Bike Shops that suck

I was reading that a lot of Bike Shops suck on one of my cycling newsletters. They ran a poll and they found out that out of 2100 people that answered, 35% say they “frequently” encounter poor treatment in shops, 25% say “occasionally”, 13% say “rarely”,18% say their local shop is “the greatest” when it comes to customer service.

One of my LBSs is closing it’s doors this month; I attribute it to poor customer service and lack of parts. The shop was run by 2 young guys that would be too busy on the internet or too busy watching videos. Whenever I would ask for parts, 90% of the time they would be out of stock. Their attitude was also pathetic, sometimes I would go in and out without ever being acknowledged. I understand that hiring young guys lowers the salary cap, but at the same time, if they are not motivated, they will kill the business. Sadly, I won’t miss that shop at all.

13 Comments

  1. RL Policar October 11, 2007 12:31 pm 

    I know of one particular shop in my area where the Manager complains all the time! The dude is a friggin’ whiner! All he does is b#$%! about how his job sucks and that he’s not making enough money and blah blah blah….So one day I got fed up with his complaining and said to him, “why don’t you go to school, get a degree and do something else!”

    His Debbie Downer attitude showed in his work because he treated people poorly. Not only did the customers suffer, but he treated the rest of the shop employees the same way…sad

  2. Quinn October 11, 2007 12:57 pm 

    within 20 miles of my house, their are 8 or so shops, 1 is Good, although it has its moments too, particularly in customer service. I find that it has to do a lot with brand loyality, hence shop loyalty, I had been a very loyal customer of my most local shop, even stopping in to visit once or twice a week, AND buying a 29er, until about a month ago, when I got serious about buying a ‘cross bike, the owner said he could get me a Clearance model for $950, called his rep, no more clearance, the ’08 wasn’t as good and it was more than the ’07, out of 4 different makers that was the lowest he would go, so I went to another shop and picked up an ’08 for regular price, $800, I knew the bike needed some adjusting, and since I really trusted the first shop I took it there, the work was done well, but because it wasn’t a brand they carry, the work cost me an are and leg.

  3. Logan October 11, 2007 12:57 pm 

    One of our (2) bike shops just closed awhile ago. I wanted to buy a Trek about 2 years ago and they were the dealer, so withdrew some cash and walked in with it in my pocket. I stood looking at the treks for about 10 minutes without being acknowledged. Finally I said, excuse me, can I get some help? The owner grudgingly walked over and stood there with his arms crossed. I asked a few questions which he answered vaguely. I asked if they’d be able to swap out the stem and saddle to make it fit. He said he was busy. I said okay then, drove 3 blocks up the street. Got great service (from Van’s Bicycle Center in Yuba City), bought a bike for over $1,000 and took it home. Over the course of the next 3 months I helped 3 different friends select and purchase bikes from Van’s and a few months later the other place closed. Moral of the story? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  4. RL Policar October 11, 2007 2:19 pm 

    I swear dude, places like you mention Logan really suck. Why in the world are they in the business if they are not willing to provide the service…

    There are tons of shops in my area, but I choose to go to my buddy’s shop, 40 miles away just to get major stuff done. For example, I need to recut the BB shell on the Benotto. I know the other shops in my area can possibly do it, but I don’t trust them as much as my buddy at RPM Cyclery in Lake Elsinore. He’s a small shop but his services is excellent! I always recommend people to go there.

  5. db October 11, 2007 2:22 pm 

    It’s amazing how so many bike shops suck. I’ve got the same stories as everyone else, and the kicker is that if the sucky bike stores were good, they’d have more than enough business. A lot of would-be newbies are intimidated by bike shops.

    Interesting discussion on this subject here.

  6. Ghost Rider October 11, 2007 2:43 pm 

    I’m right there with db…I’ve had similar experiences and heard so many similar stories about crappy LBSs. There’s a good one all the way across town here, but I hate driving there, and they have to order almost every part I’ve ever needed from them. That’s kind of a bummer, too.

  7. Joe G. October 11, 2007 5:43 pm 

    It’s funny, the “Performance Bicycle” shop near me just closed, but the small, hole in the wall shop run by a couple of young guys is doing very well (right across the street from the old PB, I might add.) Everytime I go in, I’m promptly greeted and taken care of, with direct answers and recommendations for anything I may be looking for. Maybe it’s the minority, maybe because it outlasted the big chain bike shop, but my LBS kicks ass!

  8. Russ Roca October 11, 2007 8:43 pm 

    I’ve noticed most bicycle shops are either one of two types…

    1)high-end secret boys club, where unless you know the secret handshake or are going to drop the dollars, you’re not going to get any attention

    2)low end bike shop that doesn’t pay its teenage employees enough to really give a rats ass

    It’s sort of like camera shops or any specialized store…there’s a bit of superiority over the average joe’s lack of knowledge, so they tend to treat newbie customers a bit condescendingly…..what they don’t realize, however, is that they’re turning away future regular customers….

  9. Chris Cowan October 11, 2007 10:16 pm 

    One of my biggest pet peives when visiting a bike shop that is out of stock of most everything is when they say “We can order it!”… NO SHIT… So can I and I don’t have to pay your markup either.

  10. FlynRyan October 12, 2007 12:31 pm 

    Finding a good reliable bike shop is hard to come by in this day and age. Customer service and bike shop do not seem to go hand in hand especially when you have youger workers who are to cool to help you and make you feel like a fool. I have a bike mechanic in Newport His shop is called Chicago bike. it’s a hole in the wall place but he is the most friendly and helpful person. Not ot mention the small museum of custom bikes he has in his closet of a shop. Tony has wooden bikes ,bikes that pedal backwards, WTB 29er with 4 chain rings in the front. The list goes on and on. My point is he is an all around guy who primarily a family bike shop. If you live in so cal I urge you to check out his place your jaw will drop to the ground ! Not to mention he is a fantastic mechanic. Chicago bike located @ pacific coast highway and balboa blvd. Newport beach.there is a jack in the box in the same plaza.

  11. RL Policar October 12, 2007 1:11 pm 

    Ryan,

    I know exactly which shop you’re talking about. Though I’ve never been there, I might just have to stop in some time after I go fishing at the pier.

  12. Ewan March 18, 2008 4:53 am 

    Two wheels in amblecote England are quick enough to take your money from you but take 3 weeks to change some bearings and fit cranks and some new forks!!!

  13. j March 27, 2008 8:24 pm 

    There are 2 local shops in Cincinnati that are even worth shopping in, but the problem is they never have anything in stock and the mark-up’s are ridiculous. Any more local shops are getting hammered by the internet because honestly working on a bike isnt too hard and its easy to order parts and tools for what it costs to go through and LBS. On top of that, I give a shit about my bike and the dicks at the shops don’t, I’d rather work on my own machine than have them try and sell me on what they “have” instead of what I “want.”

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