rip off local cycle shop?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby Tangled Metal » 23 Sep 2019, 8:46am

There's a LBS in town that's popular for people who have to use a bike for transport because public transport is too expensive. I dropped in looking at what bikes they sold.

A £450 claud butler bike in aluminium alloy was a top spec bike. It had top end shimano gears, as in just having shimano label equals top end gearing. It wasn't even Claris but probably one at the bottom end of the brand's output.

Another thing that amused me was how he said the top spec bike was made from aluminium, the best material which made it very light. It was little better than a BSO!

I must be either a cycle snob or that guy was selling bikes to people who don't know about bikes when he's not much better clued up than his customers.

gxaustin
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby gxaustin » 23 Sep 2019, 9:26am

My gear cable broke 50k into a 200k audax (mea culpa). I found the Gloucester Bike Project in Gloucester open (Saturday) and asked for a replacement. It was raining so they said to bring my bike in. I set about getting the old cable off and one of the mechanics spontaneously gave me a hand. After it was fixed I went to pay and the cost was £3.60.
I do all my own maintenance because I enjoy it (only ever had 1 broken cable. Ahem) but most of my club colleagues get bikes regularly serviced. They tell me they pay full price for parts but nothing or next to nothing for fitting. Frequently fitted 'service' parts, bought in bulk, e.g. chains, are a bit cheaper. And they get 10% Club Discount. I don't think that's unreasonable.

Psamathe
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby Psamathe » 23 Sep 2019, 9:49am

Not being particularly knowledgeable about cables but, are all cables equal? or are some better than others (different numbers of strands? better pre-stretched?, etc.)

Ian

hemo
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Location: West Sussex

Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby hemo » 23 Sep 2019, 10:08am

If you have a good LBS you are lucky where I live I have choice of an Evans/Sports Direct or "word corrected to Halfords", so I do all my own maintenance and use the web for buying. Using SJS, Plantex , Fawkes cycles and others as my LBS for parts/components, I use ebay as a source for finding what I want then go direct to the afore mentioned sellers to see who has it in stock.

Brucey
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby Brucey » 23 Sep 2019, 10:28am

cables vary enormously. As well as housings varying even the simple inner cable will vary. Price is no reliable indicator of quality; from some sources you can buy poor quality cables at high prices and from other sources, the converse is true. In gear cables variations include

- nipple type/size.
- material (galvanised, stainless etc)
- thickness (0.9mm to 1.2mm)
- number/thickness of strands
- prestretched or not
- if stainless, polished to different standards
- coated or not
- coating type


Prep is probably as important as cable type selected, but the best balance of versatility/cost/longevity/performance is usually obtained by buying a ~1.1mm dia 'universal' fit gear cable (i.e. with a nipple that fits Shimano SRAM and Campagnolo) which is made in polished stainless. Such inners run from £2 (decathlon) to £5-£10 (jagwire pro slick from LBS).

Some systems are more sensitive than others to cable type; for example I'd spring for the expensive (pro slick) inner when cabling up a shimano 10s system (105,ultegra, DA) with underbartape cable routing. For most other applications (including most 11s (and 10s 4700) systems, which use more cable pull than 10s) the less expensive inners seem perfectly adequate.

One way of looking at it is that the cable quality helps determine the length of time before the cable will drag badly enough that it will need fettling/replacement. However if you change gears often enough then cable life will be limited by fatigue in the shifter.

Regarding fatigue, there isn't good data available which suggests that one cable type is inherently much better than another. I got quite interested when a chum told me that his inners lasted only six months or so before they fatigued in his STIs; I wondered if there were 'bad cables'. Turned out that he just changed gear a lot more than anyone might expect; his cables (shimano polished stainless inners) were lasting about 150000 shifts before they broke. It is such a PITA to remove the broken bits from an STI shifter that he changes cables between 100000 and 130000 shifts (estimated) these days and he hasn't had a failure in a long time.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AndyK
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby AndyK » 23 Sep 2019, 11:38am

Coming back to the OP's question...

