Learn More About Your Local Bike Shop

Mar 11, 2014 at 17:02
by Lee Lau  
Original article by James Wilson - Obsession Bikes. Posted with permission

You walk into a bike store and looking around you like what you see. The displays are tasteful, the bikes spread out with loads of room to walk around, allowing you to study every detail of your next dream machine. No sooner do you arrive before the staff come by to ask – “Can I get you a coffee?” You like this open and within moments the conversation is good and hours pass as you discuss your dream – a nice new shiny bike. Seem familiar?

Not so much.

So you walk into a bicycle store – It's mid April. It’s like a tornado nailed the place. The staff; they are the ones running around asking if you need a hand (when it’s obvious it is they that need one). There is a conversation – it’s just not with you. You are in for your bike, the nice new shiny bike but you just can’t get to the person you want to talk to about the bike. It’s your local bike shop, you love it - but it drives you nuts!

Obsession Bikes in North Vancouver. Are there enough logos in this picture

Obsession Bikes in North Vancouver. Are there enough logos in this picture?


Your local bike shop has about 5 months to make about 12 months of business happen. The truth is these guys and girls are not just passionate about bikes – they want to share this passion with you. The store is packed because they are popular. It is packed because the rent is absurd. It’s packed because they have 5 months to do what should take a year.

Here are a couple tips to get the most out of your bike shop – to get the kind of service that they want to give to you and frankly the kind of service you deserve for the money you are about to lay down.

1. Off Hours; Bike shops are typically busiest on Saturday, and mid week from 4:00- 6:00. Yet they are fully staffed all day. Go to your store at 11:00am or 2:00pm. Frankly the staff are dying to talk bikes instead of reloading shelves.

2. Shop in the off season; the most knowledgeable staff are the full timers. Buy them a coffee in the winter and find out everything you ever wanted to know about bikes.

3. Make an appointment; seems obvious. Don’t leave it to chance to make the most of your time.

4. Expect to make 3 trips to find the right bike; have you looked at Mountain Bikes lately? 26, 650B ,29 (pick a wheel size and be a dick about it). 120mm, 140mm, 160mm. 66,66.5,67 degrees. Don’t expect this to be quick.

5. Find the right sales person – your time is precious, find a sales person that understands your type of riding. If they don’t seem to understand, ask someone else to help.

6. Test ride; Let the bike speak to you. Bring your riding clothes. Ask where you should ride. Ride each bike on the same route. Does your shop have demo bikes?

James Wilson - back in the day in the climbing gnar of Cypress. Check out the Proflex Original photo by Ian Hylands

James Wilson - back in the day in the climbing gnar of Cypress. Check out the Proflex!


7. Set up each test bike the same. In mountain bikes be sure to set up the suspension, tires and fit the same. In road bikes – be picky and demanding as the differences between bikes are subtle. Change the saddle or stem if required.

8. Be open; most companies can only invest in platform overhauls about every 3 years. You may miss out on some great innovation by being brand loyal.

9. Quiz the shop on their service policies; what does ‘One Year of FREE Service’ look like? Is a Bike Fit included, if so – What does that look like? How fast does the service department turn around repairs? What is the Warranty and how is it executed? Will you be out of a bike for a day, week, or month if it breaks?

10. Ask around and read reviews but take this info with a grain of salt. It is easy to generate bias in bikes and not easy to be objective.

11. Bikes are fun; above all else- enjoy the experience of buying your next bike. The One will speak to you and say “I am yours, let’s get out of here and ride!”

Obsession Bikes

Happy Trails!


182 Comments

  • 162 6
 I think the very fact you need an article on how not to feel disappointed by an experience in a LBS speaks volumes.

Big up all the staff and owners who realise that all costumers are equal, and business is built on the small sales, not just 4 grand bikes. There are good bike shops out there and I commend you cos it can't be easy.

F#ck the staff and owners who can't manage to be civil to every single costumer no matter how annoying, slow, smart a#se or ignorant.

I tell you what as well, I see a lot of LBS owners on various forums trying to tell people how they should act when they go in a bike shop. Are you serious? You set up a business selling something to the public and think you can dictate how they're supposed to act? Unless they are thieving, smashing sh#t or kicking off I'm afraid you should have absolutely no expectations about your customers behaviour. Nor should you expect them to give a flying f#ck about the stress of running your business.

Why don't you listen to the problems people have on the forums and quietly act on it? You'll win for f#ck sake! The edge you have over the internet giants is you're an actual person, with the capability to make people feel good about their purchase and themselves in general. Basic sales!

And yes, you will get people asking to price match prices you can't match. You will get people asking about bikes they have no intention of buying. If you accept these things as part of being in the business you're in, and remain pleasant to every person, you will stand a much better chance of selling more bikes!

To any bike shop owner that's about to jump on here and tell me im wrong-

1 Think about it.
2 Your a prat.
  • 33 6
 *You're :b
  • 22 11
 It sucks that I can't give rightthen plus 100 props. I'd like to add... 3. Dear LBS, You are the shopping equivalent of VHS. We all have 1080 HD at home and it's easy to use. You're gonna need to pull something really special out of the bag to compete. 4. See number 2.
  • 4 0
 You weren't talking about Scotby Cycles were you?
  • 11 2
 I see basically to root causes to these type of attitudes that shop owners have (and their employees):

1.owning the sport. Since they own a bike shop and the name or their shop is somehow everywhere on shirts or marketing of some sort, it makes them think they own the sport. So whoever they see and is not a familiar face they uncounciously think is new to the sport and they'll treat him as a "joey". Is it fare? No. This will happen a lot on small cities where theres only two or three shops.
2.i forgot... i'll come back later when i remeber...sorry
  • 2 1
 I was on a smartphone, sorry for the grammatics
  • 4 8
flag deadtime (Mar 15, 2014 at 21:38) (Below Threshold)
 Shops should stock at least one model and all its levels of spec. I know theres limited space, but most shops arent even trying, and then they get sad when you buy yours from a competitor. Maybe my next bike I wont have to sit on before I pay, but the first time I spent more than $1000 I had to test ride it. I'll guess 20% of people spending more than $1000 for the first time would have gotten a higher spec if they understood what was available and why an extra $400 at purchase is like a $600 bonus. Does that make any sense? Its late, I'm trying to stay up for F1!
  • 4 1
 There is only one shop within 50K that has any kind of gravity influence. When the shop has $5000 downhill bikes on the floor you would expect someone to know something about that particular discipline. I normally buy my parts online but I do like to support LBS when I can so when I need small parts I go into the shop to get stuff. Trying to buy parts has become more and more difficult. Most of the staff seem to have no idea about parts or bikes in any other discipline other than road. While I have absolutely no problem with someone who knows more about road bikes then mountain bikes if a customer asks for a part do not argue with them that the part exists. Most recently I asked for seals for a Fox 36. One of the sales men asked me if it was an RC3, while another asked said "It is air right? of course its air fox doesn't make coil" It just so happens it was a coil. However when the mechanic told the salesman they were all the same he proceeded to argue with his own mechanic. While I encourage support of LBS I do not condone a salesman who thinks fox makes and RC3 anything or denying that fox makes coil suspension.
  • 3 0
 @old man eggy I've got to say Scotby is one of the ones I feel loyal to! It might be cos I used to buy skateboards from them 20 odd years ago? I doubt they remember me from back then and since being into bikes I've never been spoken to like a I'm an idiot in there. After thinking hard about it, there are 4 bike shops in the whole of Cumbria I feel are cool (I don't necessarily go in them that much but I know they're cool). Scotby is 1, I won't name the other 3, cos that implies all the others are sh#t (they are, but that's not productive).
@Narro2 You're absolutely right about ownership of the sport.
@phantom mtb That's annoying but they can't always be responsible for idiot staff. If he's not been fired within a short space of time that's a bad sign though! Smile
Also on the parts side of things, the staff will be less knowledgeable about those type of parts cos they're such a small part of a LBSs business these days. Still no excuse for what you experienced.

And finally to all the LBS IN in my area. I'm sure if you've read this you've looked at my profile to see who I am. You know the bike! You know me! Am I talking about you?

Hmmmm? Big Grin
  • 6 2
 Well said.
Bike shops will have good customers if they themselves develop good customers. If the store provides good service than that store will get good customers who respect them, if the store is crap you will get crap customers.

I like " Find the right sales person" um excuse me?

When is it up to us to run your business, employees should ask if you need help, and we should say I want to look at this bike do you have someone who specializes in this area. We should not have to chase around workers.

