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  1. #1
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    Beware of the Desperado

    I employed Jalon Hawk (real name Laurence B. Gust) of Desperado Cycles in Deerbrook Wisconsin to create a custom bicycle for me. 22 months and over $14,500 later (yes, I'm an idiot) all I've received are excuses, demands for more money and verbal lashings for being unwilling to pay more for the work of a "master builder".

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  2. #2
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    $14,500? US Dollars?!

  3. #3
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    Cycling Guy,

    While it is nice to vent online it is somewhat unfair. If this becomes a case of throwing mud. How do we know you are not some d*ck with an agenda.

    Right now you are someone without a name who has a two post history on the forum. If you have an actual case please use the court system and sue him. After you win your lawsuit feel free to post your stuff. You will be have more creditability if you use proper channels.

    I have no knowledge of you or of Jalon Hawk but a quick Google search shows that he has a page on BBB with zero complaints. If you have a material complaint take it there and/or to the court system.
    http://www.bbb.org/wisconsin/busines...k-wi-44012588/

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycling_Guy
    I employed Jalon Hawk (real name Laurence B. Gust) of Desperado Cycles in Deerbrook Wisconsin to create a custom bicycle for me. 22 months and over $14,500 later (yes, I'm an idiot) all I've received are excuses, demands for more money and verbal lashings for being unwilling to pay more for the work of a "master builder".

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.
    Ummmmmmmm.......Wow. That made me stand up & pay attention. That's some serious coin!
    I'd pay a personal visit to talk that over at that level. - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  5. #5
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    I will build you a frame for half that price and have it to you in 3-4 weeks. My price is so low because I am not a "Master Builder".
    Beechwold Cycle Works
    Columbus, OH
    http://beechwoldcycleworks.blogspot.com

  6. #6
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    $14,500 !!!

    Dude! I would have built you a PVD Road & Mountain frame littered with PVD parts. Why so much for a frame from some wack job noob builder?

  7. #7
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    Did you pay extra for the aerobars like the ones on the townie on the homepage picture?

    Sorry, couldn't help myself

    And for that sort of money I would not only build you a bike but it would come with the Anvil super master still attached...

    sorry, couldn't help my self again.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    $14,500 !!!

    Dude! I would have built you a PVD Road & Mountain frame littered with PVD parts. Why so much for a frame from some wack job noob builder?
    PVD, I have to agree, but Desperado is not a newb. In fact I think he has been up to this for more than 15 years.

    I am also surprised by the dollar figure. You would have thought that for that amount of money that this person would have gone with tried and true builders who are usually known for catering to this type of build.

    I do not know this builder. I do know that he has been building silver fillet brazed bicycles for a long time and done some interesting stuff.

    I will say whenever you hear these stories, we don't know both sides and with that it is never very surprising. I mean you would never ever hear "Walt stole my money" or "Richard Sachs screwed me" It mostly seems obvious to me. I have an inside joke with a friend that we could start a bike company named "fly by night" or our favorite "FAH Q" and probably sell the ****e like crazy.

  9. #9
    DWF
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-ro
    Did you pay extra for the aerobars like the ones on the townie on the homepage picture?

    Sorry, couldn't help myself

    And for that sort of money I would not only build you a bike but it would come with the Anvil super master still attached...

    sorry, couldn't help my self again.
    That's funny though, I thought the same thing. For 14.5 I'd build the frame and throw in the dedicated tools I used to do it for free.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  10. #10
    Eric the Red
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    $14,500? Doooood, I'll do it for $8500. If you live somewhere cool, I'll deliver it in person, crash on your couch for a few days while I ride and eat all your food.


    The Desperado website looks like it hasn't been updated in 15 years, it's got Amp suspension stuff and Columbus Metax.

  11. #11
    pvd
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian
    PVD, I have to agree, but Desperado is not a newb. In fact I think he has been up to this for more than 15 years.
    Sorry, I don't judge other's work by how long they have done it. I base it on the level they practice a craft. This guy is a complete newb. His bikes are rank, pedantic, and juvenile at best. I've seen folks here build their first bikes that showed more aptitude than that guy shows over the body of his complete works. Garbage.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Sorry, I don't judge other's work by how long they have done it. I base it on the level they practice a craft. .
    You are 100% right PVD. All too often we give credit to someone who has just survived a long time but still does not show a highly refined skill level. Time in and of itself is not an indicator of a quality product.

