Am I overreacting? A bit of a LBS rant

I am planning on post a google review on my LBS which I have had a bad experience at. Intent isn’t to scold them but to make a public review so others know about my experience and have more information when choosing this LBS over others. However I want to make sure I am not overreacting - perhaps all this is “normal” for a LBS nowadays.

TLDR: First experience: Had bike fit - seemed to be ok/no issues with this experience. They needed to cut/rebleed new brake line and brake line was not run under handlebar groove to keep flush when I picked it up so had to undo/redo myself Second experience: Needed seat post clamp and they charged me $20 for a $13 clamp. Also had them take a look at shifting and got charged $30 for hanger alignment and after rinding one block I knew this didn’t solve issue so turned around. They talked to me like I probably had no idea what was going on (explained what a hanger was to me, indexing, etc) and told me to call back and schedule an appt since they were closing for the day.

Longer Version: Bit of background on the shop - they mainly do bike fits but do offer service as well. There main business is getting you in for a bike fit and then helping you order a custom geo bike. I decided to go here for a bike fit last year.

First experience:
Bike fit seemed fine (never had one before so can’t compare). It was very basic and took 20min with some measurements but I did feel a lot better. The guy seemed nice / knowledgeable enough. I did decide to swap handlebars for larger size and wanted to upgrade to carbon so we picked one out. The brake line was too short so it needed a new one and re-bleed. I have done this myself but decided to just let them do it as they said it would be done next day. Come back and pick it up and bring it home and notice they didn’t put the brake line into one of the grooves under the handlebar which keeps the line flush with the bar. Just felt a bit messy so I had to undo and redo tape myself. Total for this was $150 bike fit, $350 bar (Enve), and $40 for bleed. I would say 4/5 star as fit was good but the tape job was below average given they missed the flush brake line.

Second experience:
Seatpost clamp broke so I go to my local Specialized shop and try to get a new one. The service guy there moves mountains trying to look for an old clamp to give me to get me home but just can’t find it so calls on a local shop to see if they have it. They do. It’s the same shop I went to get my bike fit at. So I head there and the guy says yes we have the clamp and ask if I know my saddle height. I say yes because you gave me a bike fit! He says something like “oh great you don’t need to go to Specialized then you can just come here”. So I am thinking sweet this dude is just going to give me clamp for free. Anyway he finds a clamp, puts it on, and I am saying thank you and he tells me I can take it for a spin to make sure it holds. Before that he also just goes that will be $20. And I honestly think he is joking but go oh ok let me take it for a spin quick and make sure its holding and then I will come back and he goes “why don’t you pay first”. Whatever, so I pay $20, take a lap and it is indeed holding so it’s fine. [I go home and look up this seatpost and it’s a generic Orbea one that is $13 on multiple websites….] Well my shifting was a bit funky all day too and I am taking a three day trip tmrw so I figure what the heck I will have them look at it. So I come back to the shop say clamp is working fine but wondering if you can take a look at my shifting - I can’t seem to dial it in. Now I have been riding bikes for over a decade and been wrenching my own for a lot of that. I know my way around a bike and certainly all the basics - indexing, RD adj, hanger alignment, etc. For whatever reason I could not dial in my old 105 shifting and wanted to see if they could help. So they put it in the stand and tell me my hanger is slightly bent. Then they start explaining to me what a hanger is….and honestly start to mansplain me (I am a male fwiw). I think they were just trying to be nice but not sure if it was old aluminum bike, the stickers on it, or the T shirt I was wearing but they definitely thought I didn’t know anything about bikes which is very frustrating. So they “fix” the hanger and its takes no more than 2min and I am ready to walk out the door and he goes “That will be $30”. Seemed pretty steep but w/e. I pay and start going back. I make it a block and the shifting might actually be worse lol so I immediately turn back around and say yea that didn’t fix anything and they put it in the stand again and then start teaching me about indexing……I am pretty fed up at this point and they try to tweak a few things, oil the chain (which pissed me off cuz I waxed it…), and then say its shifting ok in stand so if its still an issue schedule an appt for next week and we can do a deeper dive. Honestly thought they were going to charge me again……but they let me walk out this time.

Open Question:
Did all this feel reasonable? The botched tape job, charging $20 for a $13 seat post clamp, and $30 for a quick hanger alignment that did not fix the issue? I was a bit bummed by the amount of money I have spent here and they were not willing to help me out. Seemed they were more interested in the transaction than relationship. Would I be overreacting by writing a say 3 star google review on this? Idk the whole situation was very off putting but don’t want to call out a local business if all this seemed reasonable.

Please edit and add paragraphs/breaks. If the skyscraper of text is any indication, yes. You “may” be overreacting. But, I haven’t read what you wrote as it’s not readable.

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What’s the TLDR version? Who has the time to read a 3 page rant about your local bike shop?

IME, most local shops in my area kinds of suck. Lots of $12-15 kids working there with way less knowledge than people on forums, youtube, or even me. If they don’t stock it, why would I have them order it and pay 2-3x the price?

But some people need full service and/or post sales service so I understand the business model.

When I’ve needed work, I sought out the one pro mechanic in my area. He did neutral support for Mavic on the Tour. He’s that good.

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Sorry tried to doing on mobile but have since edited. Let me know if that still isn’t any better.

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highlighted TLDR now - my bad - mobile upload didn’t work well.

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My opinion - you should take a couple of nights to sleep on this, and if you still have something to share you should handle this as if you’re providing developmental feedback to a more junior member of your team at work.