I have said it before and i will say it again LBS IS A SERVICE as in SERVE US not SERVE THEM.

We are not there to make your business run, you are there to do that.
As for store loyalty, we wont keep coming back if you give us no reason to come back.

Luckily for myself I am surrounded by a few stores that do it right.
  • 2 0
 @rightthen - Cool! because I kinda feel the same way about Scotby. Although I don't use them as often as I perhaps should, I'd hate to see them disappear. I'd feel like part of my childhood would disappear with them. Back in 83/84 you could only see Haro BMX's in magazines unless you went to Scotby and then later on , they were the only place I knew round here that did Santa Cruz skateboards. Now that they've moved across the street they do seem a little less unique but, It's still a shop that worth visiting.
  • 9 2
 I think the main problem with LBS is that half the guys that own them only set them up to fund their own riding addiction. Therefore they are not businessmen, they dont actually care about the shop as much as the chance to ride and they view customers almost like they should be thankful for the opportunity to fund their mountain biking career. Id say the proportion of LBS owners who have no business background or education is far higher than it is in most small businesses. Most people set up businesses because they feel passionate about that business. Bike shop owners feel passionate about riding bikes, not selling them.
  • 2 0
 Yeah man, big up Scotby Cycles!
  • 2 0
 SC decks and Haro and Scotby being on the same side as Carrs! Brings back so many memories.... Sniff, not crying, sniff
  • 17 2
 Wow as a shop owner that has a great customer base of loyal customers I am shocked to see this much negativity towards peoples local shops. I thought it was a good article giving great advice on how to make the experience better for some. If your local shop is busy and still there keep in mind it is successful so some people at least have found it to be a the right fit for them. Also as part of our local community we give back way more then people think. Between trail work advocacy, teaching bike safety to schools, sponsoring local up and coming or currently successful riders we also tend to be the people who get leaned on heavily to put on or help with those local events everyone wants to be part of. And that is just the direct connection with locals and bikes. We also give to numerous other charities and events throughout the year. If people have a bad experience in my shop, I want to hear about it first hand so we can continue to make the experience better for everyone. We try to be a shop that caters to everyone. I love selling carbon dream machines, and kids run bikes. City cruisers to people that want to drive less. All of it.
  • 7 14
flag donalddouche (Mar 16, 2014 at 11:28) (Below Threshold)
 The negativity Kootenaycycles, is because bike shop owners that are selling bikes at RRP and charging £60 for a brake bleed make whiny bitching posts on pinkbike and facebook about how everyone should support their passion.

Clearly when you get your stuff at trade, you forget that you are basically selling some very simple aluminium tubing in the shape of a push bike, for more than you can buy a motorbike or a car. Its not the consumer's job to finance your personal hobby, no matter how 'passionate' you are about it. If people can get a better deal online, it's YOUR job to offer something else.

Its a simple choice: Evolve or Die.
  • 6 0
 Agree with Narro. Bike shops at my town tend to be "selective" as to whom they consider a "friend". They are also sort of jealous of their sport, to which they think they are the gods and they think they are the one's who know the answer to everything, and there is nothing you can teach them.

What also tends to happen is that if you are into a type of cycling that is not of their liking, they wont treat you correctly. My shops tend to be XC and road only.

I once came into a store asking for wide bars...long story short, they tried to convince me that wide bars suck, short stems are stupid, and bikes having 120+ travel are useless. (they laughed when I bought a yellow raceface bars)

If I ask for wide bars or a long travel bike, why the F$%& do you try to convince me that xc is better? I respect your likings, but treating a customer correctly and he not liking xc are to different things.
  • 2 6
flag scott-townes (Mar 16, 2014 at 14:33) (Below Threshold)
 The biggest grievance I have towards bike shops is as Douche pointed out- the pricing. Bike shops are even worse than ski shops in terms of outrageous markups and pathetic "discounts". That's something that every shop seems to have trouble with, even if it's run by the chillest people.

If someone opened up a shop (it'll probably be online) where they were able to get a bulk or closeout deal with manufacturers and in turn sold everything with a slightly less profit margin (profit margins are pretty substantial as is it seems), they'd be the most popular and successful bike shop around.
  • 6 2
 ^ You obviously have no idea how a business is run. You HAVE to have those prices. How else are you to pay employees a decent/live-able wage, rent, electricity, water, and more importantly, that $75,000 order from *insert bike brand here* as well as all the other orders you have.

Bikes Direct has storefront shops, they have a 5% mark-up on their bikes as compared to a typical 35 % margin (there's a difference.) Every single one of their employees are idiots, hate their life, and that shop has a SUPER high turn-over rate. I know, I used to run one.

But yes, I agree with the fact that too many shops have that elitest attitude. We treat our customers that spend $9500 on a Santa Cruz Bronson the same as somebody who came in to buy a Cannondale Quick. We have cold beer in the fridge, hot coffee always made (which comes out of our own pockets by choice of course) and are always welcome to people just kicking tires.

It's bicycles. A kids toy....why anybody thinks they need to take anything serious is a moron. Then again all the employees at our shop are there by choice because we came from corporate/professional backgrounds with college degrees; not there because it's the only thing we know how to do and are stuck....like most shop employees are unfortunately. Maybe that has something to do with it....cause we don't want to go back to a corporate lifestyle, even if it does pay hand over fist more.
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike should make an article about how to stop being elitist towars all LBS customers, or something of that type.
  • 3 0
 I do believe there is something to being an informed consumer, however.
  • 2 0
 @Kootenaycycle

You just explained a good bike shop. These are not a problem, not all stores are as good as this, many are not.
For instance I walked into one of my locals a while ago stood at the counter waiting to be served. There were ~3 employees siting down having a coffee talking between themselves. 5-10minutes later a worker from the mechanics area finally came over and served me.

This store also loves the up sale and selling things that people don't actually need. it happened to me as a newbie there.

Safe to say I no longer use this store unless I am desperate and its a last option.
  • 1 3
 rupintart- You missed the part of my post, "if someone opened up a shop (it'll probably be online) where they were able to get a bulk or closeout deal with manufacturers and in turn sold everything with a slightly less profit margin", and just focused on the bit about profit margin instead... it's ok, though. Afterall, you tried to run a bike shop, you obviously know everything there is... with quite a cynical view on it as well.
  • 4 0
 I still run a shop....and the funny thing is that from working at Bikes Direct, I was also in the office doing quite a bit of their online and ebay business, so yes, I do know both sides fairly well. I also know that those stores' employees are absolutely miserable because they're commission based with a really crappy base rate, rather than just making a decent wage. Commission is a terrible idea. Looks great on paper and really entices new employees. It also makes it a cut-throat environment. Bicycles aren't cars, you don't get $250+ per bike you sell like you would a car. You can't expect to sell items for near nothing AND pay employees well do you?

Mike Spratt (Bikes Direct, Bike Island) makes a killing based on that high volume who at times makes less than 5% but sells an incredible amount in volume, as does Jenson USA, Pricepoint, Performance, etc. What you explained is nothing new. But what you get at those stores is grey market/overstock. Is it good for the consumer? Hell yes it is. Is it good for your local shops? Not really. Because the manufacturers are selling in bulk to those places and selling some items cheaper than what it costs a shop to get it (shimano just fixed this problem only being able to get shimano direct and/or through QBP...so soon that grey market is gonna get more and more sparse.) At times, those aforementioned places would have wheelsets literally $200+ dollars cheaper than what a shop could get it for even under the best terms. And that sucks.

I get it. It's a fair market and good on those places for capitalizing on that market segment. But it's a pretty shitty situation to be in when people look at your shop as a showroom, then buy online. Or bitch about a bike shop being more expensive than online, yet use the store daily to tangibly hold in hand then complain about the price. It costs money to just have things on a shelf and pay that person who's hopefully knowledgeable to tell you about it.
  • 3 0
 Rupinart. Totally agree with what you're saying but that doesnt mean that employes have the right to treat the customer as if they were doign them a favor.
  • 2 0
 I'm not sure why shop employees have that elitest attitude either where they make it seem like good service is a favor. They most certainly don't make a living/wage worth bragging about to justify that shitty attitude...but it unfortunately seems to be a recurring thing in the vast majority of shops for whatever reason.
  • 4 0
 I've just had a revelation about this whole bike shop situation.

The only reason I'm bothered about them having a stinky attitude, is the fact that I desperately want them to be lovely cos I love biking so much. I want to talk to XC guys about how they train for events. I want to talk to DH racers about why they pick what lines. I want to talk to Enduro riders about terms and wheel sizes! (sorry, couldn't help it).