    I had a look at that site again and I guess he has been in business for 30 years. That is a long time for sure. I also saw this blurb about payment.

    "A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required to begin your project. This secures the client with a specific time for build; allows me a measure of commitment from the client with time taken to work out what is exactly going to be built before the time allocated, and allows the purchase of frame tubing before the build. One week before the scheduled period of build a payment in full with a casher’s check or money order. Your money is an investment of a minimal of 40 hours of work, which is the time that is specifically appointed. If it is found that there is some question of what is to be the final product, the client is responsible for making this apparent before final payment."

    I think the large deposit up front with full payment before work commences (I take 500 deposit and half at the beginning with the rest at completion) is just odd. That just isn't done in any industry.

  13. #13
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    Very odd

    Clearly Mr. Hawk either is not a native English speaker or doesn't write well, so I don't necessarily know that my interpretation is correct, but the "If it is found that there is some question of what is to be the final product, the client is responsible for making this apparent before final payment" sentence seems crazy!

    I read that as: "I am not going to make sure we're on the same page, that is YOUR JOB. If I don't build what you want, tough."

    I mean, there are some people out there that really hated what I built them. Sometimes because I blew it, sometimes because, well, they were batsh*t crazy. Or some combination thereof. But I figure the ultimate responsibility lies with me, and that fixing what you screw up is just a cost of doing business. It does not look like that is the case with Desperado.

    Then again, we only have one side of this story. $14.5K seems outrageous for any bicycle related project that one could possibly conceive. Handing over that kind of sum without any kind of legal agreement about what was to be produced... well, I honestly do not know what to say. Could be this is a standard-issue internet hatchet job, could be Mr. Hawk is the king of the bicycle con men. No way of knowing, I guess... but for that sum, I'd have hired a lawyer rather than posting to the forum. It's not as if any of us is going to solve this.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian
    You are 100% right PVD. All too often we give credit to someone who has just survived a long time but still does not show a highly refined skill level. Time in and of itself is not an indicator of a quality product.

    I had a look at that site again and I guess he has been in business for 30 years. That is a long time for sure. I also saw this blurb about payment.

    "A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required to begin your project. This secures the client with a specific time for build; allows me a measure of commitment from the client with time taken to work out what is exactly going to be built before the time allocated, and allows the purchase of frame tubing before the build. One week before the scheduled period of build a payment in full with a casher’s check or money order. Your money is an investment of a minimal of 40 hours of work, which is the time that is specifically appointed. If it is found that there is some question of what is to be the final product, the client is responsible for making this apparent before final payment."

    I think the large deposit up front with full payment before work commences (I take 500 deposit and half at the beginning with the rest at completion) is just odd. That just isn't done in any industry.
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
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  14. #14
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    I met him about 15 years ago when I lived in Madison and I would be surprised if he had more than a few paying customers since then. One of those unique individuals that seem to be a part of the cycling subculture.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt
    Then again, we only have one side of this story. $14.5K seems outrageous for any bicycle related project that one could possibly conceive.
    -Walt
    A little off topic Walt but I just wanted to bring up that there are road bikes sold every day and actually many a day that are way north of 14.5k.

    I know that seems like a lot in our world but Serotta has bikes that expensive and there is a bike shop here in Tucson (Fairwheel bikes) that carries some really Uber stuff and they sell a couple of bikes like that a week other shops and manufacturers do too.

    It is a heap of money but realize it does happen, I have done it. It's just that for jobs like that I come to an understanding and take regular payments just like any home contractor would do.

    You are right, for this kind of money the only thing that will really help is a good attorney. At least they can meet together for arbitration.

  16. #16
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    Good point...

    I realize that there are plenty of bikes out there that cost more than this. It does seem insane to me, but there are a lot of dumber things (speedboat? mistress?) to blow your money on, so more power to them, I guess.

    I guess I should have said "Any conceivable bicycle FRAME related project". Though I guess there could be some conceiveable steel frames that could cost that much...I'm struggling to think of examples, though. Then again, we don't know if this is what the fellow paid for the frame or the complete bike, or the Eiffel tower.

    As an aside, sometimes I wish I sold more road bikes. I sell a mountain bike to someone, and I tell them the complete bike is going to be $3k. Often they'll come back with something along the lines of "Well, I have a left crank that's pretty good, how much will it save me to just get the right one? What if I use my old saddle from 1993?"

