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LBS vs internet

squigssquigs Posts: 149
edited August 2010 in Road beginners
I know there will be people that swing one way or another but!!!!!

Since entering the world of bicycling I have found my LBS in saltash to be far more favourable than internet shopping.
The prices are either the same or marginally cheaper on line, yet you can pick it up straight away, or try it on. and if things go wrong simply take it back and look in the eyes of someone rather than interactively.
Over shoes I am looking for are £1.00 cheaper on line than in the LBS.
As for ebay! once you stick on the postage you might as well buy it from a shop.
Sirrus Comp 2010 (commuting)
Roubaix Pro SL Sram red (Weekend sportives)
Certini Campagnolo Mirage (Turbo trainer)
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  • blade8blade8 Posts: 43
    Lbs for me every time, its nice to see what your buying ,and as you say if theres a problem you have some one to talk to and the prices were i am are cheaper than net as well
  • sods_lawsods_law Posts: 161
    LBS for me too. is only a small shop, but is a nice place to pop in for a chat. Also let you use their workshop for fixing small things yourself :)
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Depends how local the LBS really is.Sometimes for me it can be much easier for me to just order online and let the postman do the donkey work. Some things I would usually use the LBS. It just comes down to what is handiest at the time so long as it isn't wildly dearer at the LBS. If it is then tough the internet gets my money.
  • LBS LBS LBS
    Try before you buy, get out on multiple bikes before you decide.

    Your local shop cant talk you through endless variances of frames and kit and help you pick out the best bike for you not just a bike that gets great reviews but ultimately may not suit your needs.

    Once you have got it down to the right bike then work on price, as you are dealing face to face this can be negotiated down and then work on extras to seal the deal the price upgraded pedals and a few sweeteners like bottle cages /lights for free.

    Lbs will build and set up your bike for nowt and any niggles should be easily rectified,
    most offer a follow up "service" to tighten up things and give your bike a good check.

    Bottom line IMO is that the internet is great at searching out those bargains, if you know exactly what you need, but you can not beet talking face to face with someone who knows and understands what's what. If it's a good lbs with experienced staff/riders their input will be worth an extra few quid to walk away confident that you have got the bike that's best for you.
  • REDFRED will now get off the soap box.
  • anto164anto164 Posts: 3,500
    LBS most of the time, but internet for bits that they can't get in within a sensible time frame.
  • mswmsw Posts: 313
    If the prices are nearly the same, LBS every time. For me the big advantages of the internet are price -- the big retailers' sales often knock something like 40% off list price -- and range, but that's balanced against lacking the LBS benefits you mention. It sounds like you have the best of both worlds!

    eBay does still win for hard-to-find secondhand bits, especially old ones, but for new stuff as someone said the postage usually wipes out any price advantage.
    "We're not holding up traffic. We are traffic."
  • Mike400Mike400 Posts: 226
    I have the best of both worlds - The Chain Reaction showroom is a 10min drive from my house :D
    twitter @fat_cyclist
  • Weejie54Weejie54 Posts: 750
    Local bike shop? What's that? Nearest to me is 18 miles away and it's not that great.
    If there was a good one at hand, I'd use it.
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Mike400 wrote:
    I have the best of both worlds - The Chain Reaction showroom is a 10min drive from my house :D

    But you don't always get the web price in the shop :wink:
  • mswmsw Posts: 313
    Mike400 wrote:
    I have the best of both worlds - The Chain Reaction showroom is a 10min drive from my house :D

    Is that an admission that you DRIVE to the BIKE shop?

    Om0GwYrt5nx2ydapPLau3KMQo1_400.jpg
    "We're not holding up traffic. We are traffic."
  • bilirubinbilirubin Posts: 225
    LBS for me, try before you buy, simples!
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    Internet for me

    My old LBS charges over RRP and has censored customer service, only sells Specialized lids. Clothing is limited to Altura, plus some few bits of Assos and none of it available in the smaller size.

    My currently LBS better service wise but has a more limited range of clothing, tubes, seats etc. Much prefer to order on line with quidco and cashback credit card - Distance seller regs means returning open packaging is no issue compared to buying it in store, even if it does cost.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    LBS, but mainly for philanthropic reasons - I'd prefer to give my dosh to someone who's trying to keep his own little business running wherever possible, even if it costs a bit more.

    Savings on new kit usually aren't that great, and - be honest - if for example you want a new front mech and you discover that it costs about £30 you're going to buy it, whether you can get it for £27 or £33 - you won't not buy it for £30 or even £33 if it's not available for £27. So why get all excited about the odd £3? It's not life-changing on my part, but may help your LBS to keep going if everyone goes down that path.

    :)
  • Bought a complete Ridley cyclocross bike from a US website - after import duties and VAT it cost me half of the price in the shop.

