LBS - why use them?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Oracle
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Postby Oracle » 28 Oct 2007, 9:36am

LBS

I use them as well as mail order (by internet and phone). Yesterday I purchased a pair of Tortec mudguards (700c x 20-26mm) for £20. Also had a good chat about the benefits of some other kit and a couple of rides (as many LBS will also have a connection to a cycle club). I don’t think I was ripped off price wise and I enjoyed the experience, I have also ordered some stuff by phone with a LBS that does mail order. Happy with that. There are many LBS that also do mail order for the same price as they sell the kit. The main benefit of the LBS is for those who have not got the technical ability, incentive or time to do their own maintenance. I suppose that when all LBS disappear we will complain and I’m sure we will not continue to attract new people to cycling if the LBS is no longer available. LBS that I would list include Ribble, Spa Cycles, Bike Plus, Parker International, Dave Hinde; all of which also do mail order and I have used them all both as a mail order and ‘walk in basis’ which meets the need for the LBS criteria. Long live the LBS!

CTC

I thought the CTC was ‘The UK’s National Cyclists’ Organisation’ that was ‘committed to a vibrant and broad base that encompasses all sectors including offroad and adventurous cycling, sport and leisure. CTC believes that all cyclists must defend all elements of the existing road and trail network as safe and comfortable places to ride, so the diversity of cycling can be maintained. We use the phrase "Making cycling enjoyable, safe and welcoming for all" to summarise our aspirations. Join us and help us make it come true!’ Perhaps that is why the term CTC is preferred over Cyclists’ Touring Club as certain elements of the public may not relate to an organization that, as the name might suggest, is purely interested in touring aspects of cycling. Long live the CTC!

glueman
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Postby glueman » 28 Oct 2007, 11:12am

The last fifteen years have seen a shift in the consumer's attitude to bikes and parts. The word consumer gives a clue: we've become used to aluminium road and mtb bicycles dominated by fashion and priced at a value of less than the components alone to buy.

Years ago Richard Ballantine made a point in an article that we were close to the disposable stage; it wasn't worth the hassle of renewing worn parts on bikes a few years old. At the time I thought he was overstating the case but it has come to pass.
The attitude isn't only the preserve of the casual faddist. Look at many roadie's bikes outside the caff, they'll be very recent, trick and unscratched. Unless all their riders have taken up cycling in the last year or two there's a trail of slightly used bikes standing somewhere and ebay take the hindmost. Economics must make the situation work.

There are another group with a favoured bike, often steel and custom who are happy to pay out for new parts and aren't bothered by fashion but the box shifting, mail driven retailer must be behind the glut of brand new irons we see on the road. That must leave the town bike shop to rely on repair jobs for its living.

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Shogun
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Postby Shogun » 28 Oct 2007, 1:42pm

A few weeks back I had a problem with my freehub. I stripped it at home, (so I thought) phoned the bike shop and got the bearings. 'Bring it with you just to make sure!'. Arriving at the shop, 3 brain powers (me included) found I'd left the inboard bearing still in. Problem, it was in bits and held by a circlip which was a thing to get at. I asked if I could have a go at it and was given free run of workshop and tools for an hour and a bit until the job was done. £15 for the bearings and an hour and a bit workshop/tool usage. A bargain I thought. Would I have got this at any of the BIG stores I wonder?

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gaz
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Postby gaz » 28 Oct 2007, 8:16pm

pete75 wrote:It's like referring to The Cyclists' Touring Club as CTC. The general public haven't a clue what you are talking about. Cambridge Theatre Trust?, City Technology College?, Cambridgeshire Technical College? (my old college) or a hundred others.


