Let’s Talk Buying Online vs LBS

We want your thoughts and opinions on buying online versus your Local Bike Shop.  As always, this “Let’s Talk” post will be created entirely by our readers so we’re asking you to leave a comment about this subject.  The video below is just a short introduction to get things started, and we’re relying on you to create the content with everything you have to say about making purchases online vs your Local Bike Shop.

It’s time for you to have your say…..Let’s Talk.

  • newguy

    My experience with the LBS is that they have a very snobbish attitude toward a newbie like myself. I am actually in the market for a new bike now. I have an old Trek and I need to upgrade to something for enjoyment with the family, exercise and occasional trail ride. Since I am not going to be looking for sponsors or riding in any races, I am looking for something reasonable to me, in the $500 range. When I go to the LBS they treat me like I am wasting their time if I’m not wanting a higher end bike. I am all about making wise decisions with my money, so if I could find a better deal online I would look at it, but would prefer to deal with someone who knows what they are talking about and I am able to look, touch and ride to know it is right for me.

    I just wish that the LBS would remember that even the lower end buyers like myself could be their next higher end bike buyer in the future and take the time to sell me what I need and willing to pay for now and not continually try to pressure me to buy to buy something that is more than what I need now.

    Also, I do own my own business and I recognize the need to support our small business, but at the same time as a consumer, I don’t want to pay considerably more than necessary for the same thing I can get online. I think there can be a happy mix. LBS are in business to make money, so I don’t see the need to “support” them, but I would come back every time if I was treated with good service and made to feel important despite the purchase level.

  • hankcastello

    I tried to buy from our two LBS shops. One tried to sell me a bike that was too small for me (54cm), probably because he didn’t have what I needed – a 61cm bike on the floor. When he then started bad-mouthing Fuji bikes (I own a Fuji mtb), I walked out. The other shop was even worse. I bought from bikesdirect. The bike was easy to assemble (I am pretty much a newbie) but it wouldn’t shift into the lower (third) ring. The two shops couldn’t figure it out (though they each charged me). A shop 70 miles away figured out that I needed a wider spindle. Bikesdirect then reimbursed me for the spindle. We’re about to buy a road bike for my wife now and we’ll buy from bikesdirect again.

  • Thomas

    I do not “support” businesses they are not charities. If you are a product that is competitive then I will buy it. Most of the LBS operators I have met are parasites who sell overpriced items I can buy elsewhere. Bikes and their components are so fungible there is no need to stick to a dedicated suppliers, as is the case with cars or other highly specialized products. I have occasionally been “guilted” about not “supporting my LBS. My response has usually been a mixture of go F&*k yourself and its your money if you want to be an idiot its your problem

  • Stevekenan2

    The LBS is the bomb. the only way to go for sure. They take care of me so I got to take care of them. Especially im not the best bicycle mechanic. The only time I would rather shop online is if Im to busy to make it to the shop, the shop cant order the product I need and I know exactly what it is that I need. Still, shopping online totally sucks and is a last resort for me. Even if I know exactly what I want it could still come wrong or mispackaged and/or the courier always fs it up and I gotta go pick it up from them which is way more inconvenient then going to the LBS. for this reason, I think it would be smart if online sales were handled directly through the LBS. Everyone would make more money and the customer would be happier. Big online conglomerates that buy up other companys dosnt do anyone any good.

  • http://twitter.com/velomomjen Jen Charrette

    As a now former bike shop owner I will say 90% of these are right on. When we decided to close our shop we weren’t even worried about  losing out on too many deals. You as a consumer can get the same or better deals than most shop owners on 70% of items. Hint: ebay, UK, or join a local cycling club where bike manufacturers offer you 40% off a bike just for riding it in your local crit.

    I don’t understand shops that are rude or turn away bike builds, service on parts not purchased there etc…service is where you make money so who cares where they bought it. This is your opportunity as a shop to win their business next time. I will say that you should not expect the bro deal if you are buying elsewhere for your purchases and only come in for sales or the occasional tube. Also with regard to tubes… This is another area where shops make money. We always priced tubes fairly (50% markup) but found almost all other shops price up about 100% or $7-9 on average. This is smart on their part. Most people buy tubes when they are in need and can’t shop around. Just good business. Bike shops also only make a 35-40% margin on bikes. So when you add in bike fits, lifetime adjustments most shops loose money on bike sales. We got to the point where we would rather a ‘trouble’ customer buy the bike somewhere else so we did not have to deal with them without charging them. If we were to do this again we would open a higher end service only shop where customers felt comfortable bringing in their online parts without either end worrying about the relationship etc..It would be purely about the skill and knowledge of the mechanic and that is what you would pay for. I have seen a few of these pop up and I think they are the future.

