Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
pete75
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby pete75 » 4 Jul 2015, 10:55am

beardy wrote:He did say usually possible.

It is easy to take the nice garage and extensive tool collection for granted. Even before we consider the experience that often goes with it.

On the other hand we were not born that way, nor did we inherit it. It all started when you had to fix your own bike as a teenager.


But both options are usually possible that was my point. Taking a car to a garage for repair is always possible.

beardy
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby beardy » 4 Jul 2015, 11:00am

I dont get under a car with an angle grinder and welder because I enjoy it!

If I couldnt do home repairs, I would not have a car as I can not afford garage repairs. Also these economics apply to others, which means that older cars (which may need attention) are cheap for me to buy. :)

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horizon
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby horizon » 4 Jul 2015, 11:15am

pete75 wrote:
But both options are usually possible that was my point. Taking a car to a garage for repair is always possible.


No, the option of taking your car to a garage is often unaffordable (I find it so anyway). Whereas taking your bike to a bike shop is at least manageable. By the time your bike repairs have reached the price of a new bike, you've just about paid for the garage to open the bonnet.

This is why I've decided running a car is no longer possible for me whereas a bike will always be. Other people's experiences will be different of course but my main point was that the OP could choose when it came to the bike.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

pete75
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby pete75 » 4 Jul 2015, 11:56am

horizon wrote:
pete75 wrote:
But both options are usually possible that was my point. Taking a car to a garage for repair is always possible.


No, the option of taking your car to a garage is often unaffordable (I find it so anyway). Whereas taking your bike to a bike shop is at least manageable. By the time your bike repairs have reached the price of a new bike, you've just about paid for the garage to open the bonnet.

This is why I've decided running a car is no longer possible for me whereas a bike will always be. Other people's experiences will be different of course but my main point was that the OP could choose when it came to the bike.


As to affordable or not , that's a very personal thing, related entirely to your own financial assets along with your willingness or otherwise to part with them. You may find garage servicing unaffordable but there are many garages in business so clearly lots of people don't find their charges unaffordable.

dave28
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby dave28 » 5 Jul 2015, 1:00pm

Took my bike into my LBS to have the front gear change adjusted - I know, but I've got ten big toes for fingers and nothing I did with screws and knurled knobs seemed to make a difference. Turned out the large chain ring was slightly buckled. The bike shop lady spotted it in about 30 seconds, and once she showed it to me, and I knew what to look for, I could see it too (just). Can't begin to think how long that would have taken me to track down on my own, and I bet the specialist tools to deal with it in a horribly cag handed way, would have cost more than the parts.
I don't reckon my LBS - elderly husband No 1 mechanic, youngish lady No2 mechanic, elderly wife running the counter but I bet she could take over in the workshop anytime - is "coining it". I reckon they make a do; and it'll be a sad, sad day when the shutters come down for the last time.

And never forget Hillair Beloc's cautionary tale of Lord Finchley -

"Lord Finchley tried to mend the electric light
Himself; it struck him dead, and serve him right.
It is the duty of the wealthier man
To make employment for the artisan."

mercalia
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby mercalia » 5 Jul 2015, 2:10pm

there are only 2 things I cannt do on the bike - building wheels and changing the steering bearings. Since I dont do lots of miles in bad conditions wheels last me a long time so the expence of making or buying the gear incl spoke tension meter dont make sense to me, though it would be nice to be able to make wheels, as I dont like spending money. An old duffer I met a short time ago said the lbs charged him £150 to do the chain rings ( chain? cassette? dont know) & tried to sell him a new bike lol

gregoryoftours
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby gregoryoftours » 5 Jul 2015, 7:07pm

mercalia wrote: An old duffer I met a short time ago said the lbs charged him £150 to do the chain rings ( chain? cassette? dont know) & tried to sell him a new bike lol

It could well have been the case that considering the cost of the work needed to sort it out properly that it was a pretty uneconomical repair, so the bike shop suggested that a new bike might be a better bet. If it cost him £150 there was probably a fair bit more than just the chainrings that needed sorting in order for the bike to work.
Sometimes also bike shops know that a bike could well be a bit of a pig to get working properly, costing a lot of money/labour with no real guarantee that it's going to work 100% at the end of it, unhappy customer who thinks they have been ripped off, stress for bike shop staff, it's understandable that they might want to steer someone toward buying a new bike instead. Of course it's not always like this but often it is.

