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Stif in Leeds is moving - loss of my only LBS :(

yoohoo999yoohoo999 Posts: 940
edited March 2010 in MTB general
My local LBS has just announced that they will be moving from their shop on Otely Road in Headingly, Leeds (where they have been for 25 years) to somewhere in North Yorkshire.

This is a massive loss to Leeds since now my LBS is bloody Halfords.

They've never been the cheapest (let's be fair though, a shop that specialises in selling Mojo is not really aimed at the "OMG I saved 12p on these pedals by ordering them from Afganistan!" brigade) but their mechanics have always sorted me out with cracking service for a really reasonable price when I needed stuff done that I can't do myself. And i've bought most of my clothing/armour from there for years.

I am actually quite sad about this.

Apparently the rent is just too high in Leeds and they need to focus more on their internet business because that's the way things are moving. I had a long chat with one of the guys there and as you can imagine the rise in use of CRC//Wiggle etc has made things really tough for shops like Stif. Much of their bread and butter has been pulled.

That said, if you are going to buy a Mojo, you're not going to be bothered about driving a bit further to get it! :lol:

I do now see a gap in the market for a decent LBS in Leeds (perhaps focussing on more mainstream brands).

There is one is Crossgates, but it's aimed more at the recreational rider/commuter IMO.
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  • AndyAndy Posts: 8,207
    buy a mojo

    Huh?
  • AndyAndy Posts: 8,207
    Ooooh that makes far more sense! :oops:
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    There is/was only ONE bike shop in Leeds? The big city with 3/4 million people living in it?!!

    Surely not?

    Bristol has around 500,000 people with at least eight bike shops I can think of - and that's just the central ones.
  • there's an Edinburgh Co-op in Chapel Allerton, but I've had a couple of bad experiences so not been back.

    Then there's a couple of other shops that are either road focussed or list lots £7k bikes on their websites but when you actually go in they have 5 Apollo kids bikes and an old Deore cassette from 1999 gathering dust in a display cabinet.

    Stif was the only place you could go to in Leeds that sold a full range of kit, sold by people with proper knowledge and a cracking workshop.
  • CheshleyCheshley Posts: 1,448
    I've driven up to Stif a few times from Doncaster, they have always been friendly and helpful. Sadly this means I will have to rely more on JE James in Rotherham for things that require the personal touch.... :(
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  • -liam--liam- Posts: 1,831
    bike shops are overrated. Bit of effort and a little knowledge and do it yourself. Save a packet.
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    yoohoo999 wrote:
    Stif was the only place you could go to in Leeds that sold a full range of kit, sold by people with proper knowledge and a cracking workshop.

    Have you tried All Terrain Cycles at Shipley? I know it's not exactly next door to Headingley but it's a bloody good shop and the staff are remarkably helpful. Which is nice.
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  • -Liam- wrote:
    bike shops are overrated. Bit of effort and a little knowledge and do it yourself. Save a packet.

    absolute nonsense.

    i don't have the tools or time to face my bottom bracket. Nor can i justify the cost/use ratio of a headset press.

    I can't try on body armour over the internet, or shoes, or gloves, or shorts, or tops, or jackets.

    I can't actually see the bike I'm about to spend thousands of hard earned pounds on, let alone try the bloody thing out!

    And aside from all that, you never get that amazing smell that only your LBS produces, GT85 mixed with brand new products and coffee! And some good banter and advice thrown in to boot.


    my free time is far more valuable to me than money. Some weeks I work 70-80 hours, others I have to go abroad at very short notice. If something needs doing on my bike I don't want to be spending my only day off in 3 weeks mucking around in beautiful sunshine trying to true my wheels when I could pay someone more skilled to do it for me for a mere £20, then I can use my whole day for riding!


    Cheap online retailers have their uses, but if they are the death of decent LBSs then the UK bike scene will suffer greatly as a result.
  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Gutted too at that news. If I need expert advice and a great range then there is only Stif in Leeds. Edinburgh Co-op can't compete, Woodrups are more geared to Roadies and I find them arrogant, Halfords at Seacroft used to be good but now useless like the rest in Leeds. Going outside Leeds Evans at Castleford are good, Hargreaves at Dewsbury are good too and All Terrain at Saltaire is hit and miss sometimes they are great other times it's like you're bothering them by bringing them your business.

    Anyone wanting to start a bike shop could do worse than choosing Leeds as a location.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    -Liam- wrote:
    bike shops are overrated. Bit of effort and a little knowledge and do it yourself. Save a packet.

