Unhelpful bike shops – is it because I'm a women?

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  • Unhelpful bike shops – is it because I'm a women?
  • Duggan

    Genuinely don’t think any of those issues are down to you being a woman.

    Sounds about normal for the large majority of bike shops I’ve ever used.

    Also Seems highly unlikely that they would turn down circa £800 of work purely because you’re female.


    I’d try Sandy at Trailhead in Shrewsbury. If you go down the route of using a random powder coater or someone who doesn’t know bikes, make sure that they cover all the threaded bits and inside of the head tube or you will have a whole world of pain getting the bike put back togther again…


    As has been said by most folk above me, nearly every bike shop I’ve dealt with has been crap at email. Suspect the staff don’t spend much time on the computer apart from checking spec and ordering stuff so emails get left unattended to. Phone call and personal visits get the best results but appreciate that dropping in to them all isnt always easy.


    hels – I often found bike shops patronising, somebody needs to tell them that women have their own money now, we can vote too, and drive.

    I don’t think that has anything to do with you being a woman. Its just that bike shops (as with most specialist shops) are a bit shit at selecting and training staff for the skills they need to deal with the public rather than an unhealthy obsession with the sport. Actually I have found Mrs Poly can sometimes get better service than me. Perhaps she is better looking.


    I have on occasion started my bike shop conversations by placing a packet of hob nobs on the counter whilst pointing at a bunch of bike shaped components

    never fails


    If you don’t get a decent reply from a shop soon feel free to email me because I think £600 is steep. I live a a bit of a trip way away but I know a few very good shops by me so I’d happily strip the bike, send it off for a respray, order the parts and come back a rebuild if it helps out and you cant find anywhere decent or someone closer.

    That’s a really thoughtful thing you’re thinking of there…

    BUT (and I’m a woman) if anyone stripped/resprayed/fiddled/adjusted/altered any of my bikes (or even looked at one a bit funny) without my express, detailed, written authority and instructions … I would be very very upset, very upset.

    The bike shop thing. No, not because you’re a woman, they just have (on the whole, yes, there are exceptions) staggeringly bad customer service.

    I would come and help but I’m far away and others, who are closer, will help you.

    *waves to Cinnamon_Girl*

    Premier Icon mattjg

    ^^ I’m going to echo this, you need to be really really sure this is what your husband wants and he’s cool with you doing it. Bikes are very personal and familiar things, to people who care about them. A casual conversation on the subject or what you may have taken as a ‘hint’ are not enough IMO.


    Thanks for the comments but I know him well enough to know that he will love the new bike and parts.

    Premier Icon mattjg

    Fair dos, good luck and put up a pic when you’re done!

    Premier Icon Imabigkidnow

    scruff – Member
    Use the phone, emails and bike shops dont normally mix.



    You’re in peak season. 2 bank holidays and a half term this month!

    I left the bike retail biz last year. Really hard to keep up with emails and not saying your’s are, but I found service enquiries via email the most time consuming things as they’re usually the least black ‘n’ white subject to discuss … back and forth sometimes over days.

    I was the guy generally in charge of the inbox (at an independant shop) but with 50+ emails a day on a busy shop floor I learnt fairly early on though with these types of enquiries to just get on the ‘phone asap .. maybe your local retailers haven’t.

    show you’re serious and ‘phone them. My experience was that ‘How much would this be’ emails were generally (though not saying all) people just testing the water or shopping around so I’d fire back a couple of standard phrases unless I recognised the customer or there was something slightly unusual. Have you mentioned the actual bike on the emails .. that would get my trigger finger itching.

    If the line’s busy have patience or send them another emails saying you’re struggling to get through on the phone

    Oh: and in such a male dominated environment we’d always bend over backwards when anything approaching a female entered/contacted the shop. Highlight of the day .. so work it.

    Premier Icon Imabigkidnow

    I can of course – in hindsight – appreciate how bending over backwards may also be interpreted as general patronising/leching/oggling. 🙂

    Premier Icon johnhe

    I’m pretty sure (read definitely sure) that if I emailed any of my local shops with a job like this, I would never hear back from them. Even to call them would not get much answer.

    You guys may know all about respraying, but I can almost guarantee that this is something my lbs would run a mile from. I love my local shops, and depend very heavily on them, but they do need a lot of cajoling.


    Sounds like a nice idea to me- and you’re doing it right by getting a bike shop to do it rather than getting a mate to strip it and powder coat it. If you’re doing it as a surprise Argos will do a job he’ll be 100% happy with and get the right decals. It will look as if it came out of a factory, whereas a powder coat job and buying decals online will always look a little bit “fake”. Obviously you’ll know what colours he’ll like and so I doubt it will disappoint!

    Bike shops are better with the phone, but the best thing to do is go in. You can leave a bike with a larger shop for a while (heck, I used to work in a tiny shop and people left their bikes with us for entire summers…) so if you do take it with you they may be able to keep it so you don’t have to do another trip. Taking the bike with you will show them you’re serious about spending the money- a lot of folk come in saying “oh, I might get it resprayed” and you don’t see them again- but don’t be too disappointed if they don’t have room to keep the bike- bikes are bulky thing and the shops often don’t have much space for those in for repair.

    As for being a woman, it’s usually much nicer for a shop to work with women as they listen to what advice you give them and don’t bugger you about so much, so that’s not the issue.

    The bits you’ve chosen should appeal to a Karate Monkey owner nicely, though I would say maybe go up to XT brakes- they have shiny bits on (as you’ll know, mountain bikers love shiny bits) and are a bit posher. No discernible performance benefit but more bling will mean a happier boy.

    Let us know his reaction!

    I use a chemical stripping company in Cradley Heath (near stourbridge so not too far away) and a powder coaters also near Stourbridge.
    The chemical strip cost £10 and the powder coat costs between £10 and £15.
    The finish is always top class and all the frames I have had done still look good now. They also ensure no paint/powder gets on the bottom bracket threads and where the headset fits / bearing surfaces etc.
    I can let you know contact details if you want.
    From experience of ringing around other chemical strippers and powder coaters (for work and my bikes) the price didn’t vary by much.


    Premier Icon Wookster

    Nice mate!!!!

    I’m sure he will love it. 😀


    Very nice. Where did you get it done in the end?


    Swinntertons Cycles at Cannock chase ( http://www.bikechase.co.uk), very helpful bike shop and everyone there was keen to discuss options and the re spray.

    Spray was done with Argos

    Can highly recommend both and will be going back to Swinntertons in the future.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    glad you got it sorted out – looks good 🙂

    Premier Icon martymac

    looks flippin brilliant!

    Premier Icon Del
    Premier Icon jkomo

    What a great result.
    He is one lucky fella.

    Premier Icon maxray

    Think I will be popping up there. Really struggling to get any decent service in my local bike shops (Birmingham area). Reckon its because I often end up going in in jeans with my daughter in tow rather than a full lycra suit and bombers in hand. 😉

    Premier Icon JoeG

    Bright blue! New cranks and brakes as well. 😀

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