Snobs in Bicycle Stores

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by Oysterville, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    I had the local bike shop guy lace my wheel for the heavy duty hub last year when I started my atv engine build. He seemed to be riding the fence about what I was doing. I called him yesterday and asked if he wanted to see what he had a hand in building and he said, "Sure." I rode my bike to his shop this afternoon. I let him ride it. He will soon be building one, I guarantee it. Had that big grin on his face. He had to ride it several times, even down to where his wife works so that she could see it. Really good day when you can convert a die hard bicycler.
     
  2. meowy84

    meowy84 New Member

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    Oysterville touched on an interesting subject. I must say I've had the same general experiences in all sorts of business, all of which I refuse to frequent. But certain bicycle shops do seem to consider themselves 'elitist' for whatever reason. Usually the more ignorant the person the more snobbish I find.

    About 16 or 17 years ago when I was starting college as a present my father bought me one of those 'name-brand' $1500 mountain bikes with the fancy front suspension and quick release everything. A couple of months later I was doing some maintenance and lost one of the little springs that goes on either side of the quick-release mechanism of the front wheel. So happy as a clam and thinking I was a valued customer I went to the place where we purchased the bike and asked the shop owner (the same guy who rung in the sale originally) to buy a replacement. He was nice as pie until I told him what I needed. Seeing that I wasn't back to lay down another $1500 the guy tried to sell me the entire quick release assembly. When I said I only need one spring he got all snobbish and instead of getting a new one he gave me a rusted one from the repair shop out back and said that'll be $5. So I put the spring back on the table, told him no thanks and told him from now on I'm taking my business elsewhere. And I haven't been back there since. God forbid I were to go in there now and tell him I went over to the dark side and am building a motorized bicycle. LOL

    Then there are one or two other places that I frequent even though they're out of my way and maybe even pricier because of the customer service I get and don't get judged no matter what I'm working on. There used to be a small hardware store in my area that closed a few years back when the owner died where the old guy even let me take some fishing reels apart right at the counter when I was sourcing stronger gears for a radio controlled model dragster I was working on, without looking at me like I had three heads because I needed the reels for something else rather than fishing.

    Wally Mart and other huge conglomerates aside, it always amazes me that a lot of these small locally owned bicycle (and other) shops somehow manage to stay in business treating customers the way they do.

    As for Harleys (and I'm generalizing here...no offence at all meant Harley's dad :) or any other intelligent Harley owner) because of the real or perceived 'status and bad boy reputation' that Harley's seem to have they also seem to have a certain percentage of ignorant redneck owners who think the world begins and ends with a Harley. Personally I can appreciate a Harley for its rumpety-rumpety sound just as much as a classic Japanese bike from the 70's or an old english thumper. Different machines, all have their specific charm. My uncle owned a 70-something shovel head (I think, maybe it was a pan head, whatever) and did nothing but work on it, a lot of ignition issues if I recall. The newer Harleys are no doubt more reliable. But if my $$$$ allowed I'd get a vintage MV Agusta, Van Veen or even a vintage Honda 500 GP machine over a Harley.

    This is FUNNY--->There's a guy I used to see last summer around my city with a motorized bicycle and a sticker on his gas tank that said: "Hardly Davidson". I haven't seen him around this year. Maybe the Harley guys killed him and buried him somewhere for revenge.laff
     
  3. dag_29307

    dag_29307 New Member

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    I live in a very small town in the middle of nowhere. We don't have a bike shop for about 40 miles in any given direction. I have gone to get parts for my bike from one of the stores here and have had the attitude change by the mere mention of my MB. The funny part is that I did have about $3500.00 worth of merchandise at the counter. When the salesman heard I was going to motorize the bikes he suddenly needed to speak to his manager. I waited about 15 min. with no one returning to help me so I left everything there and walked out. I called the store later and asked for the manager, Then I explained what happened and was shocked to find out the sales person was going to be given a rather lengthy pay free vacation. I was then invited to shop there anytime I wanted as long as he got a photo of the finished product. He also wanted first dibs on any future sales.
     
  4. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Dawned on me this morning. Not all but at least some, is not snobbery but intimidation. We take a rather simple devise like a bicycle and then add a WW, China girl, 4 smoker etc. All of a sudden in their place of work or biz where before we walked in, they were the expert, are now faced with an unknown.

