20cycling in Baltimore. http://www.twenty20cycling.com/ A big plus was they had the TDF on a huge screen in the rear of the store.
    2013: Riding a Dolce sport compact for fun and a vintage Jetter with cargo rack for commuting

    www.bike-sby.org: A network of concerned cyclists working to make our city more bicycle friendly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    I don't frequent bike shops as much as I used to, but for me it all comes down to people. No one shop is going to carry every product or brand that I want, so while it is nice to walk into a shop that offers a lot of product, it's not going to make or break my experience if they're a small shop that offers a more limited selection (although it may mean that I don't buy anything because they don't have what I want). I want to walk into a shop where it's clear that the people working there are really bike people. They love to ride and they love bikes. They know bikes, as well as the ins and outs of the various ways in which people ride bikes, well enough that they aren't just parroting whatever a sales rep told them. And if they don't know something off the top of their head, they look it up rather than feed me some BS answer. Their natural enthusiam for the sport shows.

    My least favorite store in town is also the biggest. They have a lot of product. When I go into the store, it's a highly impersonal experience. I struggle to even get waited on and when I do, it's usually by somebody who doesn't know what they're talking about and/or is just trying to sell me something; something that may not be the best choice for me.

    I had a very frustrating experience last year trying to get a salewoman to understand that Trek's so-called WSD mountain bikes (or at least the particular ones that I was looking at) are no different geometry-wise from their unisex equivalents. Please know your product. The last time I visited, I tried on a couple of pairs of MTB shoes, one of which sort of fit but not as ideally as I wanted. When I told him that I was going to keep looking, he very arrogantly said that he doubted I'd find anything else at any of the other local shops. Really? Please. They carry Bontrager and SIDI; those are hardly the only two brands out there. At my favorite shop in town, they would have encouraged me to shop elsewhere because I think they really do look out for my best interests.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    257
    I am a floozy when it comes to the LBS scene. I flit from one to another. Never really happy with just one. They all bring something different to the scene, but not one is the ONE. And the not so local LBS's are always better. Sigh.
    I do have a thing for the wrenches at one LBS... They always know what I need. BUt try to find the right BIKE at an LBS? Oh, that is true suffering.
    S

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,704
    I really don't buy much bike stuff in brick-and-mortar stores. I've been treated poorly too many times. There's a LBS nearby that's under new management, and I love the customer service there. The owner is just a really nice guy who's happy to discuss bike stuff with me, but without ramming his opinion down my throat. As a result, I try to buy stuff from him when he has something I need, even if I can get it cheaper elsewhere. In the end, it really is about the people, not the products.

    My favorite LBS for repairs is in my basement

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    251
    I've said my piece about my current LBS already in its own thread, but will reiterate here that IMO, Indysteel nailed it. It comes down to the people. I have been trying to give my LBS more chances because I don't want to dismiss it due to (mainly) a single salesperson. I try to just avoid her when I go in. I'm getting to know some of the others there, and having that more personal interaction helps. In fact, the last time I was in, I needed something that they didn't carry, but they were super helpful about ordering it for me and talking about it before the fact. Truth be told, I could have ordered it online more cheaply, but the effort they put into the transaction made me willing to pay the little extra. I'm trying to give them a second chance.

    My old LBS, before I took a break from cycling, was awesome. They really treated their customers well and I felt a familiarity with them that I never will with my current LBS. Many people said that about them... from the novice to the serious rider. They treated everyone with respect and they knew their stuff inside and out. I also rode with them, though. Not all of them, as they had a some very serious racers. In fact, one of the guys, who was, I believe a Cat 2, taught me how to do a track stand in their parking lot. We were just chatting and I said something about not being able to. Since I had my gear, and it was slow at the shop, he came outside and taught me. And did so without making me feel foolish. What an amazing shop!! Amazing people, really. It is closed now. But it was things like that that made me LOVE my LBS.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    37

    Confused about women customers

    My LBS is rated really highly by locals and in magazines and I do understand why. They are very knowledgable and have great stock and great policies about trying bikes and getting the fit right. But I do think there is a hole in their store for women. They don't have any women that work at my location (there is one at another store I believe) and you can tell they don't feel as knowledgable about the WSD bikes. They also carry almost no clothing or gear for women - especially compared to the men's selection.

    I can understand all the reasons, I am in the retail business myself, but at the same time I have been in the stores dozens of times and have NEVER been the only female customer there. To me that says that the cycling community here has a lot of women. So having such a gap in your knowledge and selection in frustrating.

    In the end I have gotten very good service there. I just have to work a little bit harder to get it (and be more prepared) than my husband does.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Anyabeth View Post
    My LBS is rated really highly by locals and in magazines and I do understand why. They are very knowledgable and have great stock and great policies about trying bikes and getting the fit right. But I do think there is a hole in their store for women. They don't have any women that work at my location (there is one at another store I believe) and you can tell they don't feel as knowledgable about the WSD bikes. They also carry almost no clothing or gear for women - especially compared to the men's selection.