    They charge a fraction of many people's hourly work rate, have all the tools and everything in stock (if they are good).

    They also do a great job.

    So that's total BS.
  • MarkLGMarkLG Posts: 189
    Definitely a shame they're moving out of Leeds. I quite often pop in for a look around if I'm working nearby . Spent £120 on a set of Northwave winter boots a few weeks back and the chap who served me was more than helpful. No doubt I could have got them cheaper on the web, but I really wanted to try them first and they had the Shimano ones in as well to compare.
  • Shame they are moving :( but if you dont like Edinburough bike coop there is crosstraks in Rodley a small friendly shop, and Chevin cycles in Otley they have a good stock of things and are enthusiasts and run bike events i think too ....... although i have used Edinbourough bike coop a few times and find them quiite good personally.
  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    I've nothing against Edinburgh Co-op, they are friendly and helpful but just don'y have the range of Stif. Never tried Crosstraks or Chevin and if Stif do go then I'll pay them a visit.
  • bergiebergie Posts: 13
    Staff at Chevin are mustard.They all ride bikes be it cross, road, mtn, commute and the shop is impressive.Decent car park if you have to drive there.Well worth a visit.
  • Chevin are great. Stif have always been poor in my experience.
  • fcumokfcumok Posts: 283
    Moving closer to me so another bike shop in the area to look at :D
  • Chevin are great. Stif have always been poor in my experience.
    dave_hill wrote:
    Have you tried All Terrain Cycles at Shipley? I know it's not exactly next door to Headingley but it's a bloody good shop and the staff are remarkably helpful.

    You two must have been at different times to me then.

    All Terrain = Arrogant, ignorant gits with no idea of customer service. I know at least two other people who have walked out because of their attidtude.

    Chevin = Ditto. Went in once for a part and stood at the counter waiting. Lad in office eating sandwich leans back, sees me, carries on with his lunch for 5 minutes. Separate occasion, heavily patronised by assistant telling me how the STi levers worked on the bike my wife was trying, despite me having just discussed how many sportives/off-road marathons I'd been doing. Also moaned at my kids who were doing absolutely nothing but behaving. It was a pre-emptive moan in case they did.

    Stif. Bought my Orange Clockwork from them back in the day. Lovely people.

    JD Cycles at Ilkley, again smashing, helpful unpatronising people.

    Bit far from Leeds maybe but try Dirt Wheels in Otley rather than Chevin, not been personally but have heard lots of good reports.

    Rant over. Time for my blood pressure pills. :evil:
  • JD Cycles at Ilkley, again smashing, helpful unpatronising people.
    +1
    They're a great little shop with really friendly staff. They helped my friend get a replacement frame, even though he didn't buy the bike from them!

    Edinburgh Co-Op isn't bad, they have some decent stuff in there. Stif doesn't have that much in it actually, it's a tiny shop - great quality, but not huge selection. I will miss it though.

    Woodrups is ok too, definitely road based, however they have the tools and knowledge to fix everything on your bike. They fitted my headset for me for about £10.

    Stif will be missed, but I won't lose sleep over them leaving. I'm surprised they've lasted this long to be honest, Headingley is far too expensive for such a shop.
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  • I'm going to do a bit of DH at Ilkley next weekend (naughty naughty, don't tell the ramblers!)so will pop in if i'm not too dirty!
  • Father FaffFather Faff Posts: 1,176
    Yep, another vote for J D Cycles in Ilkley. A good LBS is worth its weight in gold and although I do occasionally buy things on t'internet I try and use my LBS as much as possible even if you do pay a bit more. And in return you can have a good chat about bikes, get a decent discount, get lent bits/tools, get your bike set up right, etc. etc.

    As for downhilling on Ilkley Moor it is not illegal, at least on the Bradford Council owned part of the Moor, but us local bikers like to keep reasonably cordial relationships with other users of the Moor (ramblers, horse riders, dog walkers, etc.) so please never flatten anyone or there will be endless letters from Mrs Flatandangry and Mr Frazer Groinpain to the Ilkley Gazette.....
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  • to be honest i've always found most of the people of the open access land to be pretty reasonable.

    then again, we're pretty polite (rarely overtake any walkers from behind, just wait to let them get out of the way), and there's never more than 3 of us, so we don't attract too much attention.

    in fact, a few weekends ago when the weather was horrific we had been pushing up the road towards the cow and calf, turning off at the cafe and starting the little DH section that cuts across the land back down to the road.