    " He said that he had sold the motors for awhile, but then got out of it." Seems like an unpleasant memory for him. Might of had nothing to with you or our crazy. China girls are tuff to customer care for after the sale. Trouble shooting, explaining how to install etc.

    Just a thought
     
  5. Santa_cruz_loc

    Santa_cruz_loc New Member

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    Oysterville, I used to live in Astoria and I think I know who you're talking about! I have had similar experiences with bike shops all up and down the west coast. I live in Santa Cruz CA. now, and we have a little place called The Bike Church. It's a small co-op that helps people build a new working bike from old junkers. They treated me like I was family........Until I told them what I was going to do with the bike. The guy on duty told me that MBs were a fad, that they pollute too much and are way too loud and that he would support a local ban in the SC area if it ever came up and raised his arm to point to the door (hinting that I should leave)!!!!!WTF? Did he lose family to a pack of ravenous wild MBs? What is it with the Lycra crowd? Are they jealous that my bike cost $3000 less then theirs and is more fun? They sure seem to be uppity for people who dress in the most unflattering gear. I do love that they wear shirts SMEARED with logos and sponsors as if they were pro. (why do companies like Corona and Sierra Nevada even put their names on products like this? I always thought that bikes and beer = D.U.I.) The bike community is as diverse as the people who ride them and most bike shop owners/ workers are all about the love. It's just the handful of "know it all" people who are, ironically, narrow minded when it comes to something new. Try as they may, MBs are on the increase with no sign of slowing. So lets keep turning them out and putting them on the road and if the nay sayers have a problem..........Well it's their problem, not ours.
     
  6. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    Pollute too much? Maybe they cut their grass with scissors or something, but I doubt it. Everyone doesn't live like "Ed". Hypocrites, I can't stand 'em!

    Did you get to keep the bike or did he tackle you on the way out the door and scatch it back?
     
  7. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    LOL @ "Fad" Started in the 1870's But he could be right. Could stop any time.
     
  8. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    Snork very true..
     
  9. PutsTheDUIinRUINED

    PutsTheDUIinRUINED New Member

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    My local bike shop has two types of dudes. There is the guy at the register and there is the guy in the back room working on the bikes. The guy at the counter I do believe is the store owner's son or a close relative of the owner. He is an arrogant prick. He dresses in torn-to-****-jeans and talks like a surfer dude. He is too cool for school. I was in there a few years ago ordering a new Trek mountain bike (not to be motorized) and as a taller specimen of the human race (at 6"2') he looked at me and fitted me for a 19" frame. I told him I wanted a 21" frame. He scoffed and immediately got snarky. I was confused - I honestly thought the guy had a mental problem and looked around for management to step in and apologize or at least handle this awkward situation. A few weeks had passed, and I decided I needed to upgrade the thorn resistant tubing because my tires kept popping on McDowell Mountain. The bike mechanic, in the back room, was for lack of a better word, the ****ing man. We talked some bike talk and he got me involved in some insider information about bike trails in Arizona and yadda yadda. He raced competitively and basically was just the kind of guy you would be proud to call your friend. He told me the guy/kid that ran the register and floor room sales was an idiot...I guess he tells people that he training to be a professional cyclist and is also aspiring to do bike stuntwork in Hollywood. I basically remember that particular day and conversation when I encounter bike snobs. I also know more about bikes than they do so I like to segue our conversations into "technical bike-talk" and correct as often as possible. I know, its petty and childish but I always walk away feeling like a winner...although I'm sure the bike snob will probably use those lines on a multitude of other people to feel high and mighty...damn you karma.
     
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    Had the same thing a while ago. Went to the big bike shop, got looked up and down{I was working on the sidecar} and a couple of sniffs later the guy asks if he can help me.
    Needed a brake disc and caliper. Gives me the look of fear and wanders back to the repair shop, looks around and never asks the bike mechanic anything and comes back and says that they will have to order one.

    Look in the book, said ok can I get this one and then he tells me it would be better if I came back Monday. He was sure they had some used take offs that I could have cheaply.