    Roadies, on the other hand, don't seem to blink when I tell them that they're asking for a $7k bike. I hear a lot of "I want it to be really light/awesome/whatever. Put whatever you think is best on there." Too bad I only do like 1 or 2 a year.

    -Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by dbohemian
    A little off topic Walt but I just wanted to bring up that there are road bikes sold every day and actually many a day that are way north of 14.5k.

    I know that seems like a lot in our world but Serotta has bikes that expensive and there is a bike shop here in Tucson (Fairwheel bikes) that carries some really Uber stuff and they sell a couple of bikes like that a week other shops and manufacturers do too.

    It is a heap of money but realize it does happen, I have done it. It's just that for jobs like that I come to an understanding and take regular payments just like any home contractor would do.

    You are right, for this kind of money the only thing that will really help is a good attorney. At least they can meet together for arbitration.
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
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  17. #17
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    Since the OP has zero credibility and hasn't come back to comment, we don't know if the person is just some bitter ex boyfriend/girlfriend trying to seek revenge. Any further guesswork is just that. The OP gave no information about what was ordered or how it went bad - seem suspicious? I think so.
    May the air be filled with tires!

  18. #18
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    if you google his first sentence, you'll find that he posted this on every forum he could find. He has answered questions on other forums.

  19. #19
    bee
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    There is no way that a steel frame is going to cost $14,500. There must be more to the story than this. Maybe it was for multiple frames, or a few tandems. Not for a single frame.

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    Maybe it was for a complete bike. He states on his site that all componets must be paid for in advance.
    "Parts for complete bicycle are paid in full before the build"

    Maybe they both got in over there head.

    I know of a case fifteen years ago were a very well respected builder agreed to build a Titanium Tandem for a well respected customer. It took well over a year, was around sixteen thousand dollars and then broke a short time later and then it took another year to be repaired. The tandem is still ocasionally ridden. I was just speaking with the owner a couple weeks ago. He is getting rid of some bikes but said he would be hanging onto to this particular Tandem.

    Steven

    Quote Originally Posted by bee View Post
    There is no way that a steel frame is going to cost $14,500. There must be more to the story than this. Maybe it was for multiple frames, or a few tandems. Not for a single frame.

  21. #21
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    At first I thought this guy had not updated his site since he put it up in 97. Everything on it looks to be about 15 (or more) years old but some of the photos are dated 2005. Who builds bikes like that? This has to be some kind of joke. Or is this his niche? Maybe his bikes come with a free Dokken record and t-shirt too (that would explain the crazy cost for sure!)?

    Anyway, since the OP is quiet, this is most likely a BS!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by marks_bike View Post
    At first I thought this guy had not updated his site since he put it up in 97. Everything on it looks to be about 15 (or more) years old but some of the photos are dated 2005. Who builds bikes like that? This has to be some kind of joke. Or is this his niche? Maybe his bikes come with a free Dokken record and t-shirt too (that would explain the crazy cost for sure!)?

    Anyway, since the OP is quiet, this is most likely a BS!

    Could not see anyone getting close to paying 14.5K for a frame alone. Even a complete bike decked out with all custom parts I would think would be hard pressed to get close to that figure. Agreed smelling a bit of BS perhaps mixed with a bit of truth, but that is all speculation at this point.

  23. #23
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    Hank at Henry James talks this guy up. Evidently he has secret brazing powers. Odd and eccentric, but he knows a thing or two. Some of the tube tech info on his site is great.

    -Schmitty-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmitty View Post
    Hank at Henry James talks this guy up. Evidently he has secret brazing powers. Odd and eccentric, but he knows a thing or two. Some of the tube tech info on his site is great.

    -Schmitty-
    Maybe he really is a Master Bilker-I-mean-builder then.

  25. #25
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    On another site the OP says it was for one frame a complete bike and some work on another bike. Not sure if he got anything done from this guy. Any how if I spent that kind of coin I'd take a little trip and have a close up and personal talk with him.

    Tim

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimT View Post
    On another site the OP says it was for one frame a complete bike and some work on another bike. Not sure if he got anything done from this guy. Any how if I spent that kind of coin I'd take a little trip and have a close up and personal talk with him.

