Custom Builds, help wanted

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  • Custom Builds, help wanted
  • Hi All,

    Long story short here but the shop where I work is looking to revamp it’s custom build program and we’d like input from outside the shop! So here’s the interactive portion of our program, you guys out there seem to be discerning customers. Which means I’d like to hear from you as to what you guys like in your local shop (if you’ve had a bike built in store and even if you haven’t!) No need to mention any names but I’d like to know what makes their builds special. Is it the quality of the staff, the fact that they’re so behind one brand or the fact they stock many? Does it matter if it’s all held in stock, do they offer you free servicing on your build or just free coffee!

    You guy’s get the idea! Anyway thanks for any input in advance, we’re just trying to make our shop better for you guy’s out there!

    theflatboy
    Member

    i just did a custom build, assembled the bits one by one from the cheapest place i could find. so make sure your prices are lowest and you’ll be laughing.

    Premier Icon UK-FLATLANDER
    Subscriber

    For me it’s the quality of advice and the backup that are important. They also let me help with the build, keeping me from making mistakes as I did most of it myself – very satifying. Price is important, but personally I’m prepared to take a small hit on cost just so that the LBS keeps going. Being a small shop they can only carry so much stock, but can get most stuff in if I’m after something specific. The other thing is that I feel I can have a sensible conversation with them when discussing build – not too biased in favour of any one brand, unless based on their experience with it, e.g. perhaps one brand of brakes is more difficult to bleed than another. Related to this I hate being talked down to by staff that are just repeating the sales blurb, or bad mouth brands based only on the fact that they don’t stock it.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    I prefer to talk to staff who actually ride the products they sell. I’ve visited LBS’s where the staff know techy product details and are good mechanics but rarely get out and ride. I used to work in a climbing shop and the fact I was a regular climber gave me credibilty rather than regurgitating what I had read in the press or manufacturer’s literature.

    theflatboy
    Member

    that’s true, actually. having said that about the price i did get a significant amount of the items from one shop who obviously knew their stuff and were helpful and friendly in getting me all sorted.

    aP
    Member

    I like being able to phone them up, ask them to get things in for me, and then arrange to go there and get parts fitted/ pick up things and they’ll be there, they’ll make sure I get what I wanted and they’ll get it done in a timescale that suits me.
    I can’t be dealing with dropping stuff off one day then going back a week later or having to take time off to do this.
    Price is important to the extent that I’m not keen on paying over the odds but not so keen to get THE BEST DEAL as I also quite like service and I usually get that.
    Sometimes I get abuse (but that’s probably my own fault)

    ericemel
    Member

    I would suggest getting some cheap and branded ‘basic’ setups as a starting point. You know things like £15 Richley’s or £20 Eastons bars + Deore bits. Getting the whole basic setup affordable will get people seriously interested in the custom build option.

    Say being able to build up a basic Cotic Soul for a grand, would give an awesome starting point.

    Thanks to all for the input thus far. loads of great feedback!

    I would suggest getting some cheap and branded ‘basic’ setups as a starting point. You know things like £15 Richley’s or £20 Eastons bars + Deore bits. Getting the whole basic setup affordable will get people seriously interested in the custom build option.

    Say being able to build up a basic Cotic Soul for a grand, would give an awesome starting point.

    Love that idea by the way.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Anyone half decent bike shop can build a bog standard bike so perhaps think about the things that not everyone does that will allow you to stand out. For me these would be:

    Better advice on and execution of wheel packages – which spokes, how many, what works what doesn’t, tubeless etc.
    Being able to fit chain devices (not come across a bike shop yet that can do this well!)
    Advice on gear systems – e.g. rholof, hammerschmidt etc or on ratios – do you really need a triple, would you get better chainline with a 2×9 etc.
    Fitting hydraulic hoses (like goodridge) or Gore gear cable systems (and doing it well)
    Having a greater range of bar widths and rise and shorter stems please 50mm to 70mm.
    Tyres – this is the number one item that ALL bike shops should carry a really good range of (but at least one brand should be Maxxis. When you need a tyre you generally really need it (along with all other consumables like brake pads, inner tubes, grips – Odi lock ons) and you don’t want to have to order if for the weekend.
    Finishing touches to the bike – sound proofing and (really important) frame protection – offering to apply frame protection (neatly) would be excellent.

    Hope this helps.

    Wow there’s a question. I cover Southern England as a rep and while on my travels I like to visit bike shops in the areas I call on. I like shops where they have stock, a bike shop near Swinley is a good example. They do quite a few custom builds. frame wise they hold Santa Cruz, Cove, Turner (DW) all of which have a test bike available. Kit wise they do hold a bit of bling (if you’re spending 2k on a frame you want a bit of bling) but they also cater for the cheaper option. You get good advice while you purchase and the staff are very helpful. To me I like to have a little touch and feel before I buy and I’d rather buy from an LBS so good stock level is important. And as above advice is better from people who ride the stuff you’re buying.

    jonb
    Member

    Copy merlincycles.

    If I was asking a bikeshop to do a build for me I’d expect perfection. Anything less and I might have well have done it on my own. So don’t cut any corners, forget to grease any bolts, leave cables to long, bolts loose etc.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    When I worked in a shop, we used to sell the frame and forks at retail and then knock 10% off the parts. Provided people didn’t take the mick, we’d fit old or supplied parts in the deal. What really got us the reputation though was attention to detail. When I fitted Gore cables, all the Gore branding read the same way. All brake hoses were trimmed and threaded through guides. Scuff patches were used as were o-rings on the cables and hoses to stop scratches. Coil springs were swapped for the correct weight and suspension was set up for the rider. Also, tubes were talced and valve/tyre logos were aligned. It didn’t improve performance but by the same measure, it’s not really any extra effort.

    Before disc brakes were really common, we also used to mill out hose guides for the rear brake if the customer wanted it.

    As above, we rode the kit as well which always makes a big difference.

    The only thing that let us down and I could never get the boss to do it was that we should under promise and over deliver, not the other way around.

    Being able to fit chain devices (not come across a bike shop yet that can do this well!)

    One mechanic loves this job! don’t know why 😉

    Advice on gear systems – e.g. rholof, hammerschmidt etc or on ratios – do you really need a triple, would you get better chainline with a 2×9 etc.

    Have to say don’t know why more people don’t run 2×9 in both XC 29/42 and FR 22/32etc!
    Liking the thread so far thanks to all! This will probably fill reams when I come to print it off!

    ericemel
    Member

    K i only did this quick and the prices are made up, but I would like to see a service with a basic setup like this.


    (all this prices are hypothetical!)
    So a basic singlespeed would come to £700

    If you wanted to upgrade to a geared cotic with Fox’s, £700+£225+£125+£100 = £1150

    Obviously a clicky webpage would be cool. And of course being custom any deviations need to be available, but as a basic starting point this would be awesome!

    I grouped things in 4 categories, Frame, Fork, Groupset, Finishing kit. With Groupset breaking down wheel and brake upgrades.

    I think having a selection of parts in stock and on display is much more important than having lots of bikes on display around the shop. A few of my local bike shops are over half full with complete bikes, none of which are under a grand. I’d not buy a complete bike for that sort of price, much prefer to pick the frame I want and then either buy the parts to build it myself or get the shop to put it together. But once the shop is mostly full of bikes there is limited space for other parts so they only have small tyre sections, no brake sections, bike lights, bars, headsets etc… As a result I’d not buy much from them so wouldn’t go to them for a custom build.

    Communication is vital for me also. I don’t want to have to go into the shop everytime I want something or to discuss a service. So if you offer a telephone number you must answer it reliably. Also with email addresses you must reply by the next day. If you don’t then for me I’d not order anything with you as I see keeping in touch would be difficult. I was trying to buy a black santa cruz chameleon frame a year ago, I searched on-line for shops that stocked Santa cruz. I emailed them, many just didn’t bother replying, some tried to convince me I wanted a different size frame because they didn’t have, and couldn’t get, a black medium frame. Some emailed back once and then couldn’t be bothered to continue responding to my questions. Others just didn’t answer their phone, and some that did said they would call back once they checked their stock and then never did. I ended up buying from Leisure Lakes as they were very organised, friendly and attentive to my needs. I had the frame within 24Hrs. So if you want people to cough out over £1000 on a custom build you need to have excellent communication lines set-up.

    ziggy
    Member

    Trouble is you’re trying to do what alot of good shops can do already, I often take of the peg bikes and customise them for individuals. Problem is if it’s labour intensive then you may not be able to offer the best price. Merlin et al have huge buying power that you can never compete with.
    I would look at getting some unique frames or parts, really what you need is a USP that the other retailers don’t have.
    I used to assemble Soulcraft frame builds for a good mate, trouble is it can take alot of time, and as for delivery on their frames, he packed it in because it really wasn’t making money, shame really as the product was lovely.

    Oh and some bike shops can fit chain devices well, I used to be down my local engineers often getting the tabs from Saint cranks machined down so an MRP could go on there 🙂

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)

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