    I will say that the one point that sometimes bothered  me as an owner is that we invested a lot in the community. We supported every local cause as well as lots of time and money on building local trails, a kids bike program, pump track. So when you invest like that and see the people using it not invest in you it hurts. So if you have a LBS that is giving back you should think about going there first. I know people in our town are pretty upset we are leaving as we are the only LBS in a 30 miles radius and they now see what we did for the community. Your LBS may be hanging on by a thread so if you value them in your community think about paying $1.99 for a Honey Stinger waffle there rather than $1.29 online at least once in awhile.

  • http://twitter.com/velomomjen Jen Charrette

    As a now former bike shop owner I will say 90% of these are right on. When we decided to close our shop we weren’t even worried about  losing out on too many deals. You as a consumer can get the same or better deals than most shop owners on 70% of items. Hint: ebay, UK, or join a local cycling club where bike manufacturers offer you 40% off a bike just for riding it in your local crit.

    I don’t understand shops that are rude or turn away bike builds, service on parts not purchased there etc…service is where you make money so who cares where they bought it. This is your opportunity as a shop to win their business next time. I will say that you should not expect the bro deal if you are buying elsewhere for your purchases and only come in for sales or the occasional tube. Also with regard to tubes… This is another area where shops make money. We always priced tubes fairly (50% markup) but found almost all other shops price up about 100% or $7-9 on average. This is smart on their part. Most people buy tubes when they are in need and can’t shop around. Just good business. Bike shops also only make a 35-40% margin on bikes. So when you add in bike fits, lifetime adjustments most shops loose money on bike sales. We got to the point where we would rather a ‘trouble’ customer buy the bike somewhere else so we did not have to deal with them without charging them. If we were to do this again we would open a higher end service only shop where customers felt comfortable bringing in their online parts without either end worrying about the relationship etc..It would be purely about the skill and knowledge of the mechanic and that is what you would pay for. I have seen a few of these pop up and I think they are the future.

    I will say that the one point that sometimes bothered  me as an owner is that we invested a lot in the community. We supported every local cause as well as lots of time and money on building local trails, a kids bike program, pump track. So when you invest like that and see the people using it not invest in you it hurts. So if you have a LBS that is giving back you should think about going there first. I know people in our town are pretty upset we are leaving as we are the only LBS in a 30 miles radius and they now see what we did for the community. Your LBS may be hanging on by a thread so if you value them in your community think about paying $1.99 for a Honey Stinger waffle there rather than $1.29 online at least once in awhile.

  • http://twitter.com/velomomjen Jen Charrette

    As a now former bike shop owner I will say 90% of these are right on. When we decided to close our shop we weren’t even worried about  losing out on too many deals. You as a consumer can get the same or better deals than most shop owners on 70% of items. Hint: ebay, UK, or join a local cycling club where bike manufacturers offer you 40% off a bike just for riding it in your local crit.

    I don’t understand shops that are rude or turn away bike builds, service on parts not purchased there etc…service is where you make money so who cares where they bought it. This is your opportunity as a shop to win their business next time. I will say that you should not expect the bro deal if you are buying elsewhere for your purchases and only come in for sales or the occasional tube. Also with regard to tubes… This is another area where shops make money. We always priced tubes fairly (50% markup) but found almost all other shops price up about 100% or $7-9 on average. This is smart on their part. Most people buy tubes when they are in need and can’t shop around. Just good business. Bike shops also only make a 35-40% margin on bikes. So when you add in bike fits, lifetime adjustments most shops loose money on bike sales. We got to the point where we would rather a ‘trouble’ customer buy the bike somewhere else so we did not have to deal with them without charging them. If we were to do this again we would open a higher end service only shop where customers felt comfortable bringing in their online parts without either end worrying about the relationship etc..It would be purely about the skill and knowledge of the mechanic and that is what you would pay for. I have seen a few of these pop up and I think they are the future.