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, if they were selling anything else I wouldn't be on a forum whingeing. I'd just shrug and think, 'oh well, won't go there again'. I've just realised that I go in the crap ones and buy a daft £3 item in the hope they won't be a prat this time.

I hate it when I come across people being c#nts in any area of the sports I love and ruining the atmosphere, especially for people who are beginning and may not have the confidence to continue after encountering said c#nts.

This is my problem. If I don't like the crap shops I should stay out of them. You get aloof people in whatever sport (particularly action sports) you do. I should just deal with this fact and move on.

Apologies for starting all the affray that is this comments section.
  • 3 0
 What I don't understand is that if people are trying to run a good business and trying to make money why they insist on such shitty customer service. I've been into bike shops many times and found the staff either condescending or disinterested, which just makes for a poor customer experience. Chain Reaction Cycles never mug me off. If I can get pretty much any part delivered to my doorstep at a good price why would I pay more for the experience of being belittled and ignored?

It appears to me (and I'm only 17 so maybe I'm being ignorant) that bike shops need to provide something that an online store cannot - a great shopping experience. They need to have a friendly environment, passionate & knowledgable staff and the whole thing should feel like a pleasurable experience in order to out-do the online stores. I love the idea of being able to rock up at your LBS and just have a talk over coffee with staff about what it is you want.

As a 14 and 15 year old I was shopping at my LBS and the guy there was very unhelpful and insisted on charging me the full RRP for every part even though I was a broke 14 year old buying parts out of my own money. He'd have had a customer for life if he had helped me choose good parts and given me a small discount to help me out. I actually have money to spend now I'm that bit older - but I'm sure as hell not giving any of it to that old dickhead.

It's good to see there are good shops out there who're using a scrap of common sense and attempting to provide the customer experience that an online store cannot. Shitty bike shops take note.
  • 58 3
 Article won't make sense if you're buying online or don't live in a place with good shops. In North Van, Squamish, Whistler we're blessed with a wealth of good shop from which to pick so count yourself lucky if you have that same situation
  • 13 2
 True, most local bikeshops around here are so bad they make me wanna cry. For example the biggest bikeshop here in Amsterdam: first of all the staff doesn't know anything at all about bikes. Every single time I've ordered something they messed up: for example I asked for the lowest stack a-headset they could get, they said they have a really low one, and after waiting for it to arrive, it turned out to be a semi-integrated one: they thought it would fit in a frame made for a-headsets. Or one other time I ordered an adapter for my 160mm rear disc. After waiting a week for the adapter to arrive at the shop, it turned out that they ordered a 160mm adapter for the front disc. They had no idea that there was a difference. Not even talking about how it took me more than 5 minutes to explain what an adapter for my rear caliper was.


Luckely we do have a good BMX shop and a good fixed gear shop, but for mountainbike stuff every single bikeshop I've been at, seriously let me down. Every single time I bought (or usually ordered because none of them have any parts on stock :S) I've wondered myself why I didn't order it only: it's cheaper, less waiting for it to arrive, and much better service (at least I get exactly what I order online). Now I gave up and I'm only ordering my mtb parts online.


And my old town was even worse: only one bikeshop sold normal mtb's, and they tried to rip everyone off all the time.
  • 4 3
 I lived up north for several years where there aren't a lot of shops, and of all the places where I got great service, was Cove Bikes. They would mail me what I needed, and were fantastic to deal with, even though I only got to know people from the shop over the phone. Now that I'm living in Squamish, because they treated me so good for so many years, I still go to Cove to get anything done, or to buy anything.
  • 5 0
 Whistler Bike Co. was an awesome shop (had the best and friendliest mechanics), the rest of the shops were pretty mediocre in my experience.
  • 6 4
 yah Cove is awesome and knowledgeable. Bike Co Pemby is amazing too.
  • 2 0
 @leelau - co sign!
  • 1 0
 Victoria seems blessed with loads of great bike shops as well - have had years of simply great service at North Park and then when shopping for a new bike this year it was amazing to get out and see the other bike shops, some great people around the town in awesome shops.
  • 1 0
 Last time i went to my LBS, they said they never heard about cone wrench. Basically it is runed(ruined) by old fat xc guys (no offence for the sport, just for the atitude), so all stuff in the shop is suitable more or less for pinning flat gravel road on sunday. TLD stuff? forget it, they wear lycra
  • 2 0
 @saintjimmy - I live in Van and agree that Cove is great (among other excellent shops in town). But any time I have been up in Squamish riding and have needed something, I have been very impressed with both Corsa and Tantalus shops. Both have been friendly and helpful. It's worth giving them a shot.
  • 2 0
 leelau - couldn't agree more. Here in Mexico LBS's are only XC and road oriented. Then local shops at Texas, which are the nearest from my hometown usually carry the same XC/road gear and equipment.

We, or at least my self, need to order parts from U.S sites or retailers and then make a trip to the US and pick it up.

Thats the case on my new bike, I'll have to make a 7 hour drive just to pick it up (though it's worth it lol).
  • 42 12
 i really dont understand why a bike shop should serve coffee or why i should bring beer for them. its a shop, that sells bikes, where does the coffee and beer fit in??? the attitude seems that you should bribe an employee in order to receive good service, which is absurd. You know what doesn't act condescending and does not require beer to provide proper service - chain reaction cycles. I wouldn't expect a tattoo artist or a appliance sales man to provide me coffee or need a bribe for proper service. Why would a bike shop employee be any different? There is a couple of shops that I received excellent service locally that operate on a simple method - they provide good service, and I pay for it. That should really be the end of it.
  • 9 6
 too uptight LBS are not McDonalds, Future Shop, or Walmart
  • 14 5
 No they are not, but bringing treats to try and sway them into giving you a deal or becoming your "friend" is sleezy as heck.
Same with the shop being expected to serve you treats on the other end. Just walk in, talk shop, be nice, buy the product and leave happy. Everyone wins. I think some folks on here are making the whole experience way over complicated.
  • 29 2
 i'm a full time mechanic and i see what you are saying here. But we never ask for people to give us things, we never expect it. We do good services on everyones bike and we get some people that jump from shop to shop looking for someone who understands how they want their bike setup and how they go about riding. It's not "oh you did a good service, heres a six pack so you can do it again" we will do the level of service they pay for regardless. It's when the customer feel's like you understand so a friendship s built and what do friends do for each other? invite them riding have some beers and the customers that were really pleased with the level of service that they received do sometimes give us beers or send us a lovely email because they have had horrible experiences with other bike shops. It's not bribing us, It's making a friendship.
  • 8 3
 I totally understand forming friendships over a period of time with people from your LBS and then bringing them drinks because that's what friends do.
My issue is with people who (point-blank the moment they walk in) only want to get a good deal on a part or bike, and nothing else.
So they bring coffee and pass it around and then push for a discount.
You don't buy your friends.
  • 10 0
 I'm just desperately trying to clean up our shop's rep due to some dkbags that used to staff the place. I'm going to do my best no matter what. If that means pouring a coffee for them, so be it. At the end of the day, however, the customers that bring beer are just trying to show their appreciation, and I LOVE graciously accepting. I shouldn't have to give coffee, but I will. You don't have to bring beer, but..........
  • 6 0
 ^ you guys "get it". nice to see this
  • 9 0
 @ kgbrussian next time CRC trues your wheel or straightens your derailleur hanger make sure to at least offer a refreshment.
  • 3 0
 coffeee to the customer is just nice. its the same as going into a car dealership. makes them stick around to finish the cup.
  • 2 0
 @epavichthesavage It's about culture dude.. If you don't tip your Tattoo artist you're an ass. Not sure about the appliance culture these days but pretty sure they're working for a pay-cheque and not a life driven passion. If you want to hang out at the shop/ go for rides with them buy them some beer and kick it. If not don't and stay impersonal infront of your computer and save yourself the hard times of being a human and having an actual conversation with someone.
  • 28 5
 This is coming form a retailers point of view. Customers need to realise that we cannot see everybody at once and deliver their exact needs. If they you advice, wait a bit and we can give you our full attention, you might even learn something off us. Don't get arsey if you've had to wait 5 minutes, let us acknowledge you, then we can help the dithering old lady before giving you an in-depth discussion about what you need. If you show enthusiasm then we will be more inclined to help you to the best of our abilities.
  • 6 0
 I agree with this 100%, there is no reason someone to become angry over a busy store. Even more so if the staff knows what they are talking about. I hope you have your employees keep up with the latest tech and trends. I have had two LBS employees in the last year tell me they did not know what pinkbike even was and another argue with me over a particular fork. He insisted the fork was air (Fox 36 VAN RC2 Fit) and made a point to say that Fox does not make coil suspension. This fork was on a bike they had for sale in addition to other downhill bikes with Fox coil suspension on it. I do not consider my self an arse and try not to start arguments. And I would have probably bought the bike if he had not started telling me false information about it. I have a rule I do not buy things from people if they dont know what they are talking about. I know that you will have the arsehole who makes a big deal about things, and I am sorry for those people they piss me off too. I like bikes and I like bike shops you guys on average rock, just make sure you know what you are talking about before you try to teach someone and you can make sure that people like me will continue to come to your shop for years to come.
  • 7 0
 I totally agree too. I have been working in a bike shop for about 4 years now as a bike mechanic and salesman.

