Pay RETAIL at your LBS for a NEW BIKE?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by razor_USMC, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. razor_USMC

    razor_USMC New Member

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    Howdy All,

    I have been a major researcher on my new Bicycle and I have to say my LBS has been awesome in helping me find my size for a potential future bike, and answering all kinds of questions about EVERYTHING! I have been going back probably once or twice week for a month while I do a ton of research on the internet. I buy some occasional little things when I need them from my LBS but anything "pricey" or needed in bulk I get online like at Nashbar.com.

    Here's the problem. My LBS charges retail for everything, and due to my membership with a local cycling club, I would get a 5% discount on my new road bike. (looks like when the time comes my bike would be roughly $2600) I know I can do SOOO much better on price than retail - 5% when it comes to buying my bike but my LBS has been awesome. There are a couple perks like priority/same day repair/tuneups if I buy from them and they give me valuable time and attention everytime I step in. Would it be reasonable to see what I could get my bike for on the internet and then split the difference with my LBS? When I asked what they "Could do for me" when it came time to buy, they seemed pretty set on Retail -5% and not a whole lot more. It is hard for the LBS to do well these days (except repairs) when the internet is taking lots of business and I know they work hard for their money, but so do I.
     
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  2. feckless

    feckless New Member

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    So, your LBS is "awesome" and you've been using their skill, experience and patience every week for a month or so.

    Presumably, they haven't charged you for this help. That's part of their investment in you as a customer.

    Suck it up and pay the price they've asked or next time they may not be around to help you.

    Unless, of course, you really are the kind of cheapskate who wants to get everything for nothing.

    F
     
  3. razor_USMC

    razor_USMC New Member

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    I suppose the difference between frugal and a cheapskate is a thin gray one. I don't pay sticker price/MSRP for a new car either and I still expect service and professionalism at a dealer or I take my business elsewhere.
    The question isn't whether or not to buy from the LBS but whether or not anyone else thinks about haggling a little or does everyone pay the price on the tag hanging from the handle bars?
     
  4. trekchic

    trekchic New Member

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    I got into cycling just exactly how you did. I went into the local shop several times, tested some bikes, got fitted for an exact match and then ordered the bike. I, too, get a discount for being a member of a cycling club. I probably could've bought a bike for less money that would've met my needs.

    BUT...........there's always a "but"......... many, many, many times, I've taken my bike back to the shop because it's making a funny sound, or the chain won't stay in the top chain ring on the front, I couldn't get in or out of my pedals easily.........lots of stuff........and they look at the bike, and teach me about the bike and how to maintain it......ok, truthfully, he said, "Kim, don't touch it, just bring it in to me!".....but he tries to teach me about it. He has yet to charge me for anything other than new parts or accessories....never charges me to install them or anything!

    You can buy clothes and some accessories at a discount..... but I'd get the bike from an expert who will support YOU just like you support THEM!

    Just my opinion!
    Kim in TN
     
  5. razor_USMC

    razor_USMC New Member

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    very well put. thanks kim.
     
  6. markwill

    markwill New Member

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    My LBS offers 10% back (coupons on all purchases), sales pretty much all the time (it's actually kinda difficult to find ANYTHING at retail :) ) and free lifetimes tune-ups. I got my bike for retail but with the 10% money back coupons PLUS they gave me another $87 (about 9%) a couple of weeks later when they discounted the same bike and retroactively refunded me. They had a double coupons weekend recently so I effectively got 20% back on a bunch of things.

    So far I have bought a bike, Polar S720i computer, toolkit, clothes, etc, etc and I don't think I have paid remotely close to retail for anything. I have got 30% off clothes and some accessories. Their service and "friendliness" (with the exception of one individual who I just bypass now) has been excellent.

    A buddy of mine had a trainer (about $200 worth) that go damaged when he had to ship it by airline. He took it in and asked how it could be repaired - they just have him a new one. He was happily surprised.

    I consider myself "loyal" to my LBS because I generally won't go anywhere else (being 1/4 mile from my work helps) - but don't need to pay retail. At a rough guess, I'd think I have got at least 20% average discount off retail on the $2,000 or so I have probably spent so far. And I haven't felt the need to haggle once.

