Author Topic: My LBS has just closed down  (Read 9299 times)

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2018, 08:07:44 pm »
The bike shops in Oxford seem to be permanent fixtures.  Only Walton Street Cycles and the Oxford Cycle Workshop (which was a bit of an odd business model) seem to have changed/gone in the last 15 years or more.

It's sad to note that those two made up the lowest end of the market :(
The lowest end of the market is Cycle King!
Walton Street is still there, though I think it has been taken over - for a while there were 2 bike shops next door to each other.
Oxford Cycle Workshop diversified into training courses, but eventually funding dried up and they went bust. The Broken Spoke co-operative has emerged somewhat out of the ashes and seems to be going very well.

I forgot about uByk - they seem to be super high end stuff aimed at club racer types.

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2018, 08:51:46 pm »
Out of interest, what's a good wage for a mechanic (out of London) these days?
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2018, 09:07:50 pm »
The bike shops in Oxford seem to be permanent fixtures.  Only Walton Street Cycles and the Oxford Cycle Workshop (which was a bit of an odd business model) seem to have changed/gone in the last 15 years or more.

It's sad to note that those two made up the lowest end of the market :(
The lowest end of the market is Cycle King!
Walton Street is still there, though I think it has been taken over - for a while there were 2 bike shops next door to each other.
Oxford Cycle Workshop diversified into training courses, but eventually funding dried up and they went bust. The Broken Spoke co-operative has emerged somewhat out of the ashes and seems to be going very well.

I forgot about uByk - they seem to be super high end stuff aimed at club racer types.

I think Cat had her Oxford bike from Oxford Cycle Workshop. It wasn't really up to much particularly bearing in mind what it cost.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2018, 11:02:11 am »
Out of interest, what's a good wage for a mechanic (out of London) these days?

I note that the starting wage for mechanics at the big chains (Halfrauds/Evans &c.) seems to be not much more than the minlmum - £17-18K or so (though I don't know whether they pay more in that London).

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
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Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2018, 12:10:13 pm »
The bike shops in Oxford seem to be permanent fixtures.  Only Walton Street Cycles and the Oxford Cycle Workshop (which was a bit of an odd business model) seem to have changed/gone in the last 15 years or more.

It's sad to note that those two made up the lowest end of the market :(
The lowest end of the market is Cycle King!
Walton Street is still there, though I think it has been taken over - for a while there were 2 bike shops next door to each other.

How could I forget Cycle King???  :facepalm:

Good to know Walton St is still going. I'm too far out of Oxford to really use these places, but they're nice to visit, and are a possible backup plan if I need something obscure etc.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2018, 12:59:05 pm »
Out of interest, what's a good wage for a mechanic (out of London) these days?

Poverty
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2018, 01:17:35 pm »
The lowest end of the market is Cycle King!
Walton Street is still there, though I think it has been taken over - for a while there were 2 bike shops next door to each other.

How could I forget Cycle King???  :facepalm:


I also forgot the Derby one, branded Hawk Cycles but the same company.  Dreadful place, not even particularly cheap.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2018, 01:21:49 pm »
The lowest end of the market is Cycle King!
Walton Street is still there, though I think it has been taken over - for a while there were 2 bike shops next door to each other.

How could I forget Cycle King???  :facepalm:


I also forgot the Derby one, branded Hawk Cycles but the same company.  Dreadful place, not even particularly cheap.
I suspect you have both wiped it from your memory. Understandably. :)
I pass it when I take my daughter to school.  I think the only thing I have ever had cause to buy there was 20" inner tubes with Schraeder valves (for a BMX). At least you can be sure that those are new and not nicked (their excuse for being caught selling a stolen bike last year was that someone had brought it in for repairs and then never collected it).

Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2018, 09:39:41 pm »
You beat me to that one.
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2018, 11:34:08 pm »
https://news.sky.com/story/bike-retailer-evans-cycles-in-talks-with-lenders-as-chain-struggles-11492689[/font]

Evans in trouble.[/font]

Didn't Evans have quite a prominent web presence, or is this the Wiggle merger chain reaction, sucking the life out of everything else?
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2018, 10:54:07 am »
The Evans in Brighton seems to have really shrunk the range of accessories and spares on display. There’s quite a few other LBSs, but it feels like they’re reducing the money tied up in stock and expecting people to buy online.

In Lewes we have two LBSs, which are really two branches of the same shop about 200m apart. Both have displayed a lack of clue / rudeness often enough that while I’ll buy bits there I probably wouldn’t buy anything spendy or needing advice.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2018, 11:55:37 am »
My (former) LBS owner tells me that Wiggle/CR sell lots of stuff at below the trade wholesale cost to smaller retailers.

