Sunday, July 19, 2015

On the Defensive

It is at this point in the game that I am beginning to see the ill-effects of the industry's constant attempts to sell you more shit. It seems as though every bike shop in America has become nothing more than a store front for Bicycling magazine.

The Golf Digest of cycling

This unfortunately, is EXACTLY what every customer who walks into a bike shop sees and it is slowly but surely alienating every single one of them. Given my background dealing in high-end bicycles I can tell you this; catering to the social elite and their constant need to consume what the industry tells them is rapidly pushing out anyone who does not want the same for themselves.
Because your inventory consists of bicycles that start at an average of $1,000 and up, customers find themselves shopping by price rather than getting what they actually want.*

When your customer has to state aloud that "I'm not a racer or anything..." it is clear that they already feel like they do not belong.
I hear this all the time and I get it, but I really don't want to hear it. I know that you "aren't an avid cyclist" it is clear by your tremendous gut and dust-covered bicycle that you don't often ride and your labored breathing from the walk in from the car tells me that you are "just getting back into it..." I am aware of these things yet I am still met with the awkward exchanges as I have to explain that even the cheapest tires are $20 because this isn't 1975, which happens to be the last time they were on a bike. 

"I just need a tire man, I'm not a Racer or anything."

-I know, that's why I am selling you a 20 dollar tire. I am only trying to help you, I promise.

*In my experience, the customers around here are split into two groups;
One wants an affordable, practical bicycle that offers an upright position and a comfortable seat and if they can get it in a certain color, they will buy it every time. 
Probably the Best selling bike in the shop right now.
The other group wants exactly what they see in Bicycling or under their favorite Pro Tour rider. They don't care what it costs and if the color is the same as the "Team" edition, then that's all the better.
There is a problem with both of these groups however, as even the most moderately priced bicycle with all the features one may desire may still be out of their budget. They turn to internet retailers and often end up with a shitty, overpriced, and heavy bicycle that is half the price but almost litterally, half the bike. 

 They deserve better.

The other group, however has "fuck you" money and is not afraid to use it.
He, unfortunately thinks he knows what he wants because he was "reading on the internet" but still needs me to tell him. 
...He won't listen. Ever.

In what may be the single most classic case of Fredom, this example spells out perfectly what happens when you let them make choices for themselves.

  This Fred Sled is wrong on so many levels starting with the fact that the $3,500 custom frame (1) with a top of the line drivetrain (2) was is too big for the rider which is why the saddle is so low (3). That on its own is not that big a deal as a larger frame helps even out the relationship of the bars and saddle however, his saddle being "slammed" forward on the rails to get a shorter "reach"


in addition to his ridiculous cockpit setup (4,5,6) leads me to believe that he has the "fuck you" money of group the second group, but wants an upright position like those in the first group. There are a host of problems that arise when a road bike is set up in this way but a simple back of the envelope calculation would suggest that his group should be riding one of these

at less than a quarter of the price and subsequently eliminate most of those issues.
...and therein lies the heart of the matter. None of you are racers nor should you try to be by. When you tell me that you want "X,Y, and Z" but then go and buy the A, B, and C because the industry told you to or because your friends will make fun of you, the bike will be wrong for you and you can't say I didn't warn you. As an industry, we have to do more keep this from happening but as long as shops continue to go high-end, they will continue to grow further from their customers and sell you what they have and not what you need all you have to do is let go of the idea of what you think you want and let me help you.

Remember, Hybrids need riders too and you likely need one.
After all, you're not a racer, remember?