We have written about how some bike shops just can’t get the hang of how to deal with female customers. We have also asked our readers to share their favourite bike shops around the globe. Now, we’ve asked a bike shop manager what you, as a customer, can do to get the best possible bike shop experience. Here are her bike shop etiquette tips.
1. Envisage your ideal ride
Go into a bike shop with your ideal ride in mind. This might be riding on your local roads, carving up some trails or commuting to work. Each of these ride experiences has an ideal type of bike and a good bike salesperson will match your ride plans to the ideal bike.
So many people walk into a bike shop with a closed mind and focus completely on the componentry of the bike.
Let your guard down a little and engage in a conversation with the salesperson. Most bicycle salespeople are keen riders themselves and their main objective is to match you up with the ideal bike, not to sell you the old dusty stock so they meet their monthly sales target.
2. Know your bike
If you’re buying parts for an existing bike then make sure you know what sort of parts or accessories you need like the size of your tyres & inner tubes and the type of valves you have. If you’re not sure, then photograph your bike or write down the relevant information and take it to the shop with you.
You don’t need to know all the technical terms for all the parts of your bike but it helps if you’re familiar with the basics. The people working in the shop are the experts so let them guide you along.
3. Be honest and ask questions
If in doubt, ask lots of questions because it will help the salesperson understand your requirements a lot better and you’ll both be happier. It also helps if both the customer and salesperson are honest with each other. If you’ve seen a product cheaper somewhere else and you’re expecting them to match it, then ask them.
And don’t expect the shop mechanics to spend lots of time explaining how to undertake repairs which you’re planning to do yourself at home.
4. Go for a test ride
If you’re seriously considering buying a bike then ask for a test ride. Even if they don’t have the exact model you think you might buy, they should have something similar so you can get a feel for the style of size of bike.
Most shops will allow test rides, and will try hard to find a bike that is comparable with your interests. But don’t expect them to order in an expensive bike on spec, because most small retailers own all the stock in their stores, and if you don’t go ahead with the purchase they could be stuck with a niche bike they’ll have trouble selling to someone else.
5. Assess the bike shop to decide if you want an ongoing relationship
If this is a bike shop close to your home or work assess it for your ongoing servicing and parts needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about servicing procedures and costs.
If you develop an ongoing relationship with the store you’ll find you get priority service and will always be greeted by name. It’s part of the cycling community which we all love.