    Tim
    Yep. What is a $500 R/T airfare next to a $14k item?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero View Post
    Yep. What is a $500 R/T airfare next to a $14k item?
    Going to confront him may make things worse.

    Have you taken this to the BBB and/or the Courts? Did you pay with a credit card? If so discuss with you card company. It's fine to post stuff here but really you need to go via proper channels.

  28. #28
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    I'm glad he uses JC Wiggles framesaver so I can use my bike in compitition.


    "I cut my teeth in frame building with the construction of mountain bikes in 1993. In fact, I did it by using the AMP rear triangle to create full suspension frames. When the Columbus Metax tubing came out I was silver fillet brazing many a WARS racer with artilery for compition.

    Well, the Metax tubing is no longer available, however the True Temper OX Platinum is very close in mechanical properties. Using JC Wiggles framesaver will make sure that corrosion will not be a factor and allowing a lifetime of pleasure and service to the owner."

  29. #29
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    For a mere <em>one tenth of 1%</em> fee ($14.50) I'll send him a really nasty letter.

  30. #30
    bee
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    Maybe, the original poster meant that he spent $1400 on the frame, not $14,000.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by daves4mtb View Post
    I would say hire a lawyer, but then again, most lawyers want to be paid up front too!

    (jokette)
    Better yet take the case to judge judy. But make sure all your ducks are lined up or she will rip you a new one on national tv.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by daves4mtb View Post
    And you have to beware that the Desperado doesn't use the famed "bendejo" defense!
    aye-way. if bendejo defense is used than get these girls to go get the deniro.


  33. #33
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    Thank you very much for this piece of advice. I followed the link and accomplished my submission. Absolutely top notch advice. Again, my thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    Cycling Guy,

    While it is nice to vent online it is somewhat unfair. If this becomes a case of throwing mud. How do we know you are not some d*ck with an agenda.

    Right now you are someone without a name who has a two post history on the forum. If you have an actual case please use the court system and sue him. After you win your lawsuit feel free to post your stuff. You will be have more creditability if you use proper channels.

    I have no knowledge of you or of Jalon Hawk but a quick Google search shows that he has a page on BBB with zero complaints. If you have a material complaint take it there and/or to the court system.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  34. #34
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    bee,

    The original project weighed in at a little more than 9k. We scheduled and I paid for another build and we we working towards a restoration that I also paid in full for. While my "story" certainly wreaks of personal retardation I must report it to be true. My intent is to pass on a true story. My hope is others will take it into consideration when choosing their builder.



    Quote Originally Posted by bee View Post
    There is no way that a steel frame is going to cost $14,500. There must be more to the story than this. Maybe it was for multiple frames, or a few tandems. Not for a single frame.

  35. #35
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    I'll bet an attorney in the area would write him a sternly worded letter for a fairly small fee. That often wakes people up

  36. #36
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    The Wisconsin BBB got back to me. My complaint was submitted to Desperado Cycles and he has 2 weeks to respond. If he does not, a second notice will be sent with another 2 weeks given for reply. If nothing is received then I will be informed of the next set of options. If a response is given I will receive a copy of the response with an explanation of the possible next steps. There are a few other agencies that others have graciously suggested and I'm following those. So, I guess the process begins. Not exactly what I had in mind a few years ago but it is what it is. Sad. I'll update as things happen.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycling_Guy View Post
    The Wisconsin BBB got back to me. My complaint was submitted to Desperado Cycles and he has 2 weeks to respond. If he does not, a second notice will be sent with another 2 weeks given for reply. If nothing is received then I will be informed of the next set of options. If a response is given I will receive a copy of the response with an explanation of the possible next steps. There are a few other agencies that others have graciously suggested and I'm following those. So, I guess the process begins. Not exactly what I had in mind a few years ago but it is what it is. Sad. I'll update as things happen.
    I did this a few years ago when a machinist was stiffing me for work I had payed for almost a yr before, A large amount.
    after what I thought was quite some time of back & forth I found out that the BBB is basically toothless.
    What I would do is take it to court. If your claim is correct then $14K is a very large amount & is too large for small claims court.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    I contacted the Wisconsin BBB and they accepted my complaint. The complaint was forwarded to Desperado Cycles but no response to date. I also contacted local authorities who sent an investigator to speak with Laurence Gust (Jalon Hawk). The investigator had a few forward moving ideas that I will follow.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycling_Guy View Post
    I contacted the Wisconsin BBB and they accepted my complaint. The complaint was forwarded to Desperado Cycles but no response to date. I also contacted local authorities who sent an investigator to speak with Laurence Gust (Jalon Hawk). The investigator had a few forward moving ideas that I will follow.

