The Hub Bike Coop Shopping Tips

Erica’s post about her most recent experience at The Hub (along with her frustrated Twitters on the subject) reminded me that The Hub is service challenged:

Metroblogging Minneapolis: The Hub lost my bike. Again.

Most recently I called a week after my bike was promised (two weeks after I took it in) and was immediately told that if they hadn’t called me it probably wasn’t ready yet. I’ll cut them some slack if they’re a little short-staffed. Plus, this is the busy season for spring tune-ups. They didn’t check on my ticket over the phone. I couldn’t get a revised time estimate. If it’s going to take a little longer, I’d be a lot more understanding if they would tell me so up front. But they just told me to wait for the call.

I think Erica’s problem here is that she’s going to The Hub for the wrong things. Just like you don’t go to the Seward Co-op for Lucky Charms, you don’t go to The Hub for bike tune-ups.

Here are my Hub Bike Coop Shopping Tips in no particular order:

1. Dress down: Don’t go walking in there looking like a Yuppy like Fritz does (see comments here) and expect to be helped.

2. Shop for commuter or single speed gear. They know this stuff. Go elsewhere for road bikes or hybrids. Mountain bikes are a draw.

3. Stick to accessories. Skip the service department, and go somewhere with better service if you’re looking for help picking out a bike to buy.

4. Have correct change ready. You may find yourself frustrated at check-out. If so, just throw down what you owe and head for the door.

7 thoughts on “The Hub Bike Coop Shopping Tips”

  1. I don’t spend a whole lot of money on bike stuff in a year, so it’s not the end of the world. But I really am disinclined to shop there at all. Besides, as you’ve described, The Minnehaha Hub location doesn’t serve the niche I fall into anyway.

  2. I actually did receive great service from the Hub on Cedar one night when I was looking to purchase a road bike. Again, it was only from the one dude I mentioned in my previous comments. I also had the Cedar-Hub tune up my road bike prior to a triathlon, but this was during July. I was again pleased.

    Service from the Hub on Minnehaha on the handful of times I’ve been in there has been horrible at best.
    The sad part of this for me is, I REALLY want to be a customer of The Hub as it is a co-op. But there are far too many bike shops out there that will provide decent service to be treated as poorly as I and apparently others have been treated by The Hub.

  3. Actually, I gotta say I’ve had nothing but positive experiences at the Hub (on Minnehaha Ave). Their sales staff is really knowledgeable, and won’t necessarily push their new bikes over their pretty good selection of used bikes. I bought an used single-speed for my winter commuter, and lots of accessories for that bike as well as my new Surly. I say buy local, and stay away from big chains whenever possible. Give the hub another shot! (although, dressing down sure helps).

  4. Who cares how you dress really? Instead of places trying to rip you off, let’s appreciate neighborhood coops whose main interest is the love of biking. This place offers classes on how to fix your own bike, a place to fix your own bike using their tools, and knowledgeable staff that has always had a great attitude when I went there. I don’t fall in to any niche other than the one that wants to support places that are working toward education and community support. Give them a break.

  5. I think that you have the hub all wrong. I shop there all of the time at both locations and they are one of the best bike shop hands down.They are very nice and are helpful when it comes to picking out bikes and assesories. I have had nothing but good expeirences there and I guess you must just not be likes around there. I would hate to see some one supporting places like Free Wheel which have now been preivatised and are no longer co-op’s. The Hub and One On One Bike Studio in down town Minneapolis are the two best hands down in Minnesota.

  6. It’s great to hear that others have had more positive experiences than I’ve had to date. That explains why they’re still in business.

    Lacey, I’m all for supporting local businesses, but they still have to run their businesses like a business in order to provide value to me as a customer.

  7. I love the hub. To be fair I go there so often that I’m a bit prejudiced but the place has knowledgable people and much better prices in general than any other place in town. Things do get a bit chaotic during the summer months and it’s true I’ve had orders mysteriously disappear from the computer system but everyone is very helpful and invariably friendly (if you are as well) no matter how you’re dressed. My impression of Erik’s and Freewheel is that if you’re paying for a $3000 bike you’re getting great work and service but otherwise you’ll be back in a month with yet another breakdown. At the Hub it’s more like a community service and if they can find you a part that’s $10 and will last longer than a $50 part they’ll be happy.

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