A Trip to Performance Bike

As many of you may know, I left Florida back in April for the wilds and chill of the midwest…Dayton, Ohio to be exact. Just before I left, I asked our readers to recommend bike shops and routes in the area. As I was unfamiliar with the “lay of the land” when I got here, I still didn’t have a good grasp of what shops were local to me.

Enter Performance Bike — I had been a mail-order/online customer of theirs for literally decades (I remember the first printed catalogs in the mid-80s), and I stumbled across one of their retail shops on one of my family’s first forays around town. My local Performance shop is in Kettering and is overwhelmingly the most convenient (and closest) shop to my house.

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I stopped in periodically to chat and to browse the sale racks…desperately scrambling to get a cold-weather clothing set for the winter soon to follow. Heck, Performance even heard about my move and sent me a $25.00 gift certificate to encourage me to stop in more often!

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On the whole, I have been extremely impressed with the staff at my local Performance. I had been to one other Performance shop just after the company started building retail locations…this one was in the D.C. Metro area back in the late 80s. Suffice it to say I was underimpressed at the time. Also, I had heard a variety of horror stories about the quality of the repair staff at the retail locations…many of them on bike forums I frequent.

That’s simply not the case at my local outlet…manager Kevin Sintz is dead-serious about running a tight ship, with trained and certified mechanics and friendly salespeople. They treat me like a minor Internet cycling celebrity when I go in there (ha!)…they even remember my children’s names and help entertain them while I shop. Kevin has some flexibility in tailoring his shop’s wares to reflect local needs, and he and his staff are very active in local cycling events and advocacy initiatives. I have gotten so much good information from the employees there…good mountain biking trails to try, invitations to cyclocross training clinics, suggested routes around the region. It is always a pleasant experience going in there, and I am very appreciative of their nature in welcoming me to the community.

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The retail store here is gigantic…and has examples from throughout Performance Bike’s massive online catalog. There are literally hundreds of bikes racked up, ready to sell, and a huge variety of clothing, shoes and accessories to choose from. The place is always clean and the staff is ALWAYS friendly — never hesitating to welcome my family to the store and answering questions. No matter how busy it is in there, someone is always ready to chat for a while. I like that a lot. Oh, and they have a clearance table back near the mechanic’s station…lots of goodies at rock-bottom prices if one is willing to dig a bit!

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I’ve since discovered other bike shops in the area, but I keep coming back to Performance — with the exception of one tiny bike shop far away from my house, Performance is the only other local place that hasn’t given me a bad experience. I am VERY particular about the bike shops I do business with, and a good shop is worth its weight in gold.

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Don’t be afraid…if there’s a Performance Bike in YOUR area, you might want to give it a try. You might be as surprised as I was!


8 Comments

  1. Faceman January 17, 2012 7:31 am 

    I don’t know why it amazes me but the pictures of your Performance store looks exactly like the Performance store by me. Exactly the same, I guess that’s the point of national retail stores. I’ve had good experiences when I have shopped at Performance. Most of my bike needs are met by local shop closer to my home. Good to hear that a national chain is very local focused.

  2. Matt January 17, 2012 8:16 am 

    Good to see that the store near you does good things for you and others… not true of the one near me, which employs people who I swear never ride bikes at all based on the misinformation I’ve heard come of of their mouths. They were also pretty ignorant of what’s available through Performance’s online site as compared to in-store inventory, telling me a Performance-branded product didn’t exist!

  3. Ghost Rider January 17, 2012 8:17 am 

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that Performance stores look the same, at least on the surface: they have a formula for display and selling that works, so they duplicate it across the range. A lot of dollars go into merchandising/display/cross-promotion research.

    I was pleasantly surprised, though, by the fact that this store isn’t a faceless national chain outlet. Are all of them like that? Who knows. But I do know that these guys at this store are plugged into the local scene and help support it wherever they can. Kudos!

  4. Elizabeth January 17, 2012 12:45 pm 

    I used to go to my local Performance Bike shop – when their hours were longer (and thus more conducive to my shifted work schedule). At that time the Performance store was run a lot like a LBS and I knew the staff and managers. But the turnover is high and the dedicated staff that I knew and trusted there are no longer working at my local store.

    I would love to see my local Performance Bike come back around to being more of a local place.

  5. Guy January 17, 2012 1:26 pm 

    I like performance. Lots to choose from with good prices.

  6. Barry January 19, 2012 12:07 am 

    I’ve always found Performance stores to be a little soulless.

  7. 2whls3spds January 19, 2012 6:03 am 

    My experience has been a lot like Matt’s…

    I only have a small number of “modern” bikes, but the local(50 miles away) Performance shop didn’t even have a decent selection of tires to choose from. At the very least I would have expected to see MTB, Road, Race and City tires. They were heavily weighted towards MTB and no commuter/city tires in stock, nor any signs that they kept any. The store is located in a semi bicycle friendly area (the town is Bronze Level LAB). Maybe my expectations were too high. Back to special orders from my LBS and off the internet.

    Aaron

  8. Mike January 21, 2012 5:10 pm 

    I like their products and their prices. I’ve even bought a couple of bikes and a lot of accessories from them. But their staff, both technical and sales, leave a lot to be desired (at least in Chandler, AZ).

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