I like Criminal Training Centre, especially to explain who we are when arriving at a pub as in "We're from the Criminal Training Centre, it's a day release project to help rehabilitate offenders - pint please"

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Mythical
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Postby Mythical » 30 Oct 2007, 1:16am

I'm not sure wether this is a different take on it: I remember buying my first adult sized bike sometime in high school. We picked a bike out and a member of staff went off in a van to get it from someplace else, we picked out accessories for the bike, and were given cheaper/easier recommendations, as well as the "you don't really need to spend money on that" spiel a few times. The bike arried in a big cardboard box, and I watched eagerly from the workshop doorway as it was taken out and put together. Someone got sick of me watching and let me "help" (I got to put the rhino bars and bottle cage on! yay me! :lol:) I sat on the bike and they adjusted everything around me, then someone came and put it into my mum's car.
It's a shame then that, ten years later, the same bike shop is now a mini-halfords and staff are too busy to deal with customers like in the old days. (I have to admit though, they're still pretty good!) I wonder if it's a result of having built up a loyal customer base in the beginning - now they can afford to focus on profit and adopt a get en in get em out attitude? I wonder if halfords was once a friendly local parts shop???

Having said that there are still bike shops that astonish me with the level of not only customer service, but potential customer service, and wannabe customer service (to paraphrase: "I know you WANT a special spanner of your own, but you can borrow ours without spending your cash, now go fix your bike") I wonder if these places are the few that have yet to make the transition??

JC4LAB

Postby JC4LAB » 30 Oct 2007, 3:11pm

Depends entirely on the individual shop or branch or even internet mail order company.which is better..You can't account for it..Halfords,for example can be good in one town and naff in another.The waiting time for a repair/servicing can be weeks.as can placing an order online

cyclistjohn
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Postby cyclistjohn » 31 Oct 2007, 7:01pm

JC4LAB wrote:Depends entirely on the individual shop or branch or even internet mail order company.which is better..You can't account for it..Halfords,for example can be good in one town and naff in another.The waiting time for a repair/servicing can be weeks.as can placing an order online


Agreed.

Having read through this thread, today I decided to ride into the distance to our LBS's, to see the response to my request for a "trekker, or butterfly handlebar".

I visited 4 shops, with mostly Homer stares back when I asked. Only 1, the first, asked if I'd like them to order 1 for me. Even he was underwhelmed with his catalogue description of it. Second shop, whose bikes start at around £1500 "No, we don't stock that sort of thing, but you could try ......."

So I rode to .......

"I've been here 17 years & nobody's ever asked for 1 of them before, so I don't think you'll have any luck".

Next stop, there's a sort of W shaped 1, but not what I have in mind.

Although it's "only" a bicycle, not an aircraft, it seems that hanger sized shops would be necessary to stock the vast range of parts that a Customer could come in & ask about. I suppose it's hard for a LBS to know what to stock, & it's even harder for me to see how they can possibly compete with the internet stores, especially if they don't show any interest in pursuing an enquiry.

Do any of you know a good source for such a handlebar?

BTW, IMHO, it would help greatly if those of you who post about excellent service & enthusiasm from your LBS, could actually note *which LBS* this is, & maybe even the guy in the shop you've dealt with :-)

Several weeks ago I went to yet another L-ish BS where I've actually managed to buy something previously, but was thwarted a few weeks ago by a different "assistant" who promised me he'd order a headset spanner (very rare now Sir - we don't use 'em anymore) & ring me a few days later. Needless to say, I'm still awaiting that call......

peanut

Postby peanut » 2 Nov 2007, 10:19pm

Shogun wrote:A few weeks back I had a problem with my freehub. I stripped it at home, (so I thought) phoned the bike shop and got the bearings. 'Bring it with you just to make sure!'. Arriving at the shop, 3 brain powers (me included) found I'd left the inboard bearing still in. Problem, it was in bits and held by a circlip which was a thing to get at. I asked if I could have a go at it and was given free run of workshop and tools for an hour and a bit until the job was done. £15 for the bearings and an hour and a bit workshop/tool usage. A bargain I thought. Would I have got this at any of the BIG stores I wonder?


This is when your LBS really turns up trumps but surely the answer to the question is to use whichever is appropriate. Use the LBS when you need to but buy parts cheaply online. I see little point in patronising a LBS at your own expense when it is unecessary.They are a business after all .

