You Paid HOW Much for that Bike??

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)

"You Paid How Much for That Bike?

Good quote: ""It’s no secret to anyone who has ever endured an encounter with a grease-stained, eye-rolling, heavily sighing bicycle shop employee that customer service in the industry has historically ranged from sullen to supercilious to overtly hateful. ('It’s one of the few retail industries where a condition for employment seems to be utter contempt for the customer,' said one industry executive.)""

A new trend: Maker's Mark to go with a bike fitting."

Anonymous's picture
Mr. Common Sense (not verified)
When will the smoke clear and the mirrors crack?

"When I grow up I wanna be a pompous fool and get all liquored up before I overpay for a bike. I should also mention I want to spend half of a day in my life getting my ego stroked before I plop down my Gold Card.
I don't get the whole smoke and mirrors thing and I am offended by the way Steve Fried has the nerve to lump every bike shop employee into one heep.

There's no doubt that retail outfits are sometimes flawed and I mean all retail outfits not just bike stores but I resent that Steve Fried (who is probably Paul Levine's cousin) is qouting some aledged ""Industry Executive"" saying (“It’s one of the few retail industries where a condition for employment seems to be utter contempt for the customer,” said one industry executive.).

I hate to be the one who points out the obvious but what industry executive would ever say something to spite his own industry. I can only imagine it's an industry executive who works for one of these stores. I also think it's cool to point out that Altheus has gone out of business,now what do you suppose they did wrong.

Which leads me to my point, I shop at two store in the NYC and they have always treated me farely and been more than cordial,So can we stop with the smoke and mirrors . If you want stellar customer service try befriending employees at bike shops. You'll find that the good ones are great and if you have a bad experience at one shop chances are you probably might have a bad experience at Paragon Sports or maybe your local Deli. So Please be mindful that this article was clearly one sided and should be taken with a huge box of salt!"

Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)
I wanted to buy a good bike and 3 bike stores dropped the ball

"To: ""Mr. Common Sense"", who is too embarrassed to sign your own name: Don't assume that because you disagree, that everybody does. (and buy a dictionary when you have the chance...)

Here are my bad experiences at 3 bike stores in Manhattan. I'm still hoping to find one to help.

I started out 2006 actively looking, calling, visiting and emailing bike stores to help me buy my first new bike in 25 years. You would think that bike stores would be eager to help, and eager to get thousands of dollars from me, but I too did not get good service from 3 stores before I gave up. I'd done enough research before I started to realize I didn't want either carbon or aluminum (too risky / too hard). So that left lightweight steel or titanium. Fine. It narrows the choices... should make it easier. And I want a nice shade of green and relaxed geometry and gears no worse than what I have. Since I don't buy a bike that often, I don't have to buy off the rack. I didn't 25 years ago either.

Bike Habitat
I started out at Bike Habitat, where I got my current bike. I went in with my bike to show him what I needed, just lighter. It was hard to get the attention of the salesman, and the shop was a bit busy and disorganized even on a weekday afternoon, which was off-putting, but once I did, I had a good chat, and a few subsequent emails, but the limited number of custom frame companies they did business with would not state the weight of the finished bicycle (and I guess the salesman couldn't or wouldn't do the math to help either). I was pretty amazed that they gave up so easily. Since the almost entire reason I am buying a bike at this time is to shave off weight, my bike weighing 34 pounds with rack trunk, that is a core requirement. Not unreasonable to ask for and get data, in my book. The emails just trailed off.

Larry & Jeff's
Next, a NYCCer recommended a fellow at Larry & Jeff's I think it was, up on 2nd ave. It was deep in last winter. I came to the store mainly to talk, and I told him my requirements. (Not just bicycle weight no more than 21 lbs, but AT LEAST as low gears and equivalent steps between gears that Irv installed on my bike, and upright handlebars as I have them now.) Again, this should not be difficult. Instead of showing me how he could put something like this together by looking at catalogues or websites, the guy sends me out (with me wearing corduroys and a parka..) on six different bikes he has in the store, none of which are like what I needed. Most of them had dropped handlebars, and one of them had this extremely narrow mens hard saddle, which when I mounted it, my body instinctively threw itself off of, not once but twice, and gritting my teeth I did the ride anyway cussing him out all the way. The guy obviously was not listening. I hate that. I gave him my email and asked him to email me when he had put something together for me. He never did. I've wasted a ton of time.

