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Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS
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Just a general opinion search. Does anyone consider it bad form to bring parts to the LBS to save money and have the mechanic do work?

For example, bringing cables and housing instead of buying what they have in house? Would it be OK to buy a chain, shifter cables and housing, and break cables and housing from Nashbar or Amazon and have the LBS deal with internal housing?

Me personally, I feel fine bringing something high end like carbon bars, or something silly like a certain tape you wanted yourself instead of what they have on hand. But I'm on the fence about cables and chains. Probably just do the chain myself that's always easy enough.

I still lapped everyone on the couch!
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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It's not going to make you their favorite customer... and you will definitely be paying full labor price. And not get warranty on the parts. If you are in a situation where you can't or don't want to do the work yourself, you will really be best off by getting the parts AND the labor from your LBS.

Less is more.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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How much money do you think you're saving by bringing in your own cables and housing? Usually LBS's have rolls of bulk housing that they'll cut to length, that stuff is a lot less expensive than the prepackaged shimano / jagwire / campag / nokon etc cables. And it works just as well, unless you have a specific application that needs nokons for some reason.

I always buy cables & housing from the LBS and do the work myself, cuz I like doing it and I'm cheap.

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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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IMO that's a sure fire way to always get charged retail on everything, including labor.

The LBS is a relationship (at least mine is) and that is important to foster. They are not making a killing on the cables and housings, how much are you really saving? And are you using cheaper cables that are tougher to work with?

Paying that little extra will save you down the road when you need that little tune up, pre race check, quick tire change before the group ride starts. Heck, I've had a computer go dead on me at the shop, and I didn't have any cash on me so he gave me a battery.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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I just had a new fame built up and had them do a 1 for 1 swap of the components from my old bike to new. I just paid the price on cables and housing because the price difference was not that much different. I don't see an issue with major parts you already had but the little things that the LBS can make a few bucks on I would throw their way unless it something you must have and they can't easily get
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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I've done this a bunch of times, but often on things my LBS doesn't usually stock. I recently outfitted my road bike for climbing, as I'm doing Mt. Washington in August. I wanted a smaller crankset and a Force WiFli rear derailleur, which I bought online, but had the bike shop install. They seemed fine with it.

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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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JasoninHalifax wrote:
How much money do you think you're saving by bringing in your own cables and housing? Usually LBS's have rolls of bulk housing that they'll cut to length, that stuff is a lot less expensive than the prepackaged shimano / jagwire / campag / nokon etc cables. And it works just as well, unless you have a specific application that needs nokons for some reason.

I always buy cables & housing from the LBS and do the work myself, cuz I like doing it and I'm cheap.

Sometimes quite a bit. I'm new to my area and new to the LBS it will be the first time I'm spending so much as a dime for a gel pack. In the past at other LBS's and the quote I was just given have my tune up over $200. Not that my bike isn't worth considerably more but the sport is expensive enough. I've been to stores in the past that somehow only have the most elite cables, housing, and chains in stock and I end up having to take out a small loan (slight exaggeration) for a simple tune up. I do a lot of work myself but often like to have the LBS do the tricky and annoying stuff. I suppose if it is bad form and stresses a relationship with the local guy that can do complicated stuff at a much better quality than I can it's worth the extra few dollars every year.

I still lapped everyone on the couch!
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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For me it isn't the install that's difficult, it's the tuning. I typically just install my cables and housing myself, then take it to my LBS for tuning.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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Jloewe wrote:
JasoninHalifax wrote:
How much money do you think you're saving by bringing in your own cables and housing? Usually LBS's have rolls of bulk housing that they'll cut to length, that stuff is a lot less expensive than the prepackaged shimano / jagwire / campag / nokon etc cables. And it works just as well, unless you have a specific application that needs nokons for some reason.

I always buy cables & housing from the LBS and do the work myself, cuz I like doing it and I'm cheap.


Sometimes quite a bit. I'm new to my area and new to the LBS it will be the first time I'm spending so much as a dime for a gel pack. In the past at other LBS's and the quote I was just given have my tune up over $200. Not that my bike isn't worth considerably more but the sport is expensive enough. I've been to stores in the past that somehow only have the most elite cables, housing, and chains in stock and I end up having to take out a small loan (slight exaggeration) for a simple tune up. I do a lot of work myself but often like to have the LBS do the tricky and annoying stuff. I suppose if it is bad form and stresses a relationship with the local guy that can do complicated stuff at a much better quality than I can it's worth the extra few dollars every year.

I guess every shop I've gone to has boxes of QBP or similar housing that they sell for a couple of bucks per foot and some $3 or $4 stainless inner cables. Fancier cables don't make you any faster. Are they using that premium cable on the commuter bikes that come in for a service? Like I said, I'm cheap. If the shop can't do the job for a reasonable price I'd be taking it elsewhere.

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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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Some people want compression-less cable routing and others don't. Most any shop local to me does not carry compression-less or fiberglass. Why? Just a bulk buy LBS thing to not keep 10 kinds of cables and cable routing.

To me, something like that should be fine.

Now, if you don't buy something they definitely have or routinely order, that is kind of not so good.

I notice most LBS don't actually have a great bar tape selection either.

I'd say, just ask before you buy your own stuff to bring it. Never know, they may work out something with you on the whole deal.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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Jloewe wrote:
Just a general opinion search. Does anyone consider it bad form to bring parts to the LBS to save money and have the mechanic do work?

For example, bringing cables and housing instead of buying what they have in house? Would it be OK to buy a chain, shifter cables and housing, and break cables and housing from Nashbar or Amazon and have the LBS deal with internal housing?

Me personally, I feel fine bringing something high end like carbon bars, or something silly like a certain tape you wanted yourself instead of what they have on hand. But I'm on the fence about cables and chains. Probably just do the chain myself that's always easy enough.

I let them use their own parts so I don't have to listen to them bad mouth something that came from another source. I switched LBS a few years ago and the new guy critiqued the zip ties that were used on my aero-drink set-up. F'ing zip ties.
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Post deleted by Calamityjane88 [ In reply to ]
Last edited by: CalamityJane88: Mar 7, 18 9:12
Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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This post is the reason bike shops struggle in the first place. Why would they have any issue whatsoever with you bringing them ANY business? Instead of being upset that you bought parts elsewhere they should be figuring out what motivated you to shop elsewhere in the first place. I love my LBS but if I can save a bunch of cash buying online then i have zero issue paying them to service said parts.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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For the stuff you mention, I wouldn't take it to the LBS to install (I'd recommend investing in the time and limited tools you need to do it yourself but that's another conversation).

For something bigger or more complex I might consider it, but still not completely comfortable with the idea.

It would be cool to see something like a Tire Rack model for bike shops where you buy an item online to be shipped to an LBS in its network for installation. Avoids the need for small shops to carry a bunch of inventory they might not sell, and they could still get a cut of the overall sale/install price.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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To me; chains, cables, housing, etc would be bad form. If you bit off more than you could chew on a project, that’s one thing but just general maintenance; I’d say buy their stuff.

Here is one hack I learned a while ago; my shop charged something like QBP wholesale +X% and it was only a handful of dollars higher than most online stores and cheaper than their shelf prices. I’d walk in and specifically say “can we check on ordering stuff from QBP” not “I need a chain.” With something like Michelin Pro 3 tires it was $3-6 more than most online stores but $15-20 cheaper than their shelf prices.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [CalamityJane88] [ In reply to ]
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CalamityJane88 wrote:
How much is a reasonable tune up? I'm in San Diego county, if that helps. Also, how often should you get one? Do you wait for noise or a problem, or is it more like an oil change?

I suppose you could imagine a reasonable basic tune-up requiring ~30min of shop time. So a tune-up should be close to that.

How often depends on how much you ride.
  • Basic things like cable tension tuning only need be addressed when you start to notice a decrease in shifting/braking performance.
  • Chains need to be replaced when they reach their 'stretch' limit or else they will prematurely wear out teeth on the crank/cassette. When this needs to be done depends on a varitey of user factors. I suggest learning how to measure chain stretch with a tape measure and replace when stretch has exceeded 1/16". (https://www.parktool.com/...le#article-section-4

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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Runless] [ In reply to ]
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Runless wrote:
QBP wholesale +X% and it was only a handful of dollars higher than most online stores


I think a while back Slowman asked for suggestion about what we want out of an LBS, and my (half-joking) suggestion was a QBP kiosk.