    I can understand all the reasons, I am in the retail business myself, but at the same time I have been in the stores dozens of times and have NEVER been the only female customer there. To me that says that the cycling community here has a lot of women. So having such a gap in your knowledge and selection in frustrating.

    In the end I have gotten very good service there. I just have to work a little bit harder to get it (and be more prepared) than my husband does.
    I don't disagree that a lot of shops don't understand the WSD product they carry and/or carry less of a selection for women, BUT some of the worst service I've gotten is from sales women who didn't understand what a particular manufacturer's "WSD" label means. It sometimes means very little, and yet they insist that it does.

    This is my take after buying a number bikes: Somebody either understands bike fit or they don't. There are only a few fit issues that I see as being absolutely specific to women. We come in all shapes, sizes and proportions. WSD is just a starting point when it comes to fitting a bike to a woman. You don't have to be a woman to get that, nor does being a woman guarantee that you do. There are plenty of men who deviate from the norm enough that they could benefit from a fitting with someone who isn't going to make any fit assumptions based solely on gender. The same applies to women.

    I'm not saying that your bike shop does or doesn't get bike fit, but I would suggest that it's not necessariliy a gender issue if they don't.
    Last edited by indysteel; 07-18-2012 at 07:53 AM.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Having moved around a lot since I bought my bike, I have a string of LBSes:
    LBS 1 (where I bought the bike): I really liked the owner. Excellent customer service, and he didn't treat me like I was an idiot. He probably should have caught that the bike was too big, but I take responsibility for that too.

    LBS 2: I only had one thing done there (tune-up). Never went there again. Owner rubbed me the wrong way. Decent selection of clothing.

    LBS 3: Local chain. I really don't know how to feel about these guys. I like the wrench/fitter at one location, and the manager and one of the wrenches at another. They've got good people and I trust them with my bike, and are the only store in the region that carries Specialized (one of my choices for the next bike), but overall they feel a little too slick and corporate until you really get to know them, then they're awesome. I haven't quite figured out how they're consistently highly rated, though.

    LBS 4: Nice guys, not terribly busy, but they really cater more to BMX and mountain bikers.

    "L"BS 5: I work here. I really like the people I work with. I've never asked them to fix my bike, but they're knowledgeable and awesome.
    Indy, sometimes I think they just get stuck in some rut, in regard to the WSD bikes. I did yesterday. It was slightly embarrassing, because I should know better.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    I don't disagree that a lot of shops don't understand the WSD product they carry and/or carry less of a selection for women, BUT some of the worst service I've gotten is from sales women who didn't understand what a particular manufacturer's "WSD" label means. It sometimes means very little, and yet they insist that it does.

    This is my take after buying a number bikes: Somebody either understands bike fit or they don't. There are only a few fit issues that I see as being absolutely specific to women. We come in all shapes, sizes and proportions. WSD is just a starting point when it comes to fitting a bike to a woman. You don't have to be a woman to get that, nor does being a woman guarantee that you do. There are plenty of men who deviate from the norm enough that they could benefit from a fitting with someone who isn't going to make any fit assumptions based solely on gender. The same applies to women.

    I'm not saying that your bike shop does or doesn't get bike fit, but I would suggest that it's not necessariliy a gender issue if they don't.
    My issue wasn't actually with fit. I bought a WSD because of how tiny my hands are - I just didn't feel safe breaking on the unisex styles - but I certainly tried them. But it was annoying to me that once it became obvious the WSD was right for me (and the shop agreed) they seemed a little lost. They didn't really know the differences between models or really have an opinion. I get why, the other bikes they have ridden and tested, but it was still annoying.

    Perhaps female sales people wouldn't solve this problem. But it seems natural to me that a woman would be more inclined to have knowledge about WSD. It is unfortunate that some one would push you into a WSD if that isn't right for you though.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wilts, UK
    Posts
    903
    This is interesting, not least because my incoming bike is from a bike shop that I'd never used before (well not for bikes).

    LBS1 - very local, my first bike came from there, but I never really felt much of a connection with the staff. I think their main target market is youth and mens road bikes.

    LBS2 - rather less local, but hugely female and family-friendly. Go out of their way to help, and won't sell us something that isn't right. We've spent a lot of money there. On the negative side, it's too far/hilly to ride a bike there, and I can't always fit a bike into my car. They help us with that though by offering a collect/deliver service which is great for getting all the bikes serviced at the same time.

    LBS3 - actually a hardware store with a bike shed out the back, within easy walking/riding/pushing distance. I knew they were a Dawes dealer so went to see if they had the mixte I wanted. They did. I had a test ride of a similar model (the mixte had cream tyres, it was raining...). They remembered the bike I liked when I went back in to put the deposit down 3 weeks later, and I get to pick it up on Friday (their wrench is part-time with another store). And their price was better than anywhere online, even with the various online sales. So we'll see, so far so good. I think there's a lot to be said for a good bike shop within walking distance.