As a country we've chosen with our credit cards and I'm as guilty as the next but, as one door closes, another opens.  If you are a bike mechanic your skills are still in demand. 
You were never going to become a millionaire twiddling spanners on bikes but you really only need a small rental unit somewhere.  Word gets around.  Maybe "Home collection/drop-off" is an option.

High-street retail has lost its appeal to me to be honest.  Through no fault of their own small retailers simply can't provide the range of "stuff" that's available.

My other hobby is photography.  Like any niche hobby things have changed dramatically since I were a lad.   Back then Canon, Nikon, Pentax & Olympus would each have 2 or 3 cameras.  A "beginner", an "enthusiast", and  a "Pro", Body.  The range of camera bodies would stay current for 5 years or so.
The local Cameras Shop, whilst being about 3x the size of a current Jessops, would invariably have EVERYTHING available, because they could work with many fewer models and 5 years to shift current stock.

Move to 2018 and Canon has 4 DSLRs in their "Beginner Range", 5 DSLRs in their "Enthusiast Range", and 5 in their "Pro Range".  Now they have a Mirrorless, interchangeable lens, range plus countless "point-and-shoot" compacts.

No high-street shop on the planet can afford to have around 40 camera models (just from Canon) on their shelves.  Multiply that by the increased number of manufacturers in the game now (Fuji, Panasonic, Sony, all competing on Beginner to Pro models) and you can guarantee that a visit to a camera shop is almost always a disappointment.

"You can get expert advice from a high-street shop".

I get 99% of my expert advice from Youtube reviews.  The level of expertise available on Youtube is 2nd to none. I don't really want to know what grade of magnesium alloy a camera is made out of, but I'm sure someone on Youtube will be able to tell me.

The classic Bicycle example is the amount of Brake blocks/pads available now (Hundreds if not thousands) compared to about 3 types when I was a teen.  Have they established a standard Thru-Axle or Disc mount system yet?  Probably not.  Just more choice, more stock to keep.

So, whilst I sometimes join in with the collective moan, "It's all just Poundshops, coffee shops, Charity shops and Betting shops", I realised a few years ago that I wasn't getting much from local high-streets.  If I want a bit of retail therapy (say I want to buy a nice pair of shoes) then it means heading to a city centre.  I can handle that occasionally.

Shame though.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2018, 12:21:04 pm »
Yeah, seems to me that a bike shop can keep itself in business doing one of two things:

a) Mechanicing and sales of some common stuff.  Won't pay the rent on a fancy high-street location.
b) Selling fashionable high-end bikes at a healthy profit margin.  Won't provide what most cyclists are looking for in a bike shop.

Neither of these are:
c) A wide range of extremely specific parts and accessories.
d) Clothing to try on.
e) Bikes YACFer types are interested in to test ride.


The way I see it, (c) is only ever going to work as an online thing.  There's room for one or two SJSes per country, and you pick the one that has what you're looking for.  Sometimes that's from one in Germany or the Netherlands.

(d) is a lost cause - cycling clothing that fits all the real people is never going to pay the rent on the retail space needed to display it.

There's some future in (e), at least where the bikes are sufficiently interesting that the customers are willing to travel hundreds of miles to visit 50 Cycles, JD Tandems or Laid Back Cycles, but that's never going to be a high street thing.


The future of expert advice and specific widgets is the internet.  There's some room for the more specialist bike shops to do some of that, but the likes of Spa Cycles aren't going to compete with the CRC/Wiggle collective.  I don't think that bike mechanics are going to stop existing, but they're not going to be operating out of high street premises.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #39 on: September 08, 2018, 12:24:35 pm »
I can't even remember the last time I bought something from a bike shop*, they won't have what I'm after anyway and even if they did, it would be hugely more expensive than mail order/online.

I used to get all my stuff in person from a mail order retailer with a shop.

I think too many bike shops opened in the last few years.

*edit: I bought 2 tubes for £2.50 from Decathlon recently although I would't call Decathlon or other chains a LBS. And anyway my purchases tend to be consumables like tyres, brake blocks etc as I only ride old bikes.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #40 on: September 08, 2018, 01:02:45 pm »
We have three LBSs in or near Yeovil.
None are on the high street. Tri-UK (which is also the Yeovil Cycle Centre) was in town but moved out to the edge of one of the industrial/trading estates over a decade ago. I've not been there for ages as it's the wrong side of town but it caters for triathlons as well as cyclists and has a lot of high end bikes. It is open on Sundays which is sometimes handy.
Rock and Road seem to be doing well. They're on my side of town, again on an industrial estate. They have a workshop which is where I get things done which I either can't do myself or just don't have the time for. Again, not cheap, but friendly and helpful.
There is also a one man operation in one of the nearby villages but I've not been there. I hear good things about it, though.
Not bad for a town of 30,000 or so.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2018, 01:24:39 pm »
we have one remaining LBS in Ely, which does pretty well as far as I can see.

