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  1. #1
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    Bad LBS experienc

    Hey Guys,

    thought I would relate my experience at an LBS and let you tell me if I've been unreasonable. I'll be as unbiased as I can. I'm using a generic they when referring to the same person I always dealt with.

    I was a road biker up till 2009 and I did some weekend warrior mountain biking in college (early 2000s). I decided to pick up cycling as my primary hobby again to get back in shape. I figured I would focus on mountain biking this time.

    I road my 14 year old hard tail for a few weeks and looked at what bikes I wanted.

    I settled on a 2014 Stumpjumper Comp fsr.

    I ordered it at a local specialized dealer and picked it up on 6/20. I was told adjustments would be free as well as working through any brake issues. I used the parking lot to bed the pads. I rode that day on the trails, and then the following monday I rode it again. Before My crash I noticed a loud fog horn sound on the rear brake when braking hard. Later, I was going around a sharp turn at 1-3 mph and hit the front brake too hard. I went over the bars and landed on my back (bruised ribs suck). On the way back I noticed a fairly severe wobble in the wheel (I thought the wheel must be a little dainty to warp that easily as I did not crash it into anything, it warped under my weight for a fraction of a second. But I figured I broke it either way). At this point both brakes had equal travel to engage the brake.

    I took it to the lbs and they said the wheel was trueable. I picked it up a couple of days later and they said there was still a little wobble but they thought it was ok. I asked them what I owed, and they said nothing. I thought that was very nice. They mentioned they had a front wheel left over from a warranty replacement rear they could sell me at cost. I posted a video of the wobbly wheel on this forum and everyone advised I not ride it. I took the bike back and bought the wheel he mentioned earlier. He installed and I picked it up a couple of days later.

    As I was riding it I notice that the rear brake lever took significantly more travel to engage the brake than the right and the rear fog horn is now very loud.

    I brought it back and mentioned it to the LBS. They said swamped until after 4th holiday. I rode some more over holiday and took it back after as the fog horn in the rear brake was still bad. They said just to wipe down the rotors with alcohol. They said they couldn't do anything about the different pull lengths. I mentioned the derailers were not shifting smoothly and that I tried to adjust them. I did not touch the limiter screws on the rear derailer, I just added some tension to the cable. My adjustments improved it slightly. The chain was rubbing the front derailer and I tried to adjust it with the limit screws unsuccessfully. He said if I messed it up he would have to charge me to readjust the derailers. He adjusted the derailers front and rear.

    At this point I'm getting the feeling that they have no interest in helping me get this bike working as it should with respect to the brakes. They're always trying to make a quick adjustment and get me back out the door with my bike so it is not taking up room in the shop. I get the feeling I am bothering them.

    I wiped the rotors with alcohol and started doing hard brakes to bed the brakes again. on the 5th or 6th brake the fog horn was back

    I rode the bike 2 days later and when shifting to the largest rear cog the chain went over and stuck between the cassette and wheel. I could not get it out so I had to carry the bike out. Luckily it was only 1/2 mile.

    I made my mind before I went back to the shop that I was not going to let them turn me around agian. I was not going to pay to repair the chain issue as they were the last ones to adjust the rear derailer and I wanted the brake issue addressed properly.

    I took it back to LBS. They immediately got on me about the dirty tires. They said I could ride the bike around in the parking lot to get the dirt off the tires before bringing it in. I said I could not as the bike was unrideable. They claim it could have only thrown the chain over the big cog if I crashed and bent it. (I did not crash). They take it in the back and put the bike on the maintenance stand. I told them I really want to get the brakes straightened out also I mentioned that if they couldn't get them right we should seek replacement from specialized. They said they knew specialized wouldn't do it.

    At this point I knew I was waisting both of our times. So I asked them to give me my bike back and I would take it somewhere else. I had to ask them several times and finally said that I didn't believe they stood behind the bikes they sell so I wanted to take it elsewhere. I also mentioned I would share my experience with others. They said "I will too". I asked them what they meant and they said "You can't ride"

    I did not yell. I did not use any foul language. I'm sure there was a tone to my voice towards the end. I have to say it kind of hurt my feelings when I was told "I can't ride" I guess he is referring to my initial crash. Or maybe I brake incorrectly causing the rear brake to honk. Strange as I've seen that complaint from many others for this bike on this forum. I've read several statements from those same people who whose LBS helped them get it straightened out. Either way I guess I am a beginner.

