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  1. #1
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    Ibis and Dealers

    Before you flame away I'm a huge Ibis fan - the HD is the greatest bike I've ever owned, when I talk to Ibis support they are on the ball for helping, and you hear nothing but great stories of support with everyone they talk to. Fair crash replacements, and they really care about us riders. What I type below will not change my decision about buying an Ibis again, but I don't like the trajectory I'm seeing and want to share some thoughts.

    I keep hearing more and more dealers I interact with that aren't too wild about Ibis approach. I know of 3 dealers now that certainly are a lot less wild about this brand than they used to be.

    It seems to me that Ibis needs to stop announcing stuff they don't have available. For example one dealer I spoke with had SL stock sitting around after the SLR was announced that nobody wanted to buy because of the SLR coming out, but the SLR wasn't even available for many many months. Yeah there will always be new models coming this isn't Ibis' fault, but when a dealer gets stuck with stock because of a bike you don't even have available yet and probably won't for 6-12 months that's kind of dirty.

    Also, I've heard grumblings from another dealer of how many orders they lost because Ibis wasn't able to deliver SLR frames when they said or in a timely manner. This is a matter of integrity - doing what you'll do when you say you'll do it. Granted you won't always make the date, but are they making it more than they miss? I don't know. I read and keep hearing more and more from people that are getting the constant date push back of their frames on backorder. The same thing happened with me personally and my HD when I ordered it. I believe the delivery date was pushed back 2 or 3 times.

    Finally the Ripley. At what point do us customers stop taking Ibis seriously with these bike releases? It's kind of become a running joke about this frame ever existing with one of the shops I know. Based on past history, it looks like it's going to be even worse than the SLR story. We wait over a year from announcement, and then we'll all be on waiting lists with dates that may or may not get met in a timely fashion due to backorder, etc. Probably 6 months or longer wait from the time it becomes available. So not a big deal here because we know it's not available, but for a shop/dealer wanting to support the Ibis brand this sucks. They look silly to their customers when a year later the best answer they can give about this bike is a shrug of their shoulders.

    So hope you don't jump on me as some basher, but in the fairness of forums/discussion I'm curious what others are hearing. It's really disappointing to hear LBS getting sour on Ibis because I really think they have one of the best products out there and this approach appears to be damaging it a bit in my circle of bike shops I know the owners of (who are in 3 different States). Are they just growing too fast for what they can support internally?

    What gives, exactly?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypokondriak View Post
    Finally the Ripley. At what point do us customers stop taking Ibis seriously with these bike releases? It's kind of become a running joke about this frame ever existing with one of the shops I know. Based on past history, it looks like it's going to be even worse than the SLR story. We wait over a year from announcement, and then we'll all be on waiting lists with dates that may or may not get met in a timely fashion due to backorder, etc. Probably 6 months or longer wait from the time it becomes available. So not a big deal here because we know it's not available, but for a shop/dealer wanting to support the Ibis brand this sucks. They look silly to their customers when a year later the best answer they can give about this bike is a shrug of their shoulders.
    as for the Ripley, from Hans:
    We have decided to stay quiet on any further details on the bike until it is in stock and ready to ship. Thanks for your patience!
    H

  3. #3
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    Things happen, you can always vote with your dollars somewhere else if you aren't happy.

    My Mojo HD was delivered on time with no issues at all.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbikerguy View Post
    Things happen, you can always vote with your dollars somewhere else if you aren't happy.

    My Mojo HD was delivered on time with no issues at all.
    Right, but I'd also suggest that before anyone makes a decision as permanent as voting with dollars it's best to step back, perform adequate research, and better understand the story.

    This thread could be one mechanism for that, so assuming the discussion remains civil and serves to educate others I personally don't see an issue with it.

    If you do, you can always vote by not corresponding. Just playing

  5. #5
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    I don't believe this is something that should be brought up on a public forum that deals mostly with customers.
    If I were a dealer that wasn't happy with things, you can bet I would be on the horn letting them know exactly how I felt.

    You could have also PMed Hans and Ibis would have learned your concerns that way.

    I think it should be kept focused on the end user.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbikerguy View Post
    I don't believe this is something that should be brought up on a public forum that deals mostly with customers.
    If I were a dealer that wasn't happy with things, you can bet I would be on the horn letting them know exactly how I felt.

    You could have also PMed Hans and Ibis would have learned your concerns that way.

    I think it should be keep focused on the end user.
    That's fine, if it isn't appropriate and the moderators decide to delete I'm ok with this. If it is appropriate and others want to discuss I'm also ok with this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts -

  7. #7
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    I just see it as a brand/dealer relationship issue and I don't know of any customers or dealers for that matter that are complaining about Ibis.

