What ARE you used to as a bicycle rider and consumer? Or more importantly, what have you been forced to settle for?
OK, take this as you will, whether it is us trying to toot our own horn, or just as a fellow rider and buyer who is kind of fed up with what some businesses (laughingly) refer to as service!
A couple prime examples, one from this morning and one from yesterday.
So, I'm opening up this morning and a gent comes walking his bike up to the shop. We had spoken a couple weeks back when he stopped by inquiring what we would charge to replace his bottom bracket. He didn't have the bike with him at the time, so I quoted based on his direct inquiry. The total was $28.00 for gently used, $42.00 for a new (sealed) bottom bracket. He left, happy, with a guarantee he'd be back. During a more detailed conversation when he returned today, this is what I found out. He had purchased a used Land Rider about three months ago from another local bike shop (apparently someone else out there is selling used bikes now, as well? Hmmm? Wonder where they got THAT idea!?) And yes, I know who and No, I'm not telling. I'm not into the whole "nasty attack" thing, just passing on my own disgruntlement!
So, brief description, A land rider is an auto-shift model, but this one had been converted into a standard shift. They didn't do too bad, although the spacing in the rear wheel was off, and the front derailleur was for a three ring, but put on a two. That means the adjustment screw had to be set to keep the chain from dropping off the back side. Sometimes, that's a tricky deal, as it tends to make shifting up a chore, with the occasional misfire, dropping it forward off the top ring, to come to rest in between the chain ring and the sneeze guard (yes, it's called a chain guard but the other name sounds funnier!) the trouble with that is, it tends to make it look like the chain is still ON the chain ring! You see where I'm going with this? So he goes on to explain that when he's riding along, from time to time, when he hunkers down on his ride, the chain would slip and the crank just started to spin but go nowhere. As I had not yet inspected the bike, my first thought was a bad free wheel. As he went on, he informed me that he had brought it back to the shop he bought it from, and, as they offer NO warranty (shame, shame!) they told him it was a bad bottom bracket and even though he did not divulge how much they were going to charge him to fix it, it was more then he could afford at the time. Obviously, it was more then what we would have charged, as he came back to us. I tested the bottom bracket first, as that was his concern, but found it tight, straight and spinning smooth. Obviously not the problem. I placed it in the rack, tested the freewheel, and although it was slightly hesitant a couple of times, it still engaged well. At this point I noticed the front derailleur set up, and figured I'd try a shift test. That's when I noticed the slip. If you shifted one click down too far the chain ended up in between the ring and guard. As the bike had grip shifters, and he had "man-hands" the inside of his palms were partially gripping the shifter as he rode, when he stood up or gripped harder to get up a hill, he would inadvertently drop the shifter down the extra clicks and send the chain off the ring.
Um...they couldn't see that?! I'm not sure whether I'm voting for inept mechanics, or dishonest con-men. Needless to say he was quite shocked when one quarter turn with a Philips Head screwdriver solved all his problems! And even more so when I told him "no charge"!
Second problem was a gent who visited us yesterday. No, no problem with him, but with the ordeal he was put through! Recently, he purchased a cruiser from Wal-mart. Ok, Ok stop the booing and hissing. It fit his budget and he liked the look of it. He had it for about two months, and according to him, right from the get go, he noticed an occasional whining sound when he coasted. He thought of returning it, but as he didn't have the receipt, assumed they wouldn't exchange it so he bit the bullet and went to his local bike shop to have it fixed. This is where the whole thing got ridiculous! The first two bike shops he went to refused to work on it! In a "snubbed nose" sort of way, they stated "we don't work on box store bikes"! In effect, insulting his choice in rides! The third shop would work on it, but right off the bat they said he needed to buy a NEW, better, rear wheel, for $99.00!?!?!
