Need to Complain for a Minute

D

Deleted member 803

Guest
I have a local bike dealer who has just started carrying e-bikes. They like the Felt bikes and had the rep call on them. They were told they must purchase the entire product line (4 or 5) bikes at a minimum. This is simply nuts. E-bikes represent less than 2% of the bike market and are 3-4X the cost of non-ebikes (in general). The dealer wanted to stock 1 or 2 bikes to see how well received they would be by their customers. I am not sure, given how nascent the e-bike market is, why a vendor would place such an upfront financial burden to carry the product line. I am sure if the dealer had a bike on the floor and it sold rather quickly that they would take a chance on more inventory.

Long story short: the dealer passed and was not happy with Felt's stocking policy. Given how tough it is for vendors to get IBD/EDB placement you'd think they would err on the side of the dealer.

Granted I am not in the bike business, but having run multi-billion dollar public companies in the past, I am having a hard time finding the business sense in this decision.
 

MarcD

Active Member
86 - Agree with your premise. The fact remains, however, that certain bike dealers (Specialized and Felt) have a very limited distribution network by choice. They usually have only one dealer in most metro areas, and are likely wary to commit to someone who doesn't go all-in on their product line.

I have heard that Specialized may be rethinking that policy, particularly in regard to ebikes, but I'll let other comment if appropriate.

I really have mixed feelings - I think bike shops that specialize in electric offerings should be given serious consideration, but similarly, we benefit from wider acceptance if the larger shops carry them and have them on the floor.

As for Spesh and Felt, this is where their limited distribution model shows a glaring weakness.
 

Morpheous

New Member
Leaving the door wide open for manufacturer direct online sales, which lets face it most high end bikes are bought this way. People shopping on line know exactly what they need and are quite capable mechanically. Bike shops days are numbered for this reason, and they refuse to stock anything. They have relegated themselves to the middle of the low end just above department stores with "tune ups", changing flats, selling clothing, and energy drinks and powders. Foolish strategy.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Why don't the manufacturers have more stores, or partner with a large retailer?

I think giant has 4 stores in the entire USA. The nearest one to SF is LA. Giant is the worlds second largest manufacturer. Look how successful Apple stores are.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
Leaving the door wide open for manufacturer direct online sales, which lets face it most high end bikes are bought this way. People shopping on line know exactly what they need and are quite capable mechanically. Bike shops days are numbered for this reason, and they refuse to stock anything. They have relegated themselves to the middle of the low end just above department stores with "tune ups", changing flats, selling clothing, and energy drinks and powders. Foolish strategy.
I am not in favor of direct vendor sales and fully support the independent bike dealer. Most local bike shops fit their business model to the community which they serve. I live in the bay are and we have tiny shops with little inventory and Nieman Marcus like bike shops that stock and sell nothing but the best. Most people are NOT capable of doing their own service and want/need local support. My comments were intended to support reasonable vendor policies for IBD/EBDs. I am also unsure of which high end bike vendors do most of their sales online. Certainly not Derby or Accel Group, of BMC, or BH, or Specialized.....
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
Most people are not "capable mechanically" to service their own bikes, let alone a more complicated eBike. Some are capable to do basic repairs, but I bet it's not the majority. Just like some people are able to service their own cars, but the vast majority do not and need local support to have repairs made, or don't want to be a mechanic.

Wanting a good eBike doesn't mean the person wants to or is able to fix their own bike. I fall into that category. I don't work on my own car and I don't want to work on my eBike (when I get one) other than adding air to the tires and adding some lube to the chain. Anything more and I want local service.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Most people are not "capable mechanically" to service their own bikes, let alone a more complicated eBike. Some are capable to do basic repairs, but I bet it's not the majority. Just like some people are able to service their own cars, but the vast majority do not and need local support to have repairs made, or don't want to be a mechanic.

Wanting a good eBike doesn't mean the person wants to or is able to fix their own bike. I fall into that category. I don't work on my own car and I don't want to work on my eBike (when I get one) other than adding air to the tires and adding some lube to the chain. Anything more and I want local service.
I agree. In high school, I rebuilt car engines. Today, I do not want to do any car maintenance. I still have tools, but would not want to mess with a bike, either.

Same thing with computers. Simply not worth it to build or repair computers, anymore.

I have very limited knowledge of bikes. I spend a lot of time learning about components. Bikes are expensive. I feel even more uncomfortable with bikes because mistakes are expensive.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Leaving the door wide open for manufacturer direct online sales, which lets face it most high end bikes are bought this way. People shopping on line know exactly what they need and are quite capable mechanically. Bike shops days are numbered for this reason, and they refuse to stock anything. They have relegated themselves to the middle of the low end just above department stores with "tune ups", changing flats, selling clothing, and energy drinks and powders. Foolish strategy.

That's just plain silly. You obviously haven't been in a decent lbs lately as our stocks many $2,000+ bikes.
Service is what it's all about at a LBS. What do you plan to do when that 60lb E bikes bought direct has a warranty issue?
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Why don't the manufacturers have more stores, or partner with a large retailer?

I think giant has 4 stores in the entire USA. The nearest one to SF is LA. Giant is the worlds second largest manufacturer. Look how successful Apple stores are.

Everyone has a phone and or laptop, and replace them every year or two. Not quite the same thing as a bike...........