Importance of buying from a local bike shop

Elkman

Active Member
The closest Specialized bike dealer is about an hour to two hour drive from my house, depending on the time of day. I bought a Turbo Creo SL carbon EVO bike there earlier in the week. The bike shop neglected to put air in the tires or have the battery charged, neither biggies but something I would expect for a $7500 purchase. I could not do the bluetooth pairing with Mission Control and it turned out the problem was that the code provided by Specialized for this bike was not accurate. Fortunately I had a size 10 Torx driver and could inspect the TCU and get the correct code off the side of the unit and did not need to spend half a day with a trip to the dealer.

Now I find that the dropper seat post connection for the saddle rails is defective and the shop mechanic had tightend the two fastening bolts as much as possible and when the saddle rails were still not tightly clamped he passed it along to be sold to a customer anyway. Not his problem or concern. For the time being I will either wrap the saddle rails with electrical tape or insert some plastic shims to deal with the problem for the time being.

I understand with the pandemic and the surge in interest in e-bikes that demand exceeds supply in many cases but neither is an excuse for selling an expensive e-bike with these problems. The thinking clearly is that if there was a problem it is for the customer to return the bike to the shop and leave it for them to fix.

Even with a $7500 e-bike it becomes a do-it-yourself proposition where the rider needs to have shop tools and be a mechanic or have a backup bike to use while their expensive e-bike is at the shop. I have experienced situations with shortages of supply and it became critical to have good procedures and quality assurance in place to minimize problems. The Japanese auto makers understood this when they first entered the US market but clearly current manufacturers and their dealers are still in learning mode or may not care one way or the other.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
The closest Specialized bike dealer is about an hour to two hour drive from my house, depending on the time of day. I bought a Turbo Creo SL carbon EVO bike there earlier in the week. The bike shop neglected to put air in the tires or have the battery charged, neither biggies but something I would expect for a $7500 purchase. I could not do the bluetooth pairing with Mission Control and it turned out the problem was that the code provided by Specialized for this bike was not accurate. Fortunately I had a size 10 Torx driver and could inspect the TCU and get the correct code off the side of the unit and did not need to spend half a day with a trip to the dealer.

Now I find that the dropper seat post connection for the saddle rails is defective and the shop mechanic had tightend the two fastening bolts as much as possible and when the saddle rails were still not tightly clamped he passed it along to be sold to a customer anyway. Not his problem or concern. For the time being I will either wrap the saddle rails with electrical tape or insert some plastic shims to deal with the problem for the time being.

I understand with the pandemic and the surge in interest in e-bikes that demand exceeds supply in many cases but neither is an excuse for selling an expensive e-bike with these problems. The thinking clearly is that if there was a problem it is for the customer to return the bike to the shop and leave it for them to fix.

Even with a $7500 e-bike it becomes a do-it-yourself proposition where the rider needs to have shop tools and be a mechanic or have a backup bike to use while their expensive e-bike is at the shop. I have experienced situations with shortages of supply and it became critical to have good procedures and quality assurance in place to minimize problems. The Japanese auto makers understood this when they first entered the US market but clearly current manufacturers and their dealers are still in learning mode or may not care one way or the other.
Sorry I didn't understand..

Because the topic says "Importance of buying from a local bike shop" so I thought you were trying to support local business.

But this sounds like you're recommending not to buy an ebike from local bike shop because you didn't even get a mediocre service for purchasing a $7,500 ebike.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Sorry about your dilemma. I hope you get it resolved in a reasonable and timely fashion. Obviously, they should not have sold or released the bike with those issues. Of course, where you have limited dealer options, you are stuck not alienating that dealer while still get full satisfaction.

Good luck.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Sorry I didn't understand..

Because the topic says "Importance of buying from a local bike shop" so I thought you were trying to support local business.

But this sounds like you're recommending not to buy an ebike from local bike shop because you didn't even get a mediocre service for purchasing a $7,500 ebike.
The title might be confusing but reading the text, my interpretation was that this dealer, an hour or two away, was NOT a local shop. Getting satisfaction will be a pain!
 

