I saw an answer to a question told a new user to take their bike to their LBS. If somebody is new to cycling they're unlikely to know this is shorthand for local bike shop. I think using language like this is at cross purposes with stack exchange's style of complete clarity. Many questions refer to LBS, but shouldn't we stop using the term to increase our accessibility?

  • Isn't that what tags and tag definitions are for? Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 2:02

4 Answers 4


No, I don't think "LBS" makes sense to a first time user, or to many people finding answers from a search. It's a term known to much of the cycling community, but most people riding a bicycle won't know that term.

Even the term "Local Bike Shop" is problematic. The Walmart in my town sells bicycles, so it must be a local bike shop, right? But that's not what anybody saying "LBS" means.

Most answers should say something more like "Local shop that specializes in just bikes", but may need to be more explicit that they don't mean a big box store.

But it's contextual. Really depends on what you're seeing.

For a more universal guideline on this terminology: while making sure that an answer is helpful to the original questioner, also make sure that the answer is helpful to anybody who stumbled onto the question from a google search.

  • OTOH, I wouldn't have a problem referring somebody to my local REI. It might be a big box chain store with bicycles as just one corner, but that one corner is actually managed well, with real bicycles and an actual bicycle mechanic on staff.
    – freiheit
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 16:02
  • In contrast, I still don't quite understand what a REI is. I have taken the liberty of creating a glossary entry based on what I found on their website and wikipedia. Feel free to update as required. REI Are there any other jargon brandings we're missing? Wiggle and CRC would be two known world-wide.
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented Aug 6, 2016 at 7:14
  • 2
    @Criggie REI happens to be an acronym but it's an American chain of outdoor stores. If you google "rei", even in the UK, it takes you straight to their website so I don't think we need a glossary entry for that. Whereas, if you google "lbs", you get absolutely nothing of any relevance whatsoever (I get mostly the London Business School and the non-metric unit of weight). Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 11:28

Terminology index - a list of bike part names and cycling concepts Its in the dictionary / glossary.

I might define the full phrase first time its used in an answer, then simply say LBS later. Same would go for "Front/Rear Derailleur" which becomes FD or RD if referenced again.

So to answer the question, LBS might not make sense to a first time user, but neither would other jargon words we take for granted, like Clincher or Bead.

We even have questions that confuse t[yi]re with rim with wheel with tube. At some point jargon is simply necessary to avoid waffle.

  • 4
    Yes, ideally we should use a link like [LBS](bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/244/…)
    – andy256
    Commented Aug 6, 2016 at 6:18
  • 1
    Jargon such as "clincher" is necessary because it's the only way to describe that particular kind of tyre (well, maybe that's a bad example since beginners won't realise there's any other type of tyre; but that's a digression). Jargon such as "LBS" is completely unnecessary because it's easy to describe a local bike shop without using jargon. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 11:30
  • @andy256 I like that idea - will try and link to the relevant glossary entry, and if there isn't an entry will create it. Done that for "through axle" already.
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 13:26
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby It'd be good if you did so, rather just making the assertion. In ten words or less, describe "LBS" taking freiheit's point to clearly distinguish between *mart type places that sell BSOs in boxes, general bikes-mowers-music-books shops that offer limited services, and an actual bike shop... go!
    – Móż
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 0:27
  • @Móż "Local bike shop". And if you're afraid that people will interpret that to mean "Any nearby place that sells things approximating bicycles" (I don't think people will -- an X shop is generally taken to mean a shop that specializes in selling X), then say "Local specialist bike shop". Perhaps I was unclear: the abbreviation "LBS" is completely unnecessary jargon. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 6:58
  • When you create your ten-or-fewer-word description of "LBS", make sure not to use "BSO" in the definition. ;-)
    – shoover
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 16:19
  • 1
    @shoover why not? Its simply another "word" with a definition elsewhere if the user doesn't know that a BSO is a cheap bike built down to a price. Its not like using LBS to define LBS.
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:48
  • I meant if you were to be defining LBS in an answer that was intended for newbies. If a newbie doesn't know LBS, he certainly won't know BSO. If you're talking about a glossary entry, sure, go ahead and use all the TLAs you want, as long as they're defined elsewhere in the glossary (within reason).
    – shoover
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:50
  • Someone's already done it. bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/887/19705 ranks #1 with 47 votes in the index, and LBS is #2 with 35 votes.
    – Criggie Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 0:06


I'm a new user and I can tell you from experiencing it that "LBS" didn't make sense. I eventually understood what it meant by seeing it in different contexts.


I don't think it makes sense, and it would be a useful edit to say "Local bike shop" (LBS).

Alternatively, use


To make a link to the tag wiki for . It'd be nice if it gave the tag wiki excerpt as a hover text, but at least people could click it and find out what it is.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .