Survival of LBS's

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  • Survival of LBS's
  • Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    You could say the same for pretty much all small retailers these days. I’m sure there is still a need and more people biking means more potential customers. The businesses just need to keep up with the consumers.

    Roter Stern
    Member

    I can only think that the bike industry will have to do something about it themselves. The music industry have got similar problems in fact more so (I am talking about instruments etc) and quite a few companies won’t sell to online shops anymore to try and save the local shop.

    bencooper
    Member

    Basically, you’re not the LBS’s target market any more – not everyone has the time, inclination and ability to do their own repairs, and not everyone follows the latest MTB fads.

    trail_rat
    Member

    not from what ive seen in my local.

    cash rich time poor people that are not interested in fixing their own bikes.

    several shops in and around town , most with a 6 week booking list ahead of them already

    My old work back home is busier than ever – with the demise of another local shop who went under trying to keep up with every fad going.

    Get the simple stuff right first before trying to stock the bling. Good mechanic and decent tool kit. seen sos many local shops do this the wrong way round and ultimately go under – some took longer than others but buying in bling and selling it at huge discount to get the sale over the internet is not a sustainable business model.

    cynic-al
    Member

    From what I see the safe money for LBS is in selling and fixing commuter bikes, and generally catering for those who don’t want to to know how to fix their own.

    Internet has killed high st sales to enthusiasts.

    davedodd
    Member

    But what is a standard consumer anymore? I’m not sure such a thing exists in the mountain bike world.

    klumpy
    Member

    Round my way they must all be doing fine, as they don’t seem to want my business. Dropped a bike in and asked for it to have a new bottom bracket in a week. A week later and they ‘hadn’t got round to it’.

    Dropped a wheel in and asked for it to have new bearings in a week. A week later and they ‘hadn’t got round to it’.

    Asked to order a bottom bracket (different occasion), was told to get it myself off the internet.

    I would moan about poor customer service but as they never did anything, so I never paid anything, I guess I am not actually a customer. Foiled!

    devash
    Member

    Round my way they must all be doing fine, as they don’t seem to want my business. Dropped a bike in and asked for it to have a new bottom bracket in a week. A week later and they ‘hadn’t got round to it’.

    Dropped a wheel in and asked for it to have new bearings in a week. A week later and they ‘hadn’t got round to it’.

    Asked to order a bottom bracket (different occasion), was told to get it myself off the internet.

    I would moan about poor customer service but as they never did anything, so I never paid anything, I guess I am not actually a customer. Foiled!

    This wasn’t Woodrups in Leeds by any chance?

    I went into my (brilliant) local bike shop on Saturday to get a new wheel built. And a few thoughts crossed my mind. First, since I am now capable of fixing/building so much more stuff on my bikes I’m more likely to get stuff on line and do it myself rather than take it to the shop like I used to, even though I know he’ll do a much better job!

    My experience has generaly been the opposite.

    Brake pads – £18 quid each (for a brand I’d not heard of and turned out to be average). If I wanted to spend £34 on pads I’d order some online and burn a pile of fivers! Whilst I accept that I needed pads there and then and have to pay a premium for that facility. I was so gobsmacked that I’ve not been back there.

    Wheel building and truing – all bar the first attempt have been better than bike shop built ones

    Occasionaly get them to do jobs, but usualy just the ones neededing ridiculously expensive tooling like threading and reaming.

    From what I see the safe money for LBS is in selling and fixing commuter bikes, and generally catering for those who don’t want to to know how to fix their own.

    The above works for me. It’s not the glamourous end of biking but it pays the bills. It’s sometimes frustrating not to have nice stuff to show to more enthusiastic customers but I’ve long since learned that round here anything pimpy is more likely to be a liability than an investment.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    On the flip side down here in Tassie the LBS’s are doing well. The internet is 10% cheaper at least as it’s tax free but people still use bike shops.

    Mine can fix what you can’t, source what you can’t and put it together. They will have an honest conversation and tell you if they can’t beat the online price. They will fit parts bought online as people generally seem to forget something or order the wrong parts.

    It’s a tough game but more and more people here understand value over price.

    davedodd
    Member

    I went into my (brilliant) local bike shop on Saturday to get a new wheel built. And a few thoughts crossed my mind. First, since I am now capable of fixing/building so much more stuff on my bikes I’m more likely to get stuff on line and do it myself rather than take it to the shop like I used to, even though I know he’ll do a much better job!
    Secondly, and far more importantly, as a fairly small shop, I don’t understand how he’s supposed to be able to stock stuff for everyone given the crazy variety now out there for mountain biking. When you think about it, if you want a road bike, you walk into the shop and pretty much decide how much you want to spend, what material you want and what groupset. Walk into a shop for an MTB, and it’s rigid, hardtail, full suspension, singlespeed, 26, 27.5, 29, Fat, before any of those more simple considerations are thought of. The vast array of spares potentially needing to be held on stock is huge, and would need a healthy bank balance I imagine.
    Are we looking at the death of the local bike shop for mountain biking in the near future?

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    wheel building is the only thing id ask a shop to do, Ok facing BBs too

    problem is finding a decent lbs in london that offers wheelbuilding is quite hard- certainly last one I tried said they only do QR wheels

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    cynic-al – Member
    From what I see the safe money for LBS is in selling and fixing commuter bikes, and generally catering for those who don’t want to to know how to fix their own.

    Internet has killed high st sales to enthusiasts.

    Pretty much…

    Its the world retailers (all retailers) have to deal with, we’re pretty much all now connected to the interweb and hence we can all get whatever we want at the cheapest price possible, and buy the tools, read the fitting guide to bolt it on ourselves, TBH there’s not really all that much mystery to 98% of the work you might want to do on a bicycle.

    Of course there is still a role for LBSs in this brave new world, not everyone does have the time or inclination to work on a bike, or indeed shop for those online bargains, getting something directly, instantly, having it fitted for you has value to many…

    As for stocking the myriad of parts that any cyclist could possibly wander in looking for, forget it; too many niches, too many differing “standards”, manufacturers and too many price points, you’ll never stock exactly what the customer wants,

    What an LBS can stock of course is the essentials; CRC may have the cheapest inner tubes, chains or brake pads but you can’t lay your hands on them instantly, you’ve got to wait for the postie, and if you are due to go out riding in the next eight hours would you really sack it off for the sake of a couple of quid or rely on RM promptly delivering your cut price goods?

    I very much doubt any halfway clued up person goes into a bike shop without some idea of what they want or what a reasonable amount to spend might be these days, again the interweb is there to allow a bit of research. Commuter bikes is the prime market to chase, and maybe a few decent spec road bikes might be worth stocking, simply for when some of those commuters general interest in cycling evolves into a weekend activity.
    But an LBS needs to focus on what will sell, being overstocked with Gucci MTBS and Roadie Carbon/Ti exotica when the new year models come out is a sure fire way to go bust…

    klumpy
    Member

    This wasn’t Woodrups in Leeds by any chance?

    Nah, won’t name and shame but two local shops and one large chain with garish orange livery.

    So it’s not a big shop thing, or a little shop thing. Just a bike shop thing.

    I guess the money’s in people who get their bike “serviced”. ie: a look at the brake pads, wiggle the wheels, re-index the gears. Near zero effort, zero parts, ker-ching. 🙂

    cynic-al
    Member

    TINAS

    Whilst I accept that I needed pads there and then and have to pay a premium for that facility. I was so gobsmacked that I’ve not been back there.

    Seems you don’t actually accept it?

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    My cousin went into Evans on Saturday to look at buying half-decent mountain bikes for himself and his son, as he fancied getting out together in the hills. He got in touch after and said he was appalled by their attitude. Total disinterest from the staff! Not the slightest interest in giving him any advice. As he knows I cycle he asked about alternatives. I told him to go down to his LBS

    He did so yesterday and was met with the polar opposite attitude. They were helpful, went through all the options with him, and gave him some proper advice. The result: He bought 2 mid-range Cannondale hard tails off them, with helmets, lights etc.

    Do you think he’ll be going back to Evans, or his LBS?

    Seems you don’t actually accept it?

    Well, I’d accept that I wasn’t going to get the 4x pairs for £16 you get online, anything upto £12 or so that you can get ‘branded’ pads like goodrige or clarkes at RRP for from CRC etc. Heck, they could have sold me Superstar pads with a 50% markup and I’d not be too begrudging. But £17 for some unkonwn was just taking the piss. I think even the kid at the till was embarased to ask for the money.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Have you worked in an lbs TINAS?

    Have you worked in an lbs TINAS?

    Nope, is there some secret handshake I should have known?

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    thisisnotaspoon wrote:

    Have you worked in an lbs TINAS?
    Nope, is there some secret handshake I should have known?

    I guess you didn’t bring the biscuits then.

    cynic-al
    Member

    No secret handshake (nor biscuits) helpful, just an understanding of retail.

    DT78
    Member

    I wanted to keep using my LBS. The final straws were finding they hadn’t greased pedal axles on cranks they fitted which meant I needed to use a vice and hammer.

    And, I’m still angry now, being charged £15 for having a dirty bike. I had given it a hose down and let it dry so it was by no means sparkling neither was it actually that bad at all. I may have accepted the £15 charge if they had actually cleaned the thing, but no, it appeared to be some form of penalty charge. Lost my business, and I’d spent several hundred and bought one bike from them over the years.

    jonba
    Member

    I have two shops I frequent regularly. MSteels and Start Cycles in Newcastle.

    MSteels has a reasonable range of stuff. I’ve bought a bike from there in the past. Their mechanics are good and their prices reasonable. They offer a good discount to my club which makes them only marginally more expensive than online except you can walk in and get it. I still get them to do certain complex jobs or those with expensive specialist tools.

    Start Cycles has a large range of stuff and it is really worth popping in to see what is on sale. Easily competes with anything online for price in the sale and you get to try it on.

    No secret handshake (nor biscuits) helpful, just an understanding of retail.

    I understand they need to pay for overheads, staff, and still make some profit, but when your price is 4x higher than the competition you’ve got to start questioning something, either the costs are too high, the margins too big or your suppliers taking the piss.

    Premier Icon Alex
    Subscriber

    Hmm. I’ve used the Evans in Cheltenham since it opened (it’s just down the road from where I’m working) and they’ve been great. Even told me to order stuff from their web site and get it delivered to the store as it was cheaper. This after I’d tried something on!

    Pedalabikeaway in the FoD took my bike on a VERY busy Saturday morning and sorted chasing out the BB shell so I could go riding straight away.

    And I’ve had terrible/rude/disinterested/useless service from a few others.

    Surely it’s the attitude of the managers/staff as much as the name over the door and the malaise or otherwise of the bricks and mortar bike shop?

    orangeboy
    Member

    It’s all about cycle scheme , road bikes and people that don’t follow every new trend of the mtb world
    At least it is for us.
    Workshop is stacked out and every day is just crazy at the moment
    For some lbs times are good very very good despite the mail order price cutting

    oli575
    Member

    I try and support my LBS but sometimes I can’t justify the extra cost. Wanted to buy some new Pikes off them and was quoted £700 ended up paying £471!

    Ordered last Monday from bike-discount.de and STILL haven’t arrived.

    I guess it’s swings and roundabouts.

    gogg
    Member

    Oli, I reckon that’s UK distributors having had it too good for too long and fleecing the LBS and us in turn.

    Jamie
    Member

    I guess you didn’t bring the biscuits then.

    Not this secret biscuit fuelled economy again.

    orangeboy
    Member

    Cake biscuits etc are always nice but not in place of money

    therag
    Member

    All my local bike shops seem to be doing really well. They all have new vw vans and live in nice houses so I don’t think its as bad as some make out.
    They seem be selling a good amount of road & mtbs every week.
    I buy 50/50 online/lbs now, but bought shorts & helmet & lube so far this week at my lbs as I’m working easier hours and able to call in.

    sambuka
    Member

    I was going to buy some shimano boots from my local shop – I wanted to support them – but they were selling at RRP of £150, CRC had them at £100. I couldn’t justify £50 towards supporting the local shop. If I’m going to give £50 away, I’ll donate it to charity.

    gogg
    Member

    Perhaps your LBS uses some of it’s profits to support cycling locally Sambuka??

    Give to “charity” indirectly?

    They also prevent mechanics from going homeless and rummaging in the bins at the back of Iceland for Kerry Katona’s left-overs…

    😉

    ricky1
    Member

    I have a good relationship with my LBS,there are other bike shops in the area where I can just pop in if I need something super fast And may pay over the odds for it,however I would only take my bike to be fixed or upgraded to one shop where shop only deals with mtb mostly and always has time for me and the bike,carefully choice of shop is the key.

    Premier Icon tom200
    Subscriber

    My lbs gives 12% discount if you join the club, £5 per year. If you are buying some of the brands like Endura that the likes of crc don’t discount it is actually much cheaper than online.

    I still buy the odd bits online, but the day to day stuff I would much rather pop to the lbc and have a chat and a browse than buy online. If you are friendly, have bikes people can actually try, and a good mechanic, there is no reason why you can’t do well.

    coatesy
    Member

    Bought my Shimano boots online for £100 too. I work in a bike shop, get my kit at trade+vat, and it was cheaper buying online.

    gogg
    Member

    That just about sums it up doesn’t it Coatesy, when the big hitters start discounting below cost, they’re effectively Tesco. Welcome to a world of choice.

    I do shop in tesco, but I buy my meat from the local butcher and some of the veg from them too. There isn’t a local baker anymore.

    Jamie
    Member

    I buy my meat from the local butcher and some of the veg from them too.

    Celery hearts and beef tomatoes?

    IGMC.

    gogg
    Member

    LOL @ Jamie, no just seasonal veggies from local farmers.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 54 total)

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