What would be the ultimate bike shop

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  • What would be the ultimate bike shop
  • Smee

    Bike Pub.

    Things I like:

    Being good with hydraulic brakes
    Advice when you are doing your own repairs as long as you buy something
    Coffee pot
    Shop rides
    Weekend opening (cant the staff have weekdays off when the trails are empty?)
    Trail advice incl. books and maps

    My main gripes:

    Cliquey staff
    Stock control: Not keeping at least 1 of a component type in stock e.g. at least one ISIS BB for the usual sizes. Don't care if it's overpriced as long as it's there when I desperately need it!

    I reckon bike shops can make more cash these days selling cool bike clothing because people like to try-on before buying, so fit a changing room and market this.


    One that pays me £100k per year, employs me to "test" bikes on days when its sunny.

    By test I mean ride around my local trails / where ever I like. Also gives me what ever bike I want to test.

    Has no ****, tosspots or really annoying people for customers.

    Gives me free hugs.


    Bike Pub…….Awesome.


    Open in the evening!


    chill atmosphere inside, build a community around the shop with group rides and stuff, good bikes, great service.


    easy to walk into and browse, decent range of clothes and something different from the usual gore, endura, etc, dancing girls, pleasant staff (dales in glasgow used to be a miserable place to go but the staff must have embraced the 'customer is king' culture – what a difference it makes)


    i reckon a half bike shop half coffee and cake shop is the way to go


    One that makes you feel welcome the minute you step through the door and whos prices are OK but not necessarily internet-tastic

    One which carries decent stock levels

    One where you can look at ££££ gear but would also happily sell you a Raleigh too

    And if it was round the corner from me then great LOL

    That would do it for me

    I can think of what would very nearly be the ideal shop but its too small so they dont ever have good enough stock levels so when I want a new mech for the weekend etc I just buy it online as Id get it cheaper and quicker than through them plus they just dont carry a wide enough selection of anything to look at

    Premier Icon jimmy

    tidy mechanics


    bike pub – what a dangerously brilliant idea!!!


    bike pub.
    and coffee too

    opening hours: Monday – Friday : 3:30pm – 10pm
    Sat, 9am – 10pm

    mechanics who dont have thier heads stuck up thier own arses."
    and form an informal club around it too 🙂
    discount for paid up members, weekly rides 🙂 (gets people into shop as regulars so discount should pay for itself)


    St John Street Cycles in Bridgwater tried to do the bike pub idea years ago; it failed miserably*. Think it got turned into a niche restaurant then cafe and now a normal pub again? iirc

    *disclaimer; that may have been due to it being in Bridgwater and nothing to do with the idea at all…


    An open workshop session for a few hours once a week or so – maybe after hours? Have a nominal membership fee, bookable slots, and let 'em come in and have use of good/proper tools to do annoying jobs/bike builds, with supervision from a mechanic. Could run proper courses too. My guess is you wouldn't lose too much money from people who would have otherwise used your mechanics, and you'll get some happy customers.

    And if it ain't a Bike Pub, make it BYO.


    indoor pump track around the perimeter of the shop!!


    I have a mate who is possibly opening a bike shop, looking for ideas of likes and dislikes of bike shops and what your ultimate one would contain. no smut now!

    ade ward

    i think coffee shop/bike shop,,used to do some work in a motorbike shop that had a burger bar attached,, it was open in the evenings,, and had bike night ,, custome car night etc,, made more from the burger bar than the bikes,,

    tidy workshop outfront rather then tucked away at the back so you can see them at work,,

    tool hire,, so you can do those jobs at home without paying for expensive things you only use once,

    not just one manufactorers bikes or range of clothing

    my ickle town just had a new shop opened by boris johnson a few weeks a go ,, very limited stock currently but hopefully they will get the hang of it soon better than the other one in thame they wont even fix punctures,, and will only take cash,, and he must be the grumpyest guy in the world ,, no idea how he carries on ,,

    attached bike club for evening and weekend rides,,


    as a recommendation for you pal id get him to set aside 3 to 4 days to travel around looking in shops both in the local area and further afield if poss….i did it before i bought mine for ten years but i was a bike rep so cheated! if hes ever going to the states they have amazing shops with a lot of the things mentioned above in practice…

    the best bike shop ive ever seen was the one in manacor in majorca….huge with tones of stock.if he wants any pointers he's welcome to get in touch with me

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Difficult to strike the right balance, I like my LBS because it's small and personal – even though everything is RRP and stock levels are not amazing.

    Some bigger shops still feel friendly and personal, but others get a bit too slick for my liking.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    But to answer the question more directly, somewhere to sit and chat would be nice.


    Thanks guys a lot of good tips there, the coffee shop come bike shop is a no brainer, he's got a few other good idea's as well. Watch this space!!!


    bikelab in poole is very good. worth a visit if that away.


    i like the idea of a pump track, or even a small set of jumps or a skills area where people could hang out/test bikes properly. depends on the site really but next to a massive warehouse would be perfect!!


    It's easy in my eyes. I go to a bike shop to buy bike bits, I go to trails to ride my bike, and I go to pubs to drink beer. I'm not fussed by coffee, cakes, group rides, hugs and all that jazz*.

    The ultimate in bike shops would be a shop that carried the stock of chain reaction, and had prices that competed with online retailers. And was nearish my house.

    Moon on a stick? I'll have two, thanks!

    * Female shop assistants with large mammaries as evidenced above would be the exception there.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Comfy sofas to lounge in while your bike is being fixed.
    Small coffee/cake shop in the corner.
    Nicely laid out, good lighting, tidy, modern yet with it's own charm – there's plenty of department stores that can do the first but without the charm, they're all the same.
    Open late.
    Open workshop where you can work on your bike yourself (for a fee obviously!).
    Well mannered, knowledgeable, non cliquey, enthusiastic staff.
    Shop rides.

    Premier Icon igm

    Something to chain your bike to outside (or even better secure indoor bike parking)


    Shop rides.

    Thats a cool idea.


    Another vote for obscure/expensive-tool lending/hiring, eg disc mount facing tool, BB shell tread cutter, etc.

    Also, sell stuff that is there. Off-Beat bikes in Fort Bill sold me a mech hanger they had taken off one of their display bikes as they didn't have one in stock, only a couple of days for them to replace but I was only up there for a short while and couldn't wait. Too many shops I have found won't do that.


    My best advice is to go all out of a customer even if they aren't buying anything because that person is often me, and I usually come back when I need something.

    If your not busy chat to your customers about life, have free coffee, encourage people to stay, put seats in ect. Do not sure brand favouritism, I don't care whether you only like SRAM stock both brands and fit what the customer is used to. Make all potential costs known, cause I don't return the LBS's with hidden costs, or didn't ring to confirm extra work.

    Let people bring their bikes in again whether they are buying or not (Wide Doors). You know if you might find that their BB is FUBAR not when it is chained up outside.

    If you can be open later, I often find myself having to go to halford for new tubes at 1930 after work.

    These all sound like fluffy impractical non-profit ideas, but when I go to blow £500 on new forks, then be sure I will be heading your way.

    Premier Icon dusty trails

    Very simple –
    Staff that give a shit about what they are selling.
    Staff who aren't totally up their own arses.
    Staff who know what they're talking about.
    Staff who do what they say, when they say they're going to do it.
    Staff who can be bothered to ask if you need any help when that might mean they have to cut short their conversation with ther mates &/or fellow staff who also don't give a shit.

    Enough about staff – they just need to give a shit.

    Needs good stock levels at reasonable prices – don't have to match net based bargain outlets (although service from some of these is first rate)
    Need to sell a good range of quality frames & bikes.

    Easy really – Be nice, sell nice stuff, welcome new customers, give a shit & don't rip people off

    Here endeth the RANT 😉


    Get a decent website
    Put customers into a database and send email fliers out of offers / events. Send Christmas Easter and any other ecards you can to keep you in mind.
    Online booking for servicing, I never get round to booking when they're open as I'm working.
    If a customer wants something you don't have, take a hit and get it for next day to keep him happy, otherwise he'll quickly learn to go to Wiggle and get it himself cheaper (like I did) my LBD saves it all up until the end of the week so if you order something on Saturday, you don't get it until the following Friday.
    If someone looks serious about a bike the best way to sell it to them is tell them to disapear for half an hour on it (obviously take some security) you'll sell it quicker that way than talking about it until they're bored.
    As said before happy helpful staff who will go the extra mile, work late if needed etc
    Best of luck to him 😀

    have a grand opening with goodie bags and a raffle, oh n champers and cannapaes of course!! 🙂

    Premier Icon Trekster

    seems to me so many of the above think that a bike shop should be a charity case. e.g. would you lend or give someone an expensive tool to someone you do not know or some unqualified, hamfisted amateur?

    As the op


    nt need internet shops like crc/wiggle etc.

    Best bit of advice from what experience I have seen is not to stock bling, stock what will sell not what is good to look at. Mike Bonny from Orange gave that advice to someone I know, he failed to heed it and failed.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    You need to know the market and the area. It's no good opening up a shop specialising in DH bling if you're somewhere pan flat or in the middle of a deprived area. At the same time it's difficult being all things to all people, from the £199 starter MTB/complete beginner/commuter right through to top end pro race kit and £££ bikes.
    For every £2000 carbon race machine that you sell, you'll shift 10-15 bikes at about the £400-600 mark.

    One of the best shops I ever used was Dirt & Dreams up near Notting Hill. It survived for quite a few years, great little shop, stocked all sorts inc loads of top end gear and it was run by the guy who'd given me my first job in a bike shop – he'd moved on from branch manager of a London chain of bike shops to running his own business.

    Real shame when that went under, he didn't deserve that.


    seems to me so many of the above think that a bike shop should be a charity case. e.g. would you lend or give someone an expensive tool to someone you do not know or some unqualified, hamfisted amateur?

    Was thinking the same! These long weekend hours and space for people to sit around chatting have costs attached.

    It's a no-brainer that LBSs rely on their customers but there are practical limits to how far they can go to indulge them.


    You can have all sorts of fancy stuff in the shop such as coffee, kit etc but it all boils down to staff and customer service. I'd happily pay a bit extra if the service is great and friendly. I recently ordered some tights, the LBS took 5 days to get them in and then got p*ssed of with me when I returned them because they were too small. Its stuff like this that makes you wonder why you even bother especially as internet retailers are super cheap, have excellent free delivery and dont bat an eye lid when you return something for exchange.


    A decent selection of spares.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    elchenuk – Member
    …I'd happily pay a bit extra if the service is great and friendly. I recently ordered some tights, the LBS took 5 days to get them in and then got p*ssed of with me when I returned them because they were too small. Its stuff like this that makes you wonder why you even bother especially as internet retailers are super cheap, have excellent free delivery and dont bat an eye lid when you return something for exchange.

    I think your actions contradict your statement. The shop would have had to pay for those tights that they got in specially for you. Fair enough if they made the mistake, but not otherwise.


    There are two great shops I use/have used down here in Sth Aus;

    one is http://www.bmcr.com.au – my 'local' shop. They are in the city, open 8.30, close 6, 10-3 on Saturday closed on Sunday. Being in the city they open this bit earlier and close later so that before and after work you can drop by and get what you need without breaking balls to get there before they close. They specialise in Workshop stuff with only about 20 bikes on the floor – mix of commute and "proper" MTB stuff, lots of tools, tyre choice etc. Focus is sevice – to bike and to customers (stuff like remembering your name, workshop being seperate but not hidden so you can see whats up and still talk to the Mech as he works)

    other is Over The Edge – http://www.otesports.com.au – these guys are in the middle of nowhere, but just like the Fruita sister shop are right next to killer singletrack; being somewhere that you'd only go specifically to MTB means they focus on top-end bikes and blingy bits, but with not much else in the town, they can afford to do the couch, vids on the TV, coffee machine type thing. Also bring in other local businesses – collabrative beer and wine with a local wine-/brew-ery, locally grown dyed and made wool garments, frozen meat and fish from the area to throw on the BBQ after riding, etc

    But like cycleworlduk said, put a few days aside go look at other shops, see what works, what doesn't; but don't limit it to just bike stuff – I worked in and outdoor store that was one of the first to layout like a high fashion boutique with great effect – punters were more comfortable and the staff knowing what they were talking about brought the hardcore in too combined with a large and often exclusive range (we used to get models and or colours that no-ne else in the country got as we would order enough that they'd let us order from the US selections etc)


    get pretty close to online shop prices for consumables like tubes, pads and tyres. And stock quality items, not cheap bilge. Establish ordering paths that mean you can get me something as fast as I can get it from CRC.

    Stick a couple of guys up front who know what they're talking about but aren't smart about it and make sure you've got a mechanic who can do what he says he can and you can forget about the coffee and girls with big knockers. That'll do it for me.

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