GuruUno

Well-Known Member
Some local bike shops are just order takers, do the bare minimum, and then it's bye-bye. It all depends on the help or the knowledge, patience, and expertise of the person (sometimes owner) who does what it is to be done. Here in NJ, lots of places come and go because it is a seasonal business and they starve in the winter. THen in the surge of riding season, they are so busy they hire kids to do the simple stuff. Not too many experts in the e-bike arena...not yet, just the auto industry. I was an early adopter in 2013 with an electric Ford Focus which turned out to be a lemon...5 different dealers, nobody had any knowledge, and the one dealer I went to said, "there is enough wiring in that car to go from here to JFK Airport and back 200 times, there is no way we could ever figure out the problem".....that put the nail in the coffin.
The point here is we all hope that the LBS has competent personnel, but in reality, it's a tough thing to find that diamond in the rough. Just like the painter, carpenter, landscaper, electrician, plumber, and so on. An even better example is a restaurant that is far superior to others. Once found, sometimes (an example is now during Covid), there is a 6-month waiting list for reservations. (Anjelica's Restaurant, Sea Bright NJ).
So, yes, we have no choice but to buy local, but then it's no different than "after the sale" at the local Ford dealership....you are just another spoke in the wheel.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Some local bike shops are just order takers, do the bare minimum, and then it's bye-bye. It all depends on the help or the knowledge, patience, and expertise of the person (sometimes owner) who does what it is to be done. Here in NJ, lots of places come and go because it is a seasonal business and they starve in the winter. THen in the surge of riding season, they are so busy they hire kids to do the simple stuff. Not too many experts in the e-bike arena...not yet, just the auto industry. I was an early adopter in 2013 with an electric Ford Focus which turned out to be a lemon...5 different dealers, nobody had any knowledge, and the one dealer I went to said, "there is enough wiring in that car to go from here to JFK Airport and back 200 times, there is no way we could ever figure out the problem".....that put the nail in the coffin.
The point here is we all hope that the LBS has competent personnel, but in reality, it's a tough thing to find that diamond in the rough. Just like the painter, carpenter, landscaper, electrician, plumber, and so on. An even better example is a restaurant that is far superior to others. Once found, sometimes (an example is now during Covid), there is a 6-month waiting list for reservations. (Anjelica's Restaurant, Sea Bright NJ).
So, yes, we have no choice but to buy local, but then it's no different than "after the sale" at the local Ford dealership....you are just another spoke in the wheel.
This is my guess, but I think because after support does not make money for business, it will only lose money because you have to pay the employee to do the job, pay for parts, labor, etc.
I'm not talking about regular maintenance (like brake pad replacement), I'm talking about after support for manufacture's defect, faulty derailleur, etc.

Sales is what makes revenue / profit, after support does not.

Now, if you provide good after support, obviously customers are humans, and they will spread the good word for your business, they might come back to buy another bike, etc.

But on paper, after support will be written down as loss, not profit.
 

NovaDave

New Member
Region
Canada
Buying from a local bike shop can be difficult with the shipping delays that many manufacturers are experiencing. I was able to do so, but had to wait 2 months with no way of trying the bike prior to delivery (Giant Explore E+2). My wife is waiting 8 months for her bike, a Trek Powerfly 4 in xs. Both are from good local bike shops. However if people can't or, do not want to, wait then they are travelling further afield and perhaps dealing with an unknown lbs.

It is always tough to be a consumer when demand outstrips supply.
 

Comfortably Numb

Well-Known Member
This is my guess, but I think because after support does not make money for business, it will only lose money because you have to pay the employee to do the job, pay for parts, labor, etc.
I'm not talking about regular maintenance (like brake pad replacement), I'm talking about after support for manufacture's defect, faulty derailleur, etc.

Sales is what makes revenue / profit, after support does not.

Now, if you provide good after support, obviously customers are humans, and they will spread the good word for your business, they might come back to buy another bike, etc.

