Thursday, July 16, 2009

The aftercost of things


Noun. The price of things after you have made the initial purchase and need to maintain, replace or repair the parts that make things work.

Today I was 'Aftercosted' into a near heart attack. In my typical style, I had waited to the last minute to shop for some brake pads for my Shimano LX brakes on the Lev. With a trip upcoming to Utah and the pads getting thin, I thought it was a good idea but not an emergency to change them out and keep the old pads as spares.

So, I trundled on down to the local bike shop (LBS) and looked for some pads. I could not remember what they cost, but I tossed $40.00 in my pocket and thought that ought to do it.


One shop had some organic/resin pads (I wanted semi-metallic) and they were an older Shimano XTR brand: $30.00 a pair. Wow. Sixty bucks for pads. Tiny little things for sixty bucks.

Off to the next LBS for semi-metallics. They had a mis-matched set of aluminum backed Kool-Stops and Shimanos and the Kool-Stops were more reasonably priced @ $25.00. Still...

The next and last LBS in town had the best selection of all. They had new, aluminum backed XTR pads in stock...semi/metallic...and they only cost $69.95 a pair. WhhaaaaaTTTT!!!! 140 bucks for brake pads. I paid that much for the entire Deore LX brake system!

The solution: Jenson USA, Serfas pads, and a total bill of $25.50. Now the knock-off, more generic pads may not say XTR on them but I will be happy to give them a try.

Why didn't the LBS carry the other, cheaper pads? Maybe they have found them to be junk. Maybe they find customers don't know any better and accept that that is what they cost. Dunno.

Things are getting to cost too much and sometimes that is not apparent until you get aftercosted. I wonder what a good 11 speed chain will cost? I have seen $75.00 as an example for Campy chains and I hear they last just a bit longer than your average kleenex tissue.

I don't know. XTR is for sponsored racers or folks with more money than sense. SRAM XX etc. But sometimes you can get stuff like that on sale and it is tempting. Beware of the aftercost of that fancy stuff. It will get ya long past the good deal on the initial purchase.

Thank goodness for the internet bike shop and eBay. It is keeping me rolling with change in my pocket.


Doug Brummett said...

I often get sticker shock at the LBS. I would say that the majority of shops don't even try to keep up with internet pricing. They'd go out of business if they did. Your field trip to the shops seems to agree with that. I get plenty of stuff at local shops. I try to rationalize that if I don't go there eventually the only place to buy bike stuff will be online. I am not ready to give up brick & mortar hands-on experience just yet. But, like yourself, I am not willing to pay 2-4X the price for the same product. I do it in a pinch and view the added expense as my punishment for not planning ahead. But usually I will internet shop.

The internet outlets are really the demise of the LBS. It is sad really, considering I worked in shops for over a decade and at times it was cheaper for me to buy from Jenson or Price Point than to pay wholesale+10% to the shop. Bike shops just aren't connected like these outlets, so it is quite absurd to expect your average shop to have the same prices. But we are spoiled consumers and need the goods cheap (myself included).

I hope to at some point in my life be comfortable paying full retail to support local shops for all my purchases. But I am just not there yet. It is penny pinchin and shell games to keep my riding.

grannygear said...


Actually the price of the LBS XTR pads was close to the internet price once you add shipping, at least on the 25-30 dollar a set

What got me was the poor choice of:

1)stock in any brand/type
2)lower priced options

Add that to what the OE replacement parts cost nowadays and it is kinda nuts (like XTR...where are the XT or LX model brake pads? Curse you Shimano!).

I do appreciate the LBS, but I seldom have a great need for them. I do all my own bike work and buildups and I know how to shop for deals.

They do serve an important purpose and luckily for the LBS, there are fewer folks like me then there are average folks with a bike that need parts and service.

It is a challenging biz model, but many shops had their best year despite a poor economy.

Go figure.