Oakley and Online

Im no longer selling Oakleys in my store. I’ve been a Oakley dealer for 9 years now and every year they get harder and harder to sell.

First off, they are the best. By far. No comparison. I would be hard pressed to wear anything else. Second off, they are the most expensive. Very pricey and not worth it to many but not me. I notice the difference between them and a cheaper sunglass.

So then why ditch them? Like everything else these days its the internet sales that take away the brick and mortar stores sales. And thats not exclusive to Oakley. But is much easier to do with sunglasses. Easy to ship. Sizing not that big a deal.

Why am I thinking of this now? I just bought two pair online for less than I paid as a dealer.

I just bought these Jawbreakers.

These glasses would have costed me $115 dollars as a dealer, retail for over $200. Its no wonder I could not sell a lot of these. Im sure the color is discontinued or something but so what. It’s hard to figure out how much sales my store loses to online. I can tell you its almost 100% of Shimano and Oakley (last year). You can buy Shimano at or below dealer cost in the UK. With a day or two shipping. More on this later.

A couple weeks ago I was up in Marquette and was hiking up Sugerloaf Mountain. I put my Oakley Carbon Blades ($400 retail) up on my hat and a half hour later they were gone. Fell off my head at some point. I hiked back a bit but no go. There was a ton of people hiking there and Im sure one of them scored a pair of nice Oakleys. I  was upset but nothing I could do so I moved on.

So then after I bought the Jawbreakers I went back to the site and bought these too.

Retail for $210. I paid $89 with Prizm polarized lens no less. Again, Im sure they are a discontinued item. But nice glasses for sure.

So this is what stores like mine put up with. I can’t compete with that. One would say: Why dont you just put your stuff online too? I could, but no way could I compete with those prices. I would pay more for the glasses than they are selling off these sites. So no, can’t do it.

Back to Shimano, I can, and have, bought Shimano parts off one of these websites for my store. How can they sell it cheaper to me than Shimano themselves can sell it to me? Here’s how.

Let’s say you’re a bike company in the UK. Doesn’t matter what country over there. Let’s say you build 1000 bikes a year and get a cut from Shimano parts for volume. Thats fair I guess. Let’s say Shimano gives you yet another price break at 2000 groups. They buy 2000 groups, use 1000 for their builds and sell off the other 1000 groups to a internet warehouse for a good profit. They get the stuff even cheaper AND get an extra revenue stream with the extra parts. For them its a win\win. For us its a loss.

And thats how parts are sold cheaper than bike stores can buy it. There are many companies working hard to stop that with their product. Sram is one. They do not allow any UK online company to sell to the US. Of course some stuff sneaks thru.

Bike stores as we know it have to change with the times. You have to assume your parts sales will decrease more and more in time. The sooner you make changes to accomodate that the better off you are. I am making changes.

And this is not just the bike industry. Store like Gander Mountain and other huge retail chains are dying by the month. Either you change the way to do business or die a slow fiscal death. So what’s it going to be?


Boring Weekend

As close as I got to a ride Sunday.

I guess by my standards the weekend was a bust. My Saturday moring ride was short. Then work was slow. Then rain moved in mid afternoon.

I was supposed to head up to Marquette and I held hope right up to early Sunday morn. But I got up to rain at 6am and went back to bed. After I finally got up it was cold, wet and foggy so I just went in to work. I can get a lot of paperwork done alone when the store is closed.

But as I finished entering bill into my Quickbooks I looked out and the sun was shining. I walked outside and it was 20 degrees warmer. This was around noonish so I quickly finished up and grabbed my bike and stuff to ride and headed home.

By the time I got home, the wind switched back off the lake, it dropped 20 degrees (again) and was cloudy. That took the wind out of my sails so I went inside and took a nap. Then got up and cut the grass and needed to wear a jacket to do it. Pretty depressing since I had a 20 minute window to ride and missed it. Really I could have rode but I was just tired of wearing all the winter clothes still. That get old in late May.

I really could have used a couple days away to ride my bike this weekend. But when the weather dudes called for 70% chance of rain on Sunday and 40% for today I just could not risk spending the money.  And its sunny here now so that adds to the disappointment. Maybe another weekend will work out. But that will leave only one person in the store for two days. That’s not favorable.

I did not get my 6 hour riding goal last week but I was surprisingly close. Like within 20 minutes. I thought it would have been much less with the crappy weather.

Anyway, Im thinking a little MTBing this week before work. I’ve only got two rides on it and both were about a hour about two weeks ago.

That’s it for today. Pretty boring stuff.


Quick Post B\4 Weekend

My weekend plans are up in the air. 40% chance of rain in Marquette Sunday\Monday. Thats enough to think about a cancel.


What about Hayward? Also 40%. Here at home its 80%

So it looks like a crappy weekend on the way.I won’t spend the money and time to head somewhere with such a chance or rain.

This morning ride was another epic. 39 degrees and 25mph winds. I had to go back in the basement to get out some winter clothing I put away. Im not surprised, this is Wisconsin.

I refused to pull back out any thermal tights so I just went with some knickers and froze. I did have my winter riding jacket tho. And I should have had my lighter Shimano winter boots but those are buried also. Thick socks and summer shoes. My feet were very cold.

On Tuesday it was 71 when we finished our ride. Today it was 39. Thirty degrees difference. Thats nuts.

Should be a slow weekend here. Rain and cold. I guess I could catch up on my paperwork….

Cuz there will be nothing else to do.


Shimano Sync Shift


The weather here has been great. In the 60’s early morning for my rides before work. But with any full spring its windy and we now get the afternoon storms but that just tells me things are changing for the good. Temps are up.

I did an extended ride with a couple others yesterday morn. Not a LRW (long ride wednesday) but close. Over 30 miles.

On that ride I was playing with my Di2 sync shift options.

First I was full sync like the MTB XTR version and I didn’t like it. Sometimes when I was climbing it switched rings when I wasn’t ready and I timed the shift all wrong. But it was cool to just shift the bike with just my right shifter. And its cool that you never get in a bad chainline. I know people that could use that.

Then you have the semi sync. And that’s when you change the rings it bumps the rear a few gears to narrow the ratio gap. That I like. Whenever I jumped up to the big ring I always had to bump up a few gears on the cassette and now it does that for you. Same when you bump down to the small. But still lets you decided what ring you want to be in. I’ll keep it on that one for now. I like that much better.

I have a cross bike Im going to be building soon. I have Sram’s eTap coming for it. Even tho I have to use a mechanical disk brake. Hydro still months away.

Now Im not so sure. While being wireless is way cool. Being able to program different shifting options keeps Di2 one step ahead of the eTap in my book.

Many bike stores like mine have a hard time with Shimano and their online ways. Its almost impossible to sell their components over the counter anymore and thats sad. But I must say, they have a great product and I’ll keep using the stuff as much as I can.

Not sure if I will have time to post tomorrow as I have another morning ride planned. And with my possible second trip up to Marquette I won’t be back until Tuesday. The Marquette trip will be a quick one. Up early Sunday back late Monday. Couple of rides. A nice dinner. I’ll be alone but thats OK.

It will be a last minute call based on weather. Time will tell. If I can’t get back to the computer have a great weekend.