Bike upgrade - component pricing question


New Member
Mar 12, 2016
I want to upgrade my road bike , mostly Shimano 6800 components including compact crank and new wheels ; I priced all the components at Excel bike in Colorado and then asked my LBS the same question - they were 50% more than Excel but that included labor .

Now I don't know for sure where bike shops get their parts but if it's from the manufacturer I would think there would be pricing incentives below even what the large retailers like Excel offer ?? and then again when returns are involved maybe it's easier for a bike shop to deal with a third party supplier ?? I just don't what the typical bike shop does ?

I mean I can see paying the labor plus maybe a little more to reward a trusted mechanic but what percentage above the Excel price would be fair ?

Bike shops obviously get their money on parts plus labor and so I don't think my mechanic would go for the idea of me buying the parts and he just doing the install .

Dose anyone have any thoughts other than me doing the install ?
Order parts from chainreaction, planet cyclery, modernbike, lickbike, probikekit, wiggle, merlin, etc....the least expensive source.

For assembly, LBS's can be on the high side and the quality of wrenching runs the gamut from hacks to certified pro's...choose wisely.

Frankly, I would install and dial in every component you are capable of yourself. Bike wrenching isn't rocket surgery, but there are some tricks and tips...and, of course, a few extra tools. Watch YouTube videos. There is a YouTube video on how to deliver a baby. Installing a new cassette or front can do this.

If something like a new bottom bracket freaks you out or you do not want to invest in the tools, let the LBS do that job. Or go to one of the local bike...what do they call them...where you can borrow or rent the tools and get assistance from the local gurus. Bike Coop? Something like that...usually have cheap rates if they charge for service. Again, ask questions and don't let hacks near your bike.

Lastly, there are some mechanics that are worth their weight in gold...highly skilled, experienced and for a person that is really a klutz around tools or having no mechanical skills...bite the bullet and pay them. A tip is also appreciated and damned near guarantees perfect workmanship.
thanks Bob , my mechanic is real good but , if he can get the parts cheaper than Excel , then in my case his labor is over $800 for install of brakes , BB & Crankset, both derailleurs , & rear cluster all Shimano and onto Shimano wheels with the correct free-hub on board - seems high even for New England .

Question Bob - This is a one owner /mechanic situation ; from your experience are the price of the parts bumped up and then labor , taxes added on ?

8 bones to build up a bike is high unless it is some sort of high zoot 'halo' frameset and a gold plated Campy EPS Super Record group. Or New England Yankees get paid way above our Ohio LBS wrench turners. Maybe those guys up North have a tight trade union or a secret guild?

For a little more than $800 a fellow can buy a brand new carbon Nashbar 105 complete bike that only requires the pedals and bars to be installed...a 15-minute job for any home wrench turner.

In some respects bike building from a bare frame has become much easier than in the good old days and in some instances it has become a bigger pain in the ass than ever. The devil is in the details, as they say. Some bottom brackets and crankset combinations can be a *****. Some BB's and cranksets install in less than 15 minutes. Internal cable/wiring routing can be a snap or it can add two hours to the build time. It all depends on the frame and the mechanic. Most of the other stuff is just a set of hex keys and a torque wrench.

Even if your mechanic spent a full 8 hours building your bike...which is NOT an unreasonable number of hours to put into a careful build job...that's $100/hour. ProTour mechanics do not earn that much on the hour! I'm not ashamed to say I would balk at paying an automobile wrench a C-note for an hour's work on any of my vehicles. That kind of money is getting into the realm of aircraft A&P least in the OHIO area of Trump'murica.

You did not say if your wrench is also stripping your old bike, but that's usually a half an hour or so additional time.

Maybe I'm behind the earning curve...or...maybe it's time I retired from aerospace engineering and opened my own shop.

Again, please go watch a bunch of those YouTube Videos. Art's Cyclery "Ask A Bicycle Mechanic" series are good. Park Tools has a wealth of text/picture/video information on their website. Even some of those shaky and poorly filmed home videos can offer valuable advice. If you only swapped out one component an evening you would have you bike upgraded in less than a week. And perhaps you have a friend or cycling club fellow member that can assist you?

To answer your question...yes. In my experience every LBS I've ever known sells components at or near MSRP and a few were way above that. Their shop...their rules, but I didn't get off the pickle boat yesterday and I do my own wrenching so...internetz iz my bike shop. If a guy or gal absolutely, positively HAS to rely on a bike shop for work it 'may' (or may not) be an investment in a good relationship to buy gear from them. Evey cyclist has to know his limits, his skill sets and how fat his checking account may be.
thanks again Bob for sharing your insights and providing some great advice and options , you made my day !! Cheers !!!

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