Personally I love doing all the work on my bikes myself. I have only used a LBS to build a wheel for me which was a disaster as they used plain spokes on a race wheel :roll:

For someone without tools and mechanical skills or just needing the convenience of a ready made solution with service and is willing to pay for it then obviously the LBS is the perfect answer.

It would have to be a very special LBS to persuade me to buy when I can get a vastly increased range at considerably better prices next day post by buying online

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gaz
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Postby gaz » 3 Nov 2007, 8:39am

Why use your LBS, lets give you another example.

I was getting a custom made machine from my most local LBS. They could not supply the hubs that I wanted.

A friend had managed to find these at another LBS but only in 120mm OLN sizing.

I got them anyway.

My favourite LBS then agreed to swop the axle from another rear hub (same brand, later model that could accomodate 130mm OLN) at no cost, effectively leaving the store with a pair of out dated hubs that would be difficult to sell.

So, there you go. If you have a decent LBS (or maybe even more than one) and build up a relationship with them as a good customer (this means seeking their advice, using their services and recommending them to others) you'll get the most amazing service that cannot be matched elsewhere.

peanut

Postby peanut » 3 Nov 2007, 12:25pm

gaz wrote:Why use your LBS, lets give you another example.

I was getting a custom made machine from my most local LBS. They could not supply the hubs that I wanted.

.


there is your answer Gaz You've answered your own question.

Your local LBS couldn't supply the hub you needed.

Sure they helped you out but it was a problem you would not have had had you sourced the parts yourself .

You cannot take one good example to make a case for always using your LBS for everything especially for those of us that enjoy speccing sourcing and building our own bikes.

eileithyia
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Postby eileithyia » 3 Nov 2007, 8:56pm

Hmm I specced and built my own bikes after sourcing/buying from my from LBS, no internet at the time and after my recent bad experience of buying an electrical item from the t'internet shall think twice about using for expensive items in future.

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gaz
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Postby gaz » 3 Nov 2007, 9:00pm

peanut wrote:Sure they helped you out but it was a problem you would not have had had you sourced the parts yourself


Actually that's exactly what I did do, I just sourced parts from a number of LBS. The hubs in question were about 7 years out of production, the manufacturers having ceased trading (the relacement axle came from hubs about 5 years out of production) and using the internet wasn't an option to me at that time. As far as mail order was concerned I wasn't aware of anyone advertising these parts.

peanut wrote:You cannot take one good example to make a case for always using your LBS for everything especially for those of us that enjoy speccing sourcing and building our own bikes.


I agree but equally I wouldn't want to use one example of when I couldn't source the parts I wanted by mail order / internet to suggest that others shouldn't use these services.

P.S. I have yet to have an internet or mail order supplier offer me a cup of tea.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

eileithyia
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Postby eileithyia » 3 Nov 2007, 9:37pm

P.S. I have yet to have an internet or mail order supplier offer me a cup of tea.

...or teach me to spoke/true wheels and take me to major trade only bike show cos they had spare tickets and not all from the shop could go. :lol:

peanut

Postby peanut » 3 Nov 2007, 11:55pm

gaz wrote: The hubs in question were about 7 years out of production, the manufacturers having ceased trading (the relacement axle came from hubs about 5 years out of production) a

Sounds like the sort of `Mission Impossible ' that I often set myself lol


I agree but equally I wouldn't want to use one example of when I couldn't source the parts I wanted by mail order / internet to suggest that others shouldn't use these services.

Agreed! I was suggesting that in my opinion it wasn't realistic to have a hard and fast rule

P.S. I have yet to have an internet or mail order supplier offer me a cup of tea.
:roll: :D

ha ha .. I have yet to be offered a cuppa in a LBS you must be a VIP
:D :lol:

eileithyia
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Postby eileithyia » 4 Nov 2007, 8:15am

ha ha .. I have yet to be offered a cuppa in a LBS you must be a VIP

No but it was always cue for the kettle to go on when I went into the former Stokes shop in Cov. :lol: :lol: