Am I overreacting? A bit of a LBS rant

Thank you to everyone for all the responses. This is exactly why I wanted to post on a forum and ask the cycling community prior to writing a review.

My takeaway is I am over reacting to the situation as a whole. However it seems agreed upon that at least one or two things (tape job, bike fit duration, etc) are a bit out of the ordinary here and enough for me to seek a different LBS but no need to post a negative review for the old one. In the meantime I will continue to do my own maintenance and support other LBS when I can.

Thanks again to all.

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FWIW, the best advice I got when I got back into cycling several years ago was that I shouldn’t worry about buying a bike - I should worry about finding a bike shop that was a good fit for my particular tastes, needs, and ability.

Maybe another bike shop will better understand what you’re looking for.

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IMO, you are overreacting. A LBS has WAY higher overhead, so they have a mark up on parts relative to an online only store. Also, they make most of their money on labor (from people like you who need/want these things done for them).
I worked at a LBS 10 years ago and we charged $25 for a new tube and labor. Probably half the people that show up for work just have a flat tire. Cost of labor is expensive in US since cost of living is so high.

Also, why would you expect one LBS to give you a free part because another LBS called to see if they had one in stock? They aren’t all owned by the same firm.

FWIW, I’d be frustrated like you, but your experience with this LBS is commonplace and not a reason to give them a poor review. That’s just what it’s like in the LBS space. Nobody is making alot of money running a LBS

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Hmm, it’d take me longer to unscrew the derailleur, so I could screw in my alignment tool, than 2 mins. You sure it wasn’t longer?

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Going back to the bike fit thing. You say you were satisfied with it. But there are a couple issues.

First is that we tend not to have a frame of reference. If you haven’t been to multiple bike fitters and also you only interact with them occasionally, you and everyone else won’t know what is possible. Plus you won’t have the extensive knowledge across a number of people that a real bike fitter would have. This can be true with clinicians, therapists, lawyers, a whole bunch of professions.

Second, we do tend to rate highly people who deliver services to us. Just in general. You know how 3 stars in Yelp means it’s horrible? If the actual distribution of restaurant quality were normal, 3 stars would be right in the middle of the bell curve. Not terrible, not an amazing, but plenty good enough.

What can consumers do to navigate the process of finding a good bike fitter? Ok, to be honest, I don’t really know. You can ask friends, but they would have the same issues as I outlined. If you know a cyclist who is knowledgeable, and I do mean actually knowledgeable as opposed to just knowing some facts and being very confident in that knowledge, you could ask them.

One or two star reviews are worth a funny review that sheds light on the situation so others aren’t impacted by the same issues. Not necessarily slamming anyone or the business but gets the point across in an entertaining way.

3 star. Call/email them and let them know how they could possibly improve going forward.

Five stars always leave a review.

Just my policy.

Timely? Maybe?

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This is kinda topical re. nobody making much money running an LBS.

I paid £180 for a 90 minute fit and then significant labour on the bike (new stem, bars, seatpost) - paid retail for the parts but the labour was included in the fit.

I think charging £20 including fitting of a part you could have found online for £13 is a non issue though.

“Mansplaining” is always annoying - I would want to comment on that as well. But you should see the amount of patronising mansplaining my 64 year old mum gets when she goes to the running shop… think they assume she doesn’t know anything about it (as per OP comment, sounds similar - alu bike etc, they assume you dunno what you’re talking about).

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I’m not so sure the “mansplaining” about bent deraileur hangars is such an issue. Recently I was riding with a 75 year old who has been a 20- year cyclist. He was having trouble with his shifting and things were noisy. From riding behind, I could see his deraileur hanger was bent. I offered to fix it for him if he came to my place after the ride.

He was completely amazed at the fix. He never knew of the issue and wondered “why bike shops don’t do this”. I wouldn’t regard a bike shop explaining bent hangars as being condescending. It’s often amazing what peoples’ base knowledge is, and isn’t.

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hmmm…

I think the only constructive feeback I’d give is that they didnt correctly fit the bars (but they probably would have corrected this for free if you had told them) and maybe that they should be more transparrent on costs before they do work like the hanger allignement and fitting the seat clamp?

Non of what you have written is particularly bad though.

Because its a sacrificial part on most bikes some bike shops don’t want to touch them and risk snapping it. Some people would blame them incorrectly for the damage.

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Not really. There is plenty of malleability in most hangers do deal with typical alignment issues. The risk of full failure is only there when the hanger is bent well past what is seen outside of a crash or drivetrain failure.

Sadly, mildly bent hangers are more common than we’d like with more than a few bikes needing tweaks right out of the box. It’s true that they are meant to break before damage to the derailleur in crashes, but they are not that fragile either.

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Maybe its only a sample of one lbs but that’s what the manager of one shop told me when he bent my old integrated titanium hanger back into place, he didn’t like touching aluminium ones. It was also about 10years back and possibly attitudes have changed, he’s still in business anyway :slight_smile:

Yes. If deraileur hangars are simply changed out when there is an alignment issue (intentionally not using the word “bent”), then you may never get a properly aligned deraileur. In some cases, the deraileur hangars are of dodgy tolerances. In other cases, the bike frame itself does not have a perpendicular mating surface for the deraileur hanger. So, bending the deraileur hangar is essential to proper alignment. I don’t think I have ever checked a bike that didn’t need an adjustment, even when new.

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Then N=1 AFAIC. I get that each person has their experience and potential hesitation from prior bad experience. Finding a replacement hanger can literally be a needle in a haystack since there are literally hundreds of similar, but slightly different ones for each bike.

But in my 30 years around shops (10+ part time employment) the many dozens of techs I’ve worked with would willingly grab the hanger tool off the wall and square one up with no hesitation. Done several times on my own bikes and seen it rather frequently with the advent of 12s bikes since even a slight misalignment can lead to shifting issues.

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I paid $50USD to have a bent hanger straightened at a race expo. The guy did what he could, but shifting was still not 100%, it really needed a new hanger. Was I shocked? Yup. Did I complain? Hell no, my other alternative is to do it by hand, run around and hope I can find another shop, or have 1/2 of the gears skip.

A shop is under no obligation to do work for free. Unless you’re a repeat customer that spends tens of thousands at this LBS (and even then!), I wouldn’t expect anything get done without paying for it, including the 5 minutes it takes to straighten a hanger.

edit: I would however be upset that they twice didn’t wrap properly.

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A “2 min job” for a good mechanic could be a 30mins+ job for you at home (or 30mins at home, plus frustration and taking it to the mechanic anyway…)

That is part of the value of what you are paying for.

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Shame on them for the poor QC on the handlebar swap - That should’ve been taken care of by them. The second you start to fiddle with it yourself kind of releases them of having to take care of it.

As for everything else, I think the lesson is that you should lead by asking, "How much for …? " That way you can be straight up and there’s no misunderstandings.

I think it’s a bit of an overreaction, but I can also see where you are coming from, maybe expecting a little something “on the house” as a gesture of their appreciation for your business. I totally get that - but I’d leave the review offline and find a LBS that vibes with you gives you the value that you are seeking.

Titanium and steel you can bend as many times as you like. Their fatigue limit is effectively infinite. Plus they are usually not sacrificial seperate bits for this reason.

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