    I am a happy camper...

    Mark
     
  7. eobrien

    eobrien New Member

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    I think you're paying for more than a product here, and I wonder if your car dealership analogy is a little flawed.

    In many ways, bike shops are the centers of the cycling culture, and without them, it'd be harder to find group rides, race sponsors, club support, etc. While the LBS certainly make money from these efforts, it does so indirectly-- when you patronize them. I guess I see it as buying from your cycling community, and that you're paying for more than the bike itself or the repair service the LBS provides. You're putting money into the sport at the local level, and I think that's worth paying a small premium.

    My problem with your car dealership analogy is that car guys are clearly trying to screw you. The process of buying a car is almost always confrontational and driven purely by commissions and profits. Bike shops are in the business to make money, sure, but I think they also care as much about the sport as they do about the bottom line. If you don't get that vibe from the shop you're dealing with, find another one.

    Good luck with the purchase!
     
  8. razor_USMC

    razor_USMC New Member

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    Very good points made. thanks for taking the time to write eobrien.
     
  9. danielwilgocki

    danielwilgocki New Member

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    Buy your bike from your LBS.

    Did you factor the cost to get your internet purchased bike fitted? I know that most shops will do this for free with in house purchases but will charge up to $60 to fit a bike not purchased through them.

    I think the bike fit, free adjustments, and warm fuzzy feeling you get from knowing you supported your LBS alone is enough to make me buy from the LBS.

    Hell my BS threw in some free water bottles when I bought my bike. :)
     
  10. Mrmonty

    Mrmonty New Member

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    I recently had a bike that i purchased second hand stolen. The insurance company gave me the cost of a new one to replace it, so i ended up doubling my money. I found the bike i wanted at a great price but when i went to my LBS they were outta stock and becasue it was an end of season clearance wouldn't order it in at that price. They told me to get the bike at another shop and tell them to match the price. The other shop wouldn't match but did drop the price a bit. I had a few probs with the bike so took it back and they were not very helpful, so I will be taking it to LBS and getting them to do all the work on it.

    Mr Burns
     
  11. rek

    rek New Member

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    My "personal rule" about the mail-order vs. LBS thing is this: if it's something you don't need any help with researching, installing and using, then go mail-order. If it's something that you'll end up needing some proper purchase advice or after-sales service for, then buy from the LBS.

    In my experience (and observation) when you buy a high-end bike from an LBS, you'll receive high-end service. You'll have no problems getting any urgent service done, even when they're running a backlog of service jobs, and it'll always be worked on by the same person (who in turn will remember everything about your bike and what's been done to it over time); they're willing to track down obscure parts fabricated in Luxembourg (or wherever) for you; etc.

    The only circumstance which I'd buy a bike from mail-order is if it was a boutique high-end frame that my LBS either couldn't get in, or get anywhere near the price of; and with that, I'd pay the LBS for their time with regard to pre-purchase fitting and measurement, building up the bike, etc.

    Maybe my LBS people know this, because the high-end bikes they have on show all seem to be in my frame size ;)
     
  12. Mrmonty

    Mrmonty New Member

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    All well and good, but if you are only spending less than $1000 on you bike does that give the LBS the rite to treat you as less of a customer, and not give good service?
     
  13. graf zeppelin

    graf zeppelin New Member

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    All good experiences and good advice. Your LBS is your most important resource unless you can literally do everything for your bike. That said, I buy most large ticket items online and most everything else from the same LBS.

    I have a good relationship with my current LBS. They were with me from day one on the bike I started building almost three years ago now (took me over a year to collect everything). They fit me and they knew they were going to build it and always service it. We talked about the frame, but I ended up being able to get it online for almost $1000 less than it could be gotten here (imported). Grouppo too I saved over $400. With those kinds of margins, I simply had to, and they understood. Wheels too. They worked with me on every other part, offered me good deals, and even if I was able to beat it elsewhere, I got it from them. Ended up saving a ton on that bike and I dont know if I would have been able to get it otherwise.

    With that experience, I dont think I'd buy a fully built bike retail from an LBS (even my favorite one). Cant afford it. I do throw every purchase I can their way on a weekly/semi-weekly basis and we've good relationship. Always give your LBS the first chance at anything. That's the most important thing.
     
  14. beerbecue

    beerbecue New Member

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    I went to the 'better' LBS recently with the intent of spending ~$2500 on a new bike. After spending half an hour looking at different models and walking through the shop, not a single person (there were three working) asked me if I needed assistance.

    I ended up going to a shop 45 minutes away to get the model I wanted. Now, that shop has free adjustments, tune-ups, etc. for the time I own the bike. However, after getting the bike home, I realized that a few small things could have been set-up better. In addition, the distance is a pain in the arse.

    If my LBS had even given me the time of day, I would have gladly purchased from them, simply for the convenience of having a reliable mechanic (the shop sponsors the local racing team, and one of the mechanics is the team mechanic) nearby.

    Buy from the LBS, they sound helpful and interested....
     
  15. Telegram Sam

    Telegram Sam New Member

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    Ughh! This is a no brainer (if your LBS is a good one). I have four in the area that are touted as being tops- and one that really is. When I was looking for a bike he never carries- he made every effort to find one. I can't say he ever did- it was an exotic model (and size) for the company and the company never did let him know if they could get a demo to him. Finally I said "screw it" and ordered it. I was pretty sure it was what I was after, but he knocked $100 of the price because of the companies short-comings and had it in my hands, assembled, in two days (his day off incedently). He has also taken my riding, with some suggestions and advice, from bike path riding to fully decked out cycling...and even conquered my fear of Lycra.

    That said, my wife is looking for a bike and she too is a hard fit. I took her to another shop to ride something, and we waited for 20 minutes while two of the employees had a chat...guess they didn't want my money after all. Went to my local buddy and told him what I felt she would be comfortable on, and he said "wanna borrow mine?". Now, I am short and she is tall, so we can't usually ride anything in the shops, but the next day she took off on HIS BIKE...FOR FREE and rode it for a week. Guess who sold another bike?
    If you can find an LBS that is Friendly and helpful, go with them, they are your best friend when it comes to fixing your rig and keeping you riding. Sure, you can find it cheaper, but a nation of Schwinn dealers are out of business because of that philosophy, and a nation of bikes sit in garages because they don't fit right. In the long run, the extra cash will be worth it, and the LBS will still be there when you need repairs, want to see the latest computer, or just want to put together a group ride, or sit around in funny shorts and not get teased after a hard ride
    I guess that is more then 2 cents worth...oops
    Cheers
     
  16. Telegram Sam

    Telegram Sam New Member

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    Gosh- your ordeal was worse then mine, but I feel that it is rampant...What ever happened to service? I have found this to be true at almost every bike shop in the North Bay Area of California...oh well, I guess I don't look like I have money and a bike fetish to some- the few that recognize that fact seperate me from a lot of money
     
  17. shortygsa

    shortygsa New Member

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    I am new to cycling and just purchased a bike second hand from a friend and can honestly say I am addicted. That being said I am also a Skateboard shop owner and have to deal with many of the online retail competition. Luckily I have many supportive customers that help and support the local scene by shopping at a in-city retailer, because of the service we offer and the fact that we actually care about our local skateboarding. Many of the comments on this thread are exactly how I am, and have been approaching all purchases since the bike.....keep it in your city with your LBS. He has helped you a great deal and seems genuinely interesteed in growing the sport and that's what matters.
     
  18. Mr_Potatohead

    Mr_Potatohead New Member

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    pretty much agree with what's been said but I'll put in my $0.02

    How much is your time worth? If you are a busy professional and don't have the time or inclination or ability to service and troubleshoot your own bike then buying retail at a LBS may be worth it to you.

    But for me since I can repair anything on a bike faster than it would take to bring it to a shop and wait for them, it's not worth it.

    Figure that you can probably get a similar bike for about 60% of the price on the internet.
    For example, Supergo routinely sells 18 pound road bikes with full Ultegra for $899. I've got one, I love it. And these bikes are typically $1500 or more at the LBS. So in your case figure that you could save about $1000 by going mail order. $1000 buys a lot of service and water bottles at your LBS.

    Bottom line, the parts, the frame, they are all commodities. The service is what you are paying for and what that is worth is up to you.

     
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