PT1029
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby PT1029 » 5 Jul 2015, 9:52pm

Your LBS pay retail property business rates (in some areas, that shed loads of money).
Wiggle pay industrial storage/distribution (or similar) business rates that are cheaper.
Your LBS pays retail/high St rents (which in the south east can be eye wateringly expensive).
Wiggle's rent will be for some out of town vast steel barn on an industrial estate, rather cheaper than the high st (per unit what ever unit you measure)
Wiggle etc buy huge quantities (possibly direct from Asia, so by passing the UK distributor at the same time), so will get large discounts.
Your LBS will buy small quanities, so no big discount.
Your LBS stuff will come in a card board box with some instructions, because the supplier (mostly) only supplies it in a box.
Wiggle etc often supply OEM parts in a sturdy plastic wrapper (as intended for factories to use). Some wholesale suppliers to LBS supply grey imports in OEM packaging, and are cheaper than the "official" wholesaler.
The on line prices you mention are pretty much the whole sale price your LBS will pay when ordering those parts. So you are not being ripped off by your LBS.
When caught short with a technical emergency requiring diagnosis/repair/advice, you LBS can help (if they have been supported enough to survive), wiggle can't help you a jot.

Interesting point about a man in a van doing "shop" repairs. A new one to me, I guess not a bad idea in areas where the level of repair business doesn't justify a full time mechanic, also means the shop owner just pays the van man an invoice, without the need for payrole/PAYE/NI/holiday pay/sick pay to pay, as that is for the van man to sort.

If you still wonder why local shops are expensive, the system is stacked against them.

If you want to make good money in the retail trade, then other areas have much better margins/mark ups that the cycle trade. People seem to complain that the LBS doubles the cost of a component, but happily pay $400 for a Iphone that costs $8 to make in the factory in China.

Always be wary of expensive quoates out of context. £150 for chain/cassette/rings. Well, if 9s and using middling quality, chain/cassette £50, assume 2 chainrings, £40-50/pr ish if Shimano, £90-100 if TA, that's £130 - £150 of your £150, leaving you £20 - £0 for labour.......... I would guess labour should be £25 - 40(?). If it was just "chainrings", then TA is most of the bill, £50 labour might be rather steep, but you never know if an extra "needs a new gear cable" so some such had been forgotten by the customer.
Sometimes it is worth mentioning the option of a new bike, just to put the repair cost in perspective. Then the repair seems more reasonable!

22camels
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby 22camels » 5 Jul 2015, 11:41pm

PT1029 wrote:but happily pay $400 for a Iphone that costs $8 to make in the factory in China.

Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration? I thought it was closer to $200.

Interesting discussion. I had a very similar reaction to the OP myself not so long ago. I think the state of the market combined with the easy availability these days of help (youtube videos, forums etc. - in the past you would have had to go to the local library to consult a book!) must be driving more people to doing more bike maintenance by themselves, sadly to the detriment of local bike shops. This is what happened to me - though another equally important driving factor was that I was getting into touring and it was important that I learnt how to do some bike repairs by myself for the occasions when I might find myself very far from a bike shop. This process is still ongoing and there are still some complex tasks that I would ask my LBS to do, but fairly basic things like changing cassette, chain, BB, I can mostly do that by myself now, and it makes me a bit happy to be saving money doing it. Perhaps if I had a more long term relationship with an LBS I would feel a bit guilty, but so far my life has been quite nomadic - I have not spent more than 4 years in one place.

plappyflugilips
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby plappyflugilips » 6 Jul 2015, 9:41am

Thanks for all the replies everyone. I now feel reassured that I wasn't totally fleeced and have paid the going rate for the service I received.

However, I am now doing all my own repairs. Just ordered a new Ultegra cassette and LifeLine chain whip/cassette tool bundle from Wiggle for £47 total. WIll start using the LBS again if I ever win the lottery - shame, as I would have liked to support a local business but just can't afford it.

robc02
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby robc02 » 6 Jul 2015, 9:59am

I think the state of the market combined with the easy availability these days of help (youtube videos, forums etc. - in the past you would have had to go to the local library to consult a book!) must be driving more people to doing more bike maintenance by themselves, sadly to the detriment of local bike shops.


