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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    62

    What do you look for in a "home" LBS?

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    I'm fortunate in having several bike shops within a 10-15 mile distance from my home. One shop I've taken our two vintage bikes to, for getting them ready to be on the road. Mine came back in very good shape; the other I'll be picking up on Thursday; so far, I like their mechanics. The owner of another shop which is very convenient to my job has an unimpressive reputation with a couple of cyclist friends but seems to have a wide selection of bikes and gear. One tiny shop seems to have more in the way of shoes, clips, pedals and clothing. They advertise their own riding club, while other shops have riding events. One or two other shops have serious Attitude. A couple are more corporate -- Performance Bike, Trek Bicycles -- along with REI, ****'s Sporting Goods, and like that.

    What do you look for in a "home" LBS? How important is it to have a "single-shop" loyalty? I'm guessing it's a poor idea under most circumstances to buy a whole bike online, but parts and pieces are okay, yes?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,825
    Great service, great service, great service. The people at my LBS are friendly, they respect all their customers and they believe that service is most important. They want to help you enjoy cycling, regardless of what and where you ride. And when I say all customers -- women are treated as equals to men.

    One of their stores is 10 miles from my house and the other is 20 miles away. There are plenty of other bike shops that are closer, as are REI and ****'s Sporting Goods. I will sometimes buy things from other stores if my LBS doesn't carry what I want, but they are always my first stop.

    P.s. Actually for clothing they are tied for first with TE. BEST ONLINE STORE EVER.
    Last edited by ny biker; 05-11-2015 at 09:12 AM.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    773
    Same as NYBiker.

    I have my LBS that I go to all the time. They know me, know what we like (and tease me a lot about the "special" stuff I make them buy). But they will do anything to satisfy us. But again, we are polite with them and do not expect everything free.

    Yesterday we went to meet him (he's the owner and they have 4 stores across the area) to put in the order for the parts we'll need for my Crux frame I'm picking up in the States next weekend. It is my shop that will put everything up for me.

    I asked him to give me a quote of how much I was going to pay for the parts and installaition on the frame... I know it is hard to find out the price because he may have parts in stock (which I will get a discount on) and then other parts which he'll need to order and I may not get as much of a better price. But he will quote me at least for the difference if I go with a Shimano 105 and Ultegra.

    But everytime we go there, and purchase something, we get between 15 and 50% off. My husband bought last year a Specialized shorts at 50% off during their annual sale in September. Well hubby went out with his club and was thrown off his bike (at 34km/h) and his shorts were scrapped on his first outing with them. Owner sold him another pair at 50% again. He did not have to at all. But this is what service and empathy is all about.

    He needs money to run his shop. No doubt about it. But he's not in such need and his concern for customers and the fact he wants us having fun on our bikes, is his 1st goal. He has an excellent reputation.

    Of course some will always complained about bad service. But like he said: you will always find people unhappy about one thing or the other and those people...we do not need them around. They will always find something to drain your batteries.

    We are very demanding as customers. But there is a way to do it, and there are limits into what we can ask them. We're good money to them...so I think it helps too.

    So yes, to me service is the number 1 thing. Especially the mechanics in the back. Because most stuff you can get cheaper on ebay, amazon or through UK. But when I have a problem, I'm glad I have a place to go to, and they will honor and try to settle the issue to our advantage.
    Helene
    Riding a 2014 Specialized Amira LS4 Expert - aka The Zebra!
    2015 Specialized Crux e5 - aka Bora Bora bike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,100
    There are 3 bike shops within 10 miles of my house. The one I went to for my previous bike and did the build on my Guru I have stopped going to. They have the "attitude," cater to racers, although they sell a lot of kids' bikes and hybrids, too. I just don't like them and I have made it my business to tell everyone I know! They know it, and were quite sweet to me for the past 5 years or so, after they realized that every time I was in the shop, I knew most of their other clients, from either the 2 clubs I ride with, or my son's former racing career. Their good female mechanic quit and does her own work out of her home now. DH just bought a new bike there, and I did not go with him at all during the purchase phase. I bought my new bike from another local shop, which is more family friendly, has a bigger variety of types of bikes and accessories/clothing. The owners can be weird, but I've known them for years, as DS worked there in high school, when he was racing. They always hire local kids, but they also have a very good mechanic. Over the years, I have bought things like gloves and commuting accessories there. The other local shop I am not as familiar with, although my friend bought her bike there and had a terrible time with them over that.
    I guess I am an outlier, in that we purchase almost everything for cycling on line, except for the actual bikes and shoes. DH is a mechanic and can do almost anything on the bikes, although with our new bikes, he has some new learning to do. I buy all of my clothes from either TE or Terry. We have bought really expensive winter jackets (Assos), winter shoes, and super bright headlights from a shop in the UK. They are one of the few places that have my size in the winter shoes and jackets.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    62
    Thanks for your responses! I'm sure I'll be visiting all the bike stores in my area (research, doncha know), and will be paying attention to staff and stock alike. At the tiny shop with all the shoes/clips/gear I was welcomed by two women around my own age (mid-50s) who seemed to really like bikes and enjoy working there -- a good sign. The closest store to me is populated by twenty-somethings, they seem to have lots of customers test-riding bikes and a brisk business going on, maybe too brisk to say hello to someone new walking in, but their mechanical work seems quite competent. The big Performance Bike nearest me has fewer bikes and more clothing, but the staff seems professional. There's an American Cycle and Fitness not too far away, and a couple of others I want to look at.

    It's easy for me to get overwhelmed by all the bikes and gear, and forget to see what the staff is like. Thanks for reminding me how important that is!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,952
    Have fun checking the stores out! To my mind it is really about the staff, their being open to everyone and the skills of their mechanics. Is their main focus to sell you something or is it to make certain that you are happy with your purchase? That may sound like a small distinction but that difference truly matters. They both need to sell bikes and other things to keep the doors open, but the second focus keeps people coming back.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,200
    My LBS has some good people who try to help and make customers feel comfortable with whatever problems/questions they have. I've overheard that a number of times. That’s a quality I would look for…. although I find difficult sales people amusing so that doesn’t bother me much as long as I get what I need. My LBS always has one or more knowledgeable women available to customers. Some are very good riders. It's an old, well known in the area store. We have a lot of stores...from hipster supreme to norba to pbp randonneurs....you can find it and people to have a conversation with.

    Ann-Marie…your riding this season can make you stronger with better health than your walking did. Short, long, easy, hard, even like me with a gelato/ice cream break during a day of city riding…..any kind of ride you do on any bike can be good and fun for you. I’d take some time to just see the bikes available to test ride in your area, (I found some good reasonably priced bikes at REI recently)… think about them and your riding needs...that starts to narrow it

    NOW...if you can make it ‘a ride your Hollywood to the lbs’ outing that’s even better.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

 

 

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