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How To Select A BikeShop

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The following are my latest thoughts on the criteria (in broadly decreasing order) on selecting a (local) bike shop to patronize:

  • Bike Service - The key point of the whole exercise is competence in servicing your bike. That comes before anything else.
  • Fit advice - There are far too many shopkeepers who will sell any half-decent bike to a customer as long as they can climb atop it. See the link (esp youtube video) for a quick solution!
  • Knowledge - If, you cannot have a decent conversation on any technical aspect - at some level you feel you are in a kirana shop that also happens to sell cycles. If the only criterion to distinguish different products is their price, then you know you are at the wrong shop.
  • After-sales service - No, 'sir please click a photo and send this to Decathlon.' just does not cut it.
  • Test rides - This is moot. Ideally, a testride helps, but over time I have realized two things - the newbies know far too little to make sense of things (always buy with a more knowledgeable friend) and with a decent buddy, you can figure out alot of your fit inside the showroom. Some good cycling buddies can even advise on cycle geometry etc without you needing to even clamber aboard. Here, its important to buy from a dealer that has a trainer, if possible!
  • Discounts - Believe me, this is pittance. What's the point of buying a piece of crap from BTwin if you have to go and buy something better next month from another brand via CRC? Of course, the notable exception is if you pick up the lot arriving off the truck even before their mechs have had a go at it. Inventory management is not an art Indian shopkeepers are skilled in.
  • Sponsorship - Which bike events they sponsor in your city. I mean its all good, but if I don't get half the service I want, do I care if they anchor weekly rides, or sponsor some BBCh race or such?

Of course, if you are in Delhi, have a kid or a busy job then make do with what you have nearest. Such luxuries belong to Bangaloreans or Puneites :)

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Story | by Dr. Radut