Another LBS disappearing from the circuit.

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
The problem with being a mechanic is twofold:

1. People won't pay what it costs to repair a cheap bike. It could cost over £200 in parts alone to fix up a cheap MTB with a secondhand value of £50. Add labour, and the owner would rather throw it into a canal and buy another bike.

2. People who buy expensive bikes are likely to do most of the work themselves. The jobs that go the way of the LBS are the difficult ones, like stuck BBs and seatposts.

I looked into it as a possible post-retirement job and realised there's no money in it, probably a loss on most jobs.
 

Oldhippy

Veteran
Photo Winner
It is a shame. Likeminded individuals starting up a cooperative hub perhaps? Bit idealistic I suppose though.
 

SydZ

Well-Known Member
Location
Way Up North
I always wondered how those who are not good with their hands or require specialist skills survive when there is no LBS nearby. Surely there are hundreds or thousands that need such help. Especially now that bike ownership has taken off.
I suspect many don’t bother and end up ditching the bike when it inevitably fails completely.

I regularly came across the same chap slowly riding up a hill in town as every time he put down any real power his chain would slip. I offered advice / help on more than one occasion which he declined.

I’ve seen him again, but not the bike, on several occasions more recently so suspect the bike eventually gave up on him.
 
Of the remaining independent bike shops in Norwich, we still have Andy at AP cycles ( who was the mechanic at Specialised Cycles), the social enterprise Bicycle Links and at UEA, the cooperative Dr Bike.
Any others of note?
 

Paul_Smith SRCC

www.plsmith.co.uk
Location
Surrey UK
...I've used the same LBS for 20+ years and they know my cycling interests inside out. I give the LBS first chance to sell me everything I need and never go looking online for cheap options. To do so would be a false economy as I cannot buy the help and support I receive from my LBS and I need to both repay this and contribute to ensuring the LBS is successful.

Yes, if the LBS doesn't stock an item I go online but only if I have to.....
An established quality LBS will have regulars that they look after. Modern bikes are more complex than they were when I started in the trade 35 years ago and I totally get that for many bike maintenance is something they would rather delegate to someone else. I am also pleased to say that many also like to support their local store. As lovely as that is of course the store needs to deserve to survive and offering a quality service with advice on product choice as well as their workshop support is just one USP over those who arguably have a far more 'click and collect' business model.

The large online retailers as well as the multi outlet bricks and mortar stores have understandable had an impact on a LBS. Fair play to the decision makers who fund these large concerns, especially during the pandemic their large stock holding worked very well, but for me it's similar to Supermarkets versus local Green Grocers, Butchers and Bakers, it's all rather fabulous but I feel on many levels we are much poorer for it.

Seeing a LBS close is becoming quite common, I have worked at four in my thirty five years, all were quality established stores but three have gone, two ceased trading and one has since become one of the multi outlet stores.
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Of the remaining independent bike shops in Norwich, we still have Andy at AP cycles ( who was the mechanic at Specialised Cycles), the social enterprise Bicycle Links and at UEA, the cooperative Dr Bike.
Any others of note?
Soren's at Drayton. Now that is out of the way.

Is Dodger's still going? The Story Of Dodgers Of Norwich By Ronnie Green & Dawn Castle-Green (Paperback) | Jarrold, Norwich – https://www.jarrold.co.uk/departments/books/local-books/the-story-of-dodgers-of-norwich
 

nickyboy

Norven Mankey
I always wondered how those who are not good with their hands or require specialist skills survive when there is no LBS nearby. Surely there are hundreds or thousands that need such help. Especially now that bike ownership has taken off.

I found out the revival of Preston ( courtesy of the @Adam4868 and the @theclaud) impressive bringing back commerce and industry on a economical viable front. Maybe councils can plan for these things where there is a demand and there is no need to outsource out of main towns,

Quite interesting that councils are involved with bike lanes and the likes to keep up with Joneses but not the other parts of cycling.
These businesses were established when cycling was utilitarian and cyclists generally knew how to fix things, because they had to, they couldn't afford otherwise. So these shops had a business supplying bikes and parts to these people and all was good

Fast Forward to the present day. Online sales mean these shops can't compete on bikes and components other than the esoteric. But they keep the same business model. Other than the weird and wacky stuff, the reality is that bike shops have to survive on maintaining bikes that were bought elsewhere and are owned by people who have neither the time nor skills to do it themselves. Unfortunately, some are stuck in the model of supplying bikes and components which just isn't viable.