    I do prefer having the local shops for the chatter, the good advise etc, and don't mind paying a bit of a premium. However that sort of premium is mad!!!
  • aneesh99aneesh99 Posts: 67
    Both really. I might see some nice gear in my LBS, give it a try etc, then get it off the net. BUt only for gear like clothing etc, not bikes and components, that stuff is always better at an LBS, friendly, free set ups, free pastries and tea... Need I say more? :)
    09 Iron Horse 6Point4
    05 Kona King Kikapu
  • I choose my LBS over the internet, unless as someone already stated, they can't get it within a sensible timeframe. My LBS is only about a mile down the road, and nearly always they'll price match with Wiggle and have given me loads of advice and helped me out no end, they're invaluable to me lol.
  • I find I buy anything under £100 from the LBS - anything higher than that I tend to shop around a bit. The thing for me is that I have been bailed out on numerous occasions when I have suddenly needed something (recently needed new inner tubes having snapped valves on both spares while out on a ride!) and I was within a couple of miles of a LBS, so I could walk along. If we don't all continue to support them them in 5 years time none will exist and that will be a very sad day for me - all that will be left is Bikehut / Halfords
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    I agree about supporting your LBS, but if they don't stock what you need/want what can you do?
    We grow up having a world of choice, yet if I want to spend extra of Fiizik bar tape I can't locally, but I can get charged the same (expensive) price for some cheap no-name stuff.

    I recently needed a pair of bottles and cages for my new bike (for a century ride the following day), I wanted Elite black cages & a pair of Camelbak Podium Bottles. None of my LBS's stocked either, so ordered & paid online with Ribble then drove over to Bamber Bridge to pick them up.

    Last time I used Formby Cycles to get a wheel repaired I had to chase them over month period to find out where it was. I had asked for price so I could make a call on identical replacement or better wheel, but eventually they had just ordered one (and still didn't inform me it was available).. censored , awful service. Having purchased two bikes there I've never purchased anything since and recommend people stay away.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,299 Lives Here
    Never come across a LBS which allows try before you buy for anything other than clothing.

    They're over-priced, they have a habbit of telling me what I want, rather than letting me tell them what I want.

    They often don't have things in stock, and look puzzled when I ask them why they don't have them.


    Either that or I've had a few bad experiences.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    In theory, the LBS and they even give me discount.

    On the other hand, they mainly stock Trek, Bontrager and Endura which is not on my shopping list :cry:
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,276
    kinesin wrote:


    Last time I used Formby Cycles to get a wheel repaired I had to chase them over month period to find out where it was. I had asked for price so I could make a call on identical replacement or better wheel, but eventually they had just ordered one (and still didn't inform me it was available).. censored , awful service. Having purchased two bikes there I've never purchased anything since and recommend people stay away.
    I have also bought 2 bikes there but don`t have any work done there anymore.
    I recommend Mosscrop cycles, they tell you when to bring it in and when to pick it up and they don`t mess you about and know their onions.
    I buy nearly everything online though, cos I don`t have to leave my chair.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • fnegronifnegroni Posts: 794
    I don't understand the argument behind supporting your LBS.
    Any business is a business: make money for selling product + service.
    Being local to you doesn't make it special in any way.
    It is the service and the product and the support that count.
    But ultimately, the dream of all LBS owners is to become bigger, selling more, eventually online.
    That's what happened to Wiggle, CRC, and the likes.
    So now they are big they don't deserve to be there too?
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    I'm sorry but I can't get all weepy eyed over the plight of the poor LBS owner. They are making a packet through cycle to work. You only have to look at the number of refurbs that have gone on in these places which is in stark contrast to the rest of the businesses in the area.

    Today I needed a chain. Cost me £21.99. CRC have it £10.99. Shop a mile away has it on their site for £17.99. Only I needed the chain today I would have told them to stick it. I was walking so didn't have time to go trotting in the opposite direction of town from I had to go next so I just paid the money. Lesson learnt. Buy them in 3 from Merlin or elsewhere and always make sure I don't have to have something at the last minute that way I don't get ripped off.

    LBS have to earn my loyalty. None currently have that as they have never gone out of their way to earn it. You buy components from them at inflated prices and ask them to fit it and they charge the full labour costs. I would personally appreciate the person from buying from me and give a discount (or throw the fitting in free if it was simple job). That's someone who understands what creates a loyal customer. If I need to know something general about fitting I can get that info here so just having a wee chat with them isn't really going to cut it either though it does all help.

