Losing a LBS

Oldjohnw
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Losing a LBS

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 Aug 2019, 8:42am

John

Cycling and recycling

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Mick F
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby Mick F » 16 Aug 2019, 9:07am

I've been into Evans in Plymouth a few times to "click and collect".

It's been absolutely years - maybe 10 or more of them - since I went into a bike shop to buy something.
Mick F. Cornwall

whoof
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby whoof » 16 Aug 2019, 9:24am

One of the key ways a LBS makes money is servicing bikes. I'm probably like a lot of people on here as none of my bikes have been touched by a mechanic in a bike shop for years.

Older style cars can be maintained by their owner with a few tools and some knowledge. Modern cars with electronic management systems need to be taken to a garage with the correct software to interrogate it.
Perhaps the way forward for LBS is 11/12 speed electronic geared bikes with cable routing requiring specialist tools that most home mechanics are unable to work on themselves.
https://vimeo.com/136147522

tatanab
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby tatanab » 16 Aug 2019, 10:13am

Like many, I have not had any work done by a shop in the last 40 years and more, and I've not used a local shop to buy parts in probably the last 20. I have not bought a complete machine from a shop in the last 50 years, assembling my own to suit my requirements.

The worry about losing an LBS is not the effect on many of us but on utility riders who are doubtful about repairing a puncture, adjusting a hub gear let alone a fancy indexed thingy that doesn't work any more. There is also the generation of riders who buy bikes and think they have to be regularly serviced at a shop since the owner never learned any routine maintenance skills. People like me need those others to keep an LBS going so that we have somewhere to go for that once in a decade emergency purchase.

PH
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby PH » 16 Aug 2019, 10:39am

In the last few years we've lost three shops locally:
The largest has now been knocked down to build a block of flats in a prime location, it's easy to see how their asset equalled many years trading profit.
One that was purposefully opposite the gates of what was one of Derby's main factories. People could drop the bike off on the way into work and collect at the end of the shift. Once that factory moved it was only a few locals that kept it going for another decade.
And Mercian, that was a shock, though I always saw it as more of a showroom for their own product than somewhere to go buy something else.

Against that we've gained three:
A high end shop specialising in the fashionable road and racing end of cycling, also offering specialist services, fitting, coaching, I've never been in but hear they're good at what they do,
A shop a couple of miles out on an industrial estate, doing a lot of assembly of bikes bought on the internet and servicing. also offering collection and return of your bike for service/repair.
A service centre attached to the city centre bike parking, I use it for parking, don't know much about the servicing though they always seem to be busy.

We've also gained a cycle re-cycling place that also does servicing and two mobile and working from home businesses doing servicing/repairs.

Like some others I haven't used any of these businesses, the old and the new, for decades. People say they're needed for the advice as well as the sales and service, yet I've been unhappy with the service received from all three of the closed shops and I can guarantee if you'd gone to the three closed ones for advice it would have been contradictory and they'd have been reluctant to consider alternatives.

Retail has changed and hasn't settled down yet, maybe it never will, it's not going to change back, winners and losers. It's tough being in business, it always has been, I made a decent living selling DIY tools from the late 80's and into the mid 90's before you could buy at below wholesale prices from the likes of Argos and every supermarket... a couple of my contemporaries moved out of the market halls and onto Ebay, which I considered a fad :roll:

Oldjohnw
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Location: Northumberland

Re: Losing a LBS

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 Aug 2019, 10:48am

I depend considerably on my LBS. I have limited mechanical skills and less inclination. Within 60 miles I have a useless Halfords and even worse GO.
John

Cycling and recycling

rjb
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby rjb » 16 Aug 2019, 11:51am

Mobile bike repair vans seem to be springing up to replace shops. I have seen a couple locally like this one here in rural Somerset. http://www.bikevetyeovil.co.uk/ :wink:
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Carlton green
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby Carlton green » 16 Aug 2019, 12:19pm



An interesting article, thank you. One particular point mentioned, that would help cycling in general, is the reduction of VAT to 5% on bicycle serving and parts - that would be a very worthy campaign for Cycling U.K.

Where I live doesn’t have a bike shop, there is one in a nearby Town (from which my wife’s bike was bought) but it’s generally easier and cheaper to buy parts on-line instead. There are other cyclists where I live but mostly sporty Male types who can do their own mechanics, so those that haven’t the skills are ‘condemned’ to walking, public transport or ‘the car’. I don’t know what the solution is but decent repairs don’t and can’t come cheap, however the people who need the repair service typically aren’t those that can afford to pay the ‘necessary’ price - I have assumed that the LBS mechanic is competent too, but really shouldn’t have done ......