My bike shop doesn't sell bikes. It barely sells components other than a few odds and ends. All he does is maintenance of bikes bought elsewhere, assembly of bikes bought online and some wheelbuilding. He's snowed under
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Dodgers closed years ago.
I thought it did, but someone added it back onto OpenStreetMap a few months ago. The shop name signs are still visible on Streetview but date from 2018. Unless you've been there recently, I'll try to remember to ride past some time soon to doublecheck and then probably change it to disused:shop on the map.
 
I thought it did, but someone added it back onto OpenStreetMap a few months ago. The shop name signs are still visible on Streetview but date from 2018. Unless you've been there recently, I'll try to remember to ride past some time soon to doublecheck and then probably change it to disused:shop on the map.
The sign still says Dodgers but it is a house.
 

T4tomo

Guru
These businesses were established when cycling was utilitarian and cyclists generally knew how to fix things, because they had to, they couldn't afford otherwise. So these shops had a business supplying bikes and parts to these people and all was good

Fast Forward to the present day. Online sales mean these shops can't compete on bikes and components other than the esoteric. But they keep the same business model. Other than the weird and wacky stuff, the reality is that bike shops have to survive on maintaining bikes that were bought elsewhere and are owned by people who have neither the time nor skills to do it themselves. Unfortunately, some are stuck in the model of supplying bikes and components which just isn't viable.

My bike shop doesn't sell bikes. It barely sells components other than a few odds and ends. All he does is maintenance of bikes bought elsewhere, assembly of bikes bought online and some wheelbuilding. He's snowed under
Exactly this. From what I've seen, its busier than ever for these guys. a mobile guy I get to do stuff I can't do / don't have the tool for etc was snowed under last time he did a small job.

Similarly had a wheelset rebuilt by someone else, there was over a month wait list. I think Spa say 8 weeks wait for their handbuilt wheels presently.

Its not doom and gloom and if this chap has retired, someone will be along to fill the void...
Bikes are getting more complicated - internal cables, hydro discs, tubeless tyre set ups etc and more clueless riders, so these little service businesses are doing well. The traditional bike-shop selling bikes and components (not for fitting in shop) are doing not so well.
 
Surely ebikes are going to mean home repairs are more difficult and therefore businesses purely focused on bike repair could well be the norm as stated above but especially true because of ebikes.

I remember going into a shop which I think is called Rileys in Weymouth, Dorset and asked if they had a certain part which they did and they wanted £6 for it. It was only a tiny part, cassette spacer I think. I refused and bought one on aliexpress for something like 40p delivered. Yes theres was a proper branded and boxed product and the one I bought just came in a tiny envelope from China but I can't afford to lose £5 just like that. It was just a tiny circle of metal. I also remember seeing a Viking ebike in the store which I think was £900 but Parkers of Bolton were selling the same ebike pretty much for £400 at the time. The difference in pricing can be huge and it all adds up over time. It's like when I was in M&S and a woman had a full trolley of M&S food and drink and paid something like £300 for that shop but she probably could have saved half that shopping elsewhere with no drop in quality for most of the items.
 

Chislenko

Senior Member
I went to an lbs recently. I was shocked to see Ena Sharples in there having intimate relations with Albert Tatlock, I haven't been back since.

Ena Sharples was sporting a nice pink shade of bar tape whilst miserable old Albert was predictability sporting boring black.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Deplorable Brexiteer
Location
London
I remember going into a shop which I think is called Rileys in Weymouth, Dorset and asked if they had a certain part which they did and they wanted £6 for it. It was only a tiny part, cassette spacer I think. I refused and bought one on aliexpress for something like 40p delivered. Yes theres was a proper branded and boxed product and the one I bought just came in a tiny envelope from China but I can't afford to lose £5 just like that. It was just a tiny circle of metal. I also remember seeing a Viking ebike in the store which I think was £900 but Parkers of Bolton were selling the same ebike pretty much for £400 at the time. The difference in pricing can be huge and it all adds up over time. It's like when I was in M&S and a woman had a full trolley of M&S food and drink and paid something like £300 for that shop but she probably could have saved half that shopping elsewhere with no drop in quality for most of the items.
A lot of people have just got more money than sense these days, which was rare in the heyday of utility cyling because very few people had much in the way of spare cash.
Going OT a bit, take dog walking for example. Up until recently, if you had a dog, you damn well walked it yourself - and if you lacked the time then you didn't keep animals. Now you've got owners who have animals but are too sodding lazy to excercise them, so they pay someone else to do it for them. Anyone doing that 50 or 60 years ago would have been a prime candidate for a spell in the local loony bin.
 
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