I am the mountain bike guy where i work, but even if i know more than the other two guys , i cant know every single thing about mountain bikes, but i try to learn more and more stuff each day.
And today with internet, customers knows the products they want more than the salesmen, because they can study that type of product only instead of trying to know everything in the biking industry.

What i am trying to say is that if you encounter a salesman that doesnt know a particular specification or something, don't blame him if he is honest about it, as i do when i dont know something : ''mr customer, i dont know that information, if you want, i can go ask my collegues for the answer'' . But if the guy is lying or something, dont bother , go elsewhere.
  • 1 0
 I don't know about the rest of you guys but the local bike shops by my house are great!
  • 21 0
 Can you do a similar article telling bike shops 11 tips not to treat their customers like garbage?
I have found two shops between Canmore, Banff and Calgary that I even consider going into because they others are pretty much full on retard mode every time I walk in.
  • 4 0
 care to share these two ?
  • 1 1
 Calgary Cycles has always been interested and involved in every purchase i have made there! so i guess im loyal to them now. I haven't found any other place in Calgary that is as good as them. Smile
  • 1 0
 I do like Calgary Cycle. Decent service but unfortunately terrible location for me. Love the Wilson they sold me a couple of years back.

I spend a lot of time in a shop closer to home and have made a few friends there without resorting to bribery, but when I was shopping for that Wilson I went in to check out a few other brands at this other shop and was a little less than taken with the service. I find it a little irritating that my sales guy would not budge even $20 on a $6500 bike when over the last 5 years I've probably spent another $10,000 on my XC bike, my wife's XC bike, an older DH bike and countless forks, shocks and pedals at the same shop. To add insult to injury they were hesitant to let me take the bike for a real ride somewhere that wasn't just the parking lot. This was when the Aurum was brand new, I feel like a shop as big as this one should have at least one medium sized demo bike for an all-new model that they can lend out for an hour so a buyer can get acquainted with the riding mechanics of it.

When I bought my wife's new Audi the dealership let her try a loaner for an entire weekend to make sure she liked it, Ford let me drive the Raptor I was testing out to Canmore and back so I could make sure I'd be happy with it on longish highway trips. I know these are different scales of business but I can hardly think that having a bike to lend out for an hour would in any way limit a large shop's bottom line. My Ford dealer can only keep a Raptor on the lot for about 3 days and they only get one at a time, a shop gets at least 5 of a popular size of a popular bike with every order and they can stay in the shop for months.
  • 1 0
 The two shops I am okay with are Ridley's Cycle in Calgary (they can always be talked into giving you a good deal on your bike, though perhaps aren't the best shop to talk real tech or repairs with) and Rebound Cycle in Canmore (not a place to buy a bike - too bloody expensive, but sheer genius for knowledge on tools, repairs and tech).
What I can say for sure is that Bow Cycle in Calgary and Bike Cafe in Canmore (and any bike shop in Banff) is basically a waste of your time. I don't mean to slag, but going off of my consumer history thats the experience I have had.
  • 16 1
 for all the people saying there are no good bike shops around, that all the local shops suck, etc.

How long have those shops been around? what other sorts of customers are there? what do they have in stock? what is their mission. focus, target market, etc? How long have they been in business?

You don't make it in business by sucking. Nor do you make it by being full of bro-staff who will just shoot the breeze about bikes all day. You make it by knowing your market, maximizing where you can and minimizing where you have to, sharing your enthusiasm and trying not to go insane in the process.

Most shops who don't cater to a certain crowd because catering to that crowd would be throwing away money. Sure the LBS isn't the shop that you wish for, but it exists. And that's more than can be said for the ones who bro'd out and went bankrupt.
  • 9 1
 ^this guy knows what it's about. People complaining that we don't have 41 tooth 4 bolt sprockets for a BMX. BMX is a very very small market over here and carrying thousands of dollars worth of stock just so that we might have your chainring in stock at the very instant just doesn't work.
  • 12 1
 Fantastic staff at Obsession bikes! We arrived in Vancouver from the UK at midday, and wandered up to the shop for a look round. We asked about local rides, and the guys were amazing. Firstly, they worked out our abilities, and then pulled out a map for us to take away. They highlighted all the routes best suited to our level, and also ones to work up to as we settled in. They were full of enthusiasm, never big headed or cocky, and super nice and friendly. I would heartily recommend this shop to everyone. Well stocked, very smart, and terrific staff.
  • 3 0
 This has been my experience in every shop in BC I've ever been to in maybe 5-6 trips there all over the province. It's just one of the nicer places in the world.
  • 11 0
 i worked at a shop about 2-3 years ago in my area, the owner would lose his shit , if someone bought something on line, he would sulk like a 12 year old boy that was told that he couldnt go fishing with the men. we had this one kid that had a walmart bike and eevery week he spent several hundred dollars up grading( a shops dream) it eventually was a full x9 group on it. the kid i remember asking the price on a rock shox for, he got a quote from the shop- well the kid found the same fork for about $200- cheaper. the kid them came into the shop to pay us to put on the fork(a service that we advertized and charged $25 for) well when he came into the shop the owner cried like a little girl ) the owner told the kid that he would charge him $50 because he bought it else where. and the kid never came back and instead got out of biking shortly after.
im tired of shop owners complaining about chain reaction and other mail order places, START A MAIL ORDER BUSINESS IF THATS WHAT IS SELLING!!!!! no body forced you to open a shop and if you dont provide what people want,then go out of bikes or sit down and look at your business plan again and fiure out how riders are buying parts and then start to sell that way as well./

if you cant beat them join them,
  • 5 0
 I fully agree with this, I used to work in a shop too and same deal, it gets tiring listening to mechanics and shop owners go on about buying online, bike shops are stuck in the stone ages and complain someone got the jump on them. Most online retailers are someones LBS that had to work to get to were they are they evolved and became bigger. They also complain about how they can not compete with online prices well go talk to your distributors rather than complaining to us, even when I was at the shop I never understood why someone would pay the same amount for a slx derailer when they could get a xt one for the same price or cheaper online.
  • 9 0
 My LBS is so shite I refuse to grace it with my presence now. You walk to the counter and the assistant is playing on an iPad and totally ignores you !!! You look around the shop and the rest of the assistants are doing the same thing, I spent 10 minutes trying to get peoples attention that I thought fcuk it and walked out.
  • 20 3
 True story on 3 different LBS

Me : hi there, i'm shopping for 160mm trail bike, what do you guys have ?
Salesperson : no one needs more than 120mm...
-----
Me : i've got this rear wheel with a broken spoke can you get it fixed by tomorow ?
Salesperson : Sure, will do.
Me : great.
Salesperson calls home : hey, your wheel is a tubeless wheel, never done those and i won't touch that with a 10 foot pole...
Me : well...then ...can you at least give it at try ?
Salesperson : no i won't.
------

Me : i've got this leaking rear brake can you fix that ?
Salesperson : sure bring it on.
After a month... i call back spring was comming... So...what about the brake ?
Salesperson : i don't know, what brake ? ...wait a sec. puts me on hold, yeah.... the leaking brake... not done yet, maybe next week.
Me a week later : So...what about the brake ?
Salesperson: Listen i have never seen this before, i've ordered tons of pieces to fix it but none is working so i don't know what to tell you...
Me : well, can you get it fixed? otherwise i'll just get a new one
Salesperson: Sure i can, that just puzzle me, i'll get back to you
Me : OK

that was 3 years ago and he never called back
  • 7 2
 Freerabbit I have had some similar experiences;

Me: Hi I am looking for a FS XC bike for my girlfriend
Salesperson: You dont want a FS bike, 29er hardtales provide a smoother ride and are better to ride.
Me: Actually I am pretty sure a FS will be just fine
Salesperson: 29er hardtails are fine she wont need any more then that.