    I have since spoken to another specialized dealer a reasonable distance away. They said they would be happy to help me and my experience is not the first they have heard from this particular shop (of course they are competing shops I guess). I certainly hope they can help me. I'll have to pay for labor, but hopefully they'll make an honest effort to correct the issue. I really love mountain biking and love the bike other than the couple of issue's I've had. I went from no exercise to riding 4-6 times a week.

    apologies for the long winded post

  2. #2
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    That sucks man, sorry. After a personal attack I would NEVER go back to that shop. Post that **** up on yelp to or anywhere you can.

  3. #3
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    I guess we all have these experiences from time to time. In the middle of your post is a line: "you cant ride".

    Maybe from a certain POV that is true...to their standard. And maybe they have enough accomplished riders frequenting their shop that they don't need to bother with recreational and beginning riders. Actually, I doubt that business is all that good, but that's too bad; they've lost yours.

    Another shop will gain from their foolishness.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bad LBS experienc

    OK. So, I agree the shop seems like it's not the best ever. Unchaining a dived chain is a simple job that, with a little experience, usually you'd do on the trail, whether it's removing the wheel or using a chain breaker (or power link pliers if you're home) . For any shop you actually bought a bike at, I'd hope they'd realize that human error does happen and it really might have been their derailleur adjustment. Or it might not have. But it's a quick fix and getting you going would have earned a longer term customer. Fewer customers actually buy whole bikes in store now, so they gotta hold on to them.


    On their side though is the fact that you already came in for a crash related fix, and, playing the numbers, its entirely likely your first crash or a different crash bent the hanger or slightly bent the derailleur into the wheel. Also you said you'd changed the limit screws. This makes it hard for them to believe that you didn't mess with the low gear limit screw in back. Nevertheless you'd hope things stayed more civil and less argumentative. These are all literally 5 min fixes for them.

    Now, on the brakes issue. Formulas are finicky and I don't think their mid range brakes are very good. You don't care, it's a new bike, they should work. For the issue with throw, I assume you tried the reach adjustment screw in the lever. Otherwise you could try a bleed and a good shop would have probably tried that for a new bike buyer.

    You said the shop keeps trying to make a quick fix and get you out of there. You have to realize that bikes are you evolving, changing devices, trail riding is hard on them, and they rarely stay in 100% adjustment for longer than a long ride. From the shop's perspective these are quick fixes (with the exception of bleeding the brakes), and, no amount of extra time will make the bike be better. If you are serious about biking you really need to learn the simple stuff or you'll be disappointed with any shop. You'll learn how easy most of these fixes are and at the same time see how frequently something or other is needed on any bike ridden hard or long.

    So I'd say try another shop but keep in mind that between the shop and the trail things always happen and many shops would have eventually asked you to start paying at some point anyways.

  5. #5
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    The problem is, you tried to tune the bike before taking it back for what should have been a simple and quick tune up. It becomes an unknown at that point, unknown what you did and didn't do to it. It kinda puts them in between a rock and a hard place. It doesn't excuse any personal remarks by any means but it sounds like both sides could use some interpersonal skills improvement if you know what I mean.

    The other things that I could point out are, if your going to take it in for its free tune or warranty work, make sure that its reasonably clean of dirt, mud and excessive lubricant and don't try to do the work first unless you expect to pay for labor.

  6. #6
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    Your riding experience is irrelevant and reference to this by the mechanic seems pretentious and inflammatory. He must have a sensitive ego. Your crash, on the other hand, may not be irrelevant (though if you're not crashing, you're not learning). You may have bent your derailleur hanger in the crash though the mech should have seen this when adjusting your rear derailleur. As for your brakes, it may seem callous but it's impossible for a mechanic to stand by every product that a bike shop sells; especially when any perceived inadequacies are mostly esthetic (noise). There are a ton of lousy, lower end brakes out there that constantly rub and make a racket regardless of how much you play with them. The most I would expect the bike shop to do in this situation is to do a readjustment and perhaps offer you a replacement set at cost. Sounds like they were playing nice at first and got impatient. good luck with the new shop.

  7. #7
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    Realize first that most customers a LBS encounters are mechanically quite ignorant, ride their bikes seldom and not very hard, and consequently most of the fixes those mechanics are used to are ones I consider to be standard at-home man maintenance (anybody with a garage, tools, and basic mechanical knowledge and an internet connection can handle with trial and error). This is why they're leaning towards the quick 5-min dismissive maintenance.

    That said, for brakes the moment it comes back twice they need to have a competent mechanic look at that in detail - my experience with a big box local location, after being dismissed twice with a cursory bleed on what amounted to defective brakes, the first time I rolled in after a wreck which was exacerbated by that, their one competent mechanic took one look at the service record, saw that I had been in the shop the week before and once he realized that I had been sent away with brakes that went straight to the handlebar before even preventing me from pedaling on, he quietly went about ordering a set of XT brakes (for a $1500 bike) at their cost.