Nothing written in a formal review should ever be a surprise, and it shouldn’t be the first time someone hears it. Provide your constructive feedback in person or via phone too the LBS owner/manager and let them have time to react and adjust their behavior.

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I would not be happy if I bought and had installed a new carbon Enve bar (with new brake line) and the bar tape was installed over an improperly placed brake line. That alone would set me up to be extremely skeptical of all future service. But, that’s why I do my own service in the first place. I don’t need that kind of frustration.

As for paying $20 installed for a clamp you can order (not buy, but order) online for less? That’s a non-issue.

Regarding the shifting, sounds like the deraileur hanger was indeed bent since you didn’t say otherwise (and you watched him do it). But then, it didn’t fix the indexing issue. I’ve learned that shifting performance “in the stand” is not the same thing as on the road. Not sure why that is, but it often is.

Apparently, they were closing. So no time to dive further into trouble shooting. But them being close to closing when you took it in and asked them to look at it was kind of on you. You set yourself up for another disappointment with the timing.

Personally, I wouldn’t go back based on botching a fairly spendy handlebar replacement. But then again, I don’t know what your other service options are. But it sounds like you are self-capable. I’d stick to that plan as much as you can. Sad, but I expect bad bike service. So, I do my own. And if it’s on-par with what I’d likely get at the local bike shop, I simply re-do it and learn a little more.

As far as any review, I think your only real issue is the shoddy handlebar replacement. But I wouldn’t try to skewer them over it.

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  • Ditto. People seem to ignore the work behind ordering, stocking, finding/spec’ing & installing components. The raw component cost is only part of the whole price paid in a industry like this.

  • Do people similarly criticize things like eating out when the cost of the raw ingredients are small in comparison to the cost of the meal. Perhaps not the best analogy, but I think the point is similar.

  • Load. Everything from the lack of real chain load since the wheel is spinning with no real drag or force. Add in the inevitable flex that happens with the bike & rider actually on ground. Deltas like this don’t always happen, but sure do show themselves in many cases as I have seen and helped tech’s diagnose and fix. That is why many shops also do a test outside as final validation vs pure stand check.
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  • For what reason would a new part be free???

  • The only reason I can envision is if the failed part is found to have manufacturer defect that is then replaced by a qualifying vendor (Spesh in this case) under warranty.

  • But you ended up in a separate independent shop (fit specialist if I read that right) after your actual shop didn’t have one and took the effort to find one for you locally. This was not a warranty issue by anything you’ve included so I think the $20 is fair given this info and that which I shared in a reply above.

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  • Meh. Unless they really know you and your tech history, how would they know what you do or don’t have for background here?

  • What you share seems like them giving decent background info that could be new for a majority of bike owners per my experience in the shop. Maybe they could have asked some questions to see if that was necessary or useful for you, but that is not something that always happens or fits into a situation every time.

  • Again, there is a cost to the time & experience here that is not “free” IMO. Bike into & out of the stand, tool on hand and experience to use it are all rolled into a service transaction like this.

The issues with the quality of that may well be worth questioning and handling separate from my business related observations, but I get the impression that you undervalue much of what goes into running a bike shop / related business.

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Thanks for the insightful response! Definitely some of the best advice I have heard yet.

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The only items that would piss me off would be not putting the brake line under the tape properly and putting oil on my waxed chain! The shifting fix deserves a follow-up, but I would make sure they aren’t charging me for a quick look that requires minor adjustments.

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A full bike fit is not 20 minutes. You need to assess how the person interacts with the bike, and this means seeing them on the bike when putting out at least a tempo pace.

A basic bike sizing should normally be included with buying a bike. It looks like Angry Catfish charges $100 for a sizing … but that they include it with a new bike purchase. In fact, they also include stack and reach, cleat, and saddle setup with a new bike. That takes about 1 hour.

I am surprised that they are charging $150 for a 20 minute fit.

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I agree that seems a bit absurd. The last bike fit I did had me do a warm up spin for 15min and complete flexibility/strength assessment prior to the fit even starting.

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Yeah, if it was legit 20min in and out, that is well short of what I consider a “real fit”. That sounds like a “sizing” more than anything, but may vary depending on what was actually reviewed, covered & adjusted.

Markets all vary, but $150 is our charge for our “Foundation Fit” that takes 1.5 hours on average. Includes initial discussion and physical assessment (optional and tailored to issues), Starting bike measurement documentation, all fit changes on the bike from pedal/cleat to saddle to controls, and Final bike measurements. “Easy” ones may go as short as an hour, with tricky ones hitting the 2 hour mark on occasion.

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20 minute isn’t a “real” fit, as noted above.

They should do some analysis off the bike - leg length, body asymmetry, foot size, arch shape, instability/balance, etc.

Then put you on the bike. Make some tweaks. Repeat. Tweaks to both bike but just as likely cleats.

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Neill’s videos in this channel have some good info about fits.

Granted, he’s a specialist and I’d expect a lot more from him than the LBS, but lots of stuff to think about (and ask about when going for a fit locally).

Just re-read everything Chad said, because he hit everything on the head.

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110%. In a lot of industries, the standard is that labor = 100 or even 200% labor. $26 to install a $13 part wouldn’t have been unreasonable. As others have pointed out, you’re also paying for them to maintain stock, hire and train employees to install the part, be able to install the part on demand, etc.

Before I’d post any of this to Google or anywhere else, I’d go talk to the manager or owner. The responses you’ve gotten here should be an indication of how people are receiving your review, and what we’re getting about you and about the shop.

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Not eggregious IMHO. The only one that bothers me is the hanger not fixing it and not helping you further.

The rest honestly doesn’t seem that bad.