Even in Cambridge however they can struggle with one turning into this http://www.oldbicycleshop.com/. At least they serve some decent beer
I assume you mean City Cycle Centre, but isn't Jerry Turner still running the excellent JT Cycles at Chettisham Garage?

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2018, 01:42:21 pm »
I make a point of using my LBS as much as I can.
He's open Sundays and is a walk away (so in the unlikely event that all of my bikes are banjaxed, I can still get there) and stays open until 19:00 during the week  - which means I can call in on my way home from work.
He has lent me tools in the past and is a nice guy to deal with - I won't get any of that online.
I confine my online purchases to the very specific / no-one-else-stocks-it stuff, like a couple of Joseph Kuosac  saddles I recently bought.
Or components like bearings - which I wouldn't be looking at an LBS to supply anyway.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2018, 02:50:27 pm »
I had cause to pop into the Evans on Clapham High Street a couple of days ago to get an inner tube for a colleague.

They had about 40 700c tubes and just the one 26" (which is what I needed). Pity the poor sod who followed me in looking for another 26" tube.
Rust never sleeps

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2018, 03:19:04 pm »
We have three LBSs in or near Yeovil.
None are on the high street. Tri-UK (which is also the Yeovil Cycle Centre) was in town but moved out to the edge of one of the industrial/trading estates over a decade ago. I've not been there for ages as it's the wrong side of town but it caters for triathlons as well as cyclists and has a lot of high end bikes. It is open on Sundays which is sometimes handy.
Rock and Road seem to be doing well. They're on my side of town, again on an industrial estate. They have a workshop which is where I get things done which I either can't do myself or just don't have the time for. Again, not cheap, but friendly and helpful.
There is also a one man operation in one of the nearby villages but I've not been there. I hear good things about it, though.
Not bad for a town of 30,000 or so.

I'd be interested to know how many staff they employ and, most importantly, how many bikes they need to sell to cover the wages of one full-time staff member.

Mechanics can be self-funding but don't bring in much profit.  "Sales" staff need to shift a lot of metal to justify their existence.

That's why it's so tough to move beyond the Owner + Mechanic setup.  OK, in London I think things are different.  There's generally more money around, there are definitely more cyclists, by a huge margin, than in the provinces.  Tube station/Rail station locations provide a perfect catchment area of thousands/millions of potential customers.

The only surviving bike shop in town here* is a tiny Owner + Mechanic operation (Just Bikes).  It's as traditional a bike shop as you can imagine.  Mid/low range bikes racked and stacked everywhere and a small range of odds and sods.  It could be from the 70s...but it's still going.

*The local garden centre has just opened a bike shop. (E-Bikes Central @ Wyevale Garden Centre)
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #45 on: September 08, 2018, 03:56:36 pm »
We still have a few (I'm ignoring the pointless Pinarello boutique, which tries to sell ten grand bikes to guys old enough to afford them but too old to ride them as intended).

They generally sell Raleigh and other low end stuff but at least one has a decent workshop.

My favourite LBS was Roger Page Cycles in Birmingham.  Piles of stuff, sone good offers, a part to fit anything (it was simpler when there was one standard for most things) and a good workshop.  They used to get frames properly enamelled (not powdercoated) for £30 in 1992.  Argos charge almost six times that.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #46 on: September 08, 2018, 05:02:41 pm »
AW Cycles in Merton High Street is about to close down. Boo hiss.
Rust never sleeps

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2018, 05:07:29 pm »
We are fairly lucky in K-Town. Down the road is one of the two branches of Bright Cycles (the other was in Raynes Park where we previously lived), Kingston has Neil's Wheels, Evan's and Sigma and across the park is the newer of the Pearson's. Just on the other side of Kingston is Surbiton Cycles which does some excellt Frog bikes for the boy.
And there's Waldens just on the corner of Cambridge Road and the A308.
And also Road Cycle Exchange on Richmond Road. Second hand road bikes sales, exchange and a workshop.
Rust never sleeps

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #48 on: September 09, 2018, 08:25:29 am »
Besides the Internet and general high street woes like business rates, the other factors seem to be:

1. Proliferation of standards.  No LBS can now be sure of finding a part for anything without ordering it in, in which case the customer wonders why they bothered.  In the 1980s there was one headset standard (ok, two if you count slightly-difderent JIS).  Now there are about 15.

2. Manufacturers/wholesalers not supplying decent brands to smaller shops that don't shift boxes fast enough.

So you end up with mail order sheds, Halfords and small shops catering to the lower end of the market.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: My LBS has just closed down
« Reply #49 on: September 09, 2018, 10:43:35 am »
I think LBS mainly cater for:

people new to cycling.
low end stuff.
generic products, ie someone needs a brake block, any that fits will do, they're not looking brand x model x in orange.
when you need something straightaway.
people who don't do their own maintenance.
people with more money than time.