What is it with cycle shops?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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danfoto
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What is it with cycle shops?

Postby danfoto » 14 Sep 2012, 2:49pm

In the hope that we might at long last be blessed with a decent local bike shop, I popped in for a nosey at the new one which I'd seen a flyer for. It is the only one in a town of 30,000-ish, and its nearest competition is 8 miles away.

So, I park the bike outside and go in, wearing my hi-viz Endura cycling jacket, and I have a look around. Maybe 20 new bikes, all apparently either road bikes or mountain bikes. Lots of bright shiny toys on display on the wall, and a fair amount of roadie-type apparel too. One shop person is engaged in a discussion with a chap sitting on a bike with drop bars, and the talk is all about it having to be between 30 and 40 degrees and suchlike. Shop person takes no notice of me.

Ouside is another shop person, apparently attending to a punter's mountain bike. He too takes no notice, so I depart less than impressed and go to the library. Having conducted my business, I think perhaps I just had an unfortunate experience, so I decide to try again. This time I park the bike out of siight of the shop and remove my jacket before entering. This time a shop person greets me, and I explain that I've just found out about the shop so I'm just having a look at what they do.

"So you're mainly into road bikes and mountain bikes then?" says I.

"Not really, we cater for all types of rider."

"OK ... so if my sister in law, who's in her 40's and needs a bike to ride to work in town comes in, what have you got that might interest her?"

"We do hybrids like this one" says he. "Lots of people ride them. Ideal for getting to work".

The hybrid he's pointing at looks very cool. It also appears to be the only one in the shop. It doesn't have mudguards, but it does have a road-bike type saddle of the long and thin type. Whatever. I ask about electric bikes (it being very hilly round our way), and am told that they have got people coming to see them so they can find out what's best for the customers.

"We have a club" says he, and by way of illustrating how "inclusive" they are, he explains that "all sorts of riders" go on their rides together. I suspect I have the measure of it all now, so I ask "And do you have to wear a magic hat?"

"Yes" says he.

"Yeah?" says I. "Why's that then?"

"Safety" he says. "Helmets and lights are the only two rules we have." I thanked him for his time, and that was that.

So, does anybody know what it is with bike shops like this? Why is there this apparent assumption that "cycling" is something you do with a rack on your car and either a road bike or an MTB? Could it perhaps be true that shops like this one concentrate on road bikes and MTBs because (a) that's what the proprietors are into and (b) that's what most of their customers allegedly want?

And could the problem with (b) not be that the people who might buy any other kind of bike either go elsewhere or they shop online because all they see in a shop like this is sporty bikes? Given how risky it must be right now to open any new retail outlet, why on earth don't bike shops like this one broaden their appeal so as to be in the best position to take the money off anybody looking for any kind of bicycle?

I don't get it. If you do, please explain :)
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reohn2
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby reohn2 » 14 Sep 2012, 3:29pm

Maybe you're a small minority and that stocking what sells or what they can sell is the way it works.
I agree "boutique" shops get right up my nose,but I have to accept I'm not a mainstream consumer for such shops and that's why I rarely enter.I find them a bit "clinical" :|
I'm lucky in that my LBS(10miles away)that I'm on first name terms with both he and his wife,who run it,cater for my "sort" :) .
There's one closer which is similar but not as good, if time's tight I may pop in for "bits".

PS,I'm always wary of a shop that keeps groupsets in glass display cases,I think it's my age :shock:
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meic
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby meic » 14 Sep 2012, 3:37pm

I am not much of a high street shopper but is this really a bike shop thing or a society thing?

I imagine an almost identical scenario if you go into a mobile phone shop after a phone, which you intend using as a phone.
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bensonboo
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby bensonboo » 14 Sep 2012, 4:08pm

They can't please everyone. I would think that a small percentage of customers / passing trade would want the kind of bikes you were hoping to find, so it makes sense to stock taht which sells.
I also much prefer it when if I enter a shop to look around, as you did, the staff DON'T come running but let me look until I want them.

