With the news of Performance Bicycles filing for Chapter 11 recently, the importance of local bike shops is a topic worth discussing. We are living in an era of incredibly low prices thanks to online retailers. It’s a buyers market thanks to these online sources that offer incredible deals on anything and everything related to riding a bike.
For everyday items, it’s hard to beat the prices offered by online stores such as Chain Reaction or ProBikeKit. These virtual shops offer customers everything from tubes to complete high-end bicycles. With an ever expanding marketplace, companies offer direct to consumer prices. Canyon Bicycles is a good example of this business model. Canyon brings a wide range of bikes, including those used in the ProTour direct to buyers.
So why should you shop at a brick and mortar shop where everything costs more? Service. Yes, you can buy most bicycle related things online for less, but sometimes you just need to go to the bike shop. If you need something today, a well stocked bike shop can get you riding the same day, as long as the repair isn’t too in depth.
Let’s be honest, there are plenty of people that should never be let within ten feet of their bike with a tool. When I used to work in shops, you could always tell when someone tried to fix something and failed. It would always cost more to fix than if they would have brought the bike in before trying to “fix” they problem.
Where a bike shop really illustrates added value is follow up. Any reputable shop includes a service package with purchase. Depending on how generous the shop policy, general maintenance and service is usually included. This also holds true if you have a warranty issue. Good luck on the journey involved with returning an online bike purchase.
Buy a bike from a reputable shop, and you can rest assured that any valid warranty issue you may face will be handled by the shop. I have seen people go through the headache of trying to warranty a part they bought online and I wouldn’t want to face that kind of stress. Nothing beats the ease of bringing something back to a shop with an issue, and leaving with a new part as a replacement.
I admit it, I generally buy tires and tubes online. It’s for the same reason you probably do, it’s less expensive. That doesn’t mean I’ll sacrifice a ride if I blow out a tire and don’t have a spare. I will gladly pay full price for something at a shop. They are there when I need them and I like having a bike shop in my neighborhood. It’s the same reason I buy big ticket items at my local shop. I know that if I have an issue with my bike, the shop will take care of it. When was the last time you’ve visited your local bike shop? If it’s been a while, do yourself a favor and stop by. Don’t forget to buy something while you are there, because you might just need them one day. Stay safe out there, and keep the rubber side down!