In his words, that was only $.97 less then what he PAID for the bike. Of course, while he was there he was shown a better, newer and higher priced models! He was all but sold on one, similar in style to what he already had, for $298.00. However, before he committed to buying, he thought he would try and sell his, as it still looked brand new, to offset the price of the new one. After posting it on Craigslist and not having much luck, he stumbled on one of our ads for buying bikes, gave us a call and came in for me to check it out. I was impressed with how clean and new it was, and inquired as to why he was selling, at which point he relayed the aforementioned story. Inquisitively, I asked if he liked the bike, to which he responded affirmatively, but didn't want to spend the money to solve the problem. Now, I knew what was wrong with the bike, right off the bat (it's not the FIRST time someone has brought in a Walmart single speed, coaster brake with a whine in the rear end) but with my normal, campy, "Leo" flair for dramatics I offered to put it in the rack and "check it out"!
(To quote Scotty from Star Trek, here's the general idea...)
(from ST:TNG episode "Relics")
Look, Mr. Scott, I'd love to explain everything to you, but the Captain wants this spectrographic analysis done by 1300 hours.
[La Forge goes back to work; Scotty follows slowly]
: Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. But the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.
Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
How long will it really take?
: An hour!
Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
Well, of course I did.
Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.
OK, sorry for the interlude, but I'll use any excuse to quote Star Trek!
The problem with mass produced bikes is much of the parts are assembled by machines, some of which need to be calibrated correctly to apply only a certain amount of torque. Sometimes, they don't recalibrate them in a timely fashion, so they can be too tight or loose. In this case, as in many others we've seen, the rear axel was too tight, so the dust cap was grinding against the rear hub. With a half turn left of a 17mm wrench, the whine goes away. I spun the wheel, put it in coast...no whine. The gentleman's expression went from dumb founded to incensed as he exclaimed "why didn't the other shop check that!?" Ever the diplomat, I shrugged and stated "perhaps, as they do not work on Wal-mart bikes, they didn't know to look for it" I kept my opinions to myself, allowing him the time to come to the more obvious conclusion. He was, of course, quite shocked when I told him "no-charge" (but he tipped me a fin anyway). In my mind, knowing we have earned the trust of a now lifelong customer MORE then pays for the ten minutes I spent on the whole thing!
Yesterday, was blissfully nicer being in the AC! Managed to not only put out two newbies. One of them turning out to be a SAH-WEEEEET 26" Haro Vector MTB! and a 20" 7 speed MTB, that had to have been sitting in a back yard under a gutter systems down spout for all the rusty parts I had to replace!! Ever try passing a chain, so rusted, that it won't BEND through a rear derailleur? WOOF! I just ended up replacing the derailleur to save myself the headache!
At that point, having nothing more to do, I finished up the last couple of rebuilds on some wheels kicking around behind the bay...then cleaned my bay....again. If not for the perpetual grease stains, I think you could eat off it! I mean, I don't even have any repairs waiting!
Hence the extremely long moment of sharing here. Had two repairs this morning, and a pleasant "whine and cheese" moment with Uncle Chip, but other then that, I got nothin'
Finishing the day out with cleaning, we headed to the homestead to find Momma in the throes of her bi-monthly "Twilight" festival on Blue Ray. Yes, every couple of months she breaks out the collection and watches all five films (as the kiddo's will allow) and I came in 3/4 the way through the fourth. Of course, I found things to keep myself busy (LOL!!) but was more interested in watching the children's reactions. Even though the boys initially pitched a hissy over another "chick flick" they still laid there transfixed to the screen! What was REALLY striking was Izzy and Miranda's reactions. Proof positive that our children are a tad bit warped! I would have thought the scenes with the wolves would have freaked them out, scared and running to Momma, but every time they were on screen, even the extreme close-ups of growling, drooling, toothy jaws, Miranda would laugh, jump up and done and clap her hands in glee! Izzy would be only slightly put off, but then laugh at the jolting excitement of it!
OH yea. I have no fear these girls are not going to give some hapless male a run for his money when they are older!
All right, I guess I best try and find something to occupy my time!
Check out the newbies and we'll see y'all REAL soon!
Like...TODAY would be nice!
PS. A special SHOUT OUT to members of the Brazilian and Dominican baseball Spring Trainers who just paid us a visited and headed out of here with six rides! Remember gents, ensure your stay here in Florida is a long one, by playing well!!
|26" HARO VECTOR MTB!!|
|20" 7 SPEED MTB!|