But on paper, after support will be written down as loss, not profit.
Think no support after the sale doesn't make them any money? How about when sh**** delivery costs them future bike sales down the road.
The OP ought to post the NAME of this dealer here so everyone knows to avoid them. Better than that, post the name in the title thread so it can't possibly be missed. If it were me I'd drive the two hours, unload on them and return it. Then follow up with a real 'nice' letter to Specialized. Absolutely unacceptable. CN
 

NovaDave

New Member
Region
Canada
CN:
I am not offering it as an excuse for a retailer's shoddy work. I am saying it is tougher for a bike buyer when supply is short.
 

Comfortably Numb

Well-Known Member
CN:
I am not offering it as an excuse for a retailer's shoddy work. I am saying it is tougher for a bike buyer when supply is short.
Oh, I'm with you on this. You'd think when they don't have much stock, they ought to really look after the sales they do get. It should (or could) pay off down the road. CN
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I was pretty surprised that the city bike shops consider bike shop services as necessary cost centers.

Out here in the sticks, bike shop services are considered a profit center, and a source of steady monthly income.

But CN is correct.That attitude is going to bite them badly.
 
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ActionJackson

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
The closest Specialized bike dealer is about an hour to two hour drive from my house, depending on the time of day. I bought a Turbo Creo SL carbon EVO bike there earlier in the week. The bike shop neglected to put air in the tires or have the battery charged, neither biggies but something I would expect for a $7500 purchase. I could not do the bluetooth pairing with Mission Control and it turned out the problem was that the code provided by Specialized for this bike was not accurate. Fortunately I had a size 10 Torx driver and could inspect the TCU and get the correct code off the side of the unit and did not need to spend half a day with a trip to the dealer.

Now I find that the dropper seat post connection for the saddle rails is defective and the shop mechanic had tightend the two fastening bolts as much as possible and when the saddle rails were still not tightly clamped he passed it along to be sold to a customer anyway. Not his problem or concern. For the time being I will either wrap the saddle rails with electrical tape or insert some plastic shims to deal with the problem for the time being.

I understand with the pandemic and the surge in interest in e-bikes that demand exceeds supply in many cases but neither is an excuse for selling an expensive e-bike with these problems. The thinking clearly is that if there was a problem it is for the customer to return the bike to the shop and leave it for them to fix.

Even with a $7500 e-bike it becomes a do-it-yourself proposition where the rider needs to have shop tools and be a mechanic or have a backup bike to use while their expensive e-bike is at the shop. I have experienced situations with shortages of supply and it became critical to have good procedures and quality assurance in place to minimize problems. The Japanese auto makers understood this when they first entered the US market but clearly current manufacturers and their dealers are still in learning mode or may not care one way or the other.
Thankfully that’s one of the true redeeming values of social media - call the shop out on it? The guy who built your bike - he’s probably making $20 an hour at most - yet has a quota of perhaps a dozen bikes per day to build. Thus the gap gets really fuzzy between a $350 consumer cruiser and your Specialized $7500 bike. It’s the owner operator of the shop that needs to be called out, not to mention Specialized.

I used to be critical of Japanese people being so critical of shops, products, service, etc, but it seems to keep things in line so I’ve relaxed that a bit in the last few years. You certainly have that right after spending $7500. Somewheres in America that’s six months of rent for a family I’d think.
 

JeffC57

Active Member
Thankfully that’s one of the true redeeming values of social media - call the shop out on it? The guy who built your bike - he’s probably making $20 an hour at most - yet has a quota of perhaps a dozen bikes per day to build. Thus the gap gets really fuzzy between a $350 consumer cruiser and your Specialized $7500 bike. It’s the owner operator of the shop that needs to be called out, not to mention Specialized.
It's stories like this that make me appreciate my LBS. They have always taken care of me and my Creo and Vado SL. Even when my problems were user error/ignorance. They haven't been perfect but have always found a way to make things right. It sure is nice that they are only a mile from my house when they need a second chance to fix something.
I don't think it is possible to build a dozen Creos in a day. The guy that built mine spent several hours on it. Your point is well taken tho. When the truck drops of a load of bikes I'm sure there is pressure to get them built and on the sales floor.
I think the owners/managers of the shop set the tone regarding work quality and customer service. We should continue to do business with the ones that treat us properly.
 