    Well, this has suddenly gotten very interesting. So, his name isn't really Jalon Hawk? And now, there is a investigator on this from the police Dept? Let us know what happens.

  40. #40
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    You might learn more here.

    Bullseye Crankset Bearings wanted.

    It's fine by me if he gets an Internet reputation beating because I witnessed his behavior first hand.

    I thank my wife's extraordinary sense of sight and smell for our not helping him more than we did. He earned our human waste of time (and space) status when he ripped off those who helped save his home. That included not making good on his pledge of bike for the kid of somebody who sacrificed for him.

    If anybody does see him, I'd like my vintage Campy, Raleigh and Schwinn catalogs back as well as the Mitutoyo measurement tool I lent him when he first started building frames. I figured some poor bike owner needed better than a ruler and tape measure in the manufacture of their frame. He called these things contributions to the "shoppe" (he uses or used the long eeee).

    A friend who did get one of his frames discovered the tubes were cut poorly when there was a crack in the brazing. Others with expertise said it could not be made safe and suggested destroying it. Thus, one of his many helpers were ripped off yet a little more.

    All that said, I don't know how anybody who saw his web site, web content, bikes, lack of bikes out there for a real reputation, or who spoke with him could give him $1400 let alone $14,000.

  41. #41
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    Very sorry for your loss.

    Laurence Barney Gust II is a con man. I could bore you with lots of stories, about how he ripped me off and burned others, but the fact that he felt the need to change his name should tell you all you need to know.

    Walt

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    Late to the party here, but I love the "enable ActiveX controls" bit on his website.

    1996 called, they want their **** back.

    ...Sorry for your loss dude, that stings.

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    Hah!

    I should probably not throw stones from my craptacular website/glass house, but wow, how does he get any business through that site? It's unintentionally hilarious, though, on the plus side.

    _Walt

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Late to the party here, but I love the "enable ActiveX controls" bit on his website.

    1996 called, they want their **** back.

    ...Sorry for your loss dude, that stings.
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I should probably not throw stones from my craptacular website/glass house, but wow, how does he get any business through that site? It's unintentionally hilarious, though, on the plus side.

    _Walt
    Fixed, check your email.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I should probably not throw stones from my craptacular website/glass house, but wow, how does he get any business through that site? It's unintentionally hilarious, though, on the plus side.

    _Walt
    Last I checked, if you look on the Henry James website for custom builders in Wisconsin... he comes up.

    You know the story... people don't just buy the bike (or website), they buy the builder. If he is in fact a bit of a con, then he likely has a personality that draws folks in.

  46. #46
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    I wanted to update this thread. My process with Laurence Gust/.Jalon Hawk/Desperado Cycles continues. Last May, Mr. Gust ceased all communications, stated that despite agreeing to do my work at a flat fee (which he was well paid for) that I owed him for over 600 hours of additional work, that his hourly fees have doubled (there was never any mention of hourly fees in the past but it makes sense that he assigned value to his time) began producing bills that show I owe him over $16,000 additional dollars. I now personally believe Mr. Gust is incapable of distinguishing reality from the world he has created for himself. I literally am not aware of him speaking a single honest word since last March. He has lied to me, the police investigator, he has lied on his business homepage and on his Facebook page.

    My processes with him continue and are showing no signs of stopping. I will pursue this to formal conclusions. Some wheels turn slowly.

    Anyway, the reason I want to update this is to pass on an important piece of information I have discovered. That information concerns the necessity of a signed contract when having custom bicycle work done. Without it, you run the risk of falling victim.

    If you are considering having a custom bicycle built please take this short list of advice as hard earned experience.

    Be aware that what you are entering into is a personal services contract. Do a little research as to exactly what that means.

    Start no work and place no deposit until you have a signed contract that at minimum includes:

    1. The final product you will receive in as much detail as you feel comfortable. Once signed, neither make nor permit any changes to these details. If you do, you've just turned your personal services contract into toilet paper.