I do like to use an LBS, but, honestly, I get tired of guiding store employees through QBP to get some specific part I want to order when I could do it myself 5x quicker. I'd pay myself, and the shop would get a small %. It would save the shop money too because that employee could be helping other people who want/need help rather than simply acting as my QBP relay.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [triguy86] [ In reply to ]
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triguy86 wrote:
This post is the reason bike shops struggle in the first place. Why would they have any issue whatsoever with you bringing them ANY business? Instead of being upset that you bought parts elsewhere they should be figuring out what motivated you to shop elsewhere in the first place. I love my LBS but if I can save a bunch of cash buying online then i have zero issue paying them to service said parts.

Good point. After all it is my business they're trying to get (at the risk of sounding like a jerk). To tell the truth the LBS has lost thousands of dollars from me over the years because I've learned to DIY quite a few projects and generally do all my road bike stuff myself, and let them deal with internal cables and Vision Metron shifters. I remember a question from Slowman about this not too long ago and I was in a shared opinion with others about a mobile bike mechanic. Or maybe a service only mechanic. If anyone out there that's reading this post is mechanically inclined there's a metric ton of easy money to be made.

I still lapped everyone on the couch!
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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Jloewe wrote:
... something silly like a certain tape you wanted yourself instead of what they have on hand.

Wait? You don't/can't wrap your own bars?

Even *I* can do that shit [although I haven't done 'em with the Victory Golden Monkey bar ends in a while]



Quid Pro Cuervo
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [RandMart] [ In reply to ]
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RandMart wrote:
Jloewe wrote:
... something silly like a certain tape you wanted yourself instead of what they have on hand.


Wait? You don't/can't wrap your own bars?

Even *I* can do that shit [although I haven't done 'em with the Victory Golden Monkey bar ends in a while]


I do on my road bike but I want my tri bike to look a little tighter than I can get it myself.

I still lapped everyone on the couch!
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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Jloewe wrote:
I do on my road bike but I want my tri bike to look a little tighter than I can get it myself.

Does that "tighter look" affect performance? Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it [and clearly, I don't]

YMMV

Quid Pro Cuervo
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
I think a while back Slowman asked for suggestion about what we want out of an LBS, and my (half-joking) suggestion was a QBP kiosk.

I do like to use an LBS, but, honestly, I get tired of guiding store employees through QBP to get some specific part I want to order when I could do it myself 5x quicker. I'd pay myself, and the shop would get a small %. It would save the shop money too because that employee could be helping other people who want/need help rather than simply acting as my QBP relay.

I really like that. Or even an online portal where one could find the part(s) from their own device, pay, select the preferred LBS and pick it up at the shop. It ships with whatever group order the LBS already has coming in. Like you, I'm tired of having to guide somebody through computer screens to grab the right part OR things being marked well above MSRP for no apparent reason. Maybe the standard LBS shopper couldn't handle finding the right part and it would be too much hassle on the LBS end with returns?
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [dangle] [ In reply to ]
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My LBS lets you order online, and either pick up from the store or free same-day local delivery as long as they have it in stock and the order is $100 or more (within a relatively small radius of their shop). Small parts included. I haven't tried it yet, but I probably will use the online shopping service in the near future.

My office is about 500m outside their free delivery zone, I don't know how tight they are with that.

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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [Jloewe] [ In reply to ]
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A good bike shop will not care, and will happily do whatever you ask. Some parts, like the one you mention are often discounted online, others are not. Shimano is particularly bad now for shops as they are discounted everywhere.

A good shop will not judge and will try their best on every repair, regardless of how many parts were brought in versus bought.

If a bike comes and we evaluate it and tell them the parts needed and then they want to order parts online we charge for diagnosing the issue in that case.

We see a lot of people who have tried to do a repair but failed, and we are happy to do it and even show them how if they want.

Any good shop will have the customer's interest as the priority, as long term customers and the good reputation they spread in the area are a shop's lifeblood.
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Re: Is it bad form to bring parts to the LBS [djhuff7] [ In reply to ]
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I don't know dawg, I am going through this issue right now with a rear derailleur I need replaced. The bike shop wanted me to completely replace everything and move to sram. I said no, I would like to stay Shimano and only replace the derailleur. I inquired how much this would cost and they quoted $200. They got offended when I said online I could get one for $40 online and their only rebuttle was something about warranty. Paying 5x as much for a part for "warranty" is not worth it to me when I can buy 5 of them for the same price as warranty.
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