ActionJackson

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
It's stories like this that make me appreciate my LBS. They have always taken care of me and my Creo and Vado SL. Even when my problems were user error/ignorance. They haven't been perfect but have always found a way to make things right. It sure is nice that they are only a mile from my house when they need a second chance to fix something.
I don't think it is possible to build a dozen Creos in a day. The guy that built mine spent several hours on it. Your point is well taken tho. When the truck drops of a load of bikes I'm sure there is pressure to get them built and on the sales floor.
I think the owners/managers of the shop set the tone regarding work quality and customer service. We should continue to do business with the ones that treat us properly.
I can appreciate decent shops. We have a few of them here. However this guy spent $7500 on a freaking bicycle, drove an average 90 minutes to get it, and got something delivered to him that was obviously defective. To me that shouts that the shop cannot differentiate the service level required for a premium product and the amount of resources they need to dedicate to that product line. As a comparison when I recently picked up my Vado SL, I sat at a customer service desk with the representative and we went through everything about the bike. Then we took it outside for a test ride. Seat adjustment in particular took about 10 minutes. During that time they would’ve noticed something defective. in fact we operated everything during that session, even charging. I’m already due to return to the shop for a 100 km check up, free. The shop even sent me a reminder. Granted I live in Japan where service levels are higher, but even so I still think this guy got shafted.
 

itsmel

New Member
I don't know how any bike shop can be profitable long-term without at least acceptable customer service. I've heard from local owners that most of the margin on new bike sales gets eaten up (in normal times) by expenses related to storage, assembly and sales. That a big reason why new bikes seldom go on large sales.

Oddly enough, selling bikes is not where many bikes stores make their money. The profits come from the sales of all the add-ons and consumables: pumps, tires, helmets, bottles, bottle cages, racks, pedals, saddles, locks, etc., along with labor charges in the service department.

Here in the DC-metro area of the U.S., it's pretty standard for the sale of a bike to include adjustments like setting seat height, confirming appropriate frame size, and making sure everything is working right mechanically. Most also provide a free 100-mile tune-up to adjust cable tensions and check shifting after the bike has gotten some use.

Delivering a bike with obvious issues is not okay, pandemic or not, and not a way to earn long-term customers.
 
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Elkman

Active Member
I evidently need to clarify my post. The service was less than stellar and if they would bother to use a simple checklist items like tires would have been inflated and the bluetooth pairing code verified. I wanted a Specialized e-bike and the nearest dealer of theirs is an hour away by car on a good day with light traffic. The next closest Specialized dealer with actual inventory is located 90 minutes drive time each way (with no traffic which is not possible during the limited store hours of bike shops).

I bought from the nearest Specialized dealer to my house. Had I bought it from a bike shop further away I would have spent a great deal more time sitting in traffic with the multiple trips I made. That was why I took Giant off my list as their nearest dealer is located two hours drive away and a single trip takes from 4 to 5 hours. That is the reality in many areas and why the "best" e-bike on paper is not necessarily the best long term choice.

The mom and pop bike shops have gotten a temporary reprieve but I would expect that when bike supplies are not constrained that bike store chains will take over the market, again. When I was shopping the local bike shops there was only one with sales staff that provided a good level of pre sales support, although that was the one with no checklists for bicycles turned over to their buyers.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I am in and out of bike shops regularly and have a small private bike workshop of my own. There is a large variance. I showed a young mechanic how to use a Park Tool DAG yesterday at one that did not have training but does have checklists so long that all the boxes get checked in one go without reading the individual items. Providing local service that is beyond expectations is better than advertising and less expensive. People want to tell their friends when they have the inside info on something local that is extraordinary.
 

GuruUno

Well-Known Member
The bottom line is there are good businesses and so-so businesses and bad businesses. We all suffer when we are limited as to who we choose or have to do business with, yet at times we can succeed with a stellar choice (sometimes stumbled upon and only if available).
This seems to be the new economy. Lots and lots of businesses have to compete with the price shoppers with the help of search engines. Although price is a determining factor in most purchases sometimes the consumer has to make decisions about paying a premium for the service associated with that purchase. It's called getting what you paid for. Some sellers rip off the public and others go far and beyond to excel and build their business with a good reputation. Welcome to capatilism.