    I will say that the one point that sometimes bothered  me as an owner is that we invested a lot in the community. We supported every local cause as well as lots of time and money on building local trails, a kids bike program, pump track. So when you invest like that and see the people using it not invest in you it hurts. So if you have a LBS that is giving back you should think about going there first. I know people in our town are pretty upset we are leaving as we are the only LBS in a 30 miles radius and they now see what we did for the community. Your LBS may be hanging on by a thread so if you value them in your community think about paying $1.99 for a Honey Stinger waffle there rather than $1.29 online at least once in awhile.

  • http://twitter.com/velomomjen Jen Charrette

    As a now former bike shop owner I will say 90% of these are right on. When we decided to close our shop we weren’t even worried about  losing out on too many deals. You as a consumer can get the same or better deals than most shop owners on 70% of items. Hint: ebay, UK, or join a local cycling club where bike manufacturers offer you 40% off a bike just for riding it in your local crit.

    I don’t understand shops that are rude or turn away bike builds, service on parts not purchased there etc…service is where you make money so who cares where they bought it. This is your opportunity as a shop to win their business next time. I will say that you should not expect the bro deal if you are buying elsewhere for your purchases and only come in for sales or the occasional tube. Also with regard to tubes… This is another area where shops make money. We always priced tubes fairly (50% markup) but found almost all other shops price up about 100% or $7-9 on average. This is smart on their part. Most people buy tubes when they are in need and can’t shop around. Just good business. Bike shops also only make a 35-40% margin on bikes. So when you add in bike fits, lifetime adjustments most shops loose money on bike sales. We got to the point where we would rather a ‘trouble’ customer buy the bike somewhere else so we did not have to deal with them without charging them. If we were to do this again we would open a higher end service only shop where customers felt comfortable bringing in their online parts without either end worrying about the relationship etc..It would be purely about the skill and knowledge of the mechanic and that is what you would pay for. I have seen a few of these pop up and I think they are the future.

    I will say that the one point that sometimes bothered  me as an owner is that we invested a lot in the community. We supported every local cause as well as lots of time and money on building local trails, a kids bike program, pump track. So when you invest like that and see the people using it not invest in you it hurts. So if you have a LBS that is giving back you should think about going there first. I know people in our town are pretty upset we are leaving as we are the only LBS in a 30 miles radius and they now see what we did for the community. Your LBS may be hanging on by a thread so if you value them in your community think about paying $1.99 for a Honey Stinger waffle there rather than $1.29 online at least once in awhile.

  • http://twitter.com/velomomjen Jen Charrette

    As a now former bike shop owner I will say 90% of these are right on. When we decided to close our shop we weren’t even worried about  losing out on too many deals. You as a consumer can get the same or better deals than most shop owners on 70% of items. Hint: ebay, UK, or join a local cycling club where bike manufacturers offer you 40% off a bike just for riding it in your local crit.

    I don’t understand shops that are rude or turn away bike builds, service on parts not purchased there etc…service is where you make money so who cares where they bought it. This is your opportunity as a shop to win their business next time. I will say that you should not expect the bro deal if you are buying elsewhere for your purchases and only come in for sales or the occasional tube. Also with regard to tubes… This is another area where shops make money. We always priced tubes fairly (50% markup) but found almost all other shops price up about 100% or $7-9 on average. This is smart on their part. Most people buy tubes when they are in need and can’t shop around. Just good business. Bike shops also only make a 35-40% margin on bikes. So when you add in bike fits, lifetime adjustments most shops loose money on bike sales. We got to the point where we would rather a ‘trouble’ customer buy the bike somewhere else so we did not have to deal with them without charging them. If we were to do this again we would open a higher end service only shop where customers felt comfortable bringing in their online parts without either end worrying about the relationship etc..It would be purely about the skill and knowledge of the mechanic and that is what you would pay for. I have seen a few of these pop up and I think they are the future.

    I will say that the one point that sometimes bothered  me as an owner is that we invested a lot in the community. We supported every local cause as well as lots of time and money on building local trails, a kids bike program, pump track. So when you invest like that and see the people using it not invest in you it hurts. So if you have a LBS that is giving back you should think about going there first. I know people in our town are pretty upset we are leaving as we are the only LBS in a 30 miles radius and they now see what we did for the community. Your LBS may be hanging on by a thread so if you value them in your community think about paying $1.99 for a Honey Stinger waffle there rather than $1.29 online at least once in awhile.