----

Me: I like this bike (2013 spec enduro evo)
Salesperson: Yes it has coild shocks in back and air shocks in front and it is great for peddling up hills.
Me: Actually I am pretty sure the Fork (Fox 36 van 180 RC2) is coil and it is essentually a mini downhill bike.
Salesperson: No fox does not make coil suspension and you would not want to take this bike on to many downhills, If you want to do downhill check out one of the stumpjumper 29ers. (no joke)

----

Me: I would like seals for me Fox 36.
Salesperson: Is that air or coil? Never mind fox doesn't make coil forks (different sales guy from above)
Me: It is coil actually but it should not matter as they are all the same.
Salesperson 2: Is it a Fox RC3?
Me: What? Fox does not have an RC3
Salesperson 2: You obviously dont know what I am talking about then.
Salesperson: Ill see what the mechanic has but I dont think we can sell you just seals.
Mechanic: All the Fox 36 seals are the same, Here they are for $30.
Salesperson: he says his fork is coil, fox doesn't make a coil will this work for that?
Mechanic and I glare at him in silence.
  • 7 0
 I know these things frustrated you guys at the time, prob still do. But it is kinda funny in the retelling. Laughter is the best medicine?
  • 2 0
 Ahahaha! Stumpjumper 29er for downhill! You've got to be kidding me! Talk about not knowing the products!

I won't lie, the shop I work at has had its moments where I felt like we didn't do our best for the customer, but there are also a lot of customers who arn't bikers who come in and expect the whole world handed to them on a silver platter. Also there are guys who come in who think they know everything about the products we sell and are snobs about it, won't let us talk, and then leave angry because we couldn't read their minds or match online prices. Or even the customers who come in as a couple and the guy thinks he knows everything about what his wife/girlfriend needs, and ends up trying to put her on a madone so she can ride with him - when she really just wants a townie or a fitness bike.

At the shop where I work, everyone does everything (mechanics do sales and sales guys do some repairs), although most of the sales guys are hardcore roadies, while most of the mechanics (myself included) are mountain bikers. When we have a problem at the shop regarding information on a sale, most of the guys are honest and tell the customers that they don't know the information, but will get another employee who does. There have been plenty of times when I've been taken to the sales floor to explain mountain bikes, and plenty of times I've been caught on the sales floor with a roadie or triathalon question where I had to grab a dedicated sales guy. These things happen and not everyone can be expected to know everything.

Although, freerabbit and phantommtb, your experiences sound like those guys were just snobs or lacked a sense of adventure! I don't agree with any of them. Except for the mechanic who knew fox 36 seals were the same regardless of coil or air. I love tackling repair jobs that seem near impossible or that I don't know anything about. It just makes me a better mechanic in the end. And 3 years to do a repair is outrageous!
  • 14 1
 I would love to have a lbs that knows more than me.
  • 1 0
 So, so true.
  • 1 0
 We (Pinkbike readers), on average, probably know a lot more about bikes than the average consumer. People on these forums are going to be looking for a much higher level of knowledge from a shop.

I would rather support my LBS than buy online... but its hard to justify the price premium when I am doing my own labor and when they will likely have to order the part anyway...
  • 9 1
 I have Tryon bike in Rochester New york. They are the best bike shop around. They have a service that if you pay about $65 you get 10% off and full use of their multi bay repair area. Packed full of park tools. I thought that was pretty cool so I support that shop because of it.
  • 4 0
 I am from Rochester as well, and I agree that Tryon does a fantastic job. Currently down in Annapolis, and the LBS Annapolis Bike & Sport (I think they used to be called Capital Cycles) reminds me of Tryon. The guys actually listened to my questions and gave me solid advice based on their honest opinions. They never pushed me to buy unnecessary upgrades or components, often actually talking me out of an upgrade because they didn't think it would be worth it. So, there are at least two east coast shops I would recommend.
  • 3 1
 What a great idea. I'd love access to the LBS workshop. I've been buying tools that I rarely use cause the LBS won't let me use theirs - happy to pay. Instead they do it and do it bad while I watch and cringe. Bloody frustrating.
  • 9 3
 I work at a shop. We don't expect coffee or beer. We just want to talk bikes and gear to help you find what you're looking for. If you want to buy something on line, go for it. But don't be the a*shole that comes in, wastes my time looking at the product, asking questions about it, potentially test riding, and then buys it online. If that is you, you have zero morals. When and if I become privy to the fact that you're buying online after coming to my store, I have a hard time being nice to you. You will likely have no problem bitching about the fact that most bike products are made overseas, a process that has taken manufacturing jobs away from your country. But you will certainly have no problem supporting an online "store" that undermines the lively hoods of those in your community or city. Irony.

But seriously, don't bring us coffee or beer. That's ridiculous. If your shop expects that, or that is the way you get attention. Go to another shop.
  • 2 0
 Your name is not ironic by any means... but how do you know that these kids who look and learn about the bikes in your shop won't come back to pay for other parts or services over the next few years? You can't look at bikes and learn about them while physically being shown the rig in person and/or they'd probably talk to someone face-to-face. I work for an online retailer (not for mtbing, don't worry Wink ) and the customers can easily tell when shops give them unnecessary crap for bringing in something they bought offline and guess what happens? They never consider going back.

At the end of the day, you're just denying yourself any future business which is an incredibly stupid move over something as frivolous as 5 minutes of your time. It's time to look at people as potential business instead of, "well he didn't buy this bike from us, f*ck him, he'll never buy anything from us ever anyways!"
  • 3 1
 Scott: I'm not sure the issue is where the item was bought. Just the fact that the client came into the store, asked questions, tried it on or took it for a test ride, then bought it online.
I agree with George, that seems to be a pretty scummy thing to do.
  • 1 1
 FuriousGeorge, your post drips sarcasm, " If you want to buy something on line, go for it." It's that kind of attitude that drove me to buy my parts online, that & the fact that I can buy Race Face parts shipped to my door from Britain cheaper & faster than I can buy them in BC.I agree, trying out a bike, then buying same online may be a bit underhanded, but zero morals? Come on, we're the customers, we are the reason for you to be there not the other way around, you have a job because of us.
"But seriously, don't bring us coffee or beer. That's ridiculous." If someone comes in & offers you a coffee or a beer, the proper response is..."Thank you. How can I help you today." Trust me if I walked into your shop & that is the sarcastic, snotty attitude I received I would immediately head elsewhere.
  • 3 1
 Yes I can be sarcastic and yes that can be lost in digital media, so here is some clarification. "If you want to buy something on line, go for it". I meant every word. We are free to do as we please. What I ask is that you buy smart and respectfully. I see crazy deals on line too. I just CHOOSE to shop local because I believe in supporting people I have met and therefore trust.

For the love of god, I shouldn't have to clarify that if (and when) people come in with tasty treats to the shop, that I respectfully receive and thank for said goods.....of course I do.

You assume too much, what I'm saying is don't be an entitled prick when you're dealing with a LBS. I actually don't have a snotty attitude at all. I have a great back and forth with fellow staff and customers. I'm very positive at the shop and very informative. I've just had bad experiences with people coming, draining my time and then leaving. Then coming back and admitting that they bought on line. Then asking me more questions about stuff. If you have a shred of critical thought on this issue, you can see where I'm coming from. I see your point of view well, a deal is a deal. More money in your pocket. Cheers!!
  • 4 0
 oh man, don't even get me started.
the repairs have been sloppy wherever i've been and it cost a bucket.
If i give you 100 euros for a big repair once a year i damn expect it to be done as i say, and not that i have to go back two times to get stuff that i said should be fixed, fixed.
Explaining things for the second time that i said you should watch out for and you were too lazy to do, and having to defend my opinion when something is clearly wrong is a shitty service.
Dissing me when I'm still not happy with something that you've done sloppy, and I paid for it?! but hey, at least I learned a life lesson:
IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DO THINGS LIKE YOU WANT YOU HAVE TO BE STERN AND DEMAND IT TO BE DONE LIKE YOU WANT. DO NOT PAY IF IT'S SLOPPY

sorry for the rant. really needed this Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Problem is my lbs doesn't know what mounting hardware is for a shock, they were amazed when I brought in a hub to be spiked up - "wait is that 142mm wide?" Why would you need one that big
Too much road in th UK, at least in my area for sure
  • 5 2
 I work in a shop and the best advice I could give anyone is give them some advance notice so they can be prepared with a few bikes and also if you have an idea share them, not everyone knows the right answer for every person were only here to advise not decide
  • 3 0
 My 2 LBS are so shite it's laughable, cup of coffee not a chance even if your buying a £5k carbon bike. The only thing they care about now is cycle to work bikes that are under £1k.

