Unfortunately, I think it's a pretty fair comparison given the way free trade and cross border shopping have gone over the past couple of years. I have a pretty good grasp on the difficulties of running a brick and mortar bike shop (fixed costs like labour, rent / lease, higher purchasing costs, differences in currency valuation between time when pricing is set and goods are delivered, etc. etc.).
The average consumer, however, doesn't differentiate between the two types of purchasing options (local, online) and so many people research purchases these days that almost everyone knows USD online retail prices when they come into a shop, esp. for a substantial purchase. At a certain price point the extra hassle associated with sending stuff in for warranty becomes worth it to the consumer.
The bicycle marketplace is changing and buying and selling gear online is here to stay. Many LBSs are going to have to react accordingly to survive. If certain distributors are going to stonewall online sales, that COULD mean fewer shops carrying less stock and / or others going grey-market.
And FWIW, I think it's worthy to support local shops despite current pricing differences. Most of them are mom-and-pop shops and very few shop owners are rolling in their 5.0s with the ragtops down.
Not what i meant. Buddy was saying he can get a freemastrat for the lbs for x or the same freemastrat for less from a online US source. A better comparison is between a retail source up here and a retail source in the US.
But I agree that the lbs will see some difficulties due the quick availability of stuff online for far less in many cases. For example Mavic Crossmax SX are about $760US and suggested retail up here is $1350. $760 plus shipping and brokerage fees and taxes and get them in two days or so
is a no brainer. Until you have issues of course.
For simple stuff like a saddle or stem where a warranty is really unlikely is one thing but a fork spewing oil is another. I much prefer going to the shop to vent in person. And I like to talk to the shop guys and get advice.
Debate? Bikes are made for riding not pushing.