Next: Sid's. Lots of NYCCers recommended this store. At the NYCC meeting I spoke with 3 salesmen from Sid's and told them what I needed, and got set up with one of them. I went in with my bike again. We looked at a catalogue. I was thinking that one of them might be good for the frame (Independent). Then the emails stopped. I called up a couple of weeks later. Oh, the guy doesn't work here anymore. Great. So I ask for another. I went through two or three more salespeople, one of whom did not want to communicate via email demanding that I come down to the store if I wanted to pursue getting a bike (now realize, I live and work quite some distance from this store and it is not unreasonable to ask somebody to email you when you know what you want). The details elude me at this point regarding the other salespeople, but suffice it to say, they didn't follow up or produce the bike I was asking for. I was even having to suggest things th"

Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)

Piermont bicycle connection. Email glenn at [email protected] . he's pretty on top of his stuff and their customer service is fantastic. they also havea great fitter (jason). I bought 1 bike there 4 yrs ago (a Fondriest don racer) and had a second bike built up and fitted there with all the parts I had purchased (another Fondriest). they did a great job and they're more than happy to make sure you have exactly what you want.

Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)

Thanks Christophe! Let's hope that he's willing to work outside the pigeonholes and by email. I've been in there plenty of times and it was the only place I could buy tights that fit a few years back. Doesn't say much for the bike stores in Manhattan, does it, that you have to go 25 miles to shop. Hopefully, they read this and learn.

Anonymous's picture
An anonymous cow! (Christian Edstrom) (not verified)


I don't mean this to be offensive in any way, but honestly, you won't find those type of advisory services at any bike shop - shops are just not equipped to provide that level of service for a bike that will net them $100. The best way to find that bike is to do your own research on the internet and buy the bike from the builder and have him/her spec it out as desired...

But what the hell, I'll play:

Tell me how tall you are and what size bike you're riding now, your current gearing, and type of riding you do, and I'll spec you a perfect bike right here on the message board. That way, you can go into a shop and tell them exactly what you want. A few phone calls to QBP and you'll have a bike...

Personally, I think a Rivendell Rambouillet painted Joel Green, with Albatross bars and flat bar components would meet all your criteria. Here's one with drop bars, but you get the idea...

- Christian"

Anonymous's picture
Eddy (not verified)

"Quote ""Do the math! Pay attention!""

All the information an educated consumer needs to make a good decision is available to anyone who takes the time to do the math and pay attention (and surf, read the appropriate bike magazines and so on). If a bike shop that pays a sales person $10 an hour isn't up to your standards, perhaps you should visit Signature Cycles? They will sit and discuss things with you and in the end (hopefully) you'll have the bike of your dreams. Your wallet will be a lot lighter, but you'll have your bike. Eddy."

Anonymous's picture
RichardFernandez (not verified)

You seem very ridgid,maybey this is the reason you have these bad experiences that you speak of.P.S. please forgive me if I misspelled any words.

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)


Check out this local builder:

Johnny Coast, website:

He does very nice work, even custom stems.

I've been thinking of an excuse to get a new bike, which I'd like him to build.

Anonymous's picture
zahaa (not verified)
if i want stellar service i should demand it.

a fantastic article quite frankly, and quite an appropriate snub to the current state of customer relationship development in streetside bike shops. i completely agree with the tasteful comment made regarding the service barriers put up by the staff at many bike shops, and not just those in manhattan.

while i agree, the margins are smaller than those one can expect from Signature bikes, the benefits of a proactive service staff will pay hugely in the long run. it is not the role of the customer to make a friend of the service staff, it is the role of the service staff to provide with a good attitude, even if customers are a little less knowledgeable then they.

i commend any industry exec who speaks out about how his/her industry is on a downward spiral. especially if said exec is doing something about it.

its too bad i have spent this time responding to this email instead of getting a job in a bike store and showing you what i am talking about.


also, there is a book called 'trading up' which, if you read, would open your eyes to many more aspects of whats going on behind your so called 'smoke and mirrors'

Anonymous's picture
David Regen (not verified)
What I look for in a bike shop

"Let's face it--when it comes to bike stores, most of us have high expectations that are reliably dissappointed. We've all been using catalogs for years, but sometimes you want a bike store because you want to see something with your own eyes. My favorite thing about bike stores is that assuming I can find what I want/need, I can get it right then and there; no waiting to see if it will work for me. My biggest problem with bike stores is that the amount of merchandise has grown so large that stores can't possibly keep everything I might want in stock, so they often tell me, ""...Well, we don't have it but we could order it..."", but so can I.