I went in to one of them on Thursday to find out if they had a zero stack integrated tapered headset for my new frame and the guy I spoke with had no clue what I was talking about, told him the sizes I needed for the cups and he thought I was lying.

Now I'm all for supporting the LBS and I'm truly jealous of anyone who has a great LBS as I'd rather not buy of the internet as websites are killing the LBS but then who can blame us when most shops are shite.
  • 4 0
 Print out the Hope PDF page and take it in for him...
  • 1 0
 Had a similar experience when trying to buy press fit BB cups for an oversized BB shell, the guy looked at me like I had abused his cat, then said ' no mate you have it wrong' Stupidly, I deferred to his experience, and two days later realised that I was right all along, and that he was a moron. Took the parts back, and was told, ah, yea you probably ordered the wrong ones. What a tool. I have furnished him with a catalogue, so now he knows. these experiences aside, long live the LBS!!!
  • 3 0
 Here in western North Carolina there are some great shops, but the prices are ridiculous for parts and so so for service. Bike shops are no different than any other business where you have shit shops and great shops. Hopefully you don't have just one bad shop. Nonetheless, I enjoy working on my bike and saving my money to buy bike components. Only when I need suspension work or wheel work do I hit the bike shop. You can't go wrong buying online though you need to know exactly what it is you need or you end up returning crap which is a headache, but with the internet and half a brain most things can be figured out.
  • 3 0
 Yeah yeah - everyone posts a comment to give a shoutout to their LBS that does a good job. While that's great and all, it gets lost in the sea of pb comments. See the pb shop locator function, and feel free to post an honest review there, and rate the shops, while you're at it. Joe blow and the comment "_______ shop is the best!" doesn't hold a heck of a lot of weight.
  • 3 0
 In the world of business the customer is always right. That is a philosophy that if you don't understand you will drive people out of your store.
Profit margin in the bike industry is tight. Yes it is and you opened a bike shop any ways.
Treat the customer like gold and he might come back. Act arrogant(bike shop owners are good at that) and that person will tell ten people how shitty your shop is.
You are offering a service! The balls in the customers court.
  • 3 1
 used to work in a bike shop and it was shit. owners were cunts, customers were cunts and the pay sucked ass. there was no love of bikes just love of getting money. there are no bike shops in my area that would offer you a coffee and certainly none that actually want to chat much. other than the cheaper prices for parts is it any wonder people don't use them any more
  • 2 0
 Kelowna has lots of good shops some I don't like because they blame you for there mistakes when I will straight up tell them if I made it...Since i'm not one to BS on stuff like that since I love my bike. Fresh Air Concept is my main shop and they are very friendly good service and always willing to help you.
  • 3 1
 12. Plan your next year purchase in the previous fall. Then thru winter, ready for an early order or ready to spend if in stock.

13. Do your research. Compare brands, products. Find out as much as you can. Read online reviews. Ask questions of current owners. Be informed,?so you go into the shop prepared and the staff will know you are a serious buyer. It will cut down on the preamble too.

14. Be prepared to walk away. Poor, ignorant service, lack of appreciation should always get a "see ya". But be sure to give enough time and talk to the organ grinder, not a Cheeto-eating monkey.
  • 4 0
 Those bars are so narrow, fixie riding hipsters are jealous! But seriously, it's amazing some of the rigs guys were riding back in the day on the shore...
  • 2 0
 My bike got stolen a few week ago and i've been going to as many bike shops in Sydney as possible. What i have found out about most shops in Sydney is that they only sell one brand of bike and are very reluctant to let you actually take one for a test ride further than the car park. Even the good stores that sell more than one brand and sell higher end bands one have very low end models as demo bikes.
  • 1 0
 Agree. Whats the point of a LBS if they can't offer the service the online stores can't. They need to stock several demo bikes for me to try, and then offer a service that will make me want to buy the bike at there, instead of going online.
  • 2 0
 "Agree. Whats the point of a LBS if they can't offer the service the online stores can't"

...And how many online stores offer any bikes to demo?
  • 6 0
 don't even get me started...
  • 1 0
 but really, if not for my LBS where would I get my shifter cables and oil?
  • 2 0
 I drove up to my lbs today and witnessed them "cleaning" customers bikes... with a pressure washer from about a foot away. No one there ever talks to me since I do not look like a spandex clad elitist snob. Everything is overpriced and no one there seems to know anything at all. It really bothers me when I go to shops like that. I have to go about 20 minutes out of the way to go to a quality shop, but its totally worth because there, everyone is extremely kind and helpful to everyone. Customer service and knowledge makes a huge difference! A good shop makes you want to buy! I think that at the first shop, atkins bike shop, I might have spent $10 on a tool, while at the helpful shop, Erik's, my family has easily spent thousands on bikes and parts! That just goes to show how much of an influence a shop can have!
  • 2 0
 I love my lbs for servicing of wheels, tuneups, etc. and the mech that does all the work for me has built bmx race bikes over the years for his kid so his knowledge is A1. Unfortunately they only carry a limited amount of bmx related items and all of it is for stunt bmx bikes. Thanks to pinkbike I may never buy a new bike from any shop as there is so much of a market for second hand rides and parts available. I visit my lbs during off hours and although most of the staff don't know much about bmx racing they always show an interest. Fontaines in Peterborough Ont for great service.
  • 2 0
 I recently moved and now I don't get to go to my favourite bike shop anymore Frown
It's like losing a good friend.
They always hooked me up even lending me parts off of their personal bikes when bits if mine were broken.
Stanley bridge cycles in Waltham abbey you rule!
  • 2 0
 I work in a shop and I agree with some of whatbyoir saying, .. some of the part timers are far more knowledgable then the full timers(I am 1 of 2 mountain bike specialist at my store, the other is also part time). Yes we can get very busy and we do want to help you as best as possible but on a lunch time Saturday when there's a Que backing to the door, yes it's difficult. Come back to us mid week and let us spend the time you deserve on picking you r new bike. It is also true, if your nice to us we''ll be even nicer to you, were the people that try our best to get the best deal remember. REMEMBER we work in bike because we love them we want to talk about bikes then stacking shelves or sorting clothes! Smile
  • 2 0
 I worked for Halfords selling bikes, crap bikes, bikes that cost £79.99. Those 4 years made me hate bicycles and their owners, it's only when I left that I wanted to get back onto the trails.

I think the LBS owners need to value the customer and not treat us as if we're stupid, it's also quite bad when a customer knows more about a product than the guy selling it. If you're going to sell a product, know about, know every single detail about it, know who made it, are spares available, does it come in different colours.

Rant over.
  • 2 0
 Im spoiled because I have 3 great shops within a short drive of my house. The staff at each one are super friendly and just want to bikes. Its almost a bad thing because I feel bad about buying from one shop and not the others!
  • 1 0
 *to talk bikes
  • 2 0
 I offer free coffee in my shop , only because I drink coffee ! It smells good and they usually ask me for a cup anyways ! As a shop owner I treat everyone and their bikes equal . I never expect beer from anyone but once in a great moon someone will bring a sixer of some good stuff or something they brewed ! I have seen this stuff happen in shops from Maine to Colorado . People are just friendly want to hang out and talk bikes !!!!! why wouldn't you want a coffee or a beer ? sure is better the a cigarette hahahaaa!
  • 1 0
 Just out of curiosity, when you were in Colorado were you ever in shops around Denver, Boulder, Lyons, etc.? I'm looking into shops there to rent a bike from and get advice for places to ride for a weekend.
  • 2 0
 With the market prices sky-high as they are, the second hand trade gets most of my business. Thankfully, there will ALWAYS be people who only buy brand new kit.

Ironically, I probably spent more when I had a paper-round in the LBS, than I do with a well paid job.