  • http://twitter.com/velomomjen Jen Charrette

    As a now former bike shop owner I will say 90% of these are right on. When we decided to close our shop we weren’t even worried about  losing out on too many deals. You as a consumer can get the same or better deals than most shop owners on 70% of items. Hint: ebay, UK, or join a local cycling club where bike manufacturers offer you 40% off a bike just for riding it in your local crit.

    I don’t understand shops that are rude or turn away bike builds, service on parts not purchased there etc…service is where you make money so who cares where they bought it. This is your opportunity as a shop to win their business next time. I will say that you should not expect the bro deal if you are buying elsewhere for your purchases and only come in for sales or the occasional tube. Also with regard to tubes… This is another area where shops make money. We always priced tubes fairly (50% markup) but found almost all other shops price up about 100% or $7-9 on average. This is smart on their part. Most people buy tubes when they are in need and can’t shop around. Just good business. Bike shops also only make a 35-40% margin on bikes. So when you add in bike fits, lifetime adjustments most shops loose money on bike sales. We got to the point where we would rather a ‘trouble’ customer buy the bike somewhere else so we did not have to deal with them without charging them. If we were to do this again we would open a higher end service only shop where customers felt comfortable bringing in their online parts without either end worrying about the relationship etc..It would be purely about the skill and knowledge of the mechanic and that is what you would pay for. I have seen a few of these pop up and I think they are the future.

    I will say that the one point that sometimes bothered  me as an owner is that we invested a lot in the community. We supported every local cause as well as lots of time and money on building local trails, a kids bike program, pump track. So when you invest like that and see the people using it not invest in you it hurts. So if you have a LBS that is giving back you should think about going there first. I know people in our town are pretty upset we are leaving as we are the only LBS in a 30 miles radius and they now see what we did for the community. Your LBS may be hanging on by a thread so if you value them in your community think about paying $1.99 for a Honey Stinger waffle there rather than $1.29 online at least once in awhile.

  • http://twitter.com/icemanbb Bob Burpee

    I buy from a mix of online and from one of the LBS. If I go into the LBS for aadvice on an item, I buy from them at least that time.

  • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

    This is what our “Let’s Talk” feature is all about….great discussion, interesting viewpoints, and interaction.  Good job, everyone and let’s keep those comments coming.

  • http://jdmitchbiketowork.wordpress.com Joshua Mitchell

    I’d gladly pay a 10-20% premium at the LBS, but they don’t have stock (or similar from same mfr) on most things I’m looking for and it takes forever to get special orders in, and there’s a nonrefundable deposit on special orders. So, for stuff I can handle myself it’s usually online.

    Now, the new thing QBP is setting up hopefully works and catches on.

  • Ursus

    I like to go to my LBS when I need small stuff, like spare tubes and such.  I also like to go there for the big stuff, like a new bike. But in between is where I do my best to stretch out each dollar through bargain basement deals and doing my own repairs. I love the cycling hobby, but I can only get away with spending so much.  Paying the bills, first, and then sharing the spending money with my honey come before my hobby.

  • Bethel

    I always support my local bike shop (Richardson Bike Mart-Joe Howard). I get absolutely THE BEST customer service. Plus, when I walk in the door they call me by my name. I maybe could get a better price on line, but online support is well not usually the best. They will usually get right to my bike while I wait. I buy very little from online services, I’m what I like to call a people person and like to deal face to face, even though I have a face for radio.lol

  • fixiemama

    Personally for bike stuff I almost have to go to my LBS. I just don’t know enough about parts or maintenance to shop by myself at home. I realize that I’m paying a premium, but it doesn’t matter that much to me since I’m looking for the community aspect of shopping in person as well as the item.
    Plus, a bike is such a personal thing – unless I’m replacing it with the exact same one why would I buy a saddle online? I need to try it out first.

  • http://twitter.com/tourpro Doug

    We spent 10% of our yearly household income at local bike/ski/paddle shop for many years. Family owned, excellent wrenching skills. I would go out of my way to buy from them, if the cost wasn’t crazy different. Service, bro-deals when possible, first-name basis, I trusted them with my bikes. Owners wanted to retire, children not interested. Sold.
    First encounter with new owners was not good. I won’t go into details because it makes me sad.For consumables like tubes, patch kits… even emergency helmets, bottles, gloves, etc. – Walmart, Kmart, surprisingly reliable.For me, there’s no question right now – online gives me the greatest selection and price, but if a good LBS showed up near me, I’d be there.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • Mike B – MD

    For a new bike or for service, my LBS is awesome and has earned my loyalty.  But for consumables: tires, tubes, chains, cassettes and brake pads; they can’t compete on price.  I don’t undercut them to save 5%, but when I can save 50% online, I can’t take that money from other things my family might do with it because I’m loyal to my favorite shop.

