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Tire buying experiences: mc shop or online? How do you buy?

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I'm retired and looking to save a few bucks. Does one actually save any money by buying tires online then having a local shop do the install? I realize there is a fee for customer owned tires to be mounted. Or is it best to purchase through the mc shop?

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Valid question!  I have been through it as I once had some sponsored riders.   

So, I have tried and tried to go to my local shops to buy tires.  However, it has always been cheaper to go through Rockymountainatv or Motosport.   I have even had shops tell me "we will match advertised internet prices"  yet they never do!   The last time I asked them to match the price they came out $40 a set more.  So I asked them "how do I buy from my local shop?"  when the price is that high?  They act like the $40 per set is not high and I should buy off of them.  

I want to support my local shop but its gone a bit crazy lately in some areas.   I remember about 4 yrs ago in Socal if I purchased a tire at my local shop it was either mounted free or it was $5.    Now it is like $30. 

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I sadly have to buy online. I'd like to give my local dealer the sale but they are just too far above internet pricing.

Yup, used to be if you bought a tire from a shop, they'd mount and balance as part of the sale. Always did that with my sport bikes. MX bikes, it is too easy to just do it myself at home and a scratch from the tire iron mixes well with the scratches from the rocks. I do have a local dealer mount my SM tires on the black Excels as they use the right equipment and do not scratch the rims. Plus, because I bought the bike from them, I get 1/2 price mounting and balancing. The downside is the distance, about 40 miles from my home.

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I have been out of the sport for quite awhile and recently purchased a '72 Honda XL 250 Motosport. The bike had not been started in 35 years and the original duo sport tires, even though the tread is great, has sidewall cracks. I bought it from the original owner with pink slip. As I was working through some initial starting issues, I took the coil to a local "unknown to me" off road mc shop. They were very welcoming and checked the coil for free. At this point I feel I owe them some business.

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Cycle Gear has good tire prices and they mount tires. You can also order the tire(s) on line or at the store.  

Rocky Mtn has the largest selection, best price, and very fast shipping.

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I have a local independent shop that will usually match online prices.  And if I don't feel like mounting the tire he does it cheap, last time I had tires mounted they were 6 ply tires and it was January, those things were unbendable.  He he even had to put them up near the heater near the ceiling to soften them up a bit.

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1 hour ago, Chuck. said:

Cycle Gear has good tire prices and they mount tires. You can also order the tire(s) on line or at the store.  

Rocky Mtn has the largest selection, best price, and very fast shipping.

Cycle Gear runs good specials on their street tires from time to time. $25 per street tire to mount if bought from them. $50 per street tire to mount if not bought from them. 

https://www.cyclegear.com/tire-install-service

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I bought a set of shinko e270's for my bobber online for $170 on ebay. Not only did the dealership not cary them, nor were able to order them, and refused to install since i didnt purchase from them, they offered me a comparable alternative tire for $275 a tire "but that comes with free install", needles to say &%$#@! the dealership. A local shop mounted and balanced for only $15 a tire, I added tubes as well which were an additional $15 each. so $170 for purchase plus $60 for tubes and instal =$230. i now change all my own tires by hand. easy once you learn and saves money. i ride dual sports so it's essential to know how to change a tire in the field.

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One thing about ebay that I ran into.  Some shops have a regular online store and an ebay store.  I bought some tires from Chapparal a while back and their online store was cheaper than their ebay store.  :rolleyes:

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76xtdrvr...Thanks for the link & info!  I'm in Reno, NV so no mothership store here.

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One thing about ebay that I ran into.  Some shops have a regular online store and an ebay store.  I bought some tires from Chapparal a while back and their online store was cheaper than their ebay store.  :rolleyes:

I always look for the cheapest price on a certain tire I want. The last 3 tires I bought (all different searches and brands) was from Chapparal.

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1 minute ago, Bron-Yr-Aur said:


I always look for the cheapest price on a certain tire I want. The last 3 tires I bought (all different searches and brands) was from Chapparal.

Funny thing about them is they've been around forever, I remember their paper catalogs back in the early 70s, but no one thinks about them when it comes to buying, everyone seems to be about Motosport, RM, BTO.

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35 minutes ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

Funny thing about them is they've been around forever, I remember their paper catalogs back in the early 70s, but no one thinks about them when it comes to buying, everyone seems to be about Motosport, RM, BTO.

I used to buy quite a bit from Chapparall, but haven't even thought about them for years. One time I ordered a set of Metzler tires from them, UPS guy shows up and pulls three tires out of the truck, (one front, two rears) I tell him "wrong order, I should only have two tires" he says not according to my slip. He tells me to contact the place that I ordered them from. I called Chaparall the next day and told them what happened and they told me "our mistake, keep it". Now you got me thinking, I'll have to check them out.

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6 minutes ago, katoom64 said:

I used to buy quite a bit from Chapparall, but haven't even thought about them for years. One time I ordered a set of Metzler tires from them, UPS guy shows up and pulls three tires out of the truck, (one front, two rears) I tell him "wrong order, I should only have two tires" he says not according to my slip. He tells me to contact the place that I ordered them from. I called Chaparall the next day and told them what happened and they told me "our mistake, keep it". Now you got me thinking, I'll have to check them out.

The last set of Kendas I got from them were so fresh I swear the rubber was still warm! :lol:

They are probably the biggest Kenda dealer.

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I buy online, tires are literally double around here at the shops. Crazy. I try to buy stuff for bikes at the shop here but only carry Honda stuff. So whatever carries over between kx and rmz with Honda, not much.the other shops try to pin me down to buy a new bike that day, which I then leave and never return.Also, I have never shopped at any shop,motorcycle or bicycle, that has really made me think it was a great experience. 

Edited by RawbW
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Chapparal was horrible in early e-commerce days. I will habe to check them out again if they are on par with the other online guys.

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Dennis Kirk is still around too...

I buy from 2 local shops, cash on the barrel head at one place & the other that matches or beats online.... I try to support the local indy shops

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I buy practically all of my hard parts, ties included, online as my local dealers in Georgia do not stock any parts and have a bad habit of pricing at retail +5-10% and then reduce the price maybe back to retail and tell me I am getting a deal and their expertise even when I was giving them the part number. 

And Oh yeah I'll give the folks at Rockymountain and cyclepartsnation.com  a free plug they have ALWAYS done right by me!

Edited by hlrembe678
adding on
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