  8. #8
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    I think the dealers need to understand Ibis is not a major brand like Trek, Santa Cruz, Specialized, etc. Ibis is a small operation and as such it should be expected that dates will be missed and inventory will be low. I'm sure Ibis would love to be on time and have every size and model ready to ship or at your shop when you want it but that just isn't going to happen with the size they are.

    It's much better to accept this as then you will be extremely happy when they do make dates and have inventory.

    One day I am hoping they will be big enough to control every part of the process of getting a bike in our hands but until then I accept things for what they are.

  9. #9
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    Yeah this is a good point, but how do we know when they are at this point? I'm seeing a ton more Ibis around these days - certification of how great the bike is right there. Your explanation makes my whole point seem quite fickle, and it might be, but on the same token how many frames a year do they have to do before they are big enough to expect more? How far away from that are they?

  10. #10
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    Well one of the signs will be when they announce a bike and within in a month you can pick one up. They probably will make announcements like they are expanding into a bigger building, hiring more staff, etc.

    Honestly I hope it's not too soon because when they get bigger customer service normally takes a hit and that is the last thing I want to see.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murchman View Post
    Well one of the signs will be when they announce a bike and within in a month you can pick one up. They probably will make announcements like they are expanding into a bigger building, hiring more staff, etc.

    Honestly I hope it's not too soon because when they get bigger customer service normally takes a hit and that is the last thing I want to see.
    Yeah exactly, that is when the usual complaints start that they got too big, too fast etc.

  12. #12
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Let's keep perspective...

    What gives exactly? Legit question and thread, but let's keep this in perspective.

    This is not an Ibis only issue... When I used to ride Santa Cruz a few years back, the stories about wait times for new Santa Cruz bikes were notorious. 6-8 month wait times for certain sizes and colors, sometimes worse if you wanted something specific. I was super lucky to find the Nomad I wanted (polished!) after "only" having to wait 3 months. That was considered a very short wait, 3 months.

    I'm sure some Santa Cruz dealers were less then stoked with that situation then too.

    Hell, I'm reading about new bikes being announced RIGHT NOW (Niner stuff FYI) and as I'm reading it I'm thinking "Cool! This bike sounds rad!" right up until I read that it's shipping in 12 weeks... Ok, whatever, cold water on my bike boner right there.

    I think Ibis knows they mis-handled the SL-R rollout and they are taking pains to see that it doesn't happen again with the Ripley and future models. Should they have even announced the Ripley if it wasn't shipping to dealers that very month? Maybe, maybe not, but that's a debate that doesn't have a really point. I'd also put money on other new models in the pipe that likely haven't been announced because of what they learned in the SL-R and Ripley processes.

    The reality is that Ibis is a smaller outfit then a lot of it's competitors, and at the same time, they have grown rapidly. It's a challenge that almost all successful small businesses will encounter. The great ones live and learn, just like people.

    Ibis is run by talented folks who've been making great bikes in one form or another since... '81 or '83. They know what's up and they know they could have done better, both by their prospective customers and their dealers too.

    My focus is always on how the bike rides and how the company treats it's riders. On both of those accounts Ibis delivers in spades, every time.
    - -benja- -

  13. #13
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    Beat me to it Benja55. Was chatting about this with my LBS who used to be a Santa Cruz dealer years ago, wait times were huge and certain colours/sizes hard to obtain.

    Ibis is still a small company in the grand scheme of things, whilst the wait for my SLR has been a long one, I had my SL to ride so it has not been too horrific. Emails to Ibis and local distributor all answered politely with as much detail as to current status as they had to hand.

    I had to wait almost 3 months for my SL, as others have stated I hope and I am sure Ibis have learned from the SLR problems and looking forward to seeing improved supply of bikes to its customers.

  14. #14
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    Santa Cruz is awful on the customer support side, that's for certain. In fact my experience was so awful with getting Willy to respond during my 2 customer experience issues I'm not sure I could ever buy that brand again. You can search through my post history and find that experience from several years back. Ibis is amazing it in every regard here, that's why I'm trying to be real careful to not make this come off as a bash, but a discussion of where I see people I'm friends with getting stung a bit. I don't like brushing this off as a business/dealer and Ibis problem, because anyone that tries hard to support small companies like the LBS (or even Ibis) know that in doing so the relationship between consumer and dealer grows into friendships. In my case, I've got dealers and employees of those dealers who I consider some of my greatest friends.

    So I guess I'd just say that - the LBS is a small company too fighting for survival. I had not seen Ibis come out and say "hey we screwed up and here's what we learned and why it won't happen again," but maybe they did do this with the dealers. Based on what I'm hearing over the last few months it doesn't seem like it, but I don't know. If they didn't say anything here I'm probably right to be disappointed. If they did, I am definitely in the wrong for getting on someone when they are trying to improve.