The UK distributor says the RRP for that particular cable (the one shown in the Halfords link) is £5.99. Looking at the cost price (i.e. what that distributor charges a small shop), if the LBS sold it at RRP I'd say they'd made a respectable profit. £6.99 is taking the mickey a bit. At £3.99, however, their margin would be so small that it wouldn't be worth selling the thing once you take overheads into account.

(This isn't always the case with RRP. Some high-end kit has a trade price that's so close to the RRP that the LBS would make no profit at all - it's only worth selling it if the customer is also paying to have it fitted. Shimano are better than some in that respect though.)

That does assume that the cable the LBS was talking about was exactly the same as the one Halfords are offering. Shimano do various pre-packed cables - for instance their dual-ended MTB/road brake cable (otherwise identical to the road cable) has an RRP of £9.99!

Having said all that, I don't think the OP got good service from the LBS. In a good LBS, the conversation would go more like this:
"You have reasonable-quality Shimano kit on the bike. A genuine Shimano brake cable will cost you £6.99."
"That's a lot! Not sure I want to spend that kind of money."
"Well, if you're not worried about the Shimano brand name I can sell you this Clarks stainless steel cable for £4.99. Clarks are a decent enough brand and it'll work just as well with the equipment your bike has. Or if you're not bothered about having it in fancy packaging, we buy boxes of of 100 in bulk for the workshop. I can fetch you one of them and sell it to you for £3."

brooksby
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby brooksby » 23 Sep 2019, 2:30pm

PH wrote:
mercalia wrote:Is there a "special " cable for my Shimano RSX STI brake levers? or will this one do just as well?

I expect that's a question you could have got an answer to at the LBS and maybe not in Halfords.
Spend your money where and how you like, but an understanding of why different businesses have to charge different prices and why no one is trying to rip you off wouldn't be a bad thing.


I'm happy in most situations to pay a bit more to my LBS, because I know that so long as they remain in business I'll have someone to whom I can just ask a stupid question and make a contribution to the biscuit fund on the counter, and who'll be able to just squeeze me in at short notice if needed.

Pretty sure Halfards and Sports Direct - sorry, Evans - don't work like that.

Tangled Metal
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby Tangled Metal » 23 Sep 2019, 3:03pm

I'm happy to pay more for service. Unfortunately I don't get good service from local LBS. One of the local halfords is better and safer too. The Evans was in a higher league completely than the LBS. Postcode lottery. Don't assume all LBS are equal. Don't assume all halfords are equal.

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andrew_s
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby andrew_s » 23 Sep 2019, 3:46pm

TrevA wrote:I had to have my wife’s gear cable replaced whilst in Majorca. Cost 25 Euros. That really was a rip off.

The bulk of the cost would be labour charges. I'd regard £20 an hour as being normal, and even necessary in terms of the economics of running a shop.

Changing cables is often a lot more time consuming than it used to be, what with hiding them under the bar tape and internal routing, which all adds to the cost.

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horizon
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby horizon » 23 Sep 2019, 4:21pm

My take on LBSs is that they are an unusual mixture of retail and service. All shops have an advice element but bike shops do both repairs, servicing and sales - more like a garage in fact. If they've relied on sales of bikes and parts in the past then that has, yes, been wiped out by the internet. That leaves them with a costly repair service for a relatively cheap item - the bicycle. I think £30 per hour is completely reasonable for repairs but many people will baulk at this.

The way forward IMV is for local bike shops to ditch retail (or go specialist on-line), slash the cost of their premises by moving out of costly high street shops and focus on repairs and servicing with some profit from supplying parts. That means however that the bike shop owner will shift from being a highly paid retailer (in the past) to living off his hourly sweated labour. You could however throw in a coffee machine, some B and B for cyclists and a mobile call-out van to get you over the line.

It might be of course that e-bikes will save some local bike shops . . . :mrgreen: And after all, you don't expect your local plumber to have a shop.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

mercalia
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby mercalia » 23 Sep 2019, 4:46pm

AndyK wrote:Coming back to the OP's question...

The UK distributor says the RRP for that particular cable (the one shown in the Halfords link) is £5.99. Looking at the cost price (i.e. what that distributor charges a small shop), if the LBS sold it at RRP I'd say they'd made a respectable profit. £6.99 is taking the mickey a bit. At £3.99, however, their margin would be so small that it wouldn't be worth selling the thing once you take overheads into account.

(This isn't always the case with RRP. Some high-end kit has a trade price that's so close to the RRP that the LBS would make no profit at all - it's only worth selling it if the customer is also paying to have it fitted. Shimano are better than some in that respect though.)

That does assume that the cable the LBS was talking about was exactly the same as the one Halfords are offering. Shimano do various pre-packed cables - for instance their dual-ended MTB/road brake cable (otherwise identical to the road cable) has an RRP of £9.99!

Having said all that, I don't think the OP got good service from the LBS. In a good LBS, the conversation would go more like this:
"You have reasonable-quality Shimano kit on the bike. A genuine Shimano brake cable will cost you £6.99."
"That's a lot! Not sure I want to spend that kind of money."
"Well, if you're not worried about the Shimano brand name I can sell you this Clarks stainless steel cable for £4.99. Clarks are a decent enough brand and it'll work just as well with the equipment your bike has. Or if you're not bothered about having it in fancy packaging, we buy boxes of of 100 in bulk for the workshop. I can fetch you one of them and sell it to you for £3."



you have a link for the dual-ended MTB/road brake cable Does that mean a nobble at eaither end?

This presumably?
https://winstanleysbikes.co.uk/shimano-road-mtb-dual-ended-brake-steel-inner-wire

How on earth does that work "double ended"

Suitable for front or rear brakes, just cut tofit One nobble must be user placed?

£26. seems you are way out with the price. had the shop told me that I would have spit in his face :lol:

What the shop offered me was the standard Shimano road cable as far as I could see.
Last edited by mercalia on 23 Sep 2019, 5:06pm, edited 1 time in total.

mercalia
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby mercalia » 23 Sep 2019, 4:53pm

andrew_s wrote:
TrevA wrote:I had to have my wife’s gear cable replaced whilst in Majorca. Cost 25 Euros. That really was a rip off.

The bulk of the cost would be labour charges. I'd regard £20 an hour as being normal, and even necessary in terms of the economics of running a shop.

Changing cables is often a lot more time consuming than it used to be, what with hiding them under the bar tape and internal routing, which all adds to the cost.



hmm well I replaced mine in less than 10 minutes and they run under the bar tape.

I only replaced the rear brake cable as it was a bit frayed around the V brake pulley.
Last edited by mercalia on 23 Sep 2019, 5:02pm, edited 1 time in total.

nirakaro
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby nirakaro » 23 Sep 2019, 4:55pm

andrew_s wrote: I'd regard £20 an hour as being normal, and even necessary in terms of the economics of running a shop.

The main dealer I took my car to recently charged £60 an hour. OK a car is a more complicated thing than a bicycle, and needs more equipment, but an hour of a mechanic's time is still an hour of a mechanic's time.

mercalia
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby mercalia » 23 Sep 2019, 5:04pm

nirakaro wrote:
andrew_s wrote: I'd regard £20 an hour as being normal, and even necessary in terms of the economics of running a shop.

The main dealer I took my car to recently charged £60 an hour. OK a car is a more complicated thing than a bicycle, and needs more equipment, but an hour of a mechanic's time is still an hour of a mechanic's time.



well the going rate for tutors in London is only £30/hr visting them in their home & incl travel /prep time. A mugs game.

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horizon
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Re: rip off local cycle shop?

Postby horizon » 23 Sep 2019, 5:08pm

mercalia wrote:
hmm well I replaced mine in less than 10 minutes


No you didn't. First of all you went to the shop and bought the cable. Then you changed into some old clothes and got your tool box out. Then you moved some stuff out of the way so you could work. Then you went out and bought some new tools. And went on a training course and read up about it. Then planned your holiday, took some sick leave, repaired the roof, paid the business rates and wrote an invoice to yourself. Then you cleared away, swept up and sat down to write an advert for your work. Half way through you dealt with a query.

I know I've muddled it all up, but that ten minutes work has to pay for a whole multitude of things - you aren't just paying for the time spent - it's the time not spent that is expensive.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!