    Still, for stuff that is rider error, or precipitated by rider error, cost burden is going to fall on you. There are rare cases where shops are needlessly dismissive (I've been on both sides of that), but doing any fix other than what's required to limp a bike back home does give them adequate grounds to consider you as the source of the problem or adjustment issue. Brakes making noise when used isn't a mechanical issue, and considering that something to hold against a shop (when reviews of numerous types of brakes state this as a minor complaint) isn't going to get you anywhere with the staff.

    All this said, shops that charge flat rate for labor almost always have much better mechanics. Medical bills are expensive, and like you said bruised ribs suck - it's not like good mechanics are asking lawyer money for their time, so stick with that.

  8. #8
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    In all honesty, if you have the time to spend, learn to work on your own bike- itll save you money and frustration in dealing with repairs like this. Granted- these are simple tasks that the LBS shouldve done for you to get you back out riding,10 mins max for all of this. Other than that, I truly have very little respect for the mechanics at LBSs that are rude and dont spend the time to help out the new bike buyers/newbies as much as the pros. Everyone-regardless of riding expereince should be expected by the LBSs to get the same amount of attention either on the floor or in the service dept.

  9. #9
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    Bad LBS experienc

    That's crap and they should be bending over to help you out. The maintenance comes with time, you just need to find a decent lbs who don't mind explaining a few things.

    And a 3 mph spill over the bars is not a crash, just a practice. I've got a 4 year old stumpy, rear wheel is fine after much abuse but I've had to get about 10 spokes changed in that time.

    They should have fixed the faulty wheel free of charge, sorted the gears and brakes and tuned up the suspension for you.

    I'd write to the manager, explain whats happened, what you expect them to do. I'd expect them to refund what they charged for the wheel, it should have been a warranty replacement. They also need to bleed the brakes if one is nearly coming back to the bars. If this doesn't work they should replace under warranty. If they can prove something is actually bent like a brake lever or mesh hanger, then fair enough you pay for it.



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  10. #10
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    Bad LBS experienc

    Thanks for the responses

    Mark


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  11. #11
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    Re: Bad LBS experienc

    I have a almost identical story when I first started riding. I bought a cannondale jekyl with first generation hydro disc brakes.

    They were so bad going down a decline and the lever fully depressed it would not stop me. So I brought it to the shop. They claimed the levers were bad charged me about $600 to replace them. They worked just as crappy I complained 5 separate occasions then they said that's how they are supposed to work.

    I have 2 other stories about warranty, and $150 bike fit. I vowed to never take my bike back to a shop. I learned all the maintaince myself and buy everything online.

    Since then I have built 4 high end mountain bikes, and 3 high end road bikes(about 20k over 10 years) It is really easy with the right tools, and access to utube.

    End of rant

  12. #12
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    Bad LBS experienc

    Gonna let the other shop try to get the brakes squared away as well as sort out my stuck chain. I spent a half hour today trying to unstick the chain with no luck. I'm afraid I'll screw it up more if I try to remove the wheel. If I could get the wheel off I could remove the cassette as I have the tools.

    Once I'm straightened out I'm going to start trying my own maintenance at least adjustments. If this other shop isn't able to get the brakes worked out I'm gonna bite the bullet and by some xt brakes and rotors and try to install myself. I've seen some videos and the only scary part is shortening the cables.

  13. #13
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    I've never brought my bike to an lbs.. I don't see the point. If I want it done right I'll do it myself. It's my safety and my responsibility. Use a chain break to remove the segments of the chain around the cassette and take the wheel off and take the cassette off.

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  14. #14
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    Was this bike equipped with Avid brakes?

  15. #15
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    Loud brakes could be fixed with different pads. Organic pads are a bit more quiet.

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  16. #16
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    One...To every person who said learn to do your own mech, I hope to god your not the same ppl who talk about the importance of supporting your lbs.

    Two...based on your dates, it looks like you had issues in the first two weeks of ownership?

    Yeah, the lbs should be doing more IMO.

    As to the theory of the lbs not wanting to adjust things due to crash or you messing with things...really? How long would it take the shop to check for a bent hanger or crash damage to the drive train...two seconds? Cmon.

    Three..they can't adjust the brakes? When you just bout the bike? Effing no. And a long pull on the brake lever has zip to do with cleaning rotors with alcohol.

    Oh...and that untrue wheel...wouldn't surprise me if the wreck had zip to do with that issue as well. I'm betting your bike came with factory machine laced rims...its not uncommon for them to need a little adjustment after riding them a bit.

    Sounds like a crap lbs to me. I would name names here and anywhere else I could. Start in this thread.

