Agree with Chain Reaction, Wiggle. Also suggest a looksy at Probikekit. Probikekit does not have free shipping but shipping costs are nominal (1,500 yen range). Some of their sales are better that CR or Wiggle.
Re leather - was not aware, but good advice for future. I've had two saddles shipped - both leather. One got taxed 3% and the other one got thru w/o taxes. Thought taxes were random on who processes vs the policies.
Mine came yesterday..... Fitted them today, they leave very little room between the spokes and frame for a Garmin cadence/= speed sensor compared with my other wheels. I had to modify the sensor with my trusty file!
Wiggle was a local shop in Portsmouth that I used to shop at when i was youngerr.... they saw the future of online retailing and went with it, I am now lucky enough to have my LBS a click away. Wiggle still has a LBS in it's original location.
My families bike stores that have been around for 40 plus years now also offer online shopping and capture huge amounts of business that way while still having several walk in stores they have actually seen a huge increase in business with the other HUGE online retailers as they are trusted by the locals and come in to have the parts fitted and serviced which has a mush higher profit margin than selling 60% of the parts.
I also still shop at my local Japanese LBS, but if shops want to survive they need to have the finger on the pulse period.....over charging customers is one sure way to lose business and at the end of the day if there is no way in hell that im going to spend 96,000 yen on a pair of wheels that I can get online for 58,000.
The good bike stores stay in business because they offer competitive prices with excellent service, shops that can't or won't deserve to go out of business and will.....just wish Y's would realise this!
Support yourself..... buy where ever YOU want, my saving of 40,000 yen on wheels from wiggle benifitted my Japanese bike store as the first service won't be free and they will charge me the going rate, not only that but I bounght the tires, inner tubes and cassette from them due to the online savings.
Just got back from my LBS. I was getting my bike ready for tomorrow's race when the cable guide snapped off the frame (glad it wasn't in the race). So I phone up Enosan and say I know it's late but.... He says don't worry but can you pick up a couple of cans and some ice cream from the 7-11 on your way?
We chat, have a couple of cans, he does the drilling and pinning (which I could never do myself), we talk about chain reaction cycles and he wants some sidis too and some cosmic carbone wheels too at that price....
The moral of the story is, there is a place for both the LBS and the online shopping to exist together. For me personally both have quite different functions and I'll give both my custom. In my time in Japan, I've seen cycling grow and grow over the last few years. This can only be good for both the online and LBS.