Re: Dealing with Bike Shops
It's really sort of surprising that bike shops (or "stores") are one area where a huge chain conglomerate hasn't taken hold of. In fact, the biggest and closest thing to it- SCHWINN- has dwindled off since I first started getting into bikes back in the '60's.
Part of is that bike shops really often make most of their profit from repairs- not their retail, which has then been more severely cut into by other more general retaillers like Wal-Mart and Target. Through the years those places have offered better bikes- 30 or 40 years ago, all they had was real cheap stuff. And no one is all that worried about service with the sales- cost is the bottom line.
I know that in this forum, I'm preaching to basically a 26" wheel choir, but I recall when I first move to California back in 1982 and I was working at the Murdoch's, the largest Schwinn dealer there, I was kinda bothered then that the trend was all at once fatter tired mountain bikes, that I knew would seldom leave the pavement otherwise. (As a cycling purist, I always gravitate towards more roll for the same effort- 27", sew-ups and then 700c). I had worked a couple of shops then, selling mostly ten speeds, but I was putting all these Specialized MB's together then. Nice bikes, but heavy and over-tired.
What I'd like to see now is a superstore- with virtually anything available, but not solely catering to the exotic. Most of the shops I visit haven't got enough space, or sometimes the opposite- not enough customer traffic.
The Track fixie phenom sorta demonstrates that people will go for different things. I like to build custom things with road and BMX parts that are still light and narrow and well geared and that still roll like a road bike, but COMFORTABLE. Colors are the untapped thing- My god, that old school BMX stuff on ebay is now selling for ridiculous sums. It isn't like it can't be copied and manufactured again.
Racing has gotten TOO exotic and non-standard, and I'm not sure how much a shop can focus on that without a huge internet department.