  • http://twitter.com/TheRedZavodnik Ginger

    I’m all about supporting my LBS for the majority of things.  That may be because whenever I haul in my bike, Brendan stops whatever it is that he’s doing and takes care of me (that also could be because I bake him cookies from time to time).  The service is unbeatable.  Yes, I’m spending more on the purchase, but it winds up being a MUCH better deal in the long run than buying online and having to pay them to fix things that I can’t.  With that being said, I buy most of my clothing online as well as my shoes.

  • http://julesmpg.blogspot.com Julesmpg

    I get nervous buying online. You can’t try it for size, touch it or see it. When it comes to bikes and gear, I like the local bike shop because I can check it out firsthand. Plus they know the right fit for you.

  • DjD808

    For me it’s really simple. My LBS is 3 blocks from my house (yes, I know I’m lucky) so I have gotten to know the guys in there pretty well.  Well enough that when I come into the shop with all the online deals I’ve found, if they can match the price I always buy from them.  If they can’t then I don’t put them in a position to take a lost just to make a sale and make up for it by letting them work on my bike and the thing I just bought online.  

    I know that last bit doesn’t really keep them “in the black” but the online deals have gotten really good as of late and its hard to pass them up.

  • Cethern

    I built two bikes in the past year 95% of the parts I got online, I did have my local bike shop build a both bikes. I wish it could of been done differently but this is how it ended up, in the end I got the bike I wanted, could of my LBS done the same sure but at what cost?
    I do buy apparel and tires, tubes and such from mythis LBS but the big ticket items I will buy online

  • rikaguilera

    To me this is a no brainer. I feel that everybody should try to buy from a LBS whenever possible. The internet is great for shopping, coming up with a wish list, and researching all the new items you are looking for. Even in comparing the local shops to one another. But when it comes time to buy, go to that local shop, where the owner might be your neighbor. Where the high school kids are getting their first jobs. Where you are not just buying a part, a bicycle, but you are buying the shop. You are buying service. You are building a friendship. And you are helping out your local economy. Remember, “Shop globaly, buy locally.” The few dollars you save here and there online will help out your community much more.

  • kumicho

    It’s worthwhile to split it up as follows:

    1)  Anything you need immediately, or to try/test out, buy from your local shop.  That includes shoes, road bikes, spare tubes when you’re in trouble, etc.  Sure, you’ll pay a premium on it, but you’ll have it immediately *or* you’ll have the opportunity to test it out and see if it’s comfortable.  There’s nothing like buying a bargain carbon road bike online and then finding out that it rides like wood, or weighs 20+ lbs.  

    2)  Anything that you’re comfortable installing, or know exactly what you want, buy online.  We’ve found $45 Li-Ion bike lights from a Hong Kong website that perform just as well as some of the $300+ ones you can buy in your local shop (~900 lumens), and if you have the chain whip / cassette tool, why not buy a replacement cassette online and do the maintenance yourself?  Same goes for cables and housing, new pedals, etc.  Having a set of $200 DA pedals sit in a display case in a shop for 2+ years waiting for someone to buy them is horribly economically inefficient, tying up the shop’s cash flow and leading to a higher price for the consumer.

    3)  If you can buy something that will do the job but isn’t “bike specific”, by all means GO FOR IT.  A set of foldable Allen wrenches from Home Depot costs $4.  A “bike-specific” multi-tool costs $20, and a set of Park wrenches costs $30.  A string of 20 LED lights run off of a 3 x AA battery pack costs $5 on Amazon, while a 5 or 7 LED rear blinky costs $30.  One of my favorite tools is a ratcheting screw driver with all of the Allen wrench sizes (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, etc) and all of the screw drivers as well (Phillips, flat, torque, and so on) was ~$9 at Home Depot just before Christmas.