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andrew_s
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby andrew_s » 14 Sep 2012, 4:21pm

danfoto wrote:One shop person is engaged in a discussion with a chap sitting on a bike with drop bars, and the talk is all about it having to be between 30 and 40 degrees and suchlike. Shop person takes no notice of me.

Ouside is another shop person, apparently attending to a punter's mountain bike. He too takes no notice, so I depart less than impressed

And how disgruntled would you have been if one of them had been attending you, and abandoned you to talk to someone who'd just wandered in or answer a phone call?

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Mick F
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby Mick F » 14 Sep 2012, 4:24pm

Agree.
Phone shops
Electrical equipment shops - Dixons etc

TBH, I don't support my LBSs. They don't sell what I want, no doubt they could order stuff, but on-line shops are better. Pick what you want, pay for it, and it's delivered. I would like to think that I'm more of a bike expert than the sales people in LBSs. Far more cycling experience too!

LBSs are good for clothing as you can see it, feel it, and try the gear on.
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Mark1978
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What is it with cycle shops?

Postby Mark1978 » 14 Sep 2012, 4:55pm

This isn't Chester-le-Street is it?

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al_yrpal
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby al_yrpal » 14 Sep 2012, 5:07pm

My local big town Reading has half a dozen or more cycle shops. One is an Evans, we have a Decathlon and a couple of Halfords. One is very well known and advertises nationally. It's at that shop, green as anything I purchased my first tourer. I thought they would get it right but they didn't, they just sold me something wrong. They measured me before they ordered it and adjusted it to their measurements and when I got on it my feet wouldn't touch the pedals. It was completely the wrong type of bike too. But, over the years I have forgiven them. They are still quite rapacious and I think will sell anyone anything. Once a year they have a special 20% off for CTC members and that's when I go, but I may purchase minor items there as they are the closest. I sometimes patronize Evans who will exchange something like a stem, and I also rate Halfords and Decathlon both of whom offer outstanding value for money IMO. You have to be wary of ALL staff in bike shops because there is a wide variation in levels of knowledge and expertise. As for boutiques I get ignored as any grizzled old bloke will tend to. As I get older I notice this more and more in all sorts of shops. My reaction is to walk out and never to return having gently told them why. Don't let them get you down, go somewhere else! Banks, insurance companies supermarkets and yes even bike shops are all out to screw the punter these days. There is no loyalty, no tradition of service and they are not expecting repeat business. It's a 'one night stand' everywhere. I have now realised that and I am a deal tart through and through.
Down there in Cornwall cycle shops must be as rare as hens teeth, with all those hills there can't be many superhumans who can tackle them? On all my visits I have never spotted one? :D

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Si
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby Si » 14 Sep 2012, 5:25pm

My LBS hasn't got any glass, let alone a cabinet! Only had tourers and the odd trade-in MTB on display when I was last there. And certainly don't insist on plastic hats on the rides...although should you choose to wear one no one will mind.

But this is my LBS by adoption rather than distance - I have to ride past two others to get to it. The first one I ride past has a couple of town bikes in the window and a selection of lower end MTBs, kids bikes, and hybrids inside. There are a few things hung on the wall being displayed but no carbon or Ti. The second one has no glass either and I don't think he sells bikes any more - just does repairs

In fact I have to go a fair distance to ride to a shop (apart from Halfords) that is race-bike or high end MTB oriented. I miss out the local Specialised shop which is in a location that no one would want to ride to, being surrounded by fast busy dual carriageways and motorways, plonked in the middle of a 'retail outlet' type mal.

Tacascarow
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby Tacascarow » 14 Sep 2012, 5:28pm

al_yrpal wrote:Down there in Cornwall cycle shops must be as rare as hens teeth, with all those hills there can't be many superhumans who can tackle them? On all my visits I have never spotted one? :D

Al

In my local town (South Cornwall) we have a Halfords which is next to useless & a fairly new shop, which when I've visited had much the same experience as danfoto.
We used to have a good family run bike shop but they couldn't hold the stock, or compete with the prices of Halfords so closed.