    I'm committed to shopping locally whenever I can, I really don't want to see bike shops disappearing from our High Streets. In return for that I expect good levels of service, stock and friendliness and I don't mind travelling a short distance (probably up to 45minutes).
    Dawes Cambridge Mixte, Specialized Hardrock, Specialized Vita.

    mixedbabygreens My blog, which really isn't all about the bike.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    63
    Walked into one LBS and asked if they had any FSA Chainrings in stock.......the worker had no clue what chainrings were....doh


    Fraser Bicycle ROCKS!!!! Drive 30 minutes out of my way even when their is a shop 1/2 mile from me. Melissa has been working with their Specialized dealer on locating me a 2012 Amira from possibly another bike shop since Specialized is sold out waiting on 2013s. She spent an hour with me last Friday on getting me sized and letting me test ride bikes. Answered my 1000 questions. She even calls me to give me updates on the search. Awesome bike shop. They have a training coach and performance lab etc. Great shop.
    Felt F65
    Specialized Crux Expert Force (My baby)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I've never really liked any LBS I've gone to. They've all been patronizing in some way. Even the women wrenches, managers, etc.
    That said, I've bought all 5 of my various bikes at 4 different stores and each one had its own "style." I don't buy clothing at LBSs because none carry my size. I do pay full price for some of my cycling clothes, but I know, for example, Terry or TE will always have my size in pretty much anything I am looking for. I have bought 5 pairs of cycling shoes, the last 2 in the LBS.
    As far wrenching, my DH does all of the work and he buys the parts wherever he can get what he needs, cheaply, which means on line. Occasionally, he'll run up to one of the 2 very local shops to buy a tube or something, but generally we have an inventory of things, like cleat covers to always be prepared when we need something. I also buy my gloves at one of the local shops, as there is price fixing on that brand/style and you can't get them on sale anywhere...
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Anyabeth View Post
    My issue wasn't actually with fit. I bought a WSD because of how tiny my hands are - I just didn't feel safe breaking on the unisex styles - but I certainly tried them. But it was annoying to me that once it became obvious the WSD was right for me (and the shop agreed) they seemed a little lost. They didn't really know the differences between models or really have an opinion. I get why, the other bikes they have ridden and tested, but it was still annoying.

    Perhaps female sales people wouldn't solve this problem. But it seems natural to me that a woman would be more inclined to have knowledge about WSD. It is unfortunate that some one would push you into a WSD if that isn't right for you though.
    I'm not sure what bike you have, but most brake levers--on "WSD" bikes and unisex bikes--can be adjusted to fit small hands. If a particular model can't be so adjusted, a good shop will offer to swap out the part for something that works. IMO, the reach to the brake levers, in and of itself, shouldn't have dictated a WSD bike for you. And if that's the only issue your shop considered in fitting you, then it would make me wonder about them. And if they also don't know that brake levers can often be adjusted, I would further wonder about them. That's pretty basic stuff.

    I'll be honest that I often cringe when I hear the term WSD. I'm glad manufacturers are making bikes that address certain issues a lot of women have (for instance many need narrower bars than what you'll find on a unisex bike) and that they're making smaller sizes. But in so doing, they and the shops that carry them sometimes obscure the bigger fit issues that need to be addressed when someone is choosing a bike. Bars can be swapped, but if a frame is too small for somebody, it's too small.

    I'm sorry; I'm coming off as combative here, and I'm not trying to direct that at you. Some shops and their limited understanding of what the term WSD means and doesn't mean really irk me. It all comes down to training--of both men and women salespeople, the patience to educate their customers and a willingness to offer some parts swaps if it would help a woman (or a man for that matter) buy the best fitting bike they can and not just the one with the right "label." I'd love to see more women working in bike shopes, but they do me little good if they're not adequately trained or vested enough in what they do to learn more about bikes than their own personal experience with them dictates.

    I'd add that all but two of my bikes are labeled WSD. Two of them have somewhat different geometry from their unisex counterparts; most notably a lower standover for my short legs. The other is just a prettier color IMO; I could have gone either way. Ironically, one of the non WSD bikes that I own was sold to me by a woman. It doesn't fit as well as the WSD would have, but she never mentioned it to me as an option (and it was my first bike). When I called to ask her about it after the sale she said--and I quote--"it sounds like you know more about the bike than I do." Sigh....
    Last edited by indysteel; 07-18-2012 at 12:54 PM.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    37
    I have noticed a lot of people are reactive to the term WSD. Honestly, I think this shop would have preferred I buy a unisex bike so they weren't marketing it. I could have swapped out the bars and had everything reconfigured and if I had found the bike to be SO different and obviously more comfortable than I probably would have. But honestly they felt very similar and the WSD felt more comfortable so I went there. Maybe when I am more experienced I will understand better WHY that was and find better fits but . . .I do have a body type that fits bikes well and I am 5'7" and short legged for a woman with long arms. So a lot of bikes fit me well. Not having to swap out the bars and the saddle and reconfigure everything before I could even really ride the bike was easier for me.

    I should be clear that I really wouldn't want a female bike shop employee just so that they could hire a woman. I would hope that she would be just as knowledgable and informed as her co-workers. A BIKE person. But one with a different perspective than the men - like we find here on TE. It doesn't sound like that is others' experiences though.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    I'm a hybrid between mens and womens 'specific' styles!

    Must be a mutant...
    I won't tell anyone....
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

 

 

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