  15. #15
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    I feel the same way about Ibis as you do Hypokondriak. In my area however I think you've hit the nail on the head as far as Ibis dealers have given up on them.
    I have a good friend that owns a LBS & he took on Ibis back in 2008 - wait times of around 5 months for the SL then. He grew Ibis rapidly & became the largest Ibis dealer per capita. He sold alot of Specialized & other brands & had gotten most of those customers off those brands onto Ibis's. The HD came out, he had orders but couldn't get bikes & he lost most of those deposits - alot of customers went elsewere. Then the mother of all gong shows hit with the SLR, he had alot of orders. Again lost alot of orders, but then started moving his customers back onto Spec. or other brands - good thing as he never got one SLR last year.My guess is he won't even order a Ripley as I think he's done, real shame as I had put alot of work into helping him grow Ibis in the first few years.
    Another Ibis dealer 3 hours away in a hot selling hard core MTB town sold a ton of Ibis's as well, but when they couldn't any SLR's last year either. Looks like they are done as their moving customers onto other brrands.

  16. #16
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    From an end-user perspective, the pre-release announcements might not be a bad thing. Nothing would be more frustrating than agonizing for months and before finally pulling the trigger on a new bike, only to go into the shop a week later to discover that your new bike was superseded by a newer design. If you're someone who was ready to by an SL, you might have been really glad to know that the SL-R was on the way. If you were ready to buy an SL-R (or a Tallboy), maybe you're glad to know the Ripley is coming. Waiting sucks, especially when the release takes longer than originally anticipated, but I'd always rather have more information instead of less.

    But I can appreciate that dealers would see it very differently.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypokondriak View Post
    I had not seen Ibis come out and say "hey we screwed up and here's what we learned and why it won't happen again,"


    Hello Forum, Hypokondriak,

    Here's a bit of follow up on your questions...

    Yes, we have apologized to customers and dealers, we even sent out a newsletter devoted mostly to it. The situation persuaded us to change our approach to product releases. Going forward, we will not announce anything until we are ready to ship.

    The problems that are related to some of the dealers frustration are complex and don't exactly relate to Ibis being small. In the case of the SLR, it's more that the factory grew a lot without actually increasing the number of people who knew how to get things done. They had a schedule, but they could not meet it, only continue to revise it. The few people they have that are capable are overwhelmed and they can only do so much. They have 5 customers, all famous high end bike brands and this situation affected everyone. We happened to be the smallest company with the most difficult project by far.

    What we did was give them detailed help on each issue following up with the most incredible micromanagment and merciless follow up you've ever seen. We hired a very skilled person who lives in Asia and spends nearly 100% of his time helping the factory. We also installed video conferencing and "meet" with all the key players at least once a week. Even though Ibis IS small, the factory persevered and is now succeeding. Usually, It is not feasible to change factories once you get started, it takes longer and is more expensive than working through the issues. We did absolutely everything we could to improve the situation as it became apparent.

    Through all this effort on everyone's part, they are now able to make good numbers of frames with high quality.

    The HD delays were quite a while back now, but they were caused by the magnesium dropout forging vendor going out of business. We had to design and test a composite version and change the tools, work it into production etc. It killed us for more than 2 months, so we were playing catch up for a while. Things are smooth now and have been for a long time. Same for the SLs, Trannys, the Hakkalugi and Silk.

    The dealers sell bikes for a living, and we don't fault them if they sell another brand due to availability.

    In spite of the fact that we do not yet have any 29" bikes we have been adding new dealers at a good clip and business is going well. We are planning to do a better job getting the new models out going forward and hope that we will be able to get reacquainted with a few dealers that have gone quiet. Overall, the number of dealers is growing and the sales per dealer is also growing. We're pretty sure that if we make some really good stuff and it's available, these trends will continue and accelerate.

    Regarding the Ripley, we have not announced the price, weight or final geometry yet. All that will come out when they are in stock and ready to go.

    There are some customers that are waiting for the Ripley, getting angry that it's not here yet.. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about that other than keep working ; )

    We are committed to making best in class bikes. We're thinking that is the most important thing and that Ibis customers would expect nothing less.

    Thanks for your questions and reading this far!

    Hans

  18. #18
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    Thank you Hans, this is why I choose Ibis. The level of detail in your post speaks volumes for your passion and care for your customers, both dealers and end users. Every interaction I have had with Ibis has been the same way.
    Last edited by Murchman; 06-22-2012 at 07:19 AM.

  19. #19
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    Thanks Hans. I think this approach is going to be much better and with a great product one should hope the dealers respond when you reach back out to them.

    It's good to know that this silence we're now seeing with the Ripley isn't symptoms of the past, but instead Ibis choosing to make the tough decision of being silent now based on lessons learned from the past. That's something hopefully anyone that reads this, including myself, can help communicate.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the response Hans, some great info in there and continues to demonstrate how the best CS in the bicycle industry is done
    Please tell us the Ripley will be made in a different factory than the SLR.

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