Yes, its much easier to get started DIYing nowadays.

On the other hand, in recent years there has been a large increase in the popularity of cycling so the potential market is greater than for many years. A number of the people I speak to don't understand the intricacies of such things as indexed gearing or bearing adjustment so do use bike shops for repairs.

Some of these riders seem to have plenty of disposable income so presumably are quite happy to pay a professional to fix things. Sadly, the same people often replace whole assemblies when a minor repair might suffice e.g. new wheels when a bearing replacement or even clean and adjust will do. The new wheels usually come from one of the large discounters, whereas the repair would be done locally or at home.

pete75
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby pete75 » 6 Jul 2015, 2:24pm

PT1029 wrote:Your LBS pay retail property business rates (in some areas, that shed loads of money).
Wiggle pay industrial storage/distribution (or similar) business rates that are cheaper.
Your LBS pays retail/high St rents (which in the south east can be eye wateringly expensive).
Wiggle's rent will be for some out of town vast steel barn on an industrial estate, rather cheaper than the high st (per unit what ever unit you measure)
Wiggle etc buy huge quantities (possibly direct from Asia, so by passing the UK distributor at the same time), so will get large discounts.
Your LBS will buy small quanities, so no big discount.
Your LBS stuff will come in a card board box with some instructions, because the supplier (mostly) only supplies it in a box.
Wiggle etc often supply OEM parts in a sturdy plastic wrapper (as intended for factories to use). Some wholesale suppliers to LBS supply grey imports in OEM packaging, and are cheaper than the "official" wholesaler.
The on line prices you mention are pretty much the whole sale price your LBS will pay when ordering those parts. So you are not being ripped off by your LBS.


Paying all those extra expenses when you don't need to is a bit of a rip off. Why should anyone pay more for a part to put high rents into a landlords pocket or to give an importer who adds no value a profit?

Vorpal
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby Vorpal » 6 Jul 2015, 2:43pm

Like all such things, each person must weigh his/her time and capability against paying someone else to do the work. I tend these days to take more work, rather than less to the LBS. My time is limited and I'd rather spend it with my children. Or doing a remodelling job that will cost me far mroe than having the LBS fit a new drivetrain.

They are specialists in repairing bikes and get the job done in a couple of hours that would cost me my Saturday and two trips to the LBS for bits, even though I thought I had everything I needed ready beforehand.

Then I can spend Saturday clearing a drain or putting a roof on the shed or taking my children to the beach, or even :shock: going for a bike ride on another bike.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

don1
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby don1 » 7 Jul 2015, 3:39pm

landsurfer wrote:I own and operate a UK wide engineering company. If I was to charge twice what an item costs us we would have gone bust years ago.
It's all about the service.
You can buy a bit from Wiggle but can you fit it ?
And when it goes wrong who will put it right ?
It's all about added value.
Value is added to the cost of a component that gives you confidence that it will perform.
That's what we do.
Add value.
That's what your LBS does.


Not bikes, but there's a local company that marks up prices by 300% of the price they buy in. They're a big company though so have a lot of buying power, and customers are happy to pay a premium based on the expertise they receive.

gregoryoftours
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Re: Is My Local Bike Shop Ripping Me Off?

Postby gregoryoftours » 12 Jul 2015, 9:20pm

pete75 wrote:Paying all those extra expenses when you don't need to is a bit of a rip off. Why should anyone pay more for a part to put high rents into a landlords pocket or to give an importer who adds no value a profit?


You're right in the sense that hardly any of the added money is going to the bike shop itself, but the original question was whether the bike shop itself was ripping the customer off, and it probably wasn't, they just can't compete with online behemoths. It's a bit like saying you're being ripped off paying higher prices at a small grocery store than an out of town supermarket, if you're looking at it in purely monetary terms it's correct, but really that's a bit simplistic. You can give all of your business to the supermarket but that's not without its problems, just as crc/wiggle etc spells the end to many bike shops. The bike shops that do survive are more likely to be the big chains that buy in bulk and make most of their money flogging fairly crap bikes cheaply (and that really is their bread and butter). If this is what bike shops need to do to survive it's a shame, because there isn't so much of a place for the really knowledgeable experienced and passionate people, or they get pretty disillusioned with the way the industry is changing as it becomes increasingly difficult/uneconomical to operate in an ethical/engaged way.