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danfoto
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby danfoto » 14 Sep 2012, 6:17pm

bensonboo wrote:I also much prefer it when if I enter a shop to look around, as you did, the staff DON'T come running but let me look until I want them.


Me too. But acknowledging the punter's presence and then leaving him or her alone to browse is one thing. Patently ignoring them is a different one altogether.

andrew_s wrote:And how disgruntled would you have been if one of them had been attending you, and abandoned you to talk to someone who'd just wandered in or answer a phone call?


Very. But the simple time-honoured way for staff to handle that situation is to wait for a natural break in their conversation with their customer, and just say to the punter "Hello. Somebody will be with you shortly" before returning their attention to the matter in hand. Keeps everybody happy.

Mark1978 wrote:This isn't Chester-le-Street is it?


Nope. 'tis "the affluent" South East.

meic wrote:I am not much of a high street shopper but is this really a bike shop thing or a society thing?

I imagine an almost identical scenario if you go into a mobile phone shop after a phone, which you intend using as a phone.


Gosh, what a [rude word removed] I am. I hadn't thought of that :roll: I fear you may be right.

Whatever, I don't buy this "stock what the customer wants to buy" argument for one minute. IMO it's fatally flawed.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

reohn2
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby reohn2 » 14 Sep 2012, 6:46pm

danfoto wrote:...... I don't buy this "stock what the customer wants to buy" argument for one minute. IMO it's fatally flawed.


What would you stock?
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matt_twam_asi
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby matt_twam_asi » 14 Sep 2012, 6:52pm

danfoto wrote:I don't buy this "stock what the customer wants to buy" argument for one minute. IMO it's fatally flawed.


Yes. It's much better to stock things that only a tiny minority of people want to buy.

As you've said yourself, the nice market is well catered for online. Therefore, why wouldn't the brick and mortar shops be only giving space to the tried and tested products that they know will sell? If you really want to buy a niche product from a LBS, I'm sure that they would gladly order it in for you.

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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby Drake » 14 Sep 2012, 8:43pm

What is it with cycle shops?. . . well if it's anything like my LBS,then it's just good old fashioned arrogance . Unless you own or wish to purchase a bike in excess of 2.5 grand,then you might as well forget it .
I returned to cycling at the beginning of the year,and not knowing if i would enjoy it again. . i bought a s/h low cost mtb which was in mint condition,just to see how i got on . The only problem with the bike was that it wouldn't engage the Mega drive sprocket at the rear .
"Take a visit to the LBS" i thought . O dear,big big mistake . All i got from the owner of the shop was "Well what do you expect,it's a cheap bike . . not worth repairing" . But he didn't stop there . . he just kept banging on about how everything on the bike was cheap and nasty . In the end i cut the conversation short . . thanked him politely for his time and left .
I'm not saying that what he implied was untrue . . it was just the sneering arrogant way he went about it . And i do appreciate that independent retailers need to specialise . . they can't be expected to compete with Halfords and the like . So i would have thought polite customer service would be in their interests .
So,would i buy a bike from this shop? . . Never never never . And i'm not being arrogant when i say i can afford to .
P.S . Got home,watched Youtube. . learned how to adjust rear mech . . operates perfectly now .

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Swallow
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Re: What is it with cycle shops?

Postby Swallow » 14 Sep 2012, 8:58pm

I must be really lucky, I have two LBSs, well fairly local, both about ten miles away. Both offer excellent service, even done little jobs for free when I've messed up something, and automatically give discount to our club members without being asked. Having said that, there is a new bike shop that has just opened in my home town that I'm still reserving judgement on. Not very impressed at the moment but I feel they are feeling their feet and sussing out the market. I also live in Cornwall by the way
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