Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Easy LBS pickins?

My colleague Bill* was shaking his head ruefully, and wondering how he'd explain the $240 bike bill to his wife.

Bill recently started riding his bike to the office, a few times a week. He noticed that his back tire was worn down to where he saw some of the casing showing through - time to replace. So, he took his bike to a nearby bike shop to get the work done. And somehow, before they were done with him, he had laid down 240 bucks. Ouch!

Bill: "Since I was getting the back tire replaced, might as well replace the front tire, too." That was the only other detail I heard. (I told Bill - after the fact - that my front tires typically outlast 2 or 3 rear tires.)

Even if he got top-of-the-line tires - $40 to $50 - how could he have ended up with such a huge expense?

I like the notion of supporting the LBS - Local Bike Shop - but I also like the notion of the LBS treating customers with respect and honesty. And frankly it bothers me a bit that Bill paid so much. Fer cryin' out loud! Even with the upgraded tires, there's no way he could sell his bike for anywhere near $240!

There may be further explanation - maybe he decided that since he was replacing the tires, he might as well replace the wheels, too. (??) But on the surface, it would appear that he was "had" by a local retailer. Too bad. Makes me feel somewhat better that I do most of my own work.

* - his real name, but hopefully not enough to positively ID him...


Clancy said...

OUCH!!!! I can find most of what I need at the BBP. If not, I order via BBP since I am a member. Or find on craigslist and elsewhere online.

BBP is great though, because you it gives you a chance to learn to work on your own bike.

Back to LBS's, they definitely don't cater to the average bike rider on the sub $500 bike. Nor to they like the DIY guy.

Anonymous said...

My experience is that they start out your friend, "here, let me fix that for you no charge". Then like a crack dealer they lure you in with some sweet deals. High end component for half off or some such. Pretty soon you are a regular customer and they have you in their clutches. Every time you bring in your bike they want to replace,(take your pick),chain, cables,tires,rear cassette because the new chain won't fit, on and on. I saw a great ad on craigslist a couple of months ago where the guy was looking for an "honest bike mechanic", the poster had apparently gotten tired of being dinged by his LBS and was looking for someone to honestly fix his bike.

Bikeboy said...

Since originally writing this, I've gotten more info.

Apparently Bill was like a kid in a candy store... I mentioned he's recently started riding, and since he was there already, he got a saddle-mounted gear bag, a flat tire kit, etc., etc. And of course, the LBS was more than happy to accommodate his every desire. So it seems it was a joint effort on both of their parts, to run up the tab.