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The Case for Buying Through Bike Shops


My wife and I bought our gravel bikes through the local bike shop. I got a fair deal on them, and we’ve ridden them hard. We may have been able to get a “better” bike, possibly with better components, for the same price from an internet based, direct sale manufacturer. However…

My wife and I believe in our local shop. In fact, we’ve purchased seven new single bikes, my used Trek, and our tandem from the same shop over the last ten years – not to mention the upgrades (oh, sweet baby Jesus in a manger, the upgrades!): Two new cranks (S-Works for my Venge, 105 for my wife’s Alias) , a handlebar for the Venge, then a paint job, seat post, crank, bottom bracket, and a headset for my 5200, dozens of tires, wheels for my wife’s road bike, fenders for the tandem…. plus all of the clothes, and tuneups, and a few mechanical issues I couldn’t sort out on my own…. a new Cyclops Magneto trainer just last night (I know I could have done slightly better online that I did at the shop but only slightly).

We also volunteer heavily, for everything we can that the shop has its hands in, plus for the annual club sponsored ride.

We’ve been good to our shop and they treat us even better.

For instance, my wife’s gravel bike seems to have had a defective wheel (it’s cracked at more than half-a-dozen spoke holes), so the shop contacted the manufacturer who promptly replaced the wheel as a warranty issue, more than a year after I bought the gravel bikes. If I bring a wheel to be trued (because I really suck at truing wheels), somebody will jump on it and have me out the door, with my wheel, in ten minutes if someone is free. On another occasion, they completely rebuilt a wheel for me in two days, right before the biggest tour of the season, so I could have my backup wheelset. Or how about that brand new trainer I just bought? The resister housing was shipped with a loose screw. I didn’t realize this when I put it together, I just knew it shouldn’t be making the noise it was making when I turned the crank. I called the shop, took it in and the mechanic had it fixed in ten minutes. I was out the door and home, round trip, in 30 minutes. Now, could I have fixed that on my own? Likely, given some time and a little bit of want to (which I would have had, rather than go through the trouble of shipping the old trainer back for a new one), but I didn’t have to bother – I had a mechanic to take care of it.

My friends, there’s a lot of good on the internet, but it can’t do that.

Support your local bike shop. You don’t have to buy everything there, but if your shop goes out of business because everyone decided they’ve gotta save a buck online, who are you going to have fix your stuff when you can’t? Good luck sending your precious steed to the internet.

Just sayin’

Oh, and just so we’re clear; yes, the store marks up an item a little more than they do on the web, because your bike shop has a storefront it has to pay for. The internet doesn’t have to pay the same rent, or employ as many people, so your internet company likely makes more money on you than your local shop will with all things leveled out.

It’s something to chew on.

This post was inspired by my Tasmanian brother from another mother, the Tempocyclist. Visit him here.


13 Comments

  1. I agree with you 100%. My shop also uses the internet well, find the best price for me, especially on components. They found a new rear wheel for my mountain bike at about half the price, a Stan’s wheel that the manufacturer was replacing in it’s line, basically the same wheel as the current wheel. It’s because my shop guy knew what he was looking for, had the experience to know where to look. He also found my new Salsa on the internet, called me when he saw that Salsa had a two day sale for the carbon version of the bike I bought, at the aluminum price. Saved me over a $1000.

  2. Sheree says:

    Absolutely! If we donโ€™t support out local bike shops, theyโ€™ll close down!

  3. Brent says:

    I agree completely with this post. The advice I get is worth far more than the money I could save by buying tons of stuff online. The guys at my LBS know what kind of riding I do, and since I ride with them sometimes, they know what kind of a rider I actually am. So the best thing I get from them is a recommendation NOT to do something, even if it costs them money.

    I always ask them first if they can get something (they usually can) and only go on-line if they can’t.

    And the bike fit with a new bike and the tune-ups with wheel truing in the first little while are something you just can’t get over the internet, and are worth many times the money I’d save buying a Canyon or Fezzari or one of those. Everyone can benefit from a pro fit, but I benefit more than most because I’ve got a number of odd details of how I’m built that really benefit from some extra attention.

  4. biking2work says:

    100% agree after my recent experiences apart from one thing. I think that he’s an Aussie, not a Kiwi

  5. biking2work says:

    Tasmania is one of the states in Australia Jim ๐Ÿค”

  6. Oh and NINE bikes from one shop! Now that’s supporting local.

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