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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I like to support my local shop, esp when they have courteous employees who are helpful, patient, and do not display an attitude or indifference (like some other local shop). But here is my dilemma. A particular 'high level' bike and complete set-up is about $5,500 (dura ace, dura ace wheels, carbon stem, bars, etc) and is sold by the shop I like. The next level 'down' has a slighly different frame ('lower' grade of carbon) is in the $3+k range and comes with ultegra, shimano R600 wheels, etc.

I noticed, however, that the manufacturer sells the 'highest level' frame set for $2,800 (frame, fork, headset, seat post), but does not sell the next level's frameset w/o the kit. So let's say I decide to buy that frame and equip it with ultegra (that I buy for a great price on probikekit) instead of dura ace, and hand-select other things such as handlebars, stem, pedals, etc., and wheels I already have. As much as I'd like to support my local shop, do you think I should tell them I have the components I want, but I'd like to buy the frame from them, some other components such as saddle, pedals, handlebars, shorts, and have them build it up. On a prior visit, they mentioned that they only sell full kits from the manufacturer (but I'm not sure this is a hard-and-fast rule). I do it my way, I give them the opportunity to order the frame at their wholesale cost, make whatever small profit on it (instead of me ordering direct), I pay their build fees, and I purchase some other stuff from them. Doing so will enable me to get the 'most' frame for the money (that comes in a cool color! :p ) , the components I need (although maybe some think the extra cost for dura ace is worth it), business for the shop, and will still save me money. Of course, I could just order what I want online and take it to some random shop that doesn't carry the particular bike brand, but has competent shop folk.

Essentially, I don't want to offend the shop, but I want to be happy at the end of the day and I want to enjoy the bike that I want and not the one that the shop wants to sell me b/c it is convenient or most profitable. Sorry for rambling (is anyone still there?) thoughts?
 

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If they get whiny, I'd find a new shop

I do as much business at my LBS (two of them, actually) as I can, but my main rides are an Atlantis and Rambouillet from Rivendell. I bought the Rambo used for a great price, so we can ignore that (I just like to brag about it...).
When I got the Atlantis, though, I knew I wanted something LIKE that, but hadn't picked a specific bike. I checked with the two shops, and neither was very interested in helping me. They tried to sell me what they had in stock. One bike was a 60cm; I ride at least a 64, and 65 if I can get it--it looked like a clown bike at the circus, with 10 inches of seatpost sticking up and the bars five inches lower than the saddle.
"You'll get more flexible as you ride," the guy said.
"I'm 57 years old," I told him. "My flexibility peaked 35 years ago."
Too late to make a long story short, but I tried to deal with both places, told them exactly what I wanted, and they pretty much shrugged. I bought the Atlantis, and I still buy tires and tubes and parts from the LBSes when I need them, and we're still on good terms. Sounds to me like you're being fair with the shop, not asking them to do anything for free, and it's your money. I'd just tell them what I wanted to do, and if they balked I'd go somewhere else.
 

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Well a bike shop funnily enough doesn't actually make much profit from actually selling bikes in the first place so if you are going through them for the build and parts then I think they would be quite happy as that is where they make the majority of their money.

I buy stuff from probikekit.com and elsewhere then head to the LBS for assistance and although they joke with me about going elsewhere they accept it as they would do the same thing as the prices are usually better than their wholesale prices.
 

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I agree with Cory, and you have to buy the bike/parts that will make you happy. I love my LBS, but they don't always have what I want, so I have to look online when they cannot order it for me. Supporting your LBS is great, but you shouldn't have to settle or compromise your purchases to do so.
 

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It's your money, you're in charge. I like to support the local business, but I'm not into throwing money away, so I balance it. I give the local shop first shot and if they have a reasonably competative price on something I buy it, other things I go online. If a shop doesn't have stock I'm not going to pay them a mark up to place an online order I can do myself. They actually have higher profit margins on the things I do buy from them, so I sleep well at night, and they don't give me grief when I come in with my online bike.

One thing to consider on what you are describing. If you bring in the parts, and they supply the frame and do the build, who is responsible for premature failure? If it was my shop (and this is the story almost universally with car mechanics) I'd offer no warranty beyond honoring the frame manufacturers warranty.
 

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Can't add much to what Cory said. You're offering your LBS a chance to make money on several fronts, if they get pissy because you source your grouppo and wheels elsewhere, you don't need to maintain a relationship with that shop. You could always inform them of the price you intend to pay for the group and give them a chance to match, but perhaps it's better not to let them know where you procured it.

One other thing - by most accounts, DA is mostly superior to Ultegra only in slightly lighter weight. I have Ultegra10 and can't imagine DA performing any better, unless it allows you to shift by telekinesis. :p

Jim
 

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Talk to the shop, not us.

Likely they will be glad to take care of you; although without any warranty except for their labor and the frame (not really all that big of a deal for the good stuff you seem to be thinking of).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks

You are all very helpful. It is similar to the guilt Jerry Seinfeld felt after going to his long-time barber's colleague.

Also good points about the warranty. I'd rather deal w/ the shop on frame warranty issue.
 

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I purchased a Look that started out as a frameset hanging from the ceiling above the register. They built it cheaper than I could have- and I mixed it DA/Ultegra-- I really didn't want to pay a premium for the DA crankset at brakes. Point is, I still found a bargain- and was able to mix and match components. They worked with me on price. Consider how much shipping you would have to pay if you pieced together a bike.... and the PITA factor. I literally bought my bike without wheels or a seat or pedals... there is nothing strange about that. Most shops know that those are personal decisions.

Later, the same shop let me use their work room for free to build another bike from scratch... and helped me out in countless other ways.
 
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