    2. Explicitly state timelines for completion. You should speak about this in detail and build in reasonable slack. Remember, if you permit a change, your contract has just lost all its' validity. All cards will reside with the provider of the services. That means they can take as long as they desire and charge whatever they want to get you your final product. Absolutely no limitations. This is so important. Make nor permit changes once the contract has been signed. Don't even change the bar tape. Do not accept any changes. Nothing.

    3. Explicitly state how much you will place as a deposit and how much you will pay upon completion. The amount you place as a deposit you should be comfortable in losing. Because, if the provider can show he/she made any attempt whatsoever to obtain the materials or do any work this money will be lost. Make no interim payments. While cold, the only leverage you have is payment. Be smart.

    4. Outline work hours, per hour charges and explicitly state the combination of your deposit and final payment encompasses full payment for all materials and labor required to complete the project as detailed within the document.

    5. While you will want to have absolute confidence in your provider, please keep in mind that charlatans exist and some of them are very, very good at what they do (meaning being charlatans). You must think worst case scenario. You must be willing to go to the mat if necessary. If you are not, buy off the shelf. In other words, while your heart will be in it, you need to think with your head.

  47. #47
    Old school BMXer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycling_Guy View Post
    I now personally believe Mr. Gust is incapable of distinguishing reality from the world he has created for himself.
    and you said...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cycling_Guy View Post
    I employed Jalon Hawk (real name Laurence B. Gust) of Desperado Cycles in Deerbrook Wisconsin to create a custom bicycle for me. 22 months and over $14,500 later (yes, I'm an idiot) all I've received are excuses, demands for more money and verbal lashings for being unwilling to pay more for the work of a "master builder".
    I think you're the one incapable of distinguishing reality from the world you created for yourself.

    Good luck. And you offer good common sense advice.
    May the air be filled with tires!

  48. #48
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    Blaster1200,

    There was a lot that went into what happened. It's not as simple as me blindly sending money into a black hole. While in the end I was taken gross advantage of and I absolutely permitted it, I simply have never dealt with a person of this reduced character. Being naive and having that naivety taken advantage of is not the same as being disconnected from reality.

  49. #49
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    "I wanted to update this thread. My process with Laurence Gust/.Jalon Hawk/Desperado Cycles continues. Last May, Mr. Gust ceased all communications, stated that despite agreeing to do my work at a flat fee (which he was well paid for) that I owed him for over 600 hours of additional work, that his hourly fees have doubled (there was never any mention of hourly fees in the past but it makes sense that he assigned value to his time) began producing bills that show I owe him over $16,000 additional dollars. I now personally believe Mr. Gust is incapable of distinguishing reality from the world he has created for himself. I literally am not aware of him speaking a single honest word since last March. He has lied to me, the police investigator, he has lied on his business homepage and on his Facebook page. "

    Yes, this sounds familiar. After I saw how he was struggling to keep his head above water, I found a way to write down his debt to me and make it feasible for him to pay off. I told him I would take my reduced payment in terms of a couple of bikes.

    He was fine with that until we got down to the last $800 he had begged from me. He was close to missing a house payment and I agreed to help him out until he could make arrangements to sell.

    When I tried to get yet another bike from him in return for my $800, he started accusing me of cheating him ( the bikes at that point somehow became worth more than we had agreed) and asked me to leave his house. That was the last time I have seen him.

    By the way, one of the bikes he traded to me in lieu of his earlier debt broke at the down tube joint because the braze failed. I had absolutely no confidence that he would return the bike if I gave it back to him to fix (given his stated position that the bikes were worth more than previously agreed). So I filed the braze material away in order to re-join it myself. There was a void inside! The braze material had not stuck to the tube He had bridged over it with an unattached glob of braze material and left a bubble inside the joint. I fail to see how this could be an accident, but instead was a deliberate fraud to cover up a defective joint that was too difficult for him to get right.

    This is the work ethic of Laurence Barney Gust II aka Jalon Hawke aka The Desperado. He is a charming individual who hides with great care a string of lies that run through everything he is and does. He has some basic bike repair skills, but his word means absolutely nothing if he gets your money in advance, and he will fake skills he doesn't have. He has no shame in taking money in return for defective work, or no work at all.

    Sorry for your loss. I hope by airing my experience that other people learn and are protected from this swindler.

    Walt

  50. #50
    Relax. I'm a pro.
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    Dude. You people that got taken for a ride by this guy are idiots.
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