    Went up the street to the other bike shop and was holding the part in 5 min. with the explanation that it wasn't cheap but would hold back the world and with the hills we have here, you need it.

    Told him what I was doing and just about had to sign a guarantee in blood that I would bring the bike by to show them when it was done. Every time I go in now I have to give them a progress report.

    The first time I went they were packed with every type of bike buyer from spandex to kids getting thier first bike. The other, bigger, store was empty.

    Steve.
     
  11. moronic_kaos

    moronic_kaos New Member

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    Well I've never had the pleasure of taking mine to a bike shop before, but I love taking it to the hardware store here (Montville Hardware in CT). Those guys let me bring the thing right inside and are more than willing to help me work on it. Plus I rarely leave spending more than 5 bucks.

    I think the bike shops are afraid of someone suing them. But it's their loss. Just go in there and talk like you're fixing up a mountain bike to do something heavy duty, and also want a cruiser bike for the road.
     
  12. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Big time, Hardware stores are great! Here in Wethersfield, we have 2 and bring MBs inside trying stuff.

    Years back, we lived in Montville. Great town.
     
  13. meowy84

    meowy84 New Member

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    I'm generalizing here but also I think hardware stores are just more used to 'tinkerers' coming in looking for odds and ends for whatever crazy projects they're working on whereas bike shops employ a lot of 'young punks' who are like drones and whos information comes from hype and buzz-words in shiny manufacturer ads in bike magazines but who can't seem to think outside the box. You take them out of their comfort zone of talking about the newest 'carbon fiber and unobtanium' forks that they just read about and they don't know what to do and think you're crazy for wanting something else.
     
  14. Techbiker

    Techbiker New Member

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    A Tale of Two Bike Shops

    Last year I took my bike up to the Richardson Bike Mart (supposedly the one that services Lance Armstrong's bikes) and had a "tune-up" done. In the end it cost me $160 and all they did was straighten out a few bent metal pieces, clean the frame, and change the chain. It took them a week to do the service and I didn't really have a chance to ride the bike before leaving for college. When I did get a chance, I realized that I had wasted $160... Previously to this, I went to the bike mart to ask for an estimate for tuning up the bike (a Motobecane 400ht) and they refused to even talk with me unless I had the bike with me. When I mentioned the model of the bike, the guy sneered at me since the 400ht is by no means the latest and greatest bike around...

    Recently, my father has been working on a project which has required a bunch of bicycle parts. I went to one of the other bicycle shops in the area and their prices were 1/3 those of the Richardson Bike Mart. For example, they got me 7 quality upper rear derailer pulleys for $6 a piece while the Richardson Bike Mart guy wanted to charge me $10-$15 a piece for plastic pull-apart pulleys. This other bike shop was also able to get parts shipped in the next day each time. The guys there were incredibly helpful and were interested in my father's project. While the guy at the counter wasn't interested when I mentioned that I also build motorized bicycles, at least he didn't really change his mood. He was sort of indifferent.

    I would just find the 2nd or 3rd most popular place in town because chances are that they will have much better customer service and or prices.
     
  15. Humsuckler

    Humsuckler New Member

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    my LBS is pretty receptive to whatever im up to, even if they do serve a more upper class than myself. I went there over a year ago and brought home a brand new Norco Mountaineer Almnimum framed mountain bike, they were happy with their new customer and since ive returned for hundreds of dollars of sales. i think thed **** if i brough in a HD wheel to lace up tho haha
     
  16. robin

    robin Member

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    This posting is very similar to mine which is--Why do bicycle shops hate us ?- some good stories there too!! Ive found a great bicycle store that also is the triathaletes choice of preference--the difference from their local competitors is that they sold motorcycles in the 80's and have a qualified motorcycle mechanic on staff and the bosses 25 year old son who love working on my bikes--because iam not a snob like many of their customers are they find it an interesting diversion.
     
    #36 robin, May 15, 2010
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  17. Saddletramp1200

    Saddletramp1200 Custom MB Buiilder

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    I have seen the snobs. Not all drive BMW's and eat sushi, yuck. The spandex set. I never return to bad bike shops. I will send the owner a note telling them I buy bikes almost every week and was treated bad by employees that will cost them 1000.00's of bucks over the next year. They always call me back :) The power of greed. laff
     

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