    we had managed to get 5 runs in (which is pretty impressive given that massive push and grim weather!) and I've never crashed more in my life :lol:

    i had agreed to meet a couple of colleagues from work in the cow and calf at 4pm so we made one last push up to the top.

    i spent ages outside in the wind and rain taking all my outer kit off and tidying myself up, much to the amusement and bewilderment of everyone looking out of the window.

    once I got up to the bar with my biking mate some old chap turns round to me and says

    "were you two the lunatics riding up and down that trail all afternoon???!!!"

    i meekly replied that I had, worrying that we had nearly knocked him over without realising it, but then he turns to the young guy behind the bar and says really loudly;

    "get these two maniacs a pint on me!"

    he said that he had been watching us earlier on when he was walking his dog and then couldn't believe it when we turned up 4 hours later still smiling. he genuinely thought we were nuts!! he said that what we were doing must have been the most fun thing he could imagine, because there wasn't another soul out in that weather.

    Very nice chap. Wish they were all like that!!!
  • Father FaffFather Faff Posts: 1,176
    Which route is that - is that the one that starts by the Calf and heads down towards town parallel to the road and comes out just as you get past the cattle grid?
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  • yeah, the one with all the nice big rock slabs to negotiate and narrow ruts that you can't pedal in because they are so deep :lol:

    it's a quality little 3 minute run with the most perfect push up in the world!

    the last hundred yards as you are flat out and then into the left hander towards the steps down to the gate are absolutely brutal in the rain! i've rarely managed to keep upright coming round that last bend, but it's just sooooooooo inviting to let go of the brakes and hoon it! That mud at the end is SuperMud though, it's like ice!

    i'm due a broken toe though, i get so many pedal strikes on those rocks hidden by the grass/bushes either side of the trail.

    quite funny when you fall, you often fly for about 10ft before you hit the deck if you fall off to your right because there's a good old drop at some parts.......but it's all nice and soft when you land :D

    I've taken my 6" trail bike and my DH bike up there, and it's still quicker on my friends HT. The trail itself is so smooth but you really need to be able to whip the bike around to hit all the right lines through the ruts and big rocks.
  • Father FaffFather Faff Posts: 1,176
    Yes, I'm normally on my Meta 5 and won't be hooning it as much as you guys but it is a fab wee route and I use it to test all the bikes I borrow from J D Cycles and my mates to see what to get next......! Bikes tested down there - Giant Trance (nearly piled it), Scott Genius (smooth), Scott Spark (scarey!), Enigma Ego (painful), Meta 5 (bought it).
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  • colintravcolintrav Posts: 1,074
    yoohoo999 wrote:
    there's an Edinburgh Co-op in Chapel Allerton, but I've had a couple of bad experiences so not been back.

    Then there's a couple of other shops that are either road focussed or list lots £7k bikes on their websites but when you actually go in they have 5 Apollo kids bikes and an old Deore cassette from 1999 gathering dust in a display cabinet.

    Stif was the only place you could go to in Leeds that sold a full range of kit, sold by people with proper knowledge and a cracking workshop.

    I've experienced the same .... A Shop in the next villiage from me advertises clearly on it's shop website they sell and are a authorised dealer of Saracen ...

    I phoned and the censored tried to punt me a Ridgeback instead cos he had none if he's an autthorised dealer then it wouldn't be a problem ...

    Still after checking the saracen website his shop isn't listed as such ..being an authorised dealer
  • scale20scale20 Posts: 1,300
    I feel your pain loosing your LBS. It's not my local, I live in North Wales however I have traveled up to Leeds to Stif a few times to reasearch and buy my PACE.

    To be honest I could't fault them, brilliant service while I was there (well I was spending over 2K on a frame forks and some bits and bobs) got a brew and they kindly pressed my headset cups into my frame after buying it even though they were 5 mins from closing.

    The only downside for me was the lack of parking but I suppose you locals know all the cheeky parking spots :wink:
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  • scale20 wrote:
    The only downside for me was the lack of parking but I suppose you locals know all the cheeky parking spots :wink:

    There are no cheeky parking spaces near the shop!!! Seriously! That was a major problem for them, especially when you are carrying in/out a lot of kit.
  • scale20scale20 Posts: 1,300
    Shame, it was always carnage there when I arrived, cars parked up that bank as you drive in. Not ideal. I think a lot od bike shops struggle with a lack of parking.
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  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    Business next door are sods for fining and clamping too which didn't help with the parking.

    Shame they couldn't move elsewhere in Leeds but they must have their reasons.
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