    I have zero patience for the crap lbs. Support your local guy is almost a mantra on here at times... Well that local guy has a responsibility as well. And he failed here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonC71 View Post
    I have zero patience for the crap lbs. Support your local guy is almost a mantra on here at times... Well that local guy has a responsibility as well. And he failed here.
    Agreed. My closest LBS is one of five I've visited more than once, and the only one I put in the same category as these guys. I'll gladly drive the extra miles in whatever direction it takes to support the stores I've had better experiences with.

    When you buy a new bike, one of the big arguments about buying from your LBS is that they will take care of you with issues like this.

    One thing that really irks me is the comment about the chain coming off the big gear and falling into the wheel. I've had that happen once. I've seen it happen to people I've been riding with far more times. None of those times was due to a crash, and I've had my far share of crashes, as have the people I ride with.

    You don't tell someone they can't ride when they've just bought a bike from you to try to learn how to ride, and you don't tell a customer you'll take care of adjustments and issues, and then write them off when issue actually occur.

    I built bought my hardtail online and built up my full-suspension bike with a frame I bought locally and I've been treated better in local LBSs with both those bikes than what you experienced buying the whole bike.

    I'm not going to buy a specific manufacturers bike just to support an LBS, but there is one local LBS I did specifically avoid looking at those frames when building my bike specifically to save myself the kind of grief you're sharing here.

    Hope the new (not-so-)LBS gives you a much better experience, and it really does make the sport much more enjoyable when you do find an LBS that you enjoy visiting and patronizing.
    2014 Horsethief, 2013 Karakoram, NB-AT3, 2006 Giant XtC

  18. #18
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    I'm never going to tell people to support their lbs when it comes to adjustments because thats something you need to learn otherwise you're gonna be spending a ton of money to walk your bike out of the trail, and when you're 20 miles in, thats not so much fun. The more experience you have adjusting, the more likely you are to find a way to limp on as opposed to walking out.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    I'm never going to tell people to support their lbs when it comes to adjustments because thats something you need to learn otherwise you're gonna be spending a ton of money to walk your bike out of the trail, and when you're 20 miles in, thats not so much fun. The more experience you have adjusting, the more likely you are to find a way to limp on as opposed to walking out.

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    I hear ya...but....beginner forum bro. That LBS has a responsibility to beginner riders as well.

    I was this guy...same background. Rode years ago and got back into the sport. I started with the close lbs when I got back into things and bought a $1200 "starter" ht.

    After the sale they sucked. So guess what...when it came time to spring for that $5k bike I went elsewhere.

    You should learn how to make basic adjustments, but very few know that in their first two weeks...I know I didn't.

    A good lbs will educate a beginner on the simple things..I know mine does. Free flite in Atlanta...they run repair clinics all the time, and they do it because they understand that it is things like service and after the sale performance that creates life long customers.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteer01 View Post
    One thing that really irks me is the comment about the chain coming off the big gear and falling into the wheel. I've had that happen once. I've seen it happen to people I've been riding with far more times. None of those times was due to a crash, and I've had my far share of crashes, as have the people I ride with.
    The only possible crash source of this is tweaking something that affects how much the limit travel screw adjustment is doing - the answer to that is STILL just making a simple adjustment - which is a 2-minute job for somebody competent.

    Local Bike Shops that are worth a crap should be actively trying to have their customers learn how to do basic user level maintenance, and should be completely onboard with helping out on that: there's very little to gain nickel and diming on price, having a customer who loves the bike they have now and is happy to bring that bike back for things like shock servicing and annual maintenance tasks.

  21. #21
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    Bad LBS experienc

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonC71 View Post
    Sounds like a crap lbs to me. I would name names here and anywhere else I could. Start in this thread.
    I was waiting to be asked before I named names. Lightning cycles. Conover, NC. Person I dealt with was one of the owners.

    Mark


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  22. #22
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    Bad LBS experienc

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Was this bike equipped with Avid brakes?
    Formula C1 Brakes.


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  23. #23
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    Bad LBS experienc

    Quote Originally Posted by Markt99 View Post
    Gonna let the other shop try to get the brakes squared away as well as sort out my stuck chain. I spent a half hour today trying to unstick the chain with no luck. I'm afraid I'll screw it up more if I try to remove the wheel. If I could get the wheel off I could remove the cassette as I have the tools.

    Once I'm straightened out I'm going to start trying my own maintenance at least adjustments. If this other shop isn't able to get the brakes worked out I'm gonna bite the bullet and by some xt brakes and rotors and try to install myself. I've seen some videos and the only scary part is shortening the cables.
    Xt brakes are easy to install, recently did both on mine. Didn't need bleeding after the cutting down either ...



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