    I wanted some components swapped over on a bike. One place quoted me £200 and another £80. How can such disparity exist?
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 5,723
    doyler78 wrote:

    Today I needed a chain. Cost me £21.99. CRC have it £10.99. Shop a mile away has it on their site for £17.99. Only I needed the chain today I would have told them to stick it. I was walking so didn't have time to go trotting in the opposite direction of town from I had to go next so I just paid the money. Lesson learnt. Buy them in 3 from Merlin or elsewhere and always make sure I don't have to have something at the last minute that way I don't get ripped off.

    Now that is an interesting 1st hand experience. Your outcome of choosing to go elsewhere is perfectly understandable but I wouldn't agree that you are necessarily being ripped off by the LBS.

    CRC will have almost certainly got a double advantage of a higher supplier discount in the first instance on top of which, they have then probably secured a bulk buy rate from the supplier. Having secured a cost price that is already significantly lower than the LBS who buys 1 at a time, they may be selling them as either a loss leader or simply at very low margin to drive custom. Alternatively the supplier is overstocked and has shifted volume at a very low price. The LBS is probably just charging SRP which is clearly not competitive.

    You are quite entitled to go elsewhere and the LBS job is to offer value added service to convince you to shop with them. But they probably aren't making a mint out of the chain no matter how it may appear.

    I agree that C2W has completely skewed the economics of bike retail though.
  • BunnehBunneh Posts: 1,329
    On my budget I have to go online. Set of tyres cost me £20 online with free p&p, same ones will cost me £30 if I get them at the LBS. I'd be more than happy to support my local shops but when one is run by a grumpy old fart, another run by a guy who doesn't seem interested, Halfords and another which charge me the earth for simple things, I don't think I can give them my money.

    Online for me 9 times out of 10.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,276
    morstar wrote:
    doyler78 wrote:

    Today I needed a chain. Cost me £21.99. CRC have it £10.99. Shop a mile away has it on their site for £17.99. Only I needed the chain today I would have told them to stick it. I was walking so didn't have time to go trotting in the opposite direction of town from I had to go next so I just paid the money. Lesson learnt. Buy them in 3 from Merlin or elsewhere and always make sure I don't have to have something at the last minute that way I don't get ripped off.


    CRC will have almost certainly got a double advantage of a higher supplier discount in the first instance on top of which, they have then probably secured a bulk buy rate from the supplier. Having secured a cost price that is already significantly lower than the LBS who buys 1 at a time, they may be selling them as either a loss leader or simply at very low margin to drive custom. Alternatively the supplier is overstocked and has shifted volume at a very low price. The LBS is probably just charging SRP which is clearly not competitive.

    You are quite entitled to go elsewhere and the LBS job is to offer value added service to convince you to shop with them. But they probably aren't making a mint out of the chain no matter how it may appear.
    .

    I am quite sure CRC and everyone else make a nice profit on chains, one reason they are cheaper there is because they are OEM, they don`t come in a box and have a few less links. I always get mine from Merlin or CRC as I don`t need a box.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • gaspodegaspode Posts: 110
    one reason they are cheaper there is because they are OEM, they don`t come in a box and have a few less links
    not necessarily so - the last (SRAM) chain I bought from CRC was a retail version in a nice red plastic box....(and about half the price of my LBS....)
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,276
    I got one in a box once too, from Merlin. It`s not usual though.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • unclemalcunclemalc Posts: 563
    I have not been on this forum for about a year and it's interesting that the same topics come back up, with the same melting pot of answers, based upon personal location, luck and personality (of both LBS owners and punters)...!
    I live in Wolverhampton where we are served by a few LBShops, each of which has people who swear by them.
    My fave is Fred Williams, from where I have bought all the family's bikes, and most of the spares. Many maintenance jobs I can do but those I can;'t, I get the lads in the shop to do as they are quick (usually same day if booked in) and prices are reasonable, with never a quibble.
    I don't get clothing, lights or other such bits from them as they CAN be found cheaper (or at least at a price making it worthwhile, even with postage) from the 'net. In addition, looking at the clothing I've wanted and then bought, the shop didn't/doesn't stock it.

    However, being a regular 'face' in the shop can get you discount here and there when you do buy. :D

    The downside to some shops, especially if you are new to them, is a tendency to an attitude I'd call 'elitism-cum-whose this to55er', whereby unless you somehow prove you are NOT a to55er, your humble requests are sometimes treated with disdain.
    Worse is trying to engage the owner/helpboy of the LBS in a sensible conversation about what you want, when he is more concerned with carrying on HIS conversation with the shop 'groupie(s)', who hang about name dropping obscure pieces of mechanical kit, or mountain passes they nearly died on while descending during this years Alpine jaunt.
    On such occasions I've been tempted to say that "I'll just have to take the 3 grand I 've got in my pocket for a nice road bike and spend it elsewhere, as you are clearly not bothered with my custom..."

    You pays yer money and you takes yer choice....
    Spring!
    Singlespeeds in town rule.
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