To really know if a bike is going to work, it has to be the correct size for you, so does this mean that the dealer is going to stock a demo of every size? Otherwise you might just be making a judgement on which dealer happened to pick a bike which fit you the best for his demo. I know size is not as big a deal with mountain bikes as in road bikes, but it still is a big deal. Any sizeable town should have a couple of LBSs have rental bikes, though the selection is limited.
It should at least allow one to ride a FS bike (the only FS bikes I’ve ever ridden were rentals). And you don’t even have to know the owner. Many bike shops will even take the price of the rental off the purchase price. That seems like a really good way to demo a bike, if you’re lucky enough to find a place that rents what you’re considering purchasing.I suspect that as more and more people buy bikes via mail order and as used bikes via the internet, LOBs are going to start offering less in the way of “demo” opportunities. But isn’t one of the main advantages of the LBS that you can “try before you buy”?
If you can’t try out the goods at the LBS, there is even less reason to buy at an LBS than via mail-order. I think you missed the point. LOBs can’t possibly survive if all they are being used for is local test ride location for mail order, web-based, and other channels for bike sales. I think its pretty clear that the ability to look at, get fitted properly, and test ride bikes are valuable services. Support the Well, a couple of things probably prevent this. First, each bike shop can only carry so many bike lines. In part because of the cost of inventorying bikes (and don’t discount the cost of retail floor space… the main order and web-based places certainly recognized how expensive this is!).
And the cost of educating store staff on multiple bike lines. Plus, I suspect LOBs are somewhat limited by the mfrs. from carrying too many lines (I suspect the Mfrs. try to limit competition *and* maximize geographical coverage by having only so many dealers in certain areas). Clothes I completely agree with you, but I suspect your real gripe is with bikes, and I also suspect most LOBs will order clothing for customers. 3. be in the general vicinity of “competitive”, price-wise Ahh… here’s the rub. LOBs cost structure is way different than mail order and web-based places. Fewer employees (and way fewer/no skilled wrenches). And less/no real estate (and out here, real estate is *very* expensive). Insurance. Taxes. Advertising.