Don't be one of these 12 types of bike customer

Bike shops are in business to help you and make a profit

Bike shops play an important role in cycling. Besides being a place to get your gear, they can be a meeting point before the ride, a mid-ride savior when you need something and a post-ride hangout spot. From putting on classes to organizing and leading rides and races, many bike shops serve a multitude of purposes beyond just being a retail establishment.

With that in mind, outside of the many amazing customers, there are a few types of customer that unfortunately every shop employee knows all too well. So don't be one of these 12 types. 

1. The know it all

Yes, the know-it-all has likely been riding a long time, and yes, they've read and heard lots of things, but chances are they might still have a few things incorrect. The bike shop employee lives and breathes bikes 40+ hours a week (probably 60+ hours a week during the season), and likely has for many years.

2. Bringing in a filthy bike

Bringing in a dirty bike for service is a no no. While it doesn't have to be sparkling at least make sure it's relatively clean. This goes double for triathletes who don't stop for bathroom breaks. If your bike is a sloppy mess that can't be worked on without some serious washing first don't throw a fit when the shop charges a cleaning fee. 

Clean your bike and take your gear off before service
Clean your bike and take your gear off before service

3. The story teller AKA: the JRA rider

Please don't ever say: "I was just riding along when..." Remember bike shop workers do this everyday and they've heard and likely seen your problem before. No one is fooled by some tall tale of how their bike suddenly exploded while they were gently, casually just riding along. Bikes don't do that. 

4. Wanting stuff for free

Unless they're a very, very good customer, the same lessons of life apply at the bike shop, nothing comes for free. A bike shop needs to make money to pay staff, rent, utilities, etc. 

5. Showrooming shopper

Few things irk any retail shop more than customers who scope out products at the shop just to then order them online. Don't be that person. Is saving $4 really worth being known as a jackass?

6. Internet parts customer

They're smart and savvy since they saved a whopping $6 on a crankset but now need the bike shop to install it. Don't be upset having to pay full labor costs. 

7. Poor mechanic

Whether they lack the proper tools or sufficient mechanical ability, it doesn't matter, fixing mistakes often takes longer than the installation to begin with. It's completely okay to try, but be humble and laugh it off when you're over your head.

8. Leaves it to the last minute

Their lack of planning does not constitute my emergency. Got it? Good.

9. The haggler

I'd hate to be behind this customer at the grocery store, oh wait he probably doesn't haggle his total there because it's not a bike shop. Bike shops aren't used car dealers, there's no need, and in reality not very much room to haggle on the price of a bike. 

10. Truth deniers

This falls right in there with the know-it-all customer. Guess what, times change, products evolve and technology improves. And for the love of God, suspension does not rob your energy.

11. I’ll just leave it here for repairs…

It's springtime, the weather's beautiful and they know it's been forever since they had their bike checked over. So instead of calling for an appointment like they would with their car mechanic, dentist, doctor, therapist, they haul their bike down to the bike shop for repairs. Only the shop is booked. About three weeks out. "I'll just leave it here," they say in their best problem-solving voice. Nope. This is the disconnect. It's a bike shop with probably very limited space, not a storage facility. 

12. The one that never picks up their bike

Practically every bike shop has the couple of bike repairs that have sat unclaimed for months. Don't be the customer who thinks the bike shop is their own personal storage locker. Just like everything, square footage costs money. Housing your bike shouldn't be free. Pick it up and go ride!

Not all bike shops are infallible, not by a long shot, I'll be the first to admit that. This has more to do with being a polite, civil human and is a sure fire way to get you better and quicker service. The saying "catch more flies with honey than vinegar" is absolutely true. Let's all just be nice about it.

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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