    That’s my philosophy, although I’ll admit that when I screw up a set of fenders, for instance, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t spend the extra $25 and have them put on professionally…

  • Tess Hohman

    I’ve heard the saying, “You don’t buy a bike, you buy a bike shop,” and that certainly rings true for me since I rely on them for both advice and service.  Sure, I could likely find what I’m looking for cheaper online, but I appreciate that my LBS knows my name and will help me out whenever I stop in.

  • Dan

    I bought a Salsa Cowbell 3 handle bar from my LBS. Had to order it. It took 2 weeks to arrive. Final charge was $54. If I would have bought from JensonUSA it would have been $39.99 plus $7.95 shipping for a total $47.94 and I would have had it in a week. So I am asking myself, should I pay a $6 premium and wait an extra week to support my LBS? My LBS is a good shop, but….

  • http://www.facebook.com/wes.comeaux Wes Comeaux

    I like to support some of the LBS in my area when i can. I all boils down to convenience. Why should i pay the mark up of my LBS and wait 2-3 days to get it shipped to them when i can order it on my own and have it delivered to my house and installed by me faster. The LBS just don’t have the inventory all the time. The service guys are usually backed up by 2 days to a week or more. I have educated myself on bike repair and building because of the slow turn around in the LBS. My last bike build was supplied by 50% LBS and 50% online. It’s all about the BBD (Bigger Better Deal)

  • http://twitter.com/mikedao Mike Dao

    I try to buy from my LBS, but when my LBS charges 100 bucks for a new cassette, and Amazon charges 60 you have to go with Amazon. I go to them when I need work done and when it’s convenient. 

  • Brett H

    I worked at a shop for several years and I can say more people need to shop at their LBS. I saw far too many people buy online only to bring their bikes to us when they had problems, and spending more for us to fix them than they would have saved by buying from us in the first place – AND they would have actually gotten good customer service in the purchasing process. The LBS makes sure the bike fits you and is suitable for the type of riding you’re planning on doing, and they can make sure the parts you’re buying will actually work on your bike (and let you know during the planning phase what other parts you’ll need in order to make your plan work).

    IF you know what you’re doing AND do all your research online, fine: shop online and save a couple bucks. But DO NOT go into a shop to find out what size bike you need, knowing you’re going to buy online. That’s outright rude and costs the shop money (how much of the salesperson’s time did you just knowingly waste?).

    • Koifla

      Good point. My LBS are experts, I am not. Would I know the perfect stem length? No they did and that Ovel made one in carbon. When they put it on and it broke from over tightening it they replaced it. Who knew about zero gravity breaks? They did and they ain’t cheaper on line. They also offer discounts and services to the local tri club. Online don’t organize or sponsor groups.

    • Bethel

      Brett, I could not agree with you more. Never use a LBS for their knowledge on a bike and size, then to go online and buy it cheaper. While they are helping you, they could be actually working with a customer who is actually interested in buying a bike from them. Like you said, that is just plain RUDE!!. Great comment.

  • KoIfla

    I go to the same shop for over 20 years then I get a better deal online.

    • Koifla

      Tested posting. Yesterday I went to four bike shops for a 650 tube with a 60-80mn stem and had to go online to buy. My shop is going to bring in some 48mn and extenders. Not my best option. They made it sound like those days of finding 60mm stem 650 tubes are gone but maybe it ment them having them. If I could get them so could they. I only searched for bike tubes but the sites have lots of things I can’t get at a local shop. If they stocked what I needed I would have bought from them. But while I was there I tried on shorts and got a bib. I went there for shoes because I could try them on and have new cleats put on. It’s fun going into the shop and look but if they don’t have what you need you have to go online.
      Going to 4 shops in one day you see some nice bikes on sale and it’s tempting when a $12,000 bike is on sale for $7,000. I also saw the new Zipp carbon clincher but if I want a good price I have to go on line.

      • Brett H

        Those are pretty specialty tubes – unless a shop specializes in triathlon stuff, I wouldn’t expect them to carry it (if they do carry tri things, then they absolutely should carry those tubes, no excuses for that). My shop carried a variety of sizes, but we focused more on the commuter market, so the only 650C tubes we had were 48mm valves, plus extenders that don’t work with all rims; though we also had a shop basically next door that did specialize in higher end racing and Tri stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/neify Mike Neifert

    i would love to buy from a LBS, but the nearest shop is 50 miles away and i seldom have a reason to go to that town. i don’t think driving 100 miles round trip makes much sense. i do support LBS when i am in town for another reason and have time to stop to shop.