That said, I like to shop at stores that have a reasonably large volume of products that are easy to get to. One of my favorites lately has been Toga and Piermont, because they have lots of things like gloves, clothing, etc--they stuff I want to touch myself--right out on racks.

It's not a bad idea to stock up on ""small stuff"" before you need them (because eventually, you will), and catalogs are good for this because you can just figure out what you need, make a list and order it without worrying about if everything is available. I'm talking about stuff like chains, cables/housings, tubes, tires, bar grip, replacement hoods, grease, brake shoes, etc. One of my favorite outlets for these things is Excel Sports.


Anonymous's picture
Maggie Clarke (not verified)
The link doesn't work anymore

Does anyone have the article (or is there anything for me in it?)

Anonymous's picture
jc (not verified)
Richard Sachs
Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)
Those are works of art

Sachs frames, from what I see and hear, are works of art, head-turners wherever one rides and high-quality products. I want one, eventually.

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

Sachs makes fabulous RACING bikes. I doubt he's done many, (any?) upright bar bikes.

A friend had a touring bike made by him and is not too happy with it. Shimmies when not loaded precisely right.

Also, Sachs has a long waiting list. But going to him for a touring bike is like asking Ferrari to build a Hummer.

As for the lack of service you found, you can only expect so much from an employee. Most bikes are sold on the spot, or maybe 2 visits.

As for adding up the weight... all component mfgrs tend to lie about how light their parts are. Add up the total of the speced components plus frame and the bike will likely weigh more. Then what does the shop do? Eat a custom frame? Start stripping off parts and swapping?

Anonymous's picture
af (not verified)
URL for Rambouillet bike at Rivendell
Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)

"""No more than 21 lbs ... and upright handlebars""

Not that it can't be done, but 21 lbs. is REALLY light for upright bars and MTB/touring components.

[9500 grams = 21 lbs.]

If this is what you're thinking of, you can send the link to any of the above bike shops and ask them to spec something comparable, with a less minimal saddle. Budget at least $3k. Alternately ...


Weighs maybe low-mid 20's. Leave the rear 12-27 alone and replace the front crank with a mountain 42/32/22 -- that gets you within 5% of your current gearing.


El Señor Cow's Rivendell suggestion is old school and very classy, but Bicycle Habitat can order a custom built Mercian for half the price and you'll have a shop in NYC you can bring it to. Should weigh in the mid-upper 20's.

Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)
Best overheard exchange

"Outside Sid's after a quick adjustment. Someone on a brand new bike (carbon, ti?), spiffed out in latex -- looking really sharp and cool.

One mechanic to another: ""Look at that fool, without a helmet."" As he wobbles off into the grit of 34 St.

I think the contempt mechanics have for customers is at least equal to our own vanity and need for the latest gizmos that dont help much if you dont have the basics."

Anonymous's picture
An anonymous cow! (Christian Edstrom) (not verified)

My 60cm Rambouillet weighs about 24 lbs. It has fenders and a rack.

Anonymous's picture
PLee (not verified)
21 lbs

I think that weight should be doable, as long as we're not talking about including fenders and racks in that weight.

I have a 20 yr-old Cannondale road bike that I originally had built with 28/38/48 mountain bike crankset. The total weight was about 23lbs.

With a lightweight titanium/steel frame, carbon fiber fork and a reasonably, lightweight pair of wheels, I would think that you would have enough room to put on upright bars and a wide range cogset and still keep it under 21 lbs. And the bike would give up nothing in strength and durability.

I use Mr. C's Cycles in Brooklyn. If you tell Carlos exactly what you want, he'd be glad to set you up.

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