PH
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby PH » 16 Aug 2019, 12:23pm

rjb wrote:Mobile bike repair vans seem to be springing up to replace shops. I have seen a couple locally like this one here in rural Somerset. http://www.bikevetyeovil.co.uk/ :wink:

Indeed, where there is the demand some enterprising sort will try and cater for it.
One near me encourages you to buy from Chain Reaction, I don't know if they get a cut, the parts are delivered direct to them and they'll do the fitting.

whoof
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby whoof » 16 Aug 2019, 1:33pm

Carlton green wrote:



Where I live doesn’t have a bike shop, there is one in a nearby Town (from which my wife’s bike was bought) but it’s generally easier and cheaper to buy parts on-line instead. There are other cyclists where I live but mostly sporty Male types who can do their own mechanics, so those that haven’t the skills are ‘condemned’ to walking, public transport or ‘the car’. I don’t know what the solution is but decent repairs don’t and can’t come cheap, however the people who need the repair service typically aren’t those that can afford to pay the ‘necessary’ price - ....


Having worked in bike shops I have experienced numerous customers asking how much to repair or replace X, when you tell them £30 the reply is the whole bike only cost me £50. They therefore need to take their second-hand £50 bike which they bought with a knackered bottom bracket to a shop who pay illegal below minimum wage to staff, have a peppercorn rent and zero business rate. These do now exist such as CUK bike revival and other charity bike projects but that doesn't help the LBS much.
Also if you bought a supermarket £79.99 new bike even if there is a bike shop they may not want to touch it. The adjusters might not work properly meaning the mechanic needs to spend twice as long getting the gears and brakes to work as they would on a more expensive bike. Even if you can get it sorted you are also likely to see the customer again within the week as they have all gone out of alignment again and they either want their money back or to fix it again for free.
https://spacycles.co.uk/workshop.php

PH
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby PH » 16 Aug 2019, 1:53pm

whoof wrote:Having worked in bike shops I have experienced numerous customers asking how much to repair or replace X, when you tell them £30 the reply is the whole bike only cost me £50. They therefore need to take their second-hand £50 bike which they bought with a knackered bottom bracket to a shop who pay illegal below minimum wage to staff, have a peppercorn rent and zero business rate. These do now exist such as CUK bike revival and other charity bike projects but that doesn't help the LBS much.
Also if you bought a supermarket £79.99 new bike even if there is a bike shop they may not want to touch it. The adjusters might not work properly meaning the mechanic needs to spend twice as long getting the gears and brakes to work as they would on a more expensive bike. Even if you can get it sorted you are also likely to see the customer again within the week as they have all gone out of alignment again and they either want their money back or to fix it again for free.
https://spacycles.co.uk/workshop.php

I agree entirely and Spa's £36 an hour seems reasonable for workshop time, take into account costs, downtime and administration and you'd have to be pretty busy to make it pay at that.
The other side of that is while I'm happy to spend five hours a couple of times a year servicing my most used bike and probably the same again on adjustments/replacements in between, I doubt I'd be happy spending £700* a year on it even though I'd understand why it cost that much. Bike shops/mechanics know this and work down to a price, they wouldn't survive if they didn't. I do my own, even though I've never been keen on doing so, I think I do a better job, not because I'm as capable, just that my time is less limited than my cash.

* OK a decent bike mechanic might cut a chunk off that time and therefore that bill, I wouldn't like to guess how much.

atoz
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Re: Losing a LBS

Postby atoz » 1 Sep 2019, 11:15am

It's not just servicing. My LBS is a superb wheelbuilder. This skill is not practised much nowadays but you realised how fortunate you are when people on nice well specced newish bikes and low mileage have spoke failures for no apparent reason in the rear wheel. Spoke failures on a road bike as I have described shouldn't be happening so soon, and is a sure sign of poor wheelbuilding quality control in the factory, almost certainly automated.

This sort of problem was very common in the days of screw thread rear hubs, but shouldn't be an issue with cassette hubs, as they should be stronger by design. Because my wheels are handbuilt, I have very few spoke failures on either cassette or screw thread types, and then usually when the build is beyond redemption, or really bad road surfaces (more common these days of course).

Also my LBS rebuilt my 40H Sturmey Archer AW so I could have 700C rims on my ageing CB Majestic frame (was 27s). The AW hub actually dates from 1968 (sourced from a skip and cleaned up by local veteran cyclist, and replacement pawl/axle from then LBS) so build quality is rather better than modern AW hubs- original design was better than later "improvements". Most LBS's probably wouldn't bother rebuilding a 40H hub- he had a Mavic tandem rim stashed in the shed at the back of the shop!

My LBS is of a certain age, and will retire in a few years, and the business will retire with him. I suspect a lot of people will miss him when he's gone..