Parts: LBS or Online

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Parts: LBS or Online

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    • #244308

      Where do you buy your parts?  Local shop (LBS) or online?

      I’ve always preferred going to a local shop.  I like the face to face interaction, talking shop, BSing, trail talk, etc.  Nothing to do with what I’m buying, but just the MTB community interaction.  I also like the instant gratification… need a part, got to a shop and leave with the part in hand.  I’ve always accepted the higher price tag because I get that instant gratification, and get the interaction.  I also like supporting the local economy.  And I do understand they have more overhead, so expect to pay more.  Not rocket science.  But… things have been changing.  More and more I find that LBS’s seem to carry a lot less inventory.  Fewer parts brand and model selections.  Seems the common response these days is “we can order it”.  Well, so can I.  And those orders seem to take up to a week since, as a business, they order through distribution channels, not one on one sales.  I get it that a shop can’t keep an inventory of $600 forks on hand.  But chains?  Tires?  Rotors?  Pads?  Even with these consumables, it seems there’s less to choose from.  It’s hard to resist things like second day Amazon purchases.  Heck, it’s even common to get same day delivery on some of these things from Amazon here in DFW.  And since I’m a Amazon Prime customer due to all the other crap we get from them, there’s no shipping!  Like I said, hard to resist.  And then there’s the reduced cost of the part itself.  JensonUSA has been a go to for parts more and more for me as well.  Usually for bigger stuff, and sometimes consumables when they’re on sale.  And they ship free for orders over $50.  I also hit Performance Bike.  They’re my “hybrid” go to shop.  Look online for what I need, pay for it online, then hit one of the local brick and mortar stores they have in my area to pick it up.  Makes me feel better since I am more or less supporting the local economy, and I get some of that interaction.

      So, where do you shop for parts and supplies?  LBS or on line?

    • #244310

      I agree…I’d prefer to support the local shop…but with 4 bikes I buy a lot of parts and just can’t justify spending double at the LBS for all my parts (and having to wait longer…although with backup bikes I am usually less concerned about the wait)   I just replaced a rear shimano xt brake…the LBS was going to charge over $70 more for the part!  For that money I could have gotten the XTR online….it just doesn’t make sense and is why the shops don’t stock as much because they won’t be able to sustain expecting all their loyal customers to overpay for everything.   And with all the aftermarket brands a local shop can’t even offer all options or expertise on parts they don’t distribute.

      I also spend a LOT on service.  I spend more on service than some spend on their bikes between repairs, building wheels, tubeless setups etc etc etc bc I don’t really do any of my own work.  The LBS is better off having me as a good service customer than not a customer at all if I was to learn to do more repairs on my own (which I probably could figure out if I had to)…but I feel better having the pros do my work and for me that is the value of the LBS…

      In general, I tend to buy the bigger parts online and the small parts (rotors, pads, chains, cables etc) at the LBS…..I also make a point of tipping my mechanics….

    • #244313

      .I also make a point of tipping my mechanics….


      Interesting….I’ve never, ever, done this for my LBS techs. Without hijacking this thread or getting into a Mr Pink (Reservoir Dogs) discussion on this, how long have you tipped your bike techs and do you tip others, like your car mechanic?

    • #244320

      LBS never has what I want, often doesn’t even know about it, or can’t get it. And if they can it takes too long, then I have to drive back to get it. I buy most of my parts online.


      As far as tipping, how much does your mechanic get paid? Other than food service people that are allowed by the government to be paid less than minimum wage, I do not tip anyone.

    • #244330

      I use my LBS exclusively.  I do check the price of parts online and the shop will price match.  I’ve never tipped, but I do buy lunch occasionally and bring beer a couple times a year.  On my cross country trips I’ve found shops with a large rental fleets have a large parts inventory.  If possible I gravitate towards them.  For the most part, I have been treated quite well by the various shops.

    • #244374

      I like to take a look at my LBS first before I look online.

      If they have what I want, I’ll purchase it even if it is cheaper online (unless the price is drastically different).

      If they don’t have what I want I generally default to purchasing it online depending of it is an item I’m needing in a timely manner.

    • #244392

      I needed pedals (I wanted XT) and went to a LBS and he charged me $20 more than what XTR pedals cost.  I understand needing to make a profit but I’ll never go back to that guy. I also won’t ever refer anyone to him.  Several weeks later, I went to a different LBS for a new helmet and he gave me a discount even though I didn’t buy my bike there. He then took the time to give me directions to a local single track and proceeded to give me details on the trail as well. He won my business and I will refer buyers his way.

      I check online prices and am willing to spend more for the same thing local at the LBS but if I’m going to get jabbed, no thanks.  I don’t understand some of these shops with their pricing and then, lack of inventory. Do they not know we have options?  I just had to find the right shop and I think I have.

      • #244393

        I went to a different LBS for a new helmet and he gave me a discount even though I didn’t buy my bike there. He then took the time to give me directions to a local single track and proceeded to give me details on the trail as well. 

        That’s exactly the kind of interaction I like and appreciate!  I think it reflects the attitude of a shop operator that is doing what he does because of their interest in biking versus a “job”.

        Off topic, but worth mentioning…

        Speaking of the right attitude (and leaving tips)… After a quick ride down Game Creek trail from the top of Vail to Minturn, Colorado, my rear brake started fading. I assumed a new set of pads might be in order.  I stopped of at Mountain Pedaler, the only shop in town.  Charlie B. had the pads (I was going to swap ’em myself), but he wanted to take a look.  He said looks like contamination.  He flat sanded the original pads and compound buffed the rotor. Worked fine.  When I asked how much, he said no charge.  I was a 1st time visitor, and he knew I was from out of town and would probably never wind up there again, yet… didn’t charge me.  So I left a $20 tip.  At least once a year I do ride the Vail area.  Now I have 2 stops to make in Minturn… The Minturn Saloon AND Mountain Pedaler!

    • #244396

      I look online to see what’s out there and price things, but I go to the shop to purchase. I also always get great advice for free, which you don’t get in online shops.

    • #244409

      I travel a lot for work, so getting to a local shop is difficult. However, I bought an aluminum handlebar off of amazon, it snapped during a ride about 1/2 way between the grip and the stem. I have a picture but couldn’t figure out how to attach it here. Thankfully I wasn’t hurt, but I am going to LBS more often. I found one not too far that had a pretty good in-stock range of parts.

    • #244413

      I used to utilize my local LBS for service and parts all the time.  In the winter I’d be the only one in there and I was happy to bring my business to them.  But then when the summer came I had to wait on the back of the line like everybody else.  That meant even small fixes would take up up to a week depending on how many people were queued up ahead of me.  Since I didn’t have a back up bike at the time and I wasn’t going to forego prime riding opportunities in the heart of the season I decided I needed to do more of the upgrades and service myself.  And I’m happy I have.  Not only do I not have to miss prime riding opportunities (because my bike would be in the shop) but I’ve saved quite a bit of money and feel a greater sense of pride in my steed.  For certain things I’m not yet comfortable with I’ll bring it to my LBS (sometimes with parts I’ve purchased online).

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