As I service everything myself, have sufficient knowledge to choose the correct parts (new or CRC), and many reliable second hand sources - I'm the opposite of what the LBS needs.
  • 3 1
 Good on you Lee. Very good article on how to make the most of theLBS.. and the info is universally true even for us who arent lucky enough to live in the mountain bike center of the universe!
  • 2 0
 Not to point out a negative - but this seems to be an NSMB repost - maybe someone can clarify whether credit is due to this author, or the NSMB author. Dealing with photos for promotion on a regular basis, I'm a little particular about giving credit.
  • 1 0
 I don't know if it was there before, but at least now the article now has a dislamer at the top that this was originally written by James Wilson from Obsession Bicycles...
  • 1 0
 True thanks man. Good on ya James'
  • 3 0
 Out of those 2 scenarios at the beginning of this article, the first one is the only one I'm familiar with. Huge shout out to Simon's Cycles in Comox, BC for being awesome.
  • 1 0
 Some bike shops just suck! I had a terrible wheel build, a thomson seatpost that never came at #BicycleJohns in Burbank. I don't know what the third incident was but I stopped going there. I ended up going to H&S in Burbank and could not be happier with their Customer service and mechanic work.
  • 3 1
 My favorite is when people come into my shop and take advantage of our knowledge for sizing, component spec, test rides, etc.....then I see them two weeks later with the same bike that they purchased online Smile priceless!!
  • 1 0
 I can genuinely say that my local(ish - I have to travel about 20 miles for it) bike shop is spot on. The guys are all riders themselves and know what they're talking about. No pushy sales, no gimmicks. Good coffee too! They're happy just to give local advice and give you a coffee with out expecting you to buy something!

There are a couple of shops near where I live and one of them is a nightmare. One day someone went in for a repair as one of the other bike shops couldn't fix it that day and the owner told the guy to f*ck off and go back to the other shop. Not ideal.
  • 2 1
 That's an awful lot of steps for finding the right bike. I'm pretty picky, but I just find the best deal on a bike that gets good reviews, then I learn how to ride it. If you find that bike that feels just right then aren't you finding the bike that rides like the last one you had, and still "know" how to ride???

Bike shops are done for, unless they want to continue catering to people to incompetent to work on their own bike and only sell bikes to people that won't ride.
  • 1 0
 Guys you're supposed to be nice to your local LBS because the cycling industry is a fun down-to-earth business. This is not Walmart! I hope that one day each of you will be fortunate enough to have a shop in your area that makes you proud! Not some website where they don't even know your name or anything about you or what you ride.
  • 1 0
 I've been riding for a long time, and there was only ever 1 shop had consistently crappy service. Needless to say, I haven't been back since 2005-ish...to be honest I don't even know if they are still in business and I don't care - there are lots of great shops in Washington I will gladly give my money to.

I honestly don't mind if the shop is busy so I have to wait (in fact I think that's great to see). The main issues I've had were related to ordering the wrong/incompatible parts. I am easy to deal with, but I know my stuff and usually have a specific request when it comes to ordering parts that are not commonly stocked.

The closest bike shop to me only sell Specialized "because they are the best." While I have no problem with them promoting their main brand, I find it odd that they sell only ONE brand of completes! It seems too much like a new car dealership if you ask me. However the staff is awesome and they stock TONS of nice bikes, so I guess I can't complain too much...
  • 1 0
 Shopping in the off season is a bad tip. sure that when the sales are and not a lot of other people are thinking about bikes as the snow is falling but our stock is terrible and we're busy helping everyone buy skis. We can't help you find the right bike or the perfect fit. it sucks for us and it sucks for you.
  • 3 0
 The advert is very Vancouver BC-centric. There's about 80 tiny LBSs, almost all of which have a very narrow business model and sack most of their staff every November. For the remaining staff, they tend to spend the winter working on their own bikes and surfing the 'net.
  • 1 0
 Haha! ...and we've both worked at two of them.
  • 1 0
 Ive done a lot of travelling racing and its really a bummer to see what options a lot of people are limited to! Im lucky enough to be near-ish to Trail Head Cyclery in San Jose, CA. Whistler has great shops too, It sad though, that even bike savvy towns like bend, oregon or marin dont have any good shops.
  • 1 0
 This is spot on, I cannot even remember how many bike shop douche bags I have dealt with over the years. Now with that said, I want to give a shout out to the guys at Planet Placid in Lake Placid NY. Planet Placid is far and away the best shop I have ever been to and the staff are really helpful even if you just want some local beta and are not buying anything. Planet Placid FTW.
  • 1 0
 After sorting through all of these posts, I feel quite fortunate to have 5 or 6 really good shops to work with near where I live. Knowledgeable people stoked on riding and interested in getting to know who you are as a rider before suggesting equipment. One shop called me out of the blue about a week ago asking how everything is going - hadn't seen me in a while. I've rarely had a problem getting quality service performed in a timely fashion with good communication. Yes, a coffee or a six pack occasionally shows up, but that's normal relationship building. Someone treats you well, you show them a little gratitude.

OK, here they are, in no particular order: Stage 21 in Laguna Hills, The Path in Tustin, BikeCo in Lake Forest, Cyclelogical in Dana Point, and (depending on the mechanic on duty) Laguna Cyclery in Laguna Beach. Oh yeah, almost forgot - ProBike Supply in Newport Beach. Good service there too. Although three of the shops cater more to roadies, they are all very familiar with hardcore MtB and carry affiliated gear and knowledge. I've ridden with guys and gals from each of these shops.
  • 1 0
 I have a couple of great shops in my town. But I will add a disclaimer to it. I have two shops that are not so good, one of them being awful. And, Murphy's Law would dictate that of course they are the only Kona dealer here. I ride a Kona, so anytime I need help with anything I am basically screwed. They are completely un-knowledgable about anything high end. It's not that they are a road shop, or a commuter store.... its that they stock the very worst of EVERYTHING. And can't help you with other issues because they don't even know what bike you have. Ugh. /rant
  • 1 0
 Well my LBS is just fantastic. I've got nothing but good stuff to say about them. Friendly, knowledgeable and a laugh.. They have helped me from my very first bike purchase to the mega spend on my SC Nomad. Yes, they will offer me a coffee, yes, they will chat and advise me on upgrades and servicing. They even teach me basic jobs and rescue my 'gone wrong' home attempts at fixing things on my bike with good humour and grace. On the other hand, I have experienced absolute horror show bike shop service in the same locality.. So, I reckon when you find a good un, try to support them whenever possible!
  • 2 1
 Bike shops. Waste of time. How's this scenario.
Hi. What can I help you with?
I need a .....
Oh we don't have one but we can order it for you. It will be in two days.
Yeah I can order one my self too. And probably get it cheaper shipped to my door.
The only bike shop worth going to is BikeBling.com. The only down fall is they are 45 mins. away and have everything you can imagine in stock so, can't help to feel like a kid in a candy store causing you to blow your whole paycheck every time you walk through the door.
  • 1 0
 Bike bling is an amazing shop. Staff is friendly and helpful. Many times I have gone in not too educated on a part and have either bought one after being brought up to speed or finding out something else was the issue or I only needed a $5 repair instead of a $100 part! LOVE EM! Some of the best prices around too!!
  • 1 0
 I have learned so much from my LBS. When I decided to go and buy my first mountain bike I was so embarrased because I didn't know what a hardtail was...........the guy (at Steed) totally explained everything to me like a human being and did n't make me feel like a collosal tool. (ended up with a full suspension - that I STILL ride and is my fave bike.) I felt happy to spend lots of time (and a result lots of money) in said shop - each time I went in people were friendly and not creepy. As a chick who loves bikes this rocked. I have been super lucky to have impeccable service from Republic (Squamish) Obsession, Lynn Valley Bikes, and Steed - and Cove where I bought my dream bike and was so stoked I ran around and hugged the entire staff - no one made me feel weird.
Russ Hayes was also awesome when I didn't end up buying a bike from them but I do pop in for stuff and spread the love.
I learned more about bikes from people than I ever did from an online store.
My two cents.
  • 1 0
 This is my LBS. These guys are the real deal. James, and his team are really awesome. I'm sure you could search online for parts etc, and grind out a few dollars in savings over any bricks and mortar store...but that would be short sighted. Finding a good bike store means that you get the right gear, fit to you, and they stand behind the product and make it right. For me, it's the customer service that makes a huge difference.
  • 1 0
 My local shop experience:

Me: "hey man I'm thinking about a new mountian bike this year, what new models do you have in"
Shop guy: "Oh yeah sure dude right this way" he then proceeded to assume by mountian biking I meant to say railtrail/walking path riding and how's me the lovely assortment of hybrid bikes all the while mentioning how sweet front fork lockouts and these newfangled "disc brakes" are to have.....
  • 1 0
 my local lbs is shit I went in to get spokes cut for a wheel build. They measure cut them I go home and find out they were cut way to short so I brought it back and i was made out to be the one who fucked up and than they didn't wanna do shit about it...
  • 1 0
 Walked into my lbs and saw a sales guy doing his best to help out a few latino guys who wanted a entry level hardtail, but who were not exactly fluent in English. I happen to speak Spanish, so I walked over and engaged one of the latinos. He explained they wanted a bike he could take on trails, but that his dad could use around town, and that this one was in their price range. We established that he was more of an xc rider, and I brought him over to the 29er version of the bike he was looking at. It was a little more, but when I explained the benefits for his desired use he quickly became converted to the idea. We brought the bike over to his dad and the salesman and I explained to the salesman while the son explained to his dad what we had thought of. The dad loved the sound of it and the salesman looked relieved. I answered a few questions for the dad and then walked off as the salesman began the process of checking them out and having them sign the warranty stuff. Then, after they finished the sale and the customers left I walked up and asked if they wanted a part timer to come in and help for the coming season. They told me there was a stack of resumes and to get in line. I like the lbs. They have good gear and nice sales guys and mechanics who know the local trails and love bikes, but they totally don't know when to hire a good sales guy. They should have set up and interview then and there! Their loss I guess. I'm going to restart my private repair business and see if I can make a few bucks between shifts.
  • 1 0
 So should I feel like a dick for having my lbs bleed my brakes season after season, build new wheels when old ones wear, or install new parts on my aging steed? We can't all afford a brand new shiny, but aren't parts and service what really pay the rent? I do show my gracious appreciation at a job well done. I like to wrench occasionally, but the pros do it much better than me, sorry.
  • 1 0
 Of all the shops I've been to, my customer service experience has been about 50/50, half of them being total elitist turds and I hate them Razz

I'd be perfectly happy using the friendly other half more often, if 3 things were different:
1. Stop trying to rip me off; parts & services are outrageous, settle for a fair price and I'll come back.
2. Have the part I need in stock, 90% of the time (seriously) they offer to order it...I can order it without coming into the shop, I came because I want it right now.
3. Educate yourselves, unfortunately none of the LBS in my area give me any sort of confidence in their knowledge/wrenching.
  • 2 0
 I wish I had a LBS I could give my $$$$ to. All the one's in my area suck ASS!!!! That is one reason I need to buy everything direct or on line......
  • 1 1
 I live 5 min ride from my lbs but it's shit I got told I shouldn't use a 29er for some steep and rocky stuff also that doing a few jumps is bad for it I ride for 30 mins to go to better shop and the staff are so much better they understand what your talking about and encourage you too ride as much as possible, service and understanding customers is everything
  • 1 1
 edit - maybe worst bike store owner or son of owner in north America perhaps the world is bumsteads bikes in Ontario California. - cant say anything about the staff and labor.
placed several online orders with them (him). First couple worked out fine, then they sent me the wrong size frame on a larger order (I was very very specific) and i had to send it back with my own $. He made it out to be my problem and did not send the rest of my parts claiming he needed to pay for the return shipping, and this is why he doesn't ship to Canada, which he did with me several times. my fault for buying online but a reputable shop with a website and successful purchases behind me i felt i had no issues.. wrong. Thanks a bunch Garrison, cant wait to pay you a visit in person.
  • 3 2
 Please try writing a coherent comment. I have no idea which shop you are even referring to. Being specific, and using punctuation, goes a heck of a long way.
  • 1 0
 I don't get how an lbs would think I will come in to there shop and pay more money when I can get the same product for less money elsewhere. My money is not growing on trees. I have a family to feed.
  • 1 0
 One of the Mechanics from our LBS spent two hours of his own time making trophies for our DH series out of old bike parts, and the owner donated a bunch of gear for prizes. That's why I love my LBS!
  • 2 0
 It seems like you Canadians have some terrible bike shops. I've never heard more complaining about shops than I have in this thread.
  • 1 0
 I have a Local Bike Shop??? Somebody please tell me where it is because I haven't been able to find a shop that sells anything but beach cruisers. Until they make a downhill beach cruiser, I will keep buying my crap online.
  • 3 3
 Article is spot on. ALWAYS shop the off hours...and if ya know the techs grab a dozen doughnuts for the shop if you head in before noon (be sure to eat one of the doughnuts yourself).
  • 2 1
 Jackson Hole has amazing bike shops, some that only service real bikes. It's the first part if this article except with beer instead of coffee
  • 2 0
 Dont forget, be open to suggestion and opinion. Dont go in thinking you know everything, because you dont.
  • 1 0
 No, I don't support my LBS, They sell low end stuff or roadie stuff. I got wide choices of online shops. they are future.
  • 2 2
 Best advice i could give is to go out and ride with the folks from your LBS. They work there 'cos they ride and if they know you they will look after you better.
  • 1 1
 I tried this but they say they don't ride anymore cause too busy at the bike shop ....... Which rarely has a customer. They do sponsor events occasionally but when I enquired it's clearly about the $ not the experience. I asked if they could show me how to true a wheel, during the day when slow and I'd pay. Sorry customers can't use our equipment. Such twats.
  • 2 0
 Funny how this comes out 2 days after the LBS comment melt down.
  • 7 9
 Yes I was working as a head mechanic and shop manager for 10 years. From my observation shop owners are not interesting in quality service because it takes time. They pay per hour and expect more quantity then quality. For them 3 people that bout something ( no mater is it the right think) are better then one super happy guy. The one ho just left the shop to think about grate advice from friendly helpful experience stuff.
I have left that shop and I'm running my own business now.

www.ultimateworkshop.co.uk

If you from London and do want best possible service ( leather armchair, coffee, one customer at a time by apoitmant, or free collection and delivery 24/7) please ring 07535567050 or email info@ultimateworkshop.co.uk

20 yars experiancese
only top quality tools SNAP ON and PARK TOOL
Suspension servicing
custom anodizing and powder coating
aluminium and still welding
wheel building ( one year free repair warranty)
And all the jobs that other don't want or can't do it:
(Removing stuck parts, hub gears, old bikes refurbishment and more)

SERVICE FROM THE RIDER FOR RIDERS
  • 8 0
 Might I suggest getting an adult to check your spelling before you advertise your services next time.
It's that whole " attention to detail" thing that some customers look for...
  • 2 1
 Dear raku, I don't know you, you're background or schooling. Perhaps you're dyslexic, or English isn't your first language, maybe you're even dealing with a long term learning difficulty? If any of those types of circumstances I've just mentioned apply, then, I applaud you and wish nothing but encouragement with your new venture....seriously!!! However, it might be prudent to get somebody to do a read over on forum/internet posts regarding your business just to make sure everything is casting the best possible light on you and your services.
There's also the possibility that the above advert is up there with the greatest marketing fails of all time?
  • 2 0
 Old man, what is YOUR background?
  • 2 1
 Why do you ask obee1? Let's just say I've been there, done that and got more T-shirts than I can fit in my wardrobe. I just wanted to add a little balance to your "I suggest getting an adult to check" comment as we don't actually know anything about raku's circumstances? Anyway, you'll also notice that there's a part of me agree's with you that it might just have been a huge fail ? I don't know???
  • 1 0
 Nah man, just playing. Since we were both being grammar nazis I thought it would be funny to mention that YOUR use of "you're background" in your initial posting was grammatically incorrect.
hopefully raku will forgive the silliness.
Cheers
  • 2 0
 Anybody clicked on their website link? I just did .........
  • 2 1
 What is this term "off-season", and I'm confused about shops only doing business for 5 months?
  • 1 0
 essentially for the most part bike shops make the money from spring/summer.

Only the people really into the sport will make purchases during autumn and winter, and they are in the minority.
  • 1 0
 You do realize that not everyone lives in sunny California, right? Much of the world exists where say... fat bikes aren't just for the beach, but alow the die-hards to make miles on snow.
(I realize you probably had your tunge firmly in your cheek, rather than actually being that ego-centric)
  • 1 0
 Couldn't leave without posting a shoutout to my fav. LBS. EastSide Cycle - Kitchener, Ontario you guys rock.
  • 2 0
 Anyone notice the truck blocking the front entrance in one of the pics?
  • 1 0
 How are you supposed to get in that shop with that truck parked there? That can't be good for business.
  • 2 5
 Agree with most of that but don't be so hard on part timers, we're just as passionate and (almost) as knowledgeable, so buy us coffee too! But the golden rule of LBS's? The nicer you are to the staff, the better service you will receive and the more likely we are to do you little favours!
  • 3 0
 not just for LBS but as a rule for life in general
  • 10 0
 Staff should be equally nice to everyone and not expect coffee! I can't think of another industry where the onus is on the customer to impress the shop, and not the other way around.
  • 4 4
 I do all my shopping on PB buy&sell get it delivered. Shopping is